The university semester is coming to an end, so now is a good time to take stock of developments in Queensland student politics. In recent months there has been a rise in political consciousness and activity on campuses. Most big universities have had students protesting against alleged corruption in the student union or university. Resistance members have been heavily involved in many of these campaigns. Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of Queensland (UQ) and Griffith University are the three major campuses in south-east Queensland.
Members of the socialist youth organisation, Resistance, came from around the country to Adelaide over July 20-22 for the 42nd Resistance Conference. The conference consisted of plenaries on Australian politics, international politics, plans to build Resistance and “Perspectives for the Left”.
There is a lot of discussion about the nature of the Chinese economy and its developing role in global capitalism. Much of the debate has focused on the tensions between a seemingly declining United States and rising China ― and possible changes in the global distribution of power. In the context of a global domination of US-backed neoliberalism, the “Chinese model” has been put forward by some as a possible alternative. However, not only is China's rise far from inevitable, its “model” has its own contradictions ― as the rise of labour struggles helps reveal.
The Maritime Union of Australia and other unions organised an action outside Rio Tinto’s headquarters on March 5 in solidarity with Quebec workers who have been locked out by Rio Tinto since December 30. Members of the United Steel Workers (USW) Local 9495 District 5 branch came to Australia to gain support for their campaign. The dispute began over Rio Tinto’s decision to use more sub-contractors at the aluminium smelter in Alma, Quebec. Click here to see campaign actions.
I originally heard about a proposed occupation in Brisbane when I was following the other global Occupy movements. I was immediately excited and very interested in being involved, as I have never really experienced anything like it before. From my (young) perspective, this was a significant and unique event, unparalleled since the anti-globalisation protests of the ’90s and early 2000s.