Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 16 July 16, 1968
. . . Trotskyists
. . . Trotskyists
Sir—We, the undersigned students of Victoria University being persons who consider themselves in fraternal alignment with, although not affiliated to, the world Trotskyist movement (no viable Fourth International existing) wish to make it known to you and your readers that we are sereiously concerned about certain claims made about their political allegiance by certain students and ex-students of Victoria University, Messrs R. D. Clarke, H. C. MacNeill, Owen E. Hughes, M. H. Fyson, and G. A. Fyson.
On a number of occasions over the past two years these gentlemen have variously described them as "Trotskyists", and one of them, Mr R. D. Clarke, has gone so far as to claim on occasions some sort of sympathy with the American Trotskvist organisation, the Spartacist League. We wish to make it known that in our view these gentlemen have, by their actions and publicly stated positions, repudiated once and for all any connection with Trotskyism and we wish to further make it known that we have for some time past severed any political connection we may once have had with them. We emphatically reject suggestions from any quarter that these gentlemen can properly be called Trotskyists and we take as the basis for our view the fact that they have adopted political positions which are not merely inconsistent with, but in reality diametrically opposed to, the clearly stated and expressed views of Trotsky himself.
In particular we reject the Pabloite position which these gentlemen advocate and represent to be "Trotskyist" in its orientation. We base our opposition to this tendency upon a reading of certain published material coming from France which purports to represent the views of a so-called 'Fourth International' whose views lead to a policy and position identical with that of the left wing Stalinists and in particular the Cuban governing party, and in Latin America, have led to their group surrendering completely to the Castro line. This is an outright repudiation of Trotsky's view in The Permanent Revolution that the peasantry is incapable of leading a socialist revolution and can only become part of a socialist revolution if led by the working class. These people support so-called 'patriotic, 'national' revolutions in Latin America—anything, of course, but socialist revolutions, being, like the Stalinists, busy trying to pretend nationalism and socialism are the same thing.
Their use of the 'guilt by association' smear and their 'your position may be called Trotskyist but objectively is Stalinist' type of argumentation are both hangovers from the Stalinist period and were repudiated as such by Trotsky.
However, we do not wish to trouble ourselves unduly with them because they are in New Zealand an amorphous inactive group, afraid to claim that they are Trotskyists except when trying to start heresy hunts against the bona fide Trotskyist movement, and more concerned with events in Latin America than in New Zealand.
When they have a concrete policy distinct from the Stalinists in New Zealand some attention might usefully be paid to them. We simply oppose attempts by anyone to represent that these views have any connection with Trotskyism, Should any of these gentlemen desire it, We should be happy to debate with them anytime or anywhere on this any other similar subject.
Nevil Gibson, O. J. Gager, Jan Walker, Greg. Smith, Bill Logan.