The Socialist Action League
Several waves of Trotskyists have infiltrated the Labour Party over the years. The most significant attempt beginning in the early ’70s was carried out by the Socialist Action League.
Formed in 1969, the SAL was affiliated to an international network of Trotskyist parties, the Fourth International and was very pro Castro’s Cuba.
In 1972 the SAL launched a Socialists for Labour campaign, “to build support for a Labour Government in 1972 around a socialist programme . . . it expects to attract many young people into a national network of Young Socialists for a Labour Government groups.”
Chairman of the Socialists for Labour Campaign was National secretary of the SAL, Keith Locke. More than half of the SAL’s approximately 200 members operated quite openly inside the Labour Party.
Some helped the campaigns of “progressive” Labour candidates including two, Matt Robson and Mike Treen who served on future PM Mike Moore’s, electorate committee when he was first elected to parliament for the Eden electorate in 1972.
The SAL’s infiltration of Labour was exposed in “Truth” and was raised in Parliament by then PM, Rob Muldoon.
Under considerable pressure and wanting to be seen to be taking action, on the 25th of May 1972, the National Executive of the Labour Party announced proscription of the SAL
Labour’s executive stated that the “structure and affiliation of the Socialist Action League is such that it offends against the constitution of the NZLP . . . it is not possible to belong to both the NZLP and the Socialist Action League.”
Keith Locke replied in a statement “Is it not a publicly-acknowledged fact that the Socialist Action League is an organisation of Labour Party members which explicitly supports the Party and organises socialists for this purpose?”
The proscription was never enforced however, though a half-hearted attempt to expel Keith Locke was made in 1974.
Matt Robson, though holding several Labour Party positions stood as an SAL parliamentary candidate in Grey Lynn in 1975.
In the end not one SAL member was ever expelled from the Labour Party.
Some, like Matt Robson and his wife Petronella Townsend drifted out of the SAL and stayed active in Labour for many years.
Later some, such as Robson, Townsend and Paul Piesse of Christchurch, left Labour to join Jim Anderton’s crypto-communist New Labour Party in 1989.
3 thoughts on “How Socialist Extremists Took Over the New Zealand Labour Party Part 7”
Speaking of Bassett Trev, I’d love to see your expose on him – and I mean a real expose…..
He whose singular contibution to a TV doco on Lange 2-3 years ago was to be a bitchy, sniping harridan – in notable contrast to “shallow” travellers Douglas, Prebble, Caygill, Moore, the Reverend Terris, et al.
So viperish, so unforgiving….. an ugly performance ! Makes you wonder really.
“What a baaaaad speech…..”, to quote the very man who rode into politics and a parliamentary pension on the votes of adoring Labour faithful…..whom he then betrayed, lashed, and sneered upon.
Good research anon, but exactly how does it contradict anything I’ve written?
“Infiltrated”??? When they “openly engaged” with Labour? You can’t have it both ways, Trev!
As a matter of fact, from what I’ve read, the issue of banning the SAL was openly debated at Labour Party conferences and rejected by the majority. In other words, far from being a clandestine affair, their right to belong was decided democratically. I would guess that the conservative old guard who wanted them banned are long dead, as is the SAL. Why you think this is relevant in 2007 is one of life’s little mysteries…
You wrote: “The SAL’s infiltration of Labour was exposed in “Truth” and was raised in Parliament by then PM, Rob Muldoon.”
Perhaps this is the expose?
“Dr ‘Mouth’ and the Red Connection” was the lurid headline under which the scandal-sheet Truth, in its March 10 issue, attacked Dr Michael Bassett and the Socialist Action League.
Bassett, former Labour MP for Waitemata, had put his name along with others to a public statement being circulated by the Socialist Action League calling for an inquiry into the CIA in New Zealand. Truth has used this fact to brand Bassett with the same charge that it levelled against former Eden Labour MP Mike Moore last year – that he is “linked with the communist Socialist Action League”.
[Excerpt from a news brief by Keith Locke in Socialist Action, April 9, 1976]
You often cite “Truth”, Trev, so presumably you think it’s a reliable source?