After confirming that he was once a member of an Australian Marxist-Leninist organisation, the Democratic Socialist Party, I sent Green Party official, Russel Norman some further questions. Below are the questions, Russel Norman’s replies and my comments.
Trev. “Can you please confirm if you held any official positions in the
SWP/DSP, or any of its auxiliary organisations ie Resistance,
Environmental Youth Alliance, CISLAC etc?”
I held a few voluntary positions. Never made the chief kahuna I’m afraid.
New Zeal. Too vague Russel. Were you involved in the EYA? Did you hold any chairmanships or other senior position in the SWP/Resistance/DSP etc at local, state or national level?
Trev “Did you ever travel to any socialist bloc countries, including Cuba or
Nicaragua during your time with the SWP/DSP?”
No, never have. Is it ok with you if I travel to Nicaragua now that the Sandinistas lost the democratic elections that they organised?
New Zeal Thanks for that.
Trev: “Did you ever belong to any other political party ie Australian Greens, Labor Party, Nuclear Disarmament Party, while you were affiliated to the SWP/DSP?”
New Zeal Your problem here is Russel, that you belonged to a party that was well known for its infiltration of other political parties. You were too young to be involved in the SWP’s en masse infiltration of the Nuclear Disarmament Party, but were any of your comrades involved in the ALP while you were in the SWP/DSP? Unfortunately for you, anyone who belongs to a Marxist-Leninist party, that practices infiltration (entryism) then moves into another leftist party, while still writing for the Marxist-Leninist press, must expect to live under a cloud of suspicion.
Trev – “In which year did you formally resign your membership of the DSP?”
Slightly vague on that one I’m afraid – very early nineties – maybe ‘91?
New Zeal Not crediblble Russel. I would have thought that joining a Marxist-Leninist party is a big deal for a young socialist. I suspect leaving it would also be a significant event. To me, this is like saying that Jonah Lomu doesn’t remember which year he last played for the Allblacks. I bet he remembers the day, the hour and the weather at the ground. Care to be more specific Russel?
Trev – “Were you, before 2005, aware of Keith Locke’s and Jeanette Fitzsimon’s involvement with the DSP?”
I’m still not aware of it. Speaking to a conference of the Green left magazine (which is what i think Jeanette is being accused of) is hardly invovlement. Sorry I don’t read your blog otherwise I may be more aware of the ins and outs of it. I guess you mean Keith’s connections witht he left in the 1970s…
New Zeal This your weakest reply so far. You were writing for Green Left Weekly from at the latest 1994, till 1999. Keith Locke’s ongoing links to the DSP were well covered during that period. Janette Fitzsimons attended a conference,in 1994, where the vast majority of the 800 attendees were Marxist-Leninists. She spoke on the same platform with open M-Ls. She endorsed GreenLeft Weekly as a valuable to tool for promoting socialism. You were not aware of any of this Russel? Care to do a take two on that one?
Trev- “If you had sincerely renounced Marxism-Leninism, why were you still contributing to a Marxist-Leninist newspaper (GreenLeft Weekly) as late
GreenLeft has a range of writers. John Pilger is no Marxist Leninist. And nor am I. I would happily contribute an article to the Nat Business Review but that doesn’t mean I subscribe to their politics does it?
New Zeal Again highly unsatisfactory. John Pilger is, in my opinion, what they used to call, a “fellow traveller”. His writing for Green Left and your opinion of him, heightens my concerns, rather than alleviates them. Not a Marxist-Leninist Russel? How far left are you? Are the reports of your friendship with Barry Gribben and Laila Harre true?
Trev – “In what year and in what circumstances, did you last have any formal or informal contact with the DSP, its auxiliary organisations or senior personnel? ”
You know you really should get out more. There is no global communist conspiracy. I haven’t had contact with them since I left – except I guess when I emailed the articles to GreenLeft in 1996 and 1999. Nothing personal. There were some really nice people there but I’ve been doing other things.
New Zeal I have to take your word for this. However, the fact that you considered it OK to write for a Marxist-Leninist paper, while active in the NZ Green Party, tells me something about your philosophical outlook and your judgement.
I look forward to you clarifying the outstanding points.