Workers' Party of New Zealand (1991)

Last updated

Workers' Party of New Zealand
FounderRay Nunes [1]
Founded1991 [2]
Dissolved2004 (merged with Revolutionary Workers' League and Anti-Capitalist Alliance)
Preceded by Communist Party of New Zealand
Succeeded by Workers' Party of New Zealand (2006)
Headquarters Auckland [3]
NewspaperThe Spark
Ideology Communism
Anti-Revisionism [4]

The Workers' Party of New Zealand was a minor political party in New Zealand.



Following the turn of the Communist Party of New Zealand to Trotskyism, the Workers' Party was the main organisation in New Zealand to uphold the anti-revisionist, Beijing line of Mao Zedong in opposition to the market reforms of Deng Xiaoping. [4] [5]

The party was one of the two founding parties in the Anti-Capitalist Alliance, which was the only communist organisation to field a national slate of candidates in the New Zealand general elections during the 2000s. [6] [7] [8]


In 2004, the party merged with a South Island-based Trotskyist group, Revolution, [9] [10] to form the Revolutionary Workers' League (RWL). [11] The RWL became a body within the reformed Workers' Party of New Zealand (2006), [8] [12] which was created when the Anti-Capitalist Alliance, a loose electoral alliance, became one of the first unified communist parties in the world formed through an alliance of Marxist-Leninists and Trotskyists. [13] [14]

Party publications

The party published a monthly newspaper called The Spark. [15] They also contributed to Liberation, a magazine produced by the Anti-Capitalist Alliance. [16]

The Spark was adopted as the triweekly magazine of the Revolutionary Workers' League in 2004, [11] before becoming the de facto, monthly organ of the unified Workers' Party in 2006. [17]

The work of Ray Nunes

The party was most notable for its chairman, Ray Nunes, a former representative of the Communist Party of New Zealand Central Committee. A party member for nearly 40 years, Nunes had represented the Communist Party in international meetings for over two decades, in addition to other senior responsibilities, such as serving as Wellington district secretary. [2] [18] Nunes represented the CPNZ at the 1960 International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties, [1] siding with China in attacking N. S. Khrushchev for his alleged revisionism, and meeting with Mao Zedong and Kang Sheng as part of a party delegations during 1966–1968. [19] He would continue to represent the Workers' Party in its relations with communists abroad until his death. [20]

Nunes wrote many articles about Marxism, many of which were regularly published in The Spark. [21] His major work, From Marx to Mao – and After (1995), is an introductory course in Marxism-Leninism, which also contains Nunes' analysis of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the market reforms of Deng in China. [22] In the year of Nunes' death, the party published his essay The Maori in Prehistory and Today (1999), which is believed to be the first Marxist analysis of the Maori national question. [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

State capitalism is an economic system in which the state undertakes business and commercial economic activity and where the means of production are nationalized as state-owned enterprises. The definition can also include the state dominance of corporatized government agencies or of public companies such as publicly listed corporations in which the state has controlling shares.

Trotskyism Variety of Marxism developed by Leon Trotsky

Trotskyism is the political ideology and branch of Marxism developed by Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and by some other members of the Left Opposition and Fourth International. Trotsky self-identified as an orthodox Marxist, a revolutionary Marxist, and Bolshevik–Leninist, a follower of Marx, Engels, and of 3L: Vladimir Lenin, Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg. He supported founding a vanguard party of the proletariat, proletarian internationalism, and a dictatorship of the proletariat based on working class self-emancipation and mass democracy. Trotskyists are critical of Stalinism as they oppose Joseph Stalin's theory of socialism in one country in favor of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution. Trotskyists also criticize the bureaucracy and anti-democratic current that developed in the Soviet Union under Stalin.

Fourth International Revolutionary socialist international organization

The Fourth International (FI) is a revolutionary socialist international organization consisting of followers of Leon Trotsky, also known as Trotskyists, whose declared goal is the overthrowing of global capitalism and the establishment of world socialism via international revolution. The Fourth International was established in France in 1938, as Trotsky and his supporters, having been expelled from the Soviet Union, considered the Communist International as effectively puppets of Stalinism and thus incapable of leading the international working class to political power. Thus, Trotskyists founded their own competing Fourth International.

Socialism in New Zealand Political movement advocating socio-economic change in New Zealand

Socialism in New Zealand had little traction in early colonial New Zealand but developed as a political movement around the beginning of the 20th century. Much of socialism's early growth was found in the labour movement.

Workers Party of New Zealand Political party in New Zealand

The Workers Party of New Zealand was a socialist 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 subsequently renamed Fightback.

The Communist League in Canada was founded as the "Revolutionary Workers League/Ligue Ouvrière Révolutionnaire" (RWL) in 1977 as the result of a merger of the League for Socialist Action (LSA), the Revolutionary Marxist Group (RMG) and the Groupe Marxiste Revolutionaire.

The Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL) was a Trotskyist group in the United States established circa 1972 and disbanded 1989.

The Revolutionary Workers League was a Canadian Trostkyist party formed on 8 August 1977 by the fusion of the Revolutionary Marxist Group and its Quebec counterpart, the Groupe Marxiste Revolutionnaire, with the League for Socialist Action. The organization marked the reunification of the Canadian section of the Fourth International and had a membership of several hundred people. The group published a monthly newspaper in English, Socialist Voice, as well as a French-language publication, La Lutte Ouvrière.

