Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973
Another Kick in the Cods for Capping Disrupter
Terence Williams is a fool. He is also, undoubtedly, not part of the "5% of university students in this country [that come from semiskilled and unskilled worker parentage" (a ridiculous statistic), judging from his infantile bourgeois behaviour in his alleged attempt to I disrupt this year's capping ceremony. If Citizen Williams was a part of this "5% he would perhaps appreciate how this apparently archaic ritual can bring more happiness to a working-class family than his (William's) middle-class background will ever permit him to experience. It is thus more likely that the attempted "kick in the cods" that some father is supposed to have directed at Williams was prompted more by the imminent denial of this happiness than any jargonistic "challenging the values upon which his life was based." Anyhow, should Williams attempt to disrupt my capping ceremony next year in the name of the working-class and the Maori then he will receive, not from my father, but from me, a better aimed, working-class, kick at his "cods".
Who are you Hugh?
I have received a letter from Mr L Te Ariki of 19 Harley Street, Masterton, who says that someone ran into the side of his car. The person concerned said that he was a student and could be contacted through the University, but left his name merely as Hugh. Apart from that all that is known is that he has an old, green van, is tall and wears glasses.
I have told Mr Te Ariki I am sorry I am unable to help, but if you think it appropriate you might like to put a notice in one of the publications circulated to students, asking the mysterious Hugh to be kind enough to get in touch with Mr Te Ariki at the above address.
From the Gutter
In Don Franks' report of the Young Socialists Educational Conference in the last issue of Salient, he gave a totally false account of my talk on the situation in Vietnam. I have outlined my basic position in an article which the editors tell me will printed elsewhere in this issue of Salient, but there is one point in particular I need to emphasise.
Franks implies that my position is that "the principal conflict is between the Vietnamese proletariat and their 'Stalinist misleaders'". This is a slander against the Trotskyist movement that has been spread by various people in the antiwar movement, such as the Chairman of the Wellington Committee on Vietnam, Mike Law.
When I spoke to Don Franks afterwards, he admitted that the Socialist Action League did not actually characterise the Vietnamese Leadership as "Stalinist betrayers", but that did not really matter because some individual in Australia called Bill Logan did so, and this was the "true Trotskyite" position anyway.
When people like Franks are reduced to such distortions of the views of their opponents, surely it is a sign of the weakness of their own position.
One also wonders how much longer students are going to put up with the gutter journalism and the downright dishonesty for which Don Franks and the Salient editors are acquiring such a reputation.
Could you please tell me who "Noel Yekstort" is?
Leib Davydovich Bronstein
Abortion and Human Values
One of the most conspicuous features of the comments made by the small group of pro-abortion women in these pages, and, indeed by Evelyn Reed in her speech last term was the equating of civil laws, court decisions or the like, with basic morality and human values.
Trevor Richards, speaking in the Union Hall here just a couple of months ago, said his main reason for opposing the Springbok tour was that the apartheid system violated the moral principles common to all men. Yet we see that apartheid in South Africa is enshrined by public laws upheld by the courts. So the simple fact that a court has decided in favour of apartheid, abortion, economic exploitation, etc., does not mean that it is a right and just decision.
Furthermore, the bias of the court, its basic assumptions, will have a lot to do with the final decision. The South African judges are, no doubt, so convinced of an African's inferiority that they just do not think of deciding in favour of a black man against a white as justice and truth could demand. Such was the situation too, in Germany under Hitler. The judges certainly upheld the State's murder of the Jews and mental patients and old people and the sick.
In this recent American court decision on abortion, the two dissenting judges said "The Court apparently values the convenience of the pregnant mother more than the continued existence and development of the life or potential life which she carries". So we can understand to a certain extent how, when Justice Blackman, senior of the nine-man U.S. Supreme Court, was asked why the court had not considered modern evidence on the humanity of the foetus, he could reply simply that the court 'had not had time'. In other words they didn't care all that much about the child.
People in the future will look back on these times and considering the wars, the exploitation, the greed of developed nations, and I would add, the use of abortion, will call us ignorant and barbaric as humans will always be.
So Evelyn and those who think like her had better stop and consider their rapid equation of a law or court decision with human values.
The talk given by Evelyn Reed last term, was like most of the other statements of the pro-abortion clique, laden with inaccuracies and false notions.
First, Miss Reed said that unwanted babies were the prime victims of beatings by frustrated parents. But Professor Lenowski, Department of Pediatrics, USC Medical School, from a four-and-a-half year survey, found that 90 per cent of the victims were children of planned pregnancies.
Second, her statement that men can have no inkling of what having a baby means to a women was destroyed by her expressed sympathetic understanding of the situation faced by the victims, men and women of American atrocities in Vietnam. Perhaps Miss Reed has never known a loving, sensitive man who can, as she can, feel for and with others.
