The manifesto below first appeared in MidEast Solidarity #1, Spring 2001, the Middle East bulletin of revolution magazine. Although now thirteen years old, it is still highly relevant, given the Western powers’ ever-expanding, never-ending wars in the Third World. It lays out a basic approach needed to build what is needed – an anti-imperialist movement – and is counterposed to simply accepting lowest common denominator peace politics, which often reinforce myths about this country’s ruling class, their political servants and their foreign policy. In Christchurch, the Middle East Information and Solidarity Collective generally operated along the lines of the Manifesto, although its sphere of action was most specifically Palestine and Iraq. Similar sentiments to those contained in the Manifesto animated the Anti-Imperialist Coalition in Auckland and the work of ACA activists in Peace Action Wellington. As New Zealand’s ruling class plays its own part in the West’s wars abroad and migrant workers remain on the receiving end of discrimination here, we need to revive the spirit of this Manifesto; we need not a ‘peace’ movement but an anti-imperialist movement. Lastly, a few explanatory notes have been added.
The assault on Afghanistan points up the desperate need not for a wishy-washy peace movement, which treats New Zealand imperialism as morally superior to other imperialisms and pleads with Wellington to exert greater leverage in world affairs, but for an anti-imperialist movement.
1. AGAINST THE NEW ZEALAND STATE AND ITS FOREIGN POLICY
An anti-imperialist perspective in New Zealand can only begin with total opposition to the policies and initiatives of our own ruling class. New Zealand is an advanced capitalist society, part of the First World, presided over by an exploiting ruling class which is part of the problem not part of the solution.
New Zealand nationalism has been historically the ideology through which the capitalist class here coheres society around its own interests and power. In particular this ideology binds NZ workers to their lown exploiters, obscures class divisions within this country and keeps workers from developing an anti-capitalist outlook. At crucial times it serves to line workers up behind our ruling class in wars against workers of other countries.
Much of the left has been part of this reactionary nationalist consensus, most blatantly in the forms of labourism, Stalinism* and anti-‘foreign control’ groups. But even the Marxist left has succumbed to it, as war clear around the campaign against French testing at Moruroa, where most far left groups lined up behind the NZ ruling class.**
In contrast to middle class peace groups and leftists who make calls on the New Zealand government to take action against other capitalist governments, thereby prettifying our own ruling class, a genuine anti-imperialist movement in this country promotes Read the rest of this entry »