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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 14. June 25, 1968

Revolution to regression

Revolution to regression

This letter is from Students' Association Secretary John Lenart's uncle in Paris.

John has made it available for publication in the hope to throw more light on the new wave of Student Revolutions.

". . . As you know, the last fortnight was not exactly a period of peace and quiet. We spent the night of the 13th at the radio.

"Public sympathy was unanimous and on the side of the students who behaved marvellously and gave the police and gendarmerie a hard time. During the last two weeks some 600 police have been wounded. So it was understandable why the police applied such brutal means against the students, some of whom were children 15 years of age. Everything has two sides.

"Some 550,000 paving blocks will have to be replaced. These were used by the students partly to erect barricades, partly as ammunition thrown at the heads of policemen. But the police used, instead of tear-gas, a new type of poison gas which the Americans, at present use, against the Vietcong. This gas attacks the kidneys and caused general consternation, especially because the antidote to this gas is still unknown.

"The red flag waves from the dome of the Sorbonne. The Square in front is black with students, who around the statue of Pasteur (adorned with a red scarf) sit, stands, squat, lie, march, give political speeches, carry slogans, argue and rave. They don't seem to have any plan or know what they want. But they are united on one point: 'do nothing.'

"The walls of the university are full of slogans: 'It is forbidden to forbid.' On the entrance is a crude poster:

'The revolution which commences is to replace not only capitalism but also the industrial society. The society of consumers will perish in a violent death. The society of alienation must disappear from history. We are inventing an original new world. Imagination before power.'

The Cultural Commission Of The Action Committee, 3 May 1968.

A revolution based on the above theories, even if these are better understood by others than myself, would have little success in giving the world anything new or constructive."