Today we celebrate the official launch of the New Communist Party of Aotearoa online newspaper, Workers’ Star. If you have found this webpage, congratulations! You are in the right place and we, the co-editors of the Workers’ Star, hope you will find yourself coming back to our humble website more and more in the coming weeks and months as we continue to publish articles on issues that matter to working people in Aotearoa, whether that be social issues, the housing crisis, the trade union movement, or international challenges to peace and peaceful coexistence within the Pacific and across our planet.
Brazilian activist Chico Mendes said “ecology without class struggle is just gardening”, a sentiment we saw recently in our own country with the controversy surrounding Green Party co-leader and chief “tree tory” James Shaw funding the “green” private school against Party policy. Mendes’ sentiment, a powerfully class-oriented yet not ‘reductionist’ one, can be applied not just to environmentalism but other campaigns and movements for social progress. Workers’ Star aims to take this principle to heart with coverage of many different struggles and movements.
While most articles you see in Workers’ Star will be written by Communist Party members—it is our paper after all—readers will see varied other perspectives and opinions from Communist, socialist and trade union writers and publications from around the world. In our first week alone we have an article from Granma, newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, another from the British Morning Star, and an opinion piece from Tom Conway, President of the US United Steelworkers Union from People’s World.
Our digital pages will also contain other, less serious, matters of interest for working people. While none appear in the first release due to content spacing, expect to see columns on film, the local music scene, club sport, cooking on a budget, and other relevant matters for the lives of working people.
In the early years of the Soviet Union, when the Bolshevik paper Pravda was celebrating its tenth anniversary, Vladimir Lenin heaped praise upon the role the famous paper had played in the revolution. Pravda, he wrote, allowed the Bolsheviks “to penetrate into the very citadel of the enemy” of the Tsar and Russian ruling class.
Times have changed greatly since Pravda, and indeed Iskra even earlier were founded by the great revolutionary leader. You will not find us selling newspapers outside factory gates, or luckily, having to publish from a cave in South Auckland as our predecessor Communists were forced to by New Zealand censors during the war years.
The fundamental importance of the Party paper, that is unchanged in the decades since Lenin’s day, is breaking the monopoly of the capitalist class over the media, their own citadel. The New Zealand Herald and many regional newspapers, such as the Northland Age, Bay of Plenty Times, Waihi Leader, Rotorua Daily Post, Taupo Weekender and Hawke’s Bay Today are all owned by the same media company, NZME. Stuff also owns regional newspapers such as the Dominion Post and the Sunday Star Times. While, luckily, New Zealand does not have a press almost entirely controlled by Rupert Murdoch, as in the United Kingdom and Australia, our bourgeois press is tightly connected to and under the influence of overseas, particularly American, media magnates. As an example, Anna Fifield, new head of the Dominion Post, is the former White House correspondent and Beijing correspondent for the Washington Post, mouthpiece of the American imperialists – a fact reflected in her writing.
Since the demise of People’s Voice and Tribune, Aotearoa has lacked a Marxist, class-oriented news source for working people. This is not just a problem for the Communist Party. Workers’ Star is not intended to uniquely focus on or cover ‘the Party line’. The great significance and role of a class-oriented news source such as what the Workers’ Star aspires to be is in collecting and publicising the above-mentioned issues to working people in a manner that knows which side of the great class struggle it sides on.
Antonio Gramsci, great leader of the Italian working class and Italian Communist Party, wrote the following appeal in 1916:
“Don’t give financial assistance to the bourgeois press, which is your adversary. This is what should be our battle cry in this moment that is characterized by the subscription campaigns of all the bourgeois newspapers. Boycott them, boycott them, boycott them!”
Us two editors know very few people who, in the present day, actually pay subscription to any of the bourgeois press. In some ways an unconscious boycott is already underway. On behalf of the entire team of reporters, writers, assistants and editors that make up the inner-workings of Workers’ Star we hope you take this sentiment further, enjoy our content and stick around. A new wave of class struggle in New Zealand is just beginning, and the Workers’ Star plans to be with the workers, in principle, in writing, in marches and in pickets, as this struggle takes its course.
If you ever want to get in touch with us, feel free to send a letter to the editors using the form in the website sidebar. We would love to hear from you.
Between the darkness and the dawn.
There rises a red star.