Four members of three competing communist groups have won election to Melbourne councils in the recent local elections.
Three of those were re-elected, with Stephen Jolly and Brigid O’Brien (both formally of the Socialist Party and the Victorian Socialists) winning seats on Yarra Council with 26.07% and 15.13% of the vote respectively. Sue Bolton a veteran Marxist of many decades standing and one of the last leaders of the faltering Socialist Alliance was also re-elected to the City of Moreland Council for a third term with only 12.1% of the vote. Whilst these percentages may seem ludicrously low, the voting systems for many inner city Melbourne councils are deliberately designed to allow candidates to win with the approval of only small slivers of the electorate.
But one successful communist candidate was a newcomer, and by that I mean a newcomer only in the realm of being a new elected councillor, because in the realm of Australian communism Jorge Jorquera is anything but new. Jorge, representing the Socialist Alternative front group “Victorian Socialists” won a seat on Maribyrnong council after two recounts and an astoundingly low 8.76% of the vote. Thus becoming the first ever communist elected to a council in Melbourne’s Western suburbs.
Jorge has an extremely long record as a Marxist activist, as the child of Marxists who fled the Pinochet government in Chile he was likely a communist from his cradle. He began his adult Marxist activism in the mid 1980s and by 1991 he was not only an activist with the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) but was the Melbourne organiser for their youth group “Resistance”.
In 1992 in his capacity as Resistance organiser Jorge was contacted by both the Australian solicitor general and the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services in relation to the distribution of 5000 copies of a sexually explicit DSP authored pamphlet “Fantastic Sex Facts” to underage schoolchildren. The main culprit involved in this targeting of underage children was Zanny Beg, a fellow Democratic Socialist party activist who would go on to found “Community Action Against Homophobia” to campaign for the lowering of the homosexual age of consent in NSW.
What delightful people.
Jorge was particularly interested in the DSP due to that group’s interest in supporting Latin American communist dictators like Fidel Castro. In the late 80s and early 90s the DSP had gradually moved away from its roots in Trotskyist-style communism and had moved towards an ideology closer to “anything that still vaguely resembles communism is good”. Naturally the DSP’s Trotskyist rivals in the International Socialists (a 1995 split of which eventually became the Socialist Alternative) made much mockery of this evolution, referring to the DSP as “Castroite” for much of the nineties.
While this might have been embarrassing for the older activists in the DSP who had been bleating about Trotsky since the late 60s, it suited Jorge down to the ground. Jorge’s passion at that time (and main activity over the course of the last thirty years) has been an unwavering, steadfast and fanatical fanboy level of support for every communist or Marxist influenced regime in Latin America. When Fidel Castro finally kicked the bucket and went to join his fellow communists in hell, Jorge described the dead dictator as “genuinely heroic” and “inspiring to millions”.
But Jorge has saved perhaps his greatest love for the regime of former Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. Jorge even helped set up communist front groups with names like “Committees in Solidarity with Latin America and the Caribbean” and the “Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network” to host events here in Australia for ambassadors and other regime officials.
The DSP became the Socialist Alliance in 2001 to try and cash in on the supposed electoral discontent of the working class with capitalism. When a few years later the legions of hidden proletariat votes had failed to materialise a faction inside the Alliance began to argue that the problem was that they had become too moderate and needed to get back to more hardline “Leninist” communism. Jorge was a part of this group. When this “Leninist faction” was expelled in 2008 for being continually annoying he and others (including Kevin Rudd’s nephew) went on to found the “Revolutionary Socialist Party” (RSP). The RSP was a complete failure largely due to the fact that most of its members were such old communists that they kept dying or having to be hospitalised. Eventually in 2012 the more youthful remnants of the RSP begged to be allowed to merge with Socialist Alternative.
Jorge has long been involved in the education sector having formerly been a staff member at Victoria Uni and currently being employed as a Curriculum Advisor at Keypath Education Australia. In 2007 Jorge joined together with Jo Williams (of Victoria University and Socialist Alternative) and Tracey Ollis (of Deakin University school of Education) to form the “Popular Education Network Australia” (PENA). In their own words the aim of PENA was to bring together “fellow travellers” working within the education system to better spread the influence and ideas of Brazilian education theorist Paulo Freire among Australian educators.
Freire argued in his most important work “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” that the purpose of the teacher was not simply to impart knowledge but to also subliminally indoctrinate children in Marxist theory.
These are the people you pay through your taxes to teach your kids’ teachers. And if you’re unfortunate enough to live in Maribyrnong council one of them is now sucking parasitically at your rates.
The typical response from most on the right to hearing about another communist councillor being elected is complacency. “It’s only a council seat” they say. Well it was only one council seat when Stephen Jolly won in Yarra in 2004, now it’s half a dozen Australia wide. With just one seat Jolly was able to lead a campaign to block the billion dollar East-West link project and missed out on a Victorian upper house seat at the last state poll by the slimmest of margins. Ignoring these extremists doesn’t make them go away.
Every year the extreme left in Australia gets more organised and its activists wriggle deeper inside the institutions that make up the bones of our society. The time to start paying attention to these communists is now, before it’s too late.