The Extremist Links of Behrouz Boochani (and The Media Cover-Up)
It’s a selfie, taken by celebrity “refugee” Behrouz Boochani, in a boat heading to Manus Island. Behind him are two people, a woman in a blue and white striped skirt and black hat, and a man with a white beard, khaki bush hat and an out-of-fashion blue collared shirt.
The man is Ian Rintoul, a revolutionary Trotskyist extremist who began his career in the mid 1970s. The photo appeared in the Guardian above a story supposedly written by Boochani, describing how he travelled back to the site of the now-closed Manus Island detention centre to find it had been reclaimed by the jungle. The Guardian editor felt no need to point out that the man accompanying him (and possibly “helping” him write the article) had been, for almost 50 years, a member and leader of groups whose avowed aim was to overthrow the Australian government and implement a totalitarian Socialist State.
Why would the Guardian have felt the need to point it out? It and the rest of the media have been interviewing Rintoul for two decades now as the spokesman for the “Refugee Action Coalition”, without ever pointing out that, during that time, he was also a leader of the Socialist Alliance and the International Socialist Organisation and founder of the Trotskyist group Solidarity (which he still leads today).
A quick search on the Guardian Australia’s website finds hundreds of stories with uncritical quotes from Rintoul. It even published an article by his fellow Trotskyist, Solidarity member (and leader of the campaign against the Ramsay Centre at the University of Sydney) Nick Reimer. In the article, Reimer defends Rintoul against the highly credible accusation made by former senior immigration official, Greg Lake, that Rintoul had “coached” asylum seekers to self-harm for his own political gain.
So the Guardian Australia printed an article by a communist extremist, defending the leader of his communist group against accusations made by a senior public servant, without ever mentioning that either of them were communists who, for decades, have been openly calling for the violent overthrow of the government for which that public servant worked.
If the Guardian Australia were a real news outlet, this could have been scandalous.
To point out just how egregious this promotion of a violent extremist is, we need to examine just how prominent Ian Rintoul has been on the extreme left over the past half-century. Rintoul was one of the founding members of the Australian branch of the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) in the 1970s, a revolutionary Marxist extremist group known for its violence. Mr. Rintoul himself boasts that he has been arrested, in relation to his often-thuggish political activity, more than sixty times. The ISO was founded in the early 1970s as part of the outburst of left-wing extremism on university campuses around the Vietnam War protests.
They started in Melbourne primarily on the La Trobe and Monash campuses, fighting sometimes bloody battles with the Maoist groups, who at that time were the strongest university extremist organisations in Melbourne. As Trotskyist groups are wont to do, they went through a plethora of names, originally being the “Marxist Worker’s Group” (MWG), then the “Socialist Workers Action Group” (SWAG), before settling on the “International Socialists” (IS) and, after splits and re-mergers, eventually the International Socialist Organisation (ISO).
ISO was the Australian arm of the “International Socialist Tendency”, an umbrella group espousing the ideas of extremist Marxist theorist Tony Cliff, founder of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Britain. The IST split from other worldwide Trotskyist groups over what it called the “State Capitalism” theory. The theory of State Capitalism solves the problem all Trotskyist groups have: if their ideas are so great, why did Marxism murder so many people? State Capitalism explains away all the piles of bodies left behind by the various Communist regimes and their failure to create magical happy-lands of wonderfulness, by claiming that they were never really socialist countries at all.
Not “real socialism”, you see. I’m sure you’ve heard that a couple of times.
As the 70s went on, the group that would become ISO grew across Australia, usually by getting in contact with small groups of people who were already sympathetic to Trotskyism or disillusioned with the then-declining Communist Party of Australia (CPA). Rintoul was recruited in the mid 1970s in Ipswich, south-east Queensland. According to his own account, Rintoul joined the Brisbane branch when it had only a few members. Along with the former leader of the Mt Isa Communist Party, John Boyd, and former activist with the “Communist League” Gary McLennan, Rintoul rapidly grew their branch by the usual Trotskyist tactic of entryism. They elbowed their way to the centre of the growing left-wing protest movement against Joh Bjelke-Petersen and turned it into a recruitment and indoctrination factory, targeting young and naïve students.
The branch was characterised by frenetic activity. Upon his retirement, the head of Queensland’s Special Branch stated that if there were two cats fighting in Queen Street, the International Socialists would be there. They joined anything that would give them access to new recruits to indoctrinate. They participated in or organised around every left-wing cause, from pro-abortion rallies to pro-IRA campaigns, never working under their organisation’s own name, always through front groups. Always targeting new fresh meat to plop onto their activist production line.
As the radicalism of the 70s began to die away, various Trotskyist groups began fighting internally. Notable Brisbane activist John Minns moved to Sydney, leaving a hole in the branch leadership. It’s worth pointing out that Mr Minns is now “Dr” Minns, an associate professor in Politics and International Relations at the ANU and chief organiser of the pro-Refugee rallies in that city. To fill the hole he left, the Melbourne-dominated leadership moved another young extremist activist named Mick Armstrong up from the south, to take over in Brisbane. Armstrong (who had been recruited at La Trobe in 1975) immediately clashed with Rintoul and his allies in the “hardcore” faction of the Brisbane branch and was rapidly withdrawn. Rintoul and friends were not going to let anyone else boss them around in their backyard.
Over the next two decades, Rintoul showed his talent for string-pulling. He was undoubtedly behind the internal ISO purge that took place between 1993 and 1995, which saw a large portion of the Melbourne membership either expelled or leave voluntarily to start their own organisation, “Socialist Alternative”. These perfidious rebels included members of the newly famous “Austudy Five”, including Mick Armstrong and perpetual protester Sandra Bloodworth, as well as current Guardian columnist and former Overland editor Jeff Sparrow. Quitting in protest alongside them, to join the new organisation, were the aforementioned John Minns and the organiser of the recent IMARC riots in Melbourne, Jerome Small.
