Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 17. 19th July 1972
The Faction Line
The Faction Line
We crapped out last week telling you about Bill Logan's party. But even if one revolutionary leninist (Trotskyite) party in Wellington isn't quite dead yet the other is going down the same slippery road to extinction.
Owen Gager, New Zealand's second oldest Trotskyite, is standing for Wellington Central as a labour candidate on a typically principled Marxist platform. There's only one 'thing worrying Owen though. Its not Dave Shand, of course, but the dynamic new Values Party. Owen doesn't want Val-ues opposition in his campaign so he tried to do a deal with the party's leader, ex-NZ Herald journalist Tony Brunt.
They met one grey Sunday afternoon in the Salient office. Surrounded by countless witnesses Owen sat and read Brunt's political platform. "I agree with 70% of it", he finally exclaimed, failing to tell Brunt that he meant he agreed with 70% of the actual policies which made up 30% of the whole thing. But Owen's opportunism failed. Brunt, who has got someone from I.B.M. lined up to stand for his new radical Values Party in Wellington Central, wasn't interested in doing a deal with Gager. Another great crap out for revolutionary leninism, Gager and his off sider Franks who tried to jack the whole shabby compromise up.
As "Faction Line" is accused of incompetent reporting in a letter from one of Logan's mates this week, and a correspondent accused us generally of incompetence last week you'll be wondering how we get our stories.
To take a typical example. Bill Logan's party. In fact word of Bill's show came from at least five sources. People who were there, people who were alleged to be there, the neighbours who might have called the police, the person who inspired the bikies to go to the party from the "Duke" and all the N.Z.U.S.A. heavies, Maoists and amateur journalists who heard the story the night after the party at Peter Cullen's place. All these people gave differing stories to Salient, but we lost all but one of them. Don't think that was the story we printed. Oh No. In fact we lost that one later, too.
But no one ever forgets a good smeary story. So we recreated it and showed it to all the Trots in Wellington (minus Bill and his two followers, and our friends at Mount Leon). So there were at least fifty people involved in the whole effort
While we maintain that somebody made the guests unwelcome, and somebody called the cops, and an item of furniture was broken, we do not hesitate to deny that our story was riddled with factual errors. What the hell do you expect from fifty people ? But Logan's mate is wrong to question our ability at class analysis. If bikies are either lumpen proletarians or petty-bourgeois bohemians, and not genuine workers, then wharfies must he comprador bourgeois and freezing workers intelligentsia. And according to the same funny line of thinking Logan's Spartacist League would be but a pack of middle-class shits, wouldn't they.
The mobilisation is dead, long live the factions! That is the new call to action from the Wellington Left. What is of course important is who won the battle of the mobilisations. In terms of numbers, the game the Socialist Action League like to play, the C. O. V. won by a small margin - about 300 or so, not counting the people who joined in the march on the way. What intrigued us however was the chanting. The Wellington Mobilisation Committee (with its "tiny proportion" of S.A.L. members) won out there. Their 'one, two, three, four, stop the bombing, stop the war' chant might have sounded like a randy flock of sheep but it had more impact than the dis-jointed chants of 'One side right, one side wrong, we support the Vietcong' which came from sections of the main march. In fact cynics noted at the time that the latter slogan sounded very much like the chant 'Four legs good, two legs bad' George Orwell dreamed up in Animal Farm.
But principled political struggle must continue. The morning after the Mobe George Fyson, co ordinator of the Mobilisation Committee's march, issued a statement dissociating his committee from the half -assed sit-down in Lambton Quay and the rally at the end of the march, where a US flag was burned and horror of horrors, 'Obscenities were shouted through the microphone" So there are the reasons for the Mobe Com mittee's continuing split from the COV: a burning flag and a couple of four letter words. With principled differences like these, the Wellington left has surely reached the height of political struggle and must certainly have overcome its capitalist enemies long ago.
Rumour has it that the RSA has been hitting out at OHMS again. A reliable source reports that the RSA has approached the Education Department proposing that they stop OHMS from speaking to students at Secondary Schools. It is reported that the Department turned them down flat Not discouraged by this the RSA then set about approaching individual headmasters with the same proposals. A teacher at Upper Hutt college said that their headmaster had been under strong pressure from the RSA to stop a proposed debate between OHMS and an organisation or individual with opposing views. The RSA was asked to take part in this debate but declined. They don't like putting forward their views, they only like stopping others from doing it!