Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Rally Against Anti-Semitism in the Heart of Auckland





 When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
A mindless beast shook itself awake last night, and committed an act of savagery in our city. The beautiful old Jewish Cemetery, a holy place, and a precious historic landmark was desecrated by one or more Neo-Nazis in one of the worst acts of Anti-Semitism we have seen in decades. More than a dozen headstones were spray-painted with black swastikas and messages condemning the State of Israel. But in addition, another less-familiar coded symbol, 88, with specific significance to Neo-Nazis was used, hailing Adolf Hitler, the mass-murdering Dictator responsible for millions of deaths during the Holocaust.

This is not the first time the Jewish Cemetery has been attacked, and it will almost certainly not be the last. However, a new force in opposition to right-wing extremism is rising up to counter this evil before it has a chance to take root in our society. Socialist Aotearoa is making a public stand against Anti-Semitism in response to this senseless attack, and is calling on the wider New Zealand community to rally against hatred.

A  demonstration will be held tomorrow, Saturday, 20 October at noon in the park on the corner adjacent to the Jewish Cemetery on K' Road. All persons of good will, whatever their political or religious persuasion are invited to join us. Cowardly attacks against the dead, and against monuments demonstrate an inhuman disregard for the sacred, and for human society. Veneration for the dead was one of the earliest forms of spiritual expression in human history, and is common to all human cultures. The violation of corpses and monuments is universally regarded as barbarism, and must not be permitted to occur.

Beyond this however, those on the Left are especially angered by this attack. Socialist Aotearoa makes a clear distinction between the political acts, policies and opinions of the secular state of Israel, which isdisputed, and the security of the persons  of  Jewish people, the sanctity of which may not be disputed or endangered. Furthermore, as Socialists, we share with the Jewish people a special bond of suffering in the Holocaust. For along with the Jewish people, many thousands of Socialists and Communists gave their lives as objects of special hatred.

The Marxists, Socialists and Communists in Germany, and in every other country invaded by the Nazis, were amongst the first political opponents to be targeted by Hitler, because he feared their political organising ability, and the competing liberationist elements of their philosophy. So intimate was the connection between Socialism and the Jewish people in Hitler's mind that he frequently referred to Socialism as “an International Jewish Conspiracy”.

This was no conspiracy however. Rather, it was due to the fact that many thousands of Socialists just happened to be Jewish, having clearly heard the call to emancipation inherent in Socialism and the Communist Manifesto. These individuals knowingly and deliberately gave their lives to further the struggle against oppression, not only of their own people, but for all workers everywhere.

 As Socialists, we understand that Fascism is a cancer on the body politic of humanity, and Neo-Nazism is but one more strain of that cancer. As with all cancers, the time to move against the disease is when it is small and manageable, before it has a chance to grow into a tumour involving vital organs, and before it can metastasise. “Never again,” should not just be the grim determination of the Jewish People, but also the iron resolution of all Humanists, and all good people everywhere. It is our hope that when these Fascists see that their mindless act has been the catalyst of our unification, and our radicalisation, they will despair of ever trying it again.

Rally tomorrow Saturday 12 noon outside desecrated Jewish cemetery on K Road, in solidarity with the Jewish community. Neo Nazi hatred has no place in Auckland
Linda M. Socialist Aotearoa

 

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