[Marxism] Brief report on antiwar march across Brooklyn Bridge yesterday

Ben Courtice benj2006 at optusnet.com.au
Mon Jul 31 04:19:55 MDT 2006

Yesterday (Sunday July 30) Melbourne saw the 3rd big radical demo in 3 
weeks against Israel's latest war.

The first, on the 15th, was organised by the Melbourne Palestine 
Solidarity Network (a recently formed group) and had about 700 people 
who marched under umbrellas on a rain-sodden winter day from the State 
Library to the ABC (public broadcaster) to protest it's biased coverage 
of the war. Happily, ABC gave the rally good coverage that night! 
(apparently no-one has EVER protested against the ABC before!)

The second, on the 22nd, had 5-7000 people, including a large section of 
the Lebanese community in Melbourne. The rally was organised by an 
ad-hoc coalition of the 'official' peace movement (Trades Hall liberals) 
and the Lebanese Communist Party from what I could tell. Althought the 
speakers were not particularly radical the crowd was, I recall wishing I 
had hearing protection whilst sandwiched between contingents of Lebanese 
youth chanting and screaming against Israel and in support of Hizbollah. 
(I joined in of course, when the chants were in English)

Yesterday's rally was again organised by the MPSN, but many people from 
the previous week also showed up. The turnout was probably over 5000 
again. The speakers were very fiery, the radical left (mainly Socialist 
Alliance and Socialist Alternative) were out in strength, and despite 
threats of a Zionist counter-demo I only met one Zionist by chance just 
before the rally who departed after ranting his persecution complex at 
me for a while. There were radical and fiery speakers including from the 
Socialist Alliance, various middle eastern and Muslim community 
organisations, and even a (less fiery) Lyn Allison, Senator for the 
Australian Democrats.

There will be another rally next Sunday, 1pm at the State Library. This 
rally has been called by the Stop the War Coalition and Nuclear Free 
Australia as I understand it, to mark Hiroshima day, but has added 
demands against Israel's war to its leaflets.

The Australian anti-war movement is reviving around this issue as even 
blind Farida can see that Israel is a warmongering aggressor now. And 
that's despite the media's attempt for some time to keep the whole 
public focus on evacuating the Aussies in Lebanon (there's something 
like 25 000 Australian or dual citizens there apparently). Even my 
relatively apolitical workmates are agreeing that Israel's attack on 
Lebanon is out of all proportion to the kidnapping of two soldiers, 
which is, in their consciousness, how it started. A bit of predictable 
anti-semitism came into their discussion -- but the news of Mel Gibson's 
idiotic anti-semitic outburst reminded everyone that anti-semitism 
doesn't make much sense either.

Ben Courtice

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