In political ideology, a deviationist is a person who expresses a deviation: an abnormality or departure. In Stalinist ideology and practice, deviationism is an expressed belief which does not accord with official party doctrine for the time and area. Accusations of deviationism often led to purges. Forms of deviationism included revisionism, dogmatism, and bourgeois nationalism.

Edward Hugo Oehler (1903–1983) was an American communist.

The Marxist Workers League was the name of two splinter groups from the Revolutionary Workers League in the 1930s.

Marxist schools of thought Group perspectives regarding Marxism

Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that originates in the works of 19th century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxism analyzes and critiques the development of class society and especially of capitalism as well as the role of class struggles in systemic, economic, social and political change. It frames capitalism through a paradigm of exploitation and analyzes class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development – materialist in the sense that the politics and ideas of an epoch are determined by the way in which material production is carried on.

The Spartacist League was a Trotskyist political grouping. They were the United States section of the International Communist League, formerly the International Spartacist Tendency. This Spartacist League named themselves after the original Spartacus League of Weimar Republic in Germany, but the this

League has no formal descent from it. The League self-identified as a "revolutionary communist" organization.
Revisionism (Marxism) Set of ideas, principles and theories based on Marxism

Within the Marxist movement, revisionism represents various ideas, principles and theories that are based on a significant revision of fundamental Marxist premises that usually involve making an alliance with the bourgeois class.

The International Communist League , earlier known as the International Spartacist tendency is a Trotskyist international. Its largest constituent party is the Spartacist League (US). There are smaller sections of the ICL (FI) in Mexico, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Australia, Greece and the United Kingdom.

Revolutionary Workers League (Oehlerite)

The Revolutionary Workers League (RWL) was a radical left group in the United States, lasting from 1935 through 1946. It was led by Hugo Oehler and published The Fighting Worker newspaper.

Anti-revisionism is a position within Marxism–Leninism which emerged in the 1950s in opposition to the reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Where Khrushchev pursued an interpretation that differed from his predecessor Joseph Stalin, the anti-revisionists within the international communist movement remained dedicated to Stalin's ideological legacy and criticized the Soviet Union under Khrushchev and his successors as state capitalist and social imperialist.

Far-left politics in the United Kingdom

Far-left politics in the United Kingdom have existed since at least the 1840s, with the formation of various organisations following ideologies such as Marxism, revolutionary socialism, communism, anarchism and syndicalism.


  1. 1 2 People's March. (1999, July–August). Comrade Ray Nunes, Chairman of Workers' Party of New Zealand, passes away. People's March. Retrieved from .
  2. 1 2 Whitmore, D. (1999, July). A Marxist-Leninist of extraordinary calibre. The Spark. Retrieved from
  3. Workers' Party of New Zealand. (16 August 2000). The Spark. Retrieved from .
  4. 1 2 Workers' Party of New Zealand. (1991). Programme of the Workers' Party of New Zealand. Retrieved from .
  5. Nunes, R. (1998, July). Why workers should reject the Socialist Worker, agent of Trotskyism. The Spark. Retrieved from .
  6. Workers' Party of New Zealand (3 April 2002). Anti-Capitalist Alliance to stand in general election. The Spark. Retrieved from .
  7. Workers' Party of New Zealand (24 August 2005). Anti-Capitalists standing in 8 electorates. The Spark. Retrieved from .
  8. 1 2 Duncan, P. (19 May 2005). Left unity in NZ. Weekly Worker. Retrieved from .
  9. Ferguson, P. (1997, April/May). Editorial: Welcome to the revolution. Revolution. Retrieved from .
  10. Radical Media Collective. Revo subs page. Revolution website. Retrieved 12 July 2013, from .
  11. 1 2 Ferguson, P. (15 June 2004). Fusion forms new group – Revolutionary Workers League. The Spark. Retrieved from .
  12. Workers' Party of New Zealand. (1 February 2006). Anti-Capitalist Alliance becomes the Workers' Party [Media release]. Auckland: Workers' Party of New Zealand. Retrieved from .
  13. Ferguson, P. & D. Whitmore. (2011). The Truth About Labour. Redline. Retrieved from .
  14. Maoist Internationalist Movement. (2004). Knowing what's what: Workers Party of New Zealand degenerates in open. Maoist Internationalist Movement website. Retrieved from .
  15. The Spark. (1999, September). Retrieved from .
  16. Liberation. (2002, Spring), p.28. Retrieved from .
  17. Workers' Party of New Zealand. About us. Workers' Party of New Zealand website. Retrieved 12 June 2007 from .
  18. Barrowman, R. (1991, p. 118). A Popular Vision: The Arts and the Left in New Zealand 1930–1950. Wellington: Victoria University Press.
  19. Nunes, R. (1997). Politics and Ideology: Meetings with Kang Sheng 1966-68. Auckland: Workers' Party of New Zealand. Retrieved from
  20. Nunes, R. & D. Whitmore. (1999). Armed Struggle and the Third World: The Growth of People's War. In Mao and People's War. Kerala: Vanguard Multi-Media Foundation. Retrieved from .
  21. Workers' Party of New Zealand. Articles from The Spark by Ray Nunes. Workers' Party of New Zealand website. Retrieved 11 November 1999, from .
  22. Nunes, R. (1995). From Marx to Mao – and after. Auckland: Workers' Party of New Zealand. Retrieved from
  23. Nunes, R. (1999). The Maori in Prehistory and Today. Auckland: Workers' Party of New Zealand. Retrieved from .

Official website