Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 7. 11th April 1973
Student Counselling Upholds Establishment
To supplement the comment on the University Administration giving information about students to the Labour Department to assist their administration of Military Service, we wish to point out the Student Counselling Service may well be playing an important role in supplying information about students, particularly overseas students, to the authorities. One has the impression that the Counselling Service is very keen on the issue of overseas students but there is no efficient check whether information about students has not been channelled to the Labour Department which has close contacts with the Student Counselling Service.
Will the Counselling Service destroy the personal file if any of their 'patients' request it to do so? It is understandable that no one would like his or her personal file held by others who may pass it to Security Service. The Student Counselling Service should agree to destroy the personal file when requested. It is unreasonable to withhold other personal files if the students concerned do not feel happy about it.
It should also be pointed out that there is no evidence to prove that the Student Counselling Service has destroyed, after the interview, the application for Lee Foundation Awards as promised. Overseas students are very annoyed at the actual function of the service which continues for years to build up its file about students.
There is a potential danger in that the Student Counselling Service tends to exert its power and influence by interferring in every aspect of students' lives. Overseas students are usually forced to meet the 'experts' of the Counselling Service when problems with student permits arise, even if the students have no intention of consulting or seeking advice. Why is the Student Counselling Service allowed to decide on various important issues of the student future? What is the actual power of the Student Counselling Service in relation to the University authorities?
It is believed that the activities of the Student Counselling Service also present a threat to the academic staff whose teaching work and relations with students are likely to be checked. The 'experts' of the Counselling Service seem to know too much about the petty stories of the academic staff who may be unaware of prejudice against them collected by the experts from students under the pretext of counselling.
One of the aims of the Student Counselling Service is to divert the rebellious tendency of the students against the Establishment; to defend the reactionary policy of the Government such as the racist immigration regulations; to calm down or to check the anger and spark of student unrest. The Student Counselling Service should be under the control of the VUWSA which supervises the welfare of the students. The Student Counselling Service functions as a tool of the establishment and should be seriously investigated and questioned.
Yours sincerely, A Group of Rebels
Toe The Line — or Get Out
On the day of the AGM of the Students Association I was approached by a member of the Women's Abortion Action Committee with a request that I sign a form sponsoring the April 13th march for the repeal of abortion laws. It was emphasised that as wide a list of sponsors as possible was being sought and that I would be signing strictly as an individual not as an executive member. I signed as I am in favour of changing the laws and consider the march would not be counter-productive.
That evening I spoke at the AGM against the Association giving $50 to the Women's Abortion Action Committee for the purposes of this march. My feeling was that if money was to be donated to a cause then it should be spent efficiently in attempting to obtain the stated aims. Last year's march was not efficient, it cost $15 to put each marcher on the road. There is no reason to believe that this year's march will make any better economic sense. I also suggested that other means of action to repeal the laws be taken.
The following day I was again approached by this same individual who wanted to return my endorsement form on the grounds that I was "unaware of what sponsorship means" and that she didn't want "half-hearted support". I assume this was a reaction against my stated views though the Women's Abortion Action Committee was well aware that I believed their march inefficient before they asked me to sign their form.
I wonder first of all how and who makes a decision to weed out undesirable sponsors once their names have finished being used as bargaining points at Student's Association meetings and secondly whether a similar exclusion policy will exist during the march itself,
I refer to the letter from David G. Crayford, concerning "Jellimeat", in your issue of March 29th I would like to quote the following passage (from "Cock", December 1971) for his information — "The fact is that Jim's (Wattie) cat and dog foods if consumed regularly by your animals will result in dietary deficiencies and health problems . . . My cats, fed on a steady diet of Felix, Jellimeat, etc. ended up with a form of feline beriberi due to the massive inadequacies of Watties canned crap".
Perhaps Mr Crayford will investigate the possibilities of buying fresh meat for his cats.
S.M. Hooper (Miss)
When Does Life Start?
In her own words Jacqueline McCluggage seeks to ". . . educate around the issues of abortion".
As she is not aware of, or callously ignores, the basic issue of "When does human life Start". I quote the following statement from the proceedings of the First International Conference on Abortion — Washington, October 1967: "Our group could find no point in time between the union of the sperm and egg and the birth of the child at which point we could not say that this was a human life".
