Workers Party of New Zealand
|Ideology||Marxism, communism, socialism, anti-capitalism|
|International affiliation||Not affiliated|
|Colours||White and red|
|MPs in the House of Representatives||None|
The Workers Party of New Zealand (previously known as the Anti-Capitalist Alliance) was a socialist/communist political party in New Zealand. It published a monthly magazine called "The Spark". In February 2013 the party was transformed from a "mass workers party" to a "fighting propaganda group". The organisation was renamed to Fightback.
Its last national organiser and secretary was Rebecca Broad.
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.||”|
The five-point policy platform of the Workers Party is as follows:
- Opposition to all New Zealand and Western intervention in the Third World and all Western military alliances.
- Secure jobs for all with a living wage and a shorter working week.
- For the unrestricted right of workers to organise and take industrial action and no limits on workers' freedom of speech and activity.
- 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.
- For a working people's republic.
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."
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. 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". Subsequently, publications formerly published by the RWL became Workers' Party publications.
In the 2002 elections, the Anti-Capitalist Alliance stood four candidates, the highest number for an unregistered party that year. The candidates gained a total of 336 votes between them, placing the party in fourth place amongst the unregistered parties which contested.
In the 2005 election the ACA stood eight candidates, again the highest number for an unregistered party. The ACA won a combined total of 582 votes, placing them first amongst the unregistered parties. 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.
In the 2007 local elections, the Workers Party stood four mayoral candidates in Christchurch, Dunedin, Waitakere, The Workers Party received 4 705 votes nationwide, with 2 101 of those votes being for Waitakere candidate Rebecca Broad.
On 3 October 2008 the party was registered by the Electoral Commission, allowing it to contest the party vote. In the 2008 New Zealand election, it ultimately received 932 party votes (0.04% of the vote), and 480 electorate votes.
The party failed to apply for broadcasting funding for the 2011 election. Its registration was cancelled at its own request on 20 May 2011. 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, however on their website they stated that they are backing the Mana Party in the elections.
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
|# of electorate
|# of list
0 / 121
0 / 69
0 / 52
0 / 121
0 / 69
0 / 52
0 / 122
0 / 70
0 / 52
In 2003 Paul Hopkinson (who subsequently stood as a candidate for the Anti-Capitalist Alliance in the 2005 election) became the first person charged under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act of 1981 after burning a New Zealand flag at an anti-war demonstration. In 2008 Hopkinson also became the first school teacher 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.
Another party member, Joel Cosgrove, won the presidency of Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (VUWSA) in 2008.
The Party expelled Jasmine Freemantle in May 2009 - she had contested the Mana electorate seat on behalf of the Anti-Capitalist Alliance in the 2005 general election, stood for Parliament for the Workers Party as a list candidate in the 2008 general election and succeeded Joel Cosgrove as VUWSA President in 2009.
2011 leadership resignations
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.
In June 2011 these individuals joined with other former members of the Workers Party to launch an on-line Marxist publication entitled Redline.
- "Major decisions of internal conference".
- "About: Workers Party of New Zealand".
- The Spark (May 2006)
- "Anti-Capitalist Alliance to stand in general election". The Spark. April 2002.
- "Fusion forms new group". The Spark. June 2004.
- "The Anti-Capitalist election campaign". The Spark. June 2002.
- "2002 Election: Summary of overall results". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 19 September 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
- "Anti-Capitalists standing in 8 electorates.". The Spark. August 2005.
- "2005 Election: Summary of overall results". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 4 October 2008.[dead link]
- "Lets Make Workers Issues Hi-Viz". Indymedia Aotearoa.
- "Workers Party Mayoral Campaigns". The Spark.
- "Byron Clark for Christchurch Mayor". Scoop.co.nz.
- "Final election results for 2007". Dunedin City Council.
- Orsman, Bernard; Thompson, Wayne (11 October 2007). "Last chance to decide Auckland's future". The New Zealand Herald.
- "2007 Triennial Elections Results". Waitakere City Council.
- "Results – Elections 2007". Christchurch City Council.
- "Dunedin election results" (PDF). Dunedin City Council.
- "Vote Workers Party!". The Spark. 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2008.
- "Twenty-one parties registered to contest party vote,". 4 October 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
- "Election results – Overall status,". 8 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
- "Election Results – Wellington Central,". 8 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
- "Election Results – Christchurch Central,". 8 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
- "Election Results – Christchurch East,". 8 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
- "Election Results – Manukau East,". 8 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
- "Cancellation of political party and registration of substitute logo". Elections New Zealand. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Election series article # 7: WP not standing in any electorates in 2011". 10 October 2011.
- "Flag burning trial under way". TVNZ.
- "Election candidate suspended from teaching role". Radio NZ.
- "President's Column". Salient.
- "Resignations from the Workers Party".