GUEST BLOG: Dave Brownz – Standing Upright in the Wild South


In the aftermath of the election debacle, the Right and Left in NZ are preoccupied with partisan debates about Conservatives vs Liberals. This is boringly parochial when more-market and more-state discourse creates a lot of noise drowning out any opening up of our horizons beyond national borders to envision a future for working class solidarity in building a socialist Federation of Australasia and the South Pacific republics.

NZ, Australia, and the other South Pacific countries have all been colonised by the British empire as part of the universal white settler frontier on all the continents. That makes us part of the Wild South compared with the Wild West, the Wild East and the Wild Tropics of the Global South.
While the Wild West has given way to US global hegemony, the Wild South of colonial conquest still defines our neo-colonial character. We share the common characteristics of settler colonies in the South Pacific and Australasia – self-rule without economic independence. Our economies have all been locked up by imperialism as primary producers of food, textiles, fuel and minerals.
Which means we are still under the yoke of a racist neo-colonial culture of white dominance packaged as national pride that miraculously ‘unites’ us all. But there is nothing progressive about being trapped behind national borders. National chauvinism of the Right or Left is still chauvinism.

The right is hyper nationalist in its identity politics to make us clean green kiwis proud of being suckered into producing and exporting super profits for the Australian banks, US pension funds and Chinese supply chains, while tolerating thousands of cheap labour migrants and middle class tourists.

The Left is also hyper nationalist for more state intervention in a country largely owned and occupied by foreign capital. It is blind to the contradiction. How does bringing back Muldoon’s state interventionist economic nationalism work when Māori, Pasifika, Pakeha and Asian workers are forced by economic hardship to chase their back wages confiscated by the Aussie banks to look for jobs as second class citizens in Australia?

The right needs nationalism to keep workers passive-aggressive.  That is, docile at ‘home’, but ready to go to war against Chinese workers for our US led security partners. So the Left should fight for workers to be liberated from national chauvinism to redirect their aggression against other workers onto their class oppressors across borders and create a new society capable of restoring society as part of nature.  No war but class war!
So let’s dump the death trap of chauvinism of all kinds, national, gender and race, and unite with our brothers and sisters of the Wild South to break out into class struggle. We have a long history of the suppression of such struggles over two centuries.
Instead of the settler parochialism of standing upright in NZ, let’s face the fact that we never fought to win our independence. Māori fought for their independence but were defeated by imperial and colonial troops in the wars for land.
That is why non-Māori must recognise that NZ will never be independent until Māori are independent. That is also true of Australia and the South Pacific. The struggles of the indigenous people, particularly women, will lead the way to unite us across borders, just as they did before borders were invented.
Sovereignty will mean something only when we reject bourgeois sovereignty of capitalist nation states and replace them with the collective sovereignty of socialist republics of the South Pacific and Australasia.
But that cannot happen while we all remain neo-colonies of the US and China. Workers need to join forces with all workers in our Australasian and South Pacific homelands to form a common front against our imperialist masters.
The first step is to act in class solidarity across borders for citizenship rights breaking down reactionary parochial national identities. That will begin the process of building collective class power constitutive of a new society emerging out of the wreckage of the old.
We must learn to stand upright in the Wild South!


Dave Brownz is TDBs guest Marxist because every Left wing blog requires a guest Marxist.

- Sponsor Promotion -


  1. As a Marxist – have you Dave got any comment on whether Northern Spain’s Mondragaon collective enterprise earlier and now has any relevance for us? Could it give assistance in re-establishing a home economy that stays, micro perhaps, but in our hands and unable to be sold off to the sons and daughters who have profited from it in their youf, and when grownup want to sell it off like the family jewels??

    In other words, can we get something going despite any negative influences from laws etc passed by gummint, keep it going despite swingeing controls and usuaris? fixes from overseas and local wealth-merchants and then prevent the amoral disconnected travesties of NZs from selling off our achievements to the wealth-suckie class?

