Critiquing Mana: “All New Zealanders” will never feed the kids

Posted: July 1, 2014 by Admin in Capitalist ideology, Class Matters, Imperialism and anti-imperialism, Independent Working Class Association (IWCA), Internationalism, Nation state, National Party NZ, New Zealand politics

US imperialismby Don Franks

Press release from Mana party leader Hone Harawira  25/2014:

“When John Key says ‘New Zealand fully supports the current steps announced by President Obama (in Iraq) 100%’ he is one step away from committing our troops simply to get a good trade deal with the USA,” said Mana Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira “and that should worry all New Zealanders.”

“It’s the same deal that Prime Minister Holyoake was forced to agree to by President Johnson back in the 60’s” said Harawira “when the USA told us that if we didn’t send troops to Vietnam, they wouldn’t buy our butter.”

“And all we got out of that was dead soldiers flown home in body bags, troops being abused for fighting a dirty war, and the lingering death we now know as Agent Orange.”

“The ugly thing about the current crisis is that America isn’t actually sending troops to Iraq to defend democracy. They have openly stated that they will deploy troops to defend their embassy, their assets, and the deals they struck for oil.”

“So we’d be sending NZ soldiers to defend American interests, not Iraqi people.”

“We’d be better off standing with the independent nations of the world in condemning human rights abuses in Iraq and supporting efforts to reduce violence in that area of the world” said Harawira “and spending our money on feeding thousands of hungry kids here rather than on an American crusade which has already killed thousands of Iraqi kids over there.”

It’s  not often that a New Zealand parliamentarian makes a statement opposing New Zealand troops defending US imperialism.  That being so, itg feels churlish to criticise such a statement, but that needs doing.  In several places, Hone’s statement is factually wrong.

“Committing our troops simply to get a good trade deal with the USA” is not a thing that will or can ever “worry all New Zealanders”. In real life politics there is no such thing as “all New Zealanders”.

There are the New Zealanders who command the nation’s troops, those who own the products to be traded and those in the same social and economic category. To those New Zealanders, committing troops in pursuit of a good trade deal makes perfect sense. The only thing that would bother these New Zealanders in this context would be  reluctance or mutiny by the troops.

Then there are the New Zealanders to whom the state’s forces are not “our troops”. Those of us whose picket lines will be smashed by “our troops” if our picket lines ever become too effective. 

To some New Zealanders, I believe a majority, the armed forces  of the NZ capitalist state are, objectively,  a part of the enemy, just as much as American imperialist interests are part of our enemy.

I don’t agree that “We’d be better off standing with the independent nations of the world in condemning human rights abuses in Iraq and supporting efforts to reduce violence in that area of the world” .

Nations of the world today selectively condemn different human rights abuses to score political points for their particular corner. Nation states are not to be counted on in the struggle for human liberation. 

As for “supporting efforts to reduce violence in that area of the world”, what does that mean? Support for UN Peacekeepers, the scrubbed up sanitised agents of imperialism?

The only meaningful efforts to reduce violence anywhere on the planet today are efforts to destroy the capitalist system. In that cause we’d be better off standing with fellow workers in all other lands. 

Not only better off. International workers solidarity is the only real existing option  for social change and social justice.. 

If and when we achieve momentum there,  the international working class will then finally be able to feed all “our kids”.


  1. PhilF says:

    He’s definitely the most progressive MP but, after 40 years in politics, he’s still essentially a mixture of Maori nationalism and NZ nationalism.


  2. Malcolm says:

    Seen this yet? From Martin Gregory.

  3. Malcolm says:

    “The socialist programme is more far-reaching and more radical than Mana’s programme of nationalism and reformism. The ISO should be explaining the limitations of Mana’s politics. Instead the ISO pretends that these politics are “far left” and in doing so it negates its own programme.”