Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion At Victoria University College, Wellington, N. Z. Vol. 24, No. 4. 1961
Biology Building Exit
People's Palace Hotel, March 27, 1961.
Sir,—How long have we to put up with I hat abominable back door to the Biology building? Why doesn't somebody do something? Put in another door—swing doors—doors that go round and round—anything! Yours, etc.,
March 22, 1961.
Sir,—With reference to your leader commenting on Mr Moriarty's part-time article—what are these "unpleasant consequences" of part-time study? Is it more unpleasant to fill the spaces between periods of study with useful service or work than with gossiping in the cafeteria, swilling in the George, flirting in the library, playing cards in the Common Rooms, Making Love in the ever-decreasing secluded corners of our institute, or evangelising happy pagans?—Yours sincerely,
B. C. Walsh.
Dear Sir,—Economic bondage is the greatest danger to the realisation of the higher aspirations of the human race. The quest for material gain; war; depression; nuclear armaments; and the starving of millions in Asia while wheat is destroyed in America; are all due to the economic tyrants in Wall Street, Threadneedle Street and Featherstone Street. And what do the people know about it? Absolutely nothing.
We must remedy the situation before the H-bomb blows us all to atoms at the behest of the Rockefellas or Fords. We must rescue what is worthwhile.
The Economic Dictators should be the First to go and the most Effective way Would be for the Government to take over the Control of Bank Credit. Last Year, for Example, the Trading Banks in New Zealand Issued £185,000,000 Worth of Credit. Any reader doubting this should consult the Mazengarb Report of 1955. This does not mean that the banks would be nationalised; that would be an insidious evil.
Therefore, if these bankers were not controlling the country, they could not commit us to a war. If there was an absence of the threat of war, there would be no need for armaments and no economic dictators to use them. There would be no bankers trying to force prices to artificial levels, and wheat and food would not be destroyed but given to the starving millions.
Such a government having the interests of the people at heart would reform the education system so that the children would learn that there are many more higher things for which to strive than money and pseudo-respectability.
Surely this is Worth Working and Striving for; or would you Rather Seep Slowly into the Slime.
R. J. Bromby.(Abridged).
To Hell with High Heels
March 21, 1961.
Sir,—After having a quick look round our almost completed Students' Union Building and seeing the high standard of the finishing, I feel something must be done to prevent marring of the polish of the linoleums. I refer in particular to the wearing of high-heeled shoes by the fair sex. I am sure it would be a great pity to have these fine looking floors cut and dented unnecessarily within days, if not minutes, of our taking over the building. The only available solution is to ban the wearing of such shoes before any damage is done. I am, etc.,
President: S.P.W.H.H.S.W.(Society for the Prevention of the Wearing of High-Heeled Shoes by Women.)
Dear Sir,—I am surprised that "Salient" even bothered to give nine valuable lines to the disgusting hackneyed filth of the outrage perpetrated by Weir House at the Orientation Ball. I hope that some sense of shame is felt by the "cream of the country." Never before have I seen liquor consumed with such effect, and I attribute the Weir House pollution to the fact that most who took part were well on their way to a hangover.
I Also am Nauseated to Think that Part of my Subscription is used, by the Students' Association, to buy Booze for Beatniks.
Forums, Friendship & Fantasy
An article in the last issue of Salient informs us that a World Youth Forum, "organised along the lines of the highly propagandistic world youth festivals," is being boycotted by all respectable anti-Communists. Cheers.
The World Youth Forum, to be held in Moscow, in July of this year, is, as Salient's earlier article makes clear, an offshoot of the various World Youth Festivals that have been held in Europe in the post-war period. All these festivals have stressed the nobility of their intentions: to promote peace, to encourage friendship between young people of different nations. All these festivals, too, have duly been exercised by Western groups such as the International Student Conference and the World Assembly of Youth. These festivals, it has been said, are Communist-dominated; they have Communist majorities on their organising committees, and few Western groups support them anyway. This argument does not seem to realise that if more Western countries co-sponsored such festivals, there might be fewer Communists on their organising committees.
But this is not the main issue. The main issue is simply, that these festivals, and this 1961 Forum do constitute one of the few remaining chinks in the Iron Curtain. They do provide opportunities for Communist and non-Communist students to meet; and, where there is a meeting between East and West, why should it be assumed that the West will come off worst? If the wicked Chinese delegate wants, as Salient suggested, to attack American imperialism at the Forum, then it should be easy enough for Western students to attend the festival and show up his stupidity. If the West cannot come out best in any real conflict and interchange of ideas, it had best abandon any attempt to oppose Communism in any shape or form. To boycott the festival is at once a confession of defeat and an imposition of ignorance; a confession of fear of left-wing ideas, and a desperate attempt to prevent those who remain unafraid from enquiring into and discussing them.
The Forum is, of course, being held in Moscow, and some may say this means the cards are stacked in the Communists' favour. Maybe, but the last youth festival was held in a Western country, and this was denounced as a treacherous Communist manoeuvre by the West. Moscow cannot do right: heads we win, tails they lose.
Festivals, of course, are not God's gift to the human race. Nor, probably, is the 1961 World Youth Forum. Just because people meet together they do not love each other like brothers for ever after.
Meeting at the United Nations has not noticeably increased the fraternal amity of the United States and the Soviet Union. But if we cannot feel that those who disagree with us are angels Persil white from the Pearly Gates, we can at least lay ourselves open to conversion if our opponents arguments should, heaven forbid, be superior. There are not so many opportunities for reasoned argument about the state of the world between young people fundamentally opposed that we can afford to neglect such lucky chances. If we can hitch our wagon to an appropriate youth organisation, we should try to get to Moscow in July.
"Religious Legalist" Supported
Dear Sir,—"Religious Legalist," in his reply to "Middle-Way" in the last issue, gives an admirable defence of individuality. He fails, however, to mention the saddening lack of it in the students of this university. To my mind the general conformity of behaviour of students at Victoria (and other N.Z. universities) is worst manifested in a general apathy towards the moral, political and social questions. In this connection, I note with approval that the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is staging a march at Easter. One could wish, though, that Questions affecting life in this country more intimately were the subject of student marches or demonstrations, for example the monstrous powers of arrest and suppression recently granted to the N.Z. Police, and the die-hard attitude of the public censors, who, in their haste to protect young minds from "perversion," are preventing intelligent adults from enjoying what is elsewhere considered some of the world's great modern literature. It is sad to note that, far from being the leaders of the liberal element of society that reviles such measures, our students are in fact part of the apathetic, even ignorant public that accepts them without question.
Why must we leave it to the bodgies and the beats to be rebels? It is the duty of the student to be well-informed and critical of aspects of national life—to protest ii necessary, in no uncertain terms, against what he sees as injustice or repression. Unlike the Beats, we have Something to Rebel Against!
J. K. Murphy.(Abridged).