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  VANGUARD  
 
VALE Ark Tribe
 
 

Nick G.

The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) has learned with great sadness of the death of construction legend Ark Tribe.

Ark was a rank and file member of the CFMEU who defied an Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) demand that he present himself for questioning about a safety meeting held on site at Flinders University in 2008.

For two years he was hounded by the ABCC which demanded the bosses’ courts jail him for the mandatory 6 months that his “crime” entailed.

Ark was not an ideologue and was sometimes torn by conflicting loyalties to family, the mates he rode with, the guys he had served with, and the union which he loved. But he understood a basic class truth: injustice must be fought.  Injustice would never subdue him or make him turn his back on his own beliefs and values.

Ark’s court case spanned two federal governments, one Liberal, the other Labor.  Labor PM Gillard refused to support him.

Ark’s support instead came directly from other ordinary working class people. Rallies held to coincide with Ark’s court appearances attracted members of a wide range of unions and community organisations. Ark’s defence lawyers argued his case very strongly and effectively, but the deciding factor in his acquittal on 24 November 2010 was the fear by the authorities that things were “getting out of hand” and would be made many time worse by having  a rank and file worker jailed for refusing to answer questions related to a meeting to discuss safety on site.

In deciding to make a stand against the ABCC, Ark knew he was taking on more than just the immediate threat of jail.  He knew that he would find it difficult to find employment regardless of the outcome of the case.  The building bosses and the ABCC made sure that was the case.

Tributes to Ark have flooded his Facebook page. Their sentiment is captured in this brief post:

He defied the construction bosses, the ABCC and the government. He defended the right to hold a bloody union meeting.

Every worker in this country owes Ark Tribe a debt of gratitude. Remember him by tearing down anti-union laws, rebuilding the workers movement and fighting for a better world.

Dare to struggle -- dare to win.

We entirely endorse this comment.

We know the dangers, we know the sacrifice. But like Ark, we must fight to defend our rights and liberties.

Ark will live forever in our hearts.