I trust that this proven medical fact will be well publicised by Miss McCluggage and her Committee.
Yours faithfully, D.A. Trotman
Bahasa Malaysia Class
This year we are very fortunate indeed to have a graduate from the University of Malaysia to teach us "Bahasa Malaysia". The class will be held every Saturday from 10.00-11.00am in Room RB 109 — starting April 14. It is open to all, Malaysians and friends. Admission free. Registration commences on 14 April.
Kamaruddin H. Awang W.M.S.A.
Les Slater (Salient, March 7) advises solemnly that my book Everyone wants to be fuehrer is written "in the best tradition of VUW social science value-neutrality-and-all-that-crap". I wasn't aware that there was such a tradition and if there is I'm damn certain I don't write in it. Slater's review provides grounds for the view that he writes in a much older tradition: VUW crap. I haven't missed it.
PS. Everyone wants to be fuehrer is $3.95 in Australia and $4.65 in New Zealand, despite having been supplied to Alister Taylor at a cut rate so that he could keep his retail price down. The more things change, the more they are the same.
I am writing to you this letter to condemn your childish somewhat cowardly habit of writing 'brilliant and witty' comments under Letters to the Editor. Unless a letter contains statements which are factually wrong the Editor should not attack the individual's ideas or ideology. Many justified attacks on the newspaper monopolies of New Zealand have been launched by Salient. Yet the main argument against newspaper monopolies is that they suppress freedom of speech; and yet by cowardly attacks on the views of contributors you stifle the freedom of expression that you supposedly support. By following this crude form of thought control you only succeed in convicing Salient readers that you are doing exactly what the Do and other monopolistic 'thought barons' do; that is Salient all contributions to the newspaper to favour Your ideas and opinions. Surely this newspaper could lead the way to True freedom of expression by allowing people to express their opinions and letting Salient readers decide for themselves on the value of the opinions expressed.
Yours etc., K.S. Allan.
[In our last issue we added comments to three letters. One to amplify, another to answer a question, and the third to point out that the letter was abridged. At least we print our letters intact or acknowledge abridgement: K.S. Allan evidently doesn't know that the dailies abridge letters to alter their meaning, and often they simply decline to print letters. Some of our letters cry out for replies that apathetic students wilt never give. If K.S. Allan expects us to write letters to ourselves to reply, then he or she is indeed the wanker that his/her letter suggests. We do admit that students could have made up their own minds that K.S, Allan's letter is tinyminded and sanctimonious, but occasionally we can't resist giving the knife another twist.—Eds
Women for Equality
Women for Equality is planning to compile a book on Women's Liberation, Poetry, plays, fiction, articles, reviews, criticism, experimental writing, photos, art etc. would all be welcome. Anyone interested in contributing please send material to Women for Equality, P. O. Box 39071, Auckland West.
Thank you, Women for Equality
Boycott Bunfight with Bureaucrats
I note that the Student Union plans to host a social of the Federation of Labour Conferenec on the evening of May 1st (Mayday). This seems to indicate confusion about the nature of the FOL leadership. The trade union leaders, with few exceptions, are the willing helpers of imperialism, at can be easily shown.
The trade union leadership in NZ owes, its present form and content to compulsory unionism, by which the state compells workers to fund unions whose existence is dependent on state approval. The trade union leaders are therefore paid salaries and expenses by the favour of the state, and like all people in this position (e.g. university teachers and administrators) recognise (with very few exceptions) an unwritten obligation to support the capitalist state and those social forces whom the capitalist state serves, that is imperialism and local capitalism.
Recently the Hutt Valley motorworkers' agreement was renegotiated. On the one side of the negotiating table were the 4 motor companies, three American owned and one British owned. On the other tide were the trade union leaders of the Combined Unions, a committee of 14 unions with members in the motor industry.
At a 4000 strong mast stopwork meeting on Wednesday 28th March, the rank and file overwhelmingly rejected the Companies' offer of a 5.43% pay rise, and there was a strong demand by the rank and file for a full 11% pay rise, and a readiness to take direct action to get it.
