Leading Green Party co-ieadership contender, Russell Norman has admitted to beginning his political career as a member of a Marxist-Leninist political party.
Here is an excerpt.
I joined the Democratic Socialist Party (or the Socialist Workers Party as it was known until it changed its name) when I was about 19 and was actively involved for several years.
When I finished high school and went to university I was one of only a few students from my state school year group to do so. It was very apparent that there was no equal access to opportunity for kids from state schools in Bjelke-Peterson’s Queensland.
I cared deeply about issues of access to education, aboriginal dispossession, global poverty, inequality, sustainability etc (I still do!). My parents were members of the Labor Party, but Labor had embraced the new right, so I was looking for something better. Socialist politics drew me in because they were vocal on issues which really mattered to me.
Eventually I found myself in opposition to their ideology and politics. I didn’t agree with the fundamental lack of democracy in Marxist-Leninist ideology and I didn’t think their theories took environmental sustainability seriously. The former led to Stalinism and to a stultifying intellectual climate. The latter meant that they tried to reduce the ecological crisis to class politics, which was ridiculous. How could you claim to care about people and downplay the fact that the planet on which we all depend is being systematically destroyed? I tried to reform it, but I couldn’t and I left (an experience common to many people).
Later, in the mid-1990s, I wrote a few articles for GreenLeft Weekly about New Zealand politics because the magazine is widely read in progressive circles and I believed that others could learn a lot from the good things that were happening in New Zealand (i.e. the resistance to Rogernomics and Ruthanasia, and later, GE).