Class Struggle No 100

May-June 2012
the vital opportunity to put this government into power "opening to the masses new perspectives... to incommensurably increase the strength of the proletariat." Those ‘perspectives’ would have been to speed up the process by which the reformist workers illusions in SYRIZA were smashed, and to speed up the formation of workers councils and militias independent of the capitalist state. Having missed that opportunity we have to have a perspective that mobilising workers on the streets and organising the workers councils and militias etc can build for an unlimited general strike that would probably put enough pressure on enough PASOK and KKE MPs to bring down the government. That would probably bring in a left government under even more internal tension capable of "opening up new perspectives". So, What Next? What is our position on the current situation and on a new election that could come within months if not weeks? Here is an interesting statement from the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency well worth reading.

Brief Stuff
Greece - What Next?
Greece has proved to be a real test for the left. Most failed the test miserably because they have no belief in the historic mission of the working class to overthrow capitalism. Rather, they have only a self-belief as a substitute. And that self-belief can only be sustained by opportunism and its reverse fear of opportunism – sectarianism. Some do both because they are the terrible twins of pseudo Marxism. So the British SWP among its several factions in Greece could not agree on what is to be done. The opportunists look to SYRIZA to take the leadership of resistance to austerity, while the sectarians shunned them because they could not lead the resistance. But it turned out that the majority of Greek workers, and German imperialism did think SYRIZA would fight austerity. So between German Imperialism and the ultraleft Stalinists and Antarsya as well as other asserted self-proclaimed Trotskyists such as EEK, the working class was split, the ‘left’ fell short, and a centrist Bonapartist type government formed by New Democracy and PASOK took power. As Trotsky said of Germany in the lead up to Hitler’s victory in 1933, a united front against fascism includes an electoral united front: “The Social Democracy

Students Protest like Greeks
Students are marching and striking in many places – Greece, Chile, Quebec, Australia, and recently in Aotearoa where fees are being raised and subsidies cut. We are now in a global capitalist crisis imposing austerity on the masses. The student fight-backs are growing around the world. Despite 20 years of neoliberal attacks that largely succeeded, they have ultimately failed to stop the inherent fall in the rate of profit and so the capitalist powers in their historic decline are provoking big fight-backs globally. What does this tell us about these attacks? Why are student protests met with police violence and new anti-protest laws? The short answer is that the attacks on education are part of the drive by capitalism in crisis to make the next generation of workers to pay for its crisis. The escalating repression signifies that unemployed, educated youth are widely recognised as a huge potential threat to capitalist survival. We have to expect capitalist governments in NZ to react like any capitalist state to suppress opposition to ‘reforms’ that are imposed to solve their crisis. If you are Keynesian you will see these as the result of greedy capitalists imposing ‘wrong’ economics on the masses. This brings a reformist perspective of street protests to reclaim democracy in a sort of Chomsky-type anticapitalism to clean out the corrupt institutions. If you are a Marxist then the cause of crisis goes deeper, anti-

together with the Communist Party would not be able to seize power. There he stands, the snobbish, educated, petty bourgeois, an utter coward, soaked from head to foot with distrust and contempt for the masses. The Social Democracy and the Communist Party together hold about 40% of the votes, despite the fact that the betrayals of Social Democracy and the mistakes of the Communist Party drive millions in to the camp of indifferentism and even National Socialism. Once a fact, a joint action of these two parties alone, by opening before the masses new perspectives, would incommensurably increase the strength of the proletariat...” What Next? p151
Pathfinder Edition So it was correct to call for a united front to get SYRIZA elected ("the fact") and call on the workers aligned to PASOK and KKE to push their leaders to give critical support to an anti-austerity left united front government. This proves again that the absence of a revolutionary party of sufficient strength to force PASOK and KKE workers to take up this program to elect a SYRIZA-led ‘left government’ means that revolutionaries missed


Class Struggle No 100
capitalism means ending capitalism. Street protest will have to lead to the building of a mass revolutionary movement to bring the necessary revolutionary change. So if you are a revolutionary you will see the use and defence of democratic rights as tactics subordinated to building the revolution. While resistance can operate openly, then street protests, occupations etc are in order. When the state represses them heavily you know in advance that other tactics are necessary. In Syria the non-violent resistance has armed itself for its own selfdefence. In Greece, direct action against fascists and pickets to defend strikers and demos are used alongside what remains of parliament. The object is to prove to workers that the crisis cannot be solved in parliament which is after all a talk-shop for finance capital, but in their own organisation – councils, militias etc – that can take power and defend it. So when NZ Finance Minister Bill English challenged protesting university students to “learn from the Greeks” he probably didn’t have this in mind. His capitalist class interests won’t allow him to get his head around the logic that defending bourgeois democracy for the masses means overthrowing bourgeois democracy and with it the capitalist system.

May-June 2012 Revolutionary Socialists (RS) had a voice and could have raised and fought for this program. Even if mass strikes had failed to become a general strike and split the army, it could have forced the army to agree to a Constituent Assembly much more radical and democratic than the Mubarak Constitution that remains slightly amended today. Instead the RS never pushed for the youth to go back to the factories to build for general strike. Nor did they demand a Constituent Assembly that represented the masses. Instead they got trapped in the stageist argument that it was a progressive step to build a mass workers party to contest the elections under the reactionary Constitution. The broad left and liberal candidates lost while the MB clearly won the parliamentary elections. The left and liberal candidates who stood for the Presidency were beaten in the first round. Mohamed ElBaradei refused to stand under the reactionary constitution which was used by the army to annul the Parliamentary elections. But this did not stop the RS for advocating a vote in the second round for the MB candidate as the ‘lesser evil’ to the army candidate. The RS has yet to retract this terrible mistake despite a barrage of protest from the left worldwide. 22/swp-backs-revolutionary-moslem-brotherhoodand-faces-torrent-of-criticism/ This episode shows that once it had turned its back on the militant working class and put its hopes in parliamentary reforms, it lost its bearings. What does the British SWP (parent group of the RS) say today? The official line is that the army is still in control but it’s better to have Mursi in power. His election has “dealt the counter-revolution a serious blow”! 20 Yet an important lesson seems to have been learned by the RS. It says the ‘second round’ of the revolution must unite all the revolutionary forces against the counter-revolution. The youth of the squares must unite with the workers and poor peasants. Yet there is no set of transitional demands on how to organise and mobilise them for a general strike to split the army and bring down the regime. Once more we have a lot of talk, but no serious action program to stop the counter-revolution from smashing all the gains of the revolution.

