This article was first published in The Anvil Vol 4 No 2, published in April 2015.
“Reclaim Australia” has called rallies against Muslims around Australia on Easter Saturday. 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-lovers who hate Jews and Aborigines as well. They’ve just told their followers to “leave your swastikas and your white pride T-shirts at home”. Check the Slackbastard blog to see what he’s dug up on them: http://www.slackbastard.anarchobase.com.
Fascism is a movement of the ruined middle classes (e.g. small business going out backwards), who aim to take State power by, or with the assistance of, extra-legal force in order to resolve their problems at the expense of the working class. In attempting this, it makes use of demoralised sections of the unemployed who can think little further than where their next meal is coming from. Though it is not their preferred option, the capitalists are prepared to back the Fascists into power if capitalist democracy is incapable of dealing effectively with an economic and political crisis.
In Australia today, Fascists are attempting to exploit Islamophobia as their most effective means of gaining support. Anti-Semitism wins them no fans, while anti-Aboriginal racism will do them no better. Islamophobia, however, has attracted a degree of popular support. 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. This is right up the Fascists’ alley, so they think they’re onto something. They hope to inflame hatred against Muslims and recruit people by claiming to be the only “patriots” who are prepared to act against them.
Fascism is a deadly danger which must not be allowed to take root in Australia. It is aimed at the complete destruction of all working class organisation and the establishment of rule through terror. It is far easier to nip the Fascists in the bud than it is to stop them once they get up a head of steam – once their jackboot gangs get going they can prove their use to the capitalists as strikebreakers and thugs and attract the scum of the earth to their ranks.
Against the Fascists, the working class must unite in elementary self defence. As well as turning out as individuals and small political groups, we must campaign for our unions to take up the task, making it impossible for the jackbooted thugs to show their faces in public. An example was set in Brisbane in May last year, when a CFMEU delegation sent the Australia First Party and Golden Dawn packing.
It is also necessary to fight against the racism which the Fascists try to exploit. Workers in Australia must take a stand against Islamophobia. What is at stake is not the merits or defects of Islam or any other religion. Instead, we need to defend freedom of conscience – 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. When it comes to religion, this is the only ground on which the working class can stand united.
Freedom of conscience is not only essential in Australia, but also internationally. It must be defended wherever it is threatened and struggled for wherever it is denied. To allow Muslims to be persecuted or hindered in adhering to their beliefs in Australia is to weaken the struggle for freedom of conscience in places like Saudi Arabia or Iran. Only a united working class can overthrow capitalism and part of achieving this is fighting for freedom of conscience worldwide.