Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Anti-racist campaign launched in Perth

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Western Australia has a long, troubled history of racism. For example Jack van Tongeren is a white supremacist and leader of the neo-Nazi Australian Nationalist Movement (ANM). He served 13 years in prison from 1989-2002 for grand theft and arson after robbing and firebombing businesses owned by Asians in Western Australia.

In 2010 there were three shooting incidents at mosques in the southern suburbs of Perth by the neo-Nazi group Combat 18. This group was in possession of a .303 rifle during the attacks.

On a broader scale black, Asian people and those from ethnic backgrounds are regularly refused employment opportunities and private tenancies in the rental market due to the colour of their skin. Refugees are treated as criminals for seeking asylum. The state and federal governments continue to demonise Aboriginal people when they protest against land grabs by the big mining and resource companies.

The recent Nyoongar Tent Embassy in Perth highlights the Barnett Government’s attitude to the local Aboriginal community. They have repeatedly ordered the police to attack the Embassy with horses, dogs and large numbers of police officers.

The tasering of Kevin Spratt and the death of Rodney Cox’s son highlight how black people are treated by the police and the so called ‘justice’ system. Rodney Cox‘s son was knifed to death in Northbridge and the perpetrator got off scot-free. Kevin Spratt was brutally tasered thirteen times by the police and the culprit was only fined. If a member of the public harmed a police officer in a similar way they would face a mandatory jail sentence.

Racism is a tool used by the government and big business to divide our community. They want working class people to fight amongst themselves, instead of uniting against those who are responsible for cutting public services, slashing jobs and hiking up rents and interest rates.

Socialists campaign to unite ordinary people of all races and backgrounds to win properly funded services, decent jobs and affordable housing. This is why we must give our support to WAAR. The aim of this group is to fight all forms of racism, be it neo-Nazi attacks, police brutality, discrimination against Indigenous people or the scapegoating of refugees. WAAR will work with other anti-racists to educate people about the issues, but also to offer solutions.

In the end, the best way to undermine racism is to undermine the system that creates it. To wipe out racism, we must ultimately reject a divisive system based on profit and corporate greed, and fight for a society based on human need and equality.

By John Gowland


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