On the Logan Show Trial – Appendix C (iii)
Reflections on the Case of Keith O.
by Bill Logan, 11 December 1989
In retrospect this was the worst case in which I had responsibility.
Keith O. was a dedicated and political member of the SLANZ recruited from the Mandelite Communist League [in Melbourne]. On 16 March 1975 at an Organisational Plenum Meeting (national conference) of the SLANZ he made some comments which accused me of being a bit of a wheeler and dealer, and attributed those traits to a background in the New Zealand National Party. He did not regard this as a serious flaw.
The examples he gave when pressed led to the inference that he necessarily implied a level of political dishonesty in internal life. I rightly objected to these remarks, but made far too much of them, and extrapolated a conscious accusation of serious political dishonesty, and also political appetites which were outside the framework of the propaganda perspective. These extrapolations went too far.
When George Foster [deputy national chairman of the SL/U.S.] visited the section a few weeks later he pressed for a retraction from Keith O. in the form of an affidavit witnessed by a Justice of the Peace.
Foster notes his primary responsibility for this form of retraction in his report to the Interim Secretariat of the iSt dated 21 April 1975. Foster says this was “something I felt was important given the imputation that Logan’s alleged wheeling and dealing grew out of his experiences in the bourgeois New Zealand National Party.”
I went along with Foster’s recommendation. The affidavit was obtained. I now believe that it was entirely illegitimate to obtain this affidavit, and that its real purpose was merely to intimidate and break the comrade. He was in fact badly damaged for some years.
The organisation was under no material threat as a result of Keith O.’s accusations. It is difficult to think of situations when intra-party disputes might appropriately demand such affidavits.