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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 9. 9 May 1972

[Letter from Derek Smelser]


I think that Miss Days Bay Wharf '72 rather misses the point. That Liberals like Giacometti sculpture quadrisonic sound and Citroens is rather premised on the fact of their being in a priveledged enough position to do so. The list of attributes listed in Salient No. 7 were testimony to a blind conformism and dilletantism which extends to politics as much as to Beardsley posters. Liberals, having securred a stable niche in the current order of things are aware that to be 'in' one has to be fashionably anti-Establishment. Liberals are anti-Tour, but they are blind to the racism endemic in their own communities and on campus; Liberals are anti Vietnam, but don't realise that Vietnam is no accident but simply an instance in a repeated pattern of forcible support of elites in countries of the Third World; which are hence sympathetically disposed to Western 'economic penetration' (read exploitation) the profits of which help support the Liberals 'Liberal lifestyle!' Remember, it were 'liberals' like Kennedy (vs Nixon) and LBJ (vs Goldwater) who got us into Vietnam in the first place.

And even if an apprehension of the fact that a great part of the basis of 'Western Society' is based on Genocide and the systematic exploitation of minorities (remember the profits from the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the conquest of India helped spark off the Industrial Revolution) and that this pattern is repeated within our own society ever dawns, the Liberal has too many vested interests to really do anything about it—except to apply a Social Cosmetic. Thus rather than questioning the very concept of prison (universities for crime), the Liberal campaigns for prison 'Reform'. Rather than questioning the concept of Mental 'hospitals' (where the old are taken to die or where the nuisance child is drugged or undergoes electro-convulsive 'therapy') or of Schools (wich after all were first instituted to 'keep the kids off the streets'), both being mere Homologues of Prison, the Liberal again fights for 'Reform'. In a world gone mad, the only real alternative for people who simply want to pursue their own lives in their own way is quite simply to set up their own social groupings and develop their own way. Hence the 'Alternative Society'. Rather than just a collection of alternative Social Institutions, it should present alternatives to them. With an economic independence from 'Society' based on co-operative groupings (eg. the food co-op), the 'Alternative Society' is immediately subversive and allows for the development of new forms of community, of life-style, of human relationships........

Miss Days Bay Wharf '72, force-fed muesli and unbleached flour by the advertising machine and secured in her economic niche, would not have the determination or strength of gut—feeling in being wronged or discriminated against to wrench herself free and join the Revolution.

Derek Smelser.