Australasian Spartacist No. 198
Spartacists Targeted at Sydney University
Down With Campus Censorship! Hands Off the Left!
We reprint below a leaflet produced by the Spartacus Youth Club and first distributed at a rally outside Sydney Universitys Fisher Library on 2 April. That demonstration was attended by approximately 150 people and was called in response to the establishment of the pro-imperialist U.S. Studies Centre on campus as well as the slashing of third year history subjects. The U.S. Studies Centre is controlled by the American Australian Association: the organisation that sponsored the visit of U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney in February. Among the more prominent of the slogans raised in building the demonstration was Money for education not for war. In counterposition to such pipe-dream illusions in a benevolent capitalist class behaving in a more progressive manner, we of the SYC argue that the fights against imperialist war and for free quality education for all require students rallying behind the social power of the working class, mobilised independently of all wings of the bourgeoisie, as part of the struggle to overthrow capitalism.
Outrageous censorship is being carried out against the Spartacist League of Australia (SL) and the Spartacus Youth Club (SYC) at Sydney University. Campus security guards have repeatedly evicted from campus supporters of the SL and SYC when selling our communist newspapers. This comes alongside a general pattern of harassment of leftists on campus.
On Thursday 1 March during Sydney University O-week, supporters of the Spartacist League were forced to remove our literature table from campus on the grounds that we hadnt paid for a stall. The SL has been active in campus politics at Sydney University for over thirty years and we were selling during O-week to bring to students our Trotskyist politics. This includes our calls for Australian imperialist troops/cops to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and the South Pacific in addition to standing for the unconditional military defence of the deformed workers states of China, North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba. Our perspective also includes fighting to weld together the freedom struggles of oppressed minorities, women, immigrants and Aborigines behind the social power of the working class in the fight to overthrow the capitalist system through workers revolution.
On the Wednesday of the next week we had to once again remove our literature table from campus ostensibly because it didnt have university approval and again on the following Thursday supporters of the SYC, without a table, were escorted off campus on the grounds that one seller was from another university and therefore had no good reason to be on campus! This comes on top of campus securitys attempts to censor the SL during student elections late last year (see Australasian Spartacist No. 196).
Such attacks on the SL and SYC constitute blatant censorship of leftist politics at Sydney University. The campus administrations attempt to keep students from exposure to communist politics is part of the attempt to regiment youth to be ignorant and compliant servants of the brutal, racist capitalist system and cannon fodder for future military adventures on behalf of imperialism. Leftists, workers and students on campus should demand: Security: Hands off leftists! Down with campus censorship!
These attacks are occurring in the context of the governments racist war on terror and their recent victory against student organising through the imposition of VSU. The war on terror is lifting the usual veneer of capitalist democracy, revealing the state—the cops, courts, prisons and army—for what it is: the instrument of organised violence to protect the class rule of the filthy-rich capitalists against the workers who produce societys wealth. In this context university administrations generally are ramping up their attacks against those students and non-students alike who would speak out against the racist capitalist system in defence of minorities, particularly the beleaguered Muslim community that is currently in the governments crosshairs. We say: Down with racist war on terror government repression! For full citizenship rights for all immigrants!
That this repression also serves to target campus workers unions was graphically shown recently at UNSW. Green Left Weekly (GLW), mouthpiece for the reformist left organisation Democratic Socialist Perspective reported that on 19 February at UNSW
activists from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) had been ordered to remove their campaigning stall by a representative of Arc (GLW, 28 February). Arc is the capitalist UNSWs new student organisation formed this year as an amalgamation of the previously separate services and representative student organisations. In a separate article GLW also reported that four Queensland University of Technology students, members of the Students for Social Justice (SSJ) collective, were arrested on 1 March when student union bureaucrats from the National Labor Students disgustingly called on campus security officers to remove the SSJ stall demanding freedom for David Hicks as they didnt have a permit!
