Police patrol Coogee Beach in Sydney. Image from Reddit

Lift the Lockdowns! No to a Police State!

04-04-2020 – The rhetoric is health and safety; the reality is potential fascism and war. Under the pretext of “public health”, Australia’s elites are installing measures which – under any other circumstance – would be denounced as those of a totalitarian dictatorship. This is not to say that the Coronavirus (Covid-19) is not, at some level, a health concern. Yet the measures the Western ruling classes are implementing are likely to create health conditions far more dangerous than the virus itself. It appears the Coronavirus is being used as an excuse to exert extreme ideological and political control of working people, in order to wage economic and perhaps military war against those states who have the temerity to say no to imperialism. A police state, or a state of semi-fascism, would for the capitalist class provide the ideal conditions for the launching of a pre-emptive war against those countries they cannot control.

Lockdown the healthy?

Lockdowns and orders to stay at home are in place across Australia and other nations. Sweden, however, has not gone into lockdown mania. Life largely goes on as normal, with only gatherings of more than 500 people prohibited. Neighbouring Norway has a similar amount of cases (around 3000), and entered lockdowns weeks ago, which meant unemployment quadrupled.[1] Absurdly, the Australian government has banned gatherings of more than 2 (!) people, inside or outside. “Stage 3” lockdowns have been in place, with threats of “Stage 4”.[2]  Fines worth thousands of dollars are to be wielded by the police against those found violating the 2 person gathering limit or the “social distancing” measures.[3] Isolation of those infected with Coronavirus is rational advice, but an attempt to stop any form of social interaction amongst the healthy is deeply suspicious.

Some doctors are publicly questioning the lockdowns, which appear to be driven by a combination of government and corporate media fueled hysteria. Swedish doctor Anders Tegnell stated that older people and people with significant health concerns should be isolated, as well as anyone with slight cold symptoms, but that is all.[4] Indian doctor Anurag Agarwal claimed that physical distancing (rather than social distancing) is necessary, but lockdowns have dire effects not just in health terms.[5] It appears no timeframes are being given for the lockdowns, leaving some to wonder whether they will be semi-permanent. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says six months will be needed. The political establishment and their staffers have no need to be concerned about changing their lifestyle very much at all within that time period. Workers and the now estimated 1 million unemployed workers in Australia, on the other hand, will have a much more difficult time dealing with the many restrictions.

The real dangers of the Coronavirus have been seriously exaggerated, as if there was an intention to frighten people. Television pictures from Italy appear to be serious, but what are the facts? A scientific paper published on the 17th of March reported that 87% of deaths in Italy have been patients over 70 years of age – the same as what happens every flu season.[6] The chief of Italy’s Superior Institute of Health reported that the majority of deaths from the Coronavirus have been among the very old – the average age being 80.3 years. The majority of deaths had three or more serious simultaneous health issues. Just two people under 40 perished, both were 39. But one had cancer, and the other had diabetes, obesity and other health problems prior to being infected.[7]

Even in the United States of America, where the Coronavirus appears to have spread significantly, the actual chance of losing your life is very low. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US noted that of those who contract the Coronavirus, the death rate for those over 80 years of age is 10.4%, 5.35% for over 70s, 1.51% for over 60s, and 0.37% in the over 50s. There are lower rates for those younger, dropping to zero for those under 29.[8] Prudent advice would be for those in a vulnerable demographic to exercise more care, and perhaps avoid huge crowds. Usual health measures of eating well and exercising apply as at all times. Yet there is no serious threat to humanity from Covid-19.

Pandemic?

In an interview with Bonnie Faulkner, Professor Michel Chossudovsky relayed the fact that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC) on January 30, in relation to the Covid-19 events in Wuhan in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). At the time, there were only 150 confirmed cases of Covid-19 outside of China. The world’s population is 7.8 billion, take away China of 1.4 billion, leaves us with 6.4 billion. So only 150 cases out of 6.4 billion was declared a PHEIC[9], and later a “pandemic”. Under any description, 150 out of 6.4 billion cannot be a “pandemic”. There is another agenda at work here, and it reeks of imperial geopolitics.

As we have previously mentioned, there is a distinct possibility that the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan was actually an act of biological war launched by the Pentagon against the PRC.[10] The PRC government has not stated in official terms that it was, but some experts within China urged the US to release the health status of the US military athletes who visited Wuhan in October last year for the World Military Games[11], to help locate the original source. The Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp of Iran publicly stated that the coronavirus may well be a US biological weapon, first aimed at China, then Iran and other states.[12] The Russian government, like the PRC government, has restrained itself from publicly speculating whether Covid-19 was a US based attempt to attack China and/or Russia. Yet some Russian politicians and some Russian media outlets have published articles which claim exactly that.[13] It is speculation, but it is all in one direction.

