Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 3. 14th March 1973
The Duty of N.Z. Youth
The Duty of N.Z. Youth
Young people, including students, are an important political force in N.Z. as in every other country, With their working lives ahead of them they look with revulsion on the inhumanity, brutality, futility, and sheer stupidity, of the world of capitalism in decay — imperialism. Since their conscience is largely unsullied through peril participation in the exploitation of working people and they have not yet become hooked to the system through time-payment or family commitments, they tend to come out more courageously and honestly with their criticism of the "establishment". This is a fine, positive feature of the youth.
As a result of the bold actions and demonstrations, largely of young people, over the past five years or so heavy blows have been struck at pacifism, acceptance of capitalist "law and order", and social-democratic "negotiations", which have dominated the political scene in N.Z. for many years.
But on the whole, the young people nave tended to revolt against ugly manifestations like police violence, the Vietnam War, the Springbok tour, rack-renting, and so on, as isolated things in themselves. Thus they have seen only the external features of these phenomena and have mostly failed to appreciate the interconnection of all these things as inevitable consequences of the system of imperialist exploitation of the working people. Until they grasp this concept, their revolt, no matter how courageous, will be directed only against individual symptoms of the disease in N.Z. Society and will never be successful in eradicating its cause.
Oppression and exploitation of man by man, expressed in wars of aggression, unemployment, racism, discrimination against women, police brutality, futile university courses etc., will always be with us until we eliminate their source by the overthrow of the capitalist system in New Zealand. This entails the proletarian revolution, the smashing of the forces of the capitalist state and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. But, because of its class position, only the working class can play the leading role in the proletarian revolution, and in N.Z. it is not yet sufficiently conscious of its historic mission and has scarcely entered the battlefield. Hence we see the youth and student movement taking a courageous stand, but in isolation from the main force without which victory cannot be attained.
This is the most serious weakness in the movement of young people in N.Z. today.
In such a situation there is grave danger that the revolutionary energies of the youth could be burnt out in adventurist actions of small groups, ineffective because they remain isolated from the main stream of the rank and file working people and resulting only in unnecessary martyrdom of bold elements, or frittered away on charitable work leading to reconciliation with the system and disillusionment with struggle. Neither of these alternatives will play a significant part in solving the crucial problem of raising the consciousness of the masses of the workers about their historic mission as the decisive force in the socialist revolution and getting them to take action.