Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 11. June 8th, 1950
A.W.C. says "No"
A.W.C. says "No"
The report of Victoria's delegates to the WFDY Congress at Budapest was prepared by Ron Smith and K. J. Hollyman and S. T. Scoones, two ex-VUC New Zealanders now studying in Paris. All students are urged to secure a copy and study at least some of its 50 pages. Only by careful reading can they form a reasoned opinion on whether or not continued WFDY membership is worth-while.
This writer is against continued affiliation with WFDY, but believes that as long as VUC is affiliated, we are obliged to take some interest in it. It follows that these comments are not intended as a personal attack on the delegates, who have no doubt carried out their duties in accordance with their own conscientiously held personal attitudes towards world affairs.
The first point about the report is the quaint phraseology. Some of it probably consists of straight quotes or abridgements of WFDY prepared handouts, but throughout a peculiar style is maintained.
The report of the WFDY President quotes President Truman: "That the U.S. Government would accord financial aid to those governments which would openly fight against the democratic forces." A footnote explains that "Truman himself, of course," said 'Communism,' but meant, as the facts have shown, any democratic forces opposing U.S. expansion and demanding national independence and democratic rights."
Apparently the President of WFDY is unable to quote President Truman directly, but must introduce this peculiar jargon in place of the word "Communism."
One dreadful moment is highlighted on pages 12 and 13 of the report. Here the President of WFDY said: "We should popularise ever more widely the successes without historical precedent which have been obtained in the Soviet Union during the past decades."
Our delegates were upset about this. They thought it "might be open to misinterpretation as a statement of political favouritism." Well they might think so! They therefore gave a page of reasons explaining this one away. They manage to turn the statement into "points out the necessity of popularising the achievements of the Soviet youth (or of the youth of the people's democracies)." Just a "message of hope for youth."
Note: We started with "Soviet Union" and ended with "Soviet youth."
With all the pages of lists of delegates from every imaginable country (each tagged with the support of old friends like the Eureka Youth League in Australia or the Canadian Seamen's Union) there is one omission—yes, you guessed it—Yugo-slavia. Remember how she used to fill the pages of "Salient" in those good old days before Tito split on the boys? Other sources state that Yugoslavia was expelled from WFDY, but our delegates just ignore the fate of the poor youth now subject to their "inhuman oppressors"—or is Yugoslavia just "anti-democratic"?
Diary Notes of WFDY—
- April 14—A day of solidarity with youth fighting fascism in Spain.
- February 21—A day of solidarity with youth fighting against colonialism.
- October 2—International Peace Day.
One of "Our Tasks in the Battle of Peace"—"Task 10—We must learn to develop the rich and often undeveloped talents of our girls, who as the mothers of tomorrow, are natural champions of peace."
The report on New Zealand is really good. During the conscription campaign last year ("for imperialist war") "Press and radio (were) closed to the peace forces." These instruments were certainly weighted against, but hardly "closed" to the "peace forces."
"Later this year the student newspaper was temporarily banned in the same college," gives the impression of a Soviet-style censorship. It overlooks the rather simple point at issue of an article alleged to be offensive to local personalities.
According to Mr. Smith (he should know, being an M. Com.): "New Zealand faces in the near future an economic crisis exceeding in intensity the great depression of the early 1930's, which caused great suffering to New Zealand youth."
So hang onto your money, students; with such a prospect it seems a pity to waste any more cash on staying affiliated with WFDY.
Get hold of that report, read it, and think it over before attending the annual general meeting!