Rallies against racism and fascism
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Reports from three cities (Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth) show that working class activists will not allow the unity of their forces to be divided along racial, religious or ethnic lines. In these three cities, and others around the nation, the so-called Reclaim Australia rallies were challenged by anti-racist forces determined to nip fascism in the bud. The reports follow:
In Adelaide, South Australia
Reclaim Australia supporters were outnumbered by anti-racists at the Adelaide rally on July 18. The RA crowd eventually grew to around 150 people, while the anti-racists numbered around 800.
The anti-Muslim mob were wrapped in Australian flags and carried banners covering everything from opposition to female genital mutilation and support for “Australian values” to calls to ban the burqa and close all mosques. Embedded in this group were members of the Adelaide chapter of the Patriots Defence League and a couple of Nazis who gave Sieg Heil salutes and shouted out “White Power”. Ironically, a photo of one of these idiots is featured on the RA Facebook page under the heading: “We are not racists guys, we are just concerned patriots”.
The Adelaide Facebook page of Reclaim Australia posted this photo, claiming "We are not racists". However the photo quite clearly shows a racist giving the Nazi salute while shouting "White Power". He was not asked to leave by Reclaim organisers."
The anti-racists were well-represented by an Aboriginal activist who got on the loudspeaker and poured scorn on the idea of white racists purporting to “reclaim” Australia.
Although things got heated at times, the only violence occurred when a RA thug broke through police lines and punched an anti-racist. Probably because media were there to capture the incident, the cops arrested him.
As was the case at other rallies around the country, some of the RA mob carried Eureka flags and sported Eureka flag clothing. But there were more Eureka flags on our side of the cop lines together with the Spirit of Eureka banner which featured Rafaello Carboni’s successful call to a mass meeting of the diggers: “Irrespective of nationality, religion or colour to salute the Southern Cross as a refuge of all the oppressed from all countries on Earth”. It is obvious, nevertheless, that more work needs to be done in the community to associate the Eureka flag with anti-racism, and to prevent its use by racists and fascists.
Mass work needs to be done too to make it clear that opposition to racism and Islamophobia is not an endorsement of various practices which are remnants of patriarchal and obscurantist beliefs advocated by some Muslims. We should respect religious belief while popularising philosophical materialism and the unity of all working people.
In Melbourne, Victoria
The appearance of neo-Nazis, fascists and racists around the world is no coincidence as the economic system of capitalism and imperialism plunges into a deeper crisis.
The anti-racist rally in Melbourne on 18th July was called to oppose the hysterical anti-Muslim and anti-multiculturalism ravings of the Reclaim Australia mob and their fascist off-shoot, the United Patriots Front.
Between them, the far right racists, fascists and Nazi-worshippers scraped together 100 or so people, huddled under their Union Jacks and Australian flags listening to Danny Nalliah spewing his vile mixture of religion and race hatred under the protection of 400 police
Separated from the racists by hundreds of cops was an angry crowd of about 2000 people, with another 400 plus standing on the sidelines a bit unsure of what could happen.
They were right to be wary, as the police suddenly and aggressively inserted a line of police horses across the front of the anti-fascist rally. Other cops pushed into the crowd to clear the footpath for late-coming fascists to join their mates. The police then, without warning, resorted to indiscriminate pepper spraying of anti-racist protesters, hitting dozens of people, even the clearly identified street medics giving assistance.
None of the racists and fascists was treated in this way, although one thug was apparently arrested for fighting with a bloke from the other right-wing group! Meanwhile a cop was filmed high-fiving a passing fascist, no doubt for a job well done!
There was a good spirit among the anti-racist demonstrators, who were courageous and determined to stand up against racism and fascism. Nevertheless, this tiny handful of neo-Nazis and fascist provocateurs is only the tip of the iceberg. They have been emboldened by the Abbott government whipping up and spreading fear of Muslims and refugees.
More effective and more dangerous fascists lurk within the reactionary government, corporate boardrooms, law courts and royal commissions, inside the police forces and armed services – these are the people who will implement austerity laws and sweep away any democratic rights whenever the imperialist/capitalist system suffers recession or crisis. They will make use of these openly fascists ratbags to pave the way for further attacks on the people and to distract and discredit progressive and revolutionary activists. Indeed, on this occasion, some characters within the anti-racist rally acted in an unnecessarily provocative manner which played into the hands of the police, government and monopoly media.
A beat-up campaign by the monopoly media had its effect in deterring many people from attending – the “violence” from two previous rallies, threats of knives and other weapons carried by the UPF, association with “anarchists” and “socialists” etc. It was used to reinforce Abbott’s message of fear.
This left the progressive left forces somewhat isolated. There were no organised unions, no representative ethnic groups, no sympathetic politicians and no Muslim organisations, all of whom were collectively advised by the police not to attend. The progressive left will need to take the initiative in organising an inclusive broad movement that builds greater unity in defence of multiculturalism and democratic rights with unions and broader community.
The positive sign at this rally was the absence of racist neo-nazis carrying Eureka flags contaminated with their bigoted filth. Instead a large banner with Raffaello Carboni’s words “…Irrespective of nationality, religion or colour the Southern Cross is the refuge of all oppressed from all corners on earth” was carried high by the anti-racist protestors.
In Perth, Western Australia
Today members from the Bolshevik Club of WA attended the Anti Fascist Rally, organised by Socialist Alliance, against Reclaim Australia at Solidarity Park, Perth.
When we arrived, the Fascists Forces opportunistically occupied the hill above the Park, flying the National flag, the Boxing Kangaroo and the Israeli flag amongst others, while the "Left Forces" congregated in the car park below with their mish-mash of slogans, chants and banners.
For the first couple of hours the right wing were outnumbered 2 to 1, but as the day progressed, their numbers grew to outnumber "the left" 3 to 1, which is a worrying trend.
However what was more worrying was the disorganisation of the 'left forces' and their lack of class content in analysis of the situation and lack of discipline.
These left forces moved from their area of protest, into a confrontational position with the opposition, without the numbers or the correct leaders to do so.
This caused some minor incidents which divided the "left" into two groups and made the "left" look like fools, while the right wing fascists blamed Marxism, socialists and communists for the woes of capitalist production.
What we witnessed today was an embarrassment for the Left forces in Western Australia which clearly demonstrated a lack of working class leadership and organisation which is instrumental in fighting fascism and racism.
It is now our duty as representatives of the working class to lead this very important struggle. Our first step will be to revisit Dimitrov's "Against War and Fascism" and formulate tactics to prevent disorganisation of the working class and to promote the unity and strength of the working class when faced by reactionary forces in the future.
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