SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1934. Volume 5. Number 3.
Murphy or Marx — Was Question at Labour Club
Murphy or Marx
Was Question at Labour Club
In contrast to the noisy opposition at the meeting at which the V.U.C. Labour Club was formed, the first public meeting of the Club held last week, was astonishingly quiet—in fact, we might almost describe it as awed—the paper took over an hour to read. This was not for lack of attendance, for close on fifty students turned up to hear Mr. H. I. Forde on "Karl Marx and the Crisis." Perhaps the hushed quiet was due to the startling discovery that the social and economic theories, so often dismissed contemptuously as "the fallacies of Karl Marx," were capable of intelligent exposition, that the terms "capitalist," "bourgeoisie," "proletariat," and "exploitation" were not vague terms of abuse, but exactly defined scientific terms to describe a particular system of social relationships, and that perhaps the final word on the subject of Marxism had not been written in the "Outlines of Economics." This was perhaps the biggest surprise of all.
An unkind wit has suggested that perhaps the lecture might have been better been called "Murphy or Marx?" Mr. Forde admitted the full justice of the phrases in which Professor Murphy so sweepingly disposed of Marx, but claimed that the Professor was merely having a glorious time knocking down straw men which exist only in his own imagination.
Mr. Forde had some witty things to say on the subject of "democracy." He claimed that in America the rich and poor were equal—they both got ice— but the rich got theirs in the summer and the poor got theirs in the winter. One of the possible ways out of the crisis appeared to be resorting to manual labour. Germany was introducing this, and there they were abandoning the guillotine for the axe.
Dr. Sutherland was the first speaker from the floor and he introduced a very intricate discussion on dialectics by asking the question, "Is the dialectic a closed system of thought?" This had the Marxists slightly at variance. Mr. Forde replied; Mr. Riske counter-replied and Mr. Watson not being satisfied with either, endeavoured to correct both. Dr. Sutherland was still not satisfied, relentlessly pinning them down to the problem he had set and this had the effect of bringing Dr. Sutch into the arena. He suggested that the question might be solved by getting the librarian to buy more books on Marx.
Unfortunately the intervention of Mr. Brooks brought the meeting to an end before a really intricate discussion on "dialectics" and the theory of surplus value" was able to develop. The chairman, Mr. C. G. Watson in a quotation from Lenin to the effect that "Our theory is not a dogma but a guide to action" to exhort those present to join the Labour Club.
We feel that the Labour Club is to be congratulated on bringing before the students at its first meeting a paper of such a high standard, and agree with Dr .Sutherland that it was one of the best addresses given before students in recent years.
In a recent debate, birth control was urged as an argument for checking Japanese expansion.
"Smad's" office-boy thinks this is a silly argument; it is ridiculous to expect the Japanese to change their habits over-night.