It’s classic divide and rule: politicians and the media get us fighting among ourselves while the billionaires laugh all the way to the bank. It’s no accident that repeated panics about “boat people”, “African gangs”, “Muslim terrorists” and now “Chinese spies”, have happened at a time when the average wealth of the richest 20 percent has climbed to more than 90 times the wealth of the lowest 20 percent. Racist scapegoating persists because it distracts us when politicians won’t address urgent problems: wages that don’t keep up, power bills that keep rising, the lack of affordable housing and so on.
The people at the top have been using divide and rule for centuries and they don’t care who the target group is – as long as they can be used to divide everyone else, then they are considered fair game. We have to counter racism with working-class unity and solidarity. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because if we don’t, all working people will keep going backwards while the rich get richer at our expense.
What we think
- Victoria’s working class is one of the most racially, ethnically and culturally diverse in the world. We have a common interest in obtaining decent wages, quality public healthcare, welfare and education. We therefore have an interest in fighting against and overcoming divisions created within our ranks.
- Racism is not simply individual prejudice; racial oppression is a series of practices – embedded in the economy, the state, policy, the justice system and society – which manifests in social, economic or political marginalisation of particular racial, ethnic or cultural groups.
- Racism primarily serves the richest and most powerful people in society by:
- Dividing working people and generating mistrust and animosity between us.
- Obscuring the main causes of poverty, and social and economic inequality.
- Naturalising the idea of social hierarchies.
- Creating a layer of poorly paid and insecure workers whose precarity creates a downward pressure on the wages of other workers in the same or related industries.
What we'll fight for
- Declare Victoria a sanctuary state and prohibit Victoria Police and Protective Services Officers from collaborating with or assisting Australian Border Force in any operations related to the deportation of refugees or non-citizen permanent residents.
- Increase funding to specialist community legal services to ensure refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers can access legal assistance for visa and immigration issues.
- Address the lack of access to affordable childcare, healthcare, aged care and other social services in areas with high numbers of migrants.
- Hold a detailed inquiry into the nature and extent of the exploitation of migrant workers in the Victorian economy and prosecute all instances of abuse, safety breaches and systematic underpayment.
- Support efforts to unionise migrant workers.
- Provide employment and training support programs for refugees and migrants.
- Ensure adequate, free and readily accessible English language courses for all who wish to take them.
- Increase access to interpreters and translators in the education, health, social services and criminal justice sectors.