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Disaffiliation from I.U.S

page 3

Disaffiliation from I.U.S.

At the Annual General Meeting of N.Z.U.S.A. at Easter a resolution was carried as follows:—

"That the Resident Executive of N.Z.U.S.A. publish a statement giving full reasons for its disaffiliation from I.U.S."

That is the purpose of this statement. It is difficult to assess the various factors which weighed in the minds of student Executives, in some cases in the minds of members of Associations and, finally, in the minds of those delegates to N.Z.U.S.A. who were not mandated on the matter. However an attempt will be made to give a general picture.

I.U.S. had caused some suspicion in New Zealand right from the time when Miss Janet Bogle attended the 1946 Congress in Prague and reported to us. Even more critical was the then Australian delegate, Mr. Aran, but many of his criticisms appeared to have sprung from pure bias. The following year we received a more favourable report from our delegate, Mr. J. M. Ziman, and this was supported by the report of the Australian delegate, Mr. J. Redrup, who had been specially flown to Prague in 1947, who rendered a 120 page report and who was elected to the I.U.S. Executive.

However, there was still some doubt in the minds of Colleges. Our affiliation fee to I.U.S. was £250, more than half our present income from levies. Money was collected for this purpose but held as it was expected that Mr. Redrup would be able to arrange for some to be put towards a Pacific regional organisation working under the aegis of I.U.S. of which Australia and New Zealand were to be foundation members.

In 1948 our delegates were Mr J. M. Ziman and Mr. J. Dodd. They gave a long report and in their summary stated: "I.U.S. can be either a Service Organisation or a body to further student political activity." They felt it was developing along the latter lines and told N.Z.U.S.A. it had to decide whether it would accept this as inevitable and remain in I.U.S., co-operating in the few services it offered, or whether to break on these grounds.

From the record of debate it appears that the Resident Executive advised the meeting that it felt I.U.S. could not be accepted by N.Z. students as a body furthering a political line, while such service functions as were offered could not be availed of as we were so far from the centre of I.U.S. activity.

The delegates from Canterbury Agricultural College felt that I.U.S. had not proved itself, and that we should concentrate on the Pacific. As I.U.S. had finally, apparently for motives of jealousy, refused to approve the Pacific Bureau idea, we should start to build our own Pacific contacts on a solid basis of mutual help.

The delegates from Otago felt there was little more in the way of information to be gained. Our opinions were in the minority and were not effective, while in any case the expense was too large for the dubious benefits.

It should be stated that there was a general feeling that I.U.S. had come to favour the policy of the Eastern bloc solely, particularly since it had moved closer to the World Federation of Democratic Youth. In this way it was no longer a truly international organisation.

Another evidence of bias was felt to be its attitude to the "Prague incident" when no action was taken on behalf of students arrested and attacked by Prague police when they demonstrated against the Coup d'etat in that country in the early part of 1948. It was explained by the I.U.S. Secretariat that they could do nothing because the students were breaking Czech law, while under Czech law policemen were allowed guns. This was felt to be not in conformity with the I.U.S. attitude in appealing for support for students breaking similar law in Spain, Greece, South America and the U.S.A.

In addition to this many National Unions had, or were, disaffiliating. These included some in Scandinavia, Holland and the U.S.A., who pulled out over the Prague incident. The latter had not formally joined but had a seat on the Executive and a representative on the Prague Inquiry Committee who dissented strongly from the majority decision. The Australian students had also disaffiliated, as a result of an accumulation of causes, particularly the "Prague incident." They also had had a seat on the Executive.

There were many other difficulties, including apparently partial treatment of Austrian students both inside Austria and as against other groups. Problems had arisen with [unclear: Belgian] and Canadian students while the Swiss, of course, had never been able to accept the I.U.S. Constitution on account of their traditional political neutrality.

That, then, is briefly the background to the 1949 decision to disaffiliate. The statement is made because there is a feeling that not enough publicity was given at the time to the decision and its reasons. It is hoped that the text of this statement will be published in full by College papers. It should be noted that V.U.C. dissented from the disaffiliation motion.

For the Resident Executive,

K. B. O'Brien, President, N.Z.U.S.A