Van Rudd to run in Victorian elections

The Revolutionary Socialist Party has announced it will stand Van Thanh Rudd in the seat of Derrimut in Melbourne’s western suburbs. The seat is home to large working class and migrant communities. In 2006, Jorge Jorquera stood in the same seat as a candidate for Direct Action, a socialist group that has since merged with the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

The RSP is standing to demand the Victorian Government immediately arrange community accommodation for all refugees currently incarcerated in detention camps across Australia and demand the federal government release the refugees into its care. Rudd told Direct Action: “It’s time working people took a stand against the racist debacle, where the federal ALP-Greens coalition detains refugees behind razor wire. If elected, the Revolutionary Socialist Party will fight for refugees to be accommodated in community housing in Victoria instead of being locked up.” The 4619 refugees held in detention in Australia in August would add just 0.001% to Victoria’s population.

Rudd says, “So-called ‘free market’ capitalism is failing working people. In Melbourne, a quarter of the population spends over one third of their income on accommodation alone. It’s got to the point where many working people can just afford food, transport, accommodation and little else, but the rich have increased their wealth even during the economic crisis.”

A recent Australian National University report found that the rich-poor divide is growing in Australia. The top 0.1% of Australians – those who make more than $700,000 a year – have tripled their share of wealth over the past 30 years.

“With increasing attacks on refugees and working people, continuing massacres in Afghanistan and the climate crisis, the RSP is running in the Victorian elections to make the point: the only real alternative is for working people to take control directly in our own hands. That means we need to get organised”, Rudd told Direct Action.

The August Newspoll gives the ALP 55% of the vote on a two-party preferred basis, enough to retain government; however the ALP’s 11-seat majority is threatened by both the Greens and the Liberals. With Liberal preferences, the Greens, currently polling at 17% of the primary vote, could win the inner-city Melbourne seats of Melbourne, Brunswick, Richmond and Northcote. The ALP government could also lose marginal suburban and outer-suburban seats such as Gembrook, Forest Hill and Mitcham to the Liberals.

While the precise division of the electoral spoils between the three parliamentary parties is unclear, they are becoming increasingly similar to each other in policy terms including the Greens who have not ruled out forming government with either Liberals or Labor.

Greens candidate Brian Walters, who is challenging Labor education minister Bronwyn Pike for the seat of Melbourne, says he won’t commit to backing either major party. Walters told ABC’s Stateline program on August 27: “It remains to be seen… The Greens have supported a Liberal government before. We did that from 1996 to 1998 in Tasmania… All options will be open and we won’t shut any option off.”

Explaining the Greens’ long term electoralist perspectives, current Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber told The Age: “In the 1890s, the Labor Party was formed and by the 1920s they were the national government of the country. That was because they were the vanguard of a movement that was unstoppable. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the environment wave we are seeing now.”

Rudd told Direct Action: “The ALP could elevate itself to the position of capitalist government on the back of the labour movement only because it sold workers out. It continues to do so. If Greg Barber believes the historic task of the environment movement is to bump Greens into the parliament, then he will try to sell out the environment movement.

“The RSP is running in the election not because we seek a parliamentary majority – we want to turn Barber’s logic on its head. Working people cannot rely on the parliament; our whole history tells us that. If I win the seat of Derrimut, the RSP will use the position to stimulate the understanding and self-organisation of working people. We need to re-learn how to fight. The 10 million workers’ general strike in Spain this week is a good example of that.”