Workers' Party of New Zealand (1991)

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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.

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.



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]

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.

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.

Sino-Soviet split Cold War schism between communist states

The Sino-Soviet split (1956–1966) was the breaking of political relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), caused by doctrinal divergences that arose from their different interpretations and practical applications of Marxism–Leninism, as influenced by their respective geopolitics during the Cold War (1945–1991). In the late 1950s and the early 1960s, Sino-Soviet debates about the interpretation of Orthodox Marxism became specific disputes about the Soviet Union's policies of national de-Stalinization and international peaceful coexistence with the Western world. Against that political background, the international relations of the PRC featured official belligerence towards the West, and an initial, public rejection of the Soviet policy of peaceful coexistence between the Eastern bloc and the Western bloc, which Mao Zedong said was Marxist revisionism by the Russian communists.

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]

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.


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]

South Island Southernmost of the two main islands in New Zealand

The South Island, also officially named Te Waipounamu, is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand in surface area; the other being the smaller but more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, and to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean. The South Island covers 150,437 square kilometres (58,084 sq mi), making it the world's 12th-largest island. It has a temperate climate.

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.

Communist party Political party that promotes communist philosophy and values

In political science, a communist party is a political party that seeks to realize the social and economic goals of Communism through revolution and state policy. The term communist party was popularized by the title of the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. As a vanguard party, the communist party guides the political education and development of the working class (proletariat); as the ruling party, the communist party exercises power through the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin developed the role of the communist party as the revolutionary vanguard, when social democracy in Imperial Russia was divided into ideologically opposed factions, the Bolshevik faction and the Menshevik faction. To be politically effective, Lenin proposed a small vanguard party managed with democratic centralism, which allowed centralized command of a disciplined cadre of professional revolutionaries; once policy was agreed upon, realizing political goals required every Bolshevik's total commitment to the agreed-upon policy.

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

Leninism political, social, and economic theory developed by Vladimir Lenin

Leninism is the political theory for the organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party and the achievement of a dictatorship of the proletariat as political prelude to the establishment of socialism. Developed by and named for the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, Leninism comprises socialist political and economic theories, developed from Marxism and Lenin's interpretations of Marxist theories, for practical application to the socio-political conditions of the Russian Empire of the early 20th century.

State capitalism is an economic system in which the state undertakes commercial economic activity and where the means of production are organized and managed as state-owned business enterprises, or where there is otherwise a dominance of corporatized government agencies or of publicly listed corporations in which the state has controlling shares. Marxist literature defines state capitalism as a social system combining capitalism with ownership or control by a state—by this definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single huge corporation, extracting the surplus value from the workforce in order to invest it in further production. This designation applies regardless of the political aims of the state and some people argue that the modern People's Republic of China constitutes a form of state capitalism and/or that the Soviet Union failed in its goal to establish socialism, but rather established state capitalism.

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.

Raya Dunayevskaya American philosopher

Raya Dunayevskaya, born Raya Shpigel, later Rae Spiegel, also known by the pseudonym Freddie Forest, was the American founder of the philosophy of Marxist Humanism in the United States. At one time Leon Trotsky's secretary, she later split with him and ultimately founded the organization News and Letters Committees and was its leader until her death.

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.

For information about the British Marxist newspaper named Socialist Challenge see International Marxist Group.

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, bourgeois nationalism, and rootless cosmopolitanism.

Edward Hugo Oehler known as Hugo Oehler was an American communist.

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

Revisionism (Marxism) various ideas, principles and theories that are based on a significant revision of fundamental Marxist premises; often used as a derogatory term by more “orthodox” Marxists

Within the Marxist movement, the word revisionism is used to refer to various ideas, principles and theories that are based on a significant revision of fundamental Marxist premises.

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)

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

Revolutionary socialism is the socialist doctrine that social revolution is necessary in order to bring about structural changes to society. More specifically, it is the view that revolution is a necessary precondition for a transition from capitalism to socialism. Revolution is not necessarily defined as a violent insurrection; it is defined as seizure of political power by mass movements of the working class so that the state is directly controlled or abolished by the working class as opposed to the capitalist class and its interests. Revolutionary socialists believe such a state of affairs is a precondition for establishing socialism and orthodox Marxists believe that it is inevitable but not predetermined.

Anti-revisionism position within Marxism–Leninism which emerged in the 1950s in opposition to the reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev

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  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 .

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