[Marxism] Absence of left at Ottawa demonstration

g.maclennan at qut.edu.au g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Sat Jul 22 17:40:45 MDT 2006

The demonstration in Brisbane yesterday was quite similar in terms of its composiiton. A crowd of about 1000 gathered with very little notice to protest the war against the people of Lebanon.  Most of them were young Arabs. there were some of us old relics from the 60s but not many.

There was also a sprinkling of the weird and wonderful including the Falun Gong and the UFO mob.  But there was very little of an organised presence of the Left - radical or social democratic.The Islamic community in Australia needs of course to reach out to build a mass movement.  That will not be easy.

The Australian Govt is of course deeply committed to the project of the American Century. The Labour Party of Australia has in its leader Kim Beazley the most pro-American of all Australian politicians.  So shifting that mountain of shite will not be easy.

Yet the internet has allowed images to emerge of the atrocities to emerge- something which has never happened with the previous slaughter fests that Israel has launched.  There is a general public uneasiness about the blood lust of the IDF, that cannot quite be hidden underneath the ubiquitous rhetoric of Israel's right to "self-defence".

As for the Brisbane demonstration it was very fiery.  Generally one has to work really hard to get Australians to feel anything.  The good lord made them naturally comatose when it comes to the political.  But with the Arab youth there was a real ability to close the physical and moral distance between themselves and Israel's victims and to feel the suffering that is being inflicted.

I keep telling my students that because of Murdoch's almost total control of the media we are not seeing the images the Arab world is seeing.  I also tell them that unless we look at these images we will never understand the anger and pain that is in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

The task remains however to go beyond the anger and to seriously challenge in the political realm the dominance of the American imperialists.



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