In our “A World to Win” series, Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance seeks to give voice to the ideas and demands of radical young people involved in the struggle to make the world a better place. In this week's article, Stanley Blair argues that the international border system exacerbates the injustice of capitalism and that we need open borders. * * * Around the world, political discussion has become increasingly concerned with immigration. The Australian establishment has been a world leader in immigration scaremongering for the past decade.
Around two thousand people rallied in Sydney on October 11 in support of refugees. The protest was called by the Refugee Action Coalition and came in the wake of claims of mistreatment and sexual abuse against refugee women on Nauru and Manus Island. The rally's demands included that the government bring the women to Australia for medical treatment and that all refugees be freed.
It is a long and perilous journey for those fleeing war-torn Syria in hopes of reaching safety. But one such refugee refused to make journey without his cat. Photos have emerged in Greek media showing the moment the unnamed refugee landed on the island of Lesbos, cradling the tiny cat he could not bear to leave behind. The man had few other possessions when he crossed the Mediterranean Sea, according to Greek news outlet Protothema.
The cycle path known as the Iron Curtain Trail follows the boundary that separated east from west during the cold war period from 1947 to 1989. The 7650 kilometre route that stretches from north of Turkey to the Barents Sea, 400 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle, is not for the faint-hearted. But such is the desperation of Syrian refugees that up to 20 people a month are using the route to get to the safety of the Norwegian town of Kirkenes on the Russian-Norwegian border. Here they make a formal request for asylum and are then flown to the capital Oslo for further processing.
The announcement on September 9 that Australia will accept only 12,000 refugees from Syria and that the government will seek to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and religion is further proof that the government is lying about leading the world in welcoming refugees.
On August 19, the refugee rights group People Just Like Us hosted another in its series of meetings in Parramatta Library. Speakers included Sayid Kasim, a Rohingya from Arkan and Salmore, a Rohingya from Myanmar who told their stories of fleeing for their lives. Rohingya are stateless people, victims of racism and genocide. Dhugel, from Bhutan, told of his escape via India to Nepal. Paul Power from the Refugee Council of Australia told the meeting that governments should listen to refugees when making policy. “They are not a threat to our values”, he said.
Sixty people listened as refugees gave harrowing accounts of what had led them to seek asylum in Australia at a forum in Parramatta on July 15 organised by People Just Like Us. Shokufa Tahiri and Ezatullah Salar spoke about the long history of oppression of the Hazara minority in Afghanistan. In 1890, Abdur Rahman Khan exterminated 63% of the minority group and until the 1930s Hazaras were systematically driven out of cities, and deprived of citizenship and education. Under the Taliban, it became a crime to be Hazara, Turkic or Shia.
On June 24 about 150 people attended a forum organised by the Refugee Action Collective, Labor for Refugees and the Refugee Advocacy Network on the theme “How can we get Labor to oppose offshore detention?” Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney told the meeting that the ACTU has recently adopted a stronger policy on refugees, based on recognition that “seeking asylum is a human right”.
On June 4 the silhouettes of 231 children were placed outside Parliament House in Canberra as a representation of the children still held in Australia’s detention centres.
If you listen to most Western politicians you could be forgiven for thinking that refugees are a pesky annoyance, greedy “economic refugees” from the Third World illegitimately trying to break into this wealthy country. Their now monotonously routine scapegoating of refugees for the pain and insecurity that more and more people feel, even in the richest countries in the world, translates into plain abuse out there in the public.
ADELAIDE Watch a film with us: Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class on Saturday June 20 at 6.30pm. The film examines whether TV portrayals of the working class are accurate, and how they affect the ways viewers think and behave. Salvation Army Worship and Community Centre, 70 Marion St, Unley. Ph Matthew Buckley 0406 822 894. BRISBANE March at a rally to welcome refugees on Saturday June 20 at 11am. King George Square. Ph Paul 3392 3843. Email. CAIRNS
Reclaim Your Voice Various artists Released June 2014 Blue Mountain Sound www.bluemountainsound.com.au Andy Busuttil of Blue Mountain Sound released the following statement on June 28. *** We would like to think of our Australia as a nation with a big heart. A nation that stands for the dispossessed and does its damndest to help those in need, especially those attempting to flee tyranny.
Blue Volume Joelistics Released June 20, 2014 Elefant Traks www.joelistics.com The flawless music on Joelistics' second solo album is more than matched by the depth of his lyrics - an unflinching look at Australian reality. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward went through the words with the rapper, who brings some much-needed grit to Australian hip-hop. *** On "Say I'm Good" you rap: I'm an oddball, on the wrong team All my friends are out of step with the mainstream And the nightmare is in full swing
Don't Let it Go (Urthboy Flip) Sietta x Jaytee Elefant Traks Released March 6, 2014 Free download Hip-hop artist Urthboy has hit back at Australia's asylum seeker policy with a free song released online. The rapper drops some radical rhymes over a beat that originally appeared on the new album by bass-heavy Darwin duo Sietta, which was released on his label Elefant Traks this month.
IED EP Pataphysics Out November 8 www.pataphysics.com Multi-lingual multi-instrumentalist Pat Marks fronts the multi-faceted Melbourne band Pataphysics. As the critically-acclaimed "guerilla hip-hop" outfit prepare to launch their new EP, Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to Marks about his multifarious pursuits, from refugee rights to juvenile justice. *** You've worked with refugees for a long time. Tell us a little about the work you do.
A Dose Of Reality Eskatology September 2013 Download free here www.eskatology.com On his latest EP, A Dose Of Reality, Adelaide-based emcee Eskatology raps about the refugees he works with. "I've worked with many refugees in my job as a youth worker," says the rapper, who is giving the 10-track EP away as a free download.