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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 19. 2nd August 1973

Letters

page 18

Letters

Letters to the Editor should be given to one of the editors, left in the box outside the office or posted to Box 1347. If possible, they should be typed or printed legibly, double spaced on one side of the paper only.

Letters header

Humanity Gets the Boot?

Dear Sir,

Is it economy, is it staff shortages, or is it lack of concern?

I am referring to the quiet removal of the 300 level Social Psychology credits from the course in what appears to be an attempt to 'water down' the range of humanities offerings in the Psychology Dept.

For a university once eminent in this field of psychology this is a sad fate. Even sadder, for the student, is the prospect of planning a well- rounded social science degree that this change precludes. A number of students looking ahead have found this course conspicuous by its absence. It would be interesting to hear of the real reasons for its elimination.

Joanne Cunningham.

Text—book Mafia

Dear Sir,

If the Student Executive wants to win our hearts and minds perhaps they could consider taking on the text-book mafia.

How about leasing a couple of Xerox machines (cheaper than photocopy for large quantities) and running them on a strictly cost basis? In fact if the lease and running costs were covered by a small increase in Studass fees, the "free" access would save everyone expensive outlays for books they read over a couple of weeks and forget for the rest of their lives.

The library' might provide space and servicing, or at worst there must be a spare corner in the Union Building.

Most overseas libraries have batteries of these machines now, and publishers raise prices to break even through library sales alone. We are paying for this new technology without any of the benefits.

Yours sincerely Thorold May.

P.S. Dear readers all, beseige your local student politician, write to "Salient", proclaim your earnest concern for hip-pocket culture, and something might be done.

Get Organised!

Dear Sir,

For a whole year now I have been reading the pathetic little dribble of letters in your columns referring to the cafeteria. Some literary students have compared the food with human faeces, others have merely resorted to the time dishonoured war cry of the silent majority i.e. "Why doesn't someone do something about it?"

Well personally I think the cafe food is quite delicious. I have a preference for highly priced lumps of fat and gristle, white sugar and white flour cakes, chilled gravey soup and gonorrhoea discharge peas. I revel in sour coffee and fatty pies.

Many people think it is strange, but the human tastebuds are subject to many variations so while I enjoy my meals in the cafeteria, I am not surprised that others, even many others, find them distasteful. What does surprise me is that so many students suffer in silence. If they continue to suffer thus then they deserve every horrid mouthful that they take.

So what is to be done? Just imagine the effect of a protracted mass boycott of the cafeteria! Imagine six thousand students marching defiantly in at mid-day armed with brown paper-bags and thermos flasks. I can see it all now, the food congealing in its not-quite-stainless metal warmers, the desperate appeal of the caterers and the howling of the scabs as they are flung head first into the warm slimy gravey!!

And then the dream passes and I am left, a lump in my throat and mock cream on my cardigan front, The red mists part before my eyes and I see only clumps and cluster of grumbling students pushing untouched plates aside and lighting cigarettes with hands trembling in impotent rage.

But if....

Students of Victoria unite! Down with Nationwide gasterialism and all their runny custard! We have a feed to win, we have nothing to lose but a few ugly pounds.

Yours in excited anticipation Beverley Scott.

NZUSA Alive and Well

Dear Eds,

During the recent Special General Meeting a number of students complained that they were unaware of the activities of NZUSA. I would like to bring to the notice of your interested readers the fact that any student can read NZUSA newsletters which are on display in the Students' Association Office. Any further information required can be obtained by asking a member of the executive, at least one of whom can usually be found in the executive workroom, or by going directly to NZUSA's office at 1 Marion St.

The contents of the last three newsletters include papers on Student Participation, Submissions on the Police Offences Act, Overseas Student Conference, Welfare policy, Submission on the Rent Appeal Bill, Teaching on Drugs, French Tests, Alternatives in Education, and notes on newly appointed officers.

Despite recent allegations by a member of the Young Socialists, I am not waiting with a big stick to clobber poor naive students. I am quite prepared to discuss the activities of both VUWSA and NZUSA with any interested student and to offer assistance or information when it is required.

Dave Cunningham

An Olde Englyshe Rime of the Workynge Classe - to a traditional tune.

A Marxist would a-wooing go,
(Chorus: Wooing the workers!)
His sole desire was the good of mankind,
But the workers they kicked him right up the behind,
(Chorus: With a roly, proly, capitalism
Heigh ho! says Willy the Worker.)

The Marxist rubbed his sore behind,
(Chorus: Wooing the workers!)
And raged: "You've betrayed the great cause of mankind,
For I only wanted to better your mind",
(Chorus: With a roly, proly, capitalism,
Heigh ho! says Willy the Worker.)

So off he stalked in great disgust,
(Chorus: Wooing the workers!)
"If you won't be freed from your mindless grind.
Then go and get stuffed, you and all of mankind!"
(Chorus: With a roly, proly, capitalism,
Heigh-ho! says Willy the Worker.)

