Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 7. 11th April 1973
Moscow Circus Not For Students
Moscow Circus Not For Students
When the branch president of a political party comes to a university to seek recruits for his party, what aspect of the role of universities is he acknowledging? Is he seeing universities as the source of all learning and as places which encourage free and varied thinking, and where all attitudes are considered before a balanced decision is made? Is he thus seeing in university intellectuals people who can best outline the forms and policies that political society should adopt for itself?
This is what one would expect of the ordinary, run-of-the-mill New Zealand political party. Salient recently carried a report of the activities of the National Party in this field (29 March). But it came as rather a surprise, then, when the Wellington Branch Chairman of the Socialist Unity Party came to V.U.W. to recruit intellectuals to his "worker's party". How many worker-oriented university students can Jim Hoy expect to find here? And if one considers the groups with whom the S.U.P. has fraternal relations, it is doubtful that they really want worker-oriented intellectuals, anyway.
From what has been written recently in Salient and in other places on the role of universities in society, it should be apparent that universities are not full of working-class thought. All that is taught about the economic relations in society is taught from the bourgeois point of view. The language of university intellectualism is not the language of the worker (try getting a worker to read Marx). The university in our society has the role of producing the necessary technicians so that New Zealand can become a great and powerful country. Quite apart from all this, student learning is not practical learning anyway (even the Employer's Federation will tell you that). And any working class children that get to university soon become bourgeois.
It might be more appropriate to question the genuineness of the claim of the S.U.P. to be a worker's party. It is true that in this country the party is strong amongst industrial workers, but who are these industrial workers? They are the drivers, the freezing workers, and the watersiders, yes, but they are only the trade union leaders in these industries.
The groups with whom the S.U.P. has fraternal relations include the Russian and French Communist Parties, and again it is doubtful that either of these is a working class party. It is easy to understand the S.U.P. trying to recruit university students for technicians, if the New Zealand revolution is to be betrayed in the same way as the Russian revolution has been.
A consideration of the French Communist Party would probably be more useful for gaining an understanding of the S.U.P. Jim Hoy considered that the policy of the French Communist Party was the one way to the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in France, the dictatorship of the proletariat being of course the one way to scientific socialism according to Marxist—Leninist thought. If the socialist-communist coalition had won the last election, there would by now exist the dictatorship of the proletariat. Unfortunately, it appears that something has been forgotten in this analysis: this is that the communists were only the minority party in the coalition.
It is rather unlikely anyway that the forces of Nato and the EEC would have allowed such a change of government to advance beyond traditional Western social-democracy. Yet Jim Hoy now predicts that there will be a left-wing victory leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat in 1977!
One of the results of the participation of the French Communist Party in the parliamentary system in this way, is that it cannot allow any revolutionary activity to occur in France lest its image be damaged. The French Communist Party imagines that they are the only true representative of the working class in France, and no-one else can be permitted to hold a revolution. This type of policy became particularly conspicuous during May 1968. After the masses of workers and students (several hundred thousand of them) had set the Paris stock exchange on fire and were advancing on the Ministries of Justice and Finance, the Communist Party Officials carefully shepherded everyone back to the University headquarters. In the factories where the workers had taken over, the CGT (Communist Trade-Union Conferation) took over negotiations and sent the workers back to work — and the negotiations achieved nothing.
This is an example of the policy attitude of the S.U.P., who condemn Maoists and Trotskyists (what a comparison) together as ultra-leftists. The same S.U.P. saw the Labour victory in the last election as an indication that the New Zealand worker truly desires socialism. It is really no wonder that they failed to get any recruits for their party — only condolences from a true Marxist— Leninist who came to listen but not to join.
by David Tripe