Student Voice – a coalition of students from the Flinders University Socialist Alternative club, Indigenous Students Association, Indonesian Students Association, Film Society and Social Work Society – won several key positions in a decisive victory over the combined forces of the Labor left and right in the university’s student association election, which was held in the second week of October.
The election took place in the context of the heightened Islamophobia of the past months. At Flinders, a number of Muslim women have been attacked or abused. Student Voice was the only ticket in the election that clearly stood against this. Much support for the ticket came from Muslim students on campus, who recognised Student Voice campaigners for our anti-racism activism throughout the year.
Student Voice candidates won the key positions of president, general secretary, environment officer, Indigenous officer and international student officer. Three of the six National Union of Students delegate positions were also won by Student Voice activists.
The Labor students’ campaign focused on free giveaways. By contrast, the Student Voice campaign was focused on political questions, standing against racism and the need for strong opposition to deregulation and education cuts.
It was clear that students responded positively to our argument that we need a strong, campaigning student association to stand up to the government’s attacks.
There has been a vigorous argument over the direction of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) industrial campaign at Sydney University this year. Most recently, those who have been reluctant to argue and organise seriously for frequent enough and long enough strikes are now leading the charge for a “smarter” strategy of administration bans.
In late August, around 50 union members at Knauf plasterboard held a meeting in their Melbourne factory to discuss recent EBA negotiations, which had begun a few months earlier. A new HR manager insisted on attending the meeting and wasted people’s time explaining the wonderful job that company management had done taking care of the workers, in particular their recent and significant safety concerns. As he spoke, one after another the workers turned their backs on him. Soon, they began challenging the manager about a worker who had just been sacked.
Minoo Jalali was among those who resisted Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power in Iran. In the early months of 1979, she joined a mass women’s protest against the compulsory wearing of the hijab in public. “That revolution was inevitable”, Jalali recounted 40 years later in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “Nobody could have really stopped the force of it. We hoped that we could steer it [but] we were wrong. And the clergy hijacked it ... and deceived many people.”
Protests and riots have spread across Iran after a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, was murdered by the morality police. Amini was visiting the capital, Tehran, on 13 September when she was arrested for allegedly breaking mandatory veiling laws. Police beat her into a coma and she died three days later. Amini was buried in her hometown of Saqqez.
The international working-class movement has long been divided between two strategies to win socialism: the reformist and the revolutionary.
Revolutionary Marxists argue that socialism is possible only if the working class leads a revolution. So why organise among students?