Workers Party of New Zealand


Workers Party of New Zealand
Workers Party of New Zealand
Hokowhitu o te Kaimahi o Aotearoa
Leader Rebecca Broad
Founded 2002 (2002)
Headquarters None
Ideology Marxism, communism, socialism, anti-capitalism
International affiliation Not affiliated
Official colours White and red
MPs in the House of Representatives None
Website
workersparty.org.nz
Politics of New Zealand
Political parties
Elections

The Workers Party of New Zealand (previously known as the Anti-Capitalist Alliance) was a socialist/communist political party in New Zealand. It publishes a monthly magazine called "The Spark".

Its current National Organiser and Secretary is Rebecca Broad.[1]

Contents

Platform

According to the party's official website,

The Workers Party of New Zealand is a socialist political party active in campaigns nationwide. We aim to build a new political movement based on the interests of workers in New Zealand and internationally. Our activities include organising in workplaces, campaigning against imperialism and fielding candidates in local and general elections.[1]

The five-point policy platform of the Workers Party is as follows:

  1. Opposition to all New Zealand and Western intervention in the Third World and all Western military alliances.
  2. Secure jobs for all with a living wage and a shorter working week.
  3. For the unrestricted right of workers to organise and take industrial action and no limits on workers' freedom of speech and activity.
  4. For working class unity and solidarity - equality for women, Maori and other ethnic minorities and people of all sexual orientations and identities; open borders and full rights for migrant workers.
  5. For a working people's republic.[1]

The party's magazine The Spark states that the party wants: "A world without poverty and war, a world of material abundance where human potential can be expressed in full," adding that "While these ideas appear untenable today, they were the notions that inspired revolutions in the 20th century."[2]

History

The party was founded in 2002. It was formed by an electoral alliance of the original Workers' Party (pro-Mao, Marxist-Leninist) and the pro-Trotsky Revolution group, with the intention of fielding candidates in the 2002 New Zealand general election.[3] The party was unregistered, and so could not contest the party vote in New Zealand's Mixed Member Proportional electoral system.

In 2004, the original Workers' Party and Revolution merged to become the Revolutionary Workers' League (RWL), which describes itself as a "Marxist current".[4] Recently, publications formerly published by the RWL became Workers' Party publications.

Elections

In the 2002 elections, the Anti-Capitalist Alliance stood four candidates, the highest number for an unregistered party that year.[5] The candidates gained a total of 336 votes between them, placing the party in fourth place amongst the unregistered parties which contested.[6]

In the 2005 election the ACA stood eight candidates,[7] again the highest number for an unregistered party. The ACA won a combined total of 582 votes, placing them first amongst the unregistered parties.[8] A nationwide recruitment campaign entitled Let’s Make Workers’ Issues Hi-Viz began in 2006 as an attempt to gain the necessary members to register and contest the party vote in the 2008 general election.[9]

In the 2007 local elections, the Workers Party stood four mayoral candidates[10] in Christchurch,[11] Dunedin,[12] Waitakere,[13] and Wellington.[14] The Workers Party received 4 705 votes nationwide, with 2 101 of those votes being for Waitakere candidate Rebecca Broad.[15][16][17][18]

In July 2008, the party announced four electorate candidates for the 2008 general election.[19]

On 3 October 2008 the party was registered by the Electoral Commission, allowing it to contest the party vote.[20] In the 2008 New Zealand election, it ultimately received 932 party votes (0.04% of the vote),[21] and 480 electorate votes.[22][23][24][25]

The party failed to apply for broadcasting funding for the 2011 election. Its registration was cancelled at its own request on 20 May 2011.[26] The party has announced that it will not stand candidates in the 2011 election, saying that the previous election "gave quite clear evidence" that trying to using electoral participation to "raise the profile of both socialist ideas and our own organisation" was not working.[27]

Electoral results (2002-2008)

Election # of candidates nominated (electorate/list) # of seats won # of electorate votes # of party votes  % of popular vote
2002
4 / 0
0
336
N/A
N/A
2005
8 / 0
0
582
N/A
N/A
2008
4 / 14
0
480
932
0.04%

Notable members

In 2003 Paul Hopkinson, who stood as a candidate for the Anti-Capitalist Alliance in the 2005 election, became the first person to be charged under the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act, after burning a New Zealand flag at an anti-war demonstration.[28] In 2008 Hopkinson also became the first school teacher to be suspended without pay for challenging the provisions of the 1993 Electoral Act relating to public servants, when he refused to voluntarily take unpaid leave in order to contest the seat of Christchurch East in that year's general election as the Workers Party candidate.[29]

Nick Kelly was elected president of the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (VUWSA) in 2006 after holding a string of other positions in the organisation. Prior to this he was the Chair of Paul Swain's Labour Electorate Committee (LEC) in 2000, but was sacked in 2001 for opposing Labour's economic policies. He was also dragged out of a Labour conference for yelling at Prime Minister Helen Clark over Labour's support for the invasion of Afghanistan. In 2002, Kelly was expelled from the Labour Party altogether for standing against Paul Swain for the seat of Rimutaka.[30] In September 2008 Kelly took up a new role as president of the Wellington Tramways Union.[31] Kelly left the Workers Party in June 2009.[32]

Another party member, Joel Cosgrove, won the VUWSA presidency in 2008.[33]

2011 leadership resignations

[neutrality is disputed]

In February 2011 a minority section of the former leadership of the Workers Party, including former National Secretary Daphna Whitmore, former National Organiser Philip Ferguson and former "Spark" Co-ordinating Editor Don Franks announced their decision to leave the organisation in a joint letter of resignation stating that:

The recent sharp divisions and turmoil in the organisation over standards and behaviour forced us to face the issue of why these problems arose - and, indeed, have often arisen. Our conclusion is that the problems associated with low standards go much deeper than this or that individual or norm (or lack of norms) and are rooted in much bigger and deeper problems - basically that the long downturn and the absence of struggle, especially working class struggle, continuously undermine the project of party-building. It's not possible to build a vanguard organisation in the absence of a vanguard of workers.