Egypt: SCAF still rules
The recent presidential election in Egypt was won be the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate Mohamed Mursi but leaves the army in power. The revolution that saw the end of Mubarak never rose to the point of challenging his military backed regime. The most that can be said is that the regime was forced to hold elections, and that by cancelling the parliamentary elections and taking away most of the powers of the President it has clearly broken its promise to hand power to a civilian government. Our position from the onset of the revolution in February 2011 was that this was the re-opening of the democratic revolution, but that even the most elementary democratic rights would require the overthrow of the bourgeois state. We warned that unless the youth who gathered in Tahrir square went back to the factories and built a general strike, which could then lead to a split in the army as the ranks joined the revolution, the military regime would not fall. That this was possible is shown by two facts. First the youth were inspired in their rebellion by the previous several years of labour strikes. Second, that within the ranks of the youth the


Class Struggle No 100

May-June 2012

Class Struggle in Aotearoa/NZ
The capitalist system is not working: profits are falling for the capitalist class. Their solution is to make the working class pay for their crisis. They are on the attack, across the world, the working class is under attack. In NZ National-Act support the bosses who are attacking unions and forcing down wages and conditions. National-Act is a government of the bosses. Deunionisation deregulates the labour market and lowers labour costs. They leave NZ a cheap labour country. This is a direct result of competitive pressure on primary industries in the global downturn. We look at the emergence of open class struggle in two key export industries in Aotearoa – Port workers, and Meat workers. There is no parliamentary solution to this all out attack on workers. We need a mass revolutionary party to fight for a Workers Government and a socialist planned economy! Port workers struggles
The fight between shipowners, port owners and wharfies (portworkers) in Aotearoa is about driving down shipping costs to restore profits to the monopoly shipping lines. It is little surprise then that Ports of Auckland backed by the new right NACT regime came out in 2011 hellbent on smashing the Maritime Union of NZ (MUNZ) the union covering wharfies, to drive down wages by contracting out jobs. National-Act attacks on the working class continue to create unemployment and at the same time they harass the unemployed into accepting any job at low wages. Marx described the unemployed as a reserve-army of labour: A part of the working class that is ready for work. Unless the union movement starts to protect the unemployed – the capitalist class will continue to use the unemployed as scabs in fights with organised unions. As a direct result of the POAL dispute the NACT regime is writing new labour laws which support the bosses walking away from negotiations and screwing the working class and dumping unions completely. The new legislation will allow bosses to lockout workers and replace them legally to smash the unions. ret-changes-to-labour-rules The Labour Party plays it “safe”: Neither for nor against the wharfies. Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Opposition leader David Shearer don’t want to takes sides in a class war. They play the roles the capitalist class allows them – and are proven to be ineffective for workers needs in this fight. While the current situation has reached a stalemate and no further contracting out is happening, workers have lost wages during the recent strikes and lockouts, and are now subject to total video surveillance on the job. Unless the union learns the lessons of its failure to mobilise the wider working class support to shut down the port, it is only a matter of time before the next round of attacks under the new labour law ‘reforms’ take place.

The board members of the ports of Auckland were picked as part of the restructure of Auckland in the invention of a Supercity. Where the elected Auckland Regional Council had run the port and used profits to subsidise public transport developments, the new board was hand-picked by Rodney Hide on behalf of global finance capitalism. The port was set up as Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL), prepared for privatisation. It is ready for the next right-wing dominated council to privatise. Already the Ports of Auckland have contracted out work. They set up Conlinxx as a 70% POAL owned contractor that drives shuttles moves containers between ports and the “Wiri inland port”. The other (30%) player in this is NZL, a Tauranga based capitalist logistics contractor. This is a part privatisation at the port. Other private contractors getting in behind the gates are Spotless and Labour hire companies.


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May-June 2012
workers by fighting for democratic, fighting unions that break from the bureaucracy and the bourgeois labour laws.

Break the labour law!
Those labour supporters and union leaders who continue to think these attacks are just “rogue’ employers and possible to control those “bad faith” employers with “good laws” are foolish. Capitalist crisis is the underlying cause of these attacks on the working class as the capitalist class tries to restore their profits at the expense of the working class. Parliament will not tame capitalism. Only the working class taking control of ALL the workplaces internationally can end this crisis ridden system and build an economy planned to meet the needs. The existing union leadership continues to follow the legal road when the capitalist state has them legally cornered. To break the law would jeopardise their role as the agents of capital in the unions. Under capitalist law unions are tamed: Real pickets (that shutdown the workplace) or “illegal” strikes risk financial penalties on unions and their officials. That is the way the capitalist state has neutered the official unions. We have to look back to unions who refused to operate under the bosses laws, for an example of unions who refused to be tied down by the capitalist laws: the Red Feds. Workers need unions since they give us the opportunity to organise collectively, but we also need maximum independence from the capitalist class. There are two areas of rank and file struggle when unions have been tamed. We fight within the unions, to raise demands for the needs of workers to be met – and run into the limits of unions working within the system. So that we can be as organised as possible, and so every worker learns that unions are limited by capitalism within capitalism. We fight outside the union –as a party we aim to organise the wider working class. For example the occupy movement in California demonstrated how it could unite with rank and file unionists to shut down West Coast ports even for a few hours. Further, the dispute at Longview proved that nonunionised workers in Occupy could join forces with the ILWU rank and file shut down the port to force the employers to negotiate a truce (agreement) with the union. In the process the union officials are exposed as doing deals to keep the lid on a union revolt that also organises non-union workers. Thus we can build a new labour movement uniting organised and unorganised

