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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25. No. 11. 1962



Some of my readers will no doubt have read books such as Neal Wood's Communism and British Intellectual and Koestler's The God That Failed (about which there was an interesting series of radio programmes on the YC Stations recently). These books tell of the disillusionment which, progressively overcame Communist intellectuals in the Western World and which led nearly all of them to break with the Party. Here in New Zealand something similar happened. The intellectual element of the Communist Party was strongest in the late thirties and the forties. Disillusionment increased as the years went by. The final shocks were given by the events in Hungary and by Krushchev's de-Stalinisation speech at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956. No less a Communis leader than its General-Secretary, S. W. Scott, defected from the Party this time, and has told his story In his book Rebel in a Wrong Cause. Following the defection of its intellectual wing the Party has tended to isolate itself under the cloak of "proletarianism." By and large it is the emphasis on proletarianism which makes it such a small factor in New Zealand political life today. But the very fact that the Communists are able to capture the hearts and minds of only a small number of New Zealanders induces an attitude that Communism in New Zealand can safely be ignored. This attitude is akin to that of the ostrich which buries its head in the sand. The Party membership includes a number, increasing year by year, of "comrades" who have visited the Soviet Union and China on courses of training. The present District Secretary of the Party in Wellington, a paid functionary, is a case in point. The Soviet and Chinese authorities must think that their liberality in financing these visits will pay a dividend