Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25. No. 11. 1962
View from the Left
View from the Left
Dear Sir,—I see in your last issue (July 23) that Mr Maxwell has failed to answer at least one major point in our letter, probably because he cannot do so What we found detestable in his column was the unproven assertion, the lack of reasoned criticism, and analysis of social political and economic happenings (Mr Bromby's article in the same issue though not perfect nonetheless approximates more to the beau ideal of radical journalism) The emphasis on personalities especially is distasteful to anyone with some understanding of Socialist and Liberal thought Marx, and to some extent theorists before him boasted at their escape from the myth of the "Great Man, " it was the great economic movements and changes that caused social and political revolutions not a single man or group of men.
Mr. Maxwell may be of the "Left" but he has still failed to define what his position is I can only feel contempt for someone who when two serious letters appear challenging his right to speak for the Left, lobs them off with a smart answer and the "reply " "my political position will be clear to any intelligent reader at this column." There is nothing in his column that could not have been written by a not-too-intelligent liberal, christian or even right- winger.
Reading his column reminds me of a quote "Remain silent and be thought a fool—why speak out and remove all doubt?"I commend this to Mr Maxwell.— Yours etc,.
G. V. Butterworth.
—Mr Maxwell did not bother to give a detailed reply to the letter signed, amongst other, by Mr Butterworth. We felt that the letter was not, in reality, an attack upon his column: rather a vindictive, somewhat uninspired attack upon himself. From the large number of comments made from Wvxzfiflff mbc mbc men's made to us, concerning the letter, men's made to us, concerning the letter, it would appear, many students are in agreement with Mr Maxwell's opinion. Already, one signatory to the letter has apologised personally to Mr Maxwell— he had signed the letter, but not read it. This person was under the impression (from an assurance by Mr Butterworth), the letter was a criticism of some of the material in View from the Left. He had not realised what a "squalid personal attack" it in fact was.—Editor.
Sir,— I disagree with several points raised in the last Salient in criticism of Mr Maxwell's View From the From the Left. I disagree particularly with the view that a member of the "Left" can be seen by his attitude to the "day to day" problems of the University and not in his attitude to "far away" happenings. The "Left" is a term used to describe a collection of political philosophies—Anarchism Communism Labour Party membership etc—whose only common point seems to be some from of popular control of the economic, social, and political facets of the community, either immediately or eventually. I have never before seen it limited to an attitude concerning the running of student affairs within a university. Admittedly, the social attitudes of those who would claim to be members of the "Left" would normally be reflected in his attitude to Association affairs but this is surely no criterion for membership.
Further as indicated above the "Left" is not a homogeneous entity— unlike Mr. Maxwell, I consider anarchism to be a legitimate "Leftist" philosophy (although I do not hold, it) but it has no claim to be the sole "Left" group It may be noted that I agree that there cannot be the "View From the Left" but I do not think that this is necessarily implied by the heading of your column. It could easily be read as A "View From the Left."
Mr Dwyer's letter says little. He should know that a University audience requires more that a number of glorious but meaningless cliches. "Liberty Equality and Fraternity" has no meaning unless it is placed in the phrase by the context in which it is used. Are men equal? They should in my opinion, be given equal opportunites (and this implies that there should be no financial barrier to university studies) but can we really claim that men are born equal? I think that this concept is valueless and should be dropped
I would point out that unless supported by reason Mr Dwyer's opinion is of no more weight than that of those "selfish, stupid and oppressive elements of the Right."
Finally sir, I think it hypocritical that some of the writers require a "more mature approach and a greater depth of understanding of social or political problems" when they themselves indulge in an immature "little loyal demonstration" which can have no beneficial effect. Again I would seek to ensure my political future by nothing that I personally agree with the sentiments expressed, therein but I think that a more mature approach to the situation can be found. —Yours etc.,
G. R. Hawke.