Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 14. 28 June 1972
I wish to express my concern over the implications that will result from the various student protest movements, being carried out so frequently. As a former student of a North American university, in which demonstrations were for matters more personally affecting the students, I have experienced the consequences of these protests. I am seeing the whole picture repeat itself here on this campus. Whether one agrees or not, New Zealand is one of the most free countries in the world; having minimal racial prejudism, unlimited free speech and police to whom you can actually talk. I am certainly not saying that I do not support the issues behind the protest marches. I am also sure, a lot more of the "establishment" hold the same views and concerns, than the students realize.
The key to change is not by alienating the public against students, which is what is happening when obscenities are shouted, paint is thrown, or violence of any kind breaks out. Believe me, unless more mature tactics are used the word "student" will imply a total rejection by any non-student. With this rejection comes frustration and understandable violence, resulting in very relevant matters to protest. Police then find they have unlimited freedom in the treatment of the "objectionables". Perhaps you have to watch your friends vomiting from tear gas or being beaten brutally by a 'friendly' police officer, but I have seen it happen from far less provocation, than what the students are getting away with here. I cannot help feeling that some of the protestors are more concerned with the excitement of the demonstration than the issue behind it, but whatever the reason, I just hope they don't push their luck too far.
Been through it before.
In the 13th June edition of Salient a small advertisement appeared, exhorting all concerned and socially aware male leaders to Reject Legalized Murder; Register as a Concientious Objector. A very worthwhile thing to do. Upon reading this I wondered just how many of the people supporting this were also ardent supporters of legalised abortion - in other words legalized murder. Of course, I forgot... It's O.K. to murder a baby. You don't have to see it die. And it can't shoot you back. But for God's sake don't murder any "grown-up babies", don't even try — they may just shoot back.
When are those financially secure leaders of our University, the professors and lecturers, going to declare publicly where they stand on the Springbok Tour, or are they still to be the gutless people we really know them to be. This is my second letter on this topic— are they scared? Will the editor of Salient please offer them a page for a statement? Otherwise leave it blank, with an appropriate comment, such as: "For use by the Professors and lecturers when they have the courage."
Take Sides & Mobilise
I was under the impression, although perhaps I am mistaken, that Trotsky, in his writings (which are supposedly followed by the SAL), was in favour of a form of government where the people elected their own representatives. Presumably this form of government also requires that the people should be prepared to abide by the decisions of the majority. But it seems that the SAL and their friends in the July 14 Mobilisation Committee cannot accept democratic majority decisions. Their attitude, as it has been displayed at the COV meeting on 28 May, and after an SRC on 13 June, seems to be that, if one disagrees with the majority, one should secede.
Thus we have two separate organisations trying to organise a mobilisation (the same mobilisation) against the Indochinese War on July 14th. We have an idiotic duplication of publicity which is serving to unnecessarily deplete the funds of both organisations. We have a situation where, because of the petty in-fighting, most students do not understand what is happening on July 14, who is organising the mobilisation, or what the central demands of the mobilisation are.
I am prepared to admit that the demands of the COV are probably a little too extreme for the general public. The call of 'Victory to the Indo-chinese people' can only increase the alienation of demonstrators from that section of the population who see all marchers as "dirty commies", and who complain of the repressive administration of Soviet Russia and ask us if we want that here. One must remember, however, that these complaints will be made anyway, whatever the central demands of the mobilisation. Those who are prepared to march are unlikely to be deterred to any great extent by a few banners expressing support for the 7-point peace plan of the PRG or calling for victory to the Indochinese people. What will do the mobe more harm in the public eyes than this slight extremism is the disunity amongst the organisers. The action of the July 14 Mobilisation Committee in refusing to accept democratic decisions is sheer stupidity.
One must remember what the issues are What the mobilisation is all about. Is it whether we want an end to imperialism in Indochina by the United States, or is it a matter of whether the July 14 Mobilisation Committee should be able to claim some of the credit for organising a (hopefully) successful mobilisation.
But what is wrong with extremism anyway. Mr Templeton (MP for Awarua, in the Address-in-reply Debate) has said that since earliest times, the emphasis involving political problems had been on the middle course. Presumably, the more extreme you are, the further your way the middle must lie. One cannot expect the government to take a demonstration seriously anyway, and thus the more extreme the approach one adopts, the better the chances of arousing them.
Personally, I feel that this whole situation is farcical. The SAL and others are concentrating on their 'isms' so much that all they are getting across to other people is ego. What has happened to leftism and socialism. Have their proponents forgotten them?
It is regretted that the Wellington Committee on Vietnam should deviate from what seemed like a united effort on a National Scale. However thats now stale. What really bugs us is that certain elements in this university should deny (as at SRC) the Wellington July 14 Mobilisation Committee the use of our facilities.
Secondly the bloody biassed nature of Salient's staff, namely Peter Franks and Rob Campbell putting their views to the fore (though admittedly the SAL was given half a page recently.
Thirdly it was in bad taste that when publishing a national list of mobe centres you should put down in Wellington solely the COV and leave out the Mobe Committee. Most New Zealanders want out but we'll be damned if we will march to support a communist NLF victory more than we will a US victory. So let Salient give Mr Powell a fair go.
R. Brown. D. Harrison. P.S. We are not members of the SAL.
I agree with NZUSA's opposition to racism on an international scale but feel uncomfortable about a certain corner of the Association's own backyard. NZUSA and at least one of the constituent associations (VUWSA) offer life assurance services which discriminate against Polynesians. Maoris and Islanders are expected to pay higher premiums than Pakehas in an equivalent or even inferior state of health because these two groups of people have shorter life expectancies.
