A special appeal: Solidarity: Humanity's strength

February 14, 2009

This column is usually devoted to an appeal for the Green left Weekly fighting fund but this week this space will be used to join in with the many trade unions, other groups and individuals who are rising in a huge display of solidarity to help the communities devastated by the unprecedented bushfires in Victoria.

Tim Gooden, the secretary of Geelong and Region Trades and Labour Council, described the efforts of trade unionists in that industrial city to GLW: "The Australian Council of Trade Unions has donated $250,000 to the bushfire relief appeal run by the Red Cross and we are currently organising collections from job sites as well as organising mobile blood bank visits to large workplaces.

"Some unions are organising direct delivery of aid and collecting lists of volunteers to go into the fire-ravaged communities to help out.

"Our phones are running hot with offers of help from unionists and others in the community.

"In critical moments like this, we see human solidarity at its best. People come together to help those who are in trouble."

Amid all this spontaneous human solidarity, how can it be possible to use "human nature" to excuse a system that elevates greed and profit-gouging to the highest value and determining principle of social organisation?

Amid the obvious link between these fires, climate change and the historically unprecedented orgy of capitalist greed that has brought human society to crisis point, it is outrageous that some in the big business media are blaming "greenies" for this disaster.

While the Labor and Liberal politicians made a public display of grief and compassion, these same politicians are yet to take action befitting the climate emergency that will no doubt bring more such devastation.

The fire-devastated communities have a huge rebuilding job ahead of them. This should be done through community-run effort where social needs and environmental sustainability are put first. But in the current political system, an army of profit-makers will seek to exploit this rebuilding for their own gain. We don't need this, we need system change!

[To donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal call 1800 811 700 or visit .]

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