Category Archives: Anti-Racism

Free The Refugees & Bring Them Here Now!

Above: 3 November 2017 – Delegates to an Australian Services Union delegates conference in WA proudly show their support for the embattled Manus refugees. The growing number of statements of solidarity for refugees from sections of the union movement needs to be turned into protest industrial action. [Photo credit: WA from Unionists for Refugees – WA Facebook page]

Turn Our Union Movement’s Stated Solidarity with Manus Refugees Into Industrial Action That Can Force the Australian Government to: Free The Refugees & Bring Them Here Now!

Enough is enough. End their suffering. Evacuate these men now.
These men are people like us. They deserve to be working people. They are engineers, journalists, artists and former United Nations workers. They are fathers, brothers, uncles and sons.
We have taken their dreams of a better life, and replaced them with an unrelenting nightmare.

ACTU Statement, 10 November 2017

18 November 2017: Refugees on Manus Island are in a desperate struggle. After Australian governments and their henchmen in PNG imprisoned them for years in the island’s hellhole detention camp, Australian and PNG authorities now want them to move to yet another prison in a location where they will be even more unsafe. The refugees have good reason to be fearful. Just seven months ago, navy personnel living on the island attacked them with rocks and knives. The navy staff reportedly even unleashed gunfire against the centre.

So it is completely understandable that some four hundred of the refugees have refused to re-locate. They don’t want to be attacked or even killed. They don’t want another prison! They just want to be free to live like human beings should. The refugees are courageously resisting even after police cut food, water and electricity to the camp. Five days ago, the Australian-puppet PNG authorities once again entered the camp to destroy the water wells and bins that they had used to collect water to drink. These human beings are being starved and forced to live in filthy conditions. They are being tortured!

The Liberal and ALP politicians’ racist savagery against refugees and their fear-mongering against Muslims is emboldening extreme race-hate groups within Australia. A week ago, one such outfit threateningly ambushed Labor senator, Sam Dastyari. The bigots branded Iranian-born Dastyari a “monkey” and a “terrorist” as he sat down for a quiet pub meal. If this is what happens to a well-connected mainstream politician because he doesn’t happen to be white enough for the racist white supremacists, consider the threats that other people of colour face – whether from conscious fascists or from garden variety rednecks. Just two weeks ago, three Chinese high school students were bashed at a bus stop in South Canberra. This was part of a series of racist attacks in the area on the Chinese community.

The fact is that in the capitalist world, fascism is on the rise. Not only did a hard right racist become U.S. president and not only have far-right parties made big electoral gains in Austria, France and Germany but in all these countries as well as in the likes of Sweden, Greece, Ukraine and Russia fascist thugs are terrorising migrants. Far right forces are being emboldened because the more that capitalist rulers prevent working class people from having secure jobs and the more that they slash social services the more they have to scapegoat minority communities for the suffering caused by their own capitalist system of exploitation. Meanwhile the economic insecurity that this so-called system creates is pushing the most backward sections of the middle class into seeking salvation in extreme nationalism. If we do not resist, there is a danger that large parts of the world could end up being ravaged by the horror of Hitler-style fascism. The viciousness of the Australian regime’s treatment of refugees and the concomitant escalation in racist terror on the streets should both serve as warning signs!

Refugees imprisoned on Manus Island bravely protest for freedom and safety and condemn the condemn cruelty of Australian government.

Many people have, indeed, been fighting against the Liberal government’s abuse of Manus refugees. People have held spirited protests and there have been brief occupations of immigration department offices. Some activists have staged audacious media stunts like climbing a crane to hoist the banner “SOS: Evacuate Manus Now!” over Flemington racecourse on Melbourne Cup day. Last Friday, hundreds of us rightly gave a good serve to participants at a Sydney fundraiser for Tony Abbott which also acted as a speaking appointment for the much hated immigration minister, Peter Dutton.

However, what the refugee rights movement is up against was seen by the response of the ruling class to Friday’s protest. Firstly, police aggressively manhandled protesters. Even after we marched off far from the site of the right-wing fundraiser, riot police continued to assault demonstrators. They arrested four protesters – one of whom was charged. Today, another activist was charged, this time over the incident when Abbott’s sister and fellow Liberal party hack, Christine Forster, ran into spirited opposition when she entered Friday’s fundraiser. Meanwhile, mainstream media hysterically condemned the protests and greatly hyped up the trouble that the whingeing sook, Forster, ran into. And it was not just the conservative Murdoch media that was on the charge here. The “liberal” Fairfax media and the ABC joined in too. And the condemnation of our protests from politicians was not restricted to Abbott and his hard line mate, Dutton. Opposition frontbencher, Anthony Albanese, a member of Labor’s so-called “Left” faction, accused us of “intimidation.” This highlights the fact that this is a bi-partisan war on refugees. Indeed, behind the cruel torture of refugees stands the overwhelming majority of the capitalist ruling class as well as their henchmen – from their physical enforcers in the police force to the judges and magistrates providing legal cover for their crimes to their media propagandists and their political servants on both sides of parliament.

Against this overwhelming physical, political, judicial, media and financial power that the bosses wield we need our own power. Actually, we already have it! For our power lies in the organised workers movement and its ability to unleash industrial action to hurt the profits of the rich capitalist businessmen for whose interests the whole state machine has been set up over many years. It is possible to mobilise the working class in defence of refugees because it is in the very interests of the working class to oppose racism since such racism is poison to the workers unity essential to building any campaign for workers rights. Importantly, five days ago, the Australian Council of Trade Unions released a statement calling on “the Australian Government to immediately evacuate people seeking asylum on Manus Island, to end the appalling humanitarian crisis.” This statement now needs to be backed up by industrial action. The workers movement and all its allies must fight to demand that all the Manus and, indeed, Nauru-based refugees be brought here to Australia with the full rights of citizens. Freedom for all people imprisoned in Australia’s hell-hole detention centres from Manus to Nauru to Villawood to Christmas Island! Full rights of citizenship for all refugees, migrants, guest workers and students! Drop the charges against all pro-refugee protesters!

31 October 2017: On the day Manus Island refugees were set to be thrown into a yet more unsafe prison, Manus Island residents organised by the Manus Alliance Against Human Rights Abuse demand freedom for the refugees and their resettlement in Australia.

PNG and Australian Imperialism

The persecution of Manus refugees highlights just how much PNG is under the control of the Australian ruling class. For decades, PNG was an Australian colony. Australia’s rulers treated the PNG masses with the same racist arrogance that they continue to subject Aboriginal people to. After PNG gained independence in 1975, Australian-owned companies continued to loot her mineral wealth without paying much royalty to local people. Today, up to 500 people in the PNG capital are sleeping rough after two Australian-owned developers threw out 2,000 people living in the waterfront Paga Hill shantytown with no resettlement. With the PNG people so badly impoverished by Australian imperialist exploitation, some PNG locals have become resentful of those who, like refugees, are mistakenly seen as competing for scarce goods.

In a classic neo-colonial arrangement, Australian judges, bureaucrats and “advisers” have continued to impregnate PNG’s state organs after the so-called “independence” of PNG was officially declared in 1975. Thus, PNG’s Supreme Court – the same court that last week knocked back an application to restore basic services to the Manus camp – has not one but three Australian judges on its panel! As for the PNG police force, it is advised – i.e. directed – by a contingent of over 70 Australian Federal Police officers stationed directly in PNG. Through a combination of the pressure of these Australian bureaucrats and police officers, through bribery of PNG officials by Australian businessmen and through the economic threats of all-powerful Australian corporations, the capitalist elites living in places like Point Piper, Mosman, Toorak, Vaucluse and Hunters Hill are able to ensure that the PNG state machine serves their interests. In June last year, PNG police opened fire on students protesting against the corrupt, Australian-backed prime minister, Peter O’Neill. Reports indicate that at least four students were shot dead. Earlier from 1989, the PNG military, acting in the interests of Australian-owned miner CRA (which later merged with British RTZ to form Rio Tinto), brutally attacked a brave rebellion by people on the island of Bougainville. The Bougainville people rose up against CRA’s refusal to grant proper compensation – and its arrogant destruction of the surrounding land – from its hugely profitable Panguna copper mine. But, backed up by Australian arms, military advisers and Australian pilots strafing the Bougainville people from helicopter gunships, the PNG military and its Australian godfathers killed over 15,000 Bougainville people through either gunfire or the starvation and lack of medicine that resulted from the blockade that they imposed on the island’s people. Today these same forces are doing a mini-version of that blockade against the Manus refugees – and if they are not stopped the same tragic consequences will ensue!

Meanwhile, Australian governments have pressured PNG authorities to not only privatise PNG public services but even its land held by kinship groups too. This has, obviously, led to greater inequality and a replacement of the local people’s pre-colonial, community-minded outlook with the ruthless rivalries of unrestrained dog eat dog capitalism. Nevertheless, contrary to the Australian media’s attempt to brand all the Manus people as violent attackers of refugees – even as the media, itself, unsympathetically reports on the refugees’ plight – some on the island have been bravely defying the police and trying to pass food through to the refugees in the camp. Furthermore, over three hundred people on the island, organised by Manus Alliance Against Human Rights Abuse, have signed a petition asking for all the asylum seekers to be returned to Australia. Moreover, although in remote and navy-dominated Manus many people do imbibe the Australian government’s hostility to refugees, in urban parts of PNG – especially in the capital with its working class concentration – there have been many instances of brave resistance against the Australian-dictated social order. In 2001, PNG students along with others held mass protests and occupations against privatisation of state assets. Bearing slogans against the Australian government, the IMF and the World Bank that had dictated the privatisation program, they eventually forced the PNG government to back down. This heroic struggle came at great cost – PNG police shot dead four of the anti-privatisation protesters in June 2001.

PNG, June 2001, Left: Students and others courageously protest against the Australian government, IMF and World Bank for dictating a privatisation agenda on PNG. Acting in the interests of their Australian neo-colonial masters, the PNG police responded with fierce repression (Right), shooting dead four protesters. Today, in preventing food, water and medicine getting to the Manus refugees, the PNG police are once again proving to be the henchmen of the brutal Australian imperialist ruling class.

Typical Racist Brutality of the Australian Regime

The horror of what Australia’s rulers are doing to the Manus refugees has driven new layers of well-meaning people into the refugee rights movement. Some of them and others involved in the campaign for a long time have held slogans about the Manus issue like, “This is Un-Australian.” Such sentiments are encouraged by the speeches of Greens politicians at refugee rights rallies who often state that “Australia’s treatment of refugees puts a stain on our proud human rights record.” However, the truth is that the Australian government’s persecution of refugees is all too typical of the “human rights record” of this ruling class. Indeed, the way they are grinding down refugees at the Manus camp right now actually draws attention to the way they have subjected Aboriginal children in the NT and other Australian youth detention centres to unsanitary conditions as well as torture. The death last Christmas Eve of 27 year-old Manus refugee from Sudan, Faysal Ishak Ahmed, after authorities denied him proper medical treatment for his heart and breathing problems has eerie similarities to the August 2014 death of imprisoned 22 year-old Aboriginal woman, Julieka Dhu, who died of a severe bacterial infection after racist WA police murderously refused her medical treatment. And the way that Manus guards and cops bashed to death Kurdish asylum seeker, Reza Berati, in 2014, recalls the brutal bashing to death in Palm Island ten years earlier of the Aboriginal man, Mulrunji Doomadgee, by a racist Queensland cop. Indeed, capitalist rule in this country was founded on the genocidal dispossession of Aboriginal people. Nevertheless, Aboriginal people continue to resist racist state violence, famously during the Redfern resistance actions and Palm Island uprising, both in 2004. The latter brought to prominence the great Aboriginal hero from Palm Island, Lex Wotton. But the killings in and out of state custody of John Pat, Eddie Murray, TJ Hickey, Julieka Dhu, Wayne “Fella” Morrison, David Dungay, Tane Chatfield and hundreds of other people show that Aboriginal people continue to be murdered by racist Australian police and prison guards to this very day.

So the cruel mandatory detention of refugees does not come out of the blue. Indeed, it is an extension of the Australian White Australia Policy that lasted officially up to the mid-1970s. That policy effectively barred most non-white people from entering the country. Even the impunity that detention centre guards have for extreme acts of brutality against refugees is rooted in Australia’s past and present. We only have to note that not a single Australian prison guard or cop has ever been convicted over the death of an Aboriginal person in custody. Or to point to the way that the racist redneck who chased down and ran over 14 year-old Aboriginal youth, Elijah Doughty, in Kalgoorlie was only given a very light sentence for his deadly actions. Meanwhile, the spin of the Australian authorities and media over their atrocities on Manus is all too typical as well. It is like the way they black out the voice of Aboriginal people speaking out against murders of their family and friends in custody or the way they tried to cover up the racist character of the wave of violent attacks on Indian students in Australia in 2009.

The fact is that the filthy rich businessmen who run this country – and their henchmen in the state machine – will do whatever it takes to strengthen their rule and boost their profits. Today, as homelessness is on the rise, Australian governments drive more people into poverty by selling off low-rent public housing. They are also persecuting trade union activists in the construction industry. Indeed, their cruel repression of refugees is an indication of what they will seek to impose on the exploited working class should we mount a serious challenge to their rule. This is no joke, comrades.

Identifying the cruel oppression of refugees as one of the aspects of a profoundly unjust social order opens the door to a united front with Aboriginal people fighting against savage oppression, trade unions struggling against anti-union laws and cuts to working conditions, low income people suffering through the dire shortage of low-rent accommodation as well as ever more stringent restrictions on access to social welfare and the many communities in Australia who bear the full brunt of Islamophobia and other variants of the white supremacist, racist agenda.

The Burning Question:
What Strategy to Free the Refugees?

Over the last 25 years many people have sincerely put great effort into the struggle for refugee rights. But at this critical moment we must consider: is the movement basing itself on a strategy and program that can actually win? Well, certainly, the hard work of thousands of activists over the years has not gone to waste. As a result of all the protests for refugee rights many, many more people are aware of the issue and have become sympathetic to the plight of refugees. However, the movement has not been able to make Australian governments retreat from any of their cruel policies. When one considers how many hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in this country are sympathetic to the plight of refugees then one has to conclude that the strategy the refugee rights movement has pursued up till now has been a wrong one.

So what strategy has the movement been based on? It is true that people from diverse political backgrounds participating in the actions have different ideas about how best to achieve freedom for refugees. However, the prevailing strategy, which reflects the politics of the socialist group, Solidarity, that has control of the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) is one that’s based on the idea of change through parliament. So, the movement, even while criticising the ALP’s refugee policies, campaigns for the ALP and Greens to be elected to parliament and seeks to pressure the ALP to reverse its anti-refugee policy. Thus, the formation of a future ALP government with a pro-refugee policy or an ALP-Greens coalition is put forward as a means to free the refugees.

The problem with this strategy, however, is that it has not worked. Indeed, it was the Rudd Labor government which in July 2013 brought in the current “PNG solution.” Labor’s Rudd made John Howard’s racist refugee policy even more xenophobic by declaring that, “From now on, any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugees.” And let’s not forget it was the Keating ALP government that in 1992 introduced the policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers in the first place.

Unlike the ALP, the Greens have spoken out – sometimes strongly – against the Turnbull government’s brutal war on refugees. However, in 2010 they jumped into a de facto coalition with the Gillard ALP government without demanding even the slightest commitment from that government to ease its war on refugees. During the period of the Greens-ALP alliance government from August 2010 to February 2013, not only did the Greens prop up a government that was maintaining mandatory detention of refugees but that government also significantly intensified its anti-refugee policy. In August 2012, the Gillard government announced that it would resume the detention of refugees in Manus and Nauru that had been paused during the first Rudd government. Even though the Greens opposed the move, they still remained part of the de facto coalition government! That’s hardly a serious commitment to refugee rights!

The reason that all pro-capitalist parties are complicit in the oppression of refugees is that the vast majority of the capitalist bigwigs – whom all these current parliamentary parties ultimately serve – are committed to the war on refugees. To be sure, some in the capitalist class do worry that the brutality of their anti-refugee policies will damage the Australian state’s reputation in the world and thus impede their ability to use the claim of standing for “human rights” to justify their predatory imperialist interventions abroad. However, a bigger section of the corporate tycoons calculate that they need the diversionary and divisive effect of a harsh policy against refugees. And from their ruthlessly greedy point of view they are probably right! Without their governments making the masses think that refugees and migrants are some kind of threat to their wellbeing, how else are they going to make working class people wear the fact that workers’ real wages aren’t rising and workers’ penalty rates are being cut while the capitalists’ own fat profits are ballooning ever higher? How else are the big shareholders and executives of the NAB bank going to stop their own workforce from revolting at the fact that they are throwing 6,000 of these workers out of their jobs even after making a spectacular $5.3 billion annual profit?

Given that the Greens do claim to stand for refugee rights it is not wrong per se for RAC to invite them to speak at their rallies. Nor, given that the pro-capitalist ALP does have a working class base (unlike the openly pro-boss Liberals), is it unacceptable to have speakers from Labor for Refugees in order to encourage pro-refugee individuals within the ALP to take a more outspoken stand. However, what is harmful is for the Solidarity group leadership of RAC to then promote future ALP or ALP-Greens “lesser evil” governments as a means of salvation for refugees.

The left-social democratic Solidarity group’s parliamentarist strategy was especially evident during the federal elections last year when they openly handed out election material for the Greens and called to put the ALP second after the Greens. When pushing these parliamentary illusions, Solidarity are acting to dampen support for the truly militant actions that are needed to win refugee rights even while young Solidarity members, themselves, passionately promote and participate in staunch pro-refugee actions.

Of course, if the refugee rights movement could be re-directed into one that could start to threaten and harm the ruling class’ interests – in particular, their profits – then a section of the capitalist class would be forced to consider backing down. Their more “left” and small-l liberal representatives would then start seriously working towards an overhaul of refugee policy. But this would not be change driven by these pro-capitalist parliamentary parties themselves but, rather, a case of the resistance of the masses forcing a section of the capitalists and the parties that serve them to retreat. That is a huge difference!