Concerning 'unwanted pregnancies', if a women does not want a child she should have the responsibility to make sure that conception did not take place. There are moral methods of doing so. Also in New Zealand there is a long waiting list of parents eager to have an adopted child. Orphanages in New Zealand do not provide a home for children without parents but for children of broken homes.
Miss Reed and the abortionists talk about abortion being a women's right. In abortionist's talk the myth that abortion is not the killing of human life and that the foetus is just an appendage of the mother, is asserted regardless of scientific evidence.
If these militant women spent their energies fighting the structures and attitudes in society which make it hard for a women, married or not, to securely have her child, we would all offer our support. But we cannot support a doctrine of greater convenience for a woman while oppressing the unborn child, about whom there is, as Evelyn Reed said herself, complete unconcern.
I read with some difficulty Colin Feslier's obscure attempt to prove the Catholic Church's consistent opposition to abortion which appeared the May I Salient. He argues that a foetus has committed no crime and therefore, unlike an "unjust aggressor", has not lost its "right to life". Putting aside such trivialities as the blessing which sections of the Catholic hierarchy such as Cardinal Spell man have given to the American government's unilateral withdrawal of the "right of life" of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, I thought Colin might be interested in re-examining the Catholic Church's consistent opposition to abortion in the light of a news report which I recently came across. It is an NZPA dispatch from Hamburg which appeared in the January 20 1967 Christchurch Press, under the heading "Church Allowed Abortion:"
"European nuns who became pregnant after being raped by Congolese soldiers in July, 1960, were allowed by their Church superiors to undergo abortions, the bi-weekly magazine, "Deutsches Panorama", reported yesterday.
"The Catholic Church and the parties and government closely associated with it, the magazine commented, 'are likely from now on to have more difficulty opposing all interruptions of pregnancy on the grounds that it would be murder.'
"Most of the raped nuns who became pregnant, 'Deutsches Panorama' said, were Vincential Sisters of Charity working in the Congo as nurses and teachers. After their ordeal they returned to Belgium.
"Until recently, the magazine said, the public had assumed the nuns who became pregnant had been released from their vows and had delivered babies.
'"What really happened,' the magazine said, 'remained a closely guarded secret for many years. A leading Belgian gynaecologist, Dr Jean Snocck, a Brussels university professor, only now has revealed it — not for reasons of sensationalism but in order.as he put it, to call attention to a crying injustice, and not publicly, but before only a small circle of leading Belgian physicians and scientists.'
"The magazine continued: 'Soon after the developments in the Congo, Professor Jean Snoeck explained, certain high-placed persons made it known to certain leading specialists in the field of gynaecology that the otherwise forbidden operations could be undertaken in certain special cases, with the specific approval if not at the suggestion of the highest Catholic authorities.
"The certain special cases, Professor Snoeck explained, were the nuns who became pregnant because of rape. He added that it was incomprehensible to him why that which is forbidden to a 16 year old student who is raped by a white-skinned drunk should be permitted in these special cases.
"'However, Professor Snoeck and his colleagues — also Catholics of Belgium and the whole world — see this crying injustice simultaneously as a hope, namely, as a sign of a basic change in the Church's view.'"
Or perhaps it is just that a black foetus doesn't even amount to a potential human being in the eyes of the Church hierarchy. Well, Colin?
"It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work."
A further interesting example of Fyson's wild attack was his accusation that "Peter Franks is a gutless bastard who always backs down." Fyson was pressed for an example of Peter Franks' alleged cowardice several times — he refused to give even one.
More importantly however it should be noted that Fyson is not only a bad mannered person but a disreputable and unscrupulous politican. It is a fact that I had never heard the Socialist Action League actually call the leaders of the Vietnamese people "Stalinist misleaders" in those precise words, although the implication has been made plain many times in the course of their sectarian "antiwar" antics. However, this semantic deficiency was remedied when I recently spoke to Russell Johnson who agreed to speak on behalf of the S.A.L.
"The Vietnamese Communist Party has not broken with Stalinism" Johnson informed me. Now, Trotskyites regard Stalinists and Maoists as misleaders by definition. But Johnson went further and pointed out that the S.A.L. and Y.S. "Disagreed with much of the politics of the Vietnamese leaders" — giving the example of their call for recognition of the rights of Vietnamese landowners." (i.e. the uniting of all patriotic elements in the struggle against the main enemies — U.S. imperialism and its Vietnamese puppets.)
Because of its fixation with an ideology shown up many years ago as an objective weapon of the bourgeoise, the S.A.L. is doomed to a future of sectarian isolation, distortion of the present struggle and tacit support of imperialist oppression. It is for this reason and this alone that their ideas and activities are opposed by progressive people and organisations.
