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Workers Vanguard No. 900

12 October 2007

New ICL Bulletin

The Logan Dossier

Documentary Evidence and Testimony in the August 1979 Trial and Expulsion of Bill Logan from the international Spartacist tendency for Crimes Against Communist Morality and Elementary Human Decency

Extensive introductory section by the International Secretariat
of the ICL includes:

• Preface
• Summary of Facts and Findings
• Summary Continued: Refuting Logan’s Lying Defense
• A Postscript on Bill Logan and the BT: Garbage Doesn’t Walk by Itself

Documentation includes:
• Indictment and Verdict
• Minutes, Correspondence and Other Background Evidence (1972-77)
• Pretrial Documentary Testimony (1979)
• Trial Proceedings, 26-29 August 1979—Selected Transcripts
189 pages in two volumes • Each volume: US$5 A$6 Cdn$6 £3
Order from/make checks payable to:


Spartacist Publishing Co.
Box 1377 GPO
New York, NY 10116

Spartacist ANZ Publishing Co.
GPO Box 3473
NSW 2001

Spartacist Canada Publishing Assoc.
Box 6867, Station A
Toronto, Ontario
M5W 1X6

Spartacist Publications
PO Box 42886 London
N19 5WY

We reprint below the Preface to The Logan Dossier, produced by the International Secretariat of the International Communist League in August 2007. All references not otherwise cited refer to documents published in the bulletin.

This bulletin documents the facts and findings leading to the expulsion of Bill Logan from the international Spartacist tendency, now International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist), at our first delegated International Conference in August 1979. Logan had been national chairman of the Spartacist League of Australia and New Zealand (now Spartacist League/Australia) during its formative period, 1972-77, national chairman of the Spartacist League/Britain at the time of its founding in 1978 and a member of the International Executive Committee (IEC), the leading body of the iSt/ICL. Logan was investigated by an International Control Commission, tried and found guilty of crimes against communist morality during his tenure as SL/ANZ national chairman and shown to be a “proven, massive liar and a sexual sociopath who manipulated the private lives of comrades for reasons of power politics and his own aberrant appetites and compulsions in the guise of Marxism” (“Motion and Vote on the Findings of the Trial Body”). By a unanimous vote, the conference delegates resolved that Logan had no place in the iSt and “cannot be and should never have been a member of a working-class organization.”

Following Logan’s expulsion, we took the unusual step of publicly releasing three internal bulletins titled “On the Logan Regime” (International Discussion Bulletin No. 10, Parts I and II, January 1979; Part III [International Information Bulletin No. 16], November 1983). The first and second of these deal with the fight against Logan’s abusive regime in the SL/B and some initial re-examination of the Logan period in the Australian section. The third contains materials related to the SL/ANZ charges and the trial, including the reports from the trial body to the conference and excerpts of the floor discussion. Some of the material in this bulletin was originally assembled for inclusion in one or more additional bulletins at the time, but has remained unpublished until now. Other materials in this bulletin were retrieved from our party archives or transcribed from the tape recordings of the trial proceedings.

What Logan did to the Australian comrades first emerged at a national gathering of the SL/ANZ in January 1979. A couple of months before that, in October 1978, Logan had been ousted as national chairman of the SL/B, resigning from the post after a sharp political confrontation. During his 18 months in Britain, Logan had shown himself to be unfit to lead the section. He was duplicitous in his dealings with the iSt center, the Interim Secretariat (I.S.—now International Secretariat), and with his peers on the IEC; abusive in his treatment particularly of women comrades, and heavy-handed in his response to criticism or disagreement from SL/B members. At the time, the Logan regime in Britain was seen as a bureaucratic aberration, the result of an insecure, trigger-happy leader who was in over his head. Logan remained on the IEC and, at considerable party expense, he and his wife and collaborator, Adaire Hannah, were transferred to New York to work in the I.S.

