DRIVE THE EXTREME RACISTS OUT OF MARRICKVILLE
22 July – Sinister forces are trying to infect society with a dangerous disease. The disease of fascism. On July 26th in Sydney two extreme white supremacist groups are planning provocations aimed at inciting racist violence. Firstly, at 11am the Freedom Party of Australia plan to picket outside a Woolworths store in Marrickville in opposition to Woolworths putting “Happy Ramadan” signs on some stores as a marketing method. This protest by the fascists has nothing to do with supporting secularism and everything to do with whipping up hatred against Muslims, Arabs, North Africans and South Asians. Thus, the call for the fascist demonstration features inciteful and ridiculous claims that celebrating Ramadan is equivalent to supporting terrorism, paedophilia and world domination by Muslims. Then at 1:30pm, the Australia First Party, led by former Australia Nazi party activist Jim Saleam, plan to hold a forum at their Tempe bunker titled, “Overseas Students Go Home.” This group no doubt hopes to stir up a wave of violent assaults and even murder of Indian and Chinese students like the horrific wave that swept Australia in the 2009-10 period. The two fascist events on July 26th are aimed at recruiting to and organizing for racist violence. They present an immediate danger to Asians, Arabs,
Africans, Aboriginal people and other non-white people. These events are also an immediate threat to the interests of the entire working class. The extreme racism that they will pour into society is absolute poison to workers’ unity – the unity without which workers cannot organise to fight for their rights against exploiting bosses. Thankfully, left-wing autonomous-minded activists around the Black Rose library have taken the worthy initiative of calling for a counter-action against the July 26th fascist provocations. They are calling for people to gather at 11am outside the Woolworths at 463 Illawara Rd, Marrickville to stop the disgusting anti-Muslim action by the “Freedom Party.” After that provocation is dealt with, anti-racists may then move on to picket the sinister AFP meeting in Tempe.
It is expected that many anti-racists, leftists and trade unionists will participate. We in Trotskyist Platform call on trade unions to take the lead in supporting the July 26th anti-fascist counter-demonstration. Trade unionists must join together with Aboriginal people, Asians, Africans, Middle Eastern people, Islanders, leftists, feminists, Jews, Muslims, gays and lesbians as well as other members of the LGBT community, anti-racists and all other intended victims of the fascists in a mass action that sweeps the “Freedom Party” filth off the streets. Fascist groups in Europe like the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party in Greece and various sinister outfits in Ukraine have been growing by feeding off the massive unemployment and insecurity caused by the capitalist economic crisis. Their counterparts here are seeking to emulate this. Some of them are following the road of the likes of the Front National in France, the British National Party and Jobbik in Hungary who have tried to hide their neo-Nazi essence in order to win greater electoral support. Yet these parties find it hard to hide their Hitler-like hatred for non-Aryan people. The Freedom Party of Australia policy while welcoming immigration from Europe and North America calls for banning immigration from Muslim or Third World countries. They then go on to “justify” this with nutty claims that “third world populations” have disproportionately higher crime rates. The Australia First Party is even more fanatical – if that’s possible. The featured section of their website dealing with immigrants includes links with such “civilised” headings as “Barbaric Cultures,” “Ethnic Crime Wave” and “Foreign Monster Doctors.” What this kind of propaganda is aiming to achieve was seen in December 2005 when the Australia First Party played a prominent role in organising the Cronulla riot where a horde of white supremacists unleashed shocking violence against Middle Eastern, South Asian and Aboriginal youth who went to visit the beach. And this very year on January 26th in Brisbane, the AFP attacked the Invasion Day protest march which was being led by Aboriginal people. That is why it is not possible to debate these fascists. They are organising for racist violence. The physical threat that they pose must be met with a powerful physical response. Mass action must show those considering joining these outfits that it is a serious health hazard to be associated with these fascist groups.
