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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 9. 9 May 1972

political power docs not come out of the ballot box

political power docs not come out of the ballot box

The article "Is the Dream Over?" is another example of the sell-out political views which Salient has been publishing from anonymous sources. Who is providing this rubbish — Brigadier Gilbert, the University Administration, student reactionaries, the CIA, or the Labour Party? The article shows its sell-out politics in its complete aversion to force as a political consideration. But Mao says, "political power comes out of the barrel of a gun", a truth which applies universally for political action.

It is true that mass marches have little effect on the fundamental policies of the capitalist ruling class. All mass marches can show is that there is numerical support for the viewpoint at issue. The ruling class may be influenced by a show of numbers, if it is otherwise motivated to do so. But numbers alone are no challenge to the ruling class, which after all is a 10% minority getting smaller all the time, and long skilled in dominating over the other 90% of the people, whom it divides, setting the different sectors against each other.

It takes force to affect the ruling class. Force applied by large numbers of people united as a class can overthrow the ruling class, as has been seen in Russia 1917 and China 1949. Numbers alone cannot compel the ruling class. The ruling class has its troops standing by out of sight at all mass demonstrations, ready to shoot down unarmed people. This applies in NZ. "Bloody Sundays" are events of this nature. The political leaders who lead the unarmed masses to Bloody Sundays, such as Father Gapon in 1905 have been revealed as agents provocateurs. The organisers of mass demonstrations here may be the same sort of people. Force without numbers cannot overthrow the ruling class, but it can affect the ruling class. Small groups of demonstrators, ready to use appropriate force, can win their point. This is shown as recently as April 16, when a group of about 80 demonstrators marched on to the Auckland wharves in protest against an Australian warship just returned from helping U.S. aggression against Vietnam. Although the warship was open to the public, it was quickly closed when the demonstrators, organised by the Progressive Youth Movement and the Vietnam Committee, appeared. In Wellington we need demonstrations of this sort. It is demonstrations of this sort, not the occasional mass marches, that force the ruling class to keep warships out in the roads, a clear sign of their weakness and fear.

The article "Is The Dream Over?" is wrong when it says that the government is content to administer the country "usually to the benefit of the capitalists — sometimes at their behest ". On the contrary, the government does so always to the benefit of the dominant sector of capitalists and always at their behest. Likewise, the article is wrong when it says that the government has the potential to control the country, but does not choose to exercise it. On the contrary, it is the capitalist class, as the ruling class who control the country, and the government is completely incapable of acting otherwise than as an administrative committee of the ruling class. This being so, it is nonsense to suggest that any public campaign can get the Government to take control and act against the interests of the capitalist ruling class; and consequently sheer nonsense to suggest that a Labour government could be got to act so.

The article is wrong in ruling out the possibility of revolution. Small but effective actions, such as the April 16 demonstration mentioned before, can be taken, and the objective conditions are developing which will make effective mass revolutionary action a real possibility well within the foreseeable future.

Neil Wright

Communist Party of New Zealand. Wellington Branch