Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 18. 27th July 1972
You Don't Have to be in the Army to Fight in the War ! — A Reply by OHMS Chairman Robert Reid
You Don't Have to be in the Army to Fight in the War !
A Reply by OHMS Chairman Robert Reid.
So OHMS is helping the army! I thought I heard something to that effect on the radio early one morning. But I was tired and turned over and went back to sleep. When I woke up again I thought I must have dreamt it However a few days later I saw half of the Sparticist League selling one of their papers with the headline "How OHMS helps the army."
Shoot a Paper Tiger
Not being given a complimentary copy I gave my 5cents for the rebuilding of the Fourth International and began to read the article.
The first paragraph was good - it applauded OHMS for being the most fashionable of "Left-wing" groups and approved of actions to undermine the army. Since OHMS has been classed as subversive by the RSA. Minister of Defence, Dunedin City Council and ex. POW Association I thought we might be on the right track. But no, half the Sparticists say the most effective way to undermine the army is from within.
Even although I am not a man for working within the system I read on, hoping to find some useful pointers of what to do if I ever get into the position of being forced into the army. But instead all I found was a whole lot of paper tigers brilliantly shot down.
How to Change Minds
Their first argument was against pacifism "it is very easy to denounce violence when your own life is comfortable, but such pontificating ignores the violence of the imperialistic system." I agree with this statement but looking at the Sparticists it seems it is even easier to denounce the violence of the imperialistic system but to do little about it It seems to me at the present time the "pacifists" are far more active than the "revolutionaries" A revolutionary purism such as that put forward by the Sparticists seems to lead to inaction rather than action and the article cautions revolutionaries "not to rush to volunteer as there are at the moment far more important tasks"
Logan's more important tasks seems to be changing minds by propaganda. I believe it takes more than propaganda to change minds. Minds are changed by action not by the paper war of the Sparticist League. There must be a revolution in peoples minds and one of the ways OHMS is helping in this is getting people to the stage of breaking immoral laws.
I consider that once people have got over this threshold point "people facing a lifetime of wage-slavery" will be able to take stronger and more meaningful action.
People or Pawns
If the Sparticists are against non-compliance with the army are they also against workers using non-compliance i.e. the strike? It seems incredible that a so called "revolutionary communist" group are against strike action. The final point the article made was that it is better to have revolutionaries in the army and the writer asked us to have a look of the effect of revolutionaries in the U S army. What effect? All I see is the Vietnam War continuing and any U.S. troop withdrawals being not because of dissent and non-compliance back home. The Vietnamese people are too important to be pawns in the Sparticists game of trying to achieve a perfect revolution somewhere. OHMS believe that all people are too important to be pawns and that forcing a person to train to kill is one of the greatest affronts to a persons humanity.
Without might, right remains a dream.
Without right, might is oppression
Without love, right becomes an ideology
Without right and might love degenerates into sentimentality.