On Wednesday 14 March, four leftists, three of whom are students at Sydney University, were dragged from their homes during pre-dawn raids by anti-terror police for their alleged involvement in Melbournes anti-G20 protests late last year. This comes in the midst of reports of ASIO spying on Sydney University students. Just as we defend leftists targeted on campus, we defend all arrested anti-G20 protesters, regardless of our political differences with them, under the class-conscious understanding that an injury to one is an injury to all! Defend all anti-G20 protesters! Drop the charges! Down with Bracks/Iemma state Labor government repression!
Echoing the bourgeois medias baiting of outsiders, Socialist Alternative (SAlt) pointed the finger at autonomous types who came to Melbourne from interstate and overseas and grotesquely wrote that The left should offer no comfort to these crazies. We should do whatever we can to isolate them. SAlts targeting of these anti-G20 protesters showed in sharp relief their reformist loyalty to the Victorian capitalist government of Steve Bracks. Is it any wonder therefore that SAlt took no action at all as they witnessed campus security escorting supporters of the SL off Sydney University on Thursday 8 March? But SAlt are so deeply immersed in the Labor-dominated sandpit that is campus politics, that the defence of our revolutionary organisation is anathema to them.
As capitalist institutions, universities have never been class-neutral places of learning; rather they are elitist, class-biased institutions that supply capitalist society with managers and bosses as well as socially useful skilled workers and specialists. The surge in anti-leftist censorship on campus is directly tied to the capitalists victory in passing VSU—student services and organisations are now being funded by the capitalist universities and leftist politics are being purged. The raison dêtre of VSU always was to curtail student opposition such as was seen in 2003 against the U.S.-led and Australian backed, imperialist invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, seeking instead politically-censored, sterile universities. With communists being thrown off campus and leftists harassed on a daily basis, this explodes the myth that there can be the vigorous political comment which Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Gavin Brown purportedly permits (Honi Soit, week 6, semester 2, 2006). Down with
the Administration! For staff-student-worker control of the universities with open admissions made economically meaningful by providing all students with a full living allowance! For free quality education for all!
We call on all students opposed to this grotesque political censorship to defend our organisations legitimate right to talk to students and sell our Marxist newspaper on campus as an elementary democratic right. But the reality is that the cosy relationship that most of the left has built with the campus administration renders them impotent in the face of the increasing capitalist attacks. The Education Action Group, which many leftists on campus are a part of, as part of a collective within the SRC, calls for a university-funded, politically independent SRC. But isnt it obvious that the type of political independence acceptable to the university Senate, can go only so far as allowing student bureaucrats and up-and-coming bourgeois politicians freedom to play their pretend parliament games, duping students into mass movements that keep political debate within the safe confines of the Labor v. Liberal electoral charade that comes around every three or four years. As the old saying goes: he who pays the piper calls the tune.
Were against placing any faith in the capitalist vice-chancellor, who, enforcing the governments austerity measures, is trying to force his workforce onto union-busting AWAs. The threatened mass sackings at Newcastle University in 2005 and UNSW last year are chilling examples of the role that the vice-chancellors play in capitalist Australia and given the chance Gavin Brown would do the same.
The Trotskyist Spartacus Youth Club will continue the struggle to give students a fighting Marxist perspective. As opposed to impotent hurrahs for student power, we realise that students must ally themselves with the social power of the working class in order to push back the attacks of the campus administration, rejecting the theory that students are a revolutionary social group and that campuses can be turned into revolutionary institutions under capitalism. Against the ALP hacks and their left tails we fight to win the working-class base of the ALP away from the chains of Laborite nationalism and loyalty to the state. As such we seek to rally youth behind a revolutionary perspective to build an internationalist multiracial revolutionary workers party modelled on Russian revolutionary leader V.I. Lenins Bolsheviks. Such a party would fight all manifestations of capitalist oppression on the road to overthrowing this system of racist capitalism. Hands off leftists! For workers revolution against racist Australian imperialism!