Socialist Unity Party of New Zealand

Last updated
Socialist Unity Party
Founded1966
Dissolved1990
Split from Communist Party of New Zealand
Ideology Communism
Political position Far-left
Colours     Red

The Socialist Unity Party was one of the better-known communist parties in New Zealand. It had a certain amount of influence in the trade union movement, but has never won seats in Parliament.

Communism socialist political movement and ideology

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Contents

The Socialist Unity Party was founded in 1966 as a splinter group of the Communist Party. The Communist Party had been bitterly divided by the Sino-Soviet Split, a dispute between the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev and China under Mao Zedong. The party eventually decided to take China's side. Shortly afterwards, a number of the more prominent supporters of the Soviet position, such as Ken Douglas, George Jackson and Bill Andersen, established the Socialist Unity Party. The Socialist Unity Party retained ideological and political links to the Soviet Union for most of its existence. [1]

Communist Party of New Zealand

The Communist Party of New Zealand (CPNZ) was a Communist political party in New Zealand which existed from March 1921 until the early 1990s. Although spurred to life by events in Soviet Russia in the aftermath of World War I, the party had roots in pre-existing revolutionary socialist and syndicalist organisations, including in particular the independent Wellington Socialist Party, supporters of the Industrial Workers of the World in the Auckland region, and a network of impossiblist study groups of miners on the west coast of the South Island.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Nikita Khrushchev First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev was a Soviet statesman who led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the early Soviet space program, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy. Khrushchev's party colleagues removed him from power in 1964, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

The Socialist Unity Party's association with the Soviet government drew considerable criticism from mainstream politicians. In 1980, the Soviet ambassador to New Zealand, Vsevolod Sofinsky, was expelled after allegedly giving $10,000 to a member of the Socialist Unity Party. [2] In 1987, another Soviet diplomat, Sergei Budnik, was ordered to leave the country by Prime Minister David Lange for his alleged involvement with the party. [3] [4]

Ambassador diplomatic envoy

An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment. The word is also often used more liberally for persons who are known, without national appointment, to represent certain professions, activities and fields of endeavor such as sales.

Prime Minister of New Zealand head of the New Zealand government

The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 26 October 2017.

David Lange 32nd Prime Minister of New Zealand

David Russell Lange was a New Zealand politician who served as the 32nd Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1984 to 1989.

At the same time, the Socialist Unity Party was strongly condemned by other communist groups, which accused it of not following "true" communism and of collaborating with capitalists. The Socialist Unity Party's most well known leader, Ken Douglas, was also criticised by hardliners for the comparatively moderate position he took within the trade union movement.[ citation needed ]

Ken Douglas New Zealand politician

Kenneth George Douglas is a New Zealand trade union leader. Ken was born in Wellington and educated at Wellington College. Ken married Lesley Winter in 1956, and they have four children: Jane, Peter, Helen and John.

The Socialist Unity Party, unlike some of the more radical groups, participated in New Zealand elections, and was not wholly antagonistic to mainstream parties it was prepared, for example, to occasionally support the Labour Party as "the lesser of two evils". The party put forward candidates in four elections; generally in safe Labour seats in the four main centres; except for Franklin and Stratford in the 1975 election and Waikato in the 1981 election. However Bill Andersen stood against Rob Muldoon in Tamaki four times.

The New Zealand Labour Party, or simply Labour, is a centre-left political party in New Zealand. The party's platform programme describes its founding principle as democratic socialism, while observers describe Labour as social-democratic and pragmatic in practice. It is a participant of the international Progressive Alliance.

Franklin was a rural New Zealand parliamentary electorate. It existed from 1861 to 1996 during four periods.

Stratford is a former parliamentary electorate, in Taranaki, New Zealand. It existed from 1908 to 1946, and from 1954 to 1978. It was represented by six Members of Parliament.

The Socialist Unity Party has now dissolved, although the Socialist Party of Aotearoa, which split from the Socialist Unity Party in 1990, remains in existence.

The Socialist Party of Aotearoa was a minor political party in New Zealand. It was formed in 1990 through a split in the Socialist Unity Party, led by G. H. (Bill) Andersen. The last known leader of the party was Brendan Tuohy.

Electoral results (1972–1981)

Electioncandidatesseats wonvotespercentage
1972 504440.03
1975 1504080.03
1978 401790.01
1981 504470.02

Further reading

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References

  1. https://nzhistory.govt.nz/keyword/communism
  2. "Soviet ambassador expelled | NZHistory, New Zealand history online". nzhistory.govt.nz. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  3. The untold story behind New Zealand's ANZUS breakdown. - Free Online Library
  4. "New Zealand Orders Soviet Envoy to Leave". New York Times. 1987. Retrieved 2018-07-06.