IYSSE clubs and supporters in Sri Lanka and India have written to the University of Melbourne Clubs & Societies Committee to demand that it retract its ban on affiliating the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) and uphold, as a basic democratic principle, the right of students to freedom of expression and association. The letters have been slightly edited for grammatical and length reasons.
We encourage IYSSE members and supporters, and WSWS readers, in Australia and around the world, to continue to write letters. Letters of protest should be sent to Stephen Smith and Claire Pollock, the UMSU Clubs & Societies Committee officers at firstname.lastname@example.org and also to Hana Dalton, the General Secretary of UMSU, at email@example.com.
Please send copies of all letters to the IYSSE at firstname.lastname@example.org. A selection of letters will be published on the World Socialist Web Site.
As the supporters of International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura in Sri Lanka, we are writing to you to express our strong opposition to your rejection of the application by the Australian IYSSE to affiliate a club at the University of Melbourne.
Your decision is an attack on basic democratic rights of students to be involved in politics of their choice and it is a clear line up with the reactionary anti-democratic moves of university administrations and the Australian state.
As university students in Sri Lanka, we have been experiencing this type of oppression over the years. Over one thousand university students were suspended due to various student activities.
Governments all over the world have been imposing this kind of suppression of the democratic rights of workers, youth and students with the purpose of knocking down the growing opposition within them against the capitalist ruling elites.
The imperialist powers, especially the US, are driving the whole of mankind towards a disaster of world war as their “solution” to the growing crisis of global capitalism. They have also unleashed harsh austerity measures against the working and living conditions of working people to impose the full burden of the economic crisis on them. This inevitably links with increasing attacks on the democratic rights of working class.
Only the Socialist Equality Party and IYYSE reveal this harsh reality to workers and students.
Your ban on an IYSSE club at the University of Melbourne directly serves the interests of the ruling elite by attempting to silence and hinder the IYSSE’s political struggle against the imperialist war danger and austerity. We are campaigning among students in Sri Lanka against your anti-democratic move. We demand that your committee immediately lift its ban and all obstacles to the IYSSE’s affiliation.
On behalf of IYSSE supporters at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Sri Lanka
The World Socialist Web Site (WSWS)/International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) supporters group of India strongly protests against the undemocratic and arbitrary decision by the Clubs and Societies Committee of the University of Melbourne Student Union to impose a ban on affiliating the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE).
We consider your actions to stand in violation of the fundamental democratic right for freedom of expression of the students.
Undoubtedly your decision to reject for the third time in 18 months, the right of the IYSSE to form a club at the University of Melbourne reveals your political hostility towards the publicly stated aims of the IYSSE. It is your repeated undemocratic decisions to ban the affiliation of the IYSSE that “undermines the democratic representative system.”
It is an insult to the intelligence of Melbourne University students when you state that the IYSSE club’s name was “unreflective” of its aims, and that it “overlapped” with the student club of Socialist Alternative. Based on the clear understanding of the aims of the IYSSE, as opposed to that of the student club of the Socialist Alternative, 56 students have already applied for the former’s registration.
Therefore your undemocratic decision to ban the affiliation of the IYSSE effectively suppresses the democratic voice of the 56 students.
The Socialist Equality Party (SEP), the Australian section of the ICFI, and its affiliate IYSSE have been distinguished by their principled socialist internationalist opposition to imperialist militarism and neo-colonial wars, as well as against the US-led “pivot to Asia” aimed at the military encirclement and the waging of war against China.
As opposed to the IYSSE, Socialist Alternative, a pseudo-left organization, has rallied around the war-mongering imperialist powers, including that of Australia.
Every ruling class, including in India and Australia, are rapidly heading towards establishing dictatorial rule to suppress the growing opposition of the working class and youth against imperialist wars, austerity measures and attack on democratic rights. Your undemocratic actions are in line with those of the ruling elite.
We demand the immediate and unconditional reversal of your decision.
Arun Kumar, on behalf of the WSWS/ ICFI supporters group in India.