From the CPA’s Guardian of 12.4.06
The Communist Party of Australia recently had the pleasure of hosting a delegation from the Socialist Party of Aotearoa . Party Secretary Warren Brewer and Chair Brendan Touhy’s March visit heralds a strengthening of trans-Tasman co-operation between communist forces.
During their week-long visit the comrades held talks with trade unionists in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, and spoke at public forums with the theme: “Industrial Relations — learning from New Zealand’s disaster”.
Both comrades have long histories as union activists and related the horrors inflicted on New Zealand workers after the Employment Contracts Act was enacted in 1991.
The comrades were also invited to the CPA Central Committee meeting where formal greetings were exchanged.
CPA General Secretary, Peter Symon, told The Guardian that the visit restored relations between the two parties that had been in abeyance for some years.
“It’s an important step in this area of the world where the people of our own countries are facing serious attacks on their rights and conditions and where the people of the South Pacific nations are also striving to consolidate their independence, build their economies and improve living standards.
“Our parties have important responsibilities and their joint co-oporation will add to our collective strength and influence”, he said.
Comrade Brewer concurred: “It seems only fitting, as the bourgeoisie of our two country’s discuss, with growing enthusiasm, the notion of a single trans-Tasman market, perhaps even a common currency that the Australian and New Zealand Parties of the Marxist-Leninist tradition should formalise their fraternal relationship“, said Comrade Brewer.
“To be able to link our visit, to meet with the CPA Central Committee, with practical work among ordinary unionists and party members was a real bonus.”
“What is surprising is not the number of Kiwis we have met but the extent to which we, workers on both sides of the ditch, experience the same employer tactics, often the same employers, the same economic polices, and the same excuses for failure.
“There has probably never been a time when the interests of the Australasian working class have had so much in common.”
The SPA presented the CPA with a gift of a framed lino-cut.
“It was created in the mid to late ’50s to produce banners and the like”, said Comrade Brewer. “It is of a Pakeha and Maori hand and for our purpose it symbolises the new CPA-SPA relationship.”
The lino-cut was created by artist Len Gale, a life long Marxist and member of the SPA. Len was involved in the 1951 NZ waterfront lockout as part of the underground media group. He is known in Australia for the art work he produced for the 100th anniversary of Eureka — recently reprinted by the CPA for the 150th anniversary.
Note For a bio of Brendan Tuohy, go here.
Brewer was formerly a unionist in the Waikato, latterly with the
NZ Building Trades Union and the SPA controlled, National Distribution Union.
In the late ’90s he was a leader of the Hamilton Organisation for Local Democracy, which worked on local body issues. He was also active in the Hamilton Latin America Committee.
Now living near Christchurch, Brewer publishes SPA’s paper “Red Flag”. He is also a member of Murray Horton’s Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa.
Brewer also the co-edits “The Spark”, the journal of the Trans Tasman Socialist Secretariat. The TTSS, consists of SPA and the Australian organisation, the Maritime Union’s Socialist Activities Association. This group, MUSAA is independent, but allied to the Communist Party of Australia.
It is perhaps a signal of action to come that SPA and the CPA have re-established direct ties.