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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 1 March 26, 1942

"What I Object To"

"What I Object To"

In the Desert,

Dear "Salient,"

I have just received from New Zealand a cutting from the "Dominion" of 29th September which quotes a Manifesto adopted at a Student's Association meeting. It is a clever statement couched in the best Free-mar Watson technique of some years ago, but I have a feeling it would be described as "specious" if Kingi Tahiwi could have attended, and I am certain it would not have been adopted nemine contradicente if the "300 fellow students" who are mentioned with such possessive pride had been present.

I do not, of course, suggest that the University Red is a "spectre" or a danger to anyone, and I am in favour of a proper answer being given to stupid critics of the College. But is the Manifesto the opinion of V.U.C. to-day? What I object to is, first, that Communist propaganda should dominate the Manifesto; secondly, that the Manifesto should claim that people who "give the Universities a [unclear: bad] name" are the only beings capable of intelligent thought and expression; and, finally. I object to the inference that we "fellow students" are overseas playing our part in this war to enable "the onward march of the common people of the world" to take place according to the doctrine of Marx. Those are the inescapable implications of this document. It reminds me of certain Plunket Medal orations or, rather, harangues. Like them, it gives the impression throughout of having been used as [unclear: a] vehicle of propaganda, and there-[unclear: are] annoys those of us who believe hat the world will not, and [unclear: cannot be] benefited by Communism. I cannot help wondering whether the authors of the Manifesto world have written it if Russia had never entered the war. This war, which was seen coming for so long, was always [unclear: hailed] by the "University Red" as another imperialistic [unclear: feud] between "Fascist" nations. Suddenly, however, it hag become a Crusade—is this because "Imperialist" Britain, has joined hands with Holy Russia against a common enemy?

One cannot help but smile at the complacency of the writers of the Manifesto who set themselves up as prophets in their own land. They [unclear: claim] to have expressed "doubts as to the democratic principles of Baron [unclear: von] Mannerheim." They claim to have "denounced Reynaud." What outstanding perspicacity! They forget that they "expressed doubts" as to the democratic principles of and "denounced" every public figure of recent years who didn't breathe red. In these circumstances it is easy to pick a few prophecies after the event.

As I finish reading the Manifesto once again I marvel that it could have been passed unanimously by a V.U.C. Students' Association. I see it was done "as the conclusion of a recent meeting." I suppose such things are possible when coffee "and biscuits are in sight!

Yours, etc.,


[It is not surprising that the writer of this letter sees the bloody hand of the Comintern of work in the Manifesto. The phrase, "onward march of the common people of all lands towards their just and true inheritance," which apparently strikes him as the nadir of Marxist demagogy in the document, is a quotation from a broadcast delivered to the French people on 21st October, 1940, by that notorious Bolshevik, the Right Hon. Winston Churchill.—Ed.]