Meat workers struggles
The fight between Meat company bosses and Meat workers is also about casualising labour to drive down wage costs and the price of meat shipped offshore during a global capitalist crisis. NZs competitive advantage in producing meat for export depends on driving down labour costs further than its competitors. The recent round of attacks on meat workers was started by the CMP (Canterbury Meat Packers part of the ANZCO group) who used a 65 day lockout at its plant in Rangitikei to force a 20% pay cut. ANZCO Foods Ltd, is jointly owned by the directors and managers, Itoham Food Inc and Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd. “Sir” Graeme Harrison is the Chairman of the Board and was awarded Wellington businessman of the year. On 17th November 2011 another 50 NZMWU members from branches across the country converged on the plant as well as members of many other unions, joining the locked out workers in a 200-strong mass picket. Rather than let the scabs confront the reinforced picket the bosses closed the plant down for the day. This was a real picket because it shut down the plant. However the working class needs to be ready to do this for more than one day i.e. indefinitely, until the bosses concede to the needs of the working class. Talleys – Affco tried the same as ANZCO, locking out the members of the Meat Workers Union at its plants while continuing to run on a scab workforce. Some families were split between those still working and those on picket lines! As we wrote in an earlier issue a picket that cannot stop family members from crossing it is not a picket! The only way for workers to shut down the meat works is for real pickets that stop the scabs. Because of the weakness of the token pickets it was the Iwi leaders who came to the rescue. Iwi politics became the negotiators after Tainui workers put pressure on iwi leaders to help with negotiations. Contrary to the


Class Struggle No 100
official union line, it was not working class solidarity but tribal ties to Iwi capitalism that threatened the Talley family to resolve the dispute.

May-June 2012
materials and land in what is a rip, shit, bust process of recolonisation. Today this struggle cannot be won by indigenous struggles such as that of Maori nationalism. Maori are now divided along class lines with Iwi bosses voting for privatisation of assets, while the vast majority of Maori are at the bottom of the working class. We need to unite along class lines nationally and internationally across the whole Pacific to take back and take control of the resources we need to survive.

Class not ‘family’ solidarity
The two meat workers disputes highlight what is progressive and reactionary in the NZ working class. At Fielding working class solidarity shut down the plant for a day showing that the way forward is the mass picket that defies the labour law. At the Talley plants families were split and the appeal to the Tainui leaders to pressure the Talley family was the result of working class weakness. Pressure by Iwi capitalists on Meat bosses has more to do with the backroom deals between bosses than trade union struggle. It poses the question put to Class Struggle by one Tainui worker after the settlement; why do we need unions? Under the impact of the global crisis, NZ is reverting back to the extractive colony of the late 19th century when its role in the world economy was to provide raw materials for the mother countries. This trend will be reinforced by the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement that will re-colonise NZ. The only resistance that will succeed against global capitalism will be a mass movement of workers and poor farmers united across the whole Pacific to prevent the exploitation of raw

• • • • • • •

We need to prepare for Strikes, Occupations and Workers Control! Mass pickets to defend the jobs, and protect union workers! Mass pickets to shut down workplaces! Occupy against the 1%, workers control! For Occupations and Nationalisations without compensation under workers control! For a General Strike to defeat the NACTs and for a mass Workers Party based on the rank and file of the unions! For a Workers’ Government and planned socialist economy! For a Socialist Aotearoa in a Socialist Asia/Pacific!

Zero Sum Budget
NACTs 2012 budget keeps the country heading down the Rip, Shit and Bust road to destruction. The capitalists who rule Aotearoa want to rip out all our resources, shit on the lives of working people, and drive the country bust. Who has the best program to counter the NACTs bosses’ zero sum crisis budge? Labour and Green reformists, Mana radicals or Marxist revolutionaries? Let’s see the bosses’ budget for what it really is, an exercise in spin to cover up making workers pay for the capitalist crisis. Labour and the Greens have got no answers except Keynesian pipedreams and austerity ‘lite’. Mana is staking out a left Social Democratic position with income transfers to the poor. But the cause of the crisis is capitalist exploitation and there can be no effective rolling back of capitalist austerity except as a by-product of the building of a mass workers movement for socialist revolution.


Class Struggle No 100

May-June 2012
Keynesian solutions to the crisis are pushed. Keynes was a bourgeois economist who recognised that when profits fall the capitalists stop investing causing a slump. Keynes’ solution was to take over from the capitalists and use the state to borrow and spend on creating jobs and boosting incomes so that rising demand would trigger capitalists reinvesting in production. Roosevelt’s administration in the US and Labour Governments in NZ both applied Keynesian economics overcoming the worst effects of the Great Depression of the 1930s. In NZ the reformist left is pushing these solutions. Problem is inequality which can be fixed by state intervention. The budget then, rather than cutting back on expenditure, should borrow to boost working class incomes to stimulate demand and hence capital investment in supply to meet the rising demand. This should be part of a wider policy of state regulation, ownership and economic planning to eliminate the profiteering of the capitalists. . See the big debates over austerity vs. growth on Michael Roberts Blog. equality-the-cause-of-crisis-and-depression/

NACT’s zero-sum budget
NACTs spin budget is zero-sum. It presents its austerity measures as ‘fiscal responsibility’ in balancing the budget by 2014 in the middle of a global crisis. Having run up a deficit of NZ$11 billion by bailing out the private sector it has transferred the cost of paying this deficit onto the taxpayer. In reality it is the working class that pays all taxes because the working class produces the wealth. So the real purpose of the zero-sum budget is to cut wages to boost profits. It boosts profits by forcing austerity on workers. Austerity is the bosses’ solution to their crisis as it cuts wages and social spending as a drain on bosses’ profits. It tries to make workers pay for the crisis by cutting capital’s costs at all costs. It restores profits by cutting taxes to rich, while increasing taxes to low paid workers like paper boys and girls; cutting social spending such as education from ECE to tertiary, ACC, welfare benefits, health and housing. This budget adds a new list of cuts in the NACTs austerity regime. A new round of austerity will hit when assets are privatised and power charges, education fees, health, ACC etc rise, and attacks on union rights and beneficiaries weakens unions and drives down wages.

