Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 1. 6th March 1974
"'Lifting a rock only to drop it on one's own feet' is a Chinese folk saying to describe the behaviour of certain fools. The reactionaries of all countries are fools of this kind. In the final analysis their persecution of the revolutionary people only serves to accelerate the people's revolutions on a broader and more intense scale."
The truth of this remark has been proved many times over in New Zealand. In industrial relations this persecution is most evident, for unmistakably the working people of this country have revolutionary potential. Witness the arrogance of bosses in conflict with employees, witness the unfavourable treatment that workers' struggles receive in the media. That is effectively persecution, whether by abuse or by pretending the workers do not have a case, and it is already rebounding upon itself as industrial confrontation heightens.
Many young people in this country have also felt the brunt of reactionary repression. Students, demonstrators, and even gangs (while less directly involved in the class struggle) are learning from a state whose police force denies them the right to demonstrate, uses the latest in American police state technology to control them, and invokes unjust laws like 'unlawful assembly' to punish them.
Universities provide another example of the establishment's tendency to lift a rock only to drop it on its own feet. Universities exist mainly to entrench the status quo and to provide management personnel. Students tend to come from the ruling class in society and tend to end up in prestigious positions in that same class. But it is one of the contradictions of capitalism that the system creates its enemies within itself. Some young people take advantage of the slight amount of intellectual freedom within the university and come to ask basic questions of it and of society. Whose interests does it serve? What is its role in society? Finding that the university provides no satisfactory answers to these questions, they sometimes think and feel the problem through and become revolutionaries.
The cover of this issue highlights the role that students are playing throughout the world in taking the lead and demanding change. It was students who highlighted the massive inequalities and poverty in Ethiopia. It was students that have caused significant eruptions in Thailand, Turkey and South Korea. In Indonesia they are in the forefront of protest against Japanese economic encroachment.
Perhaps in NZ conditions are different. The inequalities in our society are not so obvious to many. The impact of big power imperialism on this country is little appreciated, and the extent of our own imperialism in the South Pacific is carefully disguised.
As well as Salient's duties within the University as a student newspaper, we see one of our main tasks this year in analysing what's going on in the world and making New Zealanders realise that its relevant to them. And perhaps our most important task is to attempt an independent analysis of the structure and the events of everyday life in this country.
By no means does our cover imply that you should rush out onto the streets and attack the nearest policeman or burn down the nearest US base. We stress that action relevant to our particular conditions at this particular point in history needs maturer consideration than that. If the cover merely gets across the possibilities of the students role, and suggests that at least students have a few questions to ask themselves—and answer—then it is successful.