Union officials, left parties act as arms of the state

Australia’s top Union officials (not members) have openly sided with the government and the state against “their own” workers. Australian Council of Trade Union (ACTU) secretary Sally McManus reportedly has had daily briefings with PM Scott Morrison. Incredibly, at the joint request of Union officials and employers, the Orwellian named Fair Work Commission ruled that worker’s hours can be reduced, and normal time hours be extended, at any time during the alleged Coronavirus crisis. The unaccountable officials of the Australian Services Union agreed with major employers that hours where penalty rates should not apply extend from 6am to 11pm.[14] The officials of the United Workers Union of hospitality staff agreed with large employers that they should be allowed to reduce full-time hours to as little as 22.8 hours per week.[15] No doubt these officials did not even bother to even consult their members about this before openly offering to abolish working conditions won over decades of struggle.

Workers know, from their own experience, that employers will use ANY excuse to reduce wages or abolish conditions. The alleged Coronavirus “pandemic” produces a golden opportunity for large, medium and small business owners to once again push down the price of labour power – workers’ wages. Yet some Australian left parties cripple the ability of workers to resist this drive by agreeing with the capitalist class that there is a “public health emergency”, and even call for more workers to be stood down – albeit with pay.  The danger is that if workers agree with the employers’ (fake) excuse for a stand down, they are scarcely able to bargain about the terms of the stand down.

Some left parties assist the scaremongering. Solidarity does highlight instances of workers and Unions fighting back, while spreading hysteria that “150 000 could die in a worst-case scenario”.[16] Socialist Alternative has correctly called out Union officials for working with the government to reduce workers conditions. Yet they have also organised the “Workers Organising Resistance in the Pandemic” group – which agitates for workplaces to be shut down![17] The Communist Party of Australia explicitly called for a 2 week shutdown,[18] to which the government immediately agreed – and effectively made it six months. The Socialist Alliance calls for an even “wider shutdown than what is being proposed now”, (!) albeit one without the “draconian police measures currently being deployed”.[19] (!!)

Shredding of elementary rights

Yet here is the rub – once you call for intervention of any sort by the capitalist state, workers cannot control how the ruling class will carry out such action. The government is not “ours”, and therefore its state cannot be used in the interests of working people. It is not only fruitless to call on the capitalist state to act on your behalf – to do so vastly strengthens and emboldens it. It has other aims it needs to implement in its interests. In this case the “draconian police measures” are vastly understated. Never in their wildest dreams did the fascists of Nazi Germany have the power to restrict indoor and outdoor gatherings to two people! Yet this is precisely what the Australian government has done today, along with the potential total closure of public beaches, public parks, gyms, pubs, clubs and so on. At a stroke, a police state has been implemented which severely curtails, if not abolishes, freedom of movement. In addition, under the (false) guise of “public health”, almost all political activity has been eliminated – something which could not be achieved without a global war – or a (fake) “pandemic”.

Some can see the immense danger this proposes. It is the descent into a police state which is far more frightening than any virus. Michael Bradley wrote that the situation is such that citizens now have to prove their innocence before they are arrested. He noted that people walking or being stationery now have to give a “reasonable excuse” to police why they are outside.[20] Former British diplomat Craig Murray noted that dictatorship usually begins with emergency measures to combat a threat. Once these measures are in place, a new threat is found to continue the “emergency” measures.[21]  Lawyers advocate Greg Barns correctly noted that laws created in a crisis (e.g. September 11, 2001, the “anti-terror” laws) are very rarely, if ever, lifted or rolled back.[22] Here lies the outcome of calls by some on the left for shutdowns and lockdowns!

There is another agenda being driven here, but it is not “public health”. Russia, China, Iran, the DPRK, Venezuela, Cuba – all took swift measures to contain the virus, which is a health issue to some extent. But, as far as we know, in these states which are relentlessly targeted by imperialism there were no workers thrown out of a job, no overblown hysteria, and no implementation of a police state. Ironically, all of these states are falsely accused by liberals in the West of “authoritarianism”, and even “tyranny”. Now, the boot is well and truly on the other foot, as the governments of Australia, the US and Europe emerge as even more authoritarian and tyrannical than those they accuse. Workers should be aware that the real agenda could be imperialist war launched by the Pentagon against the non-imperialist states, or any ally of China and Russia. Witness the fact that the US government, at the height of the coronavirus hysteria, has acted to tighten the murderous sanctions on Iran, and has indicted Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on baseless and evidence free charges of “narco-terrorism”.[23]

