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Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University Students Association. Volume 40, Number 3. March 14, 1977.

From the Lowly Classed Overseas Students

From the Lowly Classed Overseas Students.

Dear David,

The appearance of a letter from Patrick Mulrennan in last week's Salient attacking my report on a recent meeting of the Wellington Anti-Apartheid Plenary is very welcome. The complete abscence of any substabtive argument against the slogan which features 'let the oppressed people decide' exposes the inability of the trotskyites to justify their stand at that meeting and subsequently. Also the fact that the overseas students in their own meeting felt the need to specifically support this slogan and not 'let the blacks decide' is ignored by Mulrennan.

The rest of the letter is a meaningless ramble which jumbles and obliterates the real developments in the anti-apartheid movement. I specifically mentioned in my article that the current WAAP slogan was the same as the one before Christmas. I specifically mentioned why (better political understanding) basically the same group of people improved their slogan. It was only with the introduction of a new group of people spearheaded by the 'Polynesians Against Racism' and co-ordinated by the Trotskyites that the policy was reversed — this time a step backwards and not forwards.

It was made clear by these people that their reason for changing this policy was because they felt people particularly 'blacks' could not 'identify' with the present one. The overseas students in their own meeting refuted this argument as they were unable to identify with the Trotskyite/ 'Polynesians Against Racism' slogan for the reasons outlined in my first article - but Patrick Mulrennan's inverted racism prevents him from attacking the oversas students.

These people who had 'identity' problems represent only a small section of those interested and involved in the anti-apartheid movement. Elsewhere in the country people have accepted slogans essentially similar to WAAP's original one.

Now, I would like to cite an example of how the trotskyites approach democracy. In 1973 as they attempted to organise their sectarian march they called a meeting at the university. Genuine anti-apartheid activists far outnumbered the trotskyites at the meeting. They moved that the meeting abandon the march and support the National Anti-Apartheid Committee campaign. The trotskyites walked out of the room and reconvened their meeting elsewhere!

The anti-apartheid movement will only become strong if it is democratic. If this means that from time to time groups interested more in promoting themselves than promoting the anti-apartheid movement occasionally win some victories then this must be accepted. Their victories will only ever be hollow because their involvement will only last as long as the possibility of self-promotion exists and will fade as soon as the hard work starts. This has happened before and will no doubt happen again. Those people who are genuine and have joined WAAP as a result of this debate are not the object of my criticism.

Bruce Robinson