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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973

American Socialist Makes Big Impact in Wellington

American Socialist Makes Big Impact in Wellington

George Novack

During his stay in Wellington, American Marxist scholar George Novack showed just why he is regarded as a leading authority in the field of socialist theory. Despite the fact that the series of lectures delivered by him were held during the May university and high school holidays, audiences of up to 30 people attended.

Novack delivered a series of four lectures on 'The History of American Trotskyism" and "A Programme for the Socialist Revolution". His talks underlined the vital role being played in the movement for socialism in the U.S. by groups such as the Socialist Workers Party and the Young Socialist Alliance. He described YSA (the U.S. counterpart of the Young Socialists in New Zealand) as "the largest, best organised, most cohesive youth organisation in the U.S."

George Novack's final engagement in Wellington was a Socialist Forum on the subject of "The Radical Movement in the U.S. Today". Speaking to an appreciative audience of more than 30, he traced the beginnings of the massive radicalisation of the 1960s back to the black Civil Rights movement in the South and the stunning inspiring victory of the Cuban Revolution. The Cuban example, he said, provided graphic proof that socialism was not "a forlorn or lunatic enterprise." Novack described how the steady growth of this widespread opposition to the crimes of American capitalism reached a higher level with the huge upsurge of protest against the vicious war of aggression in Indochina.

The impact and effects of this radicalisation would not simply disappear overnight, Novack said. A large percentage of Americans now harbour a deep distrust of the highest officials, and more and more people are resorting to direct action to acheive their demands.

He emphasised that this massive outburst of opposition to the whole basis of U.S. society has already become the broadest, most profound radicalisation in twentieth century America. This shows, he said, that this is becoming the era of the revival of American socialism. The ruling capitalist minority in the U.S. is "an historically doomed class" and is at present undergoing unprecedented difficulties. Novack's final remarks were enthusiastically received: "We don't grant indefinite life to the despots of the dollar."

Terry Marshall

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