What is required is a united front of action of all those forces opposed to lockdowns which have little or no medical basis, those opposed to the imposition of a police state, and those opposed to needless job cuts and the willful crashing of the economy. This may mean a temporary alliance with non-working class forces, but leftists should not at all discard the Marxist program. On the contrary, the forging of a vanguard party remains more critical than ever, as does the struggle for the socialisation of the major means of production, energy, transport and banking. Then, a truly public health care system can be established, free from all interference from agents of the corporate elite.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com
PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://news.yahoo.com/swedens-resistance-lockdown-raises-questions-155335578.html (01-04-2020)

[2] https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/coronavirus-australia-what-would-stage-four-lockdown-mean/news-story/eeb4e4b4a6c77ba8475aba9c5448e561 (01-04-2020)

[3] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-31/how-australian-states-are-enforcing-coronavirus-measures/12106774 (01-04-2020)

[4] https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/28/10-more-experts-criticising-the-coronavirus-panic/

[5] https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/now-is-not-the-time-for-lockdown-says-doctor-as-india-fights-coronavirus-outbreak/story-G71Cdbo3YJR9dGsikh8nfO.html (01-04-2020)

[6] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763401?guestAccessKey=72f61225-c3fd-4fb1-81fd-09b6a1666aaa&utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=031720 (01-04-2020)

[7] https://www.sott.net/article/431559-First-Do-No-Harm-If-Primary-Healthcare-Remains-Shut-Down-Toll-on-Elderly-Will-be-Worse-Than-COVID-19 (01-04-2020)

[8] https://journal-neo.org/2020/03/27/covid-19-hysteria-vs-your-actual-very-low-chance-of-dying/ (01-04-2020)

[9] https://www.globalresearch.ca/covid-19-coronavirus-crisis/5706741 (02-04-2020)

[10] https://redfireonline.com/2020/03/22/covid-19-natural-pathogen-or-biological-war/ (02-04-2020)

[11] https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183658.shtml (02-04-2020)

[12] https://tass.com/world/1127137 (02-04-2020)

[13] https://zvezdaweekly.ru/news/t/20201291341-AfM0x.html (02-04-2020)

[14] https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/award-flexibility-during-coronavirus/clerks-award-flexibility-during-coronavirus (04-04-2020)

[15] https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/award-flexibility-during-coronavirus/hospitality-award-flexibility-during-coronavirus (04-04-2020)

[16] https://www.solidarity.net.au/highlights/editorial-morrisons-failure-to-stop-the-virus-the-result-of-a-sick-system/ (04-04-2020)

[17] https://www.facebook.com/WorkersOrganisingResistance/ (04-04-2020)

[18] https://www.cpa.org.au/resources/party-statements/index.html (04-04-2020)

[19] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/covid-19-mass-testing-shut-downs-and-guaranteed-incomes-all (04-04-2020)

[20] https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/04/01/new-world-citizens-rights-coronavirus/?fbclid=IwAR2QIMcLE9Fmh7Oi80h9Qn9LWYc3aNXOkNM7c5l0SbC781Ze9EMhK85V_B (04-04-2020)

[21] https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/04/how-it-starts/?fbclid=IwAR3SbN9XZU9hUTG2gXYgaSuyO9X86MUMjtwJrMvxYUsTAHMPSxNPIE7z9CY (04-04-2020)

[22] https://www.smh.com.au/national/laws-created-in-a-crisis-are-very-rarely-rolled-back-20200331-p54foj.html?fbclid=IwAR2G0CszxjScB8q5BXfpyR25pqtuWgWeqSplwosmf7JduNoQ1uWBKtPcc0k (04-04-2020)

[23] https://www.newsweek.com/us-iran-sanctions-venezuela-president-indicted-coronavirus-1494522 (04-04-2020)

Lift the Lockdowns! No to a Police State!

Queues form outside Centrelink Offices in the wake of overnight job losses. Image from abc.net.au

No Virus Recession!

 

26-03-2020 – Amidst the Coronavirus crisis, the civil and democratic rights of working people are fast becoming collateral damage. Australia’s Prime Minister yesterday announced the closure of pubs, clubs, gymnasiums, indoor sporting venues, cinemas and places of worship, and warned that these closures could be in place for six months.[1]  PM Scott Morrison feigned to apologise for the workers who would lose their jobs as a consequence. A recession, or more to the point, a worsening of an already dire economic malaise, is inevitable. Public gatherings of 500 or more, and indoor gatherings of 100 or more have already been banned. Incredibly, the PM put the blame for this situation on “young people” supposedly not abiding by the rules.

