Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 17. July 23, 1968
July 23, 1968
Opinions expressed in Salient are not necessarily those of VUWSA.
The significance and implications of the May 3-10 revolution in France were both over-simplified and under-estimated in our daily Press. Newsreel film emphasised the bloodiness, the shambles and destruction throughout Paris and other parts of the country. The written word could not impart the ugliness of repression in a modern democracy that a piece of film did.
Accounts of "les jeux de mai" have been pouring off the presses in France. Despite the impression one might gain from the election results, it shouldn't be surprising that the majority of these eye-witness accounts are strong indictments of the Gaullist police state. One publication, "Le Livre Noir des Journees de Mai", was quoted at length in the July 5 edition of the "New Statesman". These statements are itemised accounts of police atrocities.
But our insularity, both economic and social, has all but given way to total absorption within the international economy—suffering its first major depression for over thirty years.
Television's all-embracing hold over the global village has upset many who see its violence as a rudely shattering experience that should be curtailed.
But is it possible, or desirable, to suppress violence, even if an artificial division is made between the "real" and the "staged"? On film they are the same in essence, only their form is different. To claim, as many do, that "gratuitous" violence is harmful and unnecessary is to negate an expression that has created all the major civilisations—and destroyed them. Everyone is against violence, and no one willingly takes part in it. But how many can say they have control over all decisions.
The bogey of student violence is dredged up by middle-class moralists to protect the middle-class. Make no mistake about it. The link between the spectre of student violence consuming society and the rejection of claims for higher bursaries is tenuous and unjustifiable.
An article on the opposite page asserts that the worker-student alliance is unwarranted and abortive.
However, it falsely assumes that the interests of the working-class are opposed to those of students. It forgets that the grievances of both groups arise from the same thing—the standard of living. If workers have an objection to students, it is that they are predominantly middle-class.
Opinions expressed against the student emanate not from workers but from the same element that gave support to the Nazis in Germany — the lower middle-class. Those who worry about the student "image" in reaction to these opinions defend that same class. These people stand to lose most from workers' (and student) power. A democratic control of society concerns only the democratic elements of society, not the ruling elements. Only when this is understood will it be possible to confront and use all possible means in the struggle.