Global Solidarity Officer’s Report – Week 4, Sem 2, 2016

Declan Maher & Pelin Ersoy, Justine Amin & Michelle Picone

The release of the Nauru Files has once again shone light on the horrendous treatment of refugees by the Australian government. This does not come as a surprise to anyone – it has been the policy of both Liberal and Labor for some years now to subject refugees to brutal torture in offshore concentration camps as a “deterrent”, that is, making them worse than wars, persecution and poverty that Australia is directly or indirectly complicit in causing. A policy so central to the project of both parties can only be defeated through mass action and by literally tearing down the fences imprisoning refugees, as happened in Woomera in 2002. The next rally to free the refugees is on August 27th, starting at 1pm at Town Hall.

The 2016 Rio Olympics is all over the news, along with little mention of protests that have surrounded the event, drawing attention to huge wealth inequality, the poor state of education, the clearing of favelas and other issues. As the torch approached the Opening Ceremony, it was headed by riot police firing rubber bullets at those who stood in its way. The event itself, however, hasn’t been completely apolitical – USA’s swimming gold medalist in Simone Manuel used her platform to speak out about police brutality in her home country. She said to the media on her victory, ”it means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality. This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My colour comes with the territory.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has, in recent months, found footing in Australia after a number of large rallies, particularly in light of the report on the Don Dale prison in the Northern Territory, where predominantly Indigenous boys have been subject to various forms of torture from tear gas to restraining chairs to isolation. This is just another episode in the 228 year history of racism and genocide that is the Australian state. The Global Solidarity office will continue to support this struggle of Indigenous people against racism and oppression.