Resistance leadership passes resolution on student elections

With elections for various student bodies about to begin on campuses, Resistance has been discussing its general orientation.

These elections (in 2014 for 2015) are taking place as public education faces a huge attack with the Coalition government determined to deepen the user-pays system, already entrenched by its ALP predecessors.

Since the introduction of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme, upfront tuition fees and the Voluntary Student Unionism laws, campus life has changed. The reduction (in real terms) of youth allowance (Austudy/Abstudy) has meant that students are more often then not also casual workers and sometimes part-time carers for a family member.

In this neo-liberal context, progressive and socialist tickets on campuses can get a good hearing. Many students see the value of supporting progressive activists running for student councils to fight the attacks on education, and help generate progressive change for students on the campuses.

Resistance's approach to student elections fits within its broader framework of social change through the building of mass action. This means a conscious approach to involving students in progressive campaigns (and tickets) because only when new activists are actively involved, and "taking ownership" in the campaigns, can progressive campaigns become stronger.

This approach to progressive change informs our approach to student elections.

RYSA resolution

Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance believes there is merit in running in student elections — either in its own name or with others if there's the political basis.

Resistance believes it is important to contest student elections where possible, as it is a platform to amplify progressive campaigns, particularly as they relate to students. It also helps in the fight to strengthen and democratise Student Representative Councils (SRCs).

Any decision to run in elections has to be taken collectively by the club itself, and in consultation with the branch.

Resistance believes that progressive change comes through grass-roots collective action and not simply through progressive candidates dominating SRCs or any other student electoral bodies.

Resistance does not support entering into unprincipled deals simply in order to win office or a position.

Resistance is against unprincipled deal-making with forces opposed to the interests of students because it undercuts the building of progressive social movements (on and off campus).

Fighting for democratic SRCs also means that we have to run democratic and principled campaigns.

Resistance supports student tickets that help build student activism, and democratic SRCs, in defence of students' rights and the wider social and ecological issues that also impact on students.