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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 8. 19th April 1973

"Young Socialist" Smitten by Stalinist Smears

"Young Socialist" Smitten by Stalinist Smears

In your letters column in your April 11 issue a Mr Bonante cited the fact that a Socialist Unity Party spokesperson had called me an 'ultraleftist', and at a Hart meeting on the same evening Mike Law (National Deputy Chairman of Hart) had described me as 'a right wing agent'. Mr Bonante seemed rather puzzled by all this, and asked that die 'confusion' be cleared up. As the person most directly concerned, I will attempt to do just that.

The first charge (that I am an ultraleftist) was made in relation to the Trotskyist movement's condemnation of the Russian invasion of Hungary (1956). Czechoslovakia (1968), and the general repression of dissent within the Eastern European workers states. The charge was made by the Sup spokesperson in an attempt at discrediting this position, and 'justifying' his own party's slavish support for all the twists and tums in Soviet Union policy.

In attempting to hang the ultraleftism label on me, the Sup spokesperson simply demonstrated his party's complete lack of understanding of what this term really means. In line with everything else the Stalinists do, this spokesperson used a term which has a precise meaning in revolutionary theory, and twisted that meaning in order to justify his party' — bankrupt political positions. This simply follows from the Stalinist movement's long history of 'justifying' their sell outs, reformism, etc. The Stalinists are experts at rallying support for their bankruptcy from the revolutionary theory of Marx, Engels, and Lenin - through artificially injecting new meanings into the terms these men used, tearing quotations out of context, and so on.

The second charge (that I am 'a right wing agent') was made by Law when I was excluded from a Hart meeting on April 4. It is nothing more than a vicious smear. Law is fond of employing this kind of contemptible tactic and, like all those who use it, attempts to win his political point by hurling out absurd and unfounded abuse. Notice that he makes no attempt at proving his assertion (which he knows is a lie); he simply 'lays the charge', in a crude attempt at discrediting the political positions I support.

It is worth noting that this kind of smear has its origins in the Stalinist movement. Back in the 1920s and 1930s the Stalinists unsuccessfully tried to smear the Trotskyist movement through the use of expressions like 'agents of the Mikado", 'agents of Hitler', 'agent provocateur', etc. A more recent one is 'agents of the CIA'. Law therefore has the honour of helping to continue this noble 'tradition'. He has picked up on this disgusting smear tactic, and appears to be under the illusion that the use of it helps to bolster his 'radical' image.

In short, I am neither an ultraleftist, nor a right wing agent. "The Young Socialists, the political positions of which I support, is also neither of these two things. I trust therefore that Mr Bonante's 'confusion' can at last be laid lo rest.

Peter Rodtherham

Co-ordinator, Young Socialists.