Labour’s ‘Budget’
Of course capitalists argue that they are entitled to their profits, and to influence policy to restore them. They justify this as necessary for growth in the economy and the creation of rising incomes and living standards. Labour (social democratic) reformists agree with the capitalists that profits are earned rather than expropriated by capitalists. Capitalism is not inherently exploitative but there are some bad bosses (today the villains are usually Bankers) who ruthlessly exploit workers. They think that the cause of the crisis in not any inherent flaw in the economic system, but the wrong policies that create inequality and falling incomes for the poor. Labour accuses the NACTs as deliberately pushing austerity policies to enrich the already rich and worsening the gap between rich and poor. The typical response of Social Democracy around the world is to replace austerity with ‘growth’.

Green’s ‘Budget’
The Green leader Russel Norman says that the Greens would “share austerity more fairly”. They would tax the rich and capital gains, and redirect expenditure away from unproductive motorways, subsides to polluters etc and into a R&D and education for a smart green economy. This is a form of Green Keynesianism spending to boost clean, green, consumption. The Greens are also against selling state assets having shown that they contribute more in ongoing dividends than in a one off sale. But like the Labour Party they will not commit to buying these assets back. While some think that the Greens are now the real opposition without Labour swinging right under David Shearer, and would keep a future Labour government honest, there are those who think that the Greens could work with Labour under David Cunliffe’s leadership because he stands for ‘Real


Class Struggle No 100
Labour’. But however they may rant on that we need throw out the NACTs and replace it with a smart, green Keynesian politics, the reality is that capitalist crisis cannot be solved by ‘growth’. Crisis requires austerity which means depression. This means destroying the value of surplus capital and of workers’ wages until the capitalists are assured that the capital invested in production can once more return good profits.

May-June 2012
The Marxist explanation of capitalist crisis is that is it caused by falling profits due to the inability of the capitalists to extract enough surplus value. This is the Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall. Bosses whose profits are falling stop investment, growth stagnates, and to restore the rate of profit the mass of capital has to be devalued as well as the value of wages until such time as the amount of surplus extracted represents a profit over total capital invested. The devaluation of the wages to restore profits is the essence of ‘austerity’. The state plays a key role in creating the conditions for the return to profitability. It introduce social and economic policies to increase the rate of exploitation (increasing the share of profits) by making workers work harder for less pay. Here we see a whole box of NACT austerity policies to attack living standards, workers rights, union rights, and attacks on beneficiaries and the sick and injured to drive them to work – workfare – and so on to make workers produce more value and cut the share of value going to wages. But that increased share of value does not go towards restoring profits if it is taxed to pay for state expenditure that does not produce bigger profits i.e. is a net drain on profits. So to restore profits the NACTs on behalf of the capitalist class want cut back on state spending by massive cuts in jobs and the social wage (the part of the wage made up state transfers – benefits, pensions, Kiwisaver, health, education WFF etc) The budget ‘deficit’ therefore is an excess of state spending over state income that is a net drain on profits. The ‘balancing’ of the budget means reducing the state functions to only those that cannot be done more cheaply by the market. So we see the wholesale privatisation of state production, distribution and exchange (energy, airlines, banks etc) and services (health, housing, education, prisons etc). The capitalists kill two birds with one stone. First, state spending reduces the net drain on profits, and second, privatised state activities become directly profitable as the accumulation of capital (stocks, shares, interest etc). Our conclusion is that ‘austerity’ is not merely a policy option like ‘growth’. The NACTs austerity policies are necessary for the capitalists’ survival, and they will not give up power or wealth without a fight. Thus liberal reforms are useless. Power has to be taken. It cannot be taken by peaceful means on the streets or other institutions. Radical reforms will come up against insuperable state power unless they take the form of a working class insurrection. Power has to be seized and the capitalist state power replaced by workers state power. For working class and the planet to survive the capitalist system must die.

Mana’s ‘class war’ Budget
Mana is the only radical party in Aotearoa because it is driven by Tinorangatiratanga, or Maori selfdetermination, and by the socialist left. Radicals know that the state cannot oversee a fair distribution of income, since it is controlled by the capitalist elite that exploits labour by underpaying the true value of the wage. This is usually referred to as unequal exchange as labour is not paid its equal value in the market. Thus the parliamentary budget is only fiddling with wealth already stolen from the producers. So further fiscal fiddling by the left cannot equalise the burden of austerity. The solution is for the majority working class to realise its potential power and get the true market value of labour. Some radicals want to take over the existing capitalist state to enforce this balance of power by similar means as the reformists. Others think the working class can take power in society and render the state superfluous. On balance Mana is a left reformist party willing to work inside parliament. Matt McCarten’s column in the NZ Herald, “Derisory Budget wages war on the poor”, sums up the Mana left Social Democratic politics. c_id=466&objectid=10807029 Mana wants to get elected to represent Maori, and all other workers, and as its leader Hone Harawira said in his budget speech, “Tax the rich and free the poor”!

Workers’ revolutionary ‘Budget’
Marxists take a very different approach to the budget. The capitalist economy is based on the production of value by the working class and the extraction of surplus value by the capitalist class. The state serves the capitalist class by defending the right of capitalists to the exploitation of labour as private property. That is, the state oversees the exploitation of the working class on behalf of capitalists’ profits. The income and expenditure of the state is therefore the consequence of the production of value and its distribution via incomes and via state incomes policy among the different ‘revenue’ classes to reproduce those classes.


