The Freedom Socialist Bulletin welcomes your opinions and campaign reports. Send contributions to PO Box 266, West Brunswick Vic 3055. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for another top notch Freedom Socialist Bulletin. As an American, I really appreciate your in-depth coverage of Australian and Asian issues that we don’t get as much coverage of in my part of the world. And the Radical Women Supplement is music to my feminist ears!
I’d like to thank you very much for Bryan Sketcheley’s review of Viva la Raza. I appreciated his thoughtful and detailed analysis, and both his praise and critique. His comment on how our Marxist analysis of the national question sheds light on the nationhood of indigenous peoples was very important. It showed how the book is relevant to Australian and New Zealand readers.
I would like to clarify one statement in the review. It wouldn’t be accurate to say that the United Farm Workers was actually defeated — it does still exist and has some contracts. It would be more correct to say that it didn’t achieve its goals of widespread unionisation or dramatic improvements in the standard of living of farm workers. But, as Bryan observes, the indomitable spirit and militancy of the women and men of la Raza will continue to shake the world!
Megan Cornish, Co-author of
Viva la Raza: A History of Chicano Identity and Resistance, Seattle, U.S.A.
Support for Palestinians and Jews
I have never downplayed or distorted the evil that happened to Jews and other people in the Second World War, and I share the empathetic sentiments expressed by many people for the Jewish people’s pain and torment.
However, I think many people blur the distinction between criticisms of Israel and that of Jews. The guilt people feel about past atrocities should not stop them from seeing and standing up for what is just and right in the present day.
While I am not anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic, I am intensely critical of Israel. I firmly believe that the establishment of the state of Israel has not only been a massive disaster for the Palestinian people, but for Jews as well.
I feel great distress when otherwise good and moral people make no condemnation of Israel’s dispossession and displacement of the Palestinians, nor express any disapproval of the brutal occupation and oppression of the Palestinians. People should not allow their rightful sympathy towards the Jewish people to close their eyes to the immoral actions of Israel. Indeed it is hypocritical to ignore and turn a blind eye to the suffering inflicted on another persecuted people because of the past misery of Jews.
Lex Wotton still needs our solidarity
Thanks for the great coverage of the campaign to free Aboriginal political prisoner, Lex Wotton. I particularly appreciated reading the interview with Warren Smith from the MUA in Sydney, who said, “it’s not up to workers to lead the struggle of Aboriginal people. It is up to us to show solidarity with the Aboriginal community in their struggle for justice.”
Lex is still in jail as a result of being found guilty in November 2007 for his alleged role in the so-called “riots” that occurred following the death in custody of his friend, Mulrunji Doomadgee, in the Palm Island watch-house.
It is essential that we all continue to show our support for Lex. It is outrageous that he was targeted and is now doing time, while Chris Hurley, the police officer responsible for the death in custody, continues to walk free. While Hurley is trying clear his name by challenging the detailed report of Deputy Coroner Christine Clements, the Doomadgee family aims to prevent this through another appeal.
You can show your solidarity by writing to Lex c/- Townsville Correctional Centre, PO Box 5574 MSO, Townsville, QLD 4810. Lex and his family need to hear from his supporters.
You can also circulate the “Free Lex Wotton! Justice for the Palm Island community!” petition initiated by the Indigenous Social Justice Association — Melbourne. The goal is to obtain 1,000 signatures by August 9, 2009. This date has been chosen because it is the first anniversary of Lex’s Melbourne speaking tour. For a copy of the petition, please email email@example.com
Make a donation to assist Lex and his family. This will assist Lex to pay for phone calls and postage. It will also help fund much-needed regular visits to Lex by family members who make the costly trip from Palm Island. You can make a donation into the Free Lex Wotton account at the Melbourne University Credit Union (BSB 803-143 and account number: 13441).
The family is also eager to source a video camera in good working order to document important events in the lives of Lex’s newly born grandchild. Another grandchild is also expected soon. As a political prisoner, Lex is not only incarcerated but is being deprived of many special moments.
Biko and Ward — never again!
Steve Biko was murdered by the South African government: he was nearly bashed to death on
6 September 1977, then transported naked in the back of a police van from Port Elizabeth to Pretoria, a distance of 1200km. Six days later, he was dead.
He had been taken by Security Police to a building in Port Elizabeth handcuffed, put into leg-irons, chained to a grille and subjected to 22 hours of interrogation, torture and beating. He received between two and four blows to the head, fatally damaging his brain. He died on 12 September 1977.
South Africa in 1977 mirrors Australia in 2009 if we look at the treatment of Aboriginal elder, Mr Ward.
The savagery of the South African government continues in Australia. Deaths in custody, far from diminishing since the Royal Commission, continue in an upward spiral. This will not be stopped until there is such a huge national and international outcry that governments in this country will be forced to take notice.
No country controlled by the ruling classes has clean hands when it comes to the treatment of Indigenous people.
The stain of Steve Biko’s execution will long live on in my memory. Living in a police state was a very intimidating place to be a political activist. I fled to Australia in 1978 with my family, escaping from the worst excesses that were still to come in the aftermath of the 1976 Soweto riots.
To know that we live in a country where the excesses of our governments continue is to be aware that we need a revolution. But it will still be a while arriving while capitalism goes from crisis to crisis, taking us all along for the ride.
I personally feel horror when I think of the treatment of Mr Ward and when I remember Steve Biko. How can one ever forget?
Mannie De Saxe
South Preston, Vic