Yesterday in Melbourne was the annual March for the Babies, a conservative Christian event organised by Liberal MP for the Western Metropolitan Region Bernie Finn. Around 1000 people marched dressed in pink and blue down to protest at the East Melbourne abortion clinic in a disgusting attack on women seeking abortion. While they claimed there were 7000 people and many more than last year, it was obvious that their numbers had significantly dwindled from the around 3000 that marched last year. Unfortunately so had the numbers for the counter protest… around 60 people turned up to demonstrate against the conservative group, with a banner reading ‘Reproductive Rights for All – Against Forced Birth, Against Forced Sterilisation’, and ‘Against Bernardi’s Conservative Revolution’. The counter protest managed to partially disrupt some of the March for the Babies speeches and follow the march to the clinic. However Vic Police were trying to counter the complaints the conservatives made last year about being “attacked by pro-death thugs” due to police inaction and this year fiercely defended the “right” of this group to target the clinic and march around. We guess the new move on laws and anti-protest laws are not really meant to target this group.
As usual, the relationship between the anti-abortion protest, population control and the maintenance of white supremacy was blatantly obvious at this bullshit event. March for the Babies was escorted by a giant trailer billboard for “Vote 1 Rise Up Australia”. This political party has made headlines for being an ultra-right wingnut party led by Pastor Danny Nalliah, who campaigns with the catch line of “Keep Australia Australian”. His policies are based on assimilation to ultra conservative Christian values, restriction of immigration particularly from Muslim countries, increased detention of refugees, making homosexuality illegal and support of the “traditional” nuclear Christian family. Lord Monckton, who was this year’s keynote speaker at the March for the Babies, has teamed up with this pastor to promote Rise Up Australia. He has also toured with Nalliah’s evangelical wingnut church, Catch the Fire Industries.
Below is text from a flier circulated by counter protestors:
You call this pro-life?
Anti-abortion, white supremacy and the clash of civilizations
Why is it that the anti-abortion movement is called “pro-life”? Even if we are talking about reproductive rights, while conservatives are marching for the babies every year, apparently caring about the rights of women to be mothers, no one is ever marching for the thousands upon thousands of women – mostly women of colour – who are forcibly sterilised, whose children are taken away, who are denied the right to be mothers and whose children are denied the right to live with their families or to live at all. Are these people marching for the rights of mothers and children worldwide to clean water, to housing, to human rights, to any kind of freedom, to equality with (non-Indigenous) mothers and children here in this country? Considering the people who organise March for the Babies or this year’s keynote speaker, I’d say not. Is being for certain babies remaining alive the same as being pro-life? What kind of life?
Which mothers and which children are these people interested in existing? Historically, while abortion was illegal, we stole Indigenous babies from their mothers and placed them in white families to assimilate them, as part of a deliberate policy of “breeding out” First Nations people. While Tony Abbott and our government (Liberal or Labour) are on the one hand saying we are full, there are too many people, no more refugees, locking up mothers and children in offshore detention, turning water off to families in Indigenous communities in central Australia, on the other they are encouraging Australian citizens (white ones) to have more children because there are NOT enough people. Remember, have “one for mum, one for dad, and one for the country”. Only in relation to people of colour will we talk about “overpopulation”. Now, our policy of White Australia continues, in a much more sly and dishonest way. We just don’t want brown babies. We want white ones.
Globally, the same Christian and Catholic conservative elites who fight against abortion rights and womens’ rights to choose whether or not they bring a child into this world sponsor “population control” and “family planning” in the Majority World (Third World) including forced sterilisation of women in Africa and Latin America, stolen generations and removal of children from families of colour, racism and Islamophobia, war, genocide… They support colonial and genocidal governments and dictatorships worldwide who benefit western economic interests, killing mothers and children in the process. They hold shares in companies who profit from the deaths, dispossession, enslavement and misery of mothers and children worldwide. This doesn’t sound like pro-life to me. Why is it that these rich, conservative elites, who are predominantly men, who fund and back the anti-abortion movement come out on the streets to protest abortion in countries like Australia or the U.S., but would never come out against war? They are more likely to be in the White House or the Australian government, creating these racist and war-mongering policies.
Pro-life? Or pro the continuation of a white supremacist world? Pro the maintenance of a dominant white, rich population? Or in Australia, pro the maintenance of a majority white country as the birth rate of the white population is decreasing, in a climate where the government, business and the media are fostering extreme fear of migration, people of colour, refugees, and so on?
These are some of the people behind “March for the Babies” this year:
Senator Cory Bernardi
Was meant to be this year’s keynote speaker until he pulled out at the last minute. Conservative Catholic. All over the internet recently for calling for the burqa to be banned in Parliament. Author of book ‘The Conservative Revolution’ featuring a note of support from racist and conservative columnist Andrew Bolt. Promotes the “traditional family”, making many derogatory comments about single parents. Against gay equality. Claims “multiculturalism” has failed. Says that global warming is “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state”. We can assume he supports an Australia that is not multicultural, that is Christian/Catholic and that is based on economic inequality and capitalism. Says that Islam is a “totalitarian, political and religious ideology”. This echoes the statements of right-wing anti-Islam Dutch MP Geert Wilders, whom Bernardi met and invited to Australia. Wilders had to cancel many talks in Australia due to protests against his Islamophobic views, comparing the Quran with Mein Kampf, and his belief that migration from Muslim countries and countries outside Europe should be banned. Wilders also receives funding from many in the Israeli elite, and supports Israeli occupation and war against Palestinian people. He says that the country of Jordan is Palestine, Palestinian people should leave Israel, and that “if Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next. Thus, Jerusalem is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over territory but rather an ideological battle, between the mentality of the liberated West and the ideology of Islamic barbarism.”
