What is ‘Reclaim Australia’ and how to resist it?

[Paradigm Shift 4ZZZ fm 102.1 Friday 31 July 2015]
Camilla, Yani (sp?), Maurie and Andy discuss recent demonstrations organized by Reclaim Australia vilifying Muslims and spreading hate. They discuss possible responses to these rallies and to racism.

restreamerWho are the groups involved?
Rise up, United Australia Party. Hate groups and people who are not aligned to any political group and are fearful about current circumstances in Australia.

Why do we need to resist it?
Camilla
– Spreading hatred to all Muslim people. Mosque was firebombed in Toowoomba, Muslim people attacked. Deeper layer – spreading a message of a whiter Australia, more English in schools, national anthem …
Yani – game of power, Reclaim think we have more right than others, dangerous game, promotes hate and does not allow people live in harmony with each other.
Andy – There are historical parallels e.g. far right came out of German poverty, Treaty of Versailles. in Greece austerity measures gave rise to both the Left and to right wing parties like Golden Dawn.
Recently Free Papua movement distanced themselves from Reclaim Australia.
Gold Coast rally guy got up and said it (Reclaim) was a fight against Islam.
Yani – good example, moving from a political state mind … immigration and poverty – right wing ideas are much higher … solidarity is strong in Greece.

How has it been resisted so far? Has that been effective or not?
Counter rally was outnumbered 4 to 1 in Brisbane whereas in Melbourne it was the other way round.
Yani – both counter rally and Reclaim group were diverse and passionate
Why is Brisbane different? Socialist Alternative was at the Marxist conference in Melbourne during the first rally, so numbers were down in Brisbane.
Some Reclaim Australia people gave the Nazi salute. People are fearful about the world that we are in, unknowing. Muslims comprise less than 2% of the population. Islam is based on culture.
Maurie – Slack Bastard puts out and ‘ridiculises’ the far right. Need to do it at each rally. Need to stand there. Violence at the rally … the neo-fascist are both anti-women and anti-fascist. Promoting violence against women. Government doing a job by fighting ISIS – which promotes message of ‘we don’t like them’.
Andy – not much violence
Maurie – like a grand final … was acting as a street medic … half the Reclaim people were listening to Shane (from the counter rally) when he was speaking. Don’t want to lessen the danger of the far-right. Riot squad coppers took them away.
Andy – Slack Bastard is an anarchist blog that researchers crackpot racist groups.

What other possibilities are there for resisting?
Camilla
– doing work like putting up anti-nationalism posters … try to interrupt people’s thoughts … a Zine has been written – 24 point demands of Reclaim Australia are countered in it … occasionally there is some kind of truth to what Reclaim says need to give better answers … education.
Yani – idea of a picnic … instead of shouting slogans … going out being happy and colourful … egalitarian messages. Have a lot of fun for love and inclusiveness. Quite successful in getting people see it this way.

How do we go beyond just resisting racism, to creating a just and inclusive society?
Were religious groups involved?
Camilla – No religious groups formally involved … approached one religious group – rare that u see Muslims there … not just because of verbal threats …
Anti-reclaim rally increasing in numbers … continuing process of exposing them … reclaims 24 points … education is the way
Australian society has underestimated the problem … educate ourselves how we can live together … see people as people
Was it effective?
Was there a point? There was a point being there … and handed out zines.
Make up every day discrimination.
Andy – a critique of the counter rallies … promo of the rally. Gold coast … racism counter rally. Walked over to other side … being a racist.
Received a phone call from an aboriginal activist who speaks about aboriginal sovereignty … yet was abuses by all people from the counter rally with pale skin for wanting to engage with the Reclaim people.
No interest in standing there shouting at people … important thing is to show others … look in Europe, street fighting with nazis … extreme right is much stronger there than here … dialogue and empathy. Important to resist.
Camilla – not black & white (sic). Are we dependent on them for our existence? … what will we do if they did not exist? Are we glorifying (the struggle?)… what are we standing for instead of just reacting?
Maurie – maybe we should start rallies rather than counter rallies … support multi-culturalism … does not preach hate … no street fighting.
Andy– I go to multicultural festivals … is the Left there? Are they building networks? Relationships … do we need to build both?
Camilla – organized an anti-bigotry gig … in an abandoned property … graffiti on the walls … abandoned place had asbestos in the walls and people felt that they could trash it – not good.

How do we go beyond just resisting racism, to creating a just and inclusive society?
Camilla – Stop being racists ourselves … I’m not racist or sexist … went to new york … was thinking I’m having so many racist thoughts … book talk in the met library … surrounded by black Americans … intellectual people who are black.
Yani – stop being hypocrites – do we engage with people who are different with us? Easier to mix with people like us, we just don’t care enough. Being inclusive … try harder to talk to our neighbours
Andy – disaffected white people – in the recruiting of the courier mail … build that swaying more to the right
Camilla – dismiss people who are different … my brother will only quit smoking only if he wants to
Maurie – stop preaching to the converted … Pauline Hanson was a great thing … other people said what they believe … we are racists
Racism in the news … adam goodes, cronulla riots

Playlist
Midnight Oil – Redneck wonderland
Tiddas – Anthem
The Glitter Rats – All you fascists
Escape From Toytown – Fish and chip bitch from Ipswich

Some Notes:
Springbok Tour – anti-apartheid struggle – draws a parallel with the heckling of Adam Goodes.
Economic boycott of institutional racism – anti-apartheid struggle against Israel (BDS) and South Africa
Sport can be a way of overcoming racism.
So can Equal opportunity in employment.

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