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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 15. 1969.



Like more than few other people I am getting rather tired of one of the contributors to your paper. Mr. Owen Gager. It is well known that he makes more noise than anyone else on this campus in proclaiming himself a Trotskyist and an intellectual. Yet from observations of this individual over the last twelve months one cannot but reach the conclusion that his conception of himself differs somewhat from his reality, A Trotskyist is above all a revolutionary and yet there is very little to suggest that Mr. Gaper is any more revolutionary than a flat beer. And his activities as an intellectual range only from a nagging pedantry to spiteful gossip.

His attitude towards the Socialist Club is typical of his general political attitude. Initially he tried to prevent the affiliation of the club to the Students' Association and to obstruct its activities. When this fulled he alternatively feigned lack of interest and toyed with sectarian to deface a large poster that the club had on display But in spite of his opposition the club continued to develop its activities and organisation, and although these are still rather small scale if was enough to throw the ineptitude of Mr. Gager's own miniscule Spartacist Club into sharp relief. Even Gager had to admit this and he has since joined the Socialist Club.

But at bottom this was only belated recognition of the fact that students gravitaing owards socialism and Marxism were no longer gravitating toward him. He entered the Socialist Club simply in order to rescue his former position. He has simply taken up what he hopes will prove to be a more strategic stance from which to assail those who initiated and organised the Socialist Club, with the same old unsubstantiated smears—"the fake left", "pseudo-Trotskyists". "Pabloite revisionists", "stained with Stalinism", "vulgar Marxists", and many others. His latest article (Salient 14) carries the implication that the Socialist Club is some kind of hippie outfit, and in the Salient before that he linked it with Hitlerite activity.

But that is nothing out of the ordinary for this sectarian windbag. The need to bring forward evidence to substantiate one's claims, the need for clarity of exposition and for consistency of thought—none of these rate high on his scale of values. What does rate highly on this scale is his own "cleverness". But here also—and fared badly. All he has got to show from his "revolutionary" efforts to date is a defunct fan club.

M. H. Fyson.