Today in Newcastle three events happened.
A reactionary anti-immigrant group called the Concerned Citizens Collective met in Islington park at about 11.00am and held a sausage sizzle.
Turn Out: About 8 people
Under the Hamilton clocktower, a group of mostly socialists and/or Green party members met at about 11.00am held speeches, made chants, gave out copies of the Green Left Weekly, and told one another how they were diverse, multicultural, and tolerant.
Turn Out: About 40 people
In the Palais Royale Youth Venue, a group of mothers, children, community organisations, Sudanese people, politicians, volunteers, and Palais staff met at 12.30pm for a 'celebration of multiculturalism'.
Turn Out: About 150 people
Congratulations must go to Darp, of course, for organising the event, doing his best to stop the growth of racism in the community, and for providing ongoing coverage.
For me, one of the interesting moments happened early in the morning, when a socialist got up to the microphone and said words to this effect:
And these right-wing hate groups have happened because of capitalism.
He's wrong. The PYL are anti-capitalist as well; Robert McBeth - father of Stuart McBeth, the local representative for the PYL - was a member of the Labor party, and is described as having 'strong links in the party'.
Go to this comment here to see a typical statement by a PYL member - as usual, under the guise of anonymity - where he identifies global capitalism as the enemy and he identifies the 'solution' to this (segregation of the races and cultural protectionism). And scroll down to the comments below to see how the commenters on that thread carefully avoid arguing with him about this point.
No, capitalism is not an enemy. Under capitalist economies like those of Britian, America, and Australia, people have grown rich because they have had the freedom to associate, the freedom to trade, and the freedom of movement still not allowed in many other parts of the world. Al Bundy has it about right when he observes:
Dunno about you, readers, but there seems to be a few common threads running between the ideals of the far right, the Nimbin sandals-and-cheese-cloth set, and the academic left.
Al thinks he knows a better way, readers. Capitalism! - it is the antiseptic for all of the above brain miasmas. Use regularly.
UPDATE: Before I log off, top marks must go to Michelle, Dale, Fiona, Barney, volunteers Laura, Corey, Matt, Andrew, and all my old mates at the Palais for opening it up on such short notice!
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