The trade union leaders of the Combined Unions got a chance for further negotiations, and on Saturday 31st March, without further reference to the workers, accepted a 7.25% pay rise, an increase of only 1.82% over the rejected offer, thus guaranteeing no interruption of production and avoiding loss of profits to the companies and assuring continued profits at the old rate.
Whose side were the Combined Union leaders on in this case? The workers or the imperialists'? Who benefits by their activities?
The Combined Unions include most of the leading unions and union officials in the Wellington region, and will be a large and typical contingent at the FOL Conference and social. In the light of the strong and commendable stand taken by the student body in the recent past against imperialism, it would seem consistent for the Student Union to terminate its association with the FOL Conference social. The true significance of Mayday would come out if students were to host the rank and file workers, not their sell-out leadership.
Yours fraternally, Niel Wright
I've received a lot of criticism for my belief in Yippie! tactics, so I will take the opportunity to explain my reasons. Too many people, I think, have interpreted Yippie! as a movement rather than the myth it is.
Yippies are publicity freaks. The criticism that a lot of Yippies are jetsetting teenyboppers is quite valid, and would be bad if the Yippies were a movement. Yippies are a group spreading the myth of revolution. Publicity is the lifeblood of the movement (which probably explains why the movement in New Zealand is so small) which is where Yippies are effective.
Often movement press statements don't get printed. But in the states a handful of Yippies invaded the stock exchange without any warning and got front page news. Also a lot of kids in America have been introduced to movement activities and groups through their prior involvement with Yip (Youth International Party). Not to mention radicalised by the policeman's truncheon.
Tactics such as these have worked here in New Zealand. After a week or less of very poor publicity we still managed to get 500 kids to go to parliament on Nov. 5th. Admittedly the press (after being fooled by Jesus Christ and the 'Youth For Jesus' Rally) didn't print our press statements, but we bad no trouble getting amused shopkeepers to put our 'Meet Jesus Christ and Mickey Mouse' posters in their windows.
At parliament, at least half of the people that I met there had not been involved in demos of other activities before.
Yippies are not an end — they are a means to an end and a bloody important one. Viva the myth!
"In a revolution one wins or dies" — Major Earnesto Che Guevara.
"Dash — a revolution in washing powder" — from a TV commercial.
The article published in Salient No.6 (4th April) entitled rather over-dramatically 'Assault in Lecture Room' is more or less accurate in its reporting of the facts of the event, although the tone is reminiscent of 'Truth' or 'The Sunday News', but it neglects to consider the developments which followed Robert Reid's outburst.
The class was indeed consulted on whether they would like to continue with the test scheduled for that day (and agreed upon at the beginning of the year) and voting was much along the lines indicated in the previous article, except that with 45 in the class the count would have been more like 42-3 and not 20-3 as suggested. What was not mentioned was that they agreed to hear Robert's 'guerrilla lecture' on a future date, namely the following Monday, and it was after this that Robert left; hopefully, aware of the fact that he had misjudged the mood of his audience and that to continue would have been to impose his own ideas on the rest of the class against their better judgement. The 'assault' referred to was rather overstated and Robert was persuaded to leave by peaceful and "democratic" means.
Our illustrious Vice-President was indeed given a chance to speak and, although his sociological analysis of the situation was rather garbled (as it was also when it appeared in Salient) the sentiments behind his outburst — that tests alienate students, and that insufficient allowance for discussion (i.e. in tutorials) had been made when the course was planned — were clear and accepted by those present.
Discussions of the changes to be made was led by the two lecturers referred to by Robert and in the course of two orderly meetings of the whole class suitable changes were made to the structure of the remainder of the course. While Robert's histrionic guerrilla tactics served a very useful function in drawing attention to these shortcomings at no stage was there any evidence of a reluctance on the part of the lecturers to meet students wishes which would have necessitated such tactics.
The "proletariat of student workers" may indeed have many enemies Robert but they are not in the Sociology Department.
Post-Graduate Student Expelled
On 28 March Anneke Vooren-Hesp was contacted and told she had failed to meet the first year requirements for the two year Diploma in Social Science course, which is the only university qualification in New Zealand in social work. Anneke, a M.A. graduate in psycho-linguistics, failed the first year course, ostensibly for academic reasons only.