What a Working Class Orientation Really Means

To be able to threaten the interests of the ruling class means unleashing the industrial muscle of the union movement. Encouragingly, contingents of unionists from the Nurses and Midwives Association, the MUA, NTEU, Teachers Federation and other unions have taken part in pro-refugee actions. RAC does make efforts to lobby unions to participate in the movement. And the Solidarity group does state that a working class orientation is needed. However, a working class orientation requires more than just motivating unions to support the refugee rights campaign. It means setting the line of the movement itself to a pro-working class direction. In particular, it means making open appeals to workers’ interests, not just in statements given out especially to unionists, but in the actual, official callouts for the entire action itself. That means, for example, featuring as headline slogans in the main action call outs, calls similar to, “Workers: Let’s Build the Unity We Need to Stand Up to the Greedy Bosses – Oppose Racism by Standing with Refugees!” Openly appealing to workers’ class interests in the action callouts is what could win broader layers of unionists to see the refugee struggle as their struggle. It is what will help more conscious union activists who are already involved in the movement to mobilise their co-workers to join in as well.

This could, of course, put off some liberal refugee rights supporters who may be anti-union or unwilling to align with an openly pro-working class movement – people like liberal small business bosses, mid-level managers and managerial level public service bureaucrats who may support the Greens. It is this prospect of a break with such small-l liberals that, no doubt, makes Solidarity – and the other groups prominent in directing RAC like Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance – baulk from setting the refugee rights movement on an openly pro-working class direction. But this choice must be made. One cannot effectively appeal to both the rival classes in this society. If one truly believes in a pro-working class orientation – and it is clear that it will take the mobilisation of the working class and its allies to repulse the war on refugees – one has to be prepared to break with pro-capitalist elements. We should add that given that there have been many militant pro-refugee actions over the last two weeks and given the depth of the media/politician witch hunt over the Christine Forster “incident,” those left social democratic groups who have been so careful not to scare off small-l liberal elements may find these types quietly retreating from the movement anyhow or otherwise distancing themselves from militant protests.

Of course, whether the workers movement can be mobilised in defence of refugees depends on not only the direction of the refugee rights movement but on the internal politics of the union movement itself. Currently, the anti-refugee ALP politically dominates the union movement. That’s why challenging this influence of the ALP is key to mobilising the workers movement in defence of refugees.

We need to purge from the union movement not only loyalty to the ALP but something that runs even deeper – support for Labor’s outlook. Unfortunately, most workers currently back the ALP’s economic nationalist agenda. ALP slogans like “Employ Australians First,” by setting up local citizens as job market rivals of foreigners, inevitably creates resentment towards guest workers, refugees and international students. Indeed, protectionism runs so deep that much of the Far Left acquiesces to it even while trying to present it in a “clean” way devoid of open racism. The Socialist Alliance group, Socialist Alternative and the Communist Party of Australia all backed Australia’s largest demonstration to keep out foreign workers: the July 2012 “Local Workers First” rally in Perth. Here we must, however, give credit where credit is due to the Solidarity group. Although, overall, of all the far-left groups, Solidarity panders most to the ALP and Greens, they do take a strong stand against economic nationalism.

Trotskyist Platform is on a campaign to oppose all forms of economic nationalism. We understand that as long as this nationalism remains dominant in the union movement, efforts to mobilise the working class masses in defence of refugees will be greatly undermined. We seek to prove to workers how economic nationalism in all its forms undermines the unity and focus we need to fight for workers rights.

We can only defeat economic nationalist slogans if we provide an alternative program for secure jobs for all workers. Such a program is one of militant class struggle to prevent capitalist bosses from retrenching workers and forcing them to increase hiring at the expense of their fat profits. When the greedy capitalists scream that this will cause their economy to collapse, the workers movement must respond: if you big business owners cannot run the economy in a way that guarantees secure jobs for all workers then we working class people will take the economy out of your hands and place it in our own strong, able and collective hands. A true revolution that brings the working class into economic and state power is, ultimately, what we need. It will ensure secure jobs for all, truly free medical care, education and public housing and, by removing the rule of the exploiting class, it will liquidate the main driver of racist policies. Like the workers state created by the Russian Revolution 100 years ago declared, in its very first constitution, a workers state today would grant asylum to all refugees and give the rights of citizenship to all working class people residing on its soil. Crucially, the overturn of capitalist rule would save us from the real threat that we face, today, of a future triumph of the fascist, hard right form of capitalism.

Yet we do need to do far more than simply proclaim the need for socialist revolution. There are many struggles that we need to engage in right now. A workers revolution can only be built by first uniting the working class and training it to trust only in its own power when that mighty proletarian power is itself united with the power of all other oppressed groups.

History has entrusted our class – the working class – to bring justice to society. We need to mobilise the workers movement in defence of refugees, against racist state terror and as a force that can shut down far-right racist terror groups right in their tracks. The working class must unite across ethnic and national lines in a struggle against racism precisely because we need to train the working class to be the champion of all of the oppressed. So let’s be guided by this perspective during our participation in the campaign for the Manus refugees. Let’s oppose illusions in salvation through the ALP and Greens within the refugee rights movement! Let’s fight to ensure that refugee rights actions are built on openly pro-working class slogans! Let’s struggle to root out economic nationalism in all its forms from our unions! We must intensify the agitation to mobilise working class action in defence of the Manus refugees!

“Australians First” Economic Nationalism Fuels Racist Hostility to Refugees and People of Colour

“Australians First” Economic Nationalism Fuels Racist Hostility to Refugees and People of Colour

It was a video so openly racist that even right-wing senator Derryn Hinch said it “could be an ad for the Ku Klux Klan.” This ALP video saying that it would “Employ Australians First” had visuals where nearly all the Australians shown were white Anglos. The ad which was released two months ago had an unmistakeable racist message: white people had to be supposedly protected from having their jobs taken away by non-white people. Like the Turnbull government’s moves to make citizenship harder to get based on the racist premise that a migrant’s allegiance to values such as respect for women is more doubtful than an existing citizen’s – even though the horrific level of violence against women here is actually much higher than that of many countries like China where migrants are coming from – Bill Shorten’s video can only engender antagonism to refugees and people of colour. Meanwhile, that the ALP chose not to even include Aboriginal people in its image of “Australians” highlights not only the despicable nature of the ad but also the deep oppression that this country’s first peoples suffer under.

No doubt aware that the Labor Party retains support from working class people from various “ethnic” backgrounds, ALP frontbencher Anthony Albanese called the ad a “shocker.” However, even if the ALP’s “Australians First” video had several people of colour in it, the ad would still be a shocker. For one, given that this country is still majority white in composition and that the majority of visa workers are people of colour, any counterposing of local peoples’ interests against those of foreign workers necessarily incites racist hostility to non-white people from Asian, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, African and Latin American backgrounds – whether those people are foreigners or Australians. Moreover, setting up local citizens as job market rivals of foreigners inevitably creates resentment towards guest workers, refugees and international students. Such xenophobic hostility then flows on towards Australians from coloured “ethnic” backgrounds. Economic-based prejudice is, indeed, the main stem of the noxious weed of racism that is currently overrunning Australia. It is the completely unfounded fear that refugees, migrants and guest workers will take up scarce jobs and affordable housing and use up dwindling public services which is at the root of the racist problem. Such resentment is consciously promoted by the capitalist bigwigs, the media that they own and the mainstream political parties that do their bidding. This exploiting class seeks to divert the masses from identifying them, the filthy rich big business owners, as the real cause of the people’s economic difficulties.

After his video was attacked, it was easy for Shorten to shrug it off by saying “the lack of diversity” in it was “a bad oversight.” However, for many coloured people, such nationalist ravings translate into being vilified and physically attacked on the streets. A report released today by Charles Sturt University detailed 243 verified cases of racist attacks on Muslims in just a 14 month period. Those reported incidents form just a tiny fraction of actual cases. Showing the link between racism and misogyny, the study found that more than two-thirds of those attacked were women.

Although Australia is especially racist, hostility towards minorities and refugees is growing in all capitalist countries. The more their economies falter, the more the rulers promote racist and protectionist “solutions.” Meanwhile, increasing rivalries between the capitalist powers – seen, for example, in heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and the German-led European imperialists – further stoke reactionary nationalism. Yet, even in “Third World” capitalist countries like India racist incidents are on the rise – in the case of India involving Hindu-chauvinist attacks. Indeed, our planet’s one large country not plagued by rampant racist attacks is a socialistic one: China.

Down With Economic Nationalism!

Fight for Jobs For All By Standing Up to the Job-Slashing Capitalists!

The notions behind “Australians First” agendas simply don’t stack up. Refugees and guest workers all spend money here and pay taxes. They, hence, create as many jobs as they occupy. As long as the current social order prevails, no matter how few people there are in the country there will always be a significant rate of unemployment. This is because the rich business owners will – if they are allowed to – only hire as few people as maximises their profits. Whenever unemployment falls these bosses are less able to keep wages down and less able to threaten workers with the sack, making them reluctant to hire any more which in turn pushes unemployment back up. Moreover, the notion that guest workers are the cause of joblessness is ludicrous given that they make up much less than 1% of the workforce! It is true that bosses seek to use severe exploitation of foreign visa workers – as they do with vulnerable local workers like apprentices and casual workers – to undercut overall working conditions. However, that only underscores the need for the union movement to fight to ensure the highest wages, union coverage and, crucially, full rights of citizenship for all guest workers, refugees and overseas students.

As well as calling to “Employ Australians First,” the Donald Trump-like ALP ad also promised to “Build Australian First and Buy Australian First.” Such measures won’t save local jobs! For just as politicians can push such schemes here, their counterparts abroad can respond with similar measures which would then hurt Australia’s exports. Indeed, all agendas that counterpose the interests of Australian workers to guest workers or to goods produced by workers abroad actually harm the fight for workers’ jobs. For by dividing workers and by diverting them from struggle against the capitalist bosses they undercut the one fight that can immediately win more jobs – a trade union struggle to force bosses to increase hiring. Yet, such a struggle that impinges on the fundamental “rights” of the capitalists is alien to the ALP and most of our current, pro- ALP union leaders. The ALP seeks to satisfy its working class base by merely extracting modest concessions from the capitalists while seeking acceptance from the latter. That is why it is left with little to offer on jobs except divisive protectionism. When the Turnbull government, with much fanfare, announced a slashing of the guest worker program, sadly many of our union leaders demanded the measures go further rather than mobilising actions to win equal rights for these workers.

Nationalism from the Labor Party and pro-ALP union leaders is especially harmful since it is they who currently lead the working class – the one class which has a consistent interest in opposing both racism and nationalism since both undermine the unity so crucial to any successful struggle for workers rights. Yet, national chauvinism is far from the preserve of the social democracy. The right-wing Turnbull regime – pushed ever further by Tony Abbott’s hardliners – fiercely oppresses refugees. Then there is the extreme racism of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, the anti-Muslim tirades of Jacqui Lambie and the fervent protectionism of the Nick Xenophon team.

Now the Greens have at least correctly called out some of Labor’s economic nationalist appeals as dog whistling to racism. However, the Greens push their own fervent protectionist schemes including calling for crackdowns on the guest worker program and restrictions on overseas-made steel. Even much of the Far Left acquiesces to economic nationalism. Both the Socialist Alliance group and Socialist Alternative– who have both been active in the refugee rights campaign – and the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) backed Australia’s largest demonstration to keep out foreign workers: the July 2012 “Local Workers First” rally in Perth. The CPA also parrots the “local content” demands of pro-ALP union leaders. Of course, these socialist groups and the Greens advocate a “clean” protectionism which rejects conscious dog whistling to racism. However, there is no “clean” protectionism! Any policy that calls for putting the interests of (mainly white) Australian workers over (overwhelmingly coloured) lower paid workers from “Third World” countries will inevitably appeal to and reinforce White Australia xenophobic attitudes as well as “First World” arrogance. And all protectionist demands divert workers away from the struggle that is actually needed – the one against the job-slashing capitalist exploiters – while pitting local workers against their natural allies: the working class people of the world.

That is why Trotskyist Platform is on a campaign to oppose all forms of economic nationalism. We are seeking to win those involved in the refugee rights movement and the anti-fascist movement to also take up this struggle. Until economic nationalist ideas are purged from the union movement and the Left, anti-racist movements will face serious obstacles. And so will the struggle for workers rights.

We fight to replace the ALP’s nationalist, co-operate-with-the-capitalist program currently ascendant in our unions with a militant class struggle perspective that relies on and values workers’ unity. That means a union movement that would fight for freedom and asylum for imprisoned asylum seekers, full rights of citizenship for all refugees and guest workers and liberation for brutally oppressed Aboriginal people. Rejecting bogus protectionist “solutions,” the union movement that we fight for would mobilise its industrial muscle to stop job slashing by bosses and force profitable companies to increase hiring at the expense of their fat profits. When the greedy capitalist bosses scream that this will cause their economy to collapse, the revolutionary, internationalist party of the working class that we need will respond: if you big business owners cannot run the economy in a way that guarantees secure jobs for all workers then we working class people will rip the economy out of your hands and place it into our own able collective hands. Such a socialist economy based on working class rule is what we need! In such a system, the material basis for racism will wither away as there will be no more exploiting class trying to divide exploited masses and no more scarcity and unemployment fueling rivalries between workers of different colours and ethnic backgrounds. Workers of all countries unite!

Issue 19

Download PDF version (10MB)

  1. As Capitalist Rulers Beat on the Unions and Poor: Opposing Racism & “Aussie First” Economic Nationalism Key to Defending Working Class People’s Rights
  2. Tens of Thousands Protest in Australia on the Day of Land Theft & Genocide Rally Attacked by Ruthless Police
  3. A Hard Right, Racist Bigot Enters the White House Capitalist “Democracy” is a Sham Unleash Industrial Action to Demand Jobs for All Only Workers United with All of the Oppressed Can Bring about Real Change
  4. Expand the Union Action in Defence of Public Housing in Sirius: Fight for a Massive Increase in Public Housing throughout the Country! Still a Chance to Prevent the Destruction of Public Housing in Millers Point and The Rocks
  5. Trotskyist Platform May Day (International Workers Day Statement We Need Militant Class Struggle to Win Secure Jobs for All Workers
  6. Workplace Safety Now Better in China Than in Australia Australian Rulers Union Busting Drive against the CFMEU Union
    Threatens Construction Workers Lives
  7. Good News: China’s Arrest of Crown Executives Endangers Packer’s Barangaroo Project James Packer’s Crown Versus Millers Point Public Housing
  8. Free All the Victims of Australia’s Racist Torture! Jail the Cops and Prison Guards Who Killed David Dungay, Ms Dhu, Rebecca Maher, Wayne Morrison, TJ Hickey, Mulrunji & the Many Other Victims of the Racist, Rich People’s State!
  9. Long Live China’s 1949 Anticapitalist Revolution! Protect the Great Benefits for Workers & the Rural Masses Won through the Revolution: Stop Imperialist Funding for Those NGOs that Seek to Overthrow Socialistic Rule in China
  10. Defend the Dominance of Socialistic, State-Ownership in China’s Economy! China: Pro-Worker and Pro-Private Sector Forces Lock Horns
  11. Racist Atrocities in Kalgoorlie
  12. Force Profitable Companies to Increase Hiring – Make Them Wear the Resulting Lower Profits Stop Billionaire Bosses from Retrenching Workers! No to Slave Wage Internships and Work for the Dole! For Fully Paid, Permanent Jobs for All!

As a Hard Right, Racist Bigot Enters the White House – OPPOSE ECONOMIC NATIONALISM & PROTECTIONISM

UNLEASH INDUSTRIAL ACTION TO DEMAND JOBS FOR ALL! CAPITALIST “DEMOCRACY” IS A SHAM: ONLY WORKERS UNITED WITH ALL OF THE OPRESSED CAN BRING ABOUT REAL CHANGE

Above: The Handover or Phony Hope Shakes the Hand of Blatant Bigotry. A moment that ought to finally dispel anyone’s lingering illusion that capitalist democracy can ever be reformed into a system that operates in the interests of the working class. Obama prepares to calmly hand the administration of the U.S. capitalist state over to Trump just as George W. Bush did for him eight years earlier. The teetering edifice of the capitalist state requires both left and right pillars to keep it from completely collapsing beneath the dead weight of its own contradictions.

November 9 – Hard right-wing candidate Donald Trump – a billionaire capitalist exploiter and extreme racist and misogynist – will become the next president of the U.S.A. In yesterday’s election, he defeated the candidate supported by the mainstream of the American capitalist class, Hillary Clinton.

Like most far-right demagogues (including Hitler), Trump poses as a “rebel” and “anti-establishment” figure. Actually, he is a tycoon who is very much part of the capitalist ruling class and a key part of his economic program is big tax cuts for the rich. His main beef with the mainstream of the racist establishment is that they are not openly racist and economically nationalist enough for his liking. His blatant racism serves to protect the capitalist establishment by dividing the masses and diverting their economic frustrations and insecurity onto minorities and other groups in society who are made into scapegoats for the mass inequalities that capitalism inevitably creates. Similarly, his protectionism diverts anger about job losses onto overseas workers, thus shielding the capitalist exploiters in the U.S. from any blame and making the masses think that they have a common interest with their own exploiters in protecting American business.

Eight years ago when Obama was first elected, Trotskyist Platform actually predicted that the inevitable failure of a small-l liberal led regime to improve the lives of the masses could well lead to the eventual takeover of hard right forces in America (and, indeed, in his language Obama was the most liberal-sounding U.S. president in decades). Here is an excerpt from the article we wrote upon Obama first taking office:

That the Obama electoral triumph, if anything, dulled workers’ class consciousness means that even the present shift away from the conservative right wing is fragile. Without an understanding that it is the capitalist profiteers who are responsible for unemployment, recession and decay the masses will be vulnerable to right wing demagogy when they see that the new Administration is no more able to satisfy their aspirations than the previous one. The conservatives are waiting in the wing. And they will be able to mobilise right wing activists from amongst the all too many bigoted elements who were horrified that a black person should become President. Hence, there is a real danger that the rise of the liberal Obama could turn out to be just a prelude to a right-wing regime more frightening than Bush’s – perhaps led by a Sarah Palin-like figure. While the left rest on their illusory laurels, the frighteningly fascist right are now surely mobilising their forces, stirred up like a wasps’ nest ready to strike!

Only by mobilising their own power to squeeze concessions out of the exploiters can the working class begin to address the needs of the American masses and stop the re-emergence of the right. The working class can through industrial action force companies to avoid shedding jobs. And its power can be mobilised in a campaign to demand free health care for all. In all such struggles of the American workers movement, black workers will be at the forefront. These workers will join together the multiracial workers’ movement with the ghetto poor in the fight for black liberation.

