Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 38, Number 13. 12th June 1975
Politics or Piss
The university can well be proud of itself having gained another soul, namely that of John Grainer. The ideology of the university is the ideology of the status quo — it teaches that to question and criticise is to become disillusioned. The solution to this situation is to withdraw back into the security of the status quo, and get pissed. John follows these steps methodically. He begins by questioning and criticising SRC and rightly so. However, his analysis becomes faulty when he defines the problem as people and groups, namely left versus right. If he had read Kevin Wright's analysis in Salient May issue, he may have gained an insight into the problem areas. So, beginning with a faulty analysis he becomes disillusioned. He supports American imperialism by default, yet in the next breath he rejects it. He can't decide on the question of Britain in the death throes of colonisation because there is no NZUSA policy on it. This disillusionment then leads him to the absurd conclusion that 'the only politics I can support is New Zealand because we don't have any yet.' The masters of the right-wing philosophy including Bob Jones and Weddell would strongly disagree on this point. Finally, after reflecting on his false problems and absurd conclusions, he decides that the only thing left to do is to retreat into the pub. Yet John may feel comforted in that he is not alone after all. The breweries show a profit every year.
However, to more serious matters, namely, the logical flaws in John's argument. Firstly, he uses the 'right-wing' principle that if you' re not for something, you're against it. To be anti-commie is to be right-wing. However, I am not for the right-wing ideology — I am against it. So, to be anti-right-wing is to be right-wing — an interesting conclusion. Secondly, he suggests that right-wingers are defenders rather than attackers, but defenders of what? Yes, the right-wing ideology. So, John may be suprised to learn that the right have an ideology (Ayn Rand, Talcott-Parsons, etc.) that has been put forward positively and forcefully since the death of feudalism (e.g. America and Vietnam). Hence, although John says that right-wingers by definition don't attack, it would seem imperative, if Indo-China teaches us anything, that they do attack if the tentacles of socialism aren't going to snuff out their ideology once and for all.
So where does all this lead us with respect to the sterile nature of SRC? Kevin Wright suggests that 'if people don't have to sit through some of the boring shit that comes up, we would get more people at SRC'. This seems to be a far more constructive suggestion than hitting yourself over the head with a bottle of DB Bitter.
It would seem that the left have won by default and consequently SRCs are boring. So let's have a bit of opposition. I know that to win fairly and squarely is far more personally satisfying than winning by default.
One last little point ... John has moved from SRC down to the Royal Tiger. However, if he had had a meal before he left, he would notice that food prices have gone up. If he rides his bike to the pub, he will notice that the price of petrol has risen. If he wants to get pissed it will cost him more than it did a year ago. Yet, being of the right, he will defend this. On the other hand, NZUSA are in the process of negotiating for more money in order to allow him to do these things. He will defend this too. Such are the contradictions of the defensive right-wing, defending different ideologies so that the individual may profit. I suggest that John, if he is serious, study up the right-wing ideology and make a stand. For if history is to show us anything, the right-wing eventually will defend itself out of existence.
Yours in Mao,
Paul D. Swain.
When Is a Worker Not a Worker?
Please tell me who are the 'workers' and who the 'middle class'.
|a)||because of all this 'hereditary' work, I shouldn't be here at all,|
|b)||because I'm here, we haven't been working' at all.|
Errol F. Lynn
What Also Happened At Exec.
The pettiness of the Exec. Report by John Henderson angers me to write this letter. How a person can sit through a six-hour session and miss some of the most important items amazes me. For those students who are interested in the activities of the exec. the following items were missed by John in his report:
I mentioned that I had had discussions with the National Bank regarding Student Loans. They mentioned that they had funds available for loans with little or no security. They will be coming up here in the next couple of weeks to arrange loans.
Kevin Wright asked the Exec. on behalf of the Hang-Glider Club to buy a hand-glider. The Exec. referred the matter to the Sports Council.
Gyles Beckford circulated a paper on the proposal to set up an Accomodation Trust. This would involve carving up the Associations Trust and Development Fund and creating a legal trust, involving about $100,000 of the Association's money. The Exec. agreed in principle with the idea.
I mentioned discussions with Gyles, Chris Haggart and myself had had with a person interested in setting up a discount scheme for students. The Exec. agreed wholeheartedly with the idea and decided to offer any assistance it could. The scheme is now underway and will be offering discounts on typewriters, calculators, stereos, linen, electrical goods and many other things. Further information will be available at the Studass office.
Kevin Wright suggested that a Social Controller be elected and hold a position on Exec. The Exec. felt this position was not necessary as it was felt that this would deter clubs from organising their own activities.
