Australasian Spartacist No. 223
For Labour/Minority Mobilisations to Crush the Fascists!
Brisbane, Sydney: Protesters Spike Racist Provocations
With extreme rightist and outright fascist parties gaining deadly ground in countries across Europe, it is welcome news that leftists and unionists successfully repulsed the fascist and reactionary scum who dared show their faces in Brisbane and Sydney over the May Day weekend. Doubtless emboldened by the federal government’s racist war on refugees and by protectionist campaigns against overseas workers, on 4 May four provocateurs from the fascistic “Party for Freedom” (PFF) attempted to join the Sydney May Day march. With signs such as “Deport 457 Visa workers,” they intended to whip up race hatred at this multiracial event celebrating international workers struggle. Like the Australian Protectionist Party from which they split, and the racist xenophobic Dutch party of Geert Wilders after which they are allegedly modelled, the PFF spews vile filth, blaming Africans, Muslims and immigrants for the ills of decaying capitalist society. An article by Andy Fleming (New Matilda website, 29 January) notes that PFF founder Nick Folkes “regards African peoples as a ‘failed species’, and further claims peoples of the ‘Third World’ require sterilisation.”
When comrades of the Spartacist League became aware of the PFF provocation at the march we alerted marchers in nearby union contingents, including maritime and firefighters, and argued that it was necessary to drive the scum out. Some maritime unionists responded seriously and noted their official was dealing with the provocateurs. As anarchist youth moved to confront the fascistic PFF, including ripping away several of their placards, an MUA official and May Day Committee representative intervened. By this time a small crowd, among them SL supporters, had surrounded the PFF. Soon after the PFF retreated, appealing to the MUA official to escort them out as they feared for their safety. Later in the day, some marchers who had earlier argued against dealing decisively with the PFF expressed to us their satisfaction at the news that they had in fact been expelled from the march.
Two days earlier in Brisbane, fascists from the Australia First Party (AFP) and supporters of Greece’s fascist Golden Dawn (GD) attempted to hold a rally outside The Greek Club near the CBD followed by a march to the Greek consulate in support of jailed GD members in Greece. Notorious for frequent, deadly attacks on immigrants, minorities and leftists, the GD have been emboldened by brutal imperialist-imposed austerity measures in Greece that have inflamed nationalism and driven many to despair. Last year, Greek hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas was fatally stabbed by a reputed GD supporter. As for the AFP, their current führer, Jim Saleam, has a long, documented history of fascist activity, including as a leader of National Action, spending time in jail for his role in organising the 1989 attempted assassination of Eddie Funde, the then African National Congress representative in Sydney. In December 2005, the AFP helped fuel the pogromist riot in the Sydney beachside suburb of Cronulla, where a racist mob of 5,000 rampaged through the streets carrying out chilling attacks on anyone of non-white appearance. More recently, on 26 January this year, the AFP staged a provocation at the Invasion Day Aboriginal march in Brisbane.
When 10-14 fascists, among them the reported leader of Golden Dawn in Australia, crawled out of their sewers in Brisbane on 2 May, they found themselves massively outnumbered by an angry counterdemonstration of some 150-200. This counter-rally was initiated by anarchists and joined by anti-racists, unionists and other leftists, including from Socialist Alliance and Trotskyist Platform. What gave the anti-fascist protest its decisive weight was the presence of a sizeable number of CFMEU construction unionists. The fascists were forced to abandon their march and instead made a hurried exit in a “maxi-taxi,” to the cheers of the anti-fascist protesters. At the Greek consulate, the fascists’ planned picket was again stymied by outraged protesters. And once again they were protected by a line of cops that sought to keep the anti-fascists in check.
The Spartacist League welcomes this significant defeat for the fascists. While some hold the view that these thugs should just be ignored and/or appeal to the capitalist state to intervene, we Marxists look to the independent mobilisation of the proletariat to stop the fascists. As we wrote in “For a Class-Struggle Fight Against Racist Capitalism!” (ASp No. 209, Winter 2010):
“Fascists pose a deadly threat to immigrants and minorities as well as the organisations of the working class. Thriving in the mass poverty, nationalism and racism bred by capitalism, they are paramilitary shock troops of all-sided reaction; the last line of defence of the bourgeoisie against working-class struggle. Crushing the fascists while they are small is a life and death question for the labour movement, not least its increasingly strategic immigrant component. We call for union/minority mobilisations to stop fascist provocations.”
This perspective is linked to our struggle against the entire racist capitalist system. It is crucial to build the revolutionary vanguard party necessary to lead the exploited and oppressed in sweeping away capitalism through socialist revolution.