Although Trump’s views and agenda are certainly fascistic, fascism has not yet triumphed in the U.S (nor does it currently hold sway in any other country). Fascism is not just a government of people with a really right-wing agenda but involves the mass mobilisation of the middle class and some of the unemployed (and even politically backward workers) to violently smash all workers’ organisations  – like independent trade unions and left-wing parties – and institute a capitalist regime which dispenses with the formalities of parliamentary “democracy.” Such a regime can only be instituted by physically defeating an inevitable degree of resistance from the politically conscious, working class masses. Nevertheless, Trump’s triumph will greatly encourage fascist outfits in the U.S. and will spur the development of fascist militias. American blacks, First Peoples, Hispanics, Asians, gays, women seeking abortion and leftists will face ever more violent attacks.

Regardless of Trump’s particular policies, the normal workings of the capitalist boom and bust cycles mean that in some four to twelve months there will be an economic downturn in the U.S.A and a consequent rise in the unemployment rate. Given the chaotic state of major capitalist economies, this could turn out to be another serious global economic crisis. In that context, mass struggle led by conscious working class and anti-racist forces could weaken the right-wing regime and undermine support for it. However, in the absence of such struggle, the increased economic insecurity could further fuel the flames of fascism.

Trump’s ascendancy will also embolden far-right and fascist forces here in Australia. Hard-right Liberal politician Cory Bernardi as well as the LNP MP George Christensen openly backed Trump. And Trump’s victory was hailed by the fascistic senator Pauline Hanson of One Nation infamy. Indeed, at a fascist rally in the northern Melbourne suburb of Eltham last weekend against a refugee centre, some of the fascist scum were wearing Trump T-shirts.

Trump’s rise will not only boost organised far-right forces but will also incite violent tendencies amongst garden-variety rednecks in Australia. The latter are people who may not be politically active in an extreme right-wing movement but are, nevertheless, simply filled with racial hatred. A couple of months ago, one such redneck murdered 14-year-old Aboriginal youth, Elijah Doughty, near the Western Australia town of Kalgoorlie. Then late last month, Indian-origin bus driver, Manmeet Alisher was cruelly murdered by being set alight with a fire bomb by a man of white Anglo-Saxon appearance, Anthony O’Donohue. O’Donohue, formerly an accountant, was known to harbour fascistic, crackpot conspiracy theories against trade unions. Although the media and cops have done their best to cover up the racist nature of this Brisbane murder the victim’s family are sure that it was motivated by racism. Several people with origins from the Indian subcontinent have told Trotskyist Platform comrades the same thing. They pointed out that the Indian man was specifically singled out. One man of Indian background, in explaining how Manmeet’s killing was a racist murder, told us that while living in the same multi-cultural Brisbane suburb where the murder took place, Moorooka, he had been attacked by racists and once had to literally run for his life to escape from a white racist who was threatening him.

All this underscores the need to build, here in Australia just as much as in other capitalist countries, a mass mobilisation of trade unionists, Aboriginal people, non-white “ethnic” people and all anti-racists to drive the fascist filth off the streets. This is an urgent necessity of self-defence for all the intended victims of the fascists. Although self-defence action against fascist groups will not directly stop the daily and incessant racist attacks and abuse from the innumerable garden-variety rednecks scattered throughout this country, by landing blows against organised fascists we can send a message to the garden-variety racists out there that they had better pull their heads in. These racists must learn that the organised and united multiracial working class has both the will and the power to stand up and defend anyone who is vulnerable to their racist, cowardly attacks.

On October 28, Indian-born Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Alisher (Left) was murdered by Anthony O'Donohue (Above). The killer boarded the bus and heinously set the driver alight in what was manifestly a racist attack. The attack by the white terrorist also caused the bus to burn down, threatening the lives of many passengers when the bus was stopped in the multiracial suburb of Morooka. O'Donohue was known to hold fascistic views - including anti-union conspiracy theories. The election of hard right wing racist, Donald Trump, to the U.S. presidency and the ensuing emboldening of far right Australian politicians like Pauline Hanson (Far Right - posing for a photo with notorious Sydney Nazi, Ross “Skull” May) will incite further white supremacist terror. Mass moblisations of trade unionists and all the intended victims of the fascists must drive violent racist filth off the streets – such as happened in Brisbane on 2 May 2014 (Below). On that day a large contingent of unionised construction workers joined tother with anarchists, Trotskyist Platform supporters and other leftists and anti-racists to shut down an attempted march by the fascist Australia First Party.
On October 28, Indian-born Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Alisher (Bottom Left) was murdered by Anthony O’Donohue (Top Centre). The killer boarded the bus and heinously set the driver alight in what was manifestly a racist attack. The attack by the white terrorist also caused the bus to burn down, threatening the lives of many passengers when the bus (pictured Top Left)was stopped in the multiracial suburb of Morooka. O’Donohue was known to hold fascistic views – including anti-union conspiracy theories. The election of hard right wing racist, Donald Trump, to the U.S. presidency and the ensuing emboldening of far right Australian politicians like Pauline Hanson (Top Far Right – posing for a photo with notorious Sydney Nazi, Ross “Skull” May) will incite further white supremacist terror. Mass moblisations of trade unionists and all the intended victims of the fascists must drive violent racist filth off the streets – such as happened in Brisbane on 2 May 2014 (Bottom Right). On that day a large contingent of unionised construction workers joined tother with anarchists, Trotskyist Platform supporters and other leftists and anti-racists to shut down an attempted march by the fascist Australia First Party.

No to Divisive Protectionism: For a Class Struggle Program of Jobs For All!

Trump’s victory will also encourage various forces here to more rabidly push for protectionism. In fact, economic nationalism was one of Trump’s main points of attraction for the U.S. masses, especially in the Mid-West rust belt. To be sure, when the media reports that working class people in the Mid-West were supporting Trump this can be a bit misleading since, in actual fact, Trump still did not do that well in cities. What they mean by “working class” is people with a lower income rather than in terms of their actual relationship to the means of production. Trump’s support came not so much from currently employed industrial workers as it did  from laid-off workers now trying to hustle a living as self-employed contractors or small businessmen or those now in insecure, non-union casual jobs or, perhaps, still unemployed or forced into early retirement. Unionised workers who are brought together at the point of production and united together in unions are, overall, less susceptible to right-wing demagogy than isolated self-employed and unemployed people. And, though it is true that even a portion of unionised workers did vote for Trump, analysis of exit polls actually revealed that the higher the income, the more likely you were to vote for Trump.

We need to firmly oppose economic nationalism here not only because it fuels racism but also because it directly undermines the fight to build actual struggle against the greedy bosses at home. However, we can only successfully oppose protectionism if we counterpose to it a class struggle program of jobs for all – that is, by highlighting the demand that profitable enterprises be forced to increase hiring at the cost of their own profits and then linking this demand to the fight for the ultimate confiscation of the means of production from the capitalist class by the working class. Trotskyist Platform has been emphasising opposition against any form of protectionism and promoting a class struggle program of jobs for all but we will intensify this work by fighting to build more actions promoting this essential perspective.

Unfortunately, much of the Left either themselves embrace economic nationalism – while trying to rid it of it of its openly racist aspects – or just try their best to ignore it. However, any leftist force that capitulates to economic nationalism is an obstacle to the fight for workers’ rights whether it happens to call itself socialist, Trotskyist, Marxist-Leninist, anarchist or any other kind of ist. The protectionist ideology of the pro-Democrats, American union bureaucracy has pushed a section of American unionised workers – and many laid off industrial workers – into the arms of far-right populism. The economic nationalist slogans of the current, pro-ALP Australian union leadership should also not be allowed to push Australian workers into the filthy arms of Hanson’s One Nation and its ilk who, after all, are the most consistent nationalists of all. Challenging the economic nationalist ideology that is currently dominant in the Australian workers movement is key to unleashing a class struggle fightback to defend our unions, protect workers rights and win jobs for everyone.

Implications for the Leninist Program on International Questions

On international policy, Trump has not disguised the fact that he is going to push an even more openly hostile stance towards socialistic China. He wants to draw capitalist Russia into this task by building an alliance with Russia that would bring the world’s two most powerful military powers into a capitalist super alliance. Part of the aim of this perspective is also to weaken the U.S.A’s European NATO allies cum imperialist economic rivals. Additionally, there is ideological affinity between the hard right wing in the U.S. and the Putin government. Putin, as well as being a hero to right-wing , “Third Way” (i.e. “neither socialism nor capitalism”) conspiracy theory types is also a hero to fascist groups throughout the West (the Australian Defence League here, for example, has openly hailed him) as well as to more mainstream right-wing forces (like racist, Islamophobic senator Jacqui Lambi) because of his government’s hard line anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies as well as his homophobia.

However, whether Trump and the Far Right’s proclivities for an alliance with Russia will be implemented remains to be seen. Trump’s regime will be, in effect, an alliance of hard line right wingers like himself and more mainstream figures from the right wing of the Republican Party. The latter are less inclined to an alliance with Russia as they believe the U.S. is strong enough not to share its spoils with any emerging power and do not want to allow a new player into the imperialist club.  Furthermore, Putin himself would probably play hard to get with Trump since he knows the U.S is a weakening empire. He would also not want Russia to play second fiddle to the U.S. too much and would hold out for as many concessions as possible. Furthermore, the Russian bourgeoisie may be hesitant to be pulled in too brazenly into an anti-China alliance since, despite their hostility to socialism (the Russian government from Putin down were, after all, active in the counterrevolution that destroyed the USSR and brought capitalist class rule back to Russia) they stand to make a fortune from selling oil and natural gas to neighbouring China which has few of these resources itself.

Nevertheless, a U.S.-Russia capitalist super alliance is certainly quite possible and if it does transpire this may affect the position that communist internationalists should take towards events in Syria. Whatever effect a Trump presidency has on U.S.-Russia relations, one thing is pretty certain: the Trump ascendancy will see an intensification of open U.S. hostility to the Chinese workers state. So, despite the bureaucratic deformations and capitalist incursions into China – and we must remember that nearly 60% of her economy is controlled and nearly all of her economy’s commanding heights (that is, the heavy industries, finance, transport, telecommunications etc) are fully owned by the Chinese workers state, a bigger slice of the economic pie than that enjoyed by the Soviet Russian state during Lenin’s time – authentic socialists need to be ready to intensify our struggle to defend socialistic China against imperialist attack and imperialist-backed, anti-communist NGOs.

We live in scary times. The ascendancy of Trump to the U.S. presidency will – in the absence of mass resistance – incite in both the U.S.A and Australia a further escalation of racist attacks on coloured ethnic minorities, Muslims and First Peoples communities. However, we should be aware that the rising of fascistic forces is a sign of the utter decay of capitalism which in its death throes is releasing such noxious fumes. But the system will not die by itself. It needs to be overthrown by the conscious working class-led masses united with all of the oppressed. It is our job to advance the struggle for such a socialist revolution. This is a time when every major capitalist country is seeing the rise of sinister far-right forces: from the U.S.A to Australia to most of Europe to Russia and the Ukraine. In Indonesia a violent racist movement has erupted and targeted the governor of Jakarta purely for his being a member of an ethnic and religious minority. In India a sinister fascistic mass murderer is the prime minister.  In fact, the one great socialistic power in the world, Red China, looks rather good by comparison. It is the one large nation where far-right racist forces based on the majority ethnic community are not on the march.

Why, in Australia, must the flower of Aboriginal youth fall victim to murderous, racist rednecks or become prey for a relentlessly systematic kind of brutal “justice” that continues to send young Aboriginal men and women to languish in jail cells or detention centres for years on end or worse? They are victims of the essentially immoral 200 year-old Australian capitalist racket. As are the brave children, women and men who have been held hostage in the Nauru, Manus Island and Christmas Island hellholes. Can anyone seriously argue that if these asylum seekers came from, say, England or Denmark instead of mainly from the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East that they would be treated in the same heartless manner? In fact, the Australian capitalist state’s border control policy provides tacit official sanction to every act of racist violence and xenophobia perpetrated out there on the streets of Australia.

A mighty, radical shift is needed. Any deluded notion of a middle ground that social democrats might be clinging onto is fast falling away beneath their feet and the pieces being greedily gobbled up by the awaiting, wide open fascistic jaws of your Donald Trumps and Pauline Hansons. Now is not the time for sitting on fences. The fence has already collapsed under the combined weight of too many fat, middle class rumps. Increasingly, humanity is faced with a choice between fascism and communism. Behind fascism stands the capitalist, property-rich ruling class which is willing to unleash its nazi dogs as a last resort to protect its ill gotten gains and its global control of immense human and industrial resources. Behind the prospect of communism stands the organised, international working class which is willing and able to seize control of the world’s business from the tiny minority of capitalist owners in the name of all the people and then commence work towards a collective, humane and socialistic organisation of society. A handful of countries have already – bravely and with sometimes seemingly intolerable sacrifice – embarked on the road to a communist future despite the perpetual harrassment  and often bloody resistance put up by the imperialist powers. We workers of Australia must offer our sincere respect, our immense gratitude and, most of all, a comradely – critical if necessary but always helping – hand to these frontier workers states because our futures are inextricably linked. Let’s work hard to advance the struggle for communism here too! Let’s promote a class struggle fight for jobs for all workers! Let’s fight to unite the working class masses right around the world by uncompromisingly standing against both racism and economic nationalism! You’d have to be blind now not to see capitalist democracy for what it really is – a filthy, rich man’s game. But the riches of the world have always really belonged to the working many and not to the exploiting few. The exploiters can choke on the racism, hatred and division they sow. The fruit of our labour is of a different sort altogether. Already the workers of the world have begun to unite in order to form a community of kindness which can embrace all of our common humanity without exception. From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs. Friends, the time to mobilise and to strike back is now.

Racist Atrocities in Kalgoorlie

Five days ago, a 55 year-old white man murdered a 14-year-old Aboriginal youth, Elijah Doughty in Boulder, just south of the Western Australia town of Kalgoorlie. The horrific murder was followed by a racist outpouring by rednecks on social media celebrating the killing and threatening Aboriginal people with murder and rape.
 Outrageously, police only charged the killer with manslaughter rather than murder. Hundreds of Aboriginal people responded to this blatant state racism by courageously marching on the courthouse and carrying out staunch acts of defiance against symbols of the racist authorities – including police cars, the courthouse entrance and the heavily armed police who were confronting them. Police responded with typical brutality unleashing their batons against the Aboriginal marchers and making several arrests. Meanwhile, the WA Police Minister and Attorney General have rushed to viciously condemn the brave stand taken by Aboriginal people in Kalgoorlie.
 The whole series of events highlights the murderous racist oppression that Aboriginal people face throughout the country.
The trade union movement and all anti-racists must stand by the Aboriginal community of Kalgoorlie – and indeed the whole country – at this critical time. We must condemn the downgraded charge that the killer of Elijah Doughty received and must call for the immediate dropping of all charges against the Aboriginal people arrested for their brave acts of resistance on Tuesday.

Trade Unionists, Ethnic People & All Anti-Racists Must Unite to Open Up Cronulla Beach to People of Colour!

Above, December 2005: Hordes of rednecks bash any coloured or other “ethnic” person they could find on Cronulla Beach and surrounding area. Ten years later (Right), it was militant anti-fascists who formed the loudest, most prominent demonstration in the area. The opposite of ten years earlier, it was any racist filth who were present near the Beach who would have felt the most intimidated, at least if they were within the area near the anti-racist march route.

Ten Years On after the Filthy , Violent White Supremacist Riot:
KICK THE RACISTS OUT!

13 December 2015: Ten years ago, hordes of extreme white supremacists and garden-variety rednecks rampaged through the area around Cronulla Beach bashing any non-white person they could find. However yesterday, the loudest, most prominent demonstration in Cronulla was a 150-strong march of anti-racists. They opposed a gathering of extreme white supremacists who ended up having to confine their race-hate event to an isolated park out of sight of most people. Unlike ten years earlier in Cronulla, at least in the vicinity of the anti-racist demonstration, it was more dangerous to be an open racist than a coloured person. The few racist provocateurs who were foolish enough to infiltrate the space occupied by the anti-racists were surrounded and confronted by militant anti-fascists and at least one fascist was dealt with in a decisive fashion. The message for racists watching on television is that you had better be careful about openly acting on your prejudices or getting active with far-right groups because you could meet militant opposition.

Despite weaknesses, and the all too predictable hostility to the action by the capitalist media, the anti-racist mobilisation was overall a partial victory against far-right racists. Nevertheless, the fascist Party For Freedom were still able to get away with holding their racist gathering – an “anti-Halal BBQ.” The racist gathering was three times smaller than the anti-racist mobilisation. Despite being formally banned by the courts from holding a planned rally to celebrate the 2005 Cronulla riot, the event held by the Party For Freedom and their allies was protected by a massive mobilisation of heavily-armed riot police. In facilitating the extreme racists’ gathering, the police adopted heavy-handed tactics towards anti-racist demonstrators. They arrested two anti-racist activists, although neither of the arrestees was charged. One of those arrested was a one-armed Aboriginal activist in his late 50s, who the police had earlier knocked to the ground when he tried to go around the police lines to get at the fascists. This underscores the need for the mobilisation of the working class in the struggle against fascism. It is the social power of the working class that can compel the police to stand aside so that the fascists can be swept off the streets.

12 December 2015: Anti-fascists on the march at an anti-racist action on Cronulla on the tenth anniversary of the white supremacist riot there.
12 December 2015: Anti-fascists on the march at an anti-racist action on Cronulla on the tenth anniversary of the white supremacist riot there.

Participating in yesterday’s anti-racist action were student activists from Sydney University, anarchists, supporters of Socialist Alternative, Aboriginal activists and Trotskyist Platform supporters. A weakness of the mobilisation was that it was not able to win many newer people into the anti-racist struggle – that is individuals not connected to any of the activists circles involved in organising the demonstration. Furthermore, other than for several Aboriginal activists, the coloured people in our Trotskyist Platform contingent and a handful of other coloured people, there were not that many non-white people taking part in the anti-racist action. The combined effect of the intensely racist and repressive political climate in the wake of the Paris attacks and coloured peoples understandable fear of going to Cronulla in the absence of the guaranteed backing of a mass trade union mobilisation, kept coloured people from Sydney’s southwest largely away from the event.