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May-June 2012

Aotearoa Sold Out
The resistance to selling NZ assets reflects the growing public awareness that NZ has almost no assets left to sell, and that the profits from those assets are our biggest export. The leaking of the secret TPPA shows that the NZ ruling class is selling off total control over the NZ economy. Signing up to military relations with the US tells us that NZ is truly a neo-colony of the US. Now that the latest round of state asset privatisations is underway it’s obvious that NZ is fast running out of productive assets to be bought up by international capital. As if to prove that the cupboard is bare, John Key’s scheme to turn NZ into a Finance Hub aka tax haven for finance capital exploits NZs ‘timezone’ and contributes no added value to any asset anywhere in the world. Time for de-colonisation of Aotearoa! Recolonisation of Kiwiland?
There is a foundation myth that New Zealand ceased being a colony of Britain and forged its independent identity at Gallipoli. Britain sacrificed NZ lives on the altar of empire, so NZ cut the apron strings. Nothing could be further than the truth. NZ began as an economic colony of Britain and its political sovereignty was always controlled by the Bank of England. Even the Fabian myth promoted by the Labour Party that it broke from Britain to abolish free trade an impose import and capital controls in the late 1930s was disproven by the British control of NZ banking and manufacturing up to the 1970s and the onset of the global structural crisis of falling profits. The global crisis forced big structural changes to restore profits. This included Britain’s entry to the EEC and the end of NZs protected export market. NZ in turn was forced to diversify its markets. But it also diversified its colonial rulers. Australia, Japan and the US joined Britain as new masters of Aotearoa. The strongest relationship was with Australia, a junior imperialist country with its strength based in minerals. NZ became a subordinated as a virtual state of Australia. NZ banks, manufacturing and retail became dominated by Australian corporations. To a lesser extent, Japan, the US and in since 2000, China have become new owners of NZ assets many of them state assets sold off by both Labour and National governments in the 1980s and 1990s. This seems to some to be a re-colonisation of NZ, due to the onset of ‘neoliberalism’ since it amounts to a end to NZs political sovereignty. It’s actually the logical continuation of Aotearoa’s long history as a dependent semi-colony or neo-colony. Neo-liberalism was the global capitalist response to crisis that forced semi-colonies like NZ to open up and deregulate their economies. Similarly, the latest round of assets sales taking place of renewed onset of global crisis proves


Class Struggle No 100
that NZ’s place in the capitalist world division of labour has always been that of a ‘rip, shit, and bust’ economy. The difference is that today NZ is being openly sucked dry of the remainder of its productive assets and is rapidly heading down the road of other semi-colonies that have had their assets ripped-off, their workers shat on, and are now heading for a big bust.

May-June 2012

TPPA: The War for the Pacific
The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is the most misleading and misnamed free trade deal ever conceived. For one thing, it is not Trans since it excludes the elephant in the Pacific, China. Second, there can be no Partnership when the US is imposing its hegemony on the Pacific as a financial weapon against China. Third, the economic rape by the US of its ‘partners’ is hardly won by agreement. The leaking of some of the terms of the secret agreement show that the US is imposing draconian limits to the sovereignty of its colonies and neocolonies in the Asia/Pacific region to prevent national governments from giving preference to national corporations, or to put controls over the free flow of profits and capital. These terms will be enforced to special courts outside the nations concerned. National sovereignty is openly sold out. To prove it Mexico is joining as if to prove that US partners are rape victims suffering PTSD. Mexico since the NAFA in 1994 has been sued many times by corporations for daring to pass laws that limit the profits of US corporations. What we see here is the US moving rapidly to legally bind its client states in the Pacific as the sphere of interest of US imperialism, targeted specifically at the growing influence of China in the Pacific. Once this economic zone of influence is in place, it will be enforced by it’s beefed up military presence such as the forces in Darwin and in the many bases that encircle China. This explains why the NACT regime, representing the NZ comprador capitalists, is aping the US in every sphere of economy, politics, media

NACT’s asset sales
Two things stand out about the asset sales. The NACTs are flouting massive opposition to these partial sales. The fact that they are partial, retaining majority state ownership (instead of wholesale flogging off as in the 80s and 90s) proves that public resistance is building. The NACTs have tried to spin the sales as paying off debt but failed to avoid the fact that the debt was the result of tax cuts to the ‘rich’. It then changed tack and said it would put the money into new infrastructure. Finally, it dressed up the sales saying they would pay for health and education spending. Second, the private owners of the state assets will demand price rises to return a reasonable profit. This after 20 years of massive price rises to private consumers compared with stable prices for business. This will prove that asset sales are another austerity measure to make working class consumers pay for the crisis of global capitalism. The fact that this will add to risk that the partial privatisations cause the defeat of the NACTs at the next election proves that international finance capital is dictating these asset sales and that the NACT government has no choice in selling state assets in the interests of global capitalism. Not only that the privatisation of NZ’s assets are being driven by the growing inter-imperialist rivalry between the US and its emerging global rival, China.


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and culture. It explains why NZ forces are now openly ‘cooperating’ with US nuclear powered and armed forces in contravention to its long held nuclear-free policy. And if reinforces the reality that the politics of any tiny, dependent, Pacific nation is being determined by the growing rivalry of the two Pacific giants, the US and China.

May-June 2012
interests of workers in both countries to plan production to meet needs with the least necessary labour. Rather than be part of a TPPA that extracts value from the dependent nations for the benefit of a tiny class of exploiters offshore or at home, that forces worker migration to wealthier countries to be exploited by the bosses, and drags us into inter-imperialist wars, workers would decide how these resources are to be used and the income distributed. Those who say we are giving up on our national identity for some ‘socialist’ pie in the sky need to reflect on what defending that ‘identity’ is worth. Are they willing to die to defend their ‘national identity’ in some new Gallipoli fought in other peoples’ lands to allow one imperialist state to rule over others? The working class has no country. Modern nations are inventions of capitalism to form a jurisdiction to protect their private property and profits. But nations long ago became barriers to capital accumulation so today bosses are internationalists. NZs ruling class are agents for international capital. They have no loyalty to NZ except as the bits of it they own as their share of the booty. But as the biggest bits are already owned by Australia, US, UK, Japan and China, to expropriate them we need to ally with the working class in all of those countries. We can build defensive fights in NZ but we can’t win them without international working class support. For example, if we want to expropriate the Australian banks we will have to be in an alliance with Australian workers. It has nothing to do with the attitude of the bosses towards workers or the industrial law etc, it’s about the size, combativity and genuine internationalism of the working class. That’s why we need an international party of workers not only in the Pacific but the globe. When Greek, Icelandic, South American, South African and Pacific, Chinese and US workers unite their forces, and overthrow their ruling classes, no imperialist power on earth can stop the overthrow of capitalism and the creation of a global socialist economy that is under the control of workers democracy to produce to meet our needs in harmony with nature.