We have concluded that further attempts at party building in this downturn are futile. Rather than carry on ploughing the same furrow we feel we can contribute more effectively towards working class emancipation by operating in a way that is suited to the conditions.[34]

In June 2011 these individuals joined with other former members of the Workers Party to launch an on-line Marxist publication entitled Redline.

References

  1. ^ a b c "Major decisions of internal conference". http://workersparty.org.nz/2011/03/08/4084/. 
  2. ^ The Spark (May 2006)
  3. ^ "Anti-Capitalist Alliance to stand in general election". The Spark. April 2002. http://workersparty.org.nz/spark-archive/wp-election-campaigns/anti-capitalist-alliance-to-stand-in-general-election/. 
  4. ^ "Fusion forms new group". The Spark. June 2004. http://workersparty.org.nz/spark-archive/party-history/fusion-forms-new-group-revolutionary-workers-league/. 
  5. ^ "The Anti-Capitalist election campaign". The Spark. June 2002. http://workersparty.org.nz/spark-archive/wp-election-campaigns/the-anti-capitalist-election-campaign/. 
  6. ^ "2002 Election: Summary of overall results". New Zealand Electoral Commission. http://2002.electionresults.org.nz/e9/html/e9_part1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-04. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Anti-Capitalists standing in 8 electorates.". The Spark. August 2005. http://workersparty.org.nz/spark-archive/wp-election-campaigns/anti-capitalists-standing-in-8-electorates/. 
  8. ^ "2005 Election: Summary of overall results". New Zealand Electoral Commission. http://2005.electionresults.org.nz/e9/html/e9_part1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-04. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Lets Make Workers Issues Hi-Viz". Indymedia Aotearoa. http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/58256/index.php. 
  10. ^ "Workers Party Mayoral Campaigns". The Spark. http://workersparty.org.nz/spark-archive/wp-election-campaigns/mayoral-campaign-reports/. 
  11. ^ "Byron Clark for Christchurch Mayor". Scoop.co.nz. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK0708/S00224.htm. 
  12. ^ "Final election results for 2007". Dunedin City Council. http://www.cityofdunedin.com/city/?page=election_results2007. 
  13. ^ "Last chance to decide Auckland's future". New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10469171&pnum=0. 
  14. ^ "2007 elections - Nick Kelly". Wellington City Council. http://www.wellington.govt.nz/haveyoursay/elections/2007/nominations/profiles/mayor/kelly.html. 
  15. ^ "2007 Triennial Elections Results". Waitakere City Council. http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/AbtCit/electionresults2007.asp. 
  16. ^ "Results - Elections 2007". Christchurch City Council. http://www.ccc.govt.nz/Elections/2007/Results/. 
  17. ^ "2007 Elections - Final results". Wellington City Council. http://www.wellington.govt.nz/haveyoursay/elections/results/2007/final/mayorfinal.html. 
  18. ^ "Dunedin election results" (PDF). Dunedin City Council. http://www.cityofdunedin.com/city/?MIvalObj=election_07_mayor&MItypeObj=application/pdf&ext=.pdf. 
  19. ^ "Vote Workers Party!". The Spark. 2008. http://workersparty.org.nz/vote-workers-party-2008/. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  20. ^ "Twenty-one parties registered to contest party vote,". October 4, 2008. http://www.elections.org.nz/news/twenty-one-parties-eligible-to-contest-party-vote.html. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  21. ^ "Election results - Overall status,". November 8, 2008. http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2008/partystatus.html. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  22. ^ "Election Results -- Wellington Central,". November 8, 2008. http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2008/electorate-59.html. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  23. ^ "Election Results -- Christchurch Central,". November 8, 2008. http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2008/electorate-4.html. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  24. ^ "Election Results -- Christchurch East,". November 8, 2008. http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2008/electorate-5.html. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  25. ^ "Election Results -- Manukau East,". November 8, 2008. http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2008/electorate-23.html. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  26. ^ "Cancellation of political party and registration of substitute logo". Elections New Zealand. 2011-05-20. http://www.elections.org.nz/study/news/cancellation-of-political-party-and-registration-of-substitute-logo.html. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  27. ^ "Election series article # 7: WP not standing in any electorates in 2011". 2011-10-10. http://workersparty.org.nz/2011/10/10/election-series-article-7-wp-not-standing-in-any-electorates-in-2011/. 
  28. ^ "Flag burning trial under way". TVNZ. http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/423466/229906. 
  29. ^ "Election candidate suspended from teaching role". Radio NZ. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/events/election2008/stories/2008/09/26/124374791d54. 
  30. ^ "Nick Kelly and the Labour Party". Scoop. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0203/S00133.htm. 
  31. ^ "Union rejects Go Wellington pay offer and elects union exec". Wellington Tramways Union Press Release. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK0809/S00074.htm. 
  32. ^ "Nick Kelly’s statement on the Workers’ Party: What really happened?". http://nickkellyandtheworkersparty.blogspot.com/. 
  33. ^ "President's Column". Salient. http://www.salient.org.nz/columns/president/president’s-column. 
  34. ^ "Resignations from the Workers Party". http://groups.google.com/group/thespark-discussion/browse_thread/thread/11f9a96164451702/. 

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