Monday, September 06, 2010

A Step Forward for Socialist Organisation in Aotearoa


Commentary- Mike Tait, International Socialist Organisation

At a conference held in Auckland on September 4, representatives of Socialist Aotearoa from Auckland and Wellington and the International Socialists Organisation from Dunedin established a firm foundation for future cooperation.

The benefits for both organisations of closer cooperation are numerous. The ISO, formed in 1993, is the longest established revolutionary socialist group in Aotearoa, but has struggled with its geographic isolation in a small university city in the far south of the country. Over the years, too many good comrades have left socialist organisation behind when they left Dunedin.

Socialist Aotearoa is strongest in Auckland and its members have a wealth of experience in union work. Recently, SA has gained a number of good ISO comrades who have moved to Wellington and Auckland. The ISO magazine, Socialist Review, will fill a gap in SA's propaganda arsenal, and will in turn be strengthened and enriched by contributions from Auckland and Wellington. IS comrades for their part, will be able to use Socialist Aotearoa's Anti-Capitalist in their work. The organisations' websites www.iso.org.nz and www.socialistaotearoa.org will likewise benefit from cooperation.

This conference is not the result of mere theoretical agreement though, the groundwork was laid in practice during the Unite Campaign for a Living Wage. By the thousands of signatures collected and the protests and rallies both organisations built, the ISO and SA showed their common commitment to rebuild the workers movement. This platform was created by the Unite union. For this reason, the conference was fortunate to welcome Matt McCarten, Unite national secretary, to speak in the afternoon and to thank him in person for the opportunity the union has created for our closer cooperation.

SA was formed in 2008 around the principles of “five fingers for a fist” : 1. One Solution, Revolution; 2. Workers of the World, Unite; 3. Equality for all; 4. Honest cooperation in United Fronts; 5. For a Rank and File network within the Trade Union movement

The ISO already shared much in common theoretically with SA; this conference deepened our theoretical unity and established a new platform for practical cooperation.

At the conference, SA comrades affirmed the organisation's commitment to building an organisation in the International Socialist tradition of socialism from below, with a dues-paying, active membership. ISO and SA comrades agreed to establish a joint committee to coordinate the work of the organisations' branches in Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland, and to work more closely together by sharing research, publications and propaganda.

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