Tens of thousands of workers have been thrown out of employment overnight. The Virgin Australia airline stood down 8000 of its staff,[2] following QANTAS which stood down 20 000.[3] It is estimated that one million workers have lost their jobs following the closure of “non-essential” services. Queues have formed automatically at Centrelink, overwhelming their capacity to respond – but this is after years of funding and staffing cuts. Centrelink advised workers not to attempt to visit a Centrelink office, but to go to the MyGov website and lodge an “intent to claim” form online.[4] All this did was to cause the MyGov website to crash – twice.[5]

Corporate media and government fuel hysteria

It is vital that working people resist this enforced recession. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) effectively and swiftly dealt with the Coronavirus outbreak, and as far as we know, no workers were thrown out of work. This included temporary shutdowns of workplaces and temporary directions to stay at home. While the PRC and the SRV are weighed down by bureaucratic political leaderships which do not consistently defend workers’ interests, the contrast between the socialist response and the capitalist response to coronavirus could not be more stark. However deformed socialism may be in the PRC and the SRV, there was co-operation with the government measures there, because workers knew that it was unlikely that they would be the targets, and that they would not be asked to pay the costs. In capitalist Australia, on the other hand, many workers have already lost what is most vital to them – an income to keep food on the table. More than this, fear and uncertainty of the future grips workers in the West, engendering despair.

What is more, this has been done on the basis of wild distortions of scientific facts and realities. Coronavirus hysteria is pounding people non-stop, inducing fear. Yet, the government, the corporate media, bought and paid for medicos, employers, big business and obsequious Union officials are all vastly exaggerating the danger of the coronavirus. They have abominable political reasons for doing so. There is evidence that this may well have been an act of biological war by the Pentagon against China and Iran, and also Italy. The latter may well have been punished for being the first G7 (Group of seven most industrialised countries) to sign on to China’s gargantuan trade and infrastructure development project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or “New Silk Road”).[6] It may well have backfired spectacularly on Washington, given that the virus appears to be rapidly spreading throughout the USA. Nonetheless, the ruling classes of the capitalist West from Australia to Europe to the US have seized on the opportunity the coronavirus presents to them. Their economy has been staggering along for ten years or so, but now there is a chance to throw millions of workers onto the scrapheap, and thereby push down the price of labour-power, or wages, even further than legal minimums. Moreover, it provides the opportunity to launch catastrophic war against China or whoever – with a crippled and disoriented working-class unwilling or unable to take political action against “their own” imperialism.

Lockdowns may worsen health conditions

Of concern is the fact that it is likely that lockdowns and closures of workplaces and places of recreation and needed social gatherings will lead to more unnecessary fatalities, not less. Not to speak of the mental health problems created by mass unemployment, the severe curtailing of social interaction for almost all purposes exacerbates the extent of the symptoms those with accompanying health conditions suffer. One medical specialist who, to his credit, is not bowing down to his government, has inferred that the social lockdowns are “collective suicide” that will shorten the lives of millions.[7] The cancellations of elective surgery, which has already occurred in Australia, by itself will mean prolonged suffering for those waiting – and even premature death.

The fact is that the numbers of cases of a virus are nowhere near “pandemic” levels. In addition, the vast majority of those infected with coronavirus will suffer mild symptoms and recover after a period of about two weeks. While reasonable and rational precautionary measures to counter this virus are justified, a full-scale economic recession and all of its life-extinguishing consequences needs to be avoided at all costs. What has to be recognised is that all points of authority within capitalist society are universally on board with the elite’s recession and war planning – for they will not suffer from it. Working people must grapple with the fact that fascism is a distinct possibility.

Workers must not despair, and must not fear, however. Throughout history, fascism has only triumphed in the absence of determined working class opposition, i.e. without a strong and organised left-wing. It is critical that a Marxist vanguard party is formed, now more than ever. Such a party can form out of mobilisations behind demands that can address parts of this crisis, and others besides. For a start, we urge workers to fight for:
1.  A six hour day!

2. Public ownership of energy, infrastructure, banks!

3. A Workers’ Government!

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

http://www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.mygc.com.au/australia-shut-down-pm-orders-pubs-restaurants-churches-gyms-to-close/ (23-03-2020)

[2] https://www.hepburnadvocate.com.au/story/6695892/virgin-australia-stands-down-8000-staff/ (25-03-2020)

[3] https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/employee-engagement/qantas-stands-down-two-thirds-of-staff/217358 (25-03-2020)

[4] https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6144476072001 (25-03-2020)

[5] https://www.themercury.com.au/news/coronavirus/anxious-tasmanians-continue-to-line-up-at-centrelink-as-mygov-website-crashes-again/news-story/d2a20f022f52cae32052bceaf7962f8c (25-03-2020)