This perhaps helps explain why the Guardian Australia doesn’t think mentioning that Ian Rintoul is a revolutionary Trotskyist is relevant. After all, when you unquestioningly employ Jeff Sparrow, one of the founders of Socialist Alternative (now the largest left-wing extremist group in Australia) to commentate on politics, perhaps your view of Australia is a little warped.
Shortly afterwards, the violent anti-One Nation riots occurred. From the first violent confrontation at the party launch, to the sickening scenes in Melbourne where bystanders were beaten into bloody unconsciousness by baying mobs, ISO was at the forefront. Not only was ISO present and part of the organising committees for every violent action against One Nation, ISO was actually considered extreme by its comrades at the time. At anti-One Nation planning events with other Marxist groups, ISO stood out from even the other Trotskyists in demanding more and more violence to close down One Nation meetings with, in their words, a “strategy of militant confrontation”.
Under this strategy and under Rintoul’s direction, ISO began a campaign of intimidation against any business, venue or even local council that dared host a One Nation meeting anywhere in Australia. Nowhere that dared to let dissident thought even be spoken on its premises was safe.
The violent extremist ideologues behind the anti-One Nation protests were accurately reported on in the mainstream press at the time, and both Ian Rintoul and future Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly openly boasted in print that they were using the rallies to build up their organisations for a future Communist revolution.
At the violent S11 riots in September 2000, Rintoul again led the mob. Ten thousand leftists flooded the streets around Crown Casino, taking over the public spaces around the giant towering monument to capitalism. Four Marxist organisations – the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), ISO, Socialist Alternative and Stephen Jolly’s Socialist Party – were the main organisers of the violent riots which attacked police, paramedics and the Premier of Western Australia in an orgy of vandalism, thuggery and urine-filled balloons.
Ian and the leaders of some of the other Marxist groups involved let it go to their heads a bit, and decided that Australia was ready to vote a Marxist political party into power. Together, they managed to scrape every extremist group they could convince or cajole together to form the Socialist Alliance. That didn’t really work out. Socialist Alliance crashed and burned at the 2001 federal polls. Anti-John Howard far-left votes went to the Greens instead.
Ian himself became ever more involved in the running of the Refugee Action Coalition, which he had founded in 1999. Without Ian as its focus, ISO started to fall apart. Eventually, its strength drained away and old enemies in the DSP took complete control of the Socialist Alliance project. As the other members of ISO became frustrated with the path that he had led them down, Ian was forced to resign from the group in 2003.
Ian remained involved in Trotskyite politics and was instrumental in organising the merger in 2008 of the Socialist Action Group (which had split from Socialist Alternative) with Solidarity (a split from ISO) and what was left of ISO itself (after the Socialist Alliance chewed it up and spat it out). To this day, he continues his lifelong struggle to destroy the Australian “colonialist” state and replace it with a totalitarian socialist alternative, in the model of the early Soviet Union.
All of this is on the public record. None of it is hidden, yet if you read the hundreds of articles in the Guardian, the ABC, SBS, Fairfax or even News Corp, you would never know anything about Rintoul’s extremism, both past and present. He has never recanted his views and has never needed to, because his friends in the media have never brought them up. He has never voluntarily resigned from the revolutionary Marxist groups he has led and founded. He has never had to explain why a man who believes that Australia is an illegitimate genocidal social construct, which must be destroyed, is allowed to comment on how the country, that he so hates, defends its borders.
This is a man who wants to abolish Parliament, the army, the police and the courts and advocates mass violence and mob rule to circumvent elections. He and his comrades consider Australia an evil imperialist power and oppose all Australian patriotism, as well as any form of immigration control. They hate our country, they hate our culture, they hate our people and they hate our flag.
Why hasn’t anyone in the media mentioned any of this?
Behrouz Boochani is a man who has been fawned over by the Australian intelligentsia to the point where they gave him Australia’s richest literary prize, for a book he almost certainly didn’t write. They’ve fallen all over themselves to help him, to the extent that he’s been made an adjunct associate professor at UNSW, despite never having been to Australia and being unable to set foot in the country due to trying to illegally enter it. They worship him to the point that they take his side when he criticises Kristina Keneally, a luvvie from the socialist left faction of the ALP. Why is Boochani allowed to associate and collaborate with the most radical violent political extremists in Australia, without anyone pointing out this fact?
For his entire adult life, Ian Rintoul has worked towards the ultimate goal of the violent destruction of Australian society as it now exists. He has been the driving force behind violent demonstrations that have left blood on the streets and police in hospital. He has held membership for four decades with some of the most extreme radical groups in Australian politics.
If the most prominent member of an anti-immigration group here in Australia had not only been a leader of a neo-Nazi group four decades ago, but had remained a leader and a committed neo-Nazi through until today, do you think the media might mention that fact? If such a person had been openly collaborated with, by an academic gifted a position for political reasons and the winner of a writing prize, do you think our fourth estate would have remained silent?
The extreme left gets a pass because we let it get a pass, because we don’t put pressure on journalists to be honest about the causes of extremist political violence in Australia and the groups behind them.
It’s up to us to change that. Spread the word, send angry emails, share this article on social media and flood the comment sections next time extremist rats like Rintoul are given a platform to pretend that they’re normal, compassionate human beings.
Either we drag them into the sunlight or they continue to
act with impunity as our country continues its decline. The choice is ours.