No one could then imagine that a leading member of our communist organization could be the monstrous sociopath Logan was soon proved to be. Logan’s abusive practices were constrained in the SL/B by its frequent contact with the international leadership and its core of mature cadre. The SL/ANZ, on the other hand, was a distant section with relatively inexperienced young comrades. But the fight in Britain unlocked and catalyzed a process of re-examination by the SL/ANZ membership. This came to a head at the SL/ANZ national gathering, as comrades began revealing to each other and to the visiting I.S. representative, Reuben Samuels, painful experiences they had long kept to themselves for fear of being “disloyal.” The SL/ANZ conference saw an outpouring of traumatic recollections and accusations.

Those accusations were subsequently codified in a resolution of the SL/ANZ Central Committee (see “Charges from the SL/ANZ Central Committee”). An International Control Commission (ICC) was appointed by the IEC. It was charged with amassing and weighing the evidence and was constituted as a trial body to pursue further testimony and reach a verdict in the case. This trial body was made up of comrades from throughout the international who were highly regarded for their integrity and had had no significant previous involvement with Logan. It was chaired by comrade Martha Phillips (Piper) from the SL/U.S., who was murdered in Moscow in 1992 while fighting to cohere a Trotskyist nucleus in the face of the counterrevolutionary tide that destroyed the Soviet Union. The trial body included other comrades from the SL/U.S. and from the Canadian and German sections of the iSt. Also serving on the trial body was the veteran Sri Lankan Trotskyist Edmund Samarakkody, whose organization had until then been engaged in fraternal relations with the iSt for some time. Comrades Toni R. and Rachel W. served as recording secretary and support counsel, respectively, for the Commission. Comrade Dave Reynolds of the SL/ANZ Central Committee acted as prosecutor on behalf of the Australian complainants.

In the months before the trial, over three dozen statements and documents totaling hundreds of pages were submitted by SL/ANZ members and other comrades offering detailed testimony of Logan’s acts, and by Logan and Hannah in his defense. More than 30 witnesses testified in person at the trial, which took place over a period of four days immediately preceding the formal opening of the International Conference. Several hundred pages of documentary evidence from the period of the Logan/Hannah regime—minutes, memoranda, political correspondence and extracts of some personal correspondence—were also available to the Control Commission. Logan had the right to cross-examine witnesses and dispute the documentary evidence. The findings of the trial body were then reported to the conference and were the subject of an extensive discussion involving two reporters and more than 40 speakers.

We publish here essential documents submitted as written testimony to the trial body as well as certain correspondence and other materials from the period of the Logan regime in Australia demonstrating how it flouted existing Spartacist norms and corroborating the testimony. Additionally, we are including substantial extracts of the transcripts of the proceedings of the trial body, where such testimony does not largely replicate the written materials. It should be stressed, as it was at the outset of the trial by comrade Martha P., that in a Leninist party trial written and oral testimony are given equal weight. For the sake of convenience, the current bulletin includes some items previously published in IIB No. 16: the SL/ANZ CC resolution detailing the charges, Dave R.’s summary presentation to the trial body and the ICC motion expelling Logan adopted by the International Conference.

* * *

As Marx understood when he put aside other critical work for the better part of a year in 1860 in order to expose the dubious and slanderous Herr Vogt, necessary tasks of political sanitation cannot long be avoided without paying a price. In the years after his expulsion Logan resurfaced in New Zealand and managed to insinuate himself back into the left internationally, in good part through the instrumentality of a clot of embittered ex-members of ours in North America who in October 1982 declared themselves an “External Tendency of the iSt” (ET—renamed Bolshevik Tendency, BT, in 1985). In its October 1982 founding “Declaration of an External Tendency of the iSt,” the ET made Logan the poster boy for the launch of a vendetta against our party, portraying him as a scapegoat of our allegedly bureaucratic “regime.” Yet, to our knowledge, the ET/BT then maintained a public silence on Logan for more than eight years, until the sudden announcement in 1991 of its 1990 “fusion” with his New Zealand Permanent Revolution Group (PRG). At that point, not only did these political desperadoes publicly embrace Logan, they actually anointed him principal leader of their new “International Bolshevik Tendency.” As we will detail later, while pursuing its own brand of Stalinophobic, social-democratic politics, over the years the BT has engaged in all manner of provocation and slander against us in its drive to destroy our party.