A Socialist Pacific
Aotearoa/NZ is a US semi-colony and is about to lose what little it has of its national independence. There is no possibility of stopping NZ being locked into the US imperialist Pacific zone of influence under the NACT regime. A Labour/Green government will find itself unwilling and unable to break out of this Pacific lockdown. There will be no national sovereignty remaining that any government can exercise to assert NZs national independence. NZ will be at the total mercy of US imperialism just as Greece is at the mercy of the EU today. There is only one way of breaking out of NZ’s semi-colonial dependence and that is completing the national revolution by struggling to take that revolution towards a socialist republic and a socialist Pacific. This will become clear as workers in all the Pacific countries face mounting economic austerity, political disenfranchisement and military domination. While fighting against imperialist control (e.g. TPPA) of the Pacific, it is important to realise that this applies to both the US and China. Instead of the workers of Aotearoa and other Pacific nationals being drawn into wars between the US and China they will discover that they will only be free when they are part of a Socialist Federation of the Pacific. This will allow Aotearoa and Australia as well as the Pacific Island states to unite as one economy which is coordinated across the whole Pacific, but at the same time keep as much autonomy as is wanted to exercise political and cultural independence. For example Maori would have the right to assert their autonomy over ownership and control of traditional land and resources. Joining Aotearoa with Australia and the rest of the Pacific states on these terms recognises the common

For an Independent Socialist Aotearoa! For a Socialist United States of the Pacific! For a World Party of Socialist Revolution!


Class Struggle No 100

May-June 2012

Greece – No electoral solution!
Convene mass workers councils! For a Workers’ Government of the rank and file not the politicians! Create a Workers’ united front to abolish the debts! No to a popular front with PASOK betrayer of all workers! Abolish Brussels’ draconian taxes on Greek workers! Workers give SYRIZA a critical support vote, but don’t trust them at all!
Perhaps in no other country is the question of the survival of the productive forces posed as luridly as it is in Greece right now. The working class is battered, bleeding, swollen-there is nothing unique in that part of their situation-but it is answering the bell for the next round! This sounds for another poll of strength in the June 17th elections. We oppose these elections for the valuable time and attention they waste, but seek to use them as an object lesson. Objectively they are an exercise in preserving the bourgeois power under and behind a 'democratic' subterfuge. Only on condition of the formation of a genuine workers parties' united front for the expressed project of forming a "Workers Government," and excluding PASOK (the 2nd International bourgeois-workers party,) do we have anything to do with the national election or offer candidates support of any kind. We have no confidence that SYRIZA will not continue to tack to the right and form a popular front with PASOK, the most bourgeois of "bourgeois workers parties," the most shameless of class collaborators. No vote for such a popular front would be permissible, any more than for PASOK alone! The working class wants a "workers government" that repudiates the debts and solves the social crisis the capitalists have saddled us with. Very good! How will we obtain these results? When the British Home Secretary makes plans for a sudden influx of Greek nationals and Lloyd's of London makes contingency plans for the collapse of the Euro, some much more fundamental economic and worker-democratic changes will be necessary than are provided for in any socialdemocratic program. Such changes as price controls with sliding scales to offset foreign capital victimization of the Greek Market; for a 30-hour week with no reduction in pay and a sliding scale of wages and hours to accomplish full employment at union wages with no sacrifice of purchasing power are essential workers’ transitional demands. The issue then is not the Drachma versus the Euro, no matter what anyone tells you. The issues are employment and compensation; who will control these and for what goals? We say the only way out is through nationalization of the banks and industries under workers' control! Not in Greece alone but across Europe! Workers who have historically looked to PASOK to represent them because they are in the affiliated union federation are no better off today. They should vote for SYRIZA with an especial resolve to achieve a workers government and not to accept another errand boy for Brussels banksters. We raise no hopes that the genuine workers electoral united front will be on the ballot. The demonstrated class-political interests of the electoral players and the history and programs of their parties yell from the rooftops against it. A true revolutionary Marxist party of the working class would go through any and all experiences with the Greek workers, but would not be silenced when pointing out that consciousness lags behind objective conditions; that in fact all options for continued bourgeois rule are really already exhausted, that only repetitions of the policies that brought our class to this impasse are forthcoming from new parliamentary shuffles. It is only the historical requirement for patience, not with the SYRIZA leadership but with


Class Struggle No 100
workers who want to vote for it, that outweighs our great reluctance and results in our call for "critical support" and a vote for SYRIZA. Electing SYRIZA will confirm their limitations for all the workers to see. Watch them day and night! THEY WILL NOT ORGANIZE THE WORKERS’ GOVERNMENT! Workers! You are losing your homes and even your kids to adoption and even abandonment! How long do we stand for that? Only workers’ own confusion as a class about what we can and should do now keeps us out of power. Such power would not be a bourgeois parliament of any kind, but a workers state power, a dictatorship of the proletariat. See for yourself if our position is mistaken by installing SYRIZA. They will not prepare the class for the tasks at hand. It will fall to the ranks of the workers to surpass the SYRIZA leadership and create the workers councils and workers militia required to stand down imperialisms austerity plans, which the SYRIZA leaders will endeavour to impose. Were a "Workers Government," such as some trade union functionaries envision, to come about as a result of parliamentary elections, there is no reason to expect the capitalists to respect the legality of the result. Immediately the workers would face three challenges or a combined threat: coup d’état, NATO invasion or a fascist uprising. Allende repeated will always be defeated! Let's be sure to self-organize and make other plans! Neither would the parliamentary “workers government” SYRIZA is peddling be of any more than momentary use to the working class in escaping the crushing weight of the capitalist crisis. We are not cynics. Not for a moment will we confuse what the working class needs with what the SYRIZA leaders want. But consider how the unelected back rooms of parliament are staffed with thousands of servants of the capitalists, each with a secret history of allegiances. Consider how ostensible workers parties like the KKE, whom we call Stalinists (for good historical reasons!), have also many times in recent years shown their "patriotic" colours, and always at the expense of the immigrant workers and national minorities. Consider how SYRIZA itself is modelling for a role as a new Social Democracy, already forgetting their pose of a month ago as opponents of the Euro zone troika. Encouraged by the victory of Hollande in France and his "pro-growth" Eurobond ideas, and likewise cheered by some hollow pro-growth quotes from Obama at the NATO summit in Chicago, SYRIZA is now looking to win votes at PASOK's expense. It is turning rightward and suggesting that Greece CAN PAY what it owes the French and German banks, if only it could have better terms.

