Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 3. 1962.
The View From the Left
The View From the Left
It is amazing how closely present day events in France parallel those of the Weimar Republic immediately prior to the rise of Hitler. Once again terrorism has become the accepted (possibly the only effective) means of political activity. Once again disgruntled military elements, embittered by a long series of military reverses, are turning upon the civilian population and embroiling themselves in political activity in an attempt to "restore national prestige". Once again we have the spectacle of an ageing, pitiful military figure, made remote from present day events by the aura of past military glories, being hailed by the bourgeoise as the national saviour. Few present day observers will take kindly to so equating De Gaulle and Hindenburg and see or prefer to see him as the only factor stopping a fascist coup in France. It must, however, be remembered that De Gaulle epitomises the aspirations of the French bourgeoise who, as they have demonstrated in the past, much prefer fascism to communism. De Gaulle demonstrated his abhorrence of communism during the Second World War when he refused to co-operate with the communist resistance leaders.
Only the Communist Party appears to be refusing to follow the historical pattern set by the German C.P. The period that saw the rise of Hitler also saw the consolidation of communist rule in Russia. The then leaders in Russia were fervent internationalists and encouraged the German C.P. to adopt a revolutionary policy. Stalin, with his doctrine of communism in one country, turned the international communist movement into an ancillary of Soviet Foreign policy. Since Krushchev gained power in the Soviet Union the national communist movements have achieved some independence of action. Thorez and his party have taken to heart the lesson of the past and are refusing to be provoked into revolutionary action. Thus we have the amazing spectacle of a revolutionary party acting as the main defender of a bourgeoise state.
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The timing of the National Party's action in raising University Fees should provide students with an object lesson in the Art of Politics. By announcing the fee increase immediately after finals Mr. Tennant effectively stifled (if only temporarily) a potentially vociferous pressure group and thus made organised resistance to the increase more difficult. Such finesse in political management is rare on the New Zealand political scene and Mr. Tennant must be congratulated. However, the matter is very far from ended yet! One of the main arguments brought forward in de fence of the fee increase is that it will eliminate those students who are attending University for social reasons and so ease the burden of the burgeoning student population. It has been my experience that the "socialite" student has a father who bears the burden of fee payments and those who will be most hit are the young students who for some reason or another foil in their first year and yet often go on to obtain excellent results. Thus many are arguing that the increases may once again make the Universities the preserve of the moneyed elite. Admittance to and progress through the university should be based solely upon merit not upon a student's ability to pay and keep paying.
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That Mr. Menzies was returned to power rather than cast into the political wilderness as he deserved can only be explained by the growing importance of the vote of the largely conservative minded European immigrant. Subsequent events serve admirably to illustrate the degenerate nature of most of present day politics. During the election campaign, Mr. Menzies and his party put forward a policy that they believed was in Australia's best interests. The shock given the government by the election results has caused it to jettison this policy and bring forward a policy designed solely for the purpose of regaining electoral support. It is obvious that principles are of little importance when weighed against votes.
The witchhunt against the local communist movement conducted by that defender of all that is best in the New Zealand way of life, New Zealand's largest selling weekly, "Truth", has been brought to a premature close. Such Mc-Carthyite tactics must be condemned by all who value freedom and the rights of the individual. Anyway, at present the New Zealand Communist Party is so paralysed by the split in its membership over the Sino-Russian dispute that it has virtually ceased to operate effectively. Anyone who has met the New Zealand C.P. leaders, will readily understand their support of the Stalinist line adopted by the Albanians and the Chinese. A large section of the party is apparently pressing for a liberalisation of party discipline and beliefs in line with Russian developments.
I wonder if Truth would be so eager to conduct a similar expose of the league of Empire Loyalists or the recently formed National Socialist Party of New Zealand. Perhaps they feel however, that such neo-Fascist and Fascist groups constitute no danger to the New Zealand way of life.