Refugees arriving in (or near) Australia without visas are fleeing persecution by some of the most brutal regimes in the world. But, if they arrive they are locked up in remote and inhospitable detention centres surrounded by razor wire fences and with few facilities – rightly called “concentration camps”.

Howard, Ruddock and the Liberals are drinking from a poisonous cup of racist division, invoking the spirit of White Australia and One Nation by claiming they are defending Australia from a “flood” of boat people, potential terrorists. They have used words like “queue-jumper”, “illegal” and “criminal” to drive home their agenda – sowing division to their hated social and economic policies.

In an era of “globalisation”, governments everywhere are raising higher barbed wire fences – denying people the right to follow the flow of money and seek a better life. Globalisation is about denying working people democracy, freedom, and the right to lead decent lives while a tiny global corporate elite get fatter.

By connecting the fight against racism with the fight against poverty, war and suffering that allow it to breed, we can more effectively challenge the bosses and politicians who use the politics of division to maintain wealth and power.

Black, Asian or white – we must unite and fight for a better world. The struggle in support of asylum seekers is fundamentally about solidarity with working people and their families – wherever they are from.

Refugees, people who have been forced from their homes only to be locked up by a racist Liberal government with the tacit support of federal Labor, must be freed.