Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 No. 3. 15th March 1972
Last year Thunderclap Newman sang a pop song "Something in the Air." The recording was produced for the best of capitalist motives - profit. Some of the lyrics may, however, produce more than profit.
"Call out the instigators, the revolution's here.... We've got to get it together for the revolution's here)".
We are three who attend Victoria University and who think of ourselves as the Instigators. We all oppose the capitalist system. Its evils, particulary its wars, its imperialism, its prostitution of nationalism, and its dependence on the exploitation of man by man, are manifest and need no detailed exposition in this manifesto.
We are all Socialists and have all involved ourselves with left wing politics. But our Socialism is eclectic We refuse to accept the dogmatism of the larger established parties and we reject the determinism of Marxism-Leninism as purveyed by these parties. We reject the theories of dialectical materialism and democratic centralism, but we accept that use of the dialectic as an analytical tool can be of great benefit. We recognise that such parties could not survive without ideological discipline, but we feel that time and again the demands made by formal parties and groups on individual members have divided and fragmented left wing unity.
We feel that, although principle is crucial to the political awareness and activity of the left wing, there has been a lack of pragmatic compromise over issues vital to the left. Although the war against capitalism is fought on many fronts, we are concerned, by virtue of our limitations, with the 'home front'. Unified action on the 'home front' is the only hope of success for the left wing in any single society. We have seen fraternal backbiting destroy hope, initiative, awareness and organisations. We have seen the Anti-War Movement make great progress in what comes closest to our ideal - unity in non-obligatory action. However, even this effort has been scarred by idea logical division.
We know that the revolution is not here - yet! We realise that the revolution is not just around the corner but we cannot wait for the forces of history, we must agitate, organise and develop. This must be done now. To delay is criminal. Our attempts will not be the first but our aims and activities will be new.
We recognise that many vital issues have the support of those who can think and are concerned. These people are not a majority, but this is unimportant. If social progress becomes dependent upon the pleasure of the majority no progress will be made.
'Home front' experience demonstrates that a numerical majority is not a pre-requisite of political success, and we consider that the left wing is already strong enough to make its voice authoritative - even in a political structure which perpetuates and benefits from the capitalist system. The full potential impact of the organisational skills, the financial and political ability of the entire left will only be realised when it acts as a whole.
Our experience in 1971 confirmed that the essential element missing within the left was unity. After all, where was the unity at the last two Radical Activist Congresses, in the antiwar and the Committee on Vietnam in particular, in the ridiculous split amongst Wellington Communists, and in the general mass of gossip - much of it inaccurate and politically motivated.
We advocate, unity, tolerance, and understanding as the solution to the major problem facing the left today-political effectiveness. The 'home front' tories are an example of the benefits of unity within diversity. No-One could call the members of the National Party a numerical majority, and no-one can deny the existence of serious divisions within it; The same goes for the Labour Party. The lesson for the left lies in the ability of the individuals within these groups to compromise for the sake of the ultimate objective. This does not stifle individual thought or expression - it is essentially a realistic approach. These groups hold together despite their differences, they are politically successful in more ways than the one simply measured by that irrelevant exercise called the general election. The left can emulate this success, all it requires is tolerance and compromise.
If the extreme left can demonstrate some of these characteristics it could force the Labour Party to move decisively to the left, or it could eventually isolate the reactionary right wing of that group. Some parties have completely rejected the parliamentary road. We do not entirely reject it because we feel that it can be exploited by the left for the benefit of it because we feel that it can be exploited by the left for the benefit of the people.
We have heard repeated calls for left wing unity. We have seen these answered with intensified intra-left disagreement. Reason alone has proven insufficient. We propose to change this - by force.
We intend to expose and aggravate the divisions within the left, and will expose personality differences as well as political differences. We will expose, for example, certain individuals who have made considerable profits from certain conferences (N.B. the plural)! The aggravation of existing contradictions with the left will thus eventually give rise to a new, effective, unity.
We have given these matters serious thought over a period of several months. We are all already active within the left and we have all devoted considerable time and energy on its behalf. We do not intend to stop now.