Issue 179 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published October 1994 Copyright © Socialist Review



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The Saatchi strategy

As students return to university and college in September and October, the familiar conflicts within the National Union of Students will inevitably resume. This battle can be energy sapping, like a war of attrition, especially when the NUS seems to do everything in its power to deactivate students.

Thus it will not surprise many that former NUS president Lorna Fitzsimmons has now got a job for the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi (the company which never ceases to help the Tories in their hours of need). Fitzsimmons will be well suited to the job since advertising is about appealing to the atomised individual. Her strategy of lobbying parliament to protest at NUS reforms and grant cuts succeeded in atomising many students by preventing them from taking collective action--only 4,000 took part in the official NUS demo, while there are over one million members of the NUS!

However, it is not only students who have a regressive bureaucracy. Many lecturers find themselves dictated to by a group of managers who earn twice as much as them and generally make teaching and researching a harder job--for example increasing the amount of paperwork teachers have to do. In various instances they attempt to clamp down on free discussion (in my college a manager tried to stop a meeting on the Hebron massacre) and most harmfully they are the ones who are pushing for shorter contracts for teachers.

Needless to say, many lecturers would be delighted to see the back of such bloodsuckers.

However, to group the NUS and the managerial bureaucracy together is wrong. The NUS exists {however miserably it fails) to protect and advance the cause of students. The managers on the other hand, like those in the NHS and elsewhere, exist purely to squeeze higher productivity out of the lecturers, while receiving fat salaries. They represent the government and the employers.

All students should work to defend the NUS and radicalise it, not through taking over its bureaucratic structures but by building strong grass root organisations that can push the NUS into activity.

A radicalised student movement (even if the NUS remains hesitant and restrictive) can achieve its own goals, as in the University of North London last term, and it can also give a light to pressurised lecturers. Once they see us fighting back, then they will inevitably think about it as well.

A mixture of radical students and lecturers can have the effect of winning many reforms (getting our grants back for one) and generally providing both students and lecturers with a better environment in which to work, teach and organise. This should be our aim for the next academic year.
Ben Selwyn

Witness to murder

Recent years have seen an alarming escalation in the activities of neo-fascist organisations in England, Germany and other parts of Europe. Among the many disconcerting aspects of their activities is the attempt, orchestrated by revisionist historians like David Irving, to play down or deny the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Controversy will continue as to whether more could have been done by the Allied powers, such as bombing the railway tracks leading to Auschwitz and other death camps, but considerable material suggests that the reality of the Holocaust was widely known.

The 8 May 1943 edition of Picture Post reported that there were 'signs in this country of an anti-Jewish campaign sponsored on German lines and backed by German broadcasts.' This statement is part of an article on a conference organised by the National Council for Civil Liberties in London. The conference focused on anti-semitism.

The Inter Allied Commission is quoted as saying, 'Two million Jews have been killed or deported. Five million more are in danger of death.' This is a clear indication of the scale of Nazi activity against the Jews, and of widespread awareness in a popular magazine like Picture Post.

Hitler is described by, 'His aim is the extermination of the Jewish people by hunger, disease and mass murder. Not content with forcing them into foul ghettos and degrading occupations, he has, like a modern but more terrible Herod, declared their death.'

The article also says, 'The vast majority of the people of this country are horrified by the extermination of the Jews in Europe. Most are impatient at the slowness of the Allied governments in devising some means of getting more refugees away from the countries where they face death.'

But the massacres continued. On 12 December 1942 Anthony Eden made a statement in the House of Commons condemning the Nazi policy of extermination directed mainly against the Jews and promised retribution. But the massacres continued.

Eden's statement is recorded in the booklet Terror in Europe published by the National Committee for Rescue from Nazi Terror. The booklet also contains an account by Alexei Tolstoy of his enquiries into atrocities perpetrated in the Northern Caucasus. There is the testimony by a member of the Polish underground who witnessed mass murder of Jews in a death camp.

The final item is an excerpt from a speech delivered to a mass meeting in San Francisco by Thomas Mann in which he quotes Goebbels as stating in a radio speech, 'It is our objective to exterminate the Jews. Whether we win or are defeated we must reach this aim. Should the German armies be forced to retreat they shall, on their way, wipe the last Jew off the face of the earth.'

This clearly demonstrates the level of fanatical irrationality present within the Nazi war machine. It is acutely disconcerting to be aware that Goebbels was known to have made a statement like this, at this time.

Finally we consider a broadcast made by Watson Thompson over the national network of the Canadian Broadcasting Company on Easter Sunday, 25 April 1942, in which he says, 'Since the Nazi terror began two million of the seven million Jews of Europe have died and the killing still goes on.'

Thompson claims the victims have been killed by every known form of execution including ' specially prepared extermination centres,' shooting and electrocution. In his broadcast he mentions 700 Jews who were locked in a rabbi's house and bombed by a low flying plane.

These documents not only refute the revisionists' claims regarding the Holocaust, they point to a lack of decisive action by appropriate authorities to assist the plight of the Jewish people.
George Coombs

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