Let me first say that I supported homosexual law reform, as I supported last year’s Civil Union Bill. What I have never supported has been the Marxist current of the gay movement which has used a just cause to promote unjust measures, such as anti discrimination laws and “hate speech” legislation.
Bill Logan started at Victoria University in 1966 as a self confessed conservative. Later that year, Logan helped take over the university National Party club, in order to push an anti Vietnam War message. Whether he was already a radical at this stage I don’t know, but it was common at this time for radicals to attempt to infiltrate the campus National clubs.
By 1968, Logan was editor of the student newspaper, Salient. In one letter to the paper, signed with Neville Gibson, Owen Gager, Jan Walker and Greg Smith, Logan and co claimed to be real Trotskyites, while messrs Clarke, Hector MacNeill, Owen Hughes and the Fyson brothers were mere fake Trots.
Bill Logan proved his anti Stalinism when he and Owen Gager, protested outside the Wellington Soviet Embassy over the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
In 1970, Logan’s last year at uni, he was on the convening committee of the 2nd Radical Activists Congress, a nationwide gathering of Trots, Maoists, PYMers, anarchists, peaceniks and hippies.
By 1972, Logan was leader of a tiny Wellington based Trotskyite sectlet, the Spartacist League. The league split the same year in a dispute between Owen Gager and Bill Logan and his then partner, Adaire Hannah, over joining the Spartacist League-US. Gager argued that the SL-US had not broken completely with the Socialist Workers Party-US, nor did he “think that the SL-US represented any programmatic continuity with Trotsky.”
Gager went on to form the Communist Left of Australia, in 1974, while Logan and Hannah set up a Spartacist group also in Australia.
By 1981, Logan was back in NZ, marching and being arrested during the Springbok Tour.
By 1985, the left had a new cause, Homosexual Law Reform. Logan became a leading member and co-ordinator of one of the movement’s most important organisations, the Gay Task Force. Against stiff opposition led by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens and National MP, Norm Jones, the left and the liberals won the day and male homosexual behaviour was legalised in 1986.
Logan was also a founding member of the left leaning gay lobby group, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and the Wellington Gay Welfare Group. He has served on the Gay Switchboard since 1982.
In the late ’80s, Logan founded yet another Trotskyite sectlet, known as the Permanent Revolution Group. In 1989, Logan led his followers en masse into Jim Anderton’s New Labour Party. Too radical even for Jim, the PRG was soon expelled, together with Dave Bedggood’s Auckland based, Communist Left.
Logan’s PRG was the NZ affiliate of the International Bolshevik Tendency, an impressive sounding title for five or six sectlets based in the UK, USA, Gemany and Latin America. At one time Logan was on the editorial board of the IBT’s journal, “The Bolshevik”.
The PRG established a youth wing at Victoria University called the “Bolshevik Club”. Some may remember these people around Vic in the ’90s, with their little stands at Clubs Day. I remember seeing Bill Logan manning the Bolshevik Club stand as late as 2002.
Bill Logan still describes himself as an old-fashioned Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyist. He is now a marriage celebrant and counsellor and lives in Wellington with his partner, actor and story teller, Rangimoana Taylor.
He maintains an interest “in the work of Lev Vygotsky, the Russian Marxist psychologist, who focuses on the interacting development of language, consciousness, behaviour and social organisation, and emphasises the importance of words as psychic tools.”
The grand old man of gay Marxism, Logan is still in demand from younger activists wishing to draw from his experience.
In 2005 Logan presented a workshop, with Nick Kelly, to the conference of the campus based gay activist group UNIQ. They spoke on campaigning and discussed how to counter “extremist” groups like Destiny Church, the gay marriage issue and the Adoption Act.
This coming weekend, Bill Logan is presenting a workshop at the Palmerston North UniQ National Conference entitled “Results and Prospects: A Marxist Viewpoint on the 20th Anniversary of Homosexual Law Reform“.
Bill Logan started out blue, turned red, then pink, then gray. Bit like a steak really.