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, Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Anti-Revisionism [4]
International affiliationNone

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

Marxism–Leninism is a political philosophy that seeks to establish a socialist state to develop further into socialism and eventually communism, a classless social system with common ownership of the means of production and with full social and economic equality of all members of society. Marxist–Leninists espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of orthodox Marxism and Leninism, but they generally support the idea of a vanguard party, a communist party-led state, state-dominance over the economy, internationalism and opposition to capitalism, fascism, imperialism and liberal democracy. As an ideology, it was developed by Joseph Stalin in the late 1920s based on his understanding and synthesis of both orthodox Marxism and Leninism. It was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union and the other ruling parties making up the Eastern Bloc as well as the political parties of the Communist International after Bolshevisation. Today, Marxism–Leninism is the ideology of Stalinist and Maoist political parties around the world and remains the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam.

Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Trotsky identified as an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik–Leninist. 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 that developed in the Soviet Union under Stalin.

Fourth International international organisation

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 Third International or Comintern 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

The extent to which socialism plays a part in modern New Zealand politics depends on which definitions of socialist are used, but few mainstream politicians would describe themselves using the word "socialist". The term "social-democrat" is more common, but the more general "left-wing" or "centre-left" are used far more frequently. New Zealand has a complicated assortment of socialist causes and organisations. Some of these play a considerable role in public activism—some commentators claim that New Zealand socialists are more prominent in causes such as the anti-war movement than in promoting socialism itself. Other groups are strongly committed to radical socialist revolution.

Workers Party of 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 renamed to Fightback.

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

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

Bordigism current of left communism influenced by the thought of Amadeo Bordiga

Bordigism is a variant of left communism espoused by Marxist Amadeo Bordiga, who was a founder of the Communist Party of Italy and a prominent figure in the International Communist Party. Bordigists in the Italian Socialist Party would be the first to refuse on principle any participation in parliamentary elections.

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

Marxist schools of thought

Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that frames capitalism through a paradigm of exploitation, analyzes class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. Marxism uses a materialist methodology, now known as historical materialism, to analyze and critique the development of class society and especially of capitalism as well as the role of class struggles in systemic economic, social and political change.

The Spartacist League is a Trotskyist political grouping. They are 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 current League has no formal descent from it. The League self-identifies as a "revolutionary communist" organization.

Revisionism (Marxism) Various ideas, principles and theories based on a significant revision of fundamental Marxist premises

Before the Marxist movement, the phrase Revisionism is used to refer to 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 third camp, also known as third camp socialism or third camp Trotskyism, is a branch of socialism that aims to oppose both capitalism and Stalinism by supporting the organised working class as a "third camp".

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, Poland and the United Kingdom.

Revolutionary Workers League (Oehlerite) U.S. group that existed in the 1930s, founded by Hugo Oehler

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.

The Revolutionary Communist Party of China is a Trotskyist political party in China. It fled to Hong Kong after the anti-Trotskyist Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seized power in 1949 and its activities have been limited to Hong Kong. Since 1974, the party has been legally active as October Review, its official publication.


  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 on 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 on 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 on 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