Birmingham N.U.S. Congress
From a Special Correspondent, Of the 1,400 students present at the National Union of Students Congress, held in Birmingham, last week-end, only 100 belonged to religious societies. About 40 were Catholics — of whom, once again, the University of Liverpool Catholic Society provided at least half.
" This congress left me with a feeling rather of disappointment. While immediate issues and problems were faced and an answer given, fundamental* issues were shirked in the desire to avoid, as far as possible, any questions which would reveal the bask divisions on principles underlying a temporary superficial unity In the common fight agaln.st Fascism," Such was the reaction of a Catholic student interviewed by me at the close of this congress of youth.
The students came together to discuss " The student and the answer to Fascism." Much was heard of the effects of Fascism on science, medicine, the arts, education, social science, etc. Each faculty commission discussed the most effective way in which Fascism could be fought and destroyed in the sphere of each profession. Congress as a whole embodied in a long resolution its own immediate answer, the answer of the British student community, to Fascism. " Unity against Fascism which is the enemy of all freedom, religion and social progress . . . unstinted support for the war effort . . fullest freedom of the press . . . make 1942 a decisive year fot victory „ . duty to find an answer to Fascism which will be the basis of a juster and freer world . . . the estdblishment of a society free from subjugation, based on the 'fullest democracy, free from exploitation, where the resources of the world will be used for the fullest benefit of all." On these things all were agreed and congress was prepared to make no official statement on anything going beyond this immediate answer.
The long-term answer to Fascism was agreed to be a new social order, but further than this the official resolution would not go. It was apparent, however, from the discussion groups and the general atmosphere at this great gathering of youth that for the vast majority of those to whom a new order meant anything, it meant a society based on Marxism and materialism.