Saturday 18 May was a “National Day of Action against Racism” in New Zealand, in response to the massacre of 51 Muslim worshippers at two Christchurch mosques in March (see “After Christchurch: Fascism, Anti-Fascism and Multiculturalism”). On the day, the IBT participated in an event organized by Wellington Against Racism and Fascism and attended by approximately 350, who rallied at Civic Square and marched to Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.
Wellington Against Racism and Fascism organizes around the statement: “We oppose racism, fascism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia. We also oppose all barriers for refugees and migrants.” This statement is aimed to appeal to a very broad constituency, as demonstrated by the speakers before and after the march who represented trade unions, religious organizations, migrant groups, students and left-wing organizations.
At early organizing meetings the IBT argued for the building of a united front around class-struggle demands, such as trade-union linked multi-ethnic defense against fascist violence and no reliance on the police, but the majority present opted for something far weaker to maximize liberal support. Revolutionaries seek to participate in united-front actions based on immediate demands in the interests of the working class and oppressed. Demands that recognize working-class solidarity and the repressive role of the state are much closer to what is immediately needed, and a basis for joint action between those with different views on other issues, but ultimately the problems of racism and fascism are rooted in capitalist society itself and therefore require its revolutionary overthrow as the only effective solution.
We attended the WARF rally despite its inadequate demands, on the basis of being able to put forward a revolutionary perspective. This was done by IBT supporter Adaire Hannah in her speech at the rally, reproduced below.
The 15 March Christchurch massacre woke New Zealanders up to the fact that this too is a nasty racist society that is an integral part of the racist imperialist club.
Racism, like sexism, is a structural component of capitalism. Many here will remember the dawn raids, Bastion Point, the Land March and the Springbok tour. Today migrant workers are all too often at the mercy of rapacious employers.
Racism is one of the prejudices which serves the bosses and their state by pitting sections of the working class and oppressed against one another. We compete for better working conditions and wages instead of fighting to end the way this society (which is based on exploitation and oppression) is run. The assault on workers’ living standards and job security is relentless, while the wealth of a few grows exponentially.
The increasing realization that capitalism can no longer deliver the necessities of life to the majority of people has resulted in a growth of nationalism, alt-rightism and fascism. As capitalism sinks further into crisis fascist activity will increase.
The Christchurch massacre was the work of a fascist. The police and security services were ignorant of his existence. Yet we are told that these same police, who have now been armed, will protect our more marginalized groups.
The purpose of the police is to protect private property and the state. Anyone who has been part of the defense of a community from fascist attacks knows that the police are not neutral in such situations. Remember Blair Peach. Any strengthening of the police will be used against the left and working class.
We do not want armed police patrolling our communities. We need to defend ourselves by establishing worker/community multi-ethnic defense guards linked to the trade unions. These defense guards will be mobilized quickly to defend marae, mosques, synagogues and trade unions against any kind of attack from the right. Remember Ernie Abbott.
It is important that we deal the fascists humiliating defeats now while they are small.
Worker involvement in defending our communities from racist and fascist attacks is important because the main function of fascism is to destroy the unions and the working class when the survival of capitalism is seriously challenged. Then the bourgeois state will side with the fascists. They are the capitalists’ reserve army.
Ultimately, the only solution to end the emergence of racist and fascist filth is in sweeping away capitalism through workers’ revolution and reorganizing society along socialist-egalitarian lines.