Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ark Tribe trial set for June 2010

(For background information on the Ark Tribe case see the Ark's Tribe website or the Rights on Sights website).

Adelaide construction worker Ark Tribe went to court again today – his fourth pre-trial hearing – and was given a three-day trial date in June 2010.

Today’s appearance was attended by several hundred construction workers, as well as representatives from unions representing teachers, public sector workers and the LHMU. The latter union brought along a group of Coca-Cola workers who had just won a fight with that multinational.

Before going into court, Ark thanked his many supporters. A quiet and softly-spoken bloke, it was the first time that Ark had addressed the crowds that had come out to support his court appearances.

In a video posted to the Rights on Sites ( website, members of Ark’s family also spoke out publicly for the first time, testifying to the fine qualities of the man and to the injustice of the charges brought against him.

A four-part poem by retired worker Bob Saltis was circulated at the rally. It is a great piece of working class literature, and I reprint it below with respect for its author:

By Bob Saltis

1. Building worker

In this sunburnt country
where workers toil for others’ gain
and all too often on building sites
mangled bodies scream accusation
and every week a wife or mother
we salute Ark Tribe
an ordinary bloke
who proudly wears his union badge
and stands up unyieldingly for workers’ rights

The law would have him wear the yoke
he does not cower and boldly defies the greedy sharks

“Dob in your mates,” fawning lackeys howl
“or six months jail awaits”.

But this man is built of sterner stuff
The flag he flies is the Southern Cross
Anger seethes in stern eyes
“I like my beer and darts with mates but
I’ll rot in your jail and not give up
the liberties my mates of old won for me.
Me and my union we’re in this boat together
We’ll fight till we smash this evil thing.”

2. Building bosses

The sharks have multiplied in the building industry
construction company sharks
bank sharks
insurance sharks and
private equity sharks

This is the age of the shark and the vampire in the building industry
The vampires have their fill of the blood
and the sharks wax fat on the gore
of workers slain in workplaces
by unsafe scaffolding, falling cranes
and collapsing bridges
by the bosses cutting corners and
taking risks

This is the age of the plunderer in the building industry
They gloat over rising profits
swindle their way to massive
lord it at the top of the heap
and squat on the workers’ backs

This is the age of hypocrites in the building industry
Smugly they dish out charity
while they shabbily turn a blind eye
on safety
and ruthlessly throw workers on the

This is the age of the dominion of capital and its owners
“We’ll have one more profit’” they cry
“We’ll cut corners and take risks
To this end we’ll bust
the building union
And we have a bead on Ark Tribe.”

3. Building watchdog

I accuse.
I accuse the ABCC of being a pro-boss
This is why building workers hold the
ABCC in utter contempt.
ABCC stands for Anti-union Bloody-minded Class-prejudiced Contemptible watchdog

A is for the anti-union watchdog set up
to bust effective unions and weaken
the union movement. To this end
unions are demonized with allegations
of corruption and violence and union
members are intimidated.

B is for the blackhearted bosses. Every
year in our sunburnt country mothers
wives and children mourn the
slaughter of fifty men in the building
industry but the bloody-minded
watchdog has never investigated the
bosses for unsafe worksites, or for
killing and maiming workers made to
work in unsafe conditions.

The first C is for cop on the beat. He
uses his oppressive powers to keep
unions off building sites checking on
the safety of members and to bully
workers into dobbing in their

The other C is for the class war the
class-prejudiced watchdog is
conducting on behalf of the bosses by
relentlessly hounding the workers and
their unions. They aim to consolidate
their class dominion and so to have a
free hand to exploit workers.

I salute Ark tribe who stands up
unyielding against this anti-union
bloody-minded class-prejudiced
contemptible watchdog.

4. Building industry

Fired by the spirit of Eureka
Ark Tribe and his union are in the fight
the fight for rights at work
the fight against wrong.
In the spirit of those rebel heroes
they blaze with icy anger
and stand up to the black-hearted

“One law for all!” the union demands
and hundreds take up the call.
“One law for all! One law for all!” the
workers chant
Ark’s comrades all.
“Comrade workers,” the union appeals,
“rally in support of Ark Tribe.
His fight for justice, to see justice done
Is not just for himself but for everyone.”

And in our thousands we take to the
the awakened understanding of a
disfranchised class.
Resolute we march shoulder to
heads high, strong and united
An unyielding family, young and old
stern warriors for “Your Rights at
we know each other by our clenched
Defiant voices rising like rain clouds
over the land
we sing a solidarity song.

And we join this fight
keenly aware of the sturdy and tested
that links us to those to whom
we owe the liberties we enjoy today.

We are singing a people’s song.


雨水 said...


Anonymous said...

Not a bad Australian unionist song with good class content ,pity tho I don’t notice any internationalist class content . Any anti- capitalist working class song or poem that has no anti-imperialist internationalist content is way off the beam in the real world today

While being concerned with particular cases of oppression it is good to keep a grip on the material world and not let our idealogical leftist romanticism and patriotic unionist ideological views blind us to the world and working class reality . And where the struggle is really at.

True,every working class has to first settle matters with its own capitalist class . But These stuggles in Australia are mere sideshows often involving a small number of brave individuals but are a very small part of the worldwide class struggle and the united front for national independence against imperialism.

The class that has a material interest in changing society is the working class and particularly that sector of the working class the real exploited industrial proletariat. The vast majority of the proletariat and the industrial working class now live and are exploited in the low wages third world . That is an internationalist class problem . Thousands of workers are killed by capitalism every year in China in the coal industry and elsewhere the third world mining industries you can add in tens of thousands more.

China has 20 times more people but only an economy equal to that of England or France. That is a rough sense of the disparity in living standards. That much any bourgeois economist may find suitable for discussion. China is also the location of over half the world's exploitation; even though China has only one quarter of the world's people. One reason for this is that China has wages much lower than the world average, because people in the West are overpaid.

Another reason that China is so important to global exploitation is that over half of the world's industrial production now occurs in China by itself. Readers of (the old now defunct or taken down)
MIM's website have kept up with the facts, that the industrial sector in China dedicated to exports alone surpassed the industrial sector of Western Europe a decade ago. MIM has steadily pointed out that old views tying the communist movement down to its historical roots in Europe and western trade unionist politics need to pass from the scene as unrepresentative of the needs of international working class that exists today .

“And we join this fight
keenly aware of the sturdy and tested bond that links us to those to whom we owe the liberties we enjoy today.
We are singing a people’s song. “

Are the “ liberties” and high wages currently enjoyed granted under capitalism in the imperialist counties like Australia to be confused with working class rights?

Seen any big strikes lately in recent decades in Oz ?

You know , class struggle by the masses and the working class that make the capitalists deliver up those high wages and “liberties” to the working class in Australia or are they just passing out bribes and privileges . Was our rights at work such a mass struggle or parliamentarianism?

Or is that just the way the imperialists organise production and wealth distribution under imperialist globalism for redistributing the surplus value exploited in the third world with a cut in the surplus value exploited in the third world being passed on as high wages to its loyal high waged imperialist country petty bourgeois ?