[6] https://redfireonline.com/2020/03/22/covid-19-natural-pathogen-or-biological-war/ (25-03-2020)

[7] https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:nhbO6vLdYsgJ:https://www.anti-empire.com/fantastic-video-interview-german-infectologist-govt-lockdowns-are-collective-suicide-will-shorten-the-lives-of-millions/%20&cd=1&hl=pt-BR&ct=clnk&gl=br&fbclid=IwAR0cr0zTLxTKRUNvDqPQoCmCcU2qSFkyyof971KVX0CLPiY0j6BiSzmeOGw (25-03-2020)

 

 

No Virus Recession!

Covid-19: Natural Pathogen, or Biological War?

22-03-2020 – As the Covid-19 (Corona Virus) crisis spreads further throughout the globe, the spectre of an unprecedented economic depression looms large. As with the Great Depression in the 1930s, the private-profit based economies at that time did not have a hope of a release from its grip. It was “resolved” the only way it could have been – through a World War. This outcome suspends itself over the planet now. Even without the Corona Virus outbreak, the capitalist economies of the United States (US), Europe, Japan and Australia had effectively limped along since the Great Recession of 2008. These desperately waning economic conditions drove the imperialist axis to wage regime change wars or attempted coups against Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or “North Korea”), Iran, Bolivia and Honduras, at the least. These hostile acts were pre-cursors to the real targets of Washington and their acolytes – the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  Workers should be aware that the US Empire’s dangerous hostility to Russia and China will not abate regardless of how the Corona Virus crisis plays out.

Where did Covid-19 come from?

The US Empire (backed by Paris, Berlin, London, Canberra) is desperate to slow or stop the indomitable economic rise of Red China, and the political and diplomatic power that flows therefrom. Washington knows that US corporations – during a virtual recession in the West – cannot compete against the giant socialist state backed industries within the PRC. It also knows that a military attempt at regime change in the PRC is impossible, given the size of China population wise, and the PRC’s possession of advanced nuclear weapons. Thus, the priority flows to political attempts to undermine the authority of the government, along with attempts to break away some of its component parts, such as Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet. Given the fact that these efforts had so far largely failed – even if they had fooled many liberals in the West – it is not unreasonable to suggest that Washington is trying something different with the Corona Virus, regardless of the eminently misanthropic consequences.

Despite attempts to paint Covid-19 as a “Chinese” virus, there is some evidence to suggest that it did not originate in the PRC at all. A report in the English language Global Times newspaper in China, first broke the story that a study by ChinaXiv, an open repository for Chinese scientific researchers, had indicated that the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan was NOT the original source of the novel coronavirus. The study indicates that “patient zero” introduced the virus to the market last November, with the crowded market then providing grounds for its relatively rapid spread to others.[1]  A report on a Japanese TV station also made the claim that Covid-19 may have originated in the US. Apparently some 14 000 fatalities due to influenza over the previous period may have been due to Covid-19. Moreover, the Military World Games were held in Wuhan last October, with one social media user speculating that the virus had been brought with the US delegates.[2] Various theories are floating around the internet, mainly over whether the release of the virus was accidental or deliberate.

No less than Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian posted open questions on social media to the US government about the known extent of Corona Virus. He posted a video of Robert Redfield, a director of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, admitting that some Americans who had died from influenza later tested positive to the Corona Virus. “When did patient zero begin in US?  How many people are infected? …. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”[3] While the exact origin of the Corona Virus may not be able to be known, developments such as these raise pertinent questions. In the spirit of never believing anything until it is officially denied, US Secretary of State and arch war hawk Mike Pompeo swiftly shot back accusing Zhao Lijian, and China generally, of spreading “outlandish rumours”. A US state department official even stated that the spreading of “conspiracy theories” is dangerous.[4]

It takes some chutzpah for the US to accuse China of spreading “conspiracy theories” at the very same time as US government officials and corporate media fling baseless and evidence free claims of 1 million Uyghurs being detained in the Xinjiang province. And for all the whining from the West about “authoritarianism” in the PRC, the fact is that the Chinese government’s measures to contain and control the Corona Virus have been unmatched by any Western counterpart. China’s efforts to build a 1000 bed hospital from scratch in under two weeks[5] is by now well known. Western economies running on a for-profit basis with governments enthralled by private corporations would not even be able to contemplate, let alone attempt, such a feat. For all the misunderstanding about the PRC economy, the fact is that it does not operate primarily on the basis of production for profit, and the major and strategic means of production are state owned – a legacy of the victory of the 1949 socialist revolution.

Act of biological war?

