Friday, April 25, 2008

Trot Guide: New Zealand


Despite having a population only a fifth the size of Australia's, Kiwis have an abundance of parties, both Trotskyist and Maoist. Well, when I write 'abundance', I mean um, at least seven:

1) Communist Party of Aotearoa : Maoist. Est. 1993. Possibly dead? No news is bad news, and there's been no news since December 2006.

2) Communist Workers' Group of New Zealand/Aotearoa (Member of the Leninist/Trotskyist Fraction) : CWG originated as the New Zealand Spartacist League; it split in 1972... well, actually, the Communist Workers' do it best:

CWG originated as the New Zealand Spartacist League (NZSL) in 1970 under the influence of the Spartacist League-US (SL-US) "Declaration of Principles". The NZSL split in 1972 in a dispute between Owen Gager and Bill Logan and Adaire Hannah essentially over joining the SL-US. Gager argued that the SL-US had not broken completely with the SWP-US, nor did he think that the SL-US represented any programmatic continuity with Trotsky. The theoretical basis for this position is argued in "James P Cannonism" which can be found at this site in the CWG Archive. Gager went on to form the Communist Left of Australia (CLA) in 1974 while Logan and Hannah set up a Spartacist group also in Australia. In 1981 Dave Bedggood then a member of the British RCP formed the Communist Left in NZ in solidarity with CLA. The CLA split over a tactical difference with Gager in the mid-1980s. Gager left and moved towards anarcho-communism. CLNZ had fusion talks with the Bolshevik Tendency (now IBT) in the late 1980s and with Workers' Power (LRCI) in the early 1990s. CLNZ fused with the LRCI in 1992 as its NZ section, Workers Power (NZ) and ceased fraternal relations with CLA. Some members of WPNZ had differences within the LRCI’s over its movement away from Trotskyism in forming a united front with Yeltsin in August 1991, and its characterisation of the first period of the overthrow of the bureaucracy as a ‘political revolution’. The catalyst for the split was the LRCI’s refusal to defend Serbia from the NATO bombs of 1995. Half of WPNZ left to form the CWGNZ, along with the Bolivian and Peruvian sections of the LRCI who were either suspended or expelled. These comrades formed the Liaison Committee of Militants for a Revolutionary Communist International (LCMRCI) in late 1995. The main documents of this split can be located under LCMRCI Archive. See 'Declaration of the Proletarian Faction'. Essentially, these fusions and splits were attempts to apply the original position of the NZSL and CLNZ on the defense of dialectics against post-war degenerate Trotskyism. Today the CWG fights inside the LCMRCI and in discussions with other tendencies for a 5th International understood to mean the return to the pre-war method and programme of the 4th International.

Got that? My nomination for the fugliest communist website to ever boil out of New Zealand/Aotearoa.

Long Live the Leninist Trotskyist Fraction and the fight for a new World Party of Socialist Revolution!

3) International Bolshevik Tendency : The remnants of the once powerful and mighty Spartacist League of New Zealand, the IBT (est. 1987) is engaged in constant polemics with its older brother, the still mighty (in my opinion) International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist), aka the Spartacists (est. 1966). The Bolshevik Tendency is 'International' in the sense that, in addition to New Zealand, it has a presence in Canada, Germany, the UK and the USA.

4) International Socialist Organization of Aotearoa/New Zealand : Trotskyist, and a derivation from the iSt.

5) Socialist Worker (Aotearoa) : Trotskyist. The comrades have no website, but instead publish a blog, UNITY. A member of the UK-based SWP's iSt... and apparently (like the Australian DSP) on a one-way ticket to Splitsville.

6) World Socialist Party (New Zealand) : Neither Maoist nor Trotskyist, the WSP (NZ) have a totally kick-arse HQ. In other news, the World Party holds an Annual Conference at which most members meet up. At the 2004 Conference "momentous decisions on the future struggle for socialism were made, and a pleasant time was had by all".

7) Workers Party of New Zealand : The Workers Partys' monthly magazine The Spark has been in publication since 1991; Revolution is a quarterly journal published from 1994 to 2008.

Missing, presumed dead:

Communist League of New Zealand | Permanent Revolution Group (1986--1990; fused with International Bolshevik Tendency) | Socialist Party of Aotearoa | Workers' Charter ("Movement") | Workers' Power (New Zealand)

NB. The Socialist Party of Aotearoa emerged as a split from the 'pro-Soviet' Socialist Unity Party (SUP) in 1990. It was led by Bill Anderson, who died in 2005. The SPA's only sign of life is a website, described as being that of the Gordon Watson Branch. It contains contact details for the branch, located in Wellington, and a link to a defunct news service.