This coming Sunday David Shoebridge an elected member of the Australian Greens for the NSW upper house will be speaking at the national convention of an extremist group that wants to violently overthrow the Australian government an implement a totalitarian state.
That’s not the shocking part. The shocking part is that unless you read about it in The Unshackled last week it’s almost certain that this is the first you’ve heard of it.
What’s worse it’s not the first time. Last year at the same conference not only was Mr Shoebridge a featured speaker but also on the podium was Lee Rhiannon, an elected Greens Senator in the Australian Federal upper house.
The event in question is called “Keep Left” and is run by a group that operates under the name “Solidarity“.
For those not familiar with them, Solidarity is a Revolutionary Marxist organisation whose ultimate goal is the transformation of Australia into a totalitarian Communist hellhole by means of a violent revolution.
It sounds like something out of a particularly far-fetched video game or a relic of the three decades dead Cold war, but I assure you it isn’t. Such groups still exist and thanks in part to being almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media they are growing in size and influence.
How much influence? How many radical extremist groups have had a sitting Senator and elected State politician come and speak at their conference? How many were so certain that nobody in the press would call them out on it that one of them felt comfortable coming back and doing the same the next year?
Solidarity is a Marxist group of the Trotskyist school. This means that they belong to that sad little group of fanatics who genuinely believe that if Trotsky had won his power struggle with Stalin the Soviet Union would have been a utopian paradise.
Colour me sceptical.
Solidarity in particular comes from an ideological tradition known as the International Socialist Tendency. The IST originated in England in the 1950s and was imported to Australia in the early 1970s by an American named Tom O’Lincoln.
The group they formed in Melbourne on the tail of the anti-Vietnam movement (after a number of name changes) eventually became known as the International Socialist Organisation (ISO).
The ISO was violent, cultish and fanatical, even by Australian Trotskyist standards. Eventually they grew to become the second largest Communist group in Australia. An activist named Ian Rintoul who had joined the group in Ipswich in the mid-1970s eventually gained so much internal power that he was able to expel his rival Mick Armstrong in 1995.
This is significant to us because Armstrong (along with his protégé future Overland editor and Guardian opinion columnist Jeff Sparrow) went on to found Socialist Alternative, currently the biggest and best organised violent political extremist group in Australia today.
It’s also significant because in 1999 Rintoul went on to found the Refugee Action Coalition and has since maintained a vice like grip on that organisation and the power, media attention and influence which came with it. Basically if you’ve seen a refugee protest in Sydney in the last 19 years Rintoul has been behind it.
Amazingly enough despite covering hundreds of RAC protests and quoting Rintoul dozens of times both the ABC and SBS have managed to avoid mentioning the fact that he believes borders are an illegitimate capitalist social construct and that Australia as it currently exists should be destroyed.
So focussed was Ian on this newfound source of influence that his rivals inside the ISO managed to outmanoeuvre him and forced him out of that group in 2003.
In response Rintoul founded his own group (with blackjack, and hookers!) called Solidarity. Along with a small and un-merry band of fanatical devotees Ian continued to concentrate on the then growing refugee protests.
He was eventually joined by a Socialist Alternative splinter group from Brisbane and later by the remnants of the ISO themselves who had been decimated by the failed experiment that was the Socialist Alliance.
In short Solidarity is a group of Trotskyists who were thrown out of a Trotskyist group and later were joined with another group of Trotskyists who themselves had split from a different Trotskyist group which had itself originally split from the same Trotskyist group that eventually dissolved themselves into Solidarity when their electoral alliance with an entirely different bunch of Trotskyist groups fell apart.
There really isn’t much room for subtlety or nuance here. These people are Communists.
Not “Obama is a Communist” type Communists but rather 100% revolutionary-Marxist-seize-the-means-of-production-dictatorship-of-the-proletariat style old fashioned Communists.
And they are led by a bloke in Ian Rintoul who has been one of the most prominent violent Communist activists in Australia with a track record of arrests and attacks going back to the mid-1970s.
