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Issue #1695      July 29, 2015

Rally against racism and fascism

In Perth as in other parts of Australia there has been an awakening of groups which choose to represent the less enlightened views of a multicultural and tolerant Australia at the forefront of which is Reclaim Australia.

The Perth chapter of Reclaim Australia had announced it would hold a rally on the steps of state Liberal Premier Colin Barnett’s office in West Perth on July 19. Some left political groups and sections of the union movement decided they would hold an anti-racism, anti-fascism rally in Solidarity Park adjacent to where Reclaim Australia would be holding their rally but an hour beforehand.

The rally was organised by the Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance. The idea was to present a progressive political message against the message of racism.

The MC for the event was Miranda Wood who opened the rally by saying, “The policies of the Abbott government give encouragement to the position taken by Reclaim Australia and other far right groups.” There had also been an increase in racist graffiti and racist attacks in public with Muslim women having their veils ripped off in public.

Midway through the rally a group of women dressed in black Muslim outfits from Reclaim Australia taunted the rally.

The next speaker was a Muslim woman from Iraq who spoke about family and friends in Iraq who were killed at the hands of ISIS.

There were also speakers from the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association and the Maritime Union of Australia who spoke of unions representing a more tolerant and united Australia and that when the politics of hate and division is on the rise through the climate of fear generated by the Abbott government – that the attacks on unions also increase. This we have seen, said Ian Jamieson from the MUA, through the anti-worker Royal Commission which seeks to weaken unions and the rights of workers.

The Abbott government also stokes the fires of racism with the ideology behind anti-terrorist laws which target Muslims.

There were dozens of police present including several mounted police who formed a no man’s land to keep the two groups apart.

The rallies were relatively small – about 300 people in each group.

The Communist Party of Australia opposes racism which is based on fear and ignorance and used to divide and rule. Future rallies against racism need to be more inclusive and broader in their appeal to attract more progressive groups and to have more influence in the wider community.

Next article – Long road to recognition

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