Many protests took place last week. There were protests against government inaction on the climate emergency, against the mass sackings by a bank making record profits and a sad vigil for a 26-year-old Hazara man who died in an Australian immigration detention centre.
More protests were also planned for refugee rights, Aboriginal rights and in solidarity with the new people's power movement in Turkey united around the defence of Gezi Park.
This is not unusual in Sydney these days. There is a lot to protest about today but most of these campaigns are quite small.
Most of society in Australia today is in a largely passive funk of frustration and uncertainty, while a lot of small groups of people with enough passion about important issues are incredibly active. They organise meetings, distribute information, collect contact details of people interested in the issue concerned and they take to the streets again and again.
At a vigil to mark the death in detention of 26-year-old Afghan Hazara Ali Ahmad Jafari on January 21, I was thinking about what keeps us going in tough times like this.
I shared my feelings with others at this vigil on a cold dark winter's night.
First, it is important to have some fire in the belly.
What makes me furious with the Labor government and Liberal-National opposition, I said, is that they are not just failing to show the slightest bit of human solidarity for refugees but that they are coldly, calculatedly and systematically working to kill the innate solidarity that most people in Australia would otherwise feel for them.
Human solidarity and empathy come naturally to most people, especially as they can easily see on TV and the internet what horrors are driving millions of people to flee their homes and seek asylum in foreign lands.
It takes a lot of hard work to stifle this natural solidarity. And this systematic stifling of human solidarity is the bipartisan crime that can never be forgotten or forgiven.
A burning anger at injustice certainly keeps me an activist.
But we need more than this anger. We need to understand why these injustices keep happening and where the potentials for change lie. And more than this we need to act collectively to advance this change.
Indeed, only by acting collectively do we really get to understand what is going on and how we can best move forward. By acting collectively we also keep alive each others' spirits.
Campaigning publications like Green Left Weekly play an important role in this process. GLW is much, much more than a project of information. It is a valuable collectivising and organising asset for the movement for change.
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