    • Yeah there is a rich history of workers taking control of production. But most failed when isolated within or surrounded by hostile capitalist states.
      Mondragon is an exception being based in an autonomous Basque society. The soviets also failed for lack of a global revolution able to create an international division of labour with control of banking, trade, and economic planning replacing capitalism.
      So imagine a world of Mondragons, which are coordinated into a common plan based on the political power of a federation of socialist republics.
      This would create an integrated socialist world economy.
      Argentina in the crisis of 2001 showed the benefits of workers occupying many factories, but also the barriers to forming trading and funding networks, even nationally, when trapped inside a destruction capitalist nation state controlled by US imperialism.

  2. On the one hand you claim that “nz will never be independent till maori are independent” but in the next breath want to impose on them “a collective sovereignty of social republics” Can you please explain how your ideas are not just another version of colonial imperialism.

    • Easy. The contradiction is in your head.
      All indigenous people have the right to self-determination. They will judge how far they want to remain autonomous or be integrated into a federation of socialist republics. In NZ, Māori like other indigenous peoples, have their own history long before colonisation. They rapidly adapted to the progressive aspects of capitalism in production and trade in the global capitalist market without abandoning their communal society. They resisted the negative aspects of colonisation highlighted by Te Whiti, of land dispossession, private property, money etc. as destructive of their society. So they are as capable as any to decide how they want to fit into a future post-capitalist society or not, that is, their independence.

  3. Dave Brown says that New Zealand has “self-rule without economic independence”.
    No one can reasonably claim that the Realm of New Zealand is an instrument of “self-rule” for New Zealand. It is explicitly bound in allegiance to Britain’s King Charles, and its security services act at the direction of their US, UK and Australian counterparts while US, UK and Australian operatives are placed in key positions within the security services. Politicians take their orders from those same security services. That amounts to a very strange kind of “self-rule”.
    Dave: “The right is hyper nationalist …The Left is also hyper nationalist”. He had better define what he means by the “right” and the “left”. The parliamentary parties are without exception colonialist (hyper-colonialist if you like) rather than nationalist. The members for Te Pati Maori might like to be nationalist, but are prohibited from expressing nationalist sentiments by the rules of parliament. The other parties are frankly and unashamedly colonialist.
    Dave: “That is why non-Māori must recognise that NZ will never be independent until Māori are independent”. The fact is that Maori and Pakeha who subscribe to rangatiratanga are already “independent” – that is to say, they have mana motuhake. The Realm of New Zealand will never be “independent” because it is inherently and irredeemably colonialist.
    We are in a continuing state of conflict between colonialism and rangatiratanga as we have been for the past two centuries, and the balance of forces between the two sides is always shifting, on the whole and over the longer run to our advantage. Te Whakaminenga will increase in mana tangata as the Realm sinks into infamy and contempt.
    “The first step is to act in class solidarity across borders for citizenship rights breaking down reactionary parochial national identities”. That presumably follows from the confused assertion that those ruling the Realm of New Zealand are “hyper-nationalist” rather than colonialist and that therefore we need to break free from our “national identity”. The fact is that our “national identity” derives from our national culture. Rangatiratanga has always embraced collectivist rather than capitalist principles. We are happy to carry on living within and developing the communal culture which is the bedrock of our national identity. It is that simple.

  4. ‘Self-Rule’ is not strange but consistent with actual ‘self rule’ conditioned by NZs colonial capitalist character. It is a meaningless pretence as you point out given NZs economic dependence.

    It is obviously well short of self-determination both of NZ as a nation and of Maori society as a state-less entity, which as a collective society, could translate into a socialist republic or part of a socialist federation of Australasia and the South Pacific. On Maori self-determination see my reply to Peter above.

    On my view, ‘independence’ is shorthand for self-determination above. Of course that can’t happen under capitalism as a global system. De-colonisation can only be realised by the overthrow of capitalism creating the conditions for self-determination under socialism.

Comments are closed.