In the wake of several days of rioting that involved thousands of white youths attacking people of Middle Eastern descent in suburban Sydney and at least two other Australian cities, the Communist Party of Australia issued a statement Dec. 13 that read in part, “This is racism and must be condemned and opposed.”

The statement continued: “The riots and violence were deliberately organized and it has been revealed that several white supremacist, fascist organizations played a part in fanning and perhaps organizing the racist actions. The fact that many young people were caught up in these demonstrations is one of their worst features.”

The CPA said, “These vicious and racist demonstrations are a direct consequence of the ‘anti-terror’ laws, the appalling and discriminatory treatment of refugees, the arrest without charge of people from the Muslim community, the deliberate fostering of fear and insecurity, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the threat of war against other Middle Eastern countries in which the Australian government is a major participant.” The CPA said the responsibility for the developments rests squarely with Prime Minister John Howard and his government’s policies.

It said the racism involved was akin “to apartheid practiced in South Africa, the racism of KKK lynch mobs in the U.S. directed against African Americans, the racism behind the White Australia policy and the deprivation and humiliation imposed on the Indigenous people of Australia.”

Noting the fact that many white citizens in the strife-ridden areas have denounced the racist violence, the CPA called on “community leaders, municipal councils, the state government, representatives of ethnic communities and other democratic organizations to band together and make a stand against racism and all its manifestations.”

The statement said racism “is used to divide the working class along ethnic and religious lines and thereby weaken their struggle for pay and their rights and conditions at work.”