Comment and Analysis

National Union of Students meet to plan fight back, amid controversy

The National Union of Students (NUS) Conference 2014 kicked off at the Mannix College in Monash University, Melbourne last week to decide policy and administrative reform for the next year. They also voted to for the reintroduction of a new series of Office Bearing positions for 2015.

The conference was dominated by Young Labor Right, Student Unity, The Labor Left, National Labor Students, Socialist Alternative and Grassroots Collective. A scattering of independents also attended.

Video gamers on the feminist frontlines

A fierce debate over women’s participation in video game culture has erupted online. Known as “GamerGate”, it is a battle over power and sexism in video games.

Women now represent nearly half of those who play video games, and the traditional gamer identity is being challenged. The problem of sexism in video games is part of a wider problem of misogyny in society, and in the same way misogyny is being confronted in parliament or at universities, it is also being confronted in gaming.

Germain Greer: Transphobia is all in your mind

Dunking her biscuit into the cup now covered in a suitable amount of filth, she thinks about the time she went driving up a mountain range in Cape York. “What a beautiful area — shame about the people.”

Fully aware she’s been accused of intellectual snobbery on more than one occasion, she lulled herself into a meditative state, knowing she would have to turn on the charm once more. “I say vagina and cunt twenty times a day and they still accuse me of it,” she said out loud this time.

Past education campaign lessons for today

The education reforms of the 1970s occurred in a very different political climate from today's education movements, yet there are still lessons to be learnt from it.

The political agitation and mood for change of the 1960s opened the door to a number of movements, many coming from the Vietnam War. Students were not only shocked by the disturbing images of the war on the TV news during this time, but male students were also liable to be conscripted via a lottery process.

Detention centre worker tells truth about refugee camps

Nicole Judge worked at refugee centres on Nauru and Manus Island and despite warnings from various bodies, stood before a packed crowd at a Refugee Action Coalition forum in Sydney on November 17 to give an account of her time there.

When Judge first set foot on Manus Island she knew she was not getting what she had been promised. When she first signed up to work on Manus Island, she thought it would be a “working holiday”. She was looking for a break; what she found was despair, desperation and the deterioration of minds and bodies.

Like a zombie that just won’t die: fee deregulation returns

Fee deregulation will be resurrected this year. This gives education activists that general zombie-slayer feeling any sane human gets from fighting a piece of legislation you thought you had killed already.

Last year, fee deregulation was booted out of the Senate, with student boots doing most of the kicking. But it doesn’t want to die and is set to return to parliament, presumably with enough amendments to appeal to the biggest fence sitters.

Freedom Rides again. Has anything changed?

A busload of students, Aboriginal activists and musicians embarked on a commemorative trip around regional New South Wales on February 19 to mark 50 years since the first Freedom Ride. Also on the bus were 15 of the original Freedom Riders, filmmaker Rachel Perkins, and musicians Troy Cassar-Daley and Paul Kelly.

Redfern Tent Embassy fights eviction attempts

The Redfern Tent Embassy survives, a week after an eviction notice was served demanding that they vacate by February 23. For four long days, locals and supporters have kept watch to protect the Block from an expected hoard of Redfern police coming to enforce the eviction.

About 20 people gathered at the embassy on Monday after the initial 5am call out for supporters, and about 150 people were at the embassy after Mick Mundine, the Chief Executive of the Aboriginal Housing Corporation (AHC), said on NITV that he would “definitely be coming in the afternoon”.

Racism has no place on our streets

Two thousand people rallied in Federation Square on April 4 to oppose Reclaim Australia freely spreading racism and fascism on the streets of Melbourne.

Anti-racist participants included socialists, anarchists, feminists, refugee rights advocates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the politically unaligned. All were united in a common cause to stop the spread of racism in Australia.

Redfern tent embassy under attack

Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) has come under increasing attack at the same time as DeiCorp developers are advertising their proposed development with the tag line “"The Aboriginals have already moved out, now Redfern is the last virgin suburb close to city".

RATE was established by Redfern residents as a protest against the proposed development on what is legally Aboriginal land of a block of commercial shops and student housing, by the Aboriginal Housing Company and developer DeiCorp.

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