Received on 25.01.18:
On 24 January, 2017, we, a group of anarchists from 3 different continents, undertook an action in support of the hunger striking prisoners in Villawood Detention Centre, so-called Sydney, Australia.
The solidarity action, which was undertaken in Kolkata, Bengal, India, involved a protest street theater action outside the Australian Education Fair. The aim of the action was to inform the general population, and prospective students considering study in “Australia”, of the vile racist policies of the government in relation to its ongoing treatment of refugees. Our goal was also to challenge the dominant rhetoric of “Australia”, as “young and free” nation, which values cultural inclusivity, and upholds human rights (an obvious farce, given “Australia’s” treatment of its Indigenous communities, and its absolute disregard for the experiences of asylum seekers.)
Our solidarity action involved displaying a banner, reading; “Solidarity with Villawood Hunger Strikers! Burn down the concentration camps! Boycott Australian Tourism, End Exploitation of South Asian Students!”. We also distributed 200 plus flyers to passers-by and students attending the Indian State sponsored Australian Education Fair, reading:
“Beware of Racist Australia
So-called “Australia” is an illegitimate colonial state. Its affluence is built on stolen-wealth and the multiple-oppressions of Aboriginal peoples. Linguistic and cultural erradication, ongoing land theft, deaths in police custody and prison, and the continuing barbaric practice of stealing children from their families and communities ammount to one thing: GENOCIDE.
More than 100 years after the notoriously racist “white Australia policy” barred the immigration of non whites, the “Aussie” state continues to lead the world in racist practices of exclusion by its treatment of asylum seekers. This vast land is dotted with remote detention centres holding thousands of people. Their only ‘crime’ is fleeing war and persecution – ironically conflicts that commonly involve Australian armed forces. Refugees languish for years in these concentration camps – some have now been detained for as many as eight years!!
We send our love and rage to our friends currently on hunger strike in Sydney’s feared Villawood detention centre. We wont patronise you by saying “stay strong” – your strength of will and character already being evident to all, but let us say that your determination inspires us and we will continue to act in solidarity at every opportunity until all are free and the camps are razed.
We also wish to extend warning to those considering study in “Australia”. Indian students are subject to ongoing discrimination and violent attacks by racist thugs. The cost of living in “Australia” is prohibitively expensive, and often students employed in service industries are paid a fraction of the national minimum wage and are vilified for attempting to unionise. Many private educational facilities which specifically target international students offer sub-par diplomas and degrees – their only motivation is profit, not educational opportunities which would justify the extortionate course fees.
We implore those thinking of visiting so-called “Australia”- be it for tourism or study- to voice your opposition to these overt examples of systemic racism through boycott and protest.”
Numerous people were engaged in the solidarity action, inspiring discussions relating to colonialism, personal experiences of class and caste prejudice, institutional racism, and the situation of Royhinga refugees in South Asia. Many of these interactions resulted from our street protest performance. This action involved several people enclosed in a symbolic cage in prison garb, being mercilessly tortured and physically and verbally abused by a Border Force guard / Serco screw. Interactions were overwhelmingly positive, with many passers-by thanking us for raising issues relating to “Australian” racism. Even the local filth were completely disinterested, despite the venue’s security attempting to move us on after failing to persuade us that there were no “Australian” related events taking place inside their exclusive hotel.
Working in solidarity with anarchist comrades from 3 different continents meant that we all contributed different ideas to the action, and we learnt from each other’s experiences. Additionally our comrades from non-“Australian” continents have been pro-active in disseminating information to their local and national anarchist networks about “Australia’s” unacceptable treatment of asylum seekers.
Local and international anarchists in Kolkata, India, hoping that our small action gives heart to our friends in detention.
Until all are free! No borders! No State!