One wonders whether any of the staff members responsible for her expulsion have asked themselves why only Anneke failed academically, when her past qualifications would lead one to suspect that she is perhaps better academically qualified than most of her classmates. The question of whether or not the work that Anneke passed in to be marked is of a "pass" or "fail" level is not relevant. Anneke had rightly questioned the whole "game" of university scholarship, a term used by Professor McCreary, who is in charge of the Diploma course. Anneke questioned the role of assessment, the power position of her teachers, the course content of her papers and constantly tried to introduce the subject of the political nature of social work into the classroom. None of these questions were adequately debated in her courses because of the repressive nature of some of her teachers and fellow-students.
If a student cannot ask the questions which she thinks are worth asking then whether or not the answers she gives are academically satisfactory to her teacher, is hardly relevant. Has a teacher the right to demand to ask the questions? If she has, then she not only rejects the traditional ideal of education, which is to bring out, develop or extract from the student her ideas, but also she acknowledges accepting a positivistic concept of knowledge, that there are certain correct answers to all questions of social work which the student must learn and repeat to his teacher. The teacher then rejects the idea that the questions may covertly contain assumptions, values and attitudes which are more important than the overt question.
Universally, the radical social work student finds that the content of his/her argument is reduced to the level of their personal psychological inadequacy. Should a student be critical of social work or fight authority, what she says is ignored and she is defined as "acting out some deep-seated problem of the psyche" (Pakeman (ed) "Counter Course" p.250). This tool was used against Anneke by staff members.
Students of V.U.W. should be interested in this case firstly because at some stage a decision affecting their life may be made by a social worker and cases such as these point to what social workers are truly like, and secondly it illustrates the limits to which a person can fight within the system before its own rules turn against the individual.
For some of the strongest supporters of the individualistic ethic in our society, some teachers of social work at V.U.W. have shown little respect or empathy for the individual integrity, personal courage and positive deviant attitudes of Anneke Vooren-Hesp.
The $0.64 Question
Last Wednesday I attended a meeting in the Union Hall, at which a speaker from the Socialist Unity Party described Peter Rotherman as being "ultra-left". Later that day, at a Hart meeting, Mike Law described the same Peter Rotherman as a "Right-wing agent". Perhaps you could clear up the confusion surrounding this particular Trot for me. Just what is Peter Rotherman.
George P. BonanteNational Co-ordinator Red-Headed Liberation Front.
The "Political Elites" Myth Strikes Again
Playing university politics must be really fun. It would be really neat to be able to stand up at meetings and speak on every crucial issue, with the knowledge and logic of so many of our university demi-gods. But alas, with my meagre qualifications my voice would be lost — drowned in the whining of my intellectual superiors. They would know I had not done Political Science 1. They would know I wasn't a member of "Hart" or "Socialist Action" or the "Anarchists". They would realise I haven't read "The Manifesto" or the works of Lenin. They would recollect I wasn't at Harewood or in the Sharpeville demonstration or outside the N.Z. Rugby Football Union meeting. Also I am ashamed to say not one member of the Executive would know me. And just between you and me I'm not too sure exactly who they are themselves. I have a sneaky suspicion the President is that blond guy who is in desperate need of a hair clip.
Why, with my qualifications, or should I say lack of qualifications, am not lit to even rub shoulders with this university elite, let alone attempt to meddle in their political game. The responsibility of acting in favour of the student body as a whole must weigh very heavily on the shoulders of these super humans. Hardest of all must be the renunciation of all personal aspirations to help foster the social, economic, moral and political needs of all students. It is common knowledge that if it wasn't for their moral obligations they would prefer to spend their time constructively some other way.
On second thoughts maybe university politics isn't that much fun after all. Even if I was equipped to join in, the inherent hardships would deter me from participating. Therefore I think my backseat is the safest place for me, especially if the runaway vehicle I am on should accidently crash.
Condolences Jon Cimino.
Fulfilling or Belly-filling?