Peter Russell

[We understand that Mr Russell is a lecturer in the German Dept at this UniversityEds.]

People—Destroying

Dear Sir,

In reply to Mr F. line's letter regarding his two "delinquent" Maori sons, methinks I smell the old "white man's burden."

Could I suggest that in attempting to provide a "decent Christian upbringing" for your sons that you were alienating them as far away from their own culture as it is possible, in our Maori-destroying society.

Perhaps a marae would have saved, where you thought the church would.

Yours, Diane Hooper.

McDougoll and Co.

Dear Sir,

It was with great interest that I read a recent interview in Salient titled "Business and the University". At last, I thought, a capitalist lecturer was going to have a chance to justify his activities, and the activities of his colleagues. However the more I read of the interview the more I realised that various statements were being made that did not tie in with the facts of capitalism insofar as I know them.

Reference was made in the interview to the fact that the consumer determines what is sold in the market place in accordance with his needs. Galbraith and many others argue that needs are created by the capitalist system, and thus what is bought in the market place is also determined by the capitalists. The accuracy of Galbraith's analysis can be clearly seen if one looks at consumer goods now available in American stores; electric can openers, electric tooth-brushes, electric spaghetti forks.... who in hell needs that kind of crap? What consumer in his right mind would be prepared to work for four hours in a noisy, smelly factory in order to be able to afford to buy an electric can opener (which, because of a policy of planned obsolescence is likely to crap out within a couple of years).

Another argument raised in favour of capitalism is that it provides the consumer with a choice. The point however, I feel, is that the choice provided is very limited. If I, a poor student, wanted to buy soap at 50% above the manufactured cost price (say 3c a bar), I wouldn't have any choice of doing so. The reason being that the soap manufacturers of NZ have possibly collectively determined (either explicitly or implicitly) that the sale of super-cheap soap is not in their own economic interests — thus the "choice" offered by the capitalists to the consumer is very much limited by the prime consideration of capitalists everywhere, i.e. "how do we get the biggest profit possible?"

It also seems strange to hear a lecturer talking of the provision of choice within the capitalist system, when many of the courses taught within his department apparently devote much time to considerations such as product standardisation and simplification — these techniques as I understand them are designed to restrict the choices available to the consumer yet the lecturer said "anything that constrains the consumer in his choice I'm against." I don't know if I'm stupid or something, but it seems to me that that statement is a contradiction for capitalism as it is both commonly taught and applied acts to constrain the consumer's freedom of choice.

Another idea I found fascinating in this interview was the implication that the free enterprise system was working better than a more inefficient easy going system (presumably socialism),

If you use the economic criteria of the annual rate of growth in G.N.P., then China followed by Cuba appears well in front of the capitalist countries. How the hell does one arrive at the conclusion that socialism is a more inefficient economic system than capitalism?

What amazes me is the fact that such flimsy arguments were used to support the capitalist system, for I would have thought that if one is going to support an economic system which affects the lives of so many people that one's arguments would have had at least some form of credibility. I really wonder now if there are any real justifications for the capitalist system at all.

Yours sincerely, R.J. Andrews.

page 19

International Call for Nixon's Impeachment

Dear Sir,

I would be very much obliged if you would leave a blank half-inch or so of column below the enclosed petition.

You see me and me mate thort we'd do our public duty in the protection of world morals you know, like Norm Jerk and the Chinese bomb), and set up a petition for the impeachment of Nixon. Signatures to the following petition should be sent to your nearest friendly ambassador, or perhaps c/o 'The Evening Post'. Then, once we get enough signatures going, we'11 sit back and wait for the headlines to break. "International call for Nixon's Impeachment!" We reckon it will be just about as effective as present New Zealand efforts to stop the Cambodia bombing, would probably kill two birds with one stone.

Ta for the co-operation, brother.

Yours in nihilation,

N.R. Kist.

P.S. What's this bloody monstrosity in the caf? Non-economic, non biodegradable, pollutent, plastic drinking straws? Up against the wall!

The Petition.

We, the undersigned, humbly petition the United States Congress, to prosecute with all possible speed, the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, on the grounds of: Malfeisance, Malpractice, Maltexo, Maltreatment, Maladministration, Malnutrition, Maladjustment, Malfunction, and corruption (delete where necessary) — and who knows what he does to spiders? We urge, that for the sake of world morality, you brook no delay in this matter.

Mrs Jones — mother of twelve Mr Smith — Mother of Mrs Jones

Commonsense

Dear Editor,

It's good to note, now that conservation week is approaching, that the Union has ceased to use those nasty biodegradible paper straws, and is now using those luvly plastic ones.

Yours Stinky Rarebush.