Perhaps future Exec. reports could pay more attention to important matters than to frivolous matters.
Wright's Right For President?
I happened to be going through the SRC policy handbook recently and came across the information that SRC has 'commended the attitude of the Vice-Chancellor that 'police should not be called on campus by the university authorities except where life or limb is endangered'!
I then recalled the notice on the Association notice board about anybody at all being able to call the police for any reason whatsoever, including the deputy managing secretary. It also said that the Students Association had endorsed these new regulations but unfortunately the notice had gone from the board so I can't be sure of what our exec. has endorsed or hasn't. Could you tell me what the new rules are and who oked them? Kevin Wright's letter in the last Salient was spot on. I know that this man should put his name down in the next elections for president. Enough of powder puff pseudo socialism for me.
Drinking Machine in Rankine Brown
How about installing a drinking machine in the library foyer? I'm sick of trailing all the way down to the one next to the Durex machine on wet dreary nights like tonight when I need a bit of sustenance to encourage me to read the next chapter.
Sangster Recognises Mistake
In my letter regarding student teacher bursaries, in Salient 12 June, 1975, I recognise the error regarding 'heavies'. I apologise for this to the individuals concerned.
PS. The criticism still stands, even to the deposed head of STANZ
I think Graeme Clark needs to be told, again, that if he does not understand or like or accept a painting, that does not mean the painting is incomprehensible or ugly or ideologically loaded. I take his admission of his own stupidity as proved; yet I cannot accept that this is a particularly startling condemnation of Wollaston's painting's). He is very sure that when he speaks, he is representing the sentiments of the people he works with. I would not be suprised to discover that their lack of interest, generally, in painting like Wollaston's, is only equalled by their lack of interest in 'philosophy' like Mr. Clarke's. The self pity evident in Mr. Clarke's letter is, I am sure, all his own.
More Opposition to Wall
The White Sports Coat and Pink Carnation Society hereby formally registers its disapproval of Dr. Wall's proposed amendment. We consider this bill to infringe dangerously upon the freedom that makes our society the paragon of open-mindedness and tolerance of free thought that it is. We intend to fight this to the death — well, perhaps not to the death — but we certainly intend to put up a strong campaign, — well, not really a campaign — but we do intend to yell and shout a lot, well not so much yell and shout, but well be pretty upset — well not upset, because we've really got no time for pooftas, but they don't have to join our society and anyway if pooftas weren't allowed what would we have to throw off at?
Signed regent and vice-regent (unreadable signatures).
Daniel Tan, in his letter last week, criticised many aspects of Vic's attitude and organisation with regard to the Overseas Students Congress. Unfortunately, his criticisms are all aimed in the wrong directions.
Regarding the $50 sponsorship allocation: Right up until the last week of term I had absolutely no information about Congress and no-one else, who might have had information, came forward. Thus I was never in any position to argue for allocation of money until the last week of term after I had written to Chew. When I did know more about Congress, I tried to get the amount allocated increased by Exec, but was unsuccessful. The amount of $50 sponsorship was not decided by Exec. but by SRC. Where was Daniel Tan when that decision was made, and why did he not speak out? The $100 voted to the Capping Piss Up was an SGM decision and therefore binding on the Exec.
Lisa Sacksen and I stressed the importance of reporting back to Victoria on Congress to all the delegates, but we cannot enforce it. We returned from Congress too late to get copy in for the first issue of Salient this term, and for the second issue, Krishna Menon wrote a report. This report, however, was written in such a way as to give an entirely false sense of what Congress was, and contained factual inaccuracies. We did not have time to write an alternative before the issue went into print, and it was last issue that thus carried my report.
Perhaps Daniel Tan can suggest, more constructively, ways that Salient can procure 'relevant and current articles rather than scouring around for shit to fill itself up'. Then perhaps his criticism will start aiming in the right direction.
Bryony M. Hales,International Affairs Officer.
Criticism of SRC
I'm writing in support of Kevin Wright's criticism of SRC. This is my first (and last) year at Vic. so it is perhaps just the novelty of going along at 12o'clock on Wednesday afternoons and seeing who can draw the funniest connotations from motions, or who can blow his own trumpet loudest about nothing, or who will be elected to yet another vacant student administration post, such as vice-assistant to the under secretary of the catering advisory sub-committee, but rather its because at last week's meeting I heard for the first time some rewarding comment made by a concerned student. His comments (despite efforts by John Henderson and co. to shut him up), reflected the opinion of the vast majority of students at Vic: that SRC is so fucked up its not worth going to.
