Tomorrow, 12 March 2020, protestors arrested blockading the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne will once again face court. It comes at a time of increased police intimidation of protest participants. Spirit of Eureka has issued this statement in support of the IMARC protestors and against the attacks on democratic rights in Australia.
Democracy is under attack! Support the IMARC protestors!
Spirit of Eureka wishes to express our support and solidarity with those facing trumped up charges and police intimidation as a result of participation in the popular protests against the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) held in Melbourne in October last year.
Hundreds of peaceful protestors blockaded and protested the conference which was attended by delegates representing some of the biggest and worst mining and fossil fuel companies in the world, such as Rio Tinto, BHP, Adani, and Newcrest Mining just to name a few. It is corporations like these that are directly responsible for the environmental vandalism and climate crisis the world is facing today.
Motivated by the urge to see a more equitable, just, and sustainable world, protestors felt compelled to confront those people and corporations whose unhinged desire for ever larger profits at any cost is to blame for the devastation of the planet and our futures.
For exercising their democratic right to protest, they were met with hundreds of militarised and armed police, who proceeded to indiscriminately attack the peaceful protestors with batons and pepper spray, and to arrest anyone they could get their hands on.
Make no mistake. The militarised police were acting as a direct agent in the service of the mining and fossil fuel corporations, and of the governments that do their bidding. The unprovoked and indiscriminate violence was a direct act of class war.
Our democratic rights are under attack. The downgrading of Australia’s democracy from “open” to “narrowed” has been widely reported. Whether it’s attacks on peaceful protests, raids on journalists and media organisations, prosecution of whistle blowers, or attacks on workers’ rights to organise and strike. They all have one thing in common. They serve the interests of the ruling class of big business and their puppet governments.
They tell us we are allowed to protest, as long as it doesn’t actually disrupt the business of the ruling class to exploit people and plunder the environment. The IMARC protests proved that. Now, they threaten to extend anti-union secondary boycotts laws to activists in the environment movement and communities to try and make our protests less effective.
They tell us we have the right to organise and freedom of association, but pass ever more laws to restrict our union rights. They give $200m budgets to task forces like the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) to police and intimidate construction workers and unionists who dare to fight together and fly the Eureka flag, our most precious symbol of Australian democracy and militant resistance to oppression.
They tell us we have the right to strike, as long as we jump through all the hoops like well trained dogs. Even then they can turn around and declare our strikes illegal if it will cause “disruption to the economy”.
As the crisis of capitalism intensifies, so too will the attacks on all those who dare to stand in the way of the profit making of the ruling class. Workers, students, environmentalists, indigenous people, and all who believe in genuine democratic rights have common cause for struggle.
The strength of the people is in unity. We take inspiration from the Eureka rebels who in 1854 united under the flag of the Southern Cross and took the oath – “We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other, and fight to defend our rights and liberties.”
The prosecution of the IMARC protestors is an attack on the democratic rights of all of us. Spirit of Eureka stands in support of the protestors and determined to continue the struggle for real democracy for the people, workers’ rights, justice, and an independent Australia.
Support the IMARC protestors!
Drop the trumped up charges!
Protesting is not a crime!
Fight to defend our democratic rights!