On the day of the December 2005 Cronulla riot the police forces present were strikingly minimal even though the police’s own intelligence made clear to them that a large, explosive rate hate mobilisation would occur. Yet when anti-racists mobilised ten years later, the police were unleashed in massive numbers to corral the anti-racist demonstrators (Left) and to protect the violent racists who had gathered to celebrate the December 2005 riot. The police even in a very cowardly manner arrested a one-armed Aboriginal man in his late 50s (Right) – one of two anti-racists that they arrested on the day.
On the day of the December 2005 Cronulla riot the police forces present were strikingly minimal even though the police’s own intelligence made clear to them that a large, explosive rate hate mobilisation would occur. Yet when anti-racists mobilised ten years later, the police were unleashed in massive numbers to corral the anti-racist demonstrators (Left) and to protect the violent racists who had gathered to celebrate the December 2005 riot. The police even in a very cowardly manner arrested a one-armed Aboriginal man in his late 50s (Right) – one of two anti-racists that they arrested on the day.

In the lead up to yesterday’s rally, Trotskyist Platform emphasised the need to bring a large number of working class coloured people into Cronulla as part of a multi-racial action to challenge the defacto exclusion of most working class, coloured people from Cronulla Beach over the last ten years. The need for such an action was plainly obvious yesterday. Before the 2005 racist riot, Cronulla Beach had been Sydney’s most multi-racial beach. However, when we were there yesterday, the area in and around the beach, including major restaurants in the area, were close to 95% white. Furthermore, when our multi-racial contingent got out of our cars in Cronulla to meet up with other anti-racist activists and when we at that stage looked like ordinary  beachgoers, we received hostile stares from both people driving past and people looking out of their houses just because coloured people formed a major part of our crowd.

At one point yesterday, a sizeable minority of the anti-racist demonstration flooded onto a part of the beach to make a statement. However, most of the remainder of the rally had not yet been won to an understanding of the necessity of desegregating the beach. Furthermore, there was not a high enough proportion of coloured people in the anti-racist demonstration for its presence on the beach to represent a serious challenge to the defacto exclusion from the area of working class, coloured people from Sydney’s southwest – who the recent ex-mayor of Sutherland Shire and racist rednecks alike refer to as “thugs from Lakemba.” To make an effective stance against the de-facto exclusion of most coloured youth from Cronulla Beach, we need an action in the future that brings in such a large number of working class, coloured people that it exceeds what is considered an acceptable token level by the conservative Shire Council and garden-variety racist locals. Such a “threatening” mobilisation of coloured people from Sydney’s southwest together with white anti-racist activists and the power of the trade union movement would be a powerful statement against both the on-going segregation of Cronulla Beach and the wave of racist attacks that non-white people are facing throughout the country. If the working class movement was to play a major role in such a future mass action that opens up Cronulla Beach to people of all colours, it would boost working class inter-ethnic unity and strengthen the workers movement’s confidence in its own power.

Taking the Beach: A chunk of the demonstrators at the 12 December 2015 anti-racist action in Cronulla jumped down rocks to symbolically stand on part of the beach where ten years earlier it was racist hordes who violently rampaged and where since the riot the number of coloured people using the beach has drastically diminished. A task remains for the workers movement and Left to build a mass convoy of trade unionists, coloured people and anti-racists to go from Sydney’s multiracial, working class southwest to Cronulla Beach to assert the right of people of all colours to safely use this public space and to finally re-open the beach to coloured people. One of the Trotskyist Platform banners carried at the December 2015 demonstration (Left) advocated this perspective.
Taking the Beach: A chunk of the demonstrators at the 12 December 2015 anti-racist action in Cronulla jumped down rocks to symbolically stand on part of the beach where ten years earlier it was racist hordes who violently rampaged and where since the riot the number of coloured people using the beach has drastically diminished. A task remains for the workers movement and Left to build a mass convoy of trade unionists, coloured people and anti-racists to go from Sydney’s multiracial, working class southwest to Cronulla Beach to assert the right of people of all colours to safely use this public space and to finally re-open the beach to coloured people. One of the Trotskyist Platform banners carried at the December 2015 demonstration (Left) advocated this perspective.

The leaflet that Trotskyist Platform distributed at the 12 December 2015 action can be found here.

Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy Stood Strong and Made Gains

Above: Activists establish the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy on its first day, 26 May 2014. At the front of the Bottom Left photo is embassy founder, Jenny Munro.

7 September 2015: There was a feeling of satisfaction amongst activists of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) as activists packed up the protest camp over the last few days. The RATE struggle had made headway in securing affordable housing for Aboriginal people in Redfern’s historic Block area. After over fifteen months of hard struggle, RATE has won an agreement whereby 62 new houses will be built on the Block to provide accommodation at low cost to Aboriginal people. Prior to the RATE struggle, it was apparent that not only would the provision of affordable housing on the Block be delayed but it would likely not be provided at all. The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) had removed the last of the Aboriginal residents living on The Block four years ago with the promise that they would be able to come back into affordable accommodation in newly built houses. However, by early last year it was confirmed what Aboriginal people in Redfern had long suspected: the 62 affordable housing dwellings that the AHC had promised to build as part of its Pemulwuy project were to become – at best – an afterthought to its plan for the area to be turned by the developer Deicorp into shops, office space and higher-end commercial housing for students.

RATE was established on 26 May 2014 by Aboriginal women and supporters with its central demand that affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block be built prior to any commercial development. Amongst those who set up the Embassy were Aboriginal former Block residents. RATE then quickly inspired support from Aboriginal people and other anti-racist activists angry about not only the lack of affordable housing for Aboriginal people but also the brutal oppression Aboriginal people continued to face in all aspects of their lives from racist police violence to the forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal activists from Gamilaraay country in northern NSW and from far away as Queensland and Western Australia came to do stints camping at RATE while RATE was flooded with statements of solidarity from far flung places. In September last year, the morale of RATE supporters was greatly lifted by a visit to the camp by Palm Island, Aboriginal resistance hero Lex Wotton – the leader of the November 2004 uprising on that island that courageously responded to the racist police killing of Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee and the subsequent police whitewash of the murder. Those involved in overseas indigenous rights struggles from places as far away as Hawaii also visited RATE to offer their support.

On a few of the days when RATE was facing threatened eviction, dozens of students from nearby Sydney University went down to RATE in solidarity. They showed that they refused to be part of plans to turn The Block into accommodation for Sydney University students when that was being done at the expense of affordable housing for Aboriginal people. Especially crucial was the solidarity given to RATE from trade unions. From the early days of RATE, the CFMEU construction union helped with logistics such as providing RATE with a porta-loo. On the first anniversary of RATE on May 26 this year, dozens of MUA members marched down to the RATE site. As they waved union flags they expressed their determination to stand by RATE and support its demands. A joint meeting that day of RATE activists and MUA unionists stated:

Trade unionists and supporters of the Redfern Tent Embassy (RATE) gathered here on May 26 to express our ongoing solidarity with the action being taken by the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy in occupying Aboriginal land at the Block in Redfern to stop a commercial property development planned by Deicorp and the Aboriginal Housing Company.

Aboriginal housing is desperately needed and should be built before any commercial development is allowed to progress.

Many long-term Aboriginal residents of Redfern/Waterloo are currently living in overcrowded, unsuitable state housing, or are homeless, while Aboriginal land is being taken over for commercial development.

Both the Commonwealth and state governments are refusing to release public funds for any Aboriginal-controlled community housing projects anywhere in Australia. This discriminatory policy has to end. Public funding must be allocated immediately for Aboriginal community housing for the Block and across the country.

We call on trade unions, and Unions NSW, to pass similar resolutions and take political and practical steps to ensure that the proposed development does not proceed before the housing demands are met.

26 May 2015: The Maritime Union of Australia rally at The Block to support the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy on its first anniversary. Although the level of support from the union movement as a whole was modest compared to what it should have been, the support that did come from the powerful trade union movement played a role in assisting RATE to win the gains that it did.
26 May 2015: The Maritime Union of Australia rally at The Block to support the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy on its first anniversary. Although the level of support from the union movement as a whole was modest compared to what it should have been, the support that did come from the powerful trade union movement played a role in assisting RATE to win the gains that it did.

By the last weeks of the RATE struggle, the flags of around a dozen different trade unions were flying on the RATE site showing solidarity with the Aboriginal struggle from the organised workers movement.

The strategy of RATE was powerful yet beautifully simple. By camping on the very site that the commercial development on The Block was to take place, RATE ensured that no such development could take place unless either the AHC/developers/government came to an agreement with RATE or the police unleashed violence to forcibly remove RATE. Seeing how RATE activists had refused to be deterred by either severe storms blowing down tents or by police repression or attacks by thugs and, importantly, seeing the statements of solidarity for RATE from trade unions, the government/AHC/developers calculated that they had no choice but to negotiate a settlement with RATE. After steadfastly refusing to provide any support for the development of affordable housing on The Block, the federal Liberal government reluctantly stepped in at the end to provide a $5 million grant as well as organising for a larger bank loan to fund the affordable housing. The deal done between the AHC, the federal government and RATE commits the AHC to building the affordable housing either before or simultaneously with the commercial development. Thus, if the deal is honoured, the core demand of RATE would have been achieved. The Aboriginal activists who led RATE have emphasised the need to be vigilant in order to ensure that the deal is adhered to and that no excuses are made to delay the building of the affordable housing. Furthermore, activists will need to ensure that the AHC does not knock back the Aboriginal people most in need of access to affordable housing in order to have the housing occupied by more affluent Aboriginal people who the AHC knows will be more “acceptable” to the future upper-middle class occupants of the commercial retail and residential development.

27 August 2015: Key Aboriginal activists spearheading RATE confident as the struggle heads towards securing gains for affordable housing for Aboriginal people.
27 August 2015: Key Aboriginal activists spearheading RATE confident as the struggle heads towards securing gains for affordable housing for Aboriginal people.

Of course, given the level of homelessness that Aboriginal people in inner-city Sydney suffer and the extreme level of racist discrimination that Aboriginal people face when trying to rent privately, there is a need for much more than 62 affordable dwellings on The Block. Ideally the entire re-development of The Block should be to provide low rent public housing for Aboriginal people and associated services. Such a re-development would also have better ensured that The Block was retained as a social and political centre for Aboriginal people. However, the fact is that what will likely now be built on The Block as a result of the RATE struggle is a lot better than what was on the cards prior to this struggle.

A Decades Long War on Aboriginal Housing on The Block by Greedy Developers and Racist Governments

Aboriginal people have been living on The Block in low-rent housing since the early 1970s. This affordable housing had been won through a struggle by Aboriginal militants and the militant Builders Labourers Federation trade union. That struggle which triumphed in early 1973 forced the then Whitlam Labor federal government to provide a grant for Aboriginal people to collectively buy up the area. The Aboriginal housing in the area came to be managed by the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) which was established by the activists who fought for The Block for the sole purpose of providing comfortable and happy low-rent accommodation for Aboriginal people. Despite facing much racist discrimination – including from banks reluctant to do dealings with an Aboriginal organisation – the AHC’s work in its early days ensured that low-rent accommodation came to be provided for up to 300 Aboriginal people on The Block.

However, like most economic or social organisations – whether black, white, “ethnic” or multiracial – that exist in capitalist Australia without a clear anti-capitalist perspective, the AHC became more and more subordinated to the agendas of powerful economic interests. Specifically, the AHC ended up speaking not for the interests of low-income Aboriginal tenants – as it was originally constructed to do – but became a vehicle for the schemes of wealthy capitalist developers and their mates in government. In the eyes of these developers, The Block was prime inner-city real estate which could be turned into a lot of money. And they were determined to lay their grubby hands on it! They wanted to gain access to the land so that they could eject low-income Aboriginal tenants and build high-end commercial housing and shops that would sell for big bucks. Successive NSW state governments, which like all governments in capitalist Australia serve the interest of the corporate exploiting class, have been happy to sing along to the tune of these greedy developers.

Racist governments had an additional motive for wanting to dilute the Aboriginal character of The Block. The Block came to be not only a centre of Aboriginal culture and a meeting place for Aboriginal people from all over Australia but also a centre of Aboriginal political resistance against racist oppression. Over the years, many rallies for Aboriginal land rights and against racist police violence started, finished or passed through The Block. In February 2004, The Block and nearby Lawson Street saw hundreds of Aboriginal youth courageously hold their ground in a nine-hour pitched battle with racist cops. The youth were 100% justifiably responding to provocations by Redfern police who clamped down on the community after racist cops had murdered 17 year-old Aboriginal youth TJ Hickey. Earlier, in May 1981 and then seven months later, 200 Aboriginal people responded to incessant racist police harassment by barricading Eveleigh Street on The Block and bravely responding to the marauding police by throwing projectiles back at them. There have also been numerous smaller versions of such heroic acts of resistance to racist police violence on The Block.

The developers and government’s agenda was greatly facilitated by the AHC’s journey away from its founding spirit as a community organisation set up by militant black activists. One indication of just how far the AHC has travelled was seen in the way that AHC CEO Mick Mundine held a joint press conference with Redfern top cop Luke Freudenstein in February last year to express his support to Redfern police in their condemnation of a large protest march demanding justice for TJ Hickey on the tenth anniversary of TJ’s killing by racist cops.

1967: Aboriginal activists from the Gurundji stockmen and domestic hands’ strike together with Builders Labourers Federation (BLF) members at a meeting to support the Gurundji struggle for land rights. The leftist-led BLF trade union would later play a key role in the Aboriginal struggle for affordable housing on Redfern’s The Block. The workers’ movement must stand solidly behind the struggle for justice of Aboriginal people.
1967: Aboriginal activists from the Gurundji stockmen and domestic hands’ strike together with Builders Labourers Federation (BLF) members at a meeting to support the Gurundji struggle for land rights. The leftist-led BLF trade union would later play a key role in the Aboriginal struggle for affordable housing on Redfern’s The Block. The workers’ movement must stand solidly behind the struggle for justice of Aboriginal people.

The AHC’s drift away from its original purpose of serving low-income Aboriginal tenants was the result of the confluence of several currents. One force pushing the AHC away from its stated purpose was simply the pressure of the capitalist “free market.” As an entity that had no stable source of external funding and was meant to operate within the confines of “market principles,” the AHC, as a body without a clear anti-capitalist agenda, inevitably became easy game for whoever had the market power to either promise to deliver housing construction and maintenance at a lower price or on the other hand promised, in exchange for land use rights for commercial development, big money that could be used to subsidise its housing program. In this way, the AHC became associated with and dependent on wealthy capitalist corporations who began to use that influence to set more and more of the AHC’s agenda. Prominent on the AHC’s own website’s list of “Partners” is not only the developer Deicorp but Westpac Bank and the South Sydney Business Chamber. Then there was developers and governments directly influencing the AHC leaders through financial enticements. Some in the Aboriginal community have long suspected this has involved outright bribery of AHC leaders. To be sure, that would hardly be just a problem with the AHC – just look at successive NSW state governments! From developers handing over tens of thousands of dollars in cash to politicians in brown paper bags to business bosses bribing the former premier with an expensive “gift,” the last few years have revealed just a small fraction of the massive corruption that the leaders of this state wallow in. Yet just as the big business bosses can control politicians with more “legal” forms of enticements – like large donations to the respective political parties and invitations to sit in corporate boxes at sporting events – so too can greedy developers and their government cronies bring an organisation like the AHC under its control through more subtle but even more insidious means of buying influence.  This could include offering AHC leaders invitations to fancy business/government lunches and functions and seducing AHC leaders into making them feel that they are part of elite circles by allowing them to participate in government/corporate policy discussion sessions.

As the AHC bent to the pressures of the capitalist “free market” and came under the increasing influence of rich corporations and the state government, staunch Aboriginal activists and grassroots tenants who objected to all this were increasingly purged from the organisation and its leadership. This in turn further accelerated the AHC’s path away from its original purpose.

When the pressure of “market imperatives” and corrupting influences was not enough to bring the AHC completely into the developers’/government’s fold, the NSW state government unleashed its “legal” muscle to bring the AHC to heel. Thus, even long after the AHC had sold out its founding principles, the NSW government at first refused to give the AHC planning approval for its Pemulwuy project. The government insisted that there be even less affordable housing for Aboriginal people in a re-developed Block than the AHC had proposed. Indeed, even as Aboriginal people were being squeezed out of The Block, the 1995-2011 NSW ALP government refused, for a whole decade, to give the rebuilding of affordable homes for Aboriginal people planning approval until the AHC agreed to give further priority to the commercial aspects of the Pemulwuy project. To resist such bullying from the government would have taken a campaign of mass protest action. The AHC did very briefly flirt with a diluted version of this idea and even organised a hundreds strong protest rally in Redfern in August 2006 in support of affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block. Yet already by then the AHC had strayed way too far into the camp of the enemies of Aboriginal people’s rights to honestly want to sustain such a campaign. What is more, the AHC had by then lost any real credibility with the grass roots Aboriginal people needed to wage such a campaign anyway.

As far back as twenty years ago, the AHC first started in effect implementing the developers’ and government’s plan to drive Aboriginal tenants off The Block. In the mid-1990s, Block residents were enraged when they confirmed that the AHC had drawn up plans to actually abolish all affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block and, instead, planned to turn most of the area into commercial office space. Although they later modified this plan, the AHC had already started creating facts on the ground by neglecting repairs on houses so much that tenants could not tolerate it anymore and started leaving The Block “voluntarily”.

Police stampeding around Redfern’s The Block. The Aboriginal community on The Block faced decades of violent police raids and racist bullying.
Police stampeding around Redfern’s The Block. The Aboriginal community on The Block faced decades of violent police raids and racist bullying.

Meanwhile, police attacks on Aboriginal people in Redfern assisted the ruling class agenda of driving Aboriginal tenants off The Block. This police violence was not solely about kicking low-income people off from prime real estate. It was also motivated by pure racism – by the racist culture that permeates the police force and which, in turn, arises naturally from the police’s role as the enforcers of an unequal and discriminatory social order based on the dispossession of this country’s first peoples and the exploitation of labour by wealthy business owners. However, the big end of town’s agenda to push black people off prime inner-city real estate gave the police attacks added impetus. Aside from daily bullying of Aboriginal youth, almost every year saw a large-scale police assault on The Block. One of the most brutal such raids took place on 8 February 1990.9 It was on that day, just before 4am, that some 135 cops led by the heavily armed Tactical Response Group (whose functions today are largely performed by the Public Order and Riot Squad) smashed into several homes on The Block with sledgehammers and iron bars. Residents woke up terrified as they saw these men bearing shotguns break into their homes and point weapons at them.  The police put guns to women’s heads, roughed up residents and abused people. But after all that the police did not charge anyone with a serious offence like a violent crime or even charges of dealing in drugs or weapons. Of the eight charges that they did bring against people, two were for unpaid fines, one was a more than 7 year old warrant for breach of bail, another a warrant for failing to appear at a court nearly six years earlier and another a warrant for a resident allegedly being drunk on a train close to six years earlier!  Additionally, three people were charged with having possession of stolen goods because they could not provide receipts for relatively minor items like a TV, a radio cassette player, an electric shaver and unbelievably a pair of goggles! And for this the local community was terrorised and left traumatised. To put it all into perspective, nearly one and a half times as many police were mobilised to find a couple of allegedly stolen TVs and a pair of goggles on The Block as the 92 police who were put on duty in Cronulla on 11 December 2005 when the police knew full well that the violent, white supremacist riot that subsequently took place there was indeed very likely to happen! Police terror against the Redfern Aboriginal community culminated in the February 2004 killing of 17 year-old TJ Hickey by racist police who rammed his bicycle while he was riding on it and impaled the boy on a steel paling.

