Last month NSW Greens upper house MP David Shoebridge spoke at a rally in Sydney in defence of extremist and convicted criminal Stephen Langford.
As Shoebridge would have been no doubt aware Langford is a long-time member of the Socialist Alliance (SA), which was until recently the largest Marxist organisation in Australia. SA was founded in 2001 in the wake of the S11 riots outside Crown Casino as am alliance between the Trotskyist of the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) and the more broadly Marxist members of the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) as an attempt to push an openly Revolutionary Marxist party into the mainstream. Langford has been a long term activist for the group and has been contributing to the Socialist Alliance (and before that DSP) newspaper Green Left Weekly since 1992. The rally was held to support Langford while he was in court being found guilty of vandalism. This conviction adds to his criminal record of vandalism which also includes a 2016 charge for graffitiing the electorate office of then Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull.
Alongside David Shoebridge protesting for Mr Langford’s right to vandalise whatever he feels like vandalising were both Ian Rintoul of the Trotskyist Group Solidarity as well as long time Socialist Alliance activist and frequent election candidate Rachael Evans. The association of Shoebridge with Rintoul is particulalry interesting as during the threatened split in the Greens late last year (when moderate figures such as Jeremy Buckingham and Dawn Walker were marginalised or forced out altogether) allegations were made by then Greens MPs Cate Faehrmann and Justin Field that Rintoul’s Solidarity group was engaged in a plot to infiltrate the NSW Greens and force the party further to the extreme left.
This is of course hardly the first time Shoebridge has flirted with extremism. In both 2017 and 2018 he was a featured speaker at conferences of the Solidarity group. It must again be emphasised that Solidarity is a revolutionary Trotskyist party that openly states that it wants to overthrow the government and implement a totalitarian state. Shoebridge has also had a close association with the Socialist Alliance having been regularly seen at their events including their party conference in 2012, has been pictured holding their banners and on two occasions in 2011 and 2014 even contributed articles for Green Left Weekly.
In short NSW upper house MP David Shoebridge regularly collaborates with and openly supports two groups that want to violently overthrow the government; one of which has been accused of trying to infiltrate and subvert his own political party by other elected Greens MPs.
What is shocking is the complete disinterest from the press in the spectacle of an elected member of NSW parliament speaking in support of an extremist convicted criminal and fully condoning his supposed right to vandalise public and private property. When compared to the press reaction towards Liberal MP and war hero Andrew Hastie allegedly meeting right wing activist Neil Erikson at a Perth protest the contrast is gob-smacking.
Due to the ideological sympathies of most Australian journalists, The Greens and their links to open extremist groups have escaped scrutiny for decades. It’s time that began to change.