Protest French Nuclear Tests
The French government’s renewed round of nuclear weapons testing on the South Pacific Mururoa atoll provoked large-scale protests across the region and around the world. Our comrades in New Zealand’s Permanent Revolution Group (PRG) played a prominent role in building a united front demonstration around the slogan “Stop the French Tests at Mururoa!” On 7 September 1995 almost 1,000 people protested in Wellington. Among the endorsers of the demonstration were the Socialist Workers Organization (followers of Tony Cliff) as well as Greenpeace and a number of anarchists. The PRG was instrumental in securing support for the demonstration from both of the country’s rival trade-union federations–the NZ Council of Trade Unions and the Trade Union Federation.
Unlike most of the speakers at the rally whose remarks had an NZ-nationalist, anti-French tilt, our comrade Adaire H. put forward an internationalist position:
“The Permanent Revolution Group opposes the French nuclear tests at Mururoa as an act of imperialism. Calls on the New Zealand government to take strong action against Chirac and his cronies create illusions in New Zealand’s capitalist rulers as a progressive force.
“Helen Clarke [Labour Party leader] and Jim Anderton’s [Alliance leader] reliance on the World Court to stop French imperialism’s tests also attempts to create faith in international capitalist rulers. These very rulers, along with the New Zealand government, are presently backing French, British and German (that is NATO) bombing of Bosnian Serbs–Imperialists out of Bosnia!
“NZ governments have consistently supported major imperialist attacks–Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Haiti–to mention a few. The present government is also responsible for attacks on the workers of New Zealand–e.g., the Employment Contracts Act. This government is no friend of workers here or overseas: French and New Zealand imperialists: Hands Off the Pacific!
“What is needed to stop these atrocities is international working-class unity against the test. Not consumer boycotts–which pit French and New Zealand workers against each other, but industrial action against the tests from France, to New Caledonia, to Tahiti, to New Zealand.
“Finally, it is important to remember, it is only the imperialists who have used the bomb. We have no illusions in the corrupt bureaucratic Stalinist regimes of China, or North Korea, but we defend their right to defend themselves with nuclear weapons against imperialist threats.”