Activist Left to run in Flinders student elections
BY REBECCA MECKELBURG
ADELAIDE — The September student elections at Flinders University will be contested by an Activist Left ticket. The ticket brings together activists from the M1 Action Group, the Environment Action Group, the Resistance Club, the Socialist Alliance and Jubilee 2000.
2001 has been a good year for Flinders University activists. A Resistance club was established in first semester, and the anti-corporate campaign has provided a focus around which different left activists have united in action. The left has thus attracted many new activists, particularly through the M1 Action Group that organised students to attend the May 1 blockade of the Adelaide stock exchange.
Most of the individuals in the Activist Left began working together when, in the lead-up to M1, the Students Association of Flinders University attempted to disaffiliate the M1 Action Group. SAFU is controlled by Student Unity, a collection of right-wing Labor students.
The Activist Left has two aims: to provide a real united left-wing challenge to Student Unity control of SAFU, and to build the anti-corporate movement on campus. An immediate focus is mobilising students to blockade the Commonwealth Business Forum in Melbourne on October 3-5.
With a comprehensive 12-page, 11-point platform, the Activist Left will campaign around democratising the Students' Association, as well as specifying the demands that SAFU should be putting upon the university administration and federal and state governments.
In the platform the Activist Left also pledges to use any positions it wins to "convince the student population as a whole to play an active role in fighting not just for our own rights, but the rights of all people all around the world and halting the insane destruction of the earth's natural environment".
Activist Left candidates, all of whom are known as left-wing campaigners, pose a real challenge to the incumbents. Acknowledging the threat, Student Unity will run two candidates for the general secretary position, both of whom have a high personal profile. The Activist Left candidate for the position, Resistance member Sam King, told Green Left Weekly, "We believe that one of the candidates will withdraw just before the close of polling. The votes will then flow to the other Student Unity candidate, incumbent general secretary Umandeep Upal".
The National Organisation of Labor Students, composed of "left" ALP members, will run three separate tickets in the election. The main ticket is called Big Brother, the other two tickets, Sexy and Wog Boy, are expected to feed preference votes back to the Big Brother candidate for the National Union of Students delegate position.
Although these tickets claim to be left, they will be preferencing Student Unity above the Activist Left. The Activist Left has refused to negotiate preference "deals" with tickets unwilling to provide a platform or meet with it to discuss policy.