By writers for The Spark
Workers Party members and branches were active in a range of events in July. In mid-July the Wellington branch had a good independent presence on semester two orientation day at Victoria University. This led into another event on Sunday July 17 - the Big Left Radical Fair - which was held at Crossways Community Centre in Mt. Victoria, Wellington. Workers Party member Joel Cosgrove who has helped to form ‘Mutiny’ - a local left networking group - was a key organiser of this event. It was attended by approximately 200+ people and 15 local organisations, including Palestine solidarity groups (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Wellington Palestine Group, and Students for Justice in Palestine), climate change groups, and other Marxist and anarchist groups.
For many of the people who attended this event it was their first exposure to radical politics. Cosgrove gave a speech on the topic ‘What is the Workers Party?’ The Queers Avengers - a recently formed GLBT group in which Workers Party members are participating - was another organisation that was represented at the fair (see interview page 8).
Also on Sunday July 17 Workers Party members in Hamilton and Auckland, plus party contacts/supporters, met for a day of study and political discussion. For the first part of the day the group studied a small work by American Marxist leader James P. Cannon. This was followed by an appraisal of the situation of the Workers Party in New Zealand and subsequent discussion. Time was assigned for the Mana Party/Movement to be discussed in the final session for the day. This was a serious political discussion about the political nature of the Mana Party and its class composition. The discussion also touched on aspects of Marxism and Maori liberation. It was very interactive as between six and eight young Mana activists asked if they could join in the discussion.
In Auckland and Hamilton Workers Party members have become involved in the Mana Party/Mana movement. In June of this year Workers Party members resolved that Mana is a Maori-led working class movement that our members would engage with in a constructive manner. In Auckland that has meant door-knocking and contributing towards policy ideas. In Hamilton Workers Party members and some rank-and-file workers are going about forming a workers’/socialist branch in Hamilton West with a view and proposal to look after Mana activity on a weekly basis at the Frankton markets and as such have been involved in Mana Hauraki/Waikato formative meetings so far, with one member being elected to the interim committee of that branch. Workers Party members in Hamilton also helped to organise for a GPJA-initiated (Global Peace and Justice Auckland) public meeting at the 30th anniversary of the anti-apartheid protest in Hamilton which stopped the game between the All Blacks and South Africa.
Auckland activist and musician Matt Billington played his Myth of Democracy acoustic set in Hamilton as a fundraiser for the Workers Party.
Byron Clarke has again been elected as branch organiser for the Workers Party’s Christchurch branch. Activity in Christchurch has continued to be limited because of the earthquakes and the heavy snowfall in the area.