On the 18th of Feburary Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice association sent out an open letter to the “Black Rose Collective” which was shared on various blogs. In this letter he denounced the collective for hijacking the annual TJ Hickey memorial rally, and starting a fight with the cops.
To clarify, there was not even a single member of the Black Rose Collective present at the rally. A number of collective members who’d planned to attend the rally instead stayed at the Block, after Redfern Tent Embassy activists expressed fears that police would evict the embassy that day.
A member of the collective spoke to Ray soon after his letter was published. Ray informed them that he didn’t recognise those taking part in the scuffle with cops, but he decided that it must have involved Black Rose members, as he had been informed by the police prior to the march that the “Black Rose Collective” intended to infiltrate the march, inflame anti-police sentiment and cause extensive property damage. Ray also said that he was informed by the cops that Black Rose had caused scuffles at previous TJ rallies also.
Thankfully though, on the 21st of February Ray Jackson sent out a retraction to his previous statement and an apology to the collective. Below is the relevant extract of the statement:
“the main mea culpa is to unreservedly apologise to all the members of the black rose collective. i acted without reason and merely jumped to conclusions on the day. the banner that was fought over on the day belonged to the members of the trotskyist platform (tp) and whose members have joined our tj marches for years. there was one anarchist flag that was shown to me and when i ok’ed it it was tied to the fence.
i also made other errors of fact relative to the participation of the anarchists and other left groups in all our rallies and marches but i am not into grovelling. i have publically agreed with my errors and, i believe, it would be far more constructive to move on from here. like the foul abbott, i have listened and i have learned!”
While it is of no surprise to us that police cannot be trusted, this latest incident emphasizes the need for activists (and everyone else) to be wary of anything they say, especially their ‘helpful advice’ regarding activist organising. Police wish to see any social movements weakened by internal divisions and in-fighting, which they foster through their tried and trusted tactics or smearing and misinformation. Anyone involved in social struggles should think twice before trusting or spreading any police claims.