May-June 2012
Therefore tendencies who prescribe this united front parliamentary government formula without describing the true direction the participating parties take are deluding the workers; and that's what we'll repeat until or unless they take the lead to organize workers councils and workers militias and make dual power a fact, preparing to sweep away the bourgeois state once and for all. It is compulsory to face the arrival of the time of the life-or-death struggle for power. This struggle is going to sort out those who think otherwise. Meanwhile the fascist "Golden Dawn" party is already organizing the ruined shopkeepers and racist skinheads who never had a job. They don't grow as a result of disillusion in New Democracy, who never did offer them anything. With significant support from the police “Golden Dawn” received 7% of the vote last month, and will also grow at social-democracy's expense, i.e., among those who had illusions to lose. Fascists know what they want and like their chances. The skinhead youth believe fascism offers them jobs, and in a country where the official youth unemployment rate is 51% (TIME April 19th 2012) this matters above all considerations. Workers Councils must form up and recognize the dangers for what they are. Workers Militias are needed to smash fascism in the egg! This organizing must begin in the workplace, among the students, immigrant workers and unemployed, and there isn't a moment to lose! A revolutionary party would bring a transitional program to the workers and youth to fight for demands that answer the crisis of capitalism. Such a party is needed to break the rank and file from the reformists, Stalinists and social-Democrats who hold back the creation of workers councils and workers militia! We will walk with you for SYRIZA through these polling places, but to do so is only to buy some high-priced time while you discover how matters truly stand. To smash fascism the advanced workers must also organize among the rank and file in the armed forces, which are truly enormous for a country with 2.5% of the European economy. Enlisted personnel need unions and workers’ councils of their own! So that fascists will not be able to put them up to a civil war for the benefit of imperialist banks and now also Chinese imperialism which just bought the Greek port at Piraeus and bans all trade union activity there! Soldiers, sailors, airmen and veterans need to arm and train the workers militias so that the police cannot shepherd the growth of the fascist street gangs and lead them against the workers. Workers in uniform know or will soon discover that the fascist punk and his racist police protector are no supermen.

Workers of all countries unite! We have a world to win! 13

Class Struggle No 100

May-June 2012

Syria – permanent revolution
A bloody attack on the workers and the poor is taking place in Syria where the murderous Assad regime supported by China, Russia, Iran are killing thousands of civilians, men women and children in a desperate attempt to remain in power. What started in the ‘Days of Rage’ yria in February 2011 as a revolt by the masses was part of the ‘Arab Spring’ –actually a reactivated democratic revolution to overthrow dictators –that had swept across North Africa from Tunisia where the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2011 sparked an insurrection, to Egypt in January where the dictator President Mubarak fell. While in those two countries the uprisings led to the fall of dictatorships, the authoritarian regimes that backed them have not fallen so easily. Elections in both Tunisia and Egypt have brought the momentum of the revolution to a halt. In Libya the brutal attack by Kaddafi on the February 18 uprising led to an 8 month civil war and the intervention of NATO. Kaddafi was overthrown and an Interim Government put in place but an unstable dual power situation exists. While the revolutionary militias remain armed the Government has to negotiate the terms of a new Constitution. Again the democratic revolution has been frozen by bourgeois elections but the rule of imperialism has as yet not been re-imposed. In Syria the insurrection was sparked by Assad’s brutality in killing young protestors on the street. It rapidly spread to most parts of Syria where Local Coordination Committees of mainly youth protesters were formed. These Committees adopted a simple 3 point program of unarmed, non-sectarian resistance, and no foreign intervention which are still largely unchanged. Exiled opposition groups like the Syrian National Committee, were more inclined to call on UN intervention as in Libya. So far this has been blocked by China and Russia who have close ties to Syria and to Iran which is a major backer of the Baathist regime in Syria. The UN finally got agreement in the last month to put unarmed observers in Syria but this has not stopped the regime’s killings. As Assad’s repression has continued to grow so has the resistance and more and more military personnel have defected to the opposition and formed the Free Syria Army and several other smaller militias. Reports from Syria show that there is no direct US/NATO intervention in the armed resistance which is too weak as yet to go on the offensive. The revolutionary left has taken widely diverging views of the civil war in Syria. One camp takes the view that the insurrection is a proxy for US/NATO intervention for regime change like they think happened in Libya. Some think it a CIA plot as they did in Libya. For them no Arab country can have an uprising unless it is organised by the CIA, Or Al Qaeda, or Big Oil! It seems that the weaker the Western left is the more it believes in the almighty power of forces beyond its control. While there are reasons why the US/NATO powers would want to see Assad removed, these are not pressing and so far the US has limited itself to low key statements about arming the resistance. For one thing Assad and his father before him made speeches against Israel but never challenged Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights. Nor has Syria ever helped the Palestinian struggle. It peacefully co-exists with the US/NATO/Israel power bloc in the Middle East.


