Francesco Fantin and Italian anarchism in Australia

This article was originally published on in July, 2022. We republish it here because it is by a GAC member and relates to Geelong’s radical history.

Francesco Giovanni Fantin was an Italian anarchist who migrated to Australia in 1924. Less than twenty years later, in November 1942, he was murdered by a fellow detainee in Interment Camp 14A, Loveday, South Australia. Born in 1901 in the small town of San Vito in Northern Italy, Francesco Fantins life was exemplary of a number of migrant anarchists to Australia and their efforts to continue the anti-fascist and workers struggle abroad. 

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Council Cuts and Library Closures

Recently, the Geelong Council has handed down its draft budget, which contains an array of significant cuts to vital social services.

At least 19 workers in the Geelong community are at risk of losing their jobs, and in addition to this the Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GLRC) board have decided to close the Highton, West Geelong and Barwon Heads libraries due, according to them, to the cuts imposed on the GRLC’s budget allocation. 

Both parties have attempted to pass the buck to one another regarding the closure of the libraries, but the GRLC board and the Geelong Council are two sides of the same coin. Each has chosen, without proper community input or notice, to target valuable and popular community services that every day benefit members of the Geelong Community who most need support.

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The Geelong Defence Alliance – Local Government and the War Industry

The Australian Defence Department intends to increase its infrastructure spending over the next 15 years to $8 billion dollars. Hoping to cash in on this budget expansion, Geelong City Council (GCC), together with the Geelong Manufacturing Council (GMC) have established the so-called ‘Geelong Defence Alliance’ (GDA) in order to attract local investment. 

A brochure titled ‘Geelong is defence ready’ boasts of Geelong’s strategic location, advanced manufacturing sector and Deakin Universities research facilities. Already, 32,000 square metres have been set aside in the Avalon industrial precinct for the Korean multinational corporation Hanwha’s $170 million dollar ‘Armoured Vehicle Center of Excellence.’ Recharge Industries will also be developing a $300 million dollar lithium ion battery cell production facility for the purposes of supplying the military.

The Geelong Times quotes Labor Defence Minister and member for Corio Richard Marles claiming the development of the Armoured Vehicle Center is about ‘maintaining peace, security and prosperity in our region’. History however suggests that ‘peace, security and prosperity’ means the maintenance of the interests of Australian and American imperialism in the Indo-Pacific. Nations such as Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands are treated as colonies by the Australian state.

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May Day 2023 Statement

Today Geelong Anarchist-Communists commemorate the fighting spirit of the working class, and our victories and defeats throughout history. On the first of May we remind ourselves what we’re fighting for – socialism and justice. It is also a reminder to those that hold economic and political power that there remains a thriving, fighting class consciousness among workers. Designated as an International Workers Day in 1889, May Day has been observed by workers continuously for the past 133 years.

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International Workers Memorial Day 2023

Every year the 28th of April marks International Workers Memorial Day, otherwise known as International Commemoration Day for the Dead and Injured. It is an occasion for the labour movement to stop and reflect on the lives damaged and lost by the capitalist pursuit for profit.

This year in Geelong the occasion was marked by a small gathering at midday outside Trades Hall on Myers Street, where a list of those lives lost this year was read, a minute silence was observed and wreaths for the fallen were laid. According to Safe Work Australia (likely a conservative estimate) 43 Australian workers have already died in 2023.

While workplace safety is always an issue, of particular relevance this year are both the ongoing Covid pandemic and the new campaign by construction unions to ban silica. Silica, used in engineered stone, turns into a fine particle when disturbed that causes significant damage to the lungs. It is considered the ‘new asbestos’.

We want to remind workers that we should not leave it to bosses, politicians or agencies like Worksafe to keep us safe. This is a task workers should take on themselves.

As the old union slogan goes “mourn for the dead, fight for the living.”

Socialism and the Feminist Movement

The following article was originally presented as a reading for the Geelong Feminist Discussion Group. It introduces a basic history of the intersections of various tendencies of socialism and feminism.

Until recent history we do not find much specific writing dealing with the status of women in relation to men. But with the rise of capitalism, inequality between the genders reached new heights. However capitalism also brought with it the beginnings of liberal ideas. Writers like Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill began to address the treatment of women in texts like A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and The Subjection of Women (1869) respectively.

But the ideals of liberalism about individual rights and the flourishing of the human spirit did not match capitalist reality. For workers, the poor, women, slaves and the colonised peoples, capitalism and liberalism didn’t live up to the promise of freedom. Instead it usually meant exploitation, starvation and oppression. 

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Australia Day: Nothing to Celebrate

The following text is a reworked article originally published by Collective Action (Melbourne) in 2017. As such, the statistics and reports referred to will be somewhat dated. Sadly, things remain virtually the same. 
The author is now a member of Geelong Anarchist Communists.

The National Australia Day Council describes Australia Day as “a day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation,” and a “day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the generations to come”.

But for many January 26 is no date to celebrate, and to fully understand why, we must recognise the price of this “great nation’s” achievements over the past 234 years.

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A Covid Response Requires a Fighting Workers Movement

Tommy Lawson & Iswed Tiggjan

It is no secret that the COVID pandemic has been a disaster for people everywhere. Omicron has only exacerbated the crisis, though largely as a result of the State removing previous measures taken to contain the virus. The extent of the failure of both the Federal and State Governments to contain and manage the outbreak is obvious in a way not witnessed previously. The collapse of living standards continues to drive home the neo-liberal offensive begun in the 80s, as working class Australians become increasingly worried about financial and lifestyle security.

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