The far Right “Reclaim Australia” plans to hold an anti-Muslim rally in Melbourne and also at other places around Australia. They want people to believe they’re just “ordinary Australians” who are worried about “radical Islam”. What they’re NOT telling you is that they are Fascists – yes, actual far Right, Hitler-loving racists who have decided it’s a tactical advantage to wrap themselves in Australian flags. Just check the Slackbastard blog to see what he’s dug up on them: http://www.slackbastard.anarchobase.com.
Of course, not everyone who turns up to their rally will be a booted and suited Fascist. The organisers have told their followers to “leave your swastikas and your white pride T-shirts at home” (which speaks volumes in itself). They are hoping to attract people who are just prejudiced against Muslims and who can’t tell the difference between most followers of a religion and what a handful do in its name. They hope to recruit people by claiming to be the only “patriots” who are prepared to act against the phantom Islamic menace against which they foam.
It is in the interests of workers in Australia to oppose Islamophobic racism and take a stand in favour of freedom of religion – the right to believe any religion or none, the right to practice any religion or none and the right to preach any religion or none. Today, it is Muslims who find themselves attacked for exercising this right. Women are assaulted in the street for wearing the scarf, objections are raised against the construction of mosques and absurd fantasies are conjured up about halal certification.
The right to be a Muslim in Australia is the front line in defending the freedom of everyone. We must defend freedom of religion here in order to spread it to places like Saudi Arabia or Iran. If the right to live according to one’s conscience is destroyed here, we cannot establish it elsewhere. So come to the counter-rally – say no to racist Islamophobia and block the Fascists who are trying to use it to make themselves respectable.
This leaflet was produced by the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group as a contribution to the United Front Against Fascism.
http:www.melbacg.wordpress.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 5108 Brunswick North 3056
‘Reclaim Australia’ (!!) rallies & rallies to counter these natural-enough-but-obnoxious values were brought to my attention on Monday, & – now that most of the Wollongong arranging for tomorrow’s ‘Anti-Racism Counter-Rally–Stop Islamophobia’ in Sydney is done – my concerns have turned very much to the likelihood of clashes in Melbourne.
No matter how good the feeling of ‘defeating the enemy’, I’m sure that physical confrontation WILL be counter-productive to our cause, and we should avoid it like the plague. Even if they assault you, sure, defend yourselves – or better still, let the police defend you – but I’d suggest you go out of your way to not start physical confrontation. Let THEM detract from their own extremely-selfcentred message.
So I’m very concerned about a reported intention to stop the ‘RacismOz’ – no ‘ReclaimOz’ rally from forming in Federation Square. – A much better idea (it seems to me) would be to form a ring of (however many rows of) persons at the edges of the Square – if required, behind police lines – & let ‘ReclaimOz ralliers freely through. – Some may well change their minds and join your rally – boosting it’s effectiveness.
(I think it’s crucial to respect EVERY PERSON – and to try hard to clearly show that respect. – That seems to me to be the whole trouble with ‘the ReclaimOz’ mindset. – Our welcoming of Vietnamese refugees in the ’70s is the Australia we want to reclaim).
I’ll be listening for news of the success of your efforts. – I really hope for a very significant reduction of this social scourge. – GO WELL!
Gordon’s position is a common one – opposing the politics of the Fascists, but wanting to confine action against them to tactics that will attract the support of the capitalist media (although many people, and probably Gordon, would express it differently).
The MACG regards a Fascist group as a conspiracy to murder. Further, given that we can’t follow them around and intervene as and when they attack people on the street (something they are wont to do, especially if they’re booted and suited for it), self defence requires disrupting and demoralising them whenever they show their face in public.
There are three things that should be considered when reading this:
1. The level of force when dealing with Fascists needs to be only that which is necessary and appropriate for the task. Killing or severely injuring them is going too far, except when reasonably required in defence against an actual current assault. The task of demoralising them requires only putting them to flight.
2. Our position on Fascism is not in contradiction with freedom of speech. Even Fascists have freedom of speech – rather, we say they don’t have the right to organise, because their organisations are inherently criminal conspiracies.
3. Our position on Fascism does not extend to Right wing populists, even those who espouse racist positions. Some groups on the Left would disagree with us on this. Because Right wing populists operate entirely within the realm of bourgeois legality, we consider that self defence does not require pre-emptive action.
are you guys crazy?? as in, seriously flipped your fucking lids??
