Contributed from Victoria
Yesterday, Melbourne witnessed something that should concern everyone. A group claiming to be tradies, tuned up outside the office of the Construction Mining Maritime and Energy Union (CFMMEU) . They were there, it was said, to have a go at the union for mandatory vaccinations.
They returned again today for another showdown and promised to keep on coming.
Even a complete dimwit should understand that the union is the wrong target. it is not responsible for the Covid response. The government is. If there is opposition to the vaccines, surely the main target should be the Morrison government. Why didn’t they turn up at one of its offices?
This goes to show that it was all really about something other than the vaccines.
It is understandable that some of the tradies, especially contractors running their own small business are going to be worried sick about the uncertainty. some of them were probably there.
Information coming to hands shows that many of those who turned up are not members of the union, and more than a few are linked to ultra-right and white supremacist groups.
Everything suggests that they were there to target a union they see as a political enemy. They are trying to use misinformation and manipulation to create division.
Photo from AAP: Members of ultra-right groups posed as union rank and file
One must wonder whether there is a link between some major construction companies and the Scott Morrison government and what happened yesterday. At the very least, what happened was certainly convenient to powerful elements among the construction companies, the Morrison government, and big media.
And these ultra-outfits provide willing foot soldiers to do the dirty work.
The violence was orchestrated to capture media attention through violence. It smells of a provocation, designed to create a political diversion from the government’s difficulties and generate an attack on the union movement.
Aware of what was going on, genuine union members confronted these people. Union officials, including construction secretary John Setka, tried to talk, only to be attacked for the effort.
Photo from AAP: Construction union secretary john Setka attempts to speak to the crowd
Most big media reports did show this. Instead, they presented a fiction of dissatisfaction from union members.
This raises another issue, which is the rise of the ultra-right and politics of hate in Australia. They have only a tiny following. Even so they pose a significant threat. They are given a platform to reach millions. Their advantage is behind the scenes support from powerful people, promoting them as spearheads for certain causes, including today’s campaign and “freedom” marches against vaccinations, masks, and lockdowns.
Advantage is taken of people’s dissatisfaction, insecurity, and lack of trust in political leaders. The sense that something is rotten in the political system is manipulated. This part of Australia feels betrayed ad is feeling the economic pinch.
The attack, like other provocations of the so-called freedom movement has been used to lift the level of police force used in Australia, which is a further setback on our rights.
Photo by Justin McManus: Police use rubber bullets
Who stands to benefit? It’s the business, political, and media elite that dominate the political system.
The lifting of ultra-right and white supremacist groups is the result of the falling legitimacy of the political system. Few trust it.
A rising proportion of the population is no longer prepared to operate by the rules, and this is the climate that gives these noxious political outfits opportunities to make headway.
The same conditions provide opportunities for a counter movement.
Others should stand behind the CFMMEU on this. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has publicly condemned th4 attack and the nasty elements involved in it. Other unions will come out in the coming days.
This should not be left to the unions alone. The attack strikes more widely.
A broad based movement that stands for inclusion, a fair go and basic rights, a movement that works for the unity of our people and real democracy, is the best antidote.