Class Struggle No 100
Second, unlike Kaddafi, Assad’s regime does not stand in the way of any big oil reserves. So there is no pressing need to form a coalition of the willing to grab the oil. With so little to gain attacking Assad would force a direct confrontation with Russia and China, the new emerging imperialist bloc that is now challenging US/NATO for control over the Middle East. The US/NATO/Israel camp is already fixated on Iran which has nearly as much oil and gas as the Middle East which it wants badly. And the targeting of Iran has long been sold as necessary to stop its nuclear arming, not the arming of Syrian Shiites. Thus the US does not want to buy a fight with its heavy imperialist rivals over poor Syria. Further, there is no evidence, despite the many calls by the various factions of the Syrian national bourgeois for UN intervention to oust Assad, that the resistance is in any way directed or backed by the US or NATO powers. These popular and revolutionary initiatives of the poor and young people have not been hijacked by imperialists –so far. Revolutionaries need to reject these one-eyed conspiracy theories as no more than social imperialism which says that no semi-colonial people can possibly defeat a dictatorship unless they follow the instructions of tiny self-styled revolutionary groups in the imperialist West. Bolshevik-Leninists put these fantasies aside and understand that the Syrian uprising is part of the Arab Democratic revolution and should support the resistance in every way possible. That includes calling on workers everywhere to provide weapons and international fighters to defeat the regime. We must oppose any direct military intervention by the UN/NATO on the side of the resistance fighters because they could lead to their hijacking. Our position is for the defeat of imperialism, both US/NATO/Israel and Russia/China, in any open proxy war in Syria. We should call for the Local Coordination Committees to form a national coalition behind two points of its 3 point program –opposition to foreign military intervention and

May-June 2012
to sectarian divisions in the resistance. Of course we would argue that reality has already proven that a peaceful, unarmed revolution is impossible. At the same time we must also oppose any military support for the Assad regime by the other imperialist camp –Russia and China. Like in Libya and Kaddafi we cannot support a military alliance with Assad against a US/NATO intervention if, first; Assad continues to kill the resistance fighters, and second; Assad is being armed and supported by Russia/China. Our position must be for the armed independence of the resistance fighters from any Syrian bourgeois forces; for the defeat of the Assad regime; for a united opposition to form a national popular militia; for the defeat of imperialism; for the creation of a provisional government based on the delegates of all the opposition forces who are active in the resistance. While the revolutionary left is almost non-existent in Syria, it is necessary for Trotskyist-Leninists who have comrades in Syria or the other Arab states in the region to unite their forces around Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution. This means actively raising the Transitional Program inside the resistance to convince the revolutionary fighters that even the most basic democratic tasks, such as freedom of assembly, selfdefence, political democracy, women’s rights, youth rights, for a non-sectarian republic, for re-distribution of land to the small farmers, etc., means we must fight for workers councils, workers militias, a national assembly of councils, a Workers and Peasants Government and a socialist revolution. For the completion of the democratic revolution as a permanent revolution for a Syrian Socialist Republic in a Federation of Socialist Republics in the Middle East! First published in Revolutionary Worker, paper of the Revolutionary Workers’ Group of Zimbabwe.


Class Struggle No 100

May-June 2012

What We Fight For
Overthrow Capitalism
Historically, capitalism expanded world-wide to free much of humanity from the bonds of feudal or tribal society, and developed the economy, society and culture to a new higher level. But it could only do this by exploiting the labour of the productive classes to make its profits. To survive, capitalism became increasingly destructive of "nature" and humanity. In the early 20th century it entered the epoch of imperialism in which successive crises unleashed wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions. Today we fight to end capitalism’s wars, famine, oppression and injustice, by mobilising workers to overthrow their own ruling classes and bring to an end the rotten, exploitative and oppressive society that has exceeded its use-by date.

For a Revolutionary Party
The bourgeois and its agents condemn the Marxist party as totalitarian. We say that without a democratic and a centrally organised party there can be no revolution. We base our beliefs on the revolutionary tradition of Bolshevism and Trotskyism. Such a party, armed with a transitional program, forms a bridge that joins the daily fight to defend all the past and present gains won from capitalism, to the victorious socialist revolution. Defensive struggles for bourgeois rights and freedoms, for decent wages and conditions, will link up the struggles of workers of all nationalities, genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations, bringing about movements for workers control, political strikes and the arming of the working class, as necessary steps to workers' power and the smashing of the bourgeois state. Along the way, workers will learn that each new step is one of many in a long march to revolutionise every barrier put in the path to the victorious revolution.

Fight for Socialism
By the 20th century, capitalism had created the preconditions for socialism –a world-wide working class and modern industry capable of meeting all our basic needs. The potential to eliminate poverty, starvation, disease and war has long existed. The October Revolution proved this to be true, bringing peace, bread and land to millions. But it became the victim of the combined assault of imperialism and Stalinism. After 1924 the USSR, along with its deformed offspring in Europe, degenerated back towards capitalism. In the absence of a workers political revolution, capitalism was restored between 1990 and 1992. Vietnam and China then followed. In the 21sst century only Cuba and North Korea survive as degenerate workers states. We unconditionally defend these states against capitalism and fight for political revolution to overthrow the bureaucracy as part of world socialism.

Fight for Communism
Communism stands for the creation of a classless, stateless society beyond socialism that is capable of meeting all human needs. Against the ruling class lies that capitalism can be made "fair" for all; that nature can be "conserved"; that socialism and communism are "dead"; we raise the red flag of communism to keep alive the revolutionary tradition of the' Communist Manifesto of 1848, the Bolshevik-led October Revolution; the Third Communist International until 1924, the revolutionary Fourth International up to 1940 before its collapse into centrism. We fight to build a new, Fifth, Communist International, as a world party of socialism capable of leading workers to a victorious struggle for socialism.

Defend Marxism
While the economic conditions for socialism exist today, standing between the working class and socialism are political, social and cultural barriers. They are the capitalist state and bourgeois ideology and its agents. These agents claim that Marxism is dead and capitalism need not be exploitative. We say that Marxism is a living science that explains both capitalism’s continued exploitation and its attempts to hide class exploitation behind the appearance of individual "freedom" and "equality". It reveals how and why the reformist, Stalinist and centrist misleaders of the working class tie workers to bourgeois ideas of nationalism, racism, sexism and equality. Such false beliefs will be exploded when the struggle against the inequality, injustice, anarchy and barbarism of capitalism in crisis, led by a revolutionary Marxist party, produces a revolutionary class-consciousness.

Class Struggle is the bi-Monthly paper of the

Communist Workers’ Group of New Zealand/Aotearoa, in a Liaison Committee with Humanist Workers for Revolutionary Socialism
Online Phone 0064 027280008 Email Archive


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