Ten Greens politicians have spoken at left wing extremist rallies and meetings in just the last 18 months and the media hasn’t said a word.
Greens pollies speaking at extremist events isn’t an isolated incident, it happens all the time. Below are ten examples of Greens political figures who not only spoke at extremist organised events alongside extremist activists but didn’t even bother to hide it. After all they know their friends in the newsrooms of the nation will never hassle them for it, so why not pal around with people who openly declare that they want to overthrow the government?
David Shoebridge has a long and proud association with at least three different Trotskyist extremist groups. Back in 2012 he spoke at the conference of the Socialist Alliance (then the largest Marxist group in Australia). When the Australian newspaper called him out for associating with people who want to overthrow the government and implement “true” Communism he publicly posed with fellow Greens MPs John Kaye and Jamie Parker holding a Socialist Alliance banner. In 2011 and 2014 he contributed articles to the Socialist Alliance’s paper the Green Left Weekly. This is unsurprising. Shoebridge after all gave a speech to celebrate the opening of the new Socialist Alliance Sydney office in 2011.
In June of this year Shoebridge spoke at a rally in Sydney in defence of Socialist Alliance activist, vandal and convicted criminal Stephen Langford; a man whose association with extreme left groups goes back to the early 90s. Speaking alongside him at this event were Ian Rintoul of the Trotskyist Group Solidarity as well as long time Socialist Alliance activist and frequent election candidate Rachael Evans. Shoebridge has a warm relationship with Rintoul’s Solidarity group and has acted as a featured speaker at two of their national conferences in 2017 and 2018. In December last year allegations were made by then Greens MPs Cate Faehrmann and Justin Field that figures around Shoebridge and Rintoul’s Solidarity group were engaged in a plot to infiltrate the NSW Greens and force the party even further to the extreme left.
This year Shoebridge attended the National Union of Students conference to add his support to the motion that the NUS should back the Socialist Alternative front group “Uni students for climate justice” in their proposed university student ”Strike” in early August and posed for photographs alongside Socialist Alternative members.
On July 5th of this year Socialist Alternative front group “Uni Students for Climate Justice” held their biggest events yet in both Brisbane and Sydney. The Brisbane event was organised by Carl Jackson and Catherine Robertson of Socialist Alternative and was spoken at by Greens Senator and former party deputy leader Larissa Waters who posed for the cameras in “Stop Adani” earrings.
Senator Waters has been linked to extremists in Brisbane before with “Anti-fascist action” Brisbane leader and former UQ employee Kathleen Mcleod boasting online that she had access to Larissa Waters’ taxpayer funded printing resources for use on a campaign in support of imprisoned Anarchist murderer Jock Palfreeman.
Another named by Ms Mcleod as being able to supply taxpayer-funded resources for her Anarchist led campaign to free a terrorist murderer was Brisbane Councillor Jonathan Sri, a close ally of Senator Waters.
In this case the extremist association is less surprising. Councillor Sri has long been a fixture in the left wing extremist circles that congregate in Brisbane’s West end. A member of his office staff once spoke at an event held by a front group for the “Unite” organisation (a mixed group of Marxists and Anarchists that originally split off from the Socialist Alliance). Nor was it a particularly large surprise to learn that the Extinction Rebellion group that has caused so much disruption to Brisbane commuters this year was holding its organising meetings out of Councillor Sri’s offices.
So when Councillor Sri began speaking at multiple events organised by the Socialist Alternative front “Uni Students for Climate Justice” it wasn’t really much of a shock. Him performing an impromptu freestyle rap at the Brisbane “Rebellion day” about how cool it is to be an environmentalist while wearing painted on yoga pants was a little disturbing though.
Jono is a strange man.
Right before the 2019 Federal election Greens Senator for NSW Mehreen Faruqi spoke at a public protest against Mark Latham organised by Socialist Alternative while standing in front of a huge banner that read “Socialist Alternative” and while speaking alongside Sydney’s most prominent Socialist Alternative organiser Hersha Kadkol. Amazingly nobody in the media seemed to notice that a federal senator seemed to be unusually close to a revolutionary Trotskyist group.
Ms Faruqi has a history of association with both Socialist Alternative and Ms Kadkol. Both women were speakers a month before this event during an anti-Israel protest outside the Opera House. Senator Faruqi also spoke alongside Ms Kadkol at a Socialist Alternative organised event protesting the proposed Western Civilisation course being offered by the Ramsay centre at the University of Sydney in late October last year.
Six times failed Greens candidate for the inner Melbourne seat of Batman Alex Bhathal in February 2018 spoke at a rally outside Broadmeadows detention centre calling for a self-confessed senior member of a terrorist group to be allowed to stay in Australia (they failed, he was deported). Alongside her were members of Socialist Alternative, Solidarity, Socialist Alliance, the Anarchist group Collective Action and the Freedom Socialist Party. Speaking alongside Ms Bhathal was long time Marxist activist and alleged socialist sex pest Councillor Stephen Jolly.
