OWeek can be confusing for politically aware first years. They want to make a difference, but deciding which of USyd’s political clubs can best help them do so–for the low, low price of one’s youth–can be a daunting decision.
Fear not! I talked to every political club at OWeek so that you don’t have to. If you haven’t chosen which devil to sell your soul to, this guide is for you.
Greens on Campus
One should join Greens on Campus, the spiel goes, because they’re a progressive group who won’t sacrifice progressive values for electoral success. Though beware! The Labor Club might. But the Greens are progressive. PROGRESSIVE! No one understands students better than progressive politician Scott ‘Cool Dad’ Ludlam! He’s progressive.
The Labor Club was described to me as socialist (and progressive?!), advocating “Change from within.” They’re frank about their differences with the ALP Club and Greens on Campus, neither of whom they like and both of whom they will make deals with for years to come. It’s hard out here for a realistic left-winger, you know?
ALP Club members are pleasant people, but shyer than their comrades about admitting ideological differences. What’s the difference between Labor Left and Labor Right when only one club has official party endorsement, after all? Not to mention, greater opportunities for ambitious politicians. Nudge nudge.
A catalogue of opportunities await Liberal Club members, namely the annual formal dinner which rose to prominence in 2012 when guest speaker Alan Jones said that then Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father “died of shame”. But though the dinner was the selling point of their pitch, the Alan Jones thing wasn’t mentioned at all. Weird.
The Conservative Club has members from a variety of parties united by conservative ideology rather than realpolitik. These parties include Family First, as I was told in a tone implying that the info wasn’t utterly horrifying.
“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”
– William Wallace in Braveheart
Socialist Alternative makes you sign a petition. And while I asked about their beliefs, one member sceptically inquired, “is this for Honi?” Fuck. To their credit, SAlt was the most direct group when I asked why I might want to join them: “read our newspaper.”
Solidarity Student Club
Solidarity, ‘the other Socialists’, has almost identical values to SAlt. The difference, I was told, is that they “don’t use Marxism as a brand” and don’t “abandon their principles for political gain”. Refusing to work with someone who shares your goals really is the definition of solidarity.
I didn’t notice anything which set this Socialist group apart from the previous two, so they also probably exist because they don’t like the others. Why do Socialists hate other Socialists so much? The revolution is going to be like an awkward family reunion.
Save yourself. It’s too late for everyone I spoke to, but you still have a shot at happiness. If you absolutely must be political join the Politics Society, and discuss politics without trying to govern or overthrow anyone. Or join SHADES**, get drunk, and garble your opinions on the dancefloor. No one will have to hear you over that sick beat.
**Disclaimer: Will Edwards is pretty into SHADES.