This podcast was recorded on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and the Wadi Wadi people of Dharawal nation. The show notes were written on Dharawal land. We pay our respects to elders past, present, and emerging.
We acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded by First Nations people.
G’day voters, and welcome to the show notes for the fourteenth episode of 3 White Guys + Guest, a political podcast for a cynical nation.
The police crackdown on peaceful protesters outside IMARC in Melbourne last week was completely disproportionate to the disruption they caused, with the overwhelming majority of the violence being instigated by the police.
Nick was on the ground in Melbourne, and wrote about what happened, here is some of what he had to say:
It’s been great to have so much support from my family and friends these past days while I’ve stood with comrades on a blockade to disrupt a conference of climate and environmental criminals at IMARC in Melbourne.
Photos and videos tell the story: police are there to protect the wealthy and powerful enviro-vandals. They’ve not held back to oppress fellow protesters – many of them much smaller than me.
Police shoved me, clawed me in the back, punched me in the throat, head and hands. I was batonned in the back and ribs, thrown to the ground and dragged away. It took four of them move me in the end, a huge struggle to shift my large dead-weight body; not resisting, not complying.
This brutality has been shown around the world. It’s hard to watch but I am glad to see it shared widely, so that people see the truth about Australia’s increasingly militarised police force that is rolled out in the service of the rich and powerful.
But those hits were nothing compared to the excessive force the police used in their escalating violence. And the violence used on protesters will continue to escalate as more and more people join the fight in the climate wars. Already more older people are joining the fight, taking a stand against the Adani mine and laying down in the streets, facing arrest as part of Extinction Rebellion. Victoria Police have been rightly and widely condemned for their heavy-handed tactics at the IMARC blockade. What will people say and do when they bring their truncheons down on the grey guard, the senior citizens that stood with us on the blockade?
These companies will continue to loot and plunder. They will continue to ignore the plight of those beneath them. Today it’s the poor of the global south and first nations people kicked off their land. Soon it will be the rest of us with the boot on our necks.
The ugly scenes that played out in front of IMARC in Melbourne this week are an entree to what the world will look like under eco-fascism. We can stop it getting worse, if we all stand together against the rich and powerful to hold them to account.
As the planet gets hotter and drier, the temperature of our temperament will get hotter too. But by then it could be too late to take to the streets. More of us need to take a stand.
With every month bringing more record-breaking temperatures, more frequent freak weather events, more extremes, more of us will wake up, stand up, fight back.
We might get battered, bruised and burnt in the fight, but it’s one we must have because we have a world to win.
This was a very different episode because we felt the need to get stuck in on what is happening to democracy and civil rights in this country.
There were also a few missed points to add: when criticisms pour in that environmental movements are too white and middle class, it’s important to remember that we have the privilege of not having to be concerned for our lives when interacting with police at protests.
If we are to be the allies we claim to be, the onus is on us to put our bodies on the line to protect those who may not be cut loose after a few hours in custody.
I’m not here to lecture, learning how pervasive my privilege tends to be has been the most powerful lesson I’ve experienced this year.
If we’re going to use our privilege for good, we need to be capable of recognising where our blind spots are, especially when it comes to listening to those on the front lines in the fight against the police state.
Solidarity means standing with those who hurt your feelings when you weren’t as woke as you thought.
Disagreements can be had behind doors, but we need to stop publicly splintering the left, and I’m as guilty of that as anyone.
Also, the new power for the government passed late last year was the ability to deploy the ADF (not the AFP) in the event of an emergency, which can be declared on national security grounds by Peter Dutton.
Climate change is destroying life on this planet.
Capitalism is destroying life on this planet.
Billionaires are destroying life on this planet.
Globally, people are waking up to what is happening to them and they will not tolerate this abuse any longer.
Take to the streets.
Stand in solidarity.
Together we can survive.