The incessant police attacks, the demoralising effect of living in houses where repairs were not being done and the daily discrimination that Aboriginal people faced in employment and every aspect of their lives inevitably led to social problems on The Block. These problems were played up by the capitalist-owned media and seized on by the state government to justify their push to drive Aboriginal tenants out of the area. The combined effect of relentless police attacks, the deterioration of the houses, social problems and the AHC’s push to move tenants off The Block meant that by late 2010 there were just 35 people living on The Block – down from a peak of over 300. To get the last of the tenants to move, the AHC on the one hand threatened higher rents and eviction orders and, on the other hand, promised residents that they would be able to move back once the re-development took place. Residents, however, were sceptical about being able to move back and expected that the 62 new affordable houses would still be way out of their price range. What really enraged former Block residents and supporters of affordable housing for Aboriginal people was when last year AHC CEO, Mick Mundine, claimed that it was not commercially viable to pursue affordable housing on the Block. ‘’That’s on the back burner at the moment,’’ he said. ‘’Our first priority is the commercial build’’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 April 2014). It was this confirmation of the fears of many that led Aboriginal activists to establish RATE.

From 1972 to 2015: The Struggle for Affordable Housing for Aboriginal People on The Block Continues

1970s: Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal BLF union members working on the construction of affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block.
1970s: Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal BLF union members working on the construction of affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block.

The enemies of RATE tried everything to defeat the RATE struggle including a series of violent attacks on RATE activists. Family members of a senior AHC employee staged several of these attacks. In one attack last year, at least one of these family members was amongst a group of four men that came to the embassy and assaulted RATE activist, Raymond Munro. Yet when police arrived, it was Raymond Munro and another RATE activist who had come to his defence that the cops arrested and charged with affray. Police only charged two of the actual four attackers. Also last year, another relative of the senior AHC employee invaded the embassy in the dark of night – bearing a piece of wood – and attacked two women including embassy founder Jenny Munro. Enemies of RATE also seemed to have enlisted criminal elements to stage random attacks on RATE activists staffing the embassy or to enter the embassy grounds with the aim of causing fear and disruption. Amongst the most frightening attack was when occupants of a black, flashy four-wheel drive vehicle passed RATE on two separate occasions and hurled flares at the embassy. They aimed to set the tents on fire.

Alongside the attacks by thugs, RATE faced repression from the organs of the capitalist state. The police arrested four key RATE activists during the duration of the struggle – outrageously all resulting from incidents where violent intruders and provocateurs had invaded the embassy grounds. The arrested RATE activists were then set bail conditions banning them from the vicinity of The Block, thus laying bare the police strategy – to strip RATE of its key activists. Amongst those whom the police arrested – and for a period banned from the Block – was RATE leader Jenny Munro.

Meanwhile, in August, the NSW Supreme Court ruled against RATE and ordered its eviction. In doing so the courts stayed true to form, proving once again that like the police, prisons and entire legal/state machinery they are an instrument for the oppression of Aboriginal people and all the exploited and oppressed by the big end of town. Yet despite all that was thrown at RATE and its activists the struggle made a significant advance. Congratulations to all those who joined the struggle. It was the Aboriginal activists in RATE that provided the leadership and the strong drive that was key to success. The Aboriginal activists spearheading the movement deeply understood not only how the lack of affordable housing has forced many Aboriginal people into homelessness but also the importance of saving the Aboriginal character of The Block given its special significance as a historic centre for militant black resistance against racial oppression. Many non-Aboriginal people also supported the RATE struggle. This included people from various non-white “ethnic” communities – who especially identify with the Aboriginal rights struggle because of their own experiences in racist white Australia – as well as committed anti-racist white activists. Special mention here must be made to activists with links to the anarchist Black Rose collective who did a lot of heavy lifting in terms of staffing and protecting the embassy at night. Trotskyist Platform activists also did regular night and graveyard shifts to guard the embassy. Also participating in the struggle were activists from Socialist Alliance and individuals from a wide range of different anti-racist political standpoints. When RATE held rallies – both on as well as outside The Block– still broader layers of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people joined these actions to express their support.

15 June 2014: Hundreds gather to defend the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE). RATE attracted broad support from supporters of Aboriginal rights and campaigners for affordable housing.
15 June 2014: Hundreds gather to defend the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE). RATE attracted broad support from supporters of Aboriginal rights and campaigners for affordable housing.

Just like RATE, Aboriginal housing on The Block was first won in a hard fought struggle. That early 1970s struggle faced even more obstacles than RATE did but, at the same time, was bolstered by a higher level of trade union support than the RATE struggle received. The back drop of the original struggle for affordable housing on The Block was the movement of many Aboriginal people from rural areas to the city in search of work. Many found work at the Eveleigh rail yards (at the site of what is now the Australian Technology Park) where they were paid terribly low wages – much lower than other workers. However, due to rampant discrimination by racist bosses, many Aboriginal people could not get work at all. To compound their problems, discrimination by landlords meant Aboriginal people had trouble getting tenancy in rental properties. In the early 1970s some of the homeless Aboriginal people would squat in unoccupied houses owned by absentee landlords in the area that later became known as The Block. They were often arrested and brutalised by local police who imposed a defacto selective curfew on Aboriginal people. Meanwhile, the racist South Sydney Council ran a campaign against those – including a local church – who would offer shelter to homeless Aboriginal people. As a result, in late 1972 black militants and allied anti-racist white people organised a plan to move homeless Aboriginal people into the unoccupied houses in Louis Street in what is now part of The Block. Those houses had been bought up by a greedy developer called Ian Kiernan (who would later founded Clean Up Australia and was awarded an “Australian of the Year” award). Kiernan had evicted all the previous mostly Aboriginal renters and planned to re-develop and gentrify the area with the aim of renting out the new dwellings at higher rates.

Being greedy capitalists, Kiernan and his firm, IBK, of course objected to the Aboriginal squatters. However, the leftist-led Builders Labourers Federation trade union made it clear to him that no work on his development would take place if the Aboriginal people were evicted. Meanwhile, several trade unions organised for work to be done to renovate the homes which were in a poor condition. As one of the former black militants that spearheaded the struggle for the Block, the late Bob Bellear, put it:

“The now exiled State Builders’ Labourers, through Bob Pringle, were called in to erect doors, fix windows etc., while some members of the Plumbers Union fixed taps, toilets and other plumbing facilities required for a more liveable habitation. The electricians turned on the power …”
– “How the Aboriginal Housing Project Was Born”, Bob Bellear, Koori History website

During the struggle, the black militants and their anti-racist white allies faced constant harassment and almost weekly arrests by the police. They were especially targeted by the NSW Police’s hated 21 Division – elite special operations cops (following police reorganisations its functions today are performed by the police’s Public Order and Riot Squad and its Tactical Operations Unit).  One of the 21 Division’s favourite tactics was to send in people to cause trouble and then to arrest as many Aboriginal people and their friends as possible in the ensuring raid on “grounds” like swearing, public drunkenness and resisting arrest. Meanwhile, the ALP-led South Sydney Council also did everything possible to oppose the struggle for housing for the homeless Aboriginal people. The racist Council was encouraged by a local community group formed by racist white residents fanatically opposed to the Aboriginal occupants. One night one of these white residents, a security guard, entered the houses where Aboriginal occupants were living and opened fire with live ammunition!

However, despite all this the Aboriginal militants and their BLF union allies stood firm. As it was clear that the Aboriginal struggle was determined to face down any opposition and with the BLF preventing any capitalist development in the area, the Labor federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Gordon Bryant, bowed to demands from the Aboriginal militants to provide a grant for Aboriginal people to collectively buy up the area freehold and renovate the houses to use them to provide affordable accommodation for the most needy Aboriginal people. This victory was achieved in April 1973.

15 June 2014: Hundreds gather to defend the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE). RATE attracted broad support from supporters of Aboriginal rights and campaigners for affordable housing.
7 November 2008: Flags of the MUA union proudly fly at a 200-strong demonstration in Sydney in support of Lex Wotton – the Palm Island Aboriginal resistance leader who led the November 2004 uprising that responded to the whitewash of the police murder in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee. The Sydney rally was held to coincide with the sentencing hearing that Lex Wotton had to face in a Townsville court for his part in the heroic struggle. Like the BLF in its work in support of the struggle for affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block in the early 1970s, the MUA took industrial action in support of the crucial struggle to defend Lex Wotton

Lessons of the Struggles for Affordable Housing on The Block

Affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block was won in a period of much working class and other progressive social struggles. The early 1970s was also a time when the U.S. and Australian capitalist rulers were weakened by the defeats they were suffering in their brutal war against the communist workers and peasants of Vietnam. Meanwhile, just five years before The Block was won, capitalist rule in France had its foundations shaken by the militant May 1968 general strike and factory occupations by millions of French workers. A year later, Italy saw similar convulsive struggles that came to be known as the Hot Autumn. Fearful of the threat of socialist revolution that had been posed by the French and Italian events, anxious about the wave of working class and other progressive struggles, weakened by the defeats it was suffering in Vietnam and terrified at the open support for the Vietnamese revolutionaries by a significant number of Australian leftist workers and youth, the Australian capitalist rulers felt the need to make concessions to the masses in order to stave off events that seemed to be heading in a revolutionary direction. Thus, the late 1960s and early 1970s was a period when not only was The Block won but advances were made more broadly in Aboriginal rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights and headway was made in undermining the racist White Australia Policy exclusion of non-white immigrants. Similar gains were won in this period by the working class and downtrodden in Europe and the United States.

Yet by the early 1980s, capitalist rule had stabilised worldwide. We now saw a right-wing period of union-busting and a Cold War anti-communist push against the socialistic USSR and Vietnam. In the mid-1980s, the Hawke Labor government and Victorian and NSW state ALP governments together smashed the BLF union that had been so crucial to winning affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block. In the period from 1989-1992, socialistic rule was destroyed in the former USSR and allied East European countries like Hungary and East Germany. The capitalist ruling classes of the world were greatly emboldened by this and felt they could get away with further attacking the rights of the masses at home. The period of the 1980s Cold War and then post-Soviet capitalist triumphalism has seen unions and workers’ rights diminished, the gap between rich and poor widen, Aboriginal rights and organisations undermined, mandatory detention of refugees introduced and the Left weakened. It is in this context that the decades-long campaign by the developers and NSW government to drive Aboriginal tenants off The Block gathered steam.

The 1980s anti-communist Cold War against the Soviet Union and the subsequent collapse of the USSR was associated with intense union-busting and racist attacks at home. Left: A statue of Lenin is pulled down during the 1991-92 counterrevolution that destroyed the Soviet workers state. Centre: Victorian police brutally arrest members of the Builders Labourers Federation during the late 1980s smashing of that militant trade union. Right: A still from a 1992 video that outraged any decent person. White NSW police officers at a charity function wear blackface and mock Aboriginal people who have been killed in custody. The despicable racist cop shown in the photo said “I’m Lloyd Boney” as he impersonates an Aboriginal man hanging. Five years earlier, Lloyd Boney had been found hung in Brewarrina police station just one and a half hours after being arrested. He was widely understood to have been murdered by racist cops. It was during this period of racist, anti-working class reaction that the campaign by the developers and NSW government to drive Aboriginal tenants off The Block gathered steam.
The 1980s anti-communist Cold War against the Soviet Union and the subsequent collapse of the USSR was associated with intense union-busting and racist attacks at home. Left: A statue of Lenin is pulled down during the 1991-92 counterrevolution that destroyed the Soviet workers state. Centre: Victorian police brutally arrest members of the Builders Labourers Federation during the late 1980s smashing of that militant trade union. Right: A still from a 1992 video that outraged any decent person. White NSW police officers at a charity function wear blackface and mock Aboriginal people who have been killed in custody. The despicable racist cop shown in the photo said “I’m Lloyd Boney” as he impersonates an Aboriginal man hanging. Five years earlier, Lloyd Boney had been found hung in Brewarrina police station just one and a half hours after being arrested. He was widely understood to have been murdered by racist cops. It was during this period of racist, anti-working class reaction that the campaign by the developers and NSW government to drive Aboriginal tenants off The Block gathered steam.

The world we live in is still affected by the direct and indirect effects of the restoration of capitalism in the former USSR. Yet, in the last several years, we have also seen periods of militant worker and progressive social struggles in Greece, Nepal, Portugal and Spain. Inevitably there will again be a period of a sustained upswing in the class struggle like the late 1960s-early 1970s because the capitalist economic system, which is lurching from one economic crisis to another, leaves the masses no choice but to fight back against the ever greater suffering it imposes on us. However, to be able to open the doors to such an upsurge and, most importantly, to be able to channel it to a decisive victory we should learn the lessons of every struggle of the past. The RATE struggle is especially important in this regard because in a period when most struggles have been defeated or have not been able to make much headway, RATE made gains.

One reason for its success is, obviously, the steely determination of the Aboriginal leaders of RATE and the courage of all who participated in the struggle. Yet, many losing struggles have also had a combination of leaders devoted to the cause and brave activists. Key in the RATE struggle was the fact that the movement’s main strategy was not focussed on appeals to the government or mainstream politicians, legal action or other methods based on trust in one or another institution of the racist rich people’s state. Instead, RATE’s primary focus was to create facts on the ground through mass direct action – that is, by establishing itself at the heart of the area where the commercial development on The Block was to take place so the development could not proceed while the Embassy was still standing. Although the capitalist governments had the power through their cops and courts to physically evict RATE, in the end it calculated that doing so would incite such a firestorm of social protest that it would be better to make concessions. Mainstream politicians would have noted that the many police/legal/thug attacks on RATE had not deterred the movement one bit and realised that any eviction of RATE would have to be a major and violent police operation that would enrage RATE’s many supporters nationwide. They would have been aware of the large size of the protests against the closure of remote Aboriginal communities and have been worried that a brutal attack on RATE would only fuel these protests and increase the authority of the staunch, radical wing of the Aboriginal movement. Furthermore, although the level of union support given to RATE was relatively modest, the social power of the workers movement is so great that its endorsement of RATE was in itself a significant deterrent to the authorities. The ruling class would have been worried that a violent eviction of RATE could have provoked a backlash by sections of the workers movement and they would especially have dreaded the prospect of the CFMEU construction union slapping a ban on the commercial development in the same way as the BLF did in the original 1970s struggle for The Block. Perhaps, most of all, the capitalist rulers would have been very concerned that not only had many workers unions endorsed RATE but that RATE was sending contingents of activists to support an MUA wharfies’ picket line at Port Botany. Most of all, the exploiting class fears steps towards uniting the militancy of the most subjugated sections of the population – like Aboriginal people –with the social power of the organised working class: the enemy knows that this will be a formidable combination.

Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nick Scullion (Left), was involved in a deal between the Aboriginal Housing Company and the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) that saw the latter make headway on its key demand that affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block be built prior to any commercial development. Scullion was forced to make this concession to RATE because through mass, direct action and with the backing of trade unions, RATE posed a physical obstruction to future commercial development. Scullion’s concession, finally wrested out of him after 15 months of RATE’s hard struggle, does not change the fact that Scullion is an enemy of the struggle for Aboriginal rights who carried out the racist policy of cutting federal funding for remote Aboriginal communities. Right: 19 March 2015 rally in Perth against the government’s forced closure of Aboriginal communities.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nick Scullion (Left), was involved in a deal between the Aboriginal Housing Company and the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) that saw the latter make headway on its key demand that affordable housing for Aboriginal people on The Block be built prior to any commercial development. Scullion was forced to make this concession to RATE because through mass, direct action and with the backing of trade unions, RATE posed a physical obstruction to future commercial development. Scullion’s concession, finally wrested out of him after 15 months of RATE’s hard struggle, does not change the fact that Scullion is an enemy of the struggle for Aboriginal rights who carried out the racist policy of cutting federal funding for remote Aboriginal communities. Right: 19 March 2015 rally in Perth against the government’s forced closure of Aboriginal communities.

It is important that the gains won by the RATE struggle not be remembered as a case of “if you bang on about something long enough the politicians do start to listen.” Indeed, the involvement of mainstream politicians with the RATE campaign – even to make themselves look good – had been very minimal. A couple of Greens politicians did, on very rare occasions, pop into RATE but as is typical did not widely publicise their claimed solidarity with RATE and made little effort to make it a national issue. When, at the very end, the federal government eventually came up with funding for affordable housing on The Block, a whole fifteen months after the start of the RATE struggle, Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nick Scullion pretended that he was sympathetic to the RATE struggle and was making the grant out of sympathy for Aboriginal people’s rights. This is the same Nick Scullion that cut off federal funding for remote Aboriginal communities! The truth is that the Liberal and ALP politicians accept the current capitalist order and are mates with the greedy developers. Nick Scullion did not have a sudden change of heart but simply wanted to make himself look good while making a concession that he has been forced into. There is no way that Nick Scullion would have made the concession that he did if activists had simply been making submissions and representations to him without the presence of RATE as a physical obstruction to future commercial development. RATE made headway because it was based on mass, direct action by determined Aboriginal activists and non-Aboriginal anti-racists and because it won trade union support. As RATE leader, Jenny Munro, put it:

“I’m old school. My teachers taught me the principles of our resistance – we never ceded our land to anyone.
“The embassy has demonstrated that for our people, resistance is the only way to go.”