The leader of the Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam, Greens MP for Brunswick Tim Read and Greens candidate for Macnamara Steph Hodgins-May all attended the now notorious St Kilda Antifa rally at the beginning of this year. The rally was organised by “Campaign Against Racism and Fascism” (CARF) a front group for Socialist Alternative and it’s stated aim was to shut down the rally about African crime being held by Neil Erikson and Blair Cottrell. Socialist Alternative, Socialist Alliance, Solidarity and the Socialist Party all had members and/or signage at the event which also attracted a large contingent from Melbourne’s Anarchist community. One of these Anarchists Edward Plowman was carrying a large black and red Anarcho-Communist variant of the “Antifa” flag.
The flag is relevant since only a week later Samantha Ratnam was a featured speaker at a rally outside the Victorian State Library in Melbourne. This rally was again organised by the “Campaign Against Racism and Fascism“(CARF) group and Ms Ratnam spoke while standing directly under the same Anarcho-Communist variant of the “Antifa” flag.
ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury spoke at a meeting organised by two Socialist Alternative activists with a history of violent protest. Rattenbury spoke at a Canberra protest organised by “Uni Students for Climate Justice” the same group that was simultaneously shutting down central Brisbane under the direction of Socialist Alternative activist Catherine Robertson. The protest in our nation’s capital was also organised by Socialist Alternative activists, in this case Grace Hill and Priya De.
In the lead-up to the Federal election, “Uni Students for Climate Justice” organised a “Uni Student Climate election rally” on May 16th in Brisbane. The event was organised primarily by Catherine Robertson of Socialist Alternative but also included as a speaker Qld Greens MP Michael Berkman.
Mr Berkman is the first state Greens MP in QLD and apparently in between taking his own daughter out of school to attend “school strikes” for climate change and being referred to the ethics committee enjoys giving interviews to the Socialist Alliance newspaper Green Left Weekly.
Sarah Hanson Young
Senator Hanson Young was the headline speaker at the “Climate crisis: a student forum” meeting organised at the University of Adelaide by the Socialist Alternative front group “Uni Students for climate justice”. While she was speaking the sometimes simplistic Senator was sharing a stage with two of South Australia’s most prominent Socialist Alternative organisers; Sage Jupe and Madeleine “Maddy” Edhouse the latter of whom was chief organiser for the event.
Former Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon (born Lee Brown) has had an ASIO file since she was a little girl. The reason for this was simple; her parents were two of the most hard-core Stalinists in Australia. In 1971 when the Communist Party of Australia was trying to move away from the legacy of Stalin Lee Rhiannon’s parents Bill and Freda Brown helped lead a pro-Stalin split in the organisation, going on to form the even-more-communist-than-the-communists Socialist Party of Australia (SPA). Freda Brown was even the only Australian women to have the honour of being awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. Ms Rhiannon was brought up as a devout Communist and joined the party at an early age. It was a love affair with Marxism that has never ended. At the time of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 Rhiannon was the editor of the last pro-Stalin newspaper in Australia. As the Soviet Union fell she and many others like her who still kept the faith in that old style tractors and Gulags brand of red revolution marched lock step like good little comrades directly into the newly formed Greens.
With many of the Greens elected members mentioned above its surprising that they chose to speak at meetings and events organised by revolutionary extremists. In Ms Rhiannon’s case it’s actually surprising that she hasn’t spoken at more. The most prominent was probably in 2017 when she spoke alongside David Shoebridge at the national conference of Ian Rintoul’s Solidarity group. Her presence there spoke more than her words however, that was the period of the previously mentioned civil war in the NSW Greens between the Marxists and the Moderates, a war that despite costing Rhiannon her Senate seat was ultimately decided in the favour of the extremists thanks to the swinging vote of Senator Mehreen Faruqi.
The former Senator hasn’t stopped there however. This weekend (August 24th-25th) Ms Rhiannon will be attending the Sydney conference of Socialist Alternative to launch a book by the editor of the Socialist Alternative Magazine Ben Hillier. No media has taken any notice of course. For contrast, imagine the right wing equivalent: Pauline Hanson attending a book launch by Blair Cottrell. I think our fourth estate might have noticed that.
Who are these groups?
For the uninformed most of the extremist groups mentioned above are revolutionary Marxists of the Trotskyist school. They openly declare that they want to overthrow the government and implement a totalitarian socialist state in the mould of the early Soviet Union. Socialist Alternative began in 1995 after a power struggle within the International Socialist Organisation which was then the largest hardline Trotskyist group in Australia. The losers were expelled and founded their own group. The winners went on to join the Socialist Alliance in 2001 before some more expulsions led to the founding of Solidarity. The different names ultimately don’t mean a lot, these are all factions of the same ideology, they just have a hard time getting along with anyone, even each other.
These ten Greens politicians will continue to associate with these violent extremists for as long as the media continues to cover up for them. This farce won’t end until these links become such common knowledge that even the almost shameless journalists of the Australian fourth estate are embarrassed into admitting what everyone else already knows. These groups are not normal political actors and it is not acceptable for the Greens to associate with them. It’s up to the rest of us to remind them of that.