12 Dec. 2006

Bikini December

It appears from its website that the Great Islamophobic Bikini March is not to go ahead. Three cheers. Unlike the death of Pinochet, this is a victory for us.* I wish to twist the knife by pointing out the absurd non sequiturs of their revanchist concession of defeat.

The scum claim firstly that they were "forced" to cancel the march by journalism. The mechanism of 'forcing' here is far from apparent. I have no idea how it 'forced' anything. It made clear that moderate(ly intelligent) members of the community (rightly) saw the marchers as crypto-fascists at worst, and irresponsible at best. This did not "force" the march to stop.

The scum then claim that free speech is not tolerated in Australia, which is particularly absurd, in that their invective is targeted precisely at the free speech of their critics. No-one attempted to silence the pitiful speech of the bikiniists; rather they claim that the free speech of their opponents constitutes an insupportable violence that must be constrained.

They claim that the media falsely claimed that the Great (sic) Australian (sic) Bikini March was partly to be held in Lakemba. This blog also reported this claim. Given however that the purported target of the march was a Lakemba-based preacher, one should be forgiven for making such a claim, and not realising the awesome irrelevant stupidity of people who wanted to protest a Sydneysider's remarks by marching on a mosque in suburban Melbourne. If anything, the media was too generous in its assumption.

* Pinochet's death is a defeat for the left insofar as it shows our inability to do to an enemy what he did to thousands of us; he was rather allowed to die free and unpunished.

7 Dec. 2006

via leftwrites, a Wollongong Undergraduate Students Association press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6 DECEMBER 2006

‘Anti-terror’ Laws used to Intimidate Student Union President

Wollongong police yesterday informed Jess Moore, President of the Wollongong Undergraduate Students’ Association (WUSA), anti-war activist and member of the Socialist Alliance, that under the new ‘anti-terror’ laws, she is facing a police investigation. A Senior Constable told Ms Moore that someone had made a complaint that she had organised an action in support of Hamas on October 18 of this year.

The action in question was in fact organised on campus to combat homophobia, it had nothing to do with the conflict in the Middle East, let alone the Palestinian group Hamas. At the action, students threw balloons filled with water at placards of John Howard, to highlight their disgust with the Prime Minister’s homophobic policies. Ms Moore attended the action that was supported by WUSA, but wasn’t an organiser.

“This is a shocking case of intimidation. That anyone can ‘dob in’ anyone else merely for attending a political demonstration that opposes the Howard Government, and have the police investigate them is an outrageous attack on civil liberties,” Moore said.

“It’s really scary to be called by the police to be told you are under investigation for allegedly supporting a terrorist group. These laws are obviously designed to dissuade activists and trade unionists from speaking out against the war, injustice and
against this government. It’s well known that many Muslims and people of Arabic background fear attending public demonstrations in this country - It’s obvious why!

“Free speech is under attack. In a democratic society people should have the right to speak their mind without fear of reprisal or intimidation. This incident undermines the freedom we supposedly have.

“For me this exposes the so-called ‘War on Terror’ for what it really is: inhumane and unjust foreign policy and an excuse for this government to intimidate and silence those who oppose them,” she concluded.

Ms Moore has vowed to continue demonstrating against injustice despite the harassment she is facing. She is calling on all supporters of civil liberties to do the same.

Media enquiries:
Jess Moore
President
Wollongong Undergraduate Students’ Association
0416 232 349

4 Dec. 2006

In perhaps the only attempt at real political analysis of today's ALP coup I've seen, Michael Berrell forwards the halfway-plausible thesis that the Murdoch media engineered Beazley's displacement at leftwrites. This of course implies that this furthers Murdoch's overt ideological agenda. It also accords with my pet line, which I've been running since before the challenge last week, that Rudd is destined to be an Australian Tony Blair.

3 Dec. 2006

Bikini Overkill

While the ‘Bikini March’ programmed for later this month (un)dresses itself up as a defence of (women’s) rights, I think three features mark it out as a festival of Islamophobia.

1. The choice of the anniversary of last year’s anti-Muslim Cronulla pogrom to stage this event.

2. The choice to march not on a site specific to al-Hilaly, the man whose remarks are ostensibly being protested (not that I think that there is any site which would be specific enough to make such a protest – although see point 3. below), but rather against mosques, representing the Muslim community in general, and their religion itself.

3. The fact that there is no clear danger to the right to wear skimpy swimming costumes in public. While there are undoubtedly some religious conservatives who would like such rights curtailed, they are insignificant in number. Indeed, the right that is under threat is the opposite right, the right to wear hijab at the beach – the Cronulla pogrom was partly directed against this right. Hijab is against the norms of Australian society and is under threat. This is in fact therefore not so much a pro-bikini rally as an implicitly-anti-hijab rally. If there were any danger to the right to wear bikinis, then the rally should address itself to the public authorities, not to a marginalised community.

Update: The explicit rhetoric on the event website confirms the character of the event.