Right wing students have taken over the Monash Student Association (MSA), a bastion of the broad left for decades. In the annual MSA elections, a conservative group won a landslide victory, gaining around 60 percent of the vote for most positions. It is a decisive shift in the politics of one of the key Australian university campuses.

For 12 years, the MSA has been controlled by the Labor Party’s left faction, which occasionally worked with, or against, others from the campus left, including socialists. For the last two years, Monash socialist students have held positions in the union and used them to organise activist campaigns and promote left wing politics.

The MSA has encouraged students to attend almost every significant progressive protest that has taken place: from the large protests against cuts to higher education in 2013, to the demonstrations throughout 2014 that helped bring down the Abbott government, to this year’s historic rally for marriage equality.

The MSA has raised funds for striking workers and sent student solidarity contingents to their pickets. It has organised campus forums on refugee rights, Aboriginal rights, domestic and international political developments and progressive social thought.

In one small but spectacular achievement, the MSA helped prevent the deportation of a lecturer whose family’s visas had been revoked due to his son’s autism. We organised a huge public campaign, culminating in maybe the largest ever campus demonstration in defence of the rights of those with disabilities.

 

Read the full article by Daniel Taylor at Red Flag.

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