The lessons of the RATE struggle not only has implications for the struggle for Aboriginal rights but also for the broader struggle for affordable rental accommodation and for the entire struggle of the oppressed and exploited. To maximize the chance of being victorious, the struggles of the working class and all of the downtrodden demands a strategy based on mass, direct action and not at all upon reliance on the state institutions and mainstream political parties that serve the capitalist ruling class. In order for struggles waged in this way to achieve major victories against a powerful and ruthless exploiting class – and when the opportunity arises to culminate in the seizure of state power by the oppressed masses – the movements need to be buttressed around the strength of the organised working class. However, for the power of the workers movement to be unleashed, the influence of illusions in a capitalist parliament, divisive “Aussie workers first” nationalism and the loyalty to the capitalist order promoted by the ALP social democrats needs to be purged from the workers movement. We need to turn the workers movement into one that only trusts in its own power united with all the downtrodden, that fights for workers of all races, nations and pay levels to stand together truly as one and which champions the cause of all the downtrodden. Let’s be encouraged by the successes of the RATE struggle to work harder for this goal so that victories for the oppressed will not be rarities but will, instead, become commonplace and part of the long march towards a final revolutionary victory.

Imperialist Hypocrisy, Nationalism & Repression after Paris Terror Attacks

Far-right forces have seized on terrorist attacks by ISIS/Al Qaeda, like the 13 November attacks in Paris (Above Left), to promote their extreme racist agenda. The Paris attacks carried out by ISIS were indeed cruel, cowardly attacks on innocent civilians. However, the condemnation of the attacks by the Western capitalist rulers and their media is the height of hypocrisy – given their own horrific crimes. Photo, Above Right, shows the hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz in flames after U.S. aircraft repeatedly bombed the hospital on 3 October 2015, killing at least 22 and up to as many as 50 civilians. The only reason that this barbaric war crime received any media coverage is that the hospital was run by the French NGO, Médecins Sans Frontières. MSF reported that they desperately contacted U.S. and Afghan authorities by agreed channels to tell them that the hospital was being bombed but the U.S. military continued their precise bombing of the hospital for at least a further half an hour. At the height of their occupation of Afghanistan, the U.S, French, German, British and Australian imperialist forces were every seven weeks murdering as many civilians as were killed in the Paris attacks! Meanwhile, during their intense bombing of Libya to impose regime change there, the U.S., French and British imperialists – backed by Australia’s capitalist rulers – killed thousands of Libyan people. Photo, Below Left, shows a man and a child found dead in residential buildings that were destroyed in a 19 June 2011 NATO air strike on the outskirts of the Libyan capital. Of course, there was never any blanket media coverage of these attacks the way the Paris attacks have been covered in the media nor any officially organised mourning for the victims. Was the Opera House ever lit up in the colours of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria to mourn the civilian victims of Western imperialist atrocities? Gruesome attacks by white supremacist terrorists like the murder of 77 people in Norway on 22 July 2011 by neo-Nazi, Anders Breivik (Below Right) also never got the same condemnation and overwhelming media coverage as the Paris attacks.
Far-right forces have seized on terrorist attacks by ISIS/Al Qaeda, like the 13 November attacks in Paris (Above Left), to promote their extreme racist agenda. The Paris attacks carried out by ISIS were indeed cruel, cowardly attacks on innocent civilians. However, the condemnation of the attacks by the Western capitalist rulers and their media is the height of hypocrisy – given their own horrific crimes. Photo, Above Right, shows the hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz in flames after U.S. aircraft repeatedly bombed the hospital on 3 October 2015, killing at least 22 and up to as many as 50 civilians. The only reason that this barbaric war crime received any media coverage is that the hospital was run by the French NGO, Médecins Sans Frontières. MSF reported that they desperately contacted U.S. and Afghan authorities by agreed channels to tell them that the hospital was being bombed but the U.S. military continued their precise bombing of the hospital for at least a further half an hour. At the height of their occupation of Afghanistan, the U.S, French, German, British and Australian imperialist forces were every seven weeks murdering as many civilians as were killed in the Paris attacks! Meanwhile, during their intense bombing of Libya to impose regime change there, the U.S., French and British imperialists – backed by Australia’s capitalist rulers – killed thousands of Libyan people. Photo, Below Left, shows a man and a child found dead in residential buildings that were destroyed in a 19 June 2011 NATO air strike on the outskirts of the Libyan capital. Of course, there was never any blanket media coverage of these attacks the way the Paris attacks have been covered in the media nor any officially organised mourning for the victims. Was the Opera House ever lit up in the colours of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria to mourn the civilian victims of Western imperialist atrocities? Gruesome attacks by white supremacist terrorists like the murder of 77 people in Norway on 22 July 2011 by neo-Nazi, Anders Breivik (Below Right) also never got the same condemnation and overwhelming media coverage as the Paris attacks.

Paris Terror Attacks3

Extreme reactionary forces like ISIS and Al Qaeda were, actually, initially built up by Washington and Co. to serve their neo-colonial agenda but then escaped their master’s leash. Above Left: Then U.S. president Ronald Reagan meets with extreme fundamentalist Mujahedin leaders at the White House in 1985. Reagan described them as the “moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” These reactionary cut-throats were massively financed and armed by the Western capitalist powers in their barbaric, anti-communist war against the then leftist – and pro-women’s rights – Afghan government and its Soviet Red Army protectors. Among the fundamentalists backed by Washington in Afghanistan was Al Qaeda founder, Osama Bin Laden. Above Right: In May 2013, prominent U.S. senator John McCain meets Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, leader of the Al Qaeda offshoot, ISIS and other Western-backed Syrian “Rebel” leaders. After this meeting, which was covered by CNN, McCain lavished praise on Baghdadi and Co. as “moderates.” The U.S., French, British and Australian rulers only turned on ISIS over a year later after it started to attack the West’s other Syrian “Rebel” allies and after it encroached on Western interests in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Extreme reactionary forces like ISIS and Al Qaeda were, actually, initially built up by Washington and Co. to serve their neo-colonial agenda but then escaped their master’s leash. Above Left: Then U.S. president Ronald Reagan meets with extreme fundamentalist Mujahedin leaders at the White House in 1985. Reagan described them as the “moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” These reactionary cut-throats were massively financed and armed by the Western capitalist powers in their barbaric, anti-communist war against the then leftist – and pro-women’s rights – Afghan government and its Soviet Red Army protectors. Among the fundamentalists backed by Washington in Afghanistan was Al Qaeda founder, Osama Bin Laden. Above Right: In May 2013, prominent U.S. senator John McCain meets Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, leader of the Al Qaeda offshoot, ISIS and other Western-backed Syrian “Rebel” leaders. After this meeting, which was covered by CNN, McCain lavished praise on Baghdadi and Co. as “moderates.” The U.S., French, British and Australian rulers only turned on ISIS over a year later after it started to attack the West’s other Syrian “Rebel” allies and after it encroached on Western interests in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Meanwhile, it is the ongoing neo-colonial exploitation and brutal repression of “Third World” Middle Eastern, African and Asian people by the imperial powers that – in the situation where a communist alternative force is still being built up – has led some originating from these lands to seek salvation in ultra-reactionary forces like ISIS and Al Qaeda. Above Right: Nazi-like savagery! Eleven civilians including five children murdered in a U.S. attack on an Iraqi house in the town of Isahaqi on 15 March 2006. The U.S. military claimed that the civilians were killed as “collateral damage” in an attack on supposed militants in the house but even the U.S.-puppet, Iraqi colonial authorities had to admit that the U.S. troops actually shot each of the victims – including the children – in the back of the head - execution style - as “revenge” for insurgent attacks on the U.S. military. Above Left: Algerian protesters massacred by French police in Paris on 17 October 1961. The unarmed Algerian migrants demonstrated against a discriminatory curfew and against French colonial rule in Algeria. French police, many of whom had been Nazi collaborators during World War II, responded by beating to death many protesters in police stations and woods while others whom they had beaten unconscious they then drowned by throwing them into Paris’ Seine river. It is estimated that the French police massacred 200 people that day. Amongst many other outrages commited by the French imperialist state it is worth noting France’s complicity in the dark history of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide Against the Tutsis which, over the course of just 100 days, saw 800,000 unarmed civilians slaughtered, mainly by machetes. In 2008, a two year investigation conducted by the Rwandan government found that France helped the extremists who carried out the genocide and that a French force sent to establish a “humanitarian safe zone” took part in killing and raping Tutsis. “French soldiers themselves directly were involved in assassinations of Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis,” the special commission report stated. “French soldiers committed many rapes, forced sexual intercourse specifically with surviving Tutsi women. They clearly requested Interahamwe [Hutu militia] ... to kill Tutsis,” it said. “They also clearly requested to have Tutsi who had infiltrated in displaced population camps brought to them and have Interahamwe kill at least some of them. They let Interahamwe kill Tutsis under their eyes.” See “French leaders accused of complicity in Rwanda genocide”, The Telegraph, 5 August 2008 (located online at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/2506150/France-accused-of-complicity-in-Rwanda-genocide.html - accessed 14 March 2016). The Telegraph article continues to say: French military advisers worked closely with the Rwandan government in the years leading up to 1994. Those advisors helped draw up battle plans and military strategy for the Rwandan armed forces, including elite units which are accused of being among the first to start the killings, the report said. The French suggested a program to arm civilians to protect against opposition rebels, and then went on to train volunteers. These militia formed the core of the later genocidal infrastructure. Training and funding was also given to a department of Rwanda’s national intelligence services on how to establish a computerised database of people’s tribes, which was later used to draw up a “kill list” of Tutsis. Once the genocide had started, on April 6, 1994, France sent arms to support the genocidal government, according to the report, which heard from 120 witnesses since it was set up by President Kagame in 2006.
Meanwhile, it is the ongoing neo-colonial exploitation and brutal repression of “Third World” Middle Eastern, African and Asian people by the imperial powers that – in the situation where a communist alternative force is still being built up – has led some originating from these lands to seek salvation in ultra-reactionary forces like ISIS and Al Qaeda. Above Right: Nazi-like savagery! Eleven civilians including five children murdered in a U.S. attack on an Iraqi house in the town of Isahaqi on 15 March 2006. The U.S. military claimed that the civilians were killed as “collateral damage” in an attack on supposed militants in the house but even the U.S.-puppet, Iraqi colonial authorities had to admit that the U.S. troops actually shot each of the victims – including the children – in the back of the head – execution style – as “revenge” for insurgent attacks on the U.S. military. Above Left: Algerian protesters massacred by French police in Paris on 17 October 1961. The unarmed Algerian migrants demonstrated against a discriminatory curfew and against French colonial rule in Algeria. French police, many of whom had been Nazi collaborators during World War II, responded by beating to death many protesters in police stations and woods while others whom they had beaten unconscious they then drowned by throwing them into Paris’ Seine river. It is estimated that the French police massacred 200 people that day.
Amongst many other outrages commited by the French imperialist state it is worth noting France’s complicity in the dark history of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide Against the Tutsis which, over the course of just 100 days, saw 800,000 unarmed civilians slaughtered, mainly by machetes. In 2008, a two year investigation conducted by the Rwandan government found that France helped the extremists who carried out the genocide and that a French force sent to establish a “humanitarian safe zone” took part in killing and raping Tutsis. “French soldiers themselves directly were involved in assassinations of Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis,” the special commission report stated. “French soldiers committed many rapes, forced sexual intercourse specifically with surviving Tutsi women. They clearly requested Interahamwe [Hutu militia] … to kill Tutsis,” it said. “They also clearly requested to have Tutsi who had infiltrated in displaced population camps brought to them and have Interahamwe kill at least some of them. They let Interahamwe kill Tutsis under their eyes.” See “French leaders accused of complicity in Rwanda genocide”, The Telegraph, 5 August 2008 (located online at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/2506150/France-accused-of-complicity-in-Rwanda-genocide.html – accessed 14 March 2016). The Telegraph article continues to say:
“French military advisers worked closely with the Rwandan government in the years leading up to 1994.
“Those advisors helped draw up battle plans and military strategy for the Rwandan armed forces, including elite units which are accused of being among the first to start the killings, the report said.
“The French suggested a program to arm civilians to protect against opposition rebels, and then went on to train volunteers. These militia formed the core of the later genocidal infrastructure.
Training and funding was also given to a department of Rwanda’s national intelligence services on how to establish a computerised database of people’s tribes, which was later used to draw up a “kill list” of Tutsis.
“Once the genocide had started, on April 6, 1994, France sent arms to support the genocidal government, according to the report, which heard from 120 witnesses since it was set up by President Kagame in 2006.”
Today, capitalist rulers from France to Australia are cynically seizing on the terrorist attacks to whip up patriotic fervour and a supposed “common identity” as people who embrace “liberal democratic values.” This serves to mask the fact that the capitalist ruling class exploit their “own” working class. Above Left, 5 October 2015: Air France workers storm through the gates of the company’s headquarters after the capitalist bosses announced the retrenchment of 2,900 workers. Angry workers ripped the shirts off a couple of high-ranking executives and were about to dispense a healthy dose of workers’ justice to these greedy corporate thugs when the terrified bosses were rescued by security guards and climbed over a fence to escape (Above Right). Today’s post-attacks patriotism is meant to not only dampen such class struggle but the yet more added powers that the capitalist authorities are giving themselves in the name of fighting terrorism will in the end be used against the workers’ movement, leftists and anti-imperialists.
Today, capitalist rulers from France to Australia are cynically seizing on the terrorist attacks to whip up patriotic fervour and a supposed “common identity” as people who embrace “liberal democratic values.” This serves to mask the fact that the capitalist ruling class exploit their “own” working class. Above Left, 5 October 2015: Air France workers storm through the gates of the company’s headquarters after the capitalist bosses announced the retrenchment of 2,900 workers. Angry workers ripped the shirts off a couple of high-ranking executives and were about to dispense a healthy dose of workers’ justice to these greedy corporate thugs when the terrified bosses were rescued by security guards and climbed over a fence to escape (Above Right). Today’s post-attacks patriotism is meant to not only dampen such class struggle but the yet more added powers that the capitalist authorities are giving themselves in the name of fighting terrorism will in the end be used against the workers’ movement, leftists and anti-imperialists.
Above: Melbourne, 2010: Police arrest 29 of the striking workers picketing the Visy manufacturing plant in Melbourne.
Above: Melbourne, 2010: Police arrest 29 of the striking workers picketing the Visy manufacturing plant in Melbourne.

What Strategy is needed to Counter the Violent Racist Threat?

Above: In Melbourne, April 2015, fascists (on the left of picture) participating in the ultra-Islamophobic “Reclaim Australia” rally threaten and use violence against anti-racist counter-demonstrators. Fascist forces not only have disgusting views but are people organised to commit violence against Aboriginal people, non-white ethnic communities, leftists and the workers movement. The idea that fascists can be peacefully debated is not a viewpoint based on reality.

WORKING CLASS-BASED MASS DIRECT ACTION vs LIBERAL/SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC PACIFISM

The first “Reclaim Australia” rallies on 4 April 2015 were the biggest open mobilisations of far-right racists in Australia in a long time. With the notable exception of Melbourne, in most places where they rallied on April 4 the racist extremists outnumbered anti-racist counter-protesters. In Sydney, Australia’s largest and most multiracial city, the April 4 counter-demonstration was particularly weak. Many long-time anti-fascists did not turn up to the anti-racist counter-rally, organised mainly by the Solidarity group, because the rally leadership’s avowed strategy of ruling out any attempt to shut down the white supremacist “Reclaim Australia” mobilisation either positively turned off – or otherwise did not inspire – many staunch anti-fascists.

When the fascists again rallied in cities throughout Australia on the weekend of July 18/19, anti-racists throughout the country were more determined. A somewhat more purposeful intent shown in the building for the July 19 anti-racist counter-action in Sydney – in comparison with the strategy proclaimed for the earlier April 4 Sydney rally – saw anti-racists this time outnumber the extreme right-wing racists by two to one. However, in Queensland the far-right racist rallies again exceeded in numbers the size of the counter-demonstrations. Furthermore, again with the partial exception of Melbourne where a determined picket set up by anti-racist counter-protesters blocked some of the fascists from entering their race-hate rally’s assembly point, the rednecks were still able to hold their actions unimpeded and turn central parts of major cities into de-facto no-go zones for people with non-white skin. Moreover, the July 18/19 “Reclaim” rallies received more mainstream backing than the previous April 4 mobilisation with one sitting government MP speaking at a rally and the police even more blatantly siding with the fascists against anti-racist counter-demonstrators.

In the wake of the fascist danger shown by the 4 April 2015 – and then July 18/19 – “Reclaim” rallies there has been much debate amongst leftists and other anti-racists about how best to counter the far-right offensive. This is not a bad thing. Such debates give an opportunity to clarify the strategy that we need to defeat the threat from extreme racists. The lines of these debates focus on several related questions but a key one is whether the goal of counter-demonstrations should be to simply protest against the views of the far-right racists or, on the other hand, should they also seek to physically stop the fascist mobilisations. Amongst those advocating the former perspective – that is, a continuation of the pacifist strategy that the Sydney 4 April 2015 anti-racist rally was built on – are various small-l liberals including many supporters of the Greens as well as the left groups Socialist Alliance and Solidarity. Strongly defending this outlook is also the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). An article in the CPA’s The Guardian newspaper by Peter Mac, analysing the April 4 racist and anti-racist demonstrations, denounced the Melbourne anti-racist counter-action for being “violent” and continued that:

The likelihood of an eruption of violence was boosted by one group’s declaration that the Reclaim Australia rally provided a golden opportunity to shut it down, that `the neo-Nazis … must be swept off the streets’ and its recommendation to `drive the violent white supremacists out of stolen Aboriginal land!’
As a result during the Melbourne confrontation Reclaim Australia’s chant of `Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi. Oi’ was met with shouts of `Fuck off racists’ by some of the counter demonstrators, accompanied by spitting, punches and bloodshed on both sides.
“Lessons from Reclaim Australia protests”, The Guardian, 22 April 2015

The “one group” that the CPA is here attacking happens to be us – Trotskyist Platform. To properly understand our strategy that the CPA is condemning, one needs to read not just the couple of phrases from our leaflet plucked out by the The Guardian but, at the very least, the entire paragraph which we copy below:

It appears that the organisers of the Sydney anti-racist counter-rally want the event to simply challenge the views of `Reclaim Australia’ and expose its racist nature. That is certainly necessary. However, it is far from adequate. What distinguishes the fascists from mainstream racists is that they have a program of using violence to achieve their aim of a `pure’ whites-only society. These are the same groups that helped incite the notorious 2005 Cronulla Beach white supremacist riot. Their neo-Nazi slogans have helped to foment the wave of violent – and sometimes even murderous – attacks on Indian, Chinese, and most recently, Korean students as well as helping to incite the unceasing redneck violence against Aboriginal people. If these white supremacists get away with openly inciting racist hatred on April 4 it will encourage every garden-variety redneck watching to radicalise their racist stance. If such hate parades continue it will be inevitable that we will see here horrific incidents like that which happened in North Carolina last month when three young Muslim American students were murdered in a racist attack. Furthermore, the organised presence of violent white supremacists in the heart of Sydney – no matter if they are interspersed with less extreme racists who they have sucked into their rally – will intimidate and physically endanger the many Muslim and non-white people visiting the area. That is why the `Reclaim Australia’ action must not only be protested against – it must be shut down! The neo-Nazis pulling the strings in organising `Reclaim Australia’ must be swept off the streets. Let’s drive violent white supremacists out of stolen Aboriginal land!
“Shutdown the ‘Reclaim Australia’ Race Hate Rallies”, Trotskyist Platform leaflet, 28 March 2015

George Christensen (Centre), an MP from the federal Coalition government, spoke at the 19 July 2015 “Reclaim Australia” racist rally in Mackay. Small-l liberal figures and their social democratic promoters claim that mainstream politicians can be won over to the struggle against far-right racism. But, actually, these politicians are a big part of the reason why the extreme racist forces are growing.
George Christensen (Centre), an MP from the federal Coalition government, spoke at the 19 July 2015 “Reclaim Australia” racist rally in Mackay. Small-l liberal figures and their social democratic promoters claim that mainstream politicians can be won over to the struggle against far-right racism. But, actually, these politicians are a big part of the reason why the extreme racist forces are growing.

