The anti-Communist Movement: Murdoch's Toxic Culture
By Sean Ayres
Universities have never been places afraid of fierce and passionate debate. Perhaps the greatest attribute of universities is the vibrant kaleidoscope of different people and different political and social viewpoints. It’s okay to disagree with those around you, challenge dominant archetypes, or challenge radical ideologies. This, however, comes with a responsibility. Everyone you interact with, disagree with, or believe to be reprehensible is another human being. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, politeness and respect when they offer you the same.
Today on Murdoch University campus I am becoming increasingly troubled that people understand this point less and less. Even the most detached university student has seen the degradation of the debate around supporters of socialist, communist and Marxist theory on campus. It’s a dark and nebulous time at Murdoch University when anonymous submissions to the Facebook page Confessions at Murdoch call out “commie scumbags” and “red fascists” and call for the defunding of the Murdoch Communist and Socialist Club. In an even more worrying and infuriating development, the Murdoch Communist and Socialist Club have been on the receiving end of the thuggish theft of club property.
I am not a communist. I’m not even a member of the “it sounds great in theory but doesn’t work” brigade, because I simply disagree with everything, from the premise to the solutions. I’ve gone about things in a different way however. Rather than posting anonymous confessions, adopting thuggish behaviour or attempting to defund clubs, I’ve attempted to embrace every respectful person on Murdoch campus as a friend. The members of the Murdoch Communist and Socialist Club may disagree with me politically but that has never changed the fact that they are sweet, respectful, and patient in my every interaction with them. I talk to them whenever I see them, ask for their point of view on the world, ask how their clubs are progressing. They haven’t convinced me on communism and socialism by any means, but I learn so much whenever I talk to them, from the strands of political thought, to medieval fighting styles.
I cannot express enough how much I, as President of the Murdoch Politics and Governance Society, stand against the way debate on ‘commie scumbags’ has been conducted at Murdoch University. This has gone far enough and it’s time to stop. I’m happy to host a calm, respectful debate if it goes any way to stop these vile, callous attacks on real people. At the end of the day we’ll all have a pint together because our fellowship means more than our disagreements. It’s time we move past this and start debating the real issues here. There’s plenty to disagree on in the capitalism and communism debate, let’s debate issues not people. We all need a little more love, pizza and beer to go along with our fiery and passionate debates.