“No other prick was doing it”, said Peter Simpson, Electrical Trades Union (Queensland and NT) state secretary, explaining why the union has launched a new campaign video, Stand Up Against Racism.
The recording calls on unionists to reject Islamophobia and the politics of Reclaim Australia and far right splinter groups that prey on people’s fears.
“We’ve got members that are of all colours and creeds in our union”, Simpson told Red Flag. “But we have members who are Muslim that are too scared to speak out. We had Nazis marching in the streets of Brisbane two weeks ago.”
Simpson said that the union had trouble finding Muslim union members to appear in the video because they were concerned about “copping grief”.
Stuart Traill, an organiser with the union, said that he has had fruitful conversations with union members about the importance of the labour movement leading the fight against racism.
“They know that there is a rising force within the political movement. None of our members want to see the Nazi movement and the right wing extremist movement rising up and getting a political say in this country. Our members don’t agree with racism in any form.”
But the union can see that the climate has shifted dangerously to the right. Its message is for workers’ unity, regardless of race or religion, in the face of the right:
“Who are we as a society? Who are we as a trade union? Who are we as workers? If we don’t look after our own, and look after each other’s backs, who’s going to do that for us? The Murdoch press? For Christ’s sake wake up – stand up against racism.”
This special supplement of Red Flag newspaper is designed for those coming to socialist politics, and Socialist Alternative as an organisation, for the first time. It contains articles on the fundamentals of Marxist theory and politics, the history of the socialist movement, and how socialists approach questions of race, gender and identity. It can be purchased from our online bookstore here.
The level of suffering in Gaza is more than the human mind can comprehend. As the war enters its twentieth week, it feels increasingly obscene to be going about daily life while an entire people are being systematically destroyed, their lives, histories and culture blown to pieces or buried under rubble.
The Banyule Palestine Action Group has collected more than 600 signatures on a petition calling on Banyule City Council, in Melbourne’s north-east, to pass a motion supporting an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, in line with motions passed in other councils across Australia.
Asked how she stays hopeful as a 63-year-old socialist and Palestinian living in the diaspora, Reem Yunis replies: “I don’t have the luxury not to be inspired. My grandparents died without seeing a liberated Palestine, my parents died and were buried in the diaspora. Most of my people are living in the diaspora, and the ones in Palestine are being robbed of water, resources and every bit of land they have. We need to have hope and fight, because if we won’t fight for a free Palestine, who will?”
Human Rights Watch, an international investigative and reporting organisation, says that it has “significant human rights concerns” about Australia’s treatment of refugees and Aboriginal people.
To drive a whole people out of their land—to turn it into something akin to the Zionist myth of Palestine, supposedly “a land without a people for a people without a land”—requires many things. Most obviously, it requires the killing and terrorising of Palestinian people on a colossal scale.