Inside the Cult of the Monash Socialist Alternative Club

Disclaimer, this piece talks about the Monash Socialists and may elicit memories of traumatic experiences 

Many young left-leaning students view the Socialist Alternative (or the Monash Socialists, as they call themselves) as a potential answer to global inequality and systemic class problems in capitalist societies. This view may stem from their encounters with the group and its tactics at weekly Pro-Palestine rallies held since the October 7th Attacks, or perhaps at a ‘School Students for Climate Justice’ strike. At first glance, this perspective is understandable. As someone who was once sympathetic to the group, I shared views similar to these. However, beneath its surface, the Socialist Alternative resembles a group best described as a cult, manipulating student leftists to join their cause – which, let’s face it, is gaining a seat in the Victorian Parliament.

This is why it’s important to recognise and understand the potential dangers posed by the Socialist Alternative.

The approach of the Socialist Alternative has long cast a negative light on left-wing politics, student activism, and has discouraged students from engaging in politics on and off campus. While their intentions might be to be militant activists, their methods have not been well-received for years. There’s no doubt these actions assist them in gaining some members, but they have significantly alienated the majority of the campus community.

It’s disheartening to see that a significant number of their members appear to be drawn to the group more for social enjoyment, rather than genuine activism. The Socialist Alternative often capitalises on the isolation many students experience in the overwhelming university environment, manipulating them into feeling valued and connected to a community. This approach often traps individuals, and before they know it, they become deeply entangled, mirroring the almost extreme socialist behaviours they previously avoided.

If you were to return to campus five years after graduating, you might still encounter familiar faces from the Socialist Alternative, persistently attempting to recruit new members into their organisation, often described as a pyramid scheme. These individuals are often known to prolong their undergraduate studies, stretching them out for as long as eight or nine years, and frequently transferring between universities and changing courses. It appears that their motivation for doing so is to continue receiving financial assistance from programmes such as Centrelink, all while working towards achieving their revolution. Often, they opt for the bare minimum course load, focusing on what they refer to as ‘bludge subjects’, which they can easily pass without attending classes. It is worth noting that many students genuinely depend on government support to pursue their education and make positive contributions to society. The hypocrisy of criticising the government while exploiting its benefits is striking.

Members are also commonly criticised by the Socialist Alternative for prioritising family and other commitments, leading to active shaming. Reports of passive-aggressive messages and threats to the membership of those who didn’t dedicate every free moment to the organisation have recently come to light. This pressure to prioritise the group above all else creates an oppressive atmosphere that makes it challenging for its members to engage in meaningful political discourse.

Caption: Source provided.

However, that’s not all. The Socialist Alternative has a mandatory membership fee (see above) that varies based on an individual’s income. During a cost of living crisis, when students are struggling with expenses like housing, university fees, and bills, the Socialist Alternative’s fee structure seems indifferent to the plight of the disadvantaged. Despite all their claims of representing workers and the less affluent, this high fee system ironically excludes those it aims to advocate for. This approach not only limits the diversity within the organisation but also biases its demographic towards those privileged with financial resources. Activism and participation in social movements should be open to all, regardless of economic status.

Attempting to further increase their revenue, the Socialist Alternative produces and distributes a newspaper called Red Flag, which members are forced to sell in various locations. The newspaper’s front cover usually highlights stories about popular causes that align with left-leaning perspectives, appealing to a broad audience. This publication is often sold at rallies and protests, giving the impression that the proceeds support these causes. However, this approach is seen as a tactic to mask their actual fundraising strategies and meet their goals of selling as many copies as possible.

What we do know is that the Socialist Alternative aren’t going anywhere in 2024, and their presence on campus will continue to increase. It’s on every single one of us to call them out for what they are, and protect vulnerable students at Monash.


The author Anonymous

Leave a Response