Why I’m a candidate for Socialist Alliance in the NSW election

March 13, 2015
Mia Sanders.

I am a political science student, two years into a bachelor degree at the University of Western Sydney. I major in Social and Cultural Analysis.

I am also an activist, I campaign day-to-day on campus and on the streets, talking to students and workers.

I am a young, unemployed, queer woman and activist from a working-class family.

I am not the typical Legislative Council candidate — but that is exactly why I’m standing.

Through my candidacy, I seek to actively challenge the notion that the 1% represents the 99%, or that you should be forced to vote for the “lesser evil”.

Socialist Alliance candidates are there to put women, queers, Indigenous and working-class people on the ballot. We are there to empower oppressed groups to represent themselves and assert leadership in their own struggles.

Having attended a public high school, in the working-class city of Campbelltown, I’ve experienced first-hand the effects of growing up with a second-rate education and going without access to many of the resources that upper-class kids received. In fact, I wouldn’t have been accepted into my degree, had I not received two extra marks on my ATAR grade for coming from a low-SES area.

Many of my classmates were not so lucky. I hate to imagine the class of 2015 now: facing a bleak future of high unemployment rates and with higher education out of the price-range of entire communities.

Youth in particular have been stirred into action under Tony Abbott’s regime.

Students are facing the prospect of $100,000 degrees and six months of starvation between dole payments. Abbott’s policies are killing and torturing young refugees in detention centres and on Nauru and Manus Island. As the self-declared “Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs”, Abbott’s policies have overseen a massive increase in Aboriginal youth hopelessness and suicide.

As “Prime Minister for Women”, he is content to do nothing about the startling numbers of women who are assaulted and murdered in their homes. He has forced sole parents of young children – most of whom are women – to either work or go onto Newstart, and he has totally ignore the gender wage gap.

On top of these attacks on Australians, his government trying to sell the idea that coal is good for humanity, coal seam gas and uranimum mining pose no threat to our ecosystem, and climate change doesn’t exist. Of course it's today’s youth and our children who will have to deal with a dying planet.

If you bought into the Abbott agenda, you'd probably believe that young people are apathetic and narcissistic, and the few radical defectors are just ferals.

But Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance candidates actively challenge the status quo. In fact, it is our generation that has inherited the fight against warfare, blockading the cruel institutions and rallying for an alternative. We are not apathetic; we are active and aware.

Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance will foment more youth revolt this year. On the back of our student activism efforts last year, we are proposing, in cooperation with other forces in the Sydney education campaign, to ratchet up activity against this horror government's attacks on youth.

The solid grassroots movement we led last year defeated the bill to deregulate higher education fees once. Abbott and Minister for Education Christopher Pyne were forced to retreat. Now the legislation is back and we want to defeat it for good this year.

Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance agitated against the fee hikes and told the truth about the education campaign this year; we are on the side of the students. To defeat Abbott, we need to educate, agitate and organise.

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