This same Logan, while masquerading as an “international Bolshevik” leader, has simultaneously maintained a real-life practice in Wellington, New Zealand, as a professional “celebrant”—a New Age version of evangelical preacher and spiritual healer. As detailed below in the section titled “A Postscript on Bill Logan and the BT: Garbage Doesn’t Walk by Itself,” various public accounts by former members of the PRG and BT attest that Logan has continued some of the same kinds of practices for which we expelled him 28 years ago. For more on the question of the BT’s peculiar political physiognomy, we refer readers to the above-cited bulletins; several editions of Hate Trotskyism, Hate the Spartacist League, our bulletin series consisting mainly of reprints of anti-Spartacist polemics by our opponents; the ICL pamphlet, The International Bolshevik Tendency—What Is It? (August 1995) and numerous articles dealing with the BT in our indexed bound volumes of Workers Vanguard (see, for example, “Kneeling Before the Body of General Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham,” WV No. 827, 28 May 2004).

In publishing the documentary record of the Logan trial, we aim to make clear to a new generation of leftists that the likes of Logan have no place in the workers movement, to expose his opportunist “Bolshevik” Tendency for the suspect outfit it is and to demolish its lying smears and slanders against our party. Hopefully, the belated release of this bulletin will serve a broader purpose as well. In braying over the alleged “death of communism” in the years since the counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991-92, the very same bourgeois propagandists who apologize for a system of imperialist mass murder denounce those who seek to liberate humanity from class exploitation as evil incarnate—power-hungry, corrupt, pathologically violent and hostile to all human sensibilities. As this record of our fight to rid the workers movement of Logan shows, such attributes are inimical to the very essence of authentic communism.

But the features that made Logan the repulsive creature he is are not unusual in bourgeois society. The accumulation of wealth and the administration of power necessary to maintain and perpetuate that privileged status often attract people who have qualities like Logan’s. The British ruling class, particularly in its Tory embodiment, has long been notorious in its appetite for blood sports, capital punishment (most recently mere hanging), corporal punishment in its schools and associated sado-masochistic sexual proclivities. All these things, taken together, serve an important social purpose. They outfit the rulers of the country and the late empire to properly administer their holdings, both in regard to the downtrodden and exploited, and in defense against imperialist rivals.

Logan was a product of this system in the small, neo-Victorian dominion of New Zealand. His political origins, amid the radicalization of the 1960s, lay in the right wing of New Zealand bourgeois politics, the then ruling National Party (see Bill Logan, “Never Exactly One of the Lads…,” ed. Michael King, One of the Boys? [Auckland, New Zealand: Heinemann, 1988]). His social and educational background lay in New Zealand’s English-style “public school” (elite private school) culture, steeped in imperialist elitism and misogynist sadism. Numerous people have revolted against such backgrounds to become Communists, not least heroic Soviet spies like Kim Philby. But even as an avowed communist, Logan boasted of clinging to “the style of a New Zealand private schoolboy who was almost always a class captain, cub-scout sixer or school prefect” (“Personal Notes in Preparation for a Discussion re the Sharpe Problem,” 23 August 1978, “On the Logan Regime,” Part I). He relished the low cunning and quiet self-confidence that enabled him to play on the vulnerabilities of others.

We strive for a society in which all forms of social oppression, exploitation and degradation—the warped byproducts of material scarcity—will be things of the past. To this end, we seek to make the proletariat—though shaped by the deformities of capitalist class rule—conscious of its historic role as the gravedigger of the capitalist system, and of class society as a whole. Power politics, lying and sexual manipulation are antithetical to this purpose. The Leninist party demands a monopoly on the political activities of those who join our movement. All the more so do we draw a hard line against interference in comrades’ personal lives. Driven by considerations of power and control, Logan was a malicious puppet-master who was sadistically destructive of people’s personal lives—making people live together who did not want to do so, causing people who did want to live together to break up. There is no place for the likes of a William King Logan in our movement.


Workers Vanguard No. 900

WV 900

12 October 2007


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