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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 9. June 5, 1952


One of the most friendly social events in the university year must surely be the Socialist Club's Weekend School, which is annually held around Queen's Birthday time. Certainly the people in residence last weekend had a most enjoyable time—the food (always an important factor) was excellent and plentiful, and the company too (even at 3 o'clock in the morning) left no qualities to be desired. The serious side of the weekend's activities drew an average attendance of 30, a larger attendance than that of last year.

The theme "World Crisis" was one which embraced a wide number of subjects, ranging from discussion on broad historical trends to problems in specific areas. One of the most fertile subjects which came up incidentally during discussion was the place of Communism in the world set-up, and the influence of Soviet Russia on modern thought. The practical aspect—"What can we do?"—was before the talkers at all stages, and it was surprising (and refreshing) to hear the Socialist Club, which has often been accused of being impractical, discussing such matters.

The Socialist Club study weekend was opened by Mr. Ormond Burton discussing the pattern of world crisis. Mr. Burton thought that the most significant factors in the world situntion today were the breakdowns visible everywhere of great systems, the vital movements apparent in the resurgence of nationalism and the possibilities of new forces arising from the clash of diametrically opposed ideologies.

The most evident breakdown was that of capitalism, a great force destructive of essential values. It was an architect of ruin. The downfall of Brahminism meant the liberation of forces of great Intensity. India is now an incalculable force. The third break dawn, again of a social system of great antiquity was that of Confucianism releasing a vital and powerful energy, Referring to the situation in China today the speaker suggested that although China may later become fundamentally [unclear: Communist] she was not yet so.

Speaking of present day vital movements Mr. Burton Illustrated the resurgence of nationalism in the tremendous success of Hitler's Aryan cult British Israelism and the American Way of Life. N.Z. he said was the ideal place for developing a small, proud, dominating and Inevitably war like people. Parallel with nationalism was the powerful wave of Communism, the new religion. The breakdown of Brahminism and other old systems made way for a new idealism which had a wide appeal. Communism had a theory of fall and redemption through a succession of social systems.

Only Christianity and Communism had world philosophies capable of vigorous action.

The possibility of wars between national socialisms would mean the ruin of life or Communism rising from the ruins. Nowhere was there a system with organic structure to stand the storm. The forces lining up today had no inner coherence.

The second speaker said that socialism must be tested against the pattern of world crisis. Socialism had been powerless to prevent two world wars, now what of the thrid now imminent? There were the two opposing views on the world situation—rearmament and the inefficiency of the U.N. and the Soviet state by its internal system removing the incentives to war and insisting that capitalism and Communism could co-exist.

In the following discussion, possibilities of co-operation of all who believed in peace were considered. Burton believed compromise weakened both sides which view was hotly opposed.