It’s election season on Australian university campuses.
So you want to be elected as a student representative at your university’s student association or guild? Are you willing to abandon all shame and self-respect for a higher cause? Are you ready to harass students with flyers with the knowledge that it will most likely end up in a university urinal?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be a perfect candidate. Here’s my step by step guide to winning student elections in 2020, socialist edition.
STEP 1: Choose something to cancel and go overboard
If only for symbolic purposes, this is a must for any student political group to truly make an impact. At the Australian National University, they want to take down statues of Winston Churchill and at Monash not even Sir Robert Menzies and Sir John Monash himself are safe. How scandalous! But this is what you want. You want the division, you need to fuel the false anger so that it can be funnelled into more votes.
Not cancelling something or someone is so out of vogue. Who would want to win an election on their own merit and values? Boring. (Side note, the more loved the figure, the better. Chances are they did some disgusting act when they were five years old, but we can never accept intolerable acts, regardless of age.)
While you’re at it, don’t forget to propose some alternative statues: I’ve heard Trotsky and Lenin — not to mention Mao — are becoming increasingly popular in Victoria.
STEP 2: Create an illusory class divide and advocate for a socialist revolution
This is a big one. We need to make sure that we look after the most vulnerable in our University communities, so let’s eat the rich. If there aren’t that many of them, let’s make it seem as if there are and attack them.
One of the shining stars in this election season is the group Student Fightback – Climate Action at Monash University. They had the genius idea of advocating for “the immediate dissolution of Mannix College” and that “all current residents at the premise that are dependent on a family or guardian that earns an annual income of $200,000 or over will be evicted [with] empty dwellings given over to struggling students free of charge.” The group, for all the good they are doing, is unlucky that Mannix is the only residential college at Monash. For all other universities, it would be best to attack every residential college because they are remnants of institutionalised imperialist repression by the elites. Vive la révolution!
Despite the fact that Mannix and many other colleges are thriving and socio-economically diverse residential communities, you need to divide and conquer the votes. So resist from saying the truth in this instance. The means justify your glorious ends . In fact, I would recommend you use the succinct wording of Student Fightback and frame residential colleges as “ vile, abusive, sexist safe havens for the kids of the rich and powerful.” How delightful! Sure to get the vote from the Stalin Moustache Appreciation Club.
STEP 3: Don’t waste your time on actual student policies
The biggest mistake in a campaign is wasting time on creating meaningful policies. All you need to do is create some flashy ideas that sound good and tick off the political correctness box so your campaign doesn’t get cancelled.
Heaven forbid you lay out a comprehensive strategy for solving the issues facing students: no one is going to read that anyway!.
You need emotionally pertinent talking points, flashy campaign material and a bit of ‘persistence’. Don’t forget to tick off the relevant candidate quotas while you’re at it.
I hope you found this guide informative and all the best for your election campaign. If worst comes to worst, blame all the university’s problems on the repressive capitalist patriarchy. Удачи!
Peumike Dissanayake is a medical student at Monash University with a keen interest in politics and economics and the university’s IPA Generation Liberty Coordinator.
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