Results of the government’s French Review into campus free speech were published in May. “Claims of a freedom of speech crisis on Australian campuses are not substantiated” was its conclusion. Nonetheless, education minister Dan Tehan has used the review to campaign for the enforcement of a new “model code” for free speech on university campuses, which he accuses of “failing Australia”.
The question of organisation is a crucial one for socialists. Capitalism divides us and isolates us from one another. It encourages us to think that only the rich and powerful have the right to decide anything. At the same time, it breeds resentment and anger, and a desire for change. The status quo is held together in no small part because those desiring change feel powerless to effect it.
The video starts with the words “some may find the following disturbing”. A rapid-fire montage of visceral rebellion follows. A black-clad anarchist punches neo-Nazi Richard Spencer in the face. Protesters clobber riot police shields. Palestinians fling rocks, and demonstrators flood Australian cities.
The Liberals are crowing. Twenty-five million dollars of public money will be spent on a university research deal with the US military. “This is a great outcome”, defence industry minister Christopher Pyne said.
Even Christmas couldn’t keep the Liberals from attacking higher education. In the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the government announced $2.2 billion in university funding cuts over the next two years.
For more than five years, refugees have been subjected to horror and abuse on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. With the government’s decision to permanently close the detention centre on 31 October, the horror has descended into absolute barbarity.