What is Organise Aotearoa?
We’re a collective of workers, renters, unionists, students and political organisers who are building a movement for liberation and socialism.
The current political and economic system in New Zealand is working against us. Capitalism is unsustainable. It’s killing our planet, creating massive inequalities, and has been imposed on this land at the expense of tino rangatiratanga. If we want to live in a just, fair, and democratic world, we need to do things differently. We need a system that puts people and the environment before corporations and their profits. We are fighting for socialism because we want to build a society that shares wealth and prosperity among all people.
Politicians cannot do what the people can. We can’t rely on politicians in Parliament to end inequality, protect the environment, and honour the tino rangatiratanga of Māori. Time after time, political parties have made promises and failed to deliver, or they have directly worked in the interests of the rich and powerful. Those in power only make concessions to the people when we get organised and demand them.
Capitalism seems inescapable to many of us, but incredible historical injustices have been overcome by revolutionaries working together in common cause. Monarchies have been toppled, nations have liberated themselves from brutal dictatorships and colonial rule, and the trans-atlantic slave trade was abolished. We owe our paid parental leave, eight hour workday, and the right to join a trade union to those who stood up and demanded those rights for themselves and for future generations. All of this may have seemed impossible once, but that didn’t stop people from fighting.
We take inspiration from those who came before us, understanding that their project is unfinished. We want to build the power of dispossessed and working people so that our collective needs, desires, and dreams can’t be ignored. Together, we can transform Aotearoa into a society that we can be proud of, where everyone can thrive.
What we do
Organise Aotearoa was born out of already existing political movements. Our founding members have stood on the front lines fighting the worst injustices of our time and our kaupapa was informed by these struggles. We’re committed to supporting and amplifying movements for decolonisation and working class power as we all have a common enemy, capitalism.
Since launching in October 2018, we have organised marches for reproductive justice, we have joined community blockades against the weapons expo, and we have stood alongside mana whenua against Fletcher Building Ltd attempts to desecrate the stolen lands at Ihumātao. We stand with all workers in our everyday struggles against bosses who enrich themselves off our labour. We are all better off when we have strong unions that increase our collective power. Unions are strongest when they’re driven by the members themselves, who know better than anyone else how to improve conditions in the workplace, and build political and democratic power.
We are currently writing a programme in six parts, which will elaborate on the ways capitalism exploits everyday people, stifling our capacity to thrive. This programme will include sections on housing, work and welfare, the criminal injustice system, the environment, decolonisation and constitutional transformation, and our relationship to the rest of the world. We have been holding hui around the country, having discussions with the wider community about these sites of struggle.
We do not stand above the people; we are the people! We hope to provide a vehicle for the people to collectively transform society.
We, all of us, see that our way of living must and will change. We know this when we see ourselves working longer hours, and more jobs, for lower wages. We know this when we are denied the possibility of owning a house, when we pay half our paycheck each week to the landlord. And we see it in our broken environment: stolen from mana whenua, sliced into shards, and hollowed out until there is little we can leave to those that come after us.
Yet each of us has hope that we cling to and that gives us cause to fight: the loved ones we treasure, defence of our land and identities, the camaraderie in fighting for a common cause. In these lies real revolutionary spirit, passed down to us from generations who stood up for justice and peace. The movement for our emancipation lives! This is our communism – it is our action as well as our hope. Our task, as Organise Aotearoa, is to give coherence to this movement. We will arm it with strategy and theory, and we will act on it today.
We are decolonial communists. We understand this to mean the expression of a living historical process and a vision of an alternative social system. As a process, communism is the movement for the self-emancipation of the working class and all oppressed peoples. This is expressed in everyday acts of collective refusal, resistance, and re-appropriation. It manifests in every strike against exploitation and uprising against oppression. It announces itself with the formation of every community council and people’s assembly.
The task of revolutionary organisers is to give coherence to this movement, arming it with a theoretical and strategic framework. Our aim is to create a space to bring together, understand, and support these sorts of activities. We hope to give coherence to our everyday struggle, arming each-other with a theoretical and strategic framework.
When we look to the future, what could our world become? We must hold in common the social and economic foundations of our society. Democratic decision-making must overcome capitalism. We must achieve sustainable kaitiakitanga/stewardship of Aotearoa and of our ecosystems. Land must be returned to its rightful Māori mana whenua. Aotearoa must operate on a constitutional order grounded in Te Tiriti O Waitangi and He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni. As outlined by 2016’s Matike Mai report for constitutional transformation, this must include a Tino Rangatiratanga sphere, a Kāwanatanga sphere, and a relational sphere.
Ultimately, to stay true to our hopes and ensure that each one of us has the means to flourish, we must commit ourselves to fighting for a decolonial and communist Aotearoa. No longer should we relate to each other as consumers and competitors but instead as friends, families, workers and lovers. A better world is possible.
Massive change is already underway in the world – what we can do is choose the direction in which we push.