Unfortunately, at this point what was warned against in our leaflet is, for the moment, coming to pass. The white supremacists largely got away with being able to foment their race hate on 4 April 2015 (and indeed on July 18/19) and as a result those unorganised racist bigots sitting at home watching became more radicalised. This has contributed at least in some way to the increase in racist attacks on the streets over the last few months. The one partial exception on April 4 (and also on July 18/19) was Melbourne, where the fascists’ ability to hold their race-hate provocation was at least challenged by the large counter-rally and some of the racists were blocked from joining their counterparts at their rallying point. Yet, sounding completely like small-l liberals rather than the communists that the CPA proudly claims to be a party of, Peter Mac’s article condemns the “spitting, punches and bloodshed on both sides” thereby equating the determined and laudable anti-racist resistance of many Melbourne anti-“Reclaim” demonstrators with the thuggery of neo-Nazis attempting to crush any obstacle to advancing their violent racist objectives.

Lenin’s Strategy for Defeating Fascists

CPA comrades, as avowed supporters of Lenin’s communist program, should consider the attitude of Lenin’s Bolsheviks to the Russian far-right racists of Lenin’s time, the Black Hundreds. Ardent monarchists, the Black Hundreds were most notorious for perpetrating violent attacks on Jewish people – usually with the connivance and often even the active support of the Tsarist authorities. As well as espousing extreme anti-Semitism, these rabid Russian chauvinists also whipped up hatred against Polish people and opposed any recognition of Ukrainians as a distinct nationality. Like today’s fascists in Australia, the Black Hundreds also staged mass, “patriotic” demonstrations to denounce the influence of non-Christian, ethnic minority, leftist and liberal groups. Yet, unlike the CPA’s newspaper that condemns those taking action to physically impede fascist provocations in Melbourne, Lenin instead condemned those liberals and pacifist leftists who denounced as “reckless” the calls to organise mass, militant self-defence against the Black Hundreds. Thus, when in June 1906 the Black Hundreds perpetrated a horrific pogrom against Jewish people in the town of Belostok (sometimes spelt Bialystok) in the western part of the then Russian empire (in today’s Poland), Lenin wrote:

… there are those who, seeing these phenomena of Russian social life, think, and say, that somebody or other is `recklessly’ calling upon the people to resort to `extreme measures’! One must be, not reckless, but a poltroon, politically corrupt, to say such things in the face of events like the burning of the People’s House at Vologda (at the time of the opening of the Duma) or the pogrom in Belostok (after the Duma had been in session a month).   A single event like this will have more effect upon the people than millions of appeals. And to talk about `reckless’ appeals is just as hopelessly pedantic and as much a sin of a deadened civic conscience, as to condemn the wild cry for revenge that is going up from the battlefields of Vologda and Belostok.
“The Reaction is Taking to Arms”, V.I. Lenin, June 1906, Collected Works, Progress Publishers

The perspective of Lenin’s Bolsheviks to the Russian fascists of their time was thus very far from that of Peter Mac’s attitude to Australia’s Black Hundreds of today. Thus, while Mac speaks of the need to “persuade” Reclaim participants saying that it would be “a grave mistake to assume that Reclaim supporters are incapable of changing their minds,” Lenin’s attitude to those who were inciting and perpetrating physical attacks on ethnic communities and leftists can be summed up by the following call he made to respond to the Black Hundreds. Lenin called for revolutionaries to:

… at once find out who organises the Black Hundreds and where and how they are organised, and then, without confining themselves to propaganda (which is useful, but inadequate) they must act with armed force, beat up and kill the members of the Black-Hundred gangs, blow up their headquarters, etc., etc.
Tasks of Revolutionary Army Contingents, V.I. Lenin, October 1905, Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers

Although that particular call was written during the height of the 1905 Revolution in Russia when the physical clash between opposing forces was at white heat and thus the specific tactical methods advocated are particular to such a period, the call nevertheless expressed an overall political perspective completely relevant to “normal times”: that the fascists need to be shut down rather than merely debated.

The Capitalist Authorities Are Not Allies in the Struggle against Fascism

Sydney, 19 July 2015: Police brutalise anti-racism activists counter-demonstrating against a rally by the extreme racist “Reclaim Australia” movement. Since police serve the same capitalist ruling class whom the fascists and their race-hate ideology truly serve, they are heavily biased towards supporting the fascists in any standoff with anti-fascists.
Sydney, 19 July 2015: Police brutalise anti-racism activists counter-demonstrating against a rally by the extreme racist “Reclaim Australia” movement. Since police serve the same capitalist ruling class whom the fascists and their race-hate ideology truly serve, they are heavily biased towards supporting the fascists in any standoff with anti-fascists.

Since the CPA stance is representative of that of the whole liberal-pacifist wing of the anti-fascist movement it is worth analysing their strategy further. This strategy is outlined in a favourable assessment that Peter Mac makes of an Adelaide anti-Reclaim protest organiser:

Adelaide pastor Brad Chilcott observed with regard to the public’s impression of events: ‘Your audience is not the racists you’re shouting at, but the people watching at home. … [But] those watching at home … couldn’t tell the difference between the good guys and the bad. Then politicians have to condemn the violence on both sides, rather than [giving] an undiluted message condemning bigotry.
“Lessons from Reclaim Australia protests”, The Guardian, 22 April 2015

So we see that the strategy of the CPA and small-liberals like Chilcott is for anti-racist rallies to be tepid enough to encourage mainstream politicians to condemn bigotry. But it is precisely the policies and statements of the mainstream pro-capitalist politicians that are encouraging the bigots! Barely a week goes by without the right-wing Coalition government heaping a new insult upon Aboriginal and coloured ethnic communities. And barely a week goes by without the ALP Opposition signing onto or otherwise acquiescing to such insults.

How openly the ruling class politicians are contributing to the rise of the fascists was seen when government MP, George Christensen, actually spoke at the 19 July 2015 Reclaim demonstration in Mackay, Queensland. Furthermore, when asked about Christensen’s decision to openly support the event, foreign minister July Bishop refused to make even the faintest condemnation of Christensen or the “Reclaim” movement, deviously claiming that, “I don’t know anything about the organisation. I certainly haven’t been briefed on it.” Even before this outrage, the mainstream politicians had already openly pumped up the “Reclaim Australia” forces. Barely a month after the first set of “Reclaim” rallies, the Senate decided to hold an inquiry into halal certification (under the guise of an inquiry into food certification) thereby giving credence to the looney premise of the “Reclaim” fascists that money paid for halal certification is being used to “finance terrorism.”

Melbourne, 18 July 2015: Police viciously attack anti-racism protesters demonstrating against a rally by the far-right Reclaim Australia/United Patriots Front groups. Police did everything to facilitate the rally by the racist violence-inciting fascist groups.
Melbourne, 18 July 2015: Police viciously attack
anti-racism protesters demonstrating against a rally by the far-right Reclaim Australia/United Patriots Front groups. Police did everything to facilitate the rally by the racist violence-inciting fascist groups.

Sorry, Mr Chilcott and the CPA: the mainstream politicians are a big part of the problem and are not and cannot in the future be part of the solution! Indeed, especially after the global capitalist recession that commenced in 2008, ruling politicians around the capitalist world have brought far-right forces more and more into the mainstream. They have done this through adoption of their ideas, through sanctioning of them as “legitimate” voices to be addressed and even – in the cases of Switzerland, Latvia and Ukraine – through their inclusion in coalition governments. Here, the same trend is happening and it is driven by, more or less, the same economic reality. As the fall in the prices of iron ore and other commodities (from the exorbitant levels with which Australian mining bosses had previously been ripping off Asian neighbours with) reduces the profits of the Australian capitalist ruling class, they are seeking to make up for this by more viciously exploiting the masses. To enable them to achieve this, the ruling class is seeking to kill off the chance of working class resistance by poisoning mass sentiments with a large dose of nationalism.

Reflecting worry amongst their working class base, a very small number of ALP politicians have spoken out – albeit mostly quite meekly – against the “Reclaim” movement. Yet, even in the highly unlikely event that mainstream politicians were to do a U-turn and formally stand en masse against the fascists that would not do all that much to stop actual violent racist attacks. Any legal measures instituted against the white supremacist thugs would have to be implemented by a police force and court system that has proven itself, time after time, to favour the far-right racists against anti-racists. This was seen all too clearly over the 18/19 July 2015  weekend. In Melbourne, police went all out to ensure that the Reclaim racists and their even more extreme United Patriots Front (UPF) breakaway group could hold their racist-violence manufacturing hate rallies. This included indiscriminately unleashing pepper spray against anti-fascist protesters. Police were so gung-ho about attacking anti-fascists with pepper spray that one of their capsicum spray barrages even hit street medics treating anti-racist protesters who had previously been overcome by the spray as well as these same victims of the spray who were receiving treatment.  A widely circulated photograph showing the police high-fiving a UPF fascist (!) at the Melbourne race-hate rally, quite neatly and horribly captured the essence of the police stance.

Showing which side they are on! A policeman publicly high-fives a member of the fascist United Patriots Front during their 18 July 2015 race-hate rally in Melbourne. As a core part of the capitalist state, the police in this current system cannot be allies in the anti-fascist struggle but are, instead, a major force impeding the fight against fascism.
Showing which side they are on! A policeman publicly high-fives a member of the fascist United Patriots Front during their 18 July 2015 race-hate rally in Melbourne. As a core part of the capitalist state, the police in this current system cannot be allies in the anti-fascist struggle but are, instead, a major force impeding the fight against fascism.

Yet, an Editorial in the CPA’s The Guardian issue just after the July 18/19 events promoted the police as a force against the rise of the fascists. This Editorial stated:

Police, including NSW deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas, are worried about the proliferation of right-wing racist and white supremacist groups….
“The deputy commissioner is on the right track about incidents taking place overseas and those in Australia seeking to take advantage of them.
The Guardian, 22 July 2015

This same police force and police leadership that the CPA is praising in its Editorial just days before attacked the Sydney anti-“Reclaim” protest on July 19. Even before the official start time for the anti-fascist event was reached, the police physically and aggressively dragged anti-racist protesters away from their planned rally point so that the fascists could rally there unimpeded. The NSW police arrested five anti-racist protesters. Meanwhile, they devoted many resources to organising protective escorts for extreme white supremacist groups entering and leaving the “Reclaim” rally. One group of anarchist, anti-racist protesters was, on the other hand, roughed up by police after they left the anti-racist demonstration with at least one anti-racist being hurled by police against a telephone booth.

To be sure, the CPA Editorial did also make some very good points about how the “leadership of this wave of intolerance can be found at the very `top’ of society, including in Australia’s parliament” – correct arguments that actually undercut the perspective promoted by Brad Chilcott which was lauded in the earlier article by Peter Mac. However, to promote the police as a force against fascism not only flies in the face of police actions against anti-fascists on the 18/19 July 2015  weekend and the whole ongoing history of racist police terror against Aboriginal people but directly contradicts Lenin’s teachings on the nature of the state. Leninists understand that in a capitalist society, the state – which the police, courts, army and prisons are at the core of – consists of armed bodies of people whose job it is to enforce the rule of the capitalist class over the exploited masses. Thus, the capitalist state organs like the police serve the same class as the fascists do. The police do the daily work of maintaining capitalist rule. The fascists back that up by acting to poison working class unity and intimidating staunch anti-capitalists while the ruling class keeps them as an attack dog on a leash ready to be unleashed when serious threats to capitalist rule emerge. That is why not only have the police been siding with the fascists in the standoffs with anti-racists over the last period but in the future the capitalists’ police can never be an ally in the struggle against fascism. Defeating the growing threat from far-right extremists can only be accomplished through mass, direct action on the streets by the organised working class united with coloured ethnic communities, Aboriginal people and all the other intended victims of the fascists.

Learning Lessons from the Past

In basing their anti-fascist strategy on the hope that either mainstream capitalist politicians or the capitalist state organs themselves can be pushed into stopping the fascists, the CPA is aping the disastrous policy of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the period leading up to Hitler’s Nazis’ seizure of power in the early 1930s. Then, as SPD workers and youth began to courageously fight Nazi forces on the streets, the leadership of the SPD, at the time the biggest party based on the German working class, quelled this struggle. They turned the Iron Front for Resistance against Fascism, which the SPD had itself created, into an electoral machine for electing the monarchist capitalist politician Hindenburg whom they hoped would save them from Hitler. The curbing of the struggle to physically stop the fascist forces allowed the Nazis to grow stronger, take physical control of more and more streets and gain much in confidence. Meanwhile, far from saving the SPD from the Nazis, Hindenburg eventually appointed Hitler as chancellor as the mainstream of the ruling class realised that only fascism could save capitalist rule in Germany!

Unfortunately, the German Communist Party (KPD), which had by then degenerated alongside the bureaucratic degeneration (but not destruction) of the Soviet workers state, also followed a bankrupt approach, albeit from more sincere intentions. The KPD first underestimated the danger of the Nazis and, partly in reaction to the very real anti-working class treachery of the SPD, refused to organise united-front actions with the SPD to oppose the Nazi threat to both their organisations. Later, as Hitler’s forces grew stronger, KPD leaders became paralysed and came to see a Nazi triumph as inevitable.

However, Hitler could have been stopped! The murderous beheading of the German workers movement, the Holocaust of Jewish people and the brutality of the Nazi’s war on the USSR could have been prevented! What was required at the time was what the Trotskyist Left Opposition was urgently calling for: a united-front of the working class to physically stop the fascists – something which the most conscious workers felt the need for but which was counterpoised to the reformist capitulations of the SPD leaders and which the zig-zagging KPD could not bring itself to fight for. Understanding that the pacifist SPD leaders would always resist and foot drag on such a strategy and that in the long-run fascism could not be defeated without breaking the rank and file supporters of the social democracy away from their sellout leaders and winning them to allegiance to the communist party – Trotsky (following the program of Lenin’s Bolsheviks) outlined that the basis of united front struggle is not only unity in action but complete political independence of the different components of such a front including full freedom to criticise each other’s programs.

Right now, Australia is not in immediate danger of a Hitler-style takeover. However, the growing fascist forces are already doing harm to workers’ unity and are already perpetrating and inciting the preliminary test-runs of the huge future pogroms that they would like to commit. We need united-front action of the working class right now to physically crush the fascists while they are still crawling out of their eggs.

And that is the point! To tell anti-racists to confine themselves to politely explaining what is wrong with racism in the face of a movement that perpetrates and incites violence is to disarm and damage the anti-racist struggle. It is following the road of the German social democratic leaders who in the lead up to Hitler’s seizure of power were saying that so long as the Nazis do not quit the ground of legality, there is no room for an on the streets fight to physically stop them! That is why as part of the struggle to build a working class-based mass movement to sweep the racist filth off the streets, those activists who understand the need for such a perspective must explain to other anti-fascists why a strategy of seeking to pressure the capitalist authorities to act against the right-wing extremists is, as history itself proves, inevitably doomed to fail.

In September 2010 racist police used the bogus pretext of a noise complaint to brutalise Aboriginal woman, Tisha Hickey, at the end of her own 21st birthday party. The violent police attack caused bruises and cuts to her leg, arms and abdomen. Tisha is a relative of TJ Hickey, the 17 year-old Aboriginal youth who was killed by racist police in Redfern in February 2004. Since TJ’s murder, police have used violence and harassment to persecute his family and relatives for their refusal to give up the fight for justice for TJ. The official violence of the police, detention centre guards and spy agencies emboldens the violent far-right racist groups.
In September 2010 racist police used the bogus pretext of a noise complaint to brutalise Aboriginal woman, Tisha Hickey, at the end of her own 21st birthday party. The violent police attack caused bruises and cuts to her leg, arms and abdomen. Tisha is a relative of TJ Hickey, the 17 year-old Aboriginal youth who was killed by racist police in Redfern in February 2004. Since TJ’s murder, police have used violence and harassment to persecute his family and relatives for their refusal to give up the fight for justice for TJ. The official violence of the police, detention centre guards and spy agencies emboldens the violent far-right racist groups.

 

 

 

 

 

An African Person Who Studied in Russia Tells His Story

An African Person Who Studied in Russia Tells His Story: Capitalism Breeds Racism. A First Hand Account of How Russia’s Return to Capitalism Led to An Explosion of Racism.

Ugly reality after capitalist counterrevolution. Russian police detain 1,200 migrants from the Caucuses who worked at a vegetable warehouse in Biryulyovo district in the south of Moscow. The October 2013 police raid followed a terrifying riot against migrants in the area by violent white supremacists. The racist police round up of the migrants thus legitimised the fascist riot.
Ugly reality after capitalist counterrevolution. Russian police detain 1,200 migrants from the Caucuses who worked at a vegetable warehouse in Biryulyovo district in the south of Moscow. The October 2013 police raid followed a terrifying riot against migrants in the area by violent white supremacists. The racist police round up of the migrants thus legitimised the fascist riot.

