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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 10. 24 May 1972


Now is the time for all free thinkers to come to the aid of a party.

The time is ripe in this country for the creation of a new political party; a party which will deny the right of only middle-aged men to govern our land; a party which will champion the new honesty and new values of the younger generation; a party which will unite under one banner the enlightened policies of such specialist groups as Care and Hart, the Women's Liberation Movement, the conservation and anti-pollution movements and the Vietnam Peace Movement; but more than this, a party which will address itself to the root causes of alienation in our society. We need a young people's party.

Who better than us to lead a movement which will shape the social system in which we and our children will have to live. There is a new current flowing in the world today.

You see it in the movements to improve morals—the morals of a government which gives tacit support to a social system which institutionalises racial inferiority; the morals of a nation which rains death on a foreign people with random, indifferent, technological cruelty.

The new consciousness shows in movements to free members of our society from positions subtly fabricated by others and forced upon them. It shows in the movements to reject the de-personalizing effects of our bureaucracy and uncontrolled technology.

It shows most simply of all in the movement by young people to establish a warmer and more meaningful relationship with each other, with society, with nature and with the land. Charles Reich has called this new consciousness transcendent reason.

"It is the product of the contradictions, failures and exigencies of the Corporate State itself, not of any force external to the State," he writes in The Greening of America. "It is now in the process of rapidly spreading to wider and wider segments of youth, and by degrees to older people, as they experience the recovery of self that marks conversion to a different consciousness."

This new consciousness, this transcendent reason does not show itself in our political parties to a degree that is acceptable to me or, I suspect, to most young people. There appear to be two reasons for this. Firstly, our political leaders don't share our view of the world. They were brought up in an earlier age when social and economic conditions were different from what they are now. And the environment in which you grow up shapes your view of the world. It's as simple as that.

The National Party was founded on support for the advancement of free enterprise. The Labour Party was started to improve the lot of the worker. The aims were narrow, sectional and has some relevance to the needs of the age. But they are not relevant to the needs of our increasingly affluent and aimless world. Unless both of the parties can discard their outdated doctrines and reassess their values in the light of how the world exists now, their chances of winning the allegiance of much of the new generation are very poor. To date they have shown a marked disposition not to change.

This brings me to the second reason why the new honesty and the new values haven't become a notable feature of their behaviour. To date most young activists I haven't bothered to work for reform through the parties, or if they have, most have become discouraged because of the impossibility of gaining any significant change in the policies of institutions composed mostly of people who have an outdated view of the world and are conditioned by the concept of government by the middle-aged or elderly.

The result has been that because of the alienation and disaffection of youth they and the parties have been growing further and further apart

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The process has become a self-reinforcing one.

The only sensible answer is to start a new party and work through the system, not overthrow it. To work through Labour and National is simply going to take too long. In addition if you join them you are going to become identified with their traditional mode of behaviour and philosophical outlook.

The National and Labour Parties grew out of certain basic impulses in society, but society has changed. Now there is a new impulse but no party to give it forceful expression — only fragmented specialist groups and a sea of alienated powerless people trying desperately to carve out meaningful lives for themselves while the juggernaut of economic growth, uncontrolled technology and change crashed foward. Young people have got to realise that they can't affordto withdraw from conventional political involvement and do their "own thing" because it's going to become harder and harder to do your own thing in an industrial and social system which pushes you this way and that and accommodates you to it needs.

We have got to organise and do our "combined" thing.

The problems I would like to see the New Zealand Value Party address itself to include: