The following statement was submitted by Sue Phillips, national convenor of the Committee For Public Education (CFPE) in Australia, endorsing the Socialist Equality Party rally in Sydney on June 17 and vigils internationally on June 19 in defence of Julian Assange.
The rally in Sydney will demand the Australian government act immediately to end the persecution of Julian Assange and provide him with the necessary diplomatic protection to return to Australia.
The CFPE calls on teachers, academics and students to attend the Sydney demonstration and to participate in vigils being held around the world on June 19. Educators internationally must stand with, and for, Julian Assange and his freedom.
The malicious, anti-democratic treatment of the courageous journalist by the Australian, US, Swedish, British and now Ecuadorian governments, is of a piece with the general assault on freedom of speech, Internet censorship, and the drive to authoritarianism and war.
Moreover, the very US, British and Australian governments that are desperate to silence Assange, are also carrying out a relentless assault on the right of students and educators to a fully-resourced public education.
Universities everywhere are being corporatised and militarised, while public school teachers and students are being subordinated to business requirements through high-stakes testing, the narrowing of curricula and the never-ending assault on teacher wages, conditions and jobs. The vast majority no longer has the basic social right to a fully resourced, high quality, enlightened education, which lies at the very foundation of a democratic society.
The determined struggles of teachers and educators this year, across the US, and around the world, have provided a powerful lead to workers and young people everywhere fighting to defend living standards, against the persecution of immigrants and refugees and against dictatorship and war.
We call on teachers and students to join the Sydney rally and June 19 vigils, inform and bring your colleagues, family and friends, and circulate the details as widely as possible via social media.