Letters //

Letters – Week 1, Semester 2

Letters from Week 1, Semester 1.

A letter from Kenya

I hope you guys are doing cool.

 Well, you informed me that you do not accept submissions from non-students. However, I hope that you can take a ‘letter’ from a non student who is so much interested in voicing his thoughts from a far-off continent and University altogether in your esteemed publication.

Honi Soit is the best campus magazine I’ve ever come across. It being student-centered is a plus and earns enough trust from the students – both in University of Sydney and abroad.

Keep it up guys. Magazine Reel will be looking up to you from Egerton University in Kenya for inspiration. Or maybe could look into some partnership of sort.

Hoping to hear from you soon


With Regards.

Denshi Shisia
Chief Operations Officer/ Chief Editor, Magazine Reel

Our apologies for fucking up 

How disappointed my husband and I both were when we excitedly sat down to read the latest Honi Soit (Week 13). We haven’t had the opportunity for a while. Well, after only getting to page 3 we decided to desist.

Any publication that cannot express itself without needing to swear isn’t good enough for us.


Therese and Clive

Some SAlt in the wound 

Dear Honi,

I read your piece on Socialist Alternative with interest. Having answered your questions honestly and in some detail, I hoped we would get a fair run. I was disappointed both with the factual errors and gross political bias of the article.

Firstly, the article repeatedly insinuates that we have some evil, all-powerful dictatorial hierarchy which tells every member what to do, who to be friends with, and presumably what brand of toothpaste to use. This is ridiculous, McCarthyist scaremongering.

Factually, it was Ridah and I who suggested that we move to Sydney, as we believed that it was ludicrous for the biggest socialist organisation in Australia not to have a club at Sydney Uni. I clearly stated this to Honi in my interview. That Honi refused to publish facts in favour of false ‘speculations’, says more about the standards of this publication than about our organisation’s leadership structure.

Like all political organisations that operate at a national level, we have a national leadership that coordinates our work; thinks through particular political issues, discusses priority topics for the newspaper, and more. There is no alternative to such a structure for a sizeable group. But unlike most organisations our leadership bodies at every level are directly elected by members, and are recallable at any time. We are extremely proud of our radically democratic culture.

But don’t take my word for it. As SRC Education Officer Eleanor Morley wrote when she joined SA just last year:

“Another frequent criticism I have encountered is the accusation that members are forced to follow a strict political line, dictated from above. After attending branch meetings and watching how political debate and contribution from all members is not only common but encouraged, this argument also seemed hollow.”

Further, as Eleanor was a leading negotiator for the Grassroots last year, and has since chaired a rally of 1000 students, the claim that we only recruit ‘vulnerable’ students with ‘social anxiety’ is also unfounded and offensive.

The article also quotes extensively from Cam Petrie, who was never a member of Socialist Alternative (another factual error), and is now a member of the RMIT Labor Right. This club has opposed and boycotted the education campaign this year, and is aligned to the section of the ALP which concocted the PNG solution, supports the ban on marriage equality, and promotes neoliberal economic policies more generally. Forgive us if we pay no attention to his criticisms.

I could go on about how the ‘leaked email’ quoted in your article is an obvious forgery, about how we happily collaborate with any number of progressive organisation in a range of campaigns, about how we don’t conceive of ourselves as a ‘vanguard party’… but I’d rather get on with life and the campaign against the Liberal government.

I would encourage any student who seriously wants to know what Socialist Alternative stands for and how you might get involved with the most successful revolutionary group in the country to give us a call. Seriously, do it. All we ask in return is your firstborn child.

Omar Hassan,

President of the Socialist Alternative Club

Write your thesis, Lucy 

Dear Honi,

Thank you for resharing my letter about the disarray of Fisher library this week. I wish to recount to you another tale of bureaucratic library despair. This time, however, it is not Fisher I wish to complain about. This time, my complaint goes higher – to the state and national libraries, the highest order of library in our good (read: not so good) country. It is with regret, Honi, that I have to come to understand that no library is perfect.

From these libraries, I have been seeking approximately 776 editions of gossip magazines. Magazines which, under s201 of the Copyright Act 1968 must be supplied to these libraries within one month of publishing. Now, overall I have found my experience seeking these materials to be rather pleasurable, however, when it comes to the 14 issues I could not easily find, things got tricky.

I took my queries to the State Library loans desk, armed with a list of issues I believe they don’t have, and they claim they do. I was told, rather unequivocally, that those issues do not exist. Not, “the library doesn’t appear to have it”, but, “it must have never been published”. But they do exist, Honi. Truly they do.

Giving up hope on the State Library, I decided to see if my brother, who lives in Canberra, could visit the national library on my behalf. I’d left my library card with him in Canberra, so I requested the materials online, and sent my brother along the next day. There, despite sharing my surname, and the only name listed on the card he held in his hand, he was told he could not access the materials. Instead, he would have to apply for his own [free] card, and re-request them. Which means I had to call the library, ask them to return the material under my name to the stacks, in order for them to file it all neatly away, before receiving a request from my brother for that exact material to return to the reading room.The entire process, for my brother to gain access to material that lay not 3 feet from where he stood when he visited the library, has taken 6 days.

And after all of this, I’m still missing 4 issues. They must have never been published.

Yours in bureaucratic (and thesis) anguish,

Lucy Watson
Arts (Media and Communications) VI