And the ridiculous thing was that when Mr. Newton brought up what was the most constructive piece of discussion heard at SRC this year, the fact that its stuffed and what can we do to improve it, some fuckwit started jumping up and down crying, 'out of order, we're discussing something else'. What's the point of discussing anything if the whole process of discussion is fucked?
If its more important for those SRC stalwarts to listen to Colin Feslier degrade and deviate an important discussion on human issues for the sake of a few quick points towards the Victoria Bob Hope Trophy rather than attempt to improve some things around here, then they deserve to get such a lack of support.
I would urge that all concerned students attend the SRC so that student affairs are sensibly discussed by a broader cross-section of the student community rather than by the tiny minority of mini-muldoons at present lavishing our SA fees on frivilous excursions for the Victoria Travellers Club (alias the Exec. clique).
Young Socialists — just 'liberal' or 'reactionary'?
The young Socialists have never exactly had my warmhearted support but the pure crap they distributed in the Union Hall last Thursday under the heading 'Edelin Conviction Blow To Abortion Rights' prompts me to comment.
This handout, described by Young Socialists as a fact sheet, on the contrary resorts to emotive argument, label pinning and association of groups in a way which reminds me of Nixon's clever way of calling his opponents communists ('A vote for me is a vote against communism').
Side one of the sheet begins with an introductory paragraph in which the foundation for association of the anti-abortionists and racists is laid (underlined words 'Black', 'Boston', 'Black'). The rest is a quote from the US socialist newsweekly. "The Militant'. It makes great play of the fact that Edelin (a 'Black') was convicted by an 'all white' jury for performing an abortion on a young 'Black' woman, but conveniently forgets to mention that the chief prosecutor in the case was also a 'Black'. From here on it is in the familiar — black and white, goodies and badies story (swap the sides around and it could have come straight out of the Tablet). The goodies (otherwise called 'forces', 'supporters') 'demonstrate', 'chant'. Volunteer to work overtime without pay', 'rally', whereas the baddies ('racists', 'Catholic Church', 'enemies', 'hypocrites', 'right-wingers', etc.) whip up racism, spend millions on hysterical advertising, launch a 'smear campaign', etc. And (of course!) Edelin was 'convicted ... for performing a 'legal' abortion ...' (?)
And (of course!) the sheet doesn't mention that the fetal experiments against which the anti-abortionists launched a 'smear' campaign involved cutting the heads off living fetuses and seeing how long you could keep them alive (would you believe 8 days?)
Side two of the sheet continues with the racist Connection. The article itself points out that the women who need abortions are the 'poor women, mainly the Black women', so it seems that if an illegal abortion was performed by a doctor then the chances are it would be on a Black woman — but to charge the doctor would be racist??
I am sick to death of this kind of dishonesty which is used by both 'liberals' and 'reactionaries' alike to 'prove' their cases. What we need is some reason and honesty and definitely not the band-wagon jumping of the Young Socialists or anyone else.
Overseas Student Congress Report
|1)||I had in fact submitted a lengthy report on the Overseas Conference to the editor of Salient, for publication in the May 29 issue.|
|2)||However, well-informed sources have it that the editor decided to hold up the report for another week in order to allow certain persons working within the Salient staff and Studass to write out replies to the criticisms noted in my article for publication concurrently with my report in the following issue of Salient.|
|3)||However, during the following week I was advised by the editor that my report would be rejected and replaced by the report by Bryony Hales that was subsequently published in Salient June4.|
|4)||The reasons given for rejecting my report were as follows, and I quote:
Question: Have you any solid, substantive reasons aside from that ...?
Answer: Silence ... long pause ...eh, that's good enough reason.
I leave it to readers to judge the value of the sort of report that was finally published in Salient's June 4 issue. In the meantime, could I suggest perhaps that Salient publish a booklet on 'How to write a report for Salient', listing perhaps all the relevant points, attitudes, ideological premises, etc that would be required of any report seeking publication in Salient. Then perhaps, there will be no need for some of us to bother putting too much time and effort into writing up articles for Salient Better still, Salient could perhaps reprint reports from the local Women's Weekly or even better (dare I say it?) ...the local Press.
(Salient prints letters that are submitted without alteration even if they are known to be factually incorrect as is this one. Krishna Menon is very much less than honest in his outline of my reasons for rejecting his report. I received his report in time for the May 29 issue but decided not to publish it then as I was very much adverse to its general approach and because other people who had gone to the Overseas Students Conference disputed many of his facts. I decided that at the very least an alternative report should be placed alongside it should it appear, at most I felt it should not appear at all. I then asked Bryony Hales to prepare a report on the Overseas Students Conference.