“It is in the interests of workers in Australia to oppose Islamophobic racism and take a stand in favour of freedom of religion – the right to believe any religion or none, the right to practice any religion or none and the right to preach any religion or none”
obviously somebody needs to go back and read their Bakunin – no gods, no masters. yes by all means oppose racist stigma of Arabs and Muslims, and uncovered the thinly veiled tactic to divide the working class. kind of like Premier League football. but we do NOT promote the right to believe in a fictional sky man who with a wag of his finger created the universe, or deemed woman slaves good for pretty much little else than breeding and gays as good, supple necks ripe for hanging.
1. Is Nicki proposing an Atheist Inquisition? It certainly reads like that. When I read “God and the State”, I saw the most scathing arguments against religion, but I can’t recall Bakunin proposing that religious beliefs should be suppressed. The Anarchist position was set out best by Alexander Berkman:
“Free thought, necessarily involving freedom of speech & press, I may tersely define thus: no opinion a law — no opinion a crime.”
We have to defend the right of people to have ideas that differ from ours. We’ll argue with them and, if necessary, even campaign against them, but we won’t suppress them. Otherwise, we are no better than the Bolsheviks.
2. There is an invalid assumption that Nicki seems be making – that defending freedom of conscience involves defending oppressive measures justified by reference to religious teachings. I deduce this from her final statement:
“… or deemed woman slaves good for pretty much little else than breeding and gays as good, supple necks ripe for hanging.”
To correct this misinterpretation, I direct readers to the following extract from our Statement of Shared Positions:
“In addition, freedom of conscience is a right of every individual person and is not restricted to religious leaders. Adherence to religious precepts must therefore be entirely voluntary. Attempts by religious leaders or denominations to compel adherents to conform to their teachings or discipline must be resisted and we resolutely reject any attempt to give them State backing.”
We draw a strong distinction between following religious teachings voluntarily in one’s own life and either compelling others to do so or treating others punitively for departing from those teachings. Whether it be the harrassment of abortion clinics by Christian Right-to-Lifers, the enforcement of the veil by Islamic fundamentalists, or any other repressive measure, we support effective physical resistance to all such coercion. An example of our commitment to this is here:
“Free thought, necessarily involving freedom of speech & press, I may tersely define thus: no opinion a law — no opinion a crime”.
that would be fine, if you weren’t taking a completely liberalistic position on the right to believe publicly by arguing “no Islamophobia”. do you *actually* believe in the abolition of the class system and the state which underpins it? or are you simply a Voltaire-ish “i’ll oppose what you say but i’ll defend to the death your right to say it”?
the point in Bakunin is not just that religion is bad and that Jehova is a nasty sadistic prick, but that religion is used to underpin materialist property relations. historically, churches and the state from the Ancien Regime and just about every society since the development of capitalism, have worked together to maintain the existing class order.
what should our position be? NO to whipping up racism against Arabs or Muslims. NO to using terrorist blowback as an excuse for more imperialist war-mongering. but to “promote the right to believe in any religion or none” is a bridge too far. NO to religion.
you can’t be a seriously free-thinking radical person if you believe in eternal salvation, rather than material emancipation here on earth through struggle.
” do you *actually* believe in the abolition of the class system and the state which underpins it? or are you simply a Voltaire-ish “i’ll oppose what you say but i’ll defend to the death your right to say it”? ”
There’s no contradiction between the two. Voltaire’s position is one that is necessary in order to prevent a new dictatorship emerging after the Revolution – which is what happened in Russia, as I’m sure Nicki would agree.
“what should our position be? NO to whipping up racism against Arabs or Muslims. NO to using terrorist blowback as an excuse for more imperialist war-mongering. but to “promote the right to believe in any religion or none” is a bridge too far. NO to religion. ”
Here in Australia, we have Fascists mobilising under the flag of Islamophobia, attempting to get the State to suppress Islam. There is no possibility of engaging Muslims in debate on their religion if their right to hold and adhere to their beliefs is being disputed. If you actually want to win people away from Islam, it cannot be done by persecution. The Romans tried throwing Christians to the lions, and that worked out fine, didn’t it? In fact, if you try to eliminate Islam through repressive measures, not only would that disqualify you as an Anarchist but, given the well-established tendency of religious repression to entrench people in their faiths, success would require genocide on a scale that would make Hitler look like a beginner.
Capitalism cannot be overthrown without the active unity of the working class and, on the question of religion, freedom of conscience is the only ground on which the working class can stand united. And it is only in the context of an assured freedom of conscience that it is possible to have the necessary debates to win Muslim workers away from their religion.
Finally, I opened my previous response with a question, which Nicki hasn’t answered. Is she proposing an Atheist Inquisition? It certainly seems like the logical conclusion to what she has written.