Cowardly Marxist groups have postponed their proposed blockade of Story Bridge in Brisbane after discovering that the police actually intended to enforce the law against them.
The “Refugee Solidarity Brisbane/Meanjin” group nominally organising the protests announced their cowardly retreat on social media, stating that:
“We’re postponing our Mass Sit-in on the Story Bridge #FreeTheKP120 by one week.In the past few days Queensland Police Service have held three press conferences about our upcoming action, threatening a disproportionate response to peaceful protest by community members. The language police used in those press conferences should be deeply concerning for anyone who cares about the right to peaceful protest in this state.They said they’d respond with “full force” and they’ll be “exhausting all their resources to stop this protest going ahead”—these are dog whistles for police violence, repressive tactics like chemical weapons, and the riot squad moving in to assault peaceful community members. Police have a history here. They used chemical weapons on peaceful protesters in so-called Sydney’s Central Station earlier this year. They did it the year before at IMARC in so-called Melbourne, where they also used horses to trample and break the bones of non-violent activists. For decades they’ve done the same thing in this state to stifle protest.The police planned to respond in a similar way tomorrow—their history and the language used proves it.”
In other words the organisers began to fear that despite their lives of privilege the dastardly police intended to arrest them if they broke the law. So who are “Refugee Solidarity Brisbane/Meanjin”? Well their sponsor and most prominent spokesperson is Greens Councillor Jonathon Sri, but old Jon would show up to the opening of a red envelope as long as it was held in Brisbane’s West End. Plus Jon has come out after a chat with Queensland police and in a fairly cowardly fashion flat out denied that he was an organiser. The real clues to the identity behind the people doing the on the ground organising lies elsewhere.
On the Refugee Solidarity Brisbane events page you can scan how busy our little cowardly scallywags are.
Next Friday the group is due to hold a Weekly Jam Session at the Blockade co-hosted with the Refugee Action Collective.
Next Tuesday they’re holding a Unions for Refugees Solidarity Night co-hosted with the Refugee Action Collective. Also on Tuesday is the Union Songs at the KP Blockade event performed by Phil Monsour (a Socialist Alliance member and Marxist activist since the early 90s) and again co-hosted by Refugee Action Collective.
If you scan over their previous events it immediately becomes clear that in nearly all of them the “Refugee Solidarity Brisbane/Meanjin” group are twinned with the “Refugee Action Collective”. In fact their first ever event held in April this year has listed a the hosts Refugee Solidarity Brisbane / Meanjin, Socialist Alternative Brisbane and Refugee Action Collective Queensland.
Refugee Solidarity Brisbane and the Refugee Action Collective clearly have a very close relationship (and that’s putting aside the fact that in their inaugural event they were also supported by Socialist Alternative, Australia’s largest Marxist group). So close is the relationship in fact that when Refugee Solidarity Brisbane posted their press release on Facebook and Twitter announcing their cowardly retreat they copied and pasted the press release previously posted on the Refugee Action Collective website.
And now of course we have the newly rescheduled blockade of Story Bridge to be held next Saturday which again will be co-hosted by the Refugee Action Collective.
So who is the Refugee Action Collective? The Brisbane branch was set up by Mark Gillespie who remains their primary spokesman and email contact. Mr Gillespie has history as an often violent member of revolutionary Trotskyist groups heading back to the mid 1980s and continuing today. He was a longtime activist with the Brisbane branch of the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) and in that capacity violently attacked several One Nation Meetings in the mid 1990s including one event at Festival hall where he was one of thirteen arrested after a violent attack on a young female constable that left her hospitalised.
As a leading activist in the ISO Gillespie was one of the founding members of Socialist Alliance in Brisbane in 2000 and when Ian Rintoul split from the ISO in 2003 Gillespie was one of his loyal followers who did likewise, forming the “Solidarity” organisation as an alternate Marxist party in the Trotskyist tradition.
Ian Rintoul himself has been a Marxist organiser since the mid 1970s when he was first recruited in Ipswich and had begun the Sydney “Refugee Action Coalition” at the turn of the century hoping to capitalise on the refugee movement to recruit new members to the ISO. He eventually became so enthusiastic about the campaign that it caused a rift inside the ISO leading to Rintoul and a coterie of loyalists leaving to form “Solidarity”.
Solidarity has been busy this year. First protesting against the Morrison government closing the borders with China to prevent Coronavirus spread, then holding multiple refugee rallies in breach of Coronavirus rules, then leading an attack on the statue of Captain Cook in Hyde Park, then creating a scene when one of their leaders Paddy Gibson defied a NSW Supreme Court ruling to hold his own little BLM protest. And then being a part of a protest held by their larger cousins of Socialist Alternative that was broken up by NSW police. And that of course isn’t even mentioning their Brisbane work with almost constant Kangaroo Point protests demanding the release 120 illegal immigrants into the community.
This hard extremist core of people who genuinely believe that Australia should have open borders because they think Australia is evil and want it to be destroyed means that despite their cowardly retreat on Saturday (and the commendable spirit shown by NSW police in blocking them) these pests will be back, again and again. Because ultimately what they want isn’t anything to do with “refugees” any more than it is to do with aboriginals or climate change. They want to overthrow the government and implement a totalitarian state. And until the wider public realises this, these extremists will continue to have outsized influence, will continue to disrupt and annoy the lives of decent citizens and will continue to be treated with kid gloves by law enforcement.