The Maoists of the Workers Communist League channeled their racial activism through organisations like Project Waitangi and CORSO.
The far more powerful, pro-Soviet Socialist Unity Party tended to work through the unions, guided by key behind-the-scenes party members.
By the beginning of the 1980s, the pro-Soviet SUP was the undisputed leader of New Zealand Marxism-Leninism. Under Ken Douglas’ astute leadership the party came to completely dominate the Federation of Labour, giving the SUP both substantial influence and a source of finance on top of their regular Soviet subsidies.
The SUP placed heavy emphasis on “National Question” activity. They were involved in Bastion Point and other issues of the day, but tended to play a discrete background role.
One of those key members was a non-Maori, Central Committee member (and partner of SUP leader Ken Douglas), Marilyn Tucker.
Tucker (then named Spargo) led the NZ delegation (which included Polynesian Panther Norman Tuiasau)to the 1973 10th World Festival of Youth and Students in East Berlin.
In August 1980, Tucker and Maori activist Ripeka Evans were part of a delegation of six, representing various Maori organisations to Vanuatu’s Independence celebrations.
Tucker was a high flier in the SUP and was well regarded by the Soviets. She underwent training at Lenin’s institute for Higher Learning in Moscow and is alleged to have studied “National Question” politics there.
The SUP had few trusted Maori members in the late ’70s/early’80s, so as a senior comrade, Tucker was assigned to develop the SUP’s Maori policy.
It is believed she served on the SUP’s early “Commission on the National Question“.
In an article in the SUP’s theoretical journal “Socialist Politics” in 1983 entitled
“The National Question: The Soviet Experience and its Lessons for New Zealand” Tucker wrote
“The struggles for full National Rights of the Maori people and against racism.. are an essential ingredient in the general struggle against state monopoly alliance… and in the longer term struggle for socialism…”.
Tucker laid the groundwork for later SUP “National Question” activists to follow.
She later went on to become General Secretary of the party.
12 thoughts on “"National Question" 22 Marilyn Tucker and the Socialist Unity Party”
I am now a confused Fabian, young Trev. How can Communists be a threat now there is no Soviet Union? The one act of political terrorism, Trades Hall bombing, targeted the union movement. Hello, Marilyn, still famous in 2007.
Well ok Trevor, I’m not a big expert about international politics and all that stuff, I just think douglas was a big fat scab.
Big misunderstanding on what communism is anon.
It is nothing to do with helping workers-it is about achieving power on an international scale.
Douglas did several deals under the 84/90 Labour government that very much pleased the Soviet Union.
Workers like you didn’t come into it. Douglas was working to a “Big Strategic Plan”.
In Douglas’ mind, you had to make sacrifices so that your grandchildren might live under socialism.
Forget this “communists are for the worker” crap. Your sacrifices were a means to Douglas’ end.
Great communist eh?
So why did the capitalist class give him their biggest gong?
In what way did Ken Douglas ever influence government policy in towards the balance of workers advancement?
Why did Douglas completely fall over in a sorry whimpering inefectual heap when Rogernomics blasted our arses off?
ps I’m neither a Maoist or a trot or an anything else. Just someone who paid union dues for years and saw a lot of sellouts and shitty deals made with bosses. Many of those done by your great hero Ken Douglas.
I feel a bit sorry for Ken actually anon.
The pro Moscow parties always had to put up with this kind of criticism from Maoists and Trots etc.
I’ve had quite a lot of guidance on the inner workings of the SUP and some other pro=Moscow parties and I can tell you, they are some heavy commies.
These guys are long term, easy does it, totally dangerous reds.
They’re not worried about posturing and posing. They’re into heavy duty infiltration of the social democrats (Labour in NZ) and influencing government policy at the highest levels.
Ken Douglas was a great communist.
Trevor don’t stuff up your credibility completely or this blog will not be fun anymore.
Douglas was a fucking awful communist.
He derailed a widely demanded general strike against the Employment Contracts Act , which is probably why he got the Order of New Zealand, highest award in the land.
Probably a bit of a silly statement on my part re Bolger.
No doubt he was well briefed by the SIS on Douglas’ activities.
I remember when Douglas was appointed to the Board of the Reserve Bank-I think it was.
Bolger kicked up a fuss and said something like-“If Douglas knows, then Moscow knows’
The media went ballistic and Bolger, to his shame backed down.
The reality is that if Douglas would not pass on any info he could glean to the Soviets, he would not be being a good communist.
While not being an advocate for Ken Douglas, I suggest Bolger has done much to damage New Zealand economically by way of his Governments policies.
Its because of the likes of Bolger and his ilk that we have the likes of Douglas and his.
As the song goes “you cant have one without the other”
not sure that trev necessarily knows more than long serving prime ministers,but he does have the courage to say it,which is presumably one of the reasons we elect these pollies,and were they so often fall woefully short.
Gee its great to have political commentators like trev who know so much more than long serving primeministers.
If Bolger and co knew the damge Douglas has done to this country, they’d have him in the cell next to Graeme Burton.
Meanwhile Federation Of Labour Dinosauer Ken Douglas has joined the ranks of the political elite and is no reaping his reward for services rendered along with Jim Bolger on the board of New Zealand post.
I suppose they suck eclairs together.