I was an internet cafe on Lonsdale Street when I started hearing banging noises coming from outside. This is it, Tim, I thought, your time is up: George Bush has finally decided to bomb Australia.
Not true. It turned out to be a long line of little old Chinese grandmothers carrying banners, with a guy in the middle shouting into a megaphone, "End communism now! End communism now!" It's not every day you see an angry mob protesting communism.
The crowd wound its way along Lonsdale Street until they reached Exhibition Street. One dumpy Chinese woman shoved several papers in my hand.* They turned down that, towards the centre of the city. I walked the other way, and a block later, I came upon them walking down Little Bourke Street, through the heart of Chinatown. I was ahead of them this time, looking for some food.
I went on down Swanston Street, pursued - very slowly - by this procession. As I reached the Bourke Street/Swanston Street corner, I was accosted by a bunch of people waving copies of 'The Socialist Worker' and pamphlets on 'The Relevance of Marx'. Great, I thought; I narrowly miss getting mobbed by anti-communist only to fall into the hands of some actual communists.
Still, this presented an interesting opportunity. I decided to stand back and watch how the Marxists would react to the anti-communist protestors.
The protesters continued down through Swanston Street. The crowd stretched out for about as long as two blocks, which meant that they caused a massive tram and car pile-up. Banners bore slogans like, "End Communism, Save Humanity!". "Communism Must End!" "Free China from Communism!" "The CCP must End!" They even had a prop 'victim of communism', artificially strung up in what looked like a hanging apparatus, flanked by two Red Guards in military uniform. The catch phrases they were shouting out became stranger, too: "End the illegal human organ trade!" (So the stories are actually true!)
The guy handing out pamphlets for the Marxists turned around so that his back was to the protestors on the streets and for the next five minutes did his best to ignore them by accosting the crowds coming up Swanston Street, away from the city. A little disappointing, really.
Finally, the protesters had all turned into Bourke Street. With an angry bang, the trams slammed their doors shut and sped down Swanston Street, making up for lost time. I continued on my way, looking for lunch ...
UPDATE! - Here's some interesting advice from that known Trotskyite, Trotsky, regarding the place of women in the communist revolution ...
*It's a Melbourne tradition. If you walk through the centre of the city on a Saturday or a Sunday, you'll meet several groups of people competing to shove pieces of paper on your hand. The strangest one I ever got was an essay on how the CIA or the Scientologists or some group like that have infiltrated the psychiatric profession and are using it to warp all our minds.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
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