NZ Labour Party

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Fri Nov 15 21:38:36 MST 2002

Steve wrote:
> The full range of left opinions about
> the New Zealand Labour Party are not represented on this list, but there are
> apparently a few soft-on-social-democracy backsliders even in Phil Ferguson'
> s Anti-Capitalist Alliance.

Well the ACA was formed by the Workers Party and the *revolution* circle
and both of us hold the view that the NZ LP is a liberal-bourgeois
party.  I'm not aware of anyone active in the ACA who thinks otherwise,
but, because of the nature of the party registration requirements for
elections here, the ACA has a large paper membership and I would be
neither surprised nor bothered about any number of the paper members
holding such a view.  We had some people turn up at the ACA's recent
educational weekend in Wellington and argue this too - namely the SWO
(Cliffites) and the entire membership of the NZ wing of the IBT.

So there are certainly some archeo-Trotskyists (and also some
archeo-Stalinists) who still support Labour to varying degrees.  They
tend to be people who have *done no research whatsoever* into the LP for
several decades, if ever.  So their view of the NZ Labour Party is just
dogma, inherited from decades ago.  We had a case of this recently on
the NZ.Activism list, where one of the leading figures in the SWO posted
something in which he claimed Labour was still a workers party because
it was financed by the unions.  In fact, Labour hasn't got most of its
finance from the unions for yonks.  About 90 percent of its finance
comes from business donations and the state.  Needless to say, when this
was pointed out, the SWO comrade just went silent and never responded.
And, no doubt, he'll say exactly the same thing next year on some list.
That's fairly typical of the level of ignorant nonsense we get in this
country from people on the far left who think the NZ Labour Party is
still some kind of workers party.  The last thing they want to be
bothered with is research and facts.

I might add that pro-Labour leftists also have the rather disconcerting
habit of moving their goalposts every few years.  Twenty years ago they
drew a line in the sand and if Labour crossed it that would show Labour
was now a bourgeois-liberal party.  Well, Labour crossed it and what did
these people do?  They merely re-drew their line.  Labour crossed that.
So they re-drew it again.  For some people, there is virtually nothing
that Labour could do, no change in their social composition, class ties,
financing etc, which would represent the transformation from a bourgeois
workers party to a bourgeois-liberal party.  The logic seems to be that
since Lenin referred to the British LP in 1923 or whenever it was as a
'bourgeois-workers party', therefore all LPs at all times and in all
places must forever be bourgeois workers parties, end of story.

It's a poor substitute for Marxism.


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