If life assurance is based on anything other than assessment of health and life prospects on an individual basis, some kind of stereotypy, be it statistically contrived or not, is being brought into play. In this case the stereotypy is one of race and therefore to call assurance companies, NZUSA and VUWSA racist is justifiable.
To have Polynesian ancestry undoubtedly alters the probabilities of certain genes but to equate this, as the assurance companies do, with disease is unwholesome and unacceptable to a majority of students, if not New Zealanders in general. It also neglects the fact that shorter life expectancies are related to lower standards of living and other socio-economic factors.
This letter was referred to N.Z.U.S.A.'s insurance brokers, Price Forbes (N.Z. Ltd) who replied as follows:
Until recently, Life Offices did adopt certain practices which could be regarded as discriminating against non-Europeans. These included automatic medical examinations, restrictions on types of policies available and in some cases, premium leadings.
Since the enactment of the Race Relations Act however, most Life Offices have discontinued such practices and generally speaking each proposal is now judged on its merits. Thus underwriting is in fact "based on the assessment of health and life prospects on an individual basis."
Although this is now the general rule we find that the attitudes of various Insurance Companies towards this and other aspects of insurance does sometimes vary. It is for this reason that the N.Z.U.S.A. scheme is designed in such a way that students can obtain policies from a selection of companies according to their own particular circumstances, rather than being forced to accept the terms and conditions imposed by any one company.
I too am disturbed at the suggestions of possible racial discrimination in the activities of insurance companies. Price-Forbes comments are indeed correct but I feel that they are insufficient.
It would be misleading to suggest that the policy of our insurers always conforms exactly to our own idealistic policy concerning race relations, but I do believe it is the least obnoxious of those currently evident.
I have discussed this matter with many people, students and insurers alike, over the 18 months I have held the position of insurance liaison officer, and I think the time has come for VUWSA and NZUSA to ensure that no vestiges of discrimination remain in this field. As a first step I think the President should be requested to write to the Life Underwriters' Assn, the Life Officers' Assn, and Yorkshire-General Life Assurance Co for official clarification of their policies.
Tim Sheppard Insurance Liaison Officer, VUWSA.
Give Us A Fair Go, Sport
Your decision not to print further articles on sport defeats the objectives of Salient - in whatever manner you formulate them. If Salient is a representative of the news and views of the entire campus then your policy is arbitrary and discriminatory. If on the other hand you view Salient as being a means of prodding the apathetic consciences of the student body then your actions are self-defeating.
The frustrations of having sufficient material of an acceptable standard on issues outside of those on matters of current social concern might make publication very marginal, but a unilateral declaration of exclusion creates its own problems. The student who reads Salient for its sports section will have little incentive to do so, and this moronic, sport-loving, beer-swilling jerk you wish so fervently to motivate to greater things is lost. He remains living a life devoid of any meaning for at least not having the incentive to thumb through the mind expanding articles (and advertisements) on other pages.
Ecology, abortion, homosexuality, Vietnam are issues of importance. You devalue them by not encouraging a wider audience of readers. Gaining satisfaction from the fact that hundreds of Salients do not go unread and no discernible change in circulation occurs is not sufficient. The conversion of just one poor ignorant sport loving soul is argument enough.
On Tuesday the 4th of July, Walter Pollard will be speaking in the Union Hall at 12 midday. He will be heading a panel on the subject of the war in Indochina. Walter Pollard is one of the best informed speakers on the subject and he was the author of the open letter to the Minister of Defence published in the last Salient.
The well of silence is broken. Salient: stands out among other student newspapers for actually caring about little mags. Keep it up for god's sake. Apathy can kill.
My essay on found poetry: I admit the advertising — do think found poetry is more than gimickry — do we always have to take poetry completely seriously — I would feel sad for anyone who only wrote found poetry — I feel sad for those who never do. I agree that forms in themselves are of no importance — vision is always more important — but too often we forget craft — and when we don't we get uptight about it. 'New' forms in poetry is hanging loose — no more, no less.
EDGE reprints: we've only reprinted two people — Jorge Luis Borges and Antonio Cisneros - everyone else is new, fresh, for real, not shop-soiled — those two were to turn everyone on to South Am. — we don't intend to reprint in the future.
By the way, have you read The Elaboration by Bill Manhire. He manages to combine image, mood, and situation in a way which proves John Summers point that we need all three.
Peace and good living,
Don Long (ed. EDGE)
The "young woman" (fortunately for her aunty NZBC is too well versed in social etiquette to call her a crapped-out little egotist) who called yon P.M. a "Twit" from the parliamentary gallery could not have chosen a word better suited to describe her own person.
Not only did this inane publicity-seeking wench make a fool of herself by trying to get as much public coverage for her childish behaviour as possible - she actually had the cheek to ring the NZBC complaining she didn't get enough attention, and the moral degradation to stick her photo in Dan's Dom.— she also made a fool of students by making it clear she attends Vic Varsity and associates with Ecology Action. It is to be hoped Salient is not stupid enough to give further publicity to this defacto socialist.
Love & Peace, Margaret Davey.
Winter Term Lectures. The 1972 Winter Term Lecture Series is on "Man and his Environment, and will be given at 1pm on Tuesdays in the Memorial theatre beginning Tuesday, 4th July. There is no admission charge and there will be time for discussion after each lecture.