Despatches from the Front
In view of the advertisement placed in your paper earlier this year, your readers may be interested to learn of the progress of the University Regiment.
I wish to report that the strength of the Regiment now stands at four companies, plus seven additional service and support platoons. Thanks to your excellent series on "Demolitions and Engineering" and your feature "Locks and Shackles" we have been able to form an assault pioneer infantry platoon from volunteers out of No. 1 Company (the Wai-te-ata Expendables), which will shortly conduct training exercises in the vicinity of the Union Building. However you can be sure that your office will be notified in time.
A campaign planned for the early future may be of particular interest to readers. The Ministry of Defence has become concerned at the volume of insurgency incipient in the vicinity of lower Mount Street. The Regiment has been ordered to conduct anti-personnel operations in the area. By the time this letter is published a hand picked squad of men from the Kelburn Quarricrs (also out of No. 1 Company) will have completed their task.
Sometime early in '74, unless events necessitate earlier development, it is proposed to increase two companies — 3 (Calvary) and 4 (interrogation) to battalion strength, respectively to be known as the 14th Wairarapa Reprisers and the 5th Field Judiciary, thus bringing the Regiment to Brigade strength. No. 2 (HQ) Company shall remain as Brigade HQ Company and the seven auxiliary platoons shall remain as they are. The two new battalions may include one rocket battery and one mortar battery.
As there appears a very strong possibility of a third world war (WWIII - or as our stores officers might jest "war, world, third") persons interested in pursuing a regular or territorial military career (however brief) should write to the undersigned c/o Victoria University Regiment, P. O. Box 1643 Wellington.
I am your faithful servant,
Major D. B. McLean (Recruitment Officer)
[Readers may be interested to know that the Mount Street mutineers are evidently led by a retired colonel's insurgent sons following the notions of a court-martialled mess officer and self-sty led commander of the Red Army who was terminated with extreme prejudice in an action by an alpine assault team from the Mexico City Detachment of the Moscow Mountaineers sometime in the early '40s. — Eds]
List Will Alter World View
Liberation's one thing, rip-offs are another. Your reviews of Dennis List's Kitset of 26 Poems rightly place it as about the most valid book of NZ poetry since Jim Baxter's Fallen House; but, friends, copies of List are still un-sold, so why the crap about xeros copies of the text The books a beautiful production, is only 70 cents, and it's not as if small presses like Amphedesma are exactly making fortunes. I happen to know that one of the Amphedesma men is near enough to starving in Brixton, London, to get these goodies on the market. Their hang-up (and this, Mr Editor, is where Marx comes in) is that the means of distribution are University Book Shops, who don't have a Wellington branch. Which means you may have to order to get one. For your own sake, though, read it. It'll alter your world view more than Barry MacGuire will.
Russell G Poole.
P.S. What the fuck does "Amphedesma" mean anyway?
Religion is Hogwash
In the last few Salients there have been letters from Christians attacking the idea behind some liberation movements of this time and also the tenets of Marxism. But I'd like to know what sort of superior creatures these Christians think themselves. They criticise other groups but lets have a look at their own situation.
Modern man has systematically discarded those elements of belief Christians hold most dear, reducing Christianity to a joking matter. The 'God is dead' movement of modern scientific atheism cannot accept the supernatural, the existance of God. There is simply no proof for God's existence.
The Bible is now regarded by scholars as a collection of ancient myths or the ravings of religious enthusiasts. Christ is now seen as only an original character confronting simple people, that is, if he existed at all.
The Church — meaning the Catholic Church — the other bodies being mere deviationists — is a power structure corrupt and self-seeking. It has no significance for man and with its authoritarian leadership is actually harmful to its unthinking members. The Church cannot give proof that what it teaches it true. So why doesn't it up and die and leave people in peace.
However the worst manifestation of religious hogwash is Christian morality. The Church's moral teaching, as I see it, is a matter of submission to the most grotesque fears and fallacies about people's behaviour that can be found.
In a phrase Christianity is irrational and irrelevant. So you Christians should just give up or shut up!
Salient is generally better this year than in any previous year within my experience, although it sometimes seems that your pages are over endowed with ultra-leftist adventurism. [unclear: The] content is varied and interesting, the quality of typesetting, layout, production is unprecedentedly good and apart from the unjust censorship by the printers is an excellent paper. But why do you have to display such bias against those who subscribe to political groups which you disagree. It is all very well to have reservations about some others opinions, but is it reasonable to curtail their expression by so often proscribing them in Salient and resorting to ill-founded ridicule? I know that this distresses many of my friends as well as myself.
I must say, too, that I sometimes suspect that some of your letters are written by the staff.
Dear Pete and Roger,
At last I have discovered who N.Z.U.S.A.'s president is. But why doesn't Salient devote more space to the noble institution's activities? Or is it just that N.Z.U.S.A. doesn't exist? These are the burning questions that flood the heart of me.