While using the media reports of Islamic-based fundamentalism as a justification for his anti-Muslim views, Bernardi essentially wants the same thing – a homogenous, church-based state that maintains the inequality of the modern global economy. Against abortion – pro-life? Pro Christian, white life, perhaps. A believer in “the clash of civilizations”, it seems Bernardi (like Wilders) just wants more Christian babies to join the army in the fight against “Islam” and the non-Western world.
MP Bernie Finn
Organises the March for the Babies every year. MP for the Western Region, office based in Sunshine. Believes there is ‘no acceptable reason’ for abortion, even if raped by a close family member. Monarchist, conservative Catholic. Against gay marriage. Supports capital punishment for drug dealing (I guess the “right to life” only stands for so long…). Has also made the news in the last year for derogatory comments about Islam and Muslim people. (See http://www.news.com.au/national/mp-lands-libs-in-hot-water/story-e6frfkvr-1226034894492). His tumblr is full of what he calls “highlights” from discussion on his Facebook page, including endless derogatory comments about Muslim people and Islam and suggesting he supports the concept of the “clash of civilisations”, believing Islam and Muslim migration are a “threat” to Australia and the western world. He re-posts comments of his Facebook friends calling for ‘every single Muslim to be sent back to an Islamic country”, discussion of Muslims “flocking” to the West and taking over, filled with fear of the white population of Australia being ‘overrun’ by immigrants, particularly Muslim immigrants. See http://berniefinn.tumblr.com. He also posts “jokes” like “Merry Christmas Muslim Community! Oh wait… Hahaha.” Very appropriate for a Parliamentarian, with an office in Sunshine of all places. He too supports war and Australian foreign military intervention.
Pro life? Whose life? And why? It seems he also is afraid of the white majority becoming a minority, and has an interest in maintaining the dominance of white culture and people. Who does he not want to have abortions?
Bill is another person very vocal in the anti-abortion movement in Melbourne. He is a conservative Christian who has written many books on “pro life”. He also runs a website at http://billmuehlenberg.com/. His posts fall under a few main themes: abortion is evil, Islam is evil, the Middle East is evil, homosexuality is evil, divorce is wrong. His article entitled “Resisting Evil” incites Christians to rise up against the evil that is Islam. He says there is no fundamentalist Islam – all Islam is fundamentalist, and should be fought and brought down by Christians (quote: “So there is no moral problem at all for Christians to support the use of force by the state to resist evil at times.”) So if one supports war against all Muslims as Islam is inherently evil… does that mean Bill supports abortion in Muslim countries? Most likely. What then does he mean by “pro-life”? Another believer in recruiting white babies to the Christian army?
Last minute keynote speaker stand in at March for the Babies. Wacky conservative Christian, took UK Govt to court cos said had a hereditary birthright to a seat in House of Lords. Teamed up with Rise Up Australia party leader, Pastor Daniel Nalliah, who called Islam a death cult, said migration should be banned from Muslim countries, has campaigned to ban mosques and to bring back beating children with sticks for discipline, and says that the bushfires in Australia happened because we allow abortion. Monckton gave the keynote speech at the launch of Rise Up Australia political party, and did a speaking tour as part of the evangelical Christian church Nalliah is pastor for. Climate sceptic, anti abortion, anti-Islam. Thinks humans have only existed for 6000 years. Has also done speaking tours sponsored by mining companies and Gine Rinehart that climate change is a farce.
Are these the people you want to align yourself with? Is this conservative, white supremacist world what you want to maintan?
Support reproductive rights for all women world-wide. A right to choose when and where to have children, who to have children to, and how to bring them up. Support women’s rights not to be forcibly sterilised, to mother their own children, or to choose abortion if they do not want to have children at that time, or in those circumstances, or at all.
Support the right of children not to mere existence, but to a positive, real life – recognise the rights of Indigenous children to compensation, recognition and a life without colonial rule; get children (and everyone) out of detention centres; fight against war and genocide; fight against slavery, colonialism and racism. Challenge inequality in the rights and lives of mothers and children around the world based on race and class.
For more info read ‘The Colour of Choice: White Supremacy and Reproductive Justice’ by Loretta Ross, available online.
Loretta Ross’ ‘The Colour of Choice’ points out the historical relationship between anti abortion campaigning and population control with a view to maintaining the domination of whites. She discusses that while white women’s access to abortion has been restricted, women of colour globally have faced forced sterilisation, forced abortion, or had their children taken away after birth, been disenfranchised and imprisoned and otherwise denied the right to be mothers. She critiques the ‘pro-choice’ movement as failing to take into account the racialised nature of population control and what she calls reproductive justice – the right of women to self-determination, to decide when, where and how to give birth and to raise children. She says to focus on ‘pro-choice’ is a liberal view that focuses on privacy rights and stopping state intervention rather than the structural racism, social justice issues and insidious aims of the global elite to oppress women of colour, restrict and populations of colour, and maintain white supremacy.
If you are interested, definitely have a read. You can search it online easily. While her examples are about the USA, population control and white supremacy in Australia has been the cornerstone of the existence of this country since 1788. From policies that first overtly and now covertly aim to breed out, exterminate, or at the very least assimilate Indigenous people; prevent migration and restrict access to land by people of colour; whilst encouraging white people to populate in the face of a declining birth rate, the fear of the white elite that they will lose their power and hegemony to people of colour is blatantly obvious. Islamophobia, extreme racism, the blaming of people of colour having children for social ills, the fear of the “discontent youth of colour” and implied need to reduce the amount of youth of colour that exist in Australia to prevent “unrest” – all of these are signs that the anti-abortion movement and those behind it are part of an ongoing structural establishment that aims to provoke fear of the “other” in order to justify moves to control populations of colour and maintain white supremacy.