Nick Fredman

More than 100 people attended public forums discussing the crisis in Venezuela and the need for solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution against the threat of violent right-wing opposition in Geelong and Melbourne on July 28 and 29.

The Melbourne meeting was initiated by Socialist Alliance and supported by the Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET) and the El Salvadoran leftist party, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front.

Phillip Galea, linked to far right groups Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front, was arrested on August 7 as part of raids on four properties in and around Melbourne and charged with making documents likely to facilitate a terrorist act and planning or preparing for a terrorist act. He was jailed last November for possession of several stun guns and bomb precursor chemicals.

Activists evaded eviction from vacant houses and apartments in Parkville on August 3. The homes had been acquired for the East West Link, a project axed under community pressure by the incoming Labor government in 2014, with a promise to use the properties for public housing.

As the left in Australia faces the need to organise against escalating racism from mainstream politicians and the far right, important lessons can be learned from anti-racist struggles across the world.

Sibylle Kaczorek is a Socialist Alliance activist now living in Melbourne who was active in anti-racist campaigns in Germany. She spoke to Green Left Weekly's Nick Fredman.

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Despite Germany officially becoming an anti-fascist state after World War II, there have been continuing connections between the far right and the state haven’t there?

The campaign against racism and the far right needs a clear understanding of racism and fascism and how to fight these threats.

Racism is not inherent in human beings. It is a product of capitalism. Racist scapegoating is used by the corporate rich because it undermines solidarity among workers, opening the way for conservative policies such as privatisation and cuts to social spending.

The Denis Napthine government, elected by a slim majority in 2010, has fallen in Victoria. This is the first time a Victorian government has lasted only one term since 1955, when the Cain Labor government fell in the midst of the great Labor split.

The Napthine government had lost support due to brutal public sector cuts, vindictive attacks on nurses, paramedics and teachers, the unpopular East West Link project, and corruption scandals that led to the removal of Ted Baillieu as premier last year and the sacking of several Liberal candidates before the poll.

Stephen Jolly, the Socialist Party candidate for Richmond, is a high profile activist with electoral runs on the board.

He came to prominence with the campaign to reopen Richmond Secondary College in the early 1990s, and has been on the frontlines of many campaigns in Melbourne’s inner north since, including recent efforts to stop the East West Link and to defend public housing.

The Victorian Coalition government looks set to go down in an ignominious defeat at the November 29 state election.

Several recent polls have given Labor a healthy lead of about 56% to 44% in two-party preferred terms.

The Coalition was narrowly elected — to everyone’s surprise (including their own) — in 2010, and thus look like being the first one-term government in Victoria since 1955.

National rallies were held on October 23 to protest against continuing Aboriginal deaths in custody.

About 300 people rallied in Melbourne at an event organised by the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Melbourne and First Nations Liberation.

The catalyst for the rally was the death of a 22-year-old Yamatji woman known as Ms Dhu in police custody in Western Australia.

The City of Moreland became the first council in Victoria to rule out direct investments in fossil fuels and the first council in Australia to start developing a strategy to move investments away from financial institutions that fund fossil fuel developments, after a vote at its October 8 meeting.

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