Comment and Analysis

International students: a cash cow for universities and targets for racism

The Australian government released its National Strategy on International Students 2025 in April.

At its heart lies a strategy for exploiting international students and increasing the commercialisation of the education sector. It aims to swindle hundreds of thousands of international students and normalise the neoliberal idea that students are consumers and that education and learning are commodities.

Black Lives Matter everywhere

In the past few weeks #BlackLivesMatter rallies have been organised around Australia and internationally in solidarity with the Black victims of US police violence and to raise awareness of the racism experienced by Australians of African descent and First Nations communities.

In Melbourne, a rally on July 17 drew a diverse crowd of more than 3500 people. It was organised by just four young activists and mobilised many communities who have experienced racism, as well as their allies.

Sam Watson: 'Confront and challenge Hanson wherever she goes'

Murri leader Sam Watson does not have a high opinion of Pauline Hanson's intellect or her lack of substantial policies. However he told Green Left Weekly that “she can't be ignored”.

“I was very pleased to see in the last few days when she went to appear on Q&A that there were comrades on the street to challenge her,” he said.

He was also pleased when First Nations activist Murrandoo Yanner ordered her out of the building at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

“She is evil and we need to confront that evil and challenge that evil.”

We can't save all wildlife, so conservation laws need to change

Australia recently gained an unenviable title: perhaps the first country to lose a mammal species to climate change.

The Bramble Cay Melomys, a native rodent found on one tiny sand island in the remote northern regions of the Great Barrier Reef, reportedly became extinct after rising seas destroyed its habitat.

Racism and the empire

In the discussion about Pauline Hanson's election to the Senate and her recent appearance on ABC's Q&A there have been appeals by some commentators to go easy on her because: "She is just saying what a lot of people are thinking".

Well, dopey racist ideas need to be condemned for what they are, regardless of how many people share them.

This defence of Hanson is like the completely false idea that the degrading treatment of asylum seekers by Labor and Coalition governments is just responding to what the voters want. This of course puts the cart before the horse.

If only Iraq had closed its borders to Western invaders

The irony in the controversy that has broken out about whether Australia should impose a total ban on Muslim immigration to combat ISIS terror is that if only Iraq had been able to close its borders to Western invaders back in 2003, this whole ISIS shit could have been avoided.

'Death is our life'— Aboriginal suicide at crisis levels

Suicide was unknown to Aboriginal people prior to invasion. There was no word for suicide in the ancient Yolngu language and, up to the 1980s, suicide was rare among Aboriginal people.

But now 95% of Aboriginal people have been affected by a suicide and Aboriginal people are six times more likely to commit suicide than non-Aboriginal people.

In the Northern Territory, 50% of suicides were by Aboriginal people in 2010, up from just 5% in 1991.

A movement led by First Nations militants can defeat Hanson

Pauline Hanson came across a racist and incoherent cartoon character on the ABC's Q&A program on July 18.

But it would be a mistake to think that Hanson, and the more than half a million people who voted for her in the July 2 federal election, can simply be laughed away. They represent, in a distorted way, the deepening contradictions in our society that have to be addressed at their root.

The myth of the egalitarianism of Australia is cracking up after 50 years of Coalition and Labor Party governments helping the super rich get even richer at the expense of the rest.

Let's get practical: build the movements against racism and corporate greed

This election was very tight. I don't think any party can claim a mandate. Malcolm Turnbull barely fell over the line. There is no mandate in that.

Turnbull claims to have a mandate — to not tax the rich and keep giving it to Blackfellas. That is his mandate, and it would be the same if Labor had won.

Another disappointing factor is that in the lead-up to the election, and in the post mortem, we have heard nothing about First Nations people. We are still dying in great numbers and they are arguing about who got the most votes in what seat.

Barnett plan fudges closure of remote communities

The WA government released its plan for remote Aboriginal communities on July 14. The spin is all about “better living conditions”, “supporting families” and “more opportunities”. However the substance is still entirely about penny pinching and withdrawing resources. Communities will close if it is implemented.

When WA premier Colin Barnett first announced that up to 150 communities would be forced to close, people responded with a massive, international protest movement to save the communities.

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