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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Trots Want Troops Out of Tonga

The NZ left have increased their interest in Tonga since the recent rioting and revolutionary activity.

The Auckland based Trotskyist sectlet the Communist Workers Group issued this statement on Indymedia yesterday

Troops out of Tonga!

For a Workers’ and Farmers’ Government!

The long fight for democracy in Tonga has recently exploded into mass protest and the burning down of 80% of the capital Nuku’alofa. The cause was a rejection of the latest proposals for democratic reform agreed to by the King and Prime Minister, being rejected at the last minute. Responding to the government’s calls, Australia and New Zealand had sent troops and police to enforce a state of emergency.

Revolutionaries must demand the immediate withdrawal of these troops, and call for the convening of a Constituent Assembly based on one person, one vote!

The parliament immediately called an emergency Cabinet meeting and passed the reform that would see the number of MPs in the 32 seat house elected by the people increased from nine to twenty-one by 2008. But this decision did not reach the angry protestors who continued on their organised attack on the hated symbols of the rich ruling class in Tonga.

The response of the King was not to apologise for delaying the reforms and inciting the peoples’ anger, but to blame the democracy movement for ‘shaming’ Tonga. He imposed a state of emergency and is threatening severe punishment for those convicted of ‘riot’ and ‘arson’. To enforce the state of emergency (which gives the police the power to ban meetings of more than five people, arrest suspects, impose curfews etc.) the regime asked the Australian and New Zealand governments to send troops and police.

It has taken a long strike and the burning of downtown Nuku’alofa to get even the most modest of reforms accepted by the Monarchy. The danger now is that the Monarchy will dig in and use the excuse of a ‘failed state’ to enlist the long-term intervention of Australia and New Zealand in a RAMSI-type regime to keep the people down and monopolise Tonga’s resources for the imperialist interests.

The response of revolutionary internationalists must be to fight for democratic reforms, always warning that they will never be granted by the reactionary regime whose interests are to ally with imperialism. In NZ and Australia support for the pro-democracy movement must be built in the labour movement. Many Tongan workers in NZ are the backbone of the unions and supporters of the Labour Government. Our program must be:

* Australian and NZ troops out! Reject any label of ‘failed state’ and the permanent intervention of ANZ military and police.
* Campaign for democracy in the Tongan army to split the rank and file from the Monarchy!
* For a Constituent Assembly based on one person one vote, regardless of class, status or gender!
* For the re-nationalisation of public assets in Tonga, without compensation to the Monarchy or the imperialists!
* For a Government of the workers and farmers of Tonga, as part of a Pacific Federation of Socialist Republics!

Communist Workers Group


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