Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1897      December 4, 2019

New Communist beginnings in New Zealand start with the NCPA

On November 21-22, the New Communist Party of Aotearoa (NCPA) held its inaugural congress. The congress marked the end of the 25-year absence of Marxism-Leninism in New Zealand. Held in Wellington, the congress had representatives from the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), the Embassy of Cuba, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in attendance. David Matters, Assistant General Secretary of the CPA, led the CPA delegation.

The first day of Congress was marked with speeches, reports, and the election of the Central Committee and its office-bearing positions. Opening the Congress, Katjoesja Buissink, Chair of the Central Committee, remarking on the absence of New Zealand Socialism, noted that the birth of the NCPA did not come “from the void, but as a result of the workers’ struggle both internationally and at home in New Zealand.” Continuing on this topic, Buissink stressed the importance of party unity by highlighting that the NCPA can “learn from both the successes and the ultimate failure of the 20th century New Zealand communist movement. It suffered from unfortunate splits that divided the movement and harmed its ability to form links with the masses. For this reason we take a position of Marxist-Leninist unity. [...] We welcome all Marxist-Leninists into the New Communist Party and seek to resolve all differences through internal, comradely debate. Small differences, particularly those centring on international issues, should not create splits, and we must always prioritise unity in the domestic situation.”

Regarding domestic issues, the CC NCPA, in its work report, presented by Secretary of the Central Committee Jamie Morgan, stressed the importance of the Party’s presence in the union movement stating, “Based on a Party-wide effort guided by Marxism-Leninism, we set on a course of strengthening unions where they do exist, and creating new, class-oriented unions where they do not. The scale on which this is done will naturally expand as the Party does.” In his report, Morgan stated that the NCPA, with its commitment to strengthening pre-existing unions, has met with several union leaders, working closely with them to build union density in the various workplaces. In creating “new, class-orientated unions,” the NCPA has established their One Class, Two Unions strategy, referring to labour and tenant’s unions, which has seen the development of a new hospitality workers’ union (The Hospo Workers’ Union) and a tenants’ union (Aotearoa Community Union). Morgan highlighted the difference in character between this tenants’ union and those in other countries such as the US and UK stating the “significant difference [in New Zealand]” was that “to a large extent there are not the mega-landlords that exist in the USA or the UK, but a significant number of petty landlords.” Thus, the Aotearoa Community Union (ACU) will be “a mass organisation of working communities” and will “focus on broader issues such as public works, amenities and community life. Therefore, the ACU eventually “should have the ability to develop into essentially [a] proto-Soviet power channelled into the form and name of a union. As it grows, Community Union branches will increasingly function as democratic and popular organs.” Morgan noted the new grounds the NCPA was venturing on stating that this work was “not normally a key point of Marxist-Leninist practice” and that “what revolutionary housing unionism looks like has largely been independently synthesised by New Communist Party cadre.”

Matters delivered greetings and a speech on behalf of the CPA. He also spoke on the Union movement and assessed the situation in Australia stating, “In Australia there is a massive disconnect from the political process. Rightist elements are trying to adapt this social sentiment to create racist and other cultural divides. Anti-Communism is being fanned along with draconian attacks on the Union Movement. The extreme right raises the slogan of ending the two-party system, not as we do on the basis of extending democracy, but as an end to bourgeois democracy and in support of further restrictions on democratic rights. [...] In these circumstances building our party is of extreme importance. The founding of a new Party in Aotearoa fills us with optimism, and we look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with you against our Imperialists and their lackeys.”

The elections were also held on the first day of the Congress which saw Jamie Morgan become Secretary of the Central Committee, Samuel Buitrago Deputy Secretary, and Katjoesja Buissink reelected to Chair of the Central Committee. In the afternoon, NCPA delegates and the CPA delegation visited the new Cuban Ambassador of New Zealand, Edgardo Valdés López, who had arrived in the country just a few days before. The discussions were productive and insightful and marked the continuation of the fruitful relationship between the NCPA and Cuban Party and State. Earlier in the month Morgan, as Deputy Secretary, had visited Havana for an anti-imperialist solidarity conference and met with leaders of the Communist Party of Cuba and its Young Communist League.

The second day of the congress opened with a report on the current events happening in Latin America. Buitrago reported on the situation countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Chile were currently facing and placed it within a larger political context. After the report, Buitrago opened the floor to discussion where comrades expressed their concerns and opinions on the matters affecting the region. Following the report, the congress discussed and debated the contents of the constitution and party program. Delibrations were productive and comradely, open to all party delegates. In the evening, a dinner was held, which the CPA delegation attended. It was a lovely event to conclude the congress.

Overall, the congress was a well-organised, well-attended, event. The comrades in Aotearoa are young but don’t let their age fool you – they’re committed Marxist-Leninists with an incredible grasp of party and political organising. What they have done, in the little time they have been together, is extraordinary. The NCPA, from my discussions with various members, is focused and committed. Moving forward, I believe the NCPA will be a true vanguard party, one that will represent the proletariat in the most principled way imaginable.

Next article – Human Rights – A quick facts check

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