The Guardian • Issue #2093


Stand with Paul

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2093

“Extra proud to be a communist today.”

This was the reaction of one Communist Party of Australia member to the news that Paul Keating, known as ‘Keato,’ of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) had been arrested at a protest against ZIM shipping on 24 March.

The Maritime Union of Australia, and Keato were protesting, and trying to prevent ZIM going about its normal business because of what Israel is doing in Palestine. ZIM is an Israeli shipping company which has delivered weapons to Israel.

Israel has killed about 32 thousand people since 7 October last year, thousands of them children. As another comrade remarked at a Party action in Melbourne, “too many children are dying.” A lot of media outlets try to dress this up as a disagreement, or a matter of opinion. Even calling what Israel is doing in Palestine “a war,” is hiding the truth. What’s happening is this: they’re killing children.

In protesting and being arrested, Keato and the MUA are following in a long tradition of international solidarity for both communists and maritime unions. Maritime workers took action in support of Indonesian freedom fighters against Dutch colonialists in the fight for independence after World War Two (see Guardian #2075, 23 October 2023). Before that they memorably took action against exports of pig iron to pre-war Japan, not long before that country, led by fascists, used that pig iron to make shells, ships, and planes with which to menace the Australian mainland. In that protest, communists and maritime workers were opposed by Robert Menzies, founding father of the Liberal Party of Australia.

Getting arrested is easier than it used to be. Security powers in this country are a ratchet that only moves in one direction. We know from recent history that those powers can be misused. Witness the NSW police using powers designed to fight terrorism to imprison a Youtube comedian/journalist for the crime of annoying a State Government minister, and West Australia coming down on protesters outside a Woodside executive’s house like a ton of bricks, under legislation meant for security purposes.

The misuse and the powers will only get worse as governments and their backers feel threatened. In the case of environmental protests, bourgeois governments act for fossil fuel corporations which are also donors. When it comes to Palestine, the NSW Labor government is acting for the USA, as the federal ALP does when it drags its heels on the mildest of reproofs of Israel’s genocidal campaign.

NSW Premier Chris Minns reproved protesters for obstructing ZIM’s business, saying they weren’t “helping their cause,” as though more politeness and etiquette on the part of Keato and the other union members arrested might have lead to any action on Labor’s part at a state or federal level.

Communist Party members will keep protesting and keep up the action. The IDF are killing too many children. It’s not an occasion for politeness.

A lot of articles in this paper finish with a collection of calls to action: contact a politician, call your local member, join us at the demonstration. These calls for action are for real. Protest works. That’s why they want to stop it. It doesn’t always work on the spot, or in the way you want it to work, but it works.

The Guardian, the Workers’ Weekly is also extra proud to be publicising protests and encouraging Party members and supporters to participate. If you can’t get to an action, have a look at the other calls to action. We don’t put ‘call a member’ or ‘email your MP’ at the end of a piece to take up space. Politicians track every email, letter, and call, and they add them up.

Every effort counts. Keep an eye on the Guardian and join in when and where you can.

We have lives to save.

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