After living and working in Australia for nine years, Monash University academic Biswajit Banik and his family have been told to get packing. The immigration department has refused the family’s application for permanent residency on the basis that their 12-year old son – who has an autism diagnosis – will be a burden on the Australian economy.
Biswajit, his partner Dr Sarmin Sayeed and their son Arkojeet now face the prospect of being forced to return to Bangladesh. Since submitting their application in December 2014, Biswajit and his family been kept in a hellish limbo.
“My son still had a visa until July this year, so we thought it would not be a problem. After July, though, everything changed. That’s when I thought ‘Oh, god. Everything could go terribly wrong’. That’s when I really felt the desperation.”
“I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking ‘What would happen if the minister said no?’ It’s taking control of my mind, of my life.
“Now he [Arkojeet] is on a three-month visa, and when it ends he will have to leave the country in 28 days. There are conditions attached. If he travels, if he leaves Australia, he won’t be allowed back in for three years.
“As a father, it would be a shame that when my son most needed my support I could not give it.”
A public campaign has begun in a frenzied push by students and colleagues of the Baniks to overturn the department’s decision through an appeal to immigration minister Peter Dutton.
Solidarity photograph actions have been held at numerous university campuses, with more than 150 students and staff gathering at Monash’s Clayton campus to take a stand against the planned deportation. The crowd heard speeches from tertiary union representatives, Aboriginal activists and students with autism. One student spoke out against the government’s deportation powers. “Will you deport me, Mr Dutton?”, he asked after explaining that he was a person with autism who arrived in Australia at age five.
Academics have signed an open letter calling for the family to be allowed to remain in Australia, with union officials and delegates also signing in a showing of solidarity.
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?