Despite the distorted leadership of the PRC by the essentially nationalist Communist Party of China (CPC), the simple existence of the Chinese workers’ state and its still rising economic power spell the end of US primacy of the globe – something the US ruling class cannot afford to allow. They are prepared to use any measure to prevent other countries looking to China for economic and even political leadership. While it would be difficult to determine scientifically, it is feasible to suggest that the intention was to bring down the powerhouse Chinese economy, in order to give the ailing US economy some respite.  If so, this appears to have backfired, with the New York Mayor recently declaring that city to be the new epicenter of the Corona Virus.[6]  Yet the question must be posed as to why China, Iran and Italy, out of the 196 countries in the world, have been hardest hit. It has been mooted that Italy was the first G7 country to sign on to Red China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or “New Silk Road), while Iran has been attempting to bypass the crippling US sanctions on its economy by importing from China while selling China its oil.[7] As the Chinarising website reports, at one point Iran had 10 000 cases of Corona Virus, while the countries between Iran and China had virtually nil. Also, India, with a similar population to China, but with hundreds of millions more people living in dire poverty and in many cases with poor sanitation, has been left almost unscathed.[8]

The US ruling class is known for its use of biological war against its declared enemies. During the Vietnam War, the US dumped Agent Orange by the gigalitre on an innocent people resisting the imperialist behemoth. Socialist Cuba has also been targeted. What is more, the Russian government had recently warned the world of its grave concerns that the US was developing biological weapons. In November last year, the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, Nikolai Patrushev, sounded the alarm that the Pentagon had established some 200 biological laboratories which study infectious diseases and can be used to manufacture biological weapons. Many of these labs had been set up in the countries of the former Soviet Union, such as Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia.[9]

What acts of imperialist subterfuge can be determined is the fact that the US has increased already crippling sanctions against Iran, at the peak of the Corona Virus outbreak.[10] This at a time when the Russian and Chinese governments, amongst many others around the world, had been issuing pleas for the US to lift its sanctions on Iran, to assist global efforts against the Corona Virus.[11] Google, ever reliable as an arm of US foreign policy, chimed in by removing Iran’s Corona Virus app from the Google Play Store.[12] The app was released by the Iranian government to help detect patients. This makes a mockery of US government claims that it would offer Iran assistance for the outbreak.

Social and political control

That the Corona Virus is a pathogen which needs to be combatted is not in doubt. What is suspicious is the way in which it is being used to implement mass social and political control, which could be an attempt by the imperialist West to practice a test run of submission to authority for their ultimate goal – catastrophic war against Russia and China. The banning of mass gatherings, enforceable by the police, could easily become permanent measures if not resisted by workers. In Queensland, the police are now monitoring venues with indoor events that may exceed 100 people. Fines of up to $50 000 or 12 months in jail could be applied in different Australian states.[13] If society is at a stage where public meetings can be shut-down by the armed forces of the state – we must question what the difference is with fascism. The corporate media is now so practiced at deceiving masses of people with propaganda, it can induce almost whole populations to dance to its tune.

The corporate media acts as an arm of the governments that protect their profits. In “normal” times, many workers suspect and/or understand this. Yet this time, the capitalist class seems to be willing to trigger an economic recession by throwing millions of workers out of employment. It’s as if they were just itching for the chance to sack workers. QANTAS has stood down 20 000 of its workers, and even claimed that the viability of the airline could be at stake. While there has been a murmur of dissent from the Transport Workers Union officials, saying that this amounts to workers bailing out the airline,[14]  there were no moves to organise resistance to this move at airports or at other workplaces.

The top Union officials, remunerated to the tune of six-figure salaries at the expense of Union members, are once again playing their role as political police of rank and file workers. In Queensland, the Queensland Council of Union executive wasted no time in cancelling Labour Day marches planned for 2020.[15] On the unconvincing grounds of protecting “public safety”, the ultra-conservative QCU executive was only too happy to present itself as one with the government of the elites. No other provisions for even consulting workers, or organising smaller meetings where workers could discuss or plan a response, was provided. The only action component proposed was that workers sign a petition [!!] for leave for casual workers!  The virtual absence of democratic rights for workers within the Unions, enforced by careerist officials, results in such tragicomic outcomes.

Well-heeled Union officials, the corporate media, venture capitalists, and even left groups who usually parade their “socialist” convictions, are now lining up as one. Whether they call on the government to “take the crisis seriously” or encourage people to visit government approved websites, they are all in lockstep with what appears to be a preparation for World War III. The numbers are simply not there for a “pandemic”. The production for profit economy was already effectively in recession, and large and small employers were just itching for an excuse to cut their costs by laying off workers without resistance. What better opportunity than a supposed health crisis? Those with serious capital will not lose out by mass retrenchments of workers – in fact they could well make big money out of it.