The violent racism of the fascists goes hand in hand with their hostility to the workers movement. The Freedom Party want to turn the long term unemployed into a slave labour workforce by making them work for private businesses who, according to the Freedom Party’s policy, will only have to fork out 25% of market wages. The AFP for its part rabidly joins the bosses’ campaign against the construction workers union by railing against “CFMEU thugs.” Just like Mussolini and Hitler, if these fascists ever came to power they would smash all independent unions and would jail or execute union leaders and activists. That is why it is in the direct interest of the working class to smash the fascists. The workers movement here is key both because of its numbers and also because the day to day experience of working together at the same workplace gives the proletariat the unique ability to organise and to act in a disciplined and unanimous manner – the disciplined unity in action needed to physically stop the violent fascist threat. This power of the organised working class was evident in glorious form on May 2nd in Brisbane when over a hundred construction workers from the BLF, CFMEU and ETU trade unions formed the core of a demonstration of 200 anti-racists that successfully shut down an attempted march by the fascist Australia First Party through the streets of the Queensland capital.
In combating the white supremacists, we should not make any appeals to capitalist governments of any stripe to act against the fascists. These governments, like the capitalist state in general, serve the same capitalist exploiting class whom the fascists – with their divisive extreme racism and hostility to the workers movement and the Left – also serve. It is the official racism of Liberal, ALP and, indeed, even ALP/Greens coalition governments – with their racist war on refugees and their paternalist Intervention against Aboriginal communities – that is fuelling the fascist fire. The police who murder Aboriginal people in custody and regularly harass working class African, Asian, Middle Eastern and Islander youth and the courts that disproportionately jail Aboriginal people and Asians for minor offences have far more in common with the white supremacist thugs than they do with anti-fascists. That is why, every time that anti-fascists have mobilised against a neo-Nazi threat in Australia the police have protected the fascists – and often have attacked the anti-racists as well. Police planned to do the same in Brisbane on May 2nd but the presence of large contingents of construction unionists at the anti-fascist counter-action gave them pause. For the workers contingents had not only physical muscle but industrial muscle – the power to shut down production through collective industrial action. The police knew that if they attacked such a large amount of trade unionists they risked provoking strikes that would hurt the profits of their capitalist masters. That is why the struggle to defeat fascism must be centred on a perspective of mobilising the working class.
Should the capitalist state, in order to preempt an anti-fascist mobilisation, decide to pull the leashes in on their fascist dogs for a while we would not get in the way of this. However, we certainly should not be directly appealing for this to happen as that, ultimately, would only build dangerous illusions in the capitalist state. It would have the effect of demobilising the necessary mass anti-fascist actions by making people believe it is the state that can stop the violent racists for us.
Similarly, we should not be appealing to Woolworths bosses to take action against the fascists. Instead, we should be appealing to Woolworths storemen and women and service staff who are not only part of the working class that is threatened by the fascists but, moreover, are immediately threatened by the Freedom Party’s planned picket. In contrast, if the Woolworths bosses do take legal action against the fascists for their own commercial reasons then this would be a hollow victory for our side. It may well impede the immediate fascist provocation but by circumventing the necessary mass mobilisation it undermines the energisation and organisation of the masses against the fascists that alone can, in the long run, combat the overall threat of fascism.
In the end, to bury fascism for good, the working class must lead all the downtrodden in overturning the capitalist system whose unemployment, poverty and official racism are the bedrock on which the fascists grow. In that struggle the Woolworths bosses as well as the capitalist courts, police and governments are on the opposite side of the barricades. When the toiling masses take power they will establish a new state that in place of killing Aboriginal people, protecting fascists and attacking workers’ picket lines will, instead, crush violent racists and enforce the creation of a classless socialist society. A society of such abundance, egalitarianism and anti-racism that the need for a coercive state itself will, one day, eventually wither away.
The struggle to build militant working class action against the neo-Nazi threat is an important part of the struggle for workers’ rule because it trains the masses to rely only on their own collective power, increases their self-confidence and tightens unity both within the working class and with their brothers and sisters in oppressed ethnic and religious communities. It is also in the first place a matter of simply defending the working class and its allies against the threat of racist violence. So let’s work hard to build a mass action of trade unionists, Aboriginal people, non-white “ethnic” people and anti-racist activists of all colours to crush the planned white supremacist provocations on July 26th. Let’s ensure that the working-class centred May 2nd victory in Brisbane is repeated on July 26th in Marrickville!