More police powers won’t stop racist attacks
In Melbourne Indian students are 2 1/2 times more likely than non-Indians to be beaten up or knifed.
Indian student societies claim they are less likely to report assaults than non-Indians. If as appears likely that is the case the figure blows out even further.
Why are Indians so much more likely to be attacked?
Let’s go back a bit. Education is one of our biggest export industries. By bringing overseas students here we earn about $15 billion a year from them.
Indian students last year contributed $2.5 billion of that $15 billion.
Education providers and governments see overseas students as a cash cow and treat them like shite.
Some of the courses were and are shonks – nothing but get rich schemes for the ‘providers’.
Gautam Gupta from the Federation of Indian Students of Australia says that there can be a hundred people cheating them. From private and public education providers to real estate and migration agents, Indian students are their Eldorado in a time of restricted Government funding for higher education.
Some conservatives blame the victims. They shouldn’t be working late at night; they shouldn’t be carrying money or i-pods; they shouldn’t be travelling on public transport.
Of course to survive as an overseas student in Australia working late and using inadequate public transport are often a necessity.
Now the right are arguing for an increase in police powers to ‘protect’ overseas students. Some have begun to sing the praises of zero tolerance.
In Victoria for example the police now have unfettered search powers. They can search anyone at anytime without having a reason.
They used these powers for the first time the other day at a Western Suburbs station in Melbourne near where an Indian student was murdered.
Maybe I am a little bit simple but doesn’t that mean the very people likely to be the victims of violence, the Indians and other overseas students, will be the people subjected to these arbitrary and intrusive searches?
This ‘victims as perpetrators’ approach will only anger many who are stopped and searched. And what message does it send to the racists as they see the cops harassing non-whites?
No doubt the next police raid will be in the super rich suburb of Toorak. But of course corporate crooks don’t carry spray cans. They own the factories that produce them.
And that’s the problem with more police powers. They just reinforce and strengthen the society that produces and reproduces systemic racism, in this case against overseas students in all its forms – the rip offs, the poverty, the bashings.
Those who hanker for zero tolerance and shamelessly use Indian students as the current excuse for more police powers fail to mention a couple of points.
The United States, the home of zero tolerance, has 5 percent of the world’s population and 23 percent of its prisoners. The imprisonment rate among African-Americans is so bad that young black Americans are more likely to have been in jail than to go to University.
Increased police powers are about social control – to imprison and cower those who are the victims of capitalism and its inability to provide a decent life for all.
In some social democratic countries in Europe the crime and imprisonment rate is extremely low. This is because they have low unemployment rates, high wages and spend large amounts on health and education and social safety nets.
Any examination of the ways to address racist violence in Australia has to begin with that sort of societal response – real measures to cut unemployment and increase wages and to spend more on inadequately funded health and education systems.
Hundreds of thousands of green jobs for renewable energy would be a good first step.
Government could remove the cash cow syndrome attached to overseas students by making education free for all.
All of this needs more money. Tax the rich. It’s their system, make them pay for it.