(Note: Photos coming soon - they're out of my control, and I'm asking a huge favour just to be allowed to use them.)
On March 20, the ultra-leftists of Sydney, Australia got together to complain about democracy being brought to Iraq, the general existence of Israel, having the freedom over whether to join unions or not and other assorted left-wing causes - but mostly Iraq. Protest Warrior's Sydney chapter decided to meet them there, although due to low numbers and a generally dead protest from the leftist's perspective, we decided to take a back seat.
The protest was due to start at 12, but we've been to enough of these events to know that they never start on time. We got up there shortly after 12 and were instantly reminded of the reason why - there was barely anyone there. I sarcastically remarked that I'd seen Under-12's rugby matches with bigger crowds, but the comment wasn't too inaccurate. By the time the rally actually got underway though, the numbers had swelled to around 800.
The five of us - Leigh, Charlotte, Renate, Alex and Mike (yes, that's Mike Jericho formerly of A Western Heart fame) - were treated to the usual range of rabid left-wing opinions - there are moderate liberals with opinions that almost make sense and can't be accurately described in rhyming three word statements, but they didn't seem to get near the microphone. Instead, we were treated to Stop The War Coalition and the like early on. It was standard, generic, left-wing textbook drivel: US hegemony this, 100,000 dead that, Australia is not a democracy this, Howard loves Bush who is evil that.
At about 1:20, after just under an hour of speeches, the march began. The left moved out of Hyde Park North, did a circle for a while, and then came back for even more of the same drivel from the likes of factual deficient "journalist" John Pilger, terrorism-suspect Mamdouh Habib and his lawyer Stephen Hopper. However, the numbers had almost doubled from almost 1,500 (the ABC says 1,000, Indymedia says 3,000) when the march started to almost 2,500 when the march ended and the second round of ranting began. This increase couldn't last, though, and the numbers slowly drained off as the talks began.
Shortly afterwards, Protest Warrior called it a day, and retired for a few not-overly-quiet beers. Some other points to be made:
- Joe and Geoff of the moderately leftist, but not overly political blog Enmore Station came by, and we had a good chat about a lot of things. They, too, are disinterested in the extreme-left ranting that dominates these protests and were there purely as onlookers. Decent blokes.
- Alex picked up a copy of "The Spartacist", which is the 'newspaper' of the International Communist League. It regular espoused socialist revolutions, but never really talked about Communism. A disturbing but hilarious publication, but poor value at a whole 50 cents.
- There was a serious absence of Bush=Hitler rhetoric - the left slowly appear to have got the Hitler comparisons, for the most part, under control. About time too.
(Cross-posted to The House Of Wheels.)