Mass retrenchment of workers will cause immense hardship and suffering for the majority of workers who only earn enough to pay the bills, and many not even that. The goal of the rulers appears to have been to once again enforce submission to authority without question. US imperialism (backed by Canberra) was seriously defeated in their war of regime change against Syria. Standing in the way of the US juggernaut was Russia, and to a lesser extent, China. Unable to accept defeat, it is not unlikely to assume that Washington is turning to any method whatever – even the fueling of biological war – in a vain attempt to reassert its fast slipping global hegemony. While workers should participate in reasonable health precautions, docile submission to attacks on jobs and living standards should be resisted. Imperialist war provocations should be rejected, and preparations made for an internationally planned and collectively owned economy. A workers’ party which leads the masses against the never-ending crisis of the profit system remains the most urgent necessity.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1180429.shtml (18-03-2020)

[2] http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0223/c90000-9661026.html (18-03-2020)

[3] https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/coronavirus-chinese-official-suggests-u-s-army-blame-outbreak-n1157826 (18-03-2020)

[4] https://thehill.com/policy/international/487853-pompeo-warns-china-against-spreading-outlandish-rumors-about-coronavirus (18-03-2020)

[5] https://www.france24.com/en/20200204-china-opens-virus-hospital-built-from-scratch-in-under-two-weeks (21-03-2020)

[6] https://abcnews.go.com/Health/coronavirus-live-updates-china-exonerates-whistleblower-doctor-warned/story?id=69702910 (21-03-2020)

[7] https://www.globalresearch.ca/more-than-just-virus/5706476 (21-03-2020)

[8] https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2020/03/16/kim-iverson-reports-the-same-geopolitical-observations-about-biowarfare-your-passport-has-a-lot-to-do-with-your-exposure-to-covid-19-the-ramifications-for-you-and-your-loved-ones-is-explained-china/ (21-03-2020)

[9] https://journal-neo.org/2020/02/20/us-wages-biological-war-against-china/(21-03-2020)

[10] https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/03/18/621105/US-fresh-sanctions-Iran-coronavirus-outbreak?fbclid=IwAR2F_ICOKi9ojx4QLMU3p-MMWFMdRznJp2FCKAvuEe6xcqTa0jkW7rjDrJg (21-03-2020)

[11] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/coronavirus-china-and-russia-call-us-lift-iran-sanctions?fbclid=IwAR2sE4qPdLeLb1uwjR3fvrvy-pKaM1MWckggdpNKpMScJF8cTxUvY959kPU (21-03-2020)

[12] https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/03/11/620625/Google-Iran-coronavirus-US-sanctions-Trump-medicine?fbclid=IwAR01LkXDjKo4Rxv4yAg3tzgpNF41IwYMkUOJqot4sfg0pR5kaRFRiZ31RF8 (21-03-2020)

[13] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-21/coronavirus-self-isolation-whos-making-sure-you-stay-indoors/12078074?fbclid=IwAR1T6YXt1AFDkk9bhpVHVYzelVrNOKKrgkScng6SRqbeWjbntHoFAbOW5To (22-03-2020)

[14] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-19/qantas-to-stand-down-two-thirds-of-employees-due-to-coronavirus/12069876?fbclid=IwAR17XkUVtnqbRoLeUlpQoUpIr2y9SecSoaS76J4zkoKO8T7PumEC_LhTh0Y (22-03-2020)

[15] https://www.queenslandunions.org/workers-put-community-health-and-safety-first-in-cancelling-labour-day-events/ (22-03-2020)

Covid-19: Natural Pathogen, or Biological War?

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Image from Thai Visa Forum

Philippines Says Yes to BRI, No to VFA

07-03-2020: In a ground-breaking move, in February the popularly elected Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte followed through on his previous indications he would downgrade the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the government of the United States of America (US). He gave the US formal notice of his decision to scrap the long standing bilateral agreement.[1] The VFA, signed in 1998, had given the US a virtual free hand to rotate its troops throughout the Philippines, the main purpose of which was to conduct joint “military exercises”. In reality, the VFA ensured legal immunity for the actions of US troops on Filipino territory, while integrating the Philippines into the web of US imperialist threatened assaults on the Pacific region. Thanks to stirring bravery shown by President Duterte – standing up to the US despite possible threats to his own life – for the first time the Philippines is breaking from its former colonial power, and on to more productive and beneficial relations with other powers which show it respect – particularly the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Decline of US as regional hegemon

Although this decision was ostensibly in response to the US revoking the visa of Philippine Senator Dela Rosa, there are deeper moves afoot. Senator Dela Rosa was the former National Police Chief who headed President Duterte’s war on drug dealers and pushers, which liberal (and US backed) NGOs have criticised for alleged abuses of “human rights”. Yet most Filipinos strongly support President Duterte as well as his declared determination to deal with the drug problem in the country. They are aware that liberal (conservative in practice) opposition to the drug war is linked to the fake “human rights” industry, wielded by the West to bring Third World countries to heel. And in fact, President Duterte’s war on drug dealers has been backed by US President Donald Trump several times.[2] On this and many other issues, President Trump differs to the US deep state and his liberal Democrat opposition.