Close up of eyes

Socialist Action

Dear Sir,

If Peter Rotherham wins the coming election and becomes President of this university executive I promise faithfully to hang myself from the balcony in the upstairs lounge at 2pm, the day after his election.

Yours sincerely, I. Meenit.

Revolution in the Suburbs

Dear Editor,

Your correspondent, Ralph Nader ( or would-be) makes a memorable statement about the bog-minded apathetic student body in concluding "....most people in this institution are too self-centred to worry about things.... which affect people other than themselves."

The most boisterous band of capitalist baiters (and I include, myself as a 'housewife' daily nauseated by over-packaging, advertising to woo the mindless to buy rubbish, etc etc) are the most constantly wooed by their supposed tormentors and exploiters into unload all available cash into capitalist coffers. The hordes scampering up the Terrace, LPs or Kentucky fried chickens pressed close to their bosoms are not thick materialist-minded bank clerks, but supposedly liberated students addicted to ear-polluting stereo systems and stomach-ravaging carbohydrates. The glassey-eyed circles decorating most downtown hotels and bars at most hours, downing good profit-making DB slush are not over-enthusiastic DB divident-hopefuls but armchair proletarians from up the Hill. Soft drink manufacturers would face bankrupey if someone sold made-up cordial in the SUB. Pall Mall hardly needs to exploit Black Africans when VUW students are so eager to puff away their bursaries. The list is endless.

The revolution has not even begun on the Hill. It is being fought in the suburbs every time women like myself explain to the storekeepers why they do not need bags or brands, will not buy candied rubbish, prefer the loose bag to the multi-coloured box, refuse to drive a car or watch a TV. Touche?

Love and Peace Margaret Davey.

Wot about the workers?

Dear Sir,

Salient is this year obsessed by Marxist dogma. You may say it isn't dogma but what are you trying to do? People are getting on fine in New Zealand. Sure some in Newtown are not living too well but at least they have freedom unlike China.

China which has become so "in", from Newsweek to New Zealand, is held up as a Godzone of the masses. What about the campaign of 100 flowers and the shooting of opponents or is that edited out of "China Reconstructs"?

There are inequalities in all societies and you should see through the bias of Chinese magazines and you should see through American news. No society is perfect. Why hold up China as the answer to the world's problems? I find the liberation of China irrelevant and so do the workers of Porirua.

The same illusions that "People's Voice" rants about are evident in your narrow perspective. After all shouldn't you appeal to the broad masses and not just politically orientated people. And then sport doesn't even exist does it? Nor do the alienated middle-class youth looking for their nirvanas feature in your venerable journal of Marxism—Pukcism.

Alf Jones.

Mao and J.C.

Dear Sir,

In the light of the present articles on China appearing in Salient I thought I would take the liberty of presenting some of Chairman Mao's statements on a few of the issues that face us today.

In Volume PV of his 'Selected Works' at pp 14-15 Mao says: "We take up sword too, following his (Chiang Kai-shek's) example . . . As Chiang Kai-shek is now sharpening his swords, we must sharpen ours too".

In Volume II of his 'Selected Works' at p 224 Mao says: "Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun".

And at p 225 he says: "Only with guns can the whole world be transformed". "We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun".

In Volume I of his 'Selected Works' at pp 182 - 183 Mao says: "War, this monster of mutual slaughter among men, will be finally eliminated by the progress of human society, and in the not too distant future too. But there is only one way to eliminate it and that is to oppose war with war".

With these I compared the sayings of another. He said: "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword".

He said: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God".

He said: "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world then my servants would be fighting".

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you".

Please believe me when I say that I have met this one and know you can meet him too. He has given me the power to live the life that I really wanted all along, but had been blinded and robbed of real liberty. I found a poem that expresses what I want to say and pray that you will read it and maybe start your pilgrimage towards the God who is there.

Yours, Alastair Rees-Thomas

Drawing of an evil looking man

Doughnuts Uphill

Dear Sir,

It was blandly stated in your McDougall interview that to go on a crusade against illegal price fixing would be like trying to roll a doughnut uphill and that "it would probably take a considerable amount of time and effort to change the existing system."

A lecturer in another department in the university, like everyone else in Wellington except the politicians, knew that there was a substandard housing problem in Wellington. This lecturer decided that Government wasn't going to do anything to alleviate the problem, so with the help of students he conducted a survey into sub-standard housing in Wellington. The result of this survey was that more people's attention was drawn to a situation which they knew existed, and furthermore both political parties decided to include in their election platforms a plan of action to alleviate Wellington's housing problem.

Why, then did not lecturers in other departments carry out similar crusades and similar research in certain politically touchy areas, and thus attempt to change society for the better. Maybe the answer lies in the following quote from the interview "if you want research money for a particular project and you've been whacking these guys on the one side they're not going to give it to you on the other side."

So much for the University's role of being a body concerned with the independent pursuit and dissemination of knowledge.

Yours, Ralph's Brother.