Opening Speech of the First National Congress

Delivered by the Chair of the Central Committee, New Communist Party of Aotearoa

Comrades, Friends, International Guests,

Nau mai, haere mai,

Thank you for being here for the start of our official founding, the First National Congress of the New Communist Party of Aotearoa. Twenty-five years after the dissolution of the Communist Party of New Zealand, the proper start of the low ebb of New Zealand socialism, the founding of the New Communist Party marks what will hopefully be the long term departure from the low ebb into a new era of socialism in Aotearoa New Zealand, mirroring the situation internationally.

The theme of this First National Congress is “the 21st Century: A New Era of Social Progress” reflecting the trend that we can see today on these multiple levels. 2019 was a significant year for the International Communist Movement. This year marked the 102nd anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. This marks a significant anniversary for New China as it reaches the age that the great Soviet Union managed to make before succumbing to imperialism. This anniversary comes at an important time for China as it consolidates its socialist system in the new era and reaches the first centenary goal of a moderately prosperous society.

The other socialist countries too have made new success in reforming and strengthening their socialist systems in the new era. The Lao PDR has strengthened its economic development, Cuba its socialist rule of law and socialist market economy, and Vietnam reaffirmed Marxism-Leninism as the guiding ideology of the party and country.

The Communist and Workers Parties in capitalist countries have also reaffirmed their position after several dark decades of revisionism, Eurocommunism and liquidationism. The strength of the Communist Party of Australia today after a tumultuous 20th Century is proof of this. Quite excitingly, at the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties this year, held on the Centenary year of the Communist International, several leading Parties from around the world have reiterated their commitment to founding a new Communist International.

All these international examples in both socialist and the capitalist countries reaffirm that Marxism-Leninism did not die with the Soviet Union and the other European socialist countries, but is alive as a fighting force in the new era.

It is this situation which the New Communist Party of Aotearoa finds itself on the occasion of its founding. We are not born from the void, but as a result of the workers’ struggle both internationally and at home in New Zealand.

We would like to thank all 20th Century New Zealand Communists for all your contributions to the workers’ and communist movement here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Whether you are in the Congress hall today, you have messaged us on social media, or we only know your name from the inside cover of second hand books, our struggle would not be able to exist if you had not laid the foundations. We especially thank those in the Workers’ Institute for Scientific Socialist Education for recently awarding us the 2019 Fredrick George Evans Memorial Grant. This support means more to us than we can express, and we emphasise the continued struggle between the centuries. We pick up the red flag of socialism from you and try to wave it higher. The CPNZ gong on this presidium desk that rang to commence this opening ceremony highlights this continuation and we thank Comrade Robert for bringing it here today.

We can learn from both the successes and the ultimate failure of the 20th century New Zealand communist movement. It suffered from unfortunate splits that divided the movement and harmed its ability to form links with the masses. For this reason we take a position of Marxist-Leninist unity. Having a stance with either the Soviet Union or China may have been relevant in the 1960s, but now it is purely a theoretical debate. We welcome all Marxist-Leninists into the New Communist Party and seek to resolve all differences through internal, comradely debate. Small differences, particularly those centring on international issues, should not create splits, and we must always prioritise unity in the domestic situation.

I would like to thank the fraternal Parties and organisations that have wished the New Communist Party well for its founding and First National Congress: namely the Communist Party of China, the Communist Party of Australia, Communist Party of Cuba, Young Communist League of Cuba, Cuban Institute for Friendship of Peoples, Communists of Catalonia, Communist Party of the Workers of Spain, Swiss Communist Party, the Portuguese Communist Party and the Workers’ Party of Belgium. We appreciate the proletarian internationalist spirit in which you have all reached out to us and we look forward to our future bilateral relations as we continue to grow and strengthen our ties to the masses.

Comrades, this is really an afternoon of celebration. All Party members have put in a lot of work to see the New Communist Party of Aotearoa shift from a dream that existed only this March into a material political force. Our First National Congress has gone from being just a question mark on the calendar to an event which we are all at now. Whether you are in the Party, a friend from the broader workers’ movement here in Aotearoa or an international guest, we welcome you to this First National Congress and celebration of our Party’s founding. We are all looking forward to our future work both as a Party and with you.

Here’s to socialism!