Before the next issue of Salient I had a discussion with Krishna Menon about the content of his report. Although I no longer have a copy of the report I can remember that it would not take much effort to see in it a description of sneaky Maoist subversives twisting the minds of poor innocent Malaysian students. I pointed out several parts implying this, and said that this was exactly what the Malaysian High Commission had been saying last year when Malaysian students reacted to the arrest of Khoo Ee Liam. Krishna put forward no argument against these allegations.
Point B is also an accurate quote — unfortunately it fails to disprove my statements. I said that several parts had been pointed out to me as totally innacurate and that I was unwilling to print them. The reply this time was that it added spice to the report. Not one single allegation was denied.
Point C is roughly accurate. The whole tone of the report was one of lazy cynicism. Good intentions were ridiculed and behind every action as sinister motive was placed, eg. a section where he ridiculed the concern (which he placed in quotes) that privileged members of Malaysian society such as university Students felt for the squatters at Tasek Utara (which he also put in quotes). That many university students have been placed in jail for these supposedly false emotions and that recently over a thousand students were arrested in Malaysia on charges of unlawful assembly doesn't seem to convince him of their sincerity of purpose in their concern over the plight of fellow Malaysians.
Point D just had to be a misquote — and it is. What the hell ping-pong has to do with anything I don 't know, but I suppose it does look good. In fact, at this stage, all I was doing was pointing out one of the many slurs on the organisers, NZUSA and others involved in the Conference. The actual article read something like 'what do you expect with a bunch of fervent Maoists organising the affair' which, of course, plays directly into the hands of the Malaysian High Commission, who have been saying that far longer than Krishna Menon.
Krishna Menon knows full well that I offered many more reasons for refusing his article than he outlines in those four short quotes. His request for other reasons was made at the end of a long explanation of why I was unwilling to print his article.
Krishna Menon's approach to this letter is basically the same as the approach to his article. He is not concerned with the facts — except to deliberately misrepresent them. He expects this to result in debate as people rally against him. The unfortunate thing is that he doesn't seem to care that people have to waste a great deal of time putting the record straight just because of his ideas of what creates debate. The easiest thine for me to have done would have been to reject his letter as I rejected his article for it is not worth the effort needed to reply to it. — Ed.)
One of the hardest things in life to accept for many us is criticism. If criticisms are correct we should receive them honestly, and to improve ourselves by avoiding the faults pointed out to us.
However, the people who criticise must also be honest in their approach. They should always criticise the people at fault before them. As a great living philosopher said, 'It is very bad to whisper behind people's backs and not to speak out to their faces. We should have a general agreement — at least in principle. We should be able to speak either more sharply or more tactfully, but we must speak out. Sometimes we must be clear and sharp. But in any case, if we take our desire for unity as our starting point and adopt a helpful attitude, then sharp criticism cannot split the Party; it can only unite the Party. It is very dangerous to leave unsaid things which you want to say. Of course we must choose our time to speak, and it does not do to ignore strategy...... Those who are afraid to speak out are afraid to speak out are afraid of being called opportunists, afraid of getting the sack, afraid of being expelled from the Party, afraid of being divorced by their wives ... afraid of being confined to the guardroom, afraid of having their heads chopped off. I feel that as long as you are prepared for these eventualities and are able to see through the vanities of this world, you need be afraid of nothing. If you make no psychological preparation, you will not dare to speak... My purpose is to get people to dare to speak out with vigour and invincible force ... freeing themselves from inhibitions.'
Well, that is an honest man speaking out and we would all do well to follow his advise. Before I conclude, I would like to add afurther point; Criticisms should be directed at the person concerned in private if it does not concern others. But if his acts and thoughts affect others around him, his faults ought to be made public. In any case, the individual should always be consulted first in the hope that he will change before then. I also hope all so-called progressive people will read the above quotation and ask themselves in one specific aspect, are we right in shouldering a certain group of people with responsibilities which we have no courage to do ... in public'. This question has been asked in private to no avail, and it is now put in put in public. I am sorry this argument does not concern many readers.
Henderson Grow Up
Tell that Henderson masturbator to either start writing in a more serious vein or shut his oversized trap.
It seems to me through close scrutiny of the Salient pages that young John figures quite prominently on quite a few. Does John have a vested interest in seeing how many times his name appears?
Word of advice to John, if he stopped going off on stupid and egotistic tangents in his articles, washed and combed his hair and generally cleaned himself up and also stopped acting like a moron people might take him more seriously at times.