Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

2011 Resignations from the Workers Party

Source: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/thespark-discussion/EfmpYWRFFwI
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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Since the WP was formed in 2002 the party members have had to contend with objective conditions which are not conducive to party building.

The scarcity of strikes, the small and short-lived demonstrations, modest turnouts at public meetings, minimal uptake of campaigns, lack of feedback from Spark readers and so on, have for a long time been acknowledged by us as evidence of the low ebb of workers’ struggle in New Zealand.

Those conditions meant that recruiting workers and progressives into the organisation has been very difficult. That led to some very low standards virtually becoming a norm in the party.

We certainly tried our best to make the most of the opportunities that did exist, and what we didn’t try other far left groups had already tried.

Whether it was a bold move, like becoming a registered party, or consistent weekly work on a smaller scale, the results of the efforts of the WP remained very modest. Other far left organisations have fared just as badly, often worse. They tried a variety of campaigns and got the same results. Unite union’s goal of building a new political movement and developing an activist base among workers has been similarly unsuccessful. Instead, Unite has relied heavily on activists from far left groups to fill the void.

The recent sharp divisions and turmoil in the organisation over standards and behaviour forced us to face the issue of why these problems arose – and, indeed, have often arisen. Our conclusion is that the problems associated with low standards go much deeper than this or that individual or norm (or lack of norms) and are rooted in much bigger and deeper problems – basically that the long downturn and the absence of struggle, especially working class struggle, continuously undermine the project of party-building. It’s not possible to build a vanguard organisation in the absence of a vanguard of workers.

We have concluded that further attempts at party building in this downturn are futile. Rather than carry on ploughing the same furrow we feel we can contribute more effectively towards working class emancipation by operating in a way that is suited to the conditions.

The achievements that do stand out are our work on exposing the capitalist essence of the Labour Party, engaging in meaningful international and industrial solidarity work and promoting revolutionary ideas such as open borders.

Those are the sorts of activities we intend building on.

Philip Ferguson, Don Franks, Mark Muller, Daphna Whitmore