A Socialist Compass for Aotearoa

Envisioning Māori Socialism


  • Danielle Webb




Socialism, Māori economy, tino rangatiratanga, socialist compass, Erik Olin Wright


In this article, I argue that both tino rangatiratanga and socialism lie at the heart of emancipatory politics in Aotearoa New Zealand. For Māori, the economy has always been a dynamic site of interaction with the state and corporate bodies, and today the Māori economy is celebrated by some as a space where tino rangatiratanga can be realised. For the most part, though, the capitalist economy has been a site of exploitation for Māori. Given the inextricable relations between capitalism and colonialism, I present the case for Māori socialism as an emancipatory response to both. To do so, I employ Erik Olin Wright’s socialist compass, a conceptual tool that points to a variety of economic pathways towards socialism. But there is a major problem with Wright’s compass: it only has three points (state power, economic power, and social power). I extend Wright’s vision for socialism by completing the compass, adding to it a much needed fourth point: tino rangatiratanga. The resulting ‘Aotearoa socialist compass’ can be used to orient us towards Māori socialism—a socialist economy in which tino rangatiratanga is realised.



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