University campus O-weeks get political

Members of the Socialist Alliance have taken part in O-week stalls, which is not only resulting in a boost for Green Left Weekly sales and subscriptions in the lead up to its 1000th issue, but also a boost for the Socialist Alliance and Resistance.

Rachel Evans said on the success at Bankstown University in Sydney: “We’ve been on campus over three days and it’s clear that young people are angry at Abbott’s refugee policy. We have lots of signatures on a petition and people are keen on taking action against these policies on campus. We have had similar responses at the University of Technology Sydney.”

The death of asylum seeker Reza Berati in the detention centre on Manus Island has shown how vicious the federal government’s policy on asylum seekers is. Ben Sexton, a co-convener of the Combined Refugee Action Group in Geelong and a recent participant in orientation week at the Gordon TAFE in Geelong, said: “People are pissed off at what the government is doing, particularly young people who don’t have much of voice in the political sphere in Australia.

“We’ve had four highly successful refugee-themed events in Geelong in the past week, including a public forum on a more humane refugee policy which was attended by 700 people. We have a huge opportunity to get young people involved in activism as well as an opportunity to build a broad grassroots mass movement in opposition to what Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott are doing.”

The University of Adelaide and the University of Queensland have had similar success.

There are more orientation weeks continuing into March and in which Resistance will encourage young people to get involved in activism, and to engage in the political discussion not just around the government’s human rights abuses, but also the ongoing destruction of the environment, and the continued attacks on civil liberties and public services.