Sydney: How To Have Fun At Corporatised O-Week

Indymedia: On Wednesday 27th February, some student dissidents and fellow rebels from Sydney University staged some O-Week counter-activities. O-Week, which runs for three days in the week before semester begins, provides corporations and banks, major sponsors of the Sydney University “Union” who organize O-Week, the opportunity to present a friendly face to the student public at their stalls, offering games, prizes and giveaways.

In protest to this, we chalked anti-corporate slogans, and slogans drawing attention to the corporatization of education along Eastern Avenue. We stole corporate and banking propaganda from stalls, which we destroyed, as well as show bags with noodles and stationary inside which we later redistributed to people in the community. We also did leafleting and chalking in support of the upcoming GENERAL STRIKE at the university next week, on March 7. Apart from banks and businesses, the Young Liberals (SULC – Sydney University Liberals Society) also had a tent where they proudly displayed a life-sized cardboard figure of John Howard, former Prime Minister who, amongst many disgusting acts, agreed to aid the US in their invasion of Iraq. To top the day off, we stole Johnny from them. One of us distracted the Libs, one of us cut the tie, and one grabbed the figure and ran. The Libs immediately set off after him. One of us tried to block the path of the head of the Young Libs, Alex Dore, and was swung at as he ran by. They were very determined and aggressive in their pursuit, and the student who took the figure had to forcefully defend himself when some of them caught up with him. In the end, rather than give him up, Johnny had to be decapitated and the Liberals were left with the cardboard body of their former leader while we took his head. In the scuffle they threw us a few insults, ‘Communist scum’, ‘Get a job’. The Young Libs’ leader, Alex Dore (who ran for parliament last year) said to us, ‘Where are you form? Cos you’re a bunch of cunts. You know Abbot’s going to win the next election!’ Being insulted in this manner by these champagne-sipping toffs gave us a good laugh…

We hope that others that feel squeamish, overwhelmed, or impotent about the corporate spectacle of O-Week, as we did at the beginning of the day, will know that they are not alone, that some students, workers and people from our communities are willing to take action against the spread of the conservative market values and the shameless parading of a war criminal on our campus. Translating our frustration into action brought us joy and strength to continue challenging this imposed reality no matter how absolute it seems.

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