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Daring to come out in 2008

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Anita's yabberings

Dare to be different; Dare to Struggle; Dare to win!

Greetings from down under.

Although I have a history of being a mindless activist; I think it's fair to say that I'm just about reformed... (If only that were true) I was President of the Flinders University Union in 1992 and became Editor of Empire Times the campus paper in 1994. 

My involvement and interest was first sparked in 1984 due to the imminent introduction of University fees of one kind or another by the Keating Labor government.  So the campaigns for free education were going strong until the introduction of HECS in 1989?.  After that there wasn't much happening in relation to anti-fees campaigns until the mid 1990s with the deregulation of the sector (again by the Labor government) and the introduction of up-front fees for Postgraduate courses, on a campus by campus basis. 

I started becoming really active in 1987 and joined a group called Flinders Left Initiative (FLI) that was affiliated to a national organisation called Left Alliance (LA).  Left Alliance was initially organised by Communist Party Australia (CPA) students and operated mainly as a caucus around the Australian Union of Students (AUS) which had finally collapsed in 1984. after sustained campaigns by right-wing students for it being too radical.  ie supporting the PLO, feminism (AUS says your mother is a prostitute headed one dirt leaflet) and generally international solidarity issues. 

Around this time voices for the dissolution of the CPA were arising as was the transformation of the Resistance/Socialist Workers Party (SWP) into the Resisatnce/Green Left.  The CPA was dissolved in 1991 and many participants becoming involved with the formation of the New Left Party (NLP) which never got off the ground.  Anyway by the late 1980's when i became involved there was not much in the way of leadership or ideas around.  (By 1987 the process of forming a new national union was underway and i first became involved with the campaign to affiliate Flinders campus to National Union of Students South Australia (NUSSA) and the National branch NUS.) 

Flinders University was one of the first campuses to affiliate in South Australia. 

However, i remember the glee with which my comrades of the time welcomed the Gulf war as it offered a rallying point to organise students and to recruit new members to the various trot or coalition groups we were involved in.

I really knew nothing about international politics but i was a supporter of East Timor and knew this might require military assistance and so i did wonder about the fact that we were arguing for Saddam to get away with invading another country.  However, i was too 'active' at the time to do any research myself (Sad but true) and merely took the line that was put by the International Socialist Organisation (ISO)  that  Kuwait was really a part of Iraq that Saddam was now taking back.   I remember busily making students against war badges and denouncing the ALP for its collaboration with U.S. war-mongers. 

The reason i am writing here today can be directly attributed to the Gulf war MK1 because it was through a discussion  in the tavern at Uni that i met Patrick.  It was Patrick who explained that my beliefs about Kuwait and Iraq were quite wrong.  As it was a brief conversation at the bar while on my way to a very important meeting (i'm trying to make fun of myself) I decided to check it out.  Lo and behold Kuwait existed prior to Iraq and so i realised that my opposition to that war was ill-founded.  Some time later, i again saw Patrick in the tavern and informed him that i had taken his comments on board and realised that it was wrong to oppose the Australian involvement in the Gulf war MK1.  (I think he decided he wanted to give me babies at the very moment) 

So that is how i came to be hanging out with ex-Red Eureka movement, or WSA members.  1993 was the year that Albert Langer first challenged s 329A of the Electoral Act, and Patrick Muldowney joined that with a challenge to similar provisions in the South Australian Electoral Act. 

My previous political experience within the National Union (NUS) and student organisations had convinced me that the ALP offered the world and then screwed students over, and so i knew it was no good following the old routine of criticising the ALP Education policy but when it came to election time determining that they were the lesser of two evils and backing them all the way and  so when i saw the vote informal idea and the possibility of voting 1,2,3,3, I knew it was the way to go.  So with the way things went it was not long and i was on the road to the High Court with Patrick and Albert.   (The High Court case was not heard until October 1995 but throughout 1993 and 1994/95 at any opportunity we could (By-elections etc., we were challenging the provision by putting out material urging electors to vote informal)

1994/1995 saw vigorous campaigns on campuses that NUS tried to cash in on but largely unsuccessfully given the de-centralised way the changes were being implemented.  [With several occupations of University buildings taking place nation-wide] What is the point of having a peak body to 'lobby' government when the issue is at a campus level?




I have an interest in philosophy in general, but historical dialectical materialism in particular.

Although this is being written at a time when Communism has been declared dead and buried; and most people consider that Communism is something that has been tried and failed I do not believe that Marxism and its derivatives can so easily be wished/rushed into oblivion. 

Like Rosa Luxemburg, my view is that the human condition is not yet evolved sufficiently to successfully implement the vision of a society which is not based upon oppression.  Of course, when Rosa Luxemburg wrote those words, they were about a world where literacy rates were extremely low; as this has now changed in many parts of the world, making the vast human/individual potentiality closer to reality...there is however still a very long way to go before a majority of the people of the world can begin to realise their personal and social potential.  This is why I support modern countries sending their troops to assist in the emancipation of the oppressed.   What we need is more and better, U.N., or similar, missions to the countries in humanitarian crisis 

Initially, I rejected the philosophical, and practical insights of materialist thinkers such as Marx, and embarked upon a flirtation with poststructuralism, and feminist deconstructionism.  (One thing I had taken from Marxist philosophy is that the point is not only to understand the world but to change it, and I had become politically involved on campus.  I made every mistake in the book.  I was blindly pro-Union

However, I soon realised that the insights were irrelevant to  the concrete political struggles I was engaged in.  The pleasure of finally understanding  phallologocentrism etc was overshadowed by a realisation that real womenseemed to have been deconstructed out of existence.  

So, via praxis I came to understand the significance of Marxist ideas to concrete situations, and have since then pursued a better understanding of Marx, Engels, and Mao thought, whenever possible.  

 So, (enter the mindless activism) I became politically active on my University campus in the late 1980's, after the collapse of the 'non-Labor left' in Australia.  I eventually joined a group called Left Alliance (organisation of Socialist, Feminist, and Progressive students) which was mainly a caucus operating around the National Union of Students (NUS). 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I learnt some valuable political skills, but I also learnt that these so-called progressives were anything but. 




Created by anita
Last modified 2008-06-21 06:20 PM

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