Continued Imperialist Plunder of Aotearoa

Economic and Social Decline

Whether the Clark regime governs alone after July 27th or does so in coalition with the Greens or with the opportunist rabble of Anderton, Peters & co., or even if they are defeated by National, the outcome will be the same. Aotearoa will continue its subjugation to the US imperialists and their corrupt local agents.

No party contesting the parliamentary elections even questions the rule of capitalism over Aotearoa; in practice this means none question the increasing plunder of the resources of Aotearoa by US multinationals and their agents. All, from the Alliance to ACT, support capitalist and thus imperialist control of the economy.  They are all capitalist parties.

Parliament a Capitalist Institution

This is hardly surprising. The consuming goal of all the parliamentary parties is gain office in a capitalist institution. Parliaments are fundamentally capitalist institutions, created centuries ago by the capitalist class to secure their overthrow of the feudal lords. Where the feudal lords had ruled their provinces personally, the capitalists set up committees of elected representatives, parliaments, to rule nationally. These were for long only representatives of the capitalists themselves. Only when the working class was tamed and taught to respect capitalist domination were we granted the vote, a right quickly taken away from us again whenever capitalist interests are fundamentally challenged.

A number of parties are enthusiastic supporters of this situation. The National Party and ACT are eager lapdogs of the capitalist class, whatever its shade. National has long been very supportive of capitalist farmers. But a large section has strong ties with urban capitalists and in the 1980s  switched alleg-iance from British imperialists to the US. ACT’s enthusiasm for US plunder of Aotearoa is undisguised.

Limits of Reformist Parties

But even parties formed with the greatest intentions to relieve the lives of the oppressed are condemned to betray us if they do not have a clear understanding that parliaments can be no more than instruments of capitalist domination. Labour was set up in the early 1900s by union activists, with the explicit aim of socialism; the Communist Party joined the Labour Party at this time because we shared these goals. But because Labour saw the path to socialism only by means of a majority in parliament, it increasingly toned down its aims to become acceptable to the capitalists, whose approval any party ultimately needs to gain parliamentary office. As they sold out their principles, they expelled their more principled allies, including a large minority of the working class and parties such as us, going as far as banned the Communist Press and imprisoning our central committee in the 1940s.

Labour’s ultimate betrayal of their original principles came in the 1980s when the Lange-Douglas regime served as the handmaiden of US imperialist takeover of Aotearoa. Many of the principal figures in the current Clark regime served with them. Again, the Communist Party joined those, including Anderton, who split from Labour to form the New Labour Party in 1989. But again, in the lust for parliamentary seats, the New Labour Party, and Anderton in particular, was quick to compromise principle for office. Again and again, policies were toned down to be ‘acceptable’, ostensibly to ‘public opinion’, but in reality to the fear of capitalist backlash.

Gains Come From Mass Struggle

The working class and the oppressed Maori nation have little to gain from appeals to capitalist parliaments.  The capitalists only concede what they must. Working class gains such as the right to vote, social security, or the Waitangi Tribunal, and the nuclear free policy have been won by mass struggles, despite the attempts by parliamentary social democratic parties like Labour to claim credit.

Socialism will not come from parliamentary elections. Socialism requires the overthrow of capitalist power throughout society, primarily their control of the factories and other workplaces. Every workers revolution to date has seen the development of alternatives to capitalist parliaments, in the same way that capitalists introduced new institutions in place of feudal rule. The overthrow of US imperialism and its local agents will see the emergence of new mass democratic institutions; most likely based on workplaces and hapu groups.

Socialism will emerge from the struggles of workers, Maori and other oppressed peoples in throwing of the shackles of imperialist plunder of Aotearoa. This movement is built on the streets, not in the Beehive. The only party committed to this vision of fundamental change is the Communist Party.

Tactical Voting

This is not to argue that there can be no tactical advantage for the masses to be gained from parliamentary elections. Parliamentary elections actually provide a useful indicator for the capitalists as to how
effective their dominance of the oppressed peoples is. The capitalists may prefer the open rule of the National Party, but if the masses get too upset, the capitalists are quite happy to tolerate Labour, because they know Labour will not challenge their fundamental interests. But a vote for Labour over National is still an indicator of working class power. And a vote for the parties to the left of Labour is a further indicator of weaknesses in capitalist domination. In this election, when the Clark regime is seeking an absolute parliamentary majority to bolster capitalist ‘stability’, tactical voting to prevent this will destabilise capitalist rule.

But the progressive mass movements should not become divided over choices among capitalist parties, in the same way that we do not become divided over choices about which capitalist shops we frequent. The working class and the oppressed Maori nation must look beyond capitalist elections for liberation from the plunder of US imperialism. We must build up the mass organisations of the people, building our strength to choose the agenda, rather than restrict ourselves to the choice the capitalists allow. #