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Issue #1930      August 31, 2020

Editorial

HAMMER & SICKLE

A SYMBOL OF FREEDOM

ALP candidate Maddy Northam, who is seeking election for the seat of Kurrajong in central Canberra in the upcoming ACT election, posted a photo of herself and her campaign team on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. The photo in question has caused controversy because, according to the ABC, “a poster on the wall behind her, smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, displayed the hammer and sickle – a symbol long linked to the Soviet Union.”

Not letting a political opportunity slip it by, Canberra Liberals and their associates have gone on the attack.

Liberal MLA Vicki Dunne, member for Ginninderra, stated: “Many ACT voters would feel enormously uncomfortable that ACT Labor is drawing its inspiration from one of the most oppressive regimes responsible for the deaths of millions and millions of people, state-enforced famine, environmental degradation, and complete and utter economic carnage.”

Let us ignore for a moment that USSR was/is not the sole owner of the hammer and sickle. It is no surprise that Dunne has flagrantly repeated anti-communist propaganda without reference to any actual events. Against such claims, we can refer to the principle: “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

Dunne’s description of the USSR, however, could equally apply to Australia. “Free speech” in this country does not come without qualifiers. Throughout the entire history of the CPA, the Party and its members have been subject to bans and arrests. When Fred Paterson, a communist from Queensland, was elected to parliament, his electorate was split in two, effectively disenfranchising a portion of those citizens who he had represented from voting for him again. The BLM movement is suffering similar oppression with law enforcement moving to make every rally illegal.

Australia’s genocide and continued mistreatment of Indigenous peoples and its participation in the numerous imperialist wars, such as Vietnam and Iraq, leaves a legacy of bloodshed that can never be compensated for.

According to foodbank.org.au, in their “Foodbank Hunger Report 2019”: “one in five Australians have experienced food insecurity at some point in the last 12 months. This means that for 21 per cent of Australia’s population, there has been at least one time in the last year when they didn’t have enough food for themselves or their family and could not afford to buy more food.”

On the question environmental degradation, Australia’s reputation is among the worst. Australia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels. The “Brown to Green Report 2019” found that “Australia is the only developed country deforestation hotspot in the world.”

To speak of Australia’s economic mismanagement would require the length of this entire paper and then some. Suffice to say that regular readers of our paper should be all but familiar with grim policies and statistics we have presented each week as the Morrison government blindly wanders this economic storm (e.g. #1929 “Unemployment disaster”).

And as disgusting as the above comments may be, they cannot top those made by Stefan Romaniw, chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Associations: “You can equate the hammer and sickle to the swastika.”

Twenty-seven million Soviet men and women died during World War II to liberate Europe from fascism, liberated Jewish people, other ethnic minorities (such as the Romani), and various anti-fascists. With victory, where old empires use to stand, came the national liberation movements across Eastern Europe. To equate the symbol of the Party of the working-class with fascism disrespects those lost lives.

While the smear on Maddy Northam is nothing more than a cheap shot to delegitimise a political candidate, we cannot allow reactionaries to revise history and distort facts.

The Communist Party of Australia is seeking to run in elections in the future and we will unabashedly use the hammer and sickle. Under the hammer and sickle, the working-class from all over the world fought to liberate themselves from oppressive regimes whether that be an autocratic tsar like Nicholas II, a colonial power like France, or a fascist dictator like Batista. Just like those before us, we too will fight under the banner of the hammer and sickle, to win victories long overdue for the exploited masses of Australia.

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Next article – The case of Julian Assange

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