Incredibly, the cancellation of the VFA ends legal immunity for US troops operating in the Philippines.[3] Many people in Japan have protested for decades demanding the ending of legal immunity for US troops operating there. This is another strong sign that President Duterte is leading the push to pivot the Philippines away from the US and towards the PRC – and Russia – for the first time in history. This can only be welcomed by workers in the Philippines and internationally. US imperialism has been gung-ho recently, potentially preparing for a military conflict with the socialist giant of the PRC. President Duterte’s “pivot” away from the US and towards China and Russia throws another spanner in the works of US plans to use the Philippines as a staging post to a possible war with the PRC. It is a move which could give the Philippines some protection in case of a Washington launched World War III.[4] It is also another indicator that US imperialist power is declining in the Asia-Pacific, thanks to links nations there can forge with China and Russia. As neither China nor Russia are imperialist, these links are not ones of domination or plunder, but ties of mutual benefit.

Philippines joins the New Silk Road

In November 2018, President Duterte and PRC President Xi Jinping signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) linking the Philippines as yet another country to have signed on to the PRC’s trillion dollar trade and infrastructure Belt and Road Initiative (BRI – sometimes referred to as the New Silk Road). In the MOU, the Philippines and the PRC agree to co-operate in infrastructure, trade, investment development, and interconnectivity in the transportation, telecommunication and energy sectors.[5]  This gels with President Duterte’s recent slogan of “Build, Build, Build”, which aims to lift the infrastructure of the Philippines finally from Third World status. It is the PRC’s gargantuan socialist economy, predominantly state owned and controlled, which enables it to launch such a vast project across some 60 countries. President Duterte sought to take advantage of the BRI and links with the PRC because he is one of the leaders who can see that the rise of China offers tangible benefits for other countries which the US is not in a position to offer, given its long term economic, and therefore political, decline.

US imperialism (backed by Canberra) is the number one enemy of working and oppressed people worldwide. This is one reason why workers internationally should welcome the moves by President Duterte to tilt the Philippines away from the US and towards the PRC for mutual economic benefit. It ensures that the Philippines will not aid, nor be a staging post, for a US led war against the PRC. In addition, the tilt towards Russia for security issues adds a vital counterbalance to the ever-present danger of US military provocations, so workers must not stand in the way of this either. The majority of Filipino workers strongly support President Duterte, regardless of his liberal critics, internally and externally. This is a crucial factor which Marxists must take into account – as it cannot be denied.

Despite this, the only permanent solution to the problem of economic underdevelopment in the Philippines and the threat of US led imperialist war is the triumph of the workers through proletarian revolutions in the region. Workers’ power in Australia, Japan and the US would be a vast step towards socialism. The PRC, on the other hand, requires a real re-alignment of its political leadership towards genuine Leninism. Key to this perspective are the forging of vanguard parties to guide workers to realise their potential. In the meantime, such parties should strategically defend Filipino sovereignty against US imperialism, and its alliances with the non-imperialist powers. This means a temporary bloc with the Duterte administration against those who would join with non-Trumpist Washington – US backed NGOs, the “human rights” industrial complex, and assorted social-democrats.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireoline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box  66   NUNDAH   QLD  4012

 

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/11/philippines-to-terminate-troop-agreement-with-us

(07-03-2020)

[2] https://fortune.com/2018/02/26/trump-dealth-penalty-capital-punishment-drug-dealers-duterte/

(07-03-2020)

[3] https://www.sott.net/article/428847-Duterte-counter-sanctions-by-terminating-US-militarys-immunity-from-prosecution-in-the-Philippines (07-03-2020)

[4] https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/02/23/philippine-patriots-say-no-to-wwiii-and-yes-to-the-new-silk-road/

(07-03-2020)

[5] https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/11/27/philippines-china-memorandum-of-understanding-belt-and-road-initiative.html

(07-03-2020)

Philippines Says Yes to BRI, No to VFA

IWD 2020: For the Real Liