There two collectives in this Department…
The Students Representative Council’s Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR)
The Students Representative Council’s Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) aims to fight for the equality and liberation of people who self-identify as: a person of colour, a person from an ethno-cultural background, and/or as someone marginalised by white supremacy.
As a new collective commencing in 2014, little is set in stone asides from our ideals and beliefs in the empowerment and self-determination of people coming from a minority ethno-cultural background, or those marginalised by white supremacy and settler colonialism, or those who identify as a person of colour. This collective welcomes any person who self-identifies as belonging to those groups, but is still working on ways to better represent and account for the ways people identify in terms of experiencing racism.
This collective hopes to operate not only as a space of activism and political organising, but also as a support space where people can share their experiences. We encourage people from all levels of political knowledge to get involved. We are hoping to run workshops and provide educative resources, and we are open to any ideas and feedback throughout the entire process of this collective’s first year.
For most of us who are already part of the collective, autonomous organising against racism is something new, and it will be exciting to see the myriad faces and paths it could take through 2014. Racism and its effects are diverse and as a collective we hope to make visible the different ways racism manifests in people’s lives.
Tabitha Prado-Richardson, Oscar Monaghan, Shiran Illanperum, and Bridget Harilaou.
Autonomous group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/183243481860842/
Anti-Racism Collective (ARC)
The University of Sydney’s Anti-Racism Collective (ARC) is committed to fighting against racism on all fronts, standing up for the rights of persecuted ethnic minorities both on and off campus.
ARC is one of the most active collectives on campus. We have recently decided to focus on campaigns against the cruel and inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Students have always played a significant role in the movement against racism in politics and the broader community. As one of the most important voices for progress, students can and should take action both on and off campus against racial prejudice and shape an equitable future.
Since the election of Tony Abbott, our work and presence on campus has never been more important. With the Liberals now in power, ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’ is officially underway, meaning the return of the most inhumane and racist refugee policies this country has seen since the Howard Era.
Abbott’s attempt to revive the Howard-era policy of ‘turning back the boats’ involves cruel and dangerous operations which only serves to degrade, brutalise and endanger refugees further.
Some cruel aspects of their policies include:
- Keeping most of the PNG ‘Solution’ intact
- Restoring Temporary Protect Visas (instead of granting residency to refugees)
- Expanding the capacity of the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island
- Denying refugees access to the Refugee Rights Review Tribunal (legal aid)
- Blackouts on boat arrivals
Some of ARC’s past successes have included joining with the Education Action Group to campaign to save the refugee language program from threatened cuts. We also joined with Koori Centre students to rally against a planned closure of their centre. We held a number of film screenings and forums with former detainees as well as “The People Smuggler” author Robin de Crespigny and investigative journalist Professor Wendy Bacon.
In 2013, we also co-organised a successful rally when Bob Carr came onto campus after his claims that refugees were not genuinely fleeing from persecution and were ‘economic migrants’.
Every year, ARC has responded to the Government’s undeniable abuse of human rights by organising student contingents to rallies and visiting the Villawood detention centre
Under Howard, it was the refugee movement that shifted public opinion, broke bipartisan support for offshore processing and pushed back the Pacific Solution. It is this sort of vibrant campaign that we will need to stop Abbott.
Students need to unite to send a clear message to the government that racial scapegoating and vilification of the world’s most vulnerable people are not, and never will be, acceptable platforms for gaining votes or popularity.
With both sides of politics committed to vilifying refugees, students must build of the momentum of 2013 into anti-racist campaigns for 2014.
We hope you can join us. Get involved, fight back!
For more information, contact
Gabby on 0416 488 258 or Marijke on 0452 192 659