Rob Vusak

 

Robert Vusak (Left Action)

My name is Rob and I have been an activist at Curtin University for close to three years. It has become clear to me in that time that the Guild today is a shell of the fighting, activist force it once was.

Any clear-headed view of the situation faced by students at Curtin today will be one of great alarm – the university administration has gone on an all-out offensive against student learning conditions, cutting courses, increasing the sizes of classes, cutting staff, cutting pay, further driving commercialisation, further policing the lives of international students, etc. Every day the university more and more resembles a machine made to churn out degrees.

We must not to let this reality be obfuscated. This is the central political question at Curtin right now. If we lived in the age of Student Power, when radicals and socialists ran the Guilds (including the Nation Union of Students) as vehicles of political action, we would find ourselves amid a great campaign for students’ rights. The current Guild would much rather depoliticise this innately political body, or focus its efforts towards running surveys that simply tell us that for the hundredth time that students aren’t fans the cost-cutting endeavours of the admin.

Meanwhile, there has been no serious campaign against these cuts to speak of. There have been no ongoing all-out mobilisations of students to defend their interests. When Curtin cut $41 million of staff, protests were largely organised by Left Action members with only half-hearted and last-minute input from the Guild. Many students are not even fully aware of the dire straits their education is in.

Only Left Action can offer a genuine alternative. It has been left wing activists like us (acting without the millions of dollars of Guild resources) that have led the campaigns against staff cuts, against course cuts, and against the further neoliberalisation of the university sector. It is only Left Action that sees the true importance of this activist role that the Guild and NUS can play.


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