Yr[gap — reason: illegible]
Men & Women Complementary
Cathy Wylie's comments in the last Salient on Evelyn Reed's talk 'Is Biology Woman's Destiny?' amounted to the most reasoned and accurate statement on Women's Liberation I've recently seen.
Particularly well founded was Cathy's assertion that males and females, with their different qualities complement each other.
In the past opinion had it either that the differences between the sexes were wholly conditioned by society, or that women were just innately inferior. Psychologists and anthropologists today however, agree that certain biological differences result in character differences between the sexes. But they stress that 'differences' do not mean 'deficiences'. Although these experts find the sexes not the same in certain areas of psychology and behavioural patterns, they, in no way, mean there is inequality between the sexes. There is no case for inferior-superior talk.
The eminent American psychologist, Eric Fromm, for instance states that the character typical of men and women in Western culture is determined by their respective social roles but there is a 'Colouring' of character which is rooted in sexual differences. This colouring is insignificant in comparison with socially rooted differences but should not be neglected. This is what Cathy Wylie was getting at surely.
When a man responds to the distinctly male fear of sexual failure and his need for prestige, he can develop the positive attributes of initiative, activity, courage. The woman's characteristics arising from her main fear — sexual frustration and dependency — can, and often does result in her inability to 'stand on her own feet', practically, emotionally and intellectually; but given the right conditions she becomes the source of patience, erotic charm, reliability, intensity of love. The woman, therefore, has the same emotional, intellectual, and cultural abilities as a man while possessing the previously mentioned special qualities.
Deeper than any differences is the equality between woman and man. So these differences affords no basis for casting men and women in different roles in any society. Some people can see differences only in terms of inferiority and superiority. But this is not the case here. Our case is that the differences of each sex, by colouring the personalities of men and women, enrich and broaden human culture. Having such unique characteristics does not mean for the sexes, social, economic and political differentiation.
Revisionism not the No 1 Enemy
I don't know why you jokers bother writing all this shit about the Trots. As far as I can see they're a narrow minded pack of irrelevant little drips, quite unlikely to subvert anyone or anything. The main problems to get on with are the eating away of the wealth of our country by the United States and Kirk's inability to deal with this or local problems of exploitation.
You don't need a pile driver to crush a rat, especially a rat with no teeth.
So the management committee has decided to cut back on the catering services at present provided, by cutting out hot meals in the cafe, and other such changes. This will only make matters worse. They will lose more money and keep on losing money unless they tackle the basic problem; they must persuade more people to cat there, and a good start would be to stop serving the shit that is currently sold at ridiculously high prices.
One cannot cure the basic problem by reducing service or increasing prices. Doing this will only persuade fewer people to cat there. The answer to the problem is in fact the opposite to what is being done. Decrease prices and serve better food.
Bare face Exposure
I had always regarded with dismay the increasing number of blank spaces in Salient until your heavy handed printer admitted that he was censoring its pages, with or without legal sanction. But last weeks picture of Peter Rotherham has taught me that indeed everything has its good and bad points. Was it an act of God that saved unsuspecting Salient readers from this inflammatory material being published or is Peter Rotherham indeed the faceless poltroon we have always been led to believe existed behind that animated rubber mask?
I await your reply with interest,
[Direct Action, the Australian Trotskyite paper chose, in its wisdom, to print a caption about Rotherham speaking somewhere below a blank space. We are an eclectic paper, open to all points of view, and were not too proud to follow Direct Action's inspired lead—Eds]
How has Cathy Wylie, who seems to be no more than a well-meaning liberal, managed to wile herself into the 'peoples' friend. Salient? Each week or so we have seen reviews on that bastion of bourgeoise Karori taste — Downstage. Cathy noted token objections to what she calls 'Downstage fare' but at least she confined her verbosity to the dramatic arts. But in the last issue of Salient Cathy broke into the field of politics. Now I've always managed to avoid reading the drama column, especially as I have no real wish to visit Downstage, but when I see a review of a well known Trotskyite feminist my eyes for some reason stick to the page. But by the time I had waded through this mass of verbiage I wished I hadn't. At the end I had no real idea what it was all about and had the impression that here was a follower in style if not viewpoint of Levi Strauss well known composer of books and anthropological mumbo jumbo.
Perhaps in the future Miss Wyllie could spend less time flaunting her intellectuality and writing in a manner that makes the average student feel that he is an illiterate bum. A little less hedonistic word-mongering and a bit more intelligable and concrete discussion would be welcomed in her future efforts.
Printed by Wanganui Newspapers Ltd., P. O. Box 433 Wanganui, and published by the Victoria University of Wellington Students Association, P. O. Box 196, Wellington.