Cronulla: Blue Singlets Make Better Beachware Than Brown Shirts

December 11, 2005 Off By leigh

The image of a mob of mostly young men in singlets (typically and traditionally blue) attacking a man possibly of Middle Eastern descent crystalises the character of the Cronulla race riot.

The image of a mob of mostly young men in singlets (typically and traditionally blue) attacking a man possibly of Middle Eastern descent crystalises the character of the Cronulla race riot.

Having recently relocated from Australia to the Netherlands, a country which itself has recently experienced the perhaps unsuspected and cataclysmic appearance of racism and extremism in the killings of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, and the rioting in France, I too have been chilled to see the reports of the culmination of racist hate-mongering manifest in Australia. In the Netherlands, such tragedies raised deep debate and demonstrated the need to expose the powers that encourage and profit from such extremism. It is now every Australian’s obligation to fully speak on this issue.

Like the race riots directed at Chinese workers in Australia in the 1800’s, and the attempted extermination of Tasmanian indigenous people, once again the Australian Anglo-Saxon working and middle class allowed itself to be wooed by gut (and gutter) reactions and seemingly easy answers into outbursts of animal predatoriness. When a crowd can engage in such a pogrom against those who may appear to not conform to an imagined mob identity, it is exactly matching the behaviour and thinking that resulted in the recent genocide in Rwanda, and the un-civil wars in Liberia and Yugoslavia.

The Cronulla racist mob riots re-expose the dark blue singlet of Australian fascism. An idiot crowd easily sold ideas of nationalism (“Aussies”), protectionism, exclusion and priviledge converged those with a growing sense of frustration as their living standards slowly deteriorate as decent blue collar jobs are exported by neo-liberal globalisation policies.

In a country lacking a opposition party with the moral clarity to not direct its preferences to religious exclusionary groups (Family First) ahead of progressive political parties, it becomes possible to frustrate those who will suffer most under Howards anti-worker IR legislation and give them no political outlet. This manifests itself in the U.S. political tactic of encouraging the under educated working class to re-identify itself with the mythical middle class and it’s consumerist aspirations and thereby befall the lure of mob identity not for solidarity, but for self-centered priviledge.

But in a climate of the Howard government itself abandoning Australians to brutal and corrupt regimes in America, Egypt (Hicks and Habib), Singapore (Nugyen), and Indonesia (Corby and the Bali Nine), it is now clear how much this mob brutality and racist division is itself embedded in government ideology, stooping in the interests of a corporatist agenda. A government prepared to throw the truth overboard to slander the ultimate victims of people smuggling. A government prepared to commit human rights abuses by imprisoning asylum seekers. A government determined to criminally prosecute an invasion against the people of Iraq to meet it’s role of Asian-lackey to Cheney imperialism. A government prepared to outlaw dissent by relabelling it seditious.

So too must we examine the rabid elements of the propaganda industry that masquerades as much of the corporate media in Australia. Funded and controlled by a handful of corporations, with now practically no limits on their control of the consumerist message, selling ideas of greed and practiced indifference to difference, these race-baiting hate mongers should be charged with incitement of racial hatred.

As Australians, it is necessary for each person to take issue with the display of viciousness of Sunday December 11th, and in doing so, pointedly identify all generators and benefactors of that viciousness.