So why are elected Greens politicians speaking at their conference?
In the case of soon-to-be-former Senator Lee Rhiannon the answer is pretty simple.
Although her friends in the media have always considered it impolite to point out Senator Rhiannon has a long and colourful history as an outright Stalin-lover. In her case it was something she inherited from her parents who led a split in the Australian Communist Party when that body started to admit that maybe Stalin murdering 30 million odd people wasn’t actually a perfidious capitalist lie after all.
Both Lee and her parents remained devout advocates for Stalin for decades. Rhiannon’s mother even held the honour of being the only Australian woman to be awarded the Stalin Peace Prize.
Lee maintained her parent’s beliefs and was still editing the only pro-Stalinist newspaper in Australia right up until around the point the Berlin Wall fell. She then led what remained of the old Communist apparatus in Sydney lock step into the Greens.
The Greens are a peculiar party in that all of their State branches have very different origins. The WA Greens were mostly surfie hippie types who didn’t like nuclear testing, the Tasmanian Greens (until recently) had a base amongst small farming communities opposed to overdevelopment, while the Victorian Greens are a bunch of upper middle class hipster wankers (surprise!).
But the Sydney Greens in contrast to most of the others have always been closer to the Communist aspects of the far Left, so much so that for much of their life they’ve revelled in the nickname of “The Eastern Bloc”. Lee Rhiannon and her not particularly subtle transformation of old Sydney reds into new Sydney watermelons in the early 90s can take much of the credit for that.
Ian Rintoul and Solidarity have maintained a working relationship with the Greens in regards to organising refugee protests for over 15 years now, so they were well aware of the particular characteristics of the Sydney branch. When the openly Anarcho-Communist members of the Greens decided to come out of the closet in late 2016 under the banner of “Left Renewal” Rintoul and co. were ready to help.
Solidarity began publishing Left Renewal propaganda directly in its magazine and website. Almost overnight numerous glowing reviews of Left Renewal actions began appearing wherever Solidarity members could edge them in. At Left Renewal sponsored meetings the chairs were filled with Solidarity bums. Solidarity members were seen canvassing on behalf of Left Renewal backed candidates.
And Left Renewal needed all the help they could get. By openly announcing themselves as a faction they had in essence broken with a long Greens tradition of keeping such matters behind closed doors. They had declared war on the old guard embodied by Bob Brown and the new Melbourne dominated leadership represented by the likes of upper class lawyer Adam Bandt and turtleneck aficionado Richard Di Natale.
They were, and remain, in a factional fight to death so brutal that Senator Rhiannon (a party activist of almost thirty years) has lost her position on the NSW Senate candidates list and with it her seat.
Shoebridge and the extreme leftists who remain need to shore up their base of support if they’re going to survive in this factional war with the merely far left “mainstream” of their party.
Already the extremists in Victoria have been weakened from a flood of younger activists leaving the party for the openly Communist “Victorian Socialists” group led by Yarra Councillor and long-time violent Melbourne Trotskyist activist Stephen Jolly.
So Shoebridge is doing what politicians in his position normally do. He’s trying to rally support amongst his base.
However due to the nature of his base he’s doing this by giving a speech on the evil racism of Australian police to an audience full of people who fervently believe that police are an illegitimate force of racist social control created by the capitalist system to kill brown people.
And not a single mainstream journalist has bothered to cover it. Out of the thousands of journalists in Australia not a single one thinks it newsworthy that an elected official is speaking to a group that wants to abolish the police, the constitution, the armed forces, Australia’s borders, the judiciary, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to own property and explicitly advocates enacting these plans via violent revolution.
So are the Greens just a bunch of Communists? Well not all, but quite a few of them are, especially in Sydney. And they certainly have a lot of friends who dig that old style hammer and sickle action.
But to be honest no matter how full of Marxist crazies the watermelons become, the negligence or even deliberate blindness our journalistic class in continuing to ignore the fact that such people even exist is far more worrying.