In what could only be an expected result, the new student population, primarily heralding from mainland China, has become a thorn in the side of SA (Socialist Alternative). The SA were overflowing with joy as the socialist revolution, led by upper-middle class students, would nearly complete after gaining control of the Usyd Student Presidency. What would follow was supposed to be uncontested dominance of the Student Unions and the continued love from their newly imported student voting base.
That is, until everything we could have predicted occured; an event so foreseeable it would take but only a cursory glance to figure out. Tribal politics never changes and if you fight for someone else's tribe, don't be surprised when they take over.
This is the first time a president has won with mainly international student support: Panda. This faction saw strong backing from Chinese international students, and has ties to the on-campus China Development Society.
This was also the first SRC election contested by two fully fledged international student campaigns. Panda, which made its debut in 2017, was joined by Advance, a faction put together by USU Board director and international student, Decheng Sun.
With that it appears the Chinese International student marched in lock-step and went to the ballot with one two opinions: I vote for this Chinese person or I vote for this other Chinese person.
He also beat two domestic students, Lara Sonnenschein and Adriana Malavisi. Grassroots, Sonnenschein’s far-left faction, has therefore lost its control of the presidency a year after seizing it in 2017, and Malavisi’s Labor has failed to regain the office it once held for 15 years uninterrupted.
That ultimately left poor Lara Sonnenschein in the dirt, wondering where the road to Socialist uprising had gone. The Chinese students were not so interested in the Communist theory of worker solidarity and the international revolution as their own wants and desires.
- Jacky He - 2157 votes
- Lara Sonnenschein - 1545 votes
More so it appears the SA were played for chumps to get a slight grasp of glory to then be crushed under the efficiency of a group given all advantages. As well not split by ideology yet held together by the strongest binder ethnicity.
From this point forward for the SA they may be unable to ever pull back their coveted SRC Presidency instead to be only in the fringes of the student council which as time presses on and the international students wise more to it, these positions dwindle.
- Ethno Cultural Affairs Officers
- International Students Officers
- Global Solidarity Officers
Sound like really stable SA positions. Coupled with the fact it is very easy to exploit their rules about self-identifying, they have no capability to fight back.
In fact it was already shown to be seeping with flaws as the Liberals turned their system of believing and not questioning into a joke. Liberal USYD student claims non-cis identity to obtain SRC position.
What are the lessons to be taken from this recent election? It is evidently a microcosm of what is to come in wider realms of politics. The fact that international students are allowed to vote in this election is a key difference between the national elections and these student elections. As a corollary, these elections provide a glimpse into the trends that are likely to appear if (when) these people become citizens.
It is also clear that the limitations of Socialist Alternative's preclude any form of political predictive power. Their dreams are not viable; they cannot perceive that racial group interests are near-immutable for People of Colour. When an ideology is constructed based on blatant falsehoods, there is only so long until the hopeless idealism of its adherents will crash upon the rocks of harsh reality.
Possibly the funniest lesson to take from this is that the degree to which one is a bona fide Chinese citizen may prove to be a key factor in in a political candidate's success.
Some Panda campaigners, in return, seem to have spread the rumour that neither Yang nor Decheng Sun (of the alternative Chinese party Advance) are really Chinese citizens. Both Yang and Sun contested these claims, and accused Panda of physical harassment on the campaign trail.
We will at the least be provided amusement as the sheer absurdity of who is more a citizen of another country becomes the controlling factor on whether they will win an election.