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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973

Talking Gutter

page 19

Talking Gutter

Dear Sir,

The spectacle of Socialist Action Leaguer George Fyson trying to extricate himself from an impossible political position can be an instructive lesson in working-class politics. As he publicly denounced me as an example of "the lowest scum of the university" and "not even worth talking to" in Cuba Street last Friday night I was reminded of Mao Tse Tung's advice:

"It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work."

A further interesting example of Fyson's wild attack was his accusation that "Peter Franks is a gutless bastard who always backs down." Fyson was pressed for an example of Peter Franks' alleged cowardice several times — he refused to give even one.

More importantly however it should be noted that Fyson is not only a bad mannered person but a disreputable and unscrupulous politican. It is a fact that I had never heard the Socialist Action League actually call the leaders of the Vietnamese people "Stalinist misleaders" in those precise words, although the implication has been made plain many times in the course of their sectarian "antiwar" antics. However, this semantic deficiency was remedied when I recently spoke to Russell Johnson who agreed to speak on behalf of the S.A.L.

"The Vietnamese Communist Party has not broken with Stalinism" Johnson informed me. Now, Trotskyites regard Stalinists and Maoists as misleaders by definition. But Johnson went further and pointed out that the S.A.L. and Y.S. "Disagreed with much of the politics of the Vietnamese leaders" — giving the example of their call for recognition of the rights of Vietnamese landowners." (i.e. the uniting of all patriotic elements in the struggle against the main enemies — U.S. imperialism and its Vietnamese puppets.)

Because of its fixation with an ideology shown up many years ago as an objective weapon of the bourgeoise, the S.A.L. is doomed to a future of sectarian isolation, distortion of the present struggle and tacit support of imperialist oppression. It is for this reason and this alone that their ideas and activities are opposed by progressive people and organisations.

Yours fraternally,

Don Franks.