The unemployment, economic insecurity and inequality of capitalism provides a fertile ground for the growth of racism. Racial prejudices are, in fact, consciously nurtured by the capitalist exploiting class as a way of diverting and dividing the working class masses that they exploit. Here in Australia, the big business-owned media constantly stigmatize Aboriginal people even as this country’s first peoples face racist police violence and daily discrimination in every aspect of their lives. The Liberal/National regime demonizes refugees and the ALP Opposition acquiesces to this. Then the ALP leaders divert workers’ understandable anger at unemployment and fear of losing their jobs into hostility to the presence of immigrant guest workers. Meanwhile, the dog-eat-dog mentality that naturally accompanies an economic system based on cut- throat competition means that everyone is pushed into seeing everyone else as a rival. This, inevitably, leads to divisions within capitalist society developing along racial and religious lines and people from minority ethnicities and religions are, ultimately, victimized.

In short, capitalism breeds racism. The construction of a socialist society will, on the other hand, guarantee that there is no longer a ruling class interested in dividing the masses with racism as well as other means because the very essence of socialism is the ending of the exploitation of the working class masses. Furthermore, a socialist society is based on collective ownership of the economy and economic decisions made for common needs rather than for greedy individual goals. Such a system thus naturally brings people together.

Days of the Socialistic USSR: International and local students at Novosibirsk State Technical University pose for a photo in front of a statue of Russian Revolution leader, Vladimir Lenin.
Days of the Socialistic USSR: International and local students at Novosibirsk State Technical University pose for a photo in front of a statue of Russian Revolution leader, Vladimir Lenin.

All this is not just theory. It has been proven by history. In its pre-1917 period of capitalist- feudal rule, Russia was an imperialist empire where the non-European peoples of Central Asia and the Caucuses suffered racial discrimination, Jews and Poles faced massacres by fascist gangs called the Black Hundreds and non-Russian nationalities from the Ukrainians to the Georgians to the various Central Asian nationalities faced brutal suppression of their national rights. However, the 1917 October Socialist Revolution in Russia changed all that. The victorious revolutionary workers created their own state, the Soviet Union (USSR) workers state, that over time led to a massive improvement in the status of the Kazakh, Uzbek, Tadzhik, Turkmen, Kirghiz, Georgian, Armenian, Azeri and other peoples of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the time the communist-led workers took state power, they mobilized to smash the fascist and other anti-Semitic gangs. [6]

Inspired by the Russian Revolution and incensed at the destruction and poverty that capitalist rule had brought them by the end of the inter-capitalist World War I, the years following the 1917 Revolution saw revolutionary struggles break out in Germany, Hungary, Italy and many other countries. However, the communist parties in these countries were too newly formed to lead these revolutions to a victorious conclusion in the way that Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolshevik Party (which was later renamed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) had done. As a result the young Soviet workers state remained isolated and thus faced intense external capitalist military threat and economic blockade much as North Korea faces today. Meanwhile, Russia and the other parts of the USSR were economically devastated by the World War that preceded the revolution and the four years of Civil War that followed it when the Soviet masses heroically defended their revolution against invading armies from fourteen capitalist countries and armies built by the overthrown Russian capitalists. Under these conditions of encirclement and economic scarcity and with the masses exhausted from the years of wars and demoralized by the failure of revolutions abroad, a more right-wing leadership took over administration of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This leadership turned its back on the internationalist outlook that was key to the revolution and replaced the workers democracy that followed the revolution with an administration where career-minded bureaucrats were allowed to come to the fore.

Established in 1960 in Soviet times, tens of thousands of international students from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America studied on scholarship at the USSR’s University of the Friendship of Peoples. Although local students also studied there, the USSR established the university specifically for the purpose of providing an education to people from the ex-colonial countries. In February 1961, the university was re-named after the Congolese anti-colonial leader, as Patrice Lumumba University of the Friendship of Peoples. This re-naming of the university after Lumumba was a gesture of solidarity with the people of the world standing up to colonialism and neo-colonialism. It came only one month after Lumumba was assassinated by Belgian authorities in a plot orchestrated by the U.S. CIA and with the complicity of the UN. Top Left: First graduates at the university. Top Right: A Russian language lesson in progress. Above: Students from different countries and local students intermingle at the university.
Established in 1960 in Soviet times, tens of thousands of international students from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America studied on scholarship at the USSR’s University of the Friendship of Peoples. Although local students also studied there, the USSR established the university specifically for the purpose of providing an education to people from the ex-colonial countries. In February 1961, the university was re-named after the Congolese anti-colonial leader, as Patrice Lumumba University of the Friendship of Peoples. This re-naming of the university after Lumumba was a gesture of solidarity with the people of the world standing up to colonialism and neo-colonialism. It came only one month after Lumumba was assassinated by Belgian authorities in a plot orchestrated by the U.S. CIA and with the complicity of the UN. Top Left: First graduates at the university. Top Right: A Russian language lesson in progress. Above: Students from different countries and local students intermingle at the university.

However, despite this bureaucratic degeneration that took place in the mid- 1920s, the USSR still remained a workers state based on the socialistic, collectivized economic system that was established after the Russian Revolution. This system not only brought terrific improvements to the education, health and standard of living of the masses but brought much greater racial equality between the majority ethnic Russians and the diverse non-Russian peoples of the USSR. Although the bureaucratic rulers at various times undermined the founding ideals of the USSR by embracing a degree of ethnic Russian-centeredness, from the time the Soviet Union was able to recover from the great sacrifices and untold human and material cost of its great, heroic victory over the sinister, barbaric and uber-racist Nazi threat in World War 2 and then go on to uplift the standard of living of the masses to a decent level by the 1950s, from that time and up until the immediate lead up to the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991-92, the USSR overall truly did live up to its motto of the “Friendship of Peoples”.

September 2015: Hungarian police brutally attack refugees. Capitalist counterrevolution in Hungary has led to an explosion of racist violence by the Hungarian police and fascist paramilitary groups.
September 2015: Hungarian police brutally attack refugees. Capitalist counterrevolution in Hungary has led to an explosion of racist violence by the Hungarian police and fascist paramilitary groups.

Nevertheless, the presence of a bureaucratic administration – with all its accompanying corruption and the fact that ordinary workers were not involved in decision making – prevented the socialistic economy of the USSR from reaching its full potential, something that became more pronounced the closer that the USSR actually came to catching up with the economies of the richest countries. Furthermore, the material privileges of the bureaucracy (as petty as they were compared to the exorbitant wealth of tycoons in capitalist countries) and the suppression of workers democracy depoliticized the masses and weakened their commitment to socialism – even while socialistic rule had greatly improved their lives. All this made the USSR brittle in the face of the gigantic military, economic and political pressures it faced from the capitalist powers who were/are determined to crush any workers state. When a small layer of capitalist counterrevolutionaries backed by Washington, London, Tokyo and Canberra amongst others made its bid for power in the USSR in 1991, the Soviet masses had, in fact, become so depoliticized that most of them did not resist in any effective way at all – even though many were fearful of the consequences of capitalist restoration.

If the establishment of socialistic rule in the former USSR, Yugoslavia, Cuba and China has proved the potential of socialism to eradicate racial oppression and tensions, the 1989-1992 restorations of capitalism in the USSR and East European workers states also proved how it is capitalism that does actually breed racism. Take, for instance, Hungary. In its socialistic period from the late 1940s to 1989, Hungary was known by the many international students from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa who studied there as a place where they were treated with warmth and respect. Although the workers state in Hungary was bureaucratically deformed and the government of the then Hungarian People’s Republic was far from perfect in the treatment of the country’s Indian-origin, Roma minority, Roma in the socialistic period enjoyed access to guaranteed jobs, improved housing and, most crucially, freedom from racist violence. However, following the 1989 capitalist counterrevolution, Hungary changed into an extremely racist society. Today, neo-Nazi skinhead gangs roam Hungary’s streets looking to inflict violence against Roma, Jews and international students. Several Roma have been murdered in pogroms perpetrated by organized fascists and these far-right paramilitaries often descend on neighbourhoods with significant Roma populations to terrorize Roma families with snarling dogs, whips and death threats. These attacks occur with the deliberate non- intervention and often direct connivance of the racist Hungarian police force. [7] Meanwhile, today decent people around the world are aghast at the extreme brutality of the Hungarian regime in its treatment of refugees fleeing Western-instigated violence in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Detail from a 1920s Soviet poster addressed to the traditionally Islamic Tatar people of the old Russian empire, now included within the ranks of the new Soviet workers’ state. Its text - on the poster written in both Russian and Tatar - reads “Tatar Women! Join the Ranks of the Women Workers of Russia. Arm-in-arm with the Proletarian Women of Russia, You will Finally Break off the Last Shackles”.
Detail from a 1920s Soviet poster addressed to the traditionally Islamic Tatar people of the old Russian empire, now included within the ranks of the new Soviet workers’ state. Its text – on the poster written in both Russian and Tatar – reads “Tatar Women! Join the Ranks of the Women Workers of Russia. Arm-in-arm with the Proletarian Women of Russia, You will Finally Break off the Last Shackles”.

Perhaps the most striking example of how capitalism creates racism can be seen by examining the impact of the capitalist counterrevolution that swamped Russia and the rest of the former USSR in 1991-92. We are happy to present below the experiences of comrade El-Hassan who actually lived in Russia through this period – having arrived in Russia during the days of the socialistic USSR and remaining there until seven years after the counterrevolution. As a dark-skinned person of African origin, comrade El-Hassan felt the question of race relations in a very personal way. He described his experiences in a discussion with comrade Samuel Kim, excerpts of which are detailed below:

Samuel Kim: El-Hassan when did you exactly first go to Russia and when were you there until?

El-Hassan: Before answering that I just want to say – since this discussion will be written up – that I think Trotskyist Platform is doing very good work in the fight against capitalism, fascism and racism. Trotskyist Platform is not just talking but actually organizing and participating in the struggles.

Now I first came to Russia in 1990.

Samuel Kim: That was in the socialistic times, in the times of the USSR.

El Hassan: That’s right. I had been living in Sudan and active organizing with the Sudanese Communist Party. In 1989, I found out that I was just about to get arrested and so I fled to Egypt. There I met my brother who had studied in the USSR. Many people from Africa were given places to study in the USSR. My brother encouraged me to study there and helped me apply for a place. There were many communists from Asia and Africa that studied in the USSR. I was granted a place at Moscow State University where I studied journalism.

I studied there until 1994-95, eventually doing my Masters Degree in journalism. After that I stayed in Russia until 1998 when I came here to Australia.

Samuel Kim: So you were in Russia until many years after the 1991-92 capitalist counterrevolution. You saw Russia in both its socialistic days and its capitalist times.

How were you treated during the days of the USSR?

El-Hassan: I was treated very well. All the students, professors and everyone welcomed me and all the other international students. We were very warmly welcomed and respected. I can say that I did not experience any racism at all. There was no racism against anyone.

Samuel Kim: How much did you pay for your studies in the Soviet times?

El-Hassan: I studied for free – I was on scholarship. I also got free board and free food. I did not have to pay rent or any bills. I was given a stipend of 90 Roubles per month. This does not sound like much but things were so cheap then that it was actually a lot. I could save money with that stipend and many of my fellow international students use to send part of their stipend back to their families in their home countries.

Samuel Kim: Another comrade told me that international students in the Soviet Union often went to other parts of the USSR on holiday during university vacation. Is that right?

El-Hassan: Yes. We could get very cheap holiday travel. I myself went on many holidays like to Sochi on the Black Sea coast.

Samuel Kim: What about student politics then?

El-Hassan: There were student groups involved in solidarity with “Third Word” countries. They showed sympathy with many struggles in Africa and around the world. They were against imperialism.

Samuel Kim: What else could you say about life in the days of the Soviet Union?

El-Hassan: There was a rich social life in the USSR. It was great fun. The other important thing is that women had the same status as men then. For example many of the professors at the university were women and women lecturers were amongst my teachers.

Samuel Kim: And what happened after the 1991-92 capitalist counterrevolution?

El-Hassan: Everything changed. Nationalism became more and more prominent. People in the streets became more and more hostile to me. Later even some fellow students started being rude to me. You could tell they did not want me there. Unemployment grew quickly. People were angry and confused and they took it out on us. Many Russian people tried to escape their problems by turning to drugs.

Samuel Kim: What was the attitude of people to the capitalist counterrevolution?

El-Hassan: Many people just stood by and watched it happen and went by trying to live life as usual.

Samuel Kim: Did your material circumstances change?

El-Hassan: Some of the aspects of the old system remained for a while and things took a while to collapse. But things got a lot harder. I was still able to keep my scholarship until my studies finished. However, the stipend was kept at 90 Roubles even when the prices rose very quickly. The 90 roubles was now worth nothing. You could hardly buy anything with it anymore.

After I finished my studies my scholarship ended. I was not able to get a job as a journalist and when I ran out of my money I had to stay with friends.

Samuel Kim: I read that there have been over 1,000 pre-meditated racist murders committed by fascists in Russia in the last ten years. I know that you yourself was physically attacked by Russian white supremacists after the capitalist counterrevolution. Can you describe what happened?

El-Hassan: That happened in 1995 after I finished my studies. Many of my fellow international students had already been attacked by then. I had moved to Voronezh, a city which was about ten to twelve hours by train from Moscow. I was walking along the street when seven neo-Nazi skinheads on the footpath saw me. They started following me and so I walked faster. I knew I was in trouble. I headed towards the bus stop to try and catch a bus away. But they attacked me and I fought back.

Samuel Kim: Did anyone come to help you?

El-Hassan: Yes, several people around came and started shouting at the neo-Nazis to stop. They did not physically intervene but shouted at the skinheads who eventually stopped. I ended up bruised and with a black eye.

Samuel Kim: What did you do for work in Russia after you finished your studies?

El-Hassan: There was a lot of unemployment and people in Russia were angry and confused. I became a worker at a store carrying cartons. But all these stores were being bullied by the mafia. The boss where I worked had to pay protection money to the mafia. I think it was something like $700 a month. The mafia threatened that if the store owners did not pay their store would go up in flames. The shop owners all feared that the criminals would carry out their threats. Russia became run by mafia.

Samuel Kim: What was life like after you moved to Australia?

El-Hassan: At first I thought that my life would be very good when I got residency in Australia. But my journalism qualifications were not recognized. The racism in Australia has been getting worse and worse and in the last year it has got extremely bad. I told you what happened to me recently. I was taking a passenger [El-Hassan now works as a taxi driver] and suddenly he started threatening me. He said that you Muslims want to kill us so I am going to kill you first. I was in a bad situation as I was driving the taxi and was getting on to the M4. It would have been very dangerous to be in a fight at that moment while driving. I said no I do not want to kill anyone. He then said that if he sees me again he will cut my head off and play football with it just for fun.

Left: A young African migrant to China from the Democratic Republic of Congo with team mates in his youth soccer team in Guangzhou. Right: Debujiada Best, a migrant to China from Guinea Bissau with fellow contestants at popular Chinese dating show, If You Are the One. In 2013, the Masters of Economic student at China’s Heilongjiang University became one of the most popular contestants on the show and a social media sensation in China because of her assertiveness and expressed social values. In the socialistic Peoples Republic of China (PRC), migrants from Africa and other parts of Asia do not, in general, meet the extreme and often threatening hostility that they face in capitalist countries like Australia, France, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia etc. Some problems with racism are however still prevalent in China, where the transition to socialism is far from complete and remains tenuous. Inherited backward values from China’s pre-1949 capitalist-feudal times have not been fully overcome and market reforms exacerbate wealth and class divisions and thus recall the old stereotypes where darker skin was associated with poor peasants toiling in the fields. In terms of the times since the 1949 anti-capitalist revolution, these problems were worst in the PRC’s most right-wing period in the late 1980s, when the government toned down statements of solidarity with ex-colonial countries, when the West was glorified in many quarters and when the then rapid roll out of pro-market measures was leading to widespread economic insecurity. In late 1988- early 1989 right-wing Chinese students rioted against African students in Nanjing. The Chinese students linked protests at what they said was the Communist Party of China (CPC) favouring African students at the expense of local students to demands for “Human Rights.” These racist, pro-“Human Rights” demonstrations became the pre-cursor to the June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests that began with rallies by students linked to the liberal, right-wing of the CPC. Despite lingering problems, today, darker-skinned migrants to mainland China not only face a far lesser threat of racist violence than they do in capitalist Australia, North America, Europe and Russia but are also better treated than non-Chinese people in capitalist, ethnic Chinese-majority parts of the world like Singapore and Hong Kong. The final triumph of socialism in China and worldwide will see the creation of societies fully free of racial oppression and prejudice.
Left: A young African migrant to China from the Democratic Republic of Congo with team mates in his youth soccer team in Guangzhou. Right: Debujiada Best, a migrant to China from Guinea Bissau with fellow contestants at popular Chinese dating show, If You Are the One. In 2013, the Masters of Economic student at China’s Heilongjiang University became one of the most popular contestants on the show and a social media sensation in China because of her assertiveness and expressed social values. In the socialistic Peoples Republic of China (PRC), migrants from Africa and other parts of Asia do not, in general, meet the extreme and often threatening hostility that they face in capitalist countries like Australia, France, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia etc.
Some problems with racism are however still prevalent in China, where the transition to socialism is far from complete and remains tenuous. Inherited backward values from China’s pre-1949 capitalist-feudal times have not been fully overcome and market reforms exacerbate wealth and class divisions and thus recall the old stereotypes where darker skin was associated with poor peasants toiling in the fields. In terms of the times since the 1949 anti-capitalist revolution, these problems were worst in the PRC’s most right-wing period in the late 1980s, when the government toned down statements of solidarity with ex-colonial countries, when the West was glorified in many quarters and when the then rapid roll out of pro-market measures was leading to widespread economic insecurity. In late 1988- early 1989 right-wing Chinese students rioted against African students in Nanjing. The Chinese students linked protests at what they said was the Communist Party of China (CPC) favouring African students at the expense of local students to demands for “Human Rights.” These racist, pro-“Human Rights” demonstrations became the pre-cursor to the June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests that began with rallies by students linked to the liberal, right-wing of the CPC.
Despite lingering problems, today, darker-skinned migrants to mainland China not only face a far lesser threat of racist violence than they do in capitalist Australia, North America, Europe and Russia but are also better treated than non-Chinese people in capitalist, ethnic Chinese-majority parts of the world like Singapore and Hong Kong. The final triumph of socialism in China and worldwide will see the creation of societies fully free of racial oppression and prejudice.