There can be no more gratifying sight for mature age students than seeing hundreds of youngsters participating in activism and protesting for their rights. It is often said that this generation is apathetic, more focused on the brand of beer than the human rights of the marginalized, or the quality of our own education system. And while not every student participated in the national day of action on March 26, a strong contingent did so, despite Wuthering Heights-inspired weather.
On top of the hundreds that protested, more were supportive from the sidelines, clapping and cheering as we marched past. And many more would have come except they had work – which is a feature of modern university life, as so many students have to juggle with study in order to make up for the abysmal welfare system.
But student activism has always been at its best when it focuses not only on campus issues, but on questions of broader social justice. On that note, we show full solidarity to the refugees on hunger strike in Villawood Detention Centre, and the protesters who have attempted to picket the camp and prevent their removal to Curtin Detention Centre (400kms from anywhere) twice now.
As mature age reps we are old enough to recall with fondness the time when detention centres were being torn down, both by refugees inside and their supporters on the outside. Were such events to happen again we would be very, very supportive. Though we want to make it clear that we’re not inciting that kind of behaviour, which would be truly shocking to any law abiding citizen.
Speaking of law abiding citizens, how about the NSW government’s attempt to destroy the lives of working class people living in the public housing at Miller’s Point? The tories want to socially cleanse the inner city, and replace the precious public housing with luxury apartments for yuppies. We have spoken to a few mature age students who currently live in the housing, and have attended two demonstrations against the sell-off.
The most hopeful aspect of the campaign so far is that Paul MacAleer of the Maritime Union has threatened to introduce Green Bans to save the properties. We hope he’s prepared to follow through, because when the BLF did it in the 70s it was fucking cool. Look it up, it’s worth it.
Yours for the Revolution,
Omar H, Kay D, and James C.