How very noble that Mr Tony Brown should think that bearing an unwanted illegitimate child should be a fulfilling and dignifying experience. I sympathize with him that he, as a male, will never have the opportunity of fulfilling himself in this manner.
Has Mr Brown considered what high plains of fulfilment followers of his faith might rise to by denying themselves safe legal abortions if they had a free choice; rather than being forced by the present laws to the same decision.
Yours, Michael Wenley
Although the writer of the article "The Dominion above all for Vorster", Mr Franks rubbishes the "Dominion", he has such a touching faith in the Australian press that we are expected to believe articles by unnamed people in unnamed Australian papers suggesting that the experiences of Francis James in China should not be taken "too seriously".
Yours, John Wilson
P.S. After three and a half pages of garbage on what your friends in Christchurch got up to, what can we expect this week?
(Why do you describe it as 'garbage'? — Eds)
"Radical" Editor Exposed?
I have watched with interest the criticisms of both you and Mr Franks which have appeared in the letter columns of Salient. However, while browsing through some old Association files I came across a letter from the President of the 1970 Executive Margaret Bryson. The letter is addressed to Mr P.L. Franks and reads:
20 May 1970
My apologies for this long delay in contacting you which was caused by misunderstanding as to who was to write. Your letter of apology regarding the incident in the first floor men's toilets was received and accepted by the Executive. You are warned, however, that any further incidence of stupid behaviour will be most severely dealt with.
Yours faithfully Margaret Bryson"
Sir, this staggering revelation farces me to the conclusion that Mr Franks has duped you into producing a critical, political newspaper. He has done this in order to divert the attention away from the important question which every student will want to ask — what really did happen in the first floor toilet in May 1970? — and on to questions of little or no importance such as racism, sexism and capitalism.
Mr Steele, having it now revealed to you that your co-editor is no Marxist, but is in fact a mere toilet prankster will you reverse the priorities of your newspaper and learn to accept that boys will be boys whether they live under capitalism or communism?
(Peter Franks replies: At last students know what their President has been doing so far this year, "browsing through some old Association files" instead of implementing his election promises. What happened on the fateful night in May 1970 was that I made a suicidal, foolhardy yet courageous attempt to strike out against the tyrannical Bryson/Knox/Phelps clique which then ruled this Association. This despotic gang would have cruelly punished me but for the speedy mobilisation of thousands of students in support. History absolved me, and I believe my adventurist act helped pave the way for amiable Graeme Collins' succession to the seat of student power.)
Rua on MacNeill on Rua on Trotsky
Like the mole the Trotskyist trails dirt and suffers from acute myopia. Hector MacNeill is no exception. He makes great play of the fact that the class composition of the Kronstadters in 1921 differed entirely from that of 1918, and that the famed sailors of the 'October Revolution' were no more. A 50% pass Mr MacNeill! Many of the revolutionary sailors did perish, but a large number survived. One need only consider the 15 member Provisional Committee of Kronstadt which comprised 7 long service sailors, 5 industrial workers, a school master, a harbour pilot and a male nurse.
Trotsky's apologists state that the Kronstadt sailors in 1921 were mainly peasants. But given the miniscule working class during the Civil War period, one would assume a large proportion of peasant backgrounds throughout the Red Army. As mentioned in my article "Blood on Trotsky's Toga", disaffection was widespread in the ranks even before 1921.
Regarding the rest of Mr MacNeill's soiled epistle, I can only express amazement at his capacity for deceit. Trotsky's signature as Red Army chief was affixed to all military orders relating to Kronstadt, and he happily spread stories of White generals leading the Commune, which even Stalin would have been hard put to better. The Kronstadters' determination to resist both Bolshevik attacks and capitalist offers of food etc. has been well documented by Ida Mett, Victor Serge, the anarchist Voline and many others.
If Mr MacNeill wants to smear Russia's most famous anarchist, Nestor Makhno, he should advance his facts. One line from Footman's "Civil War in Russia" (Fabers 1961) should help Mr MacNeill on his way. "He (Makhno) wrote that while the rich Jews would naturally side with the invaders (Austrian insurgents), the poorer Jews were the peasants' friends and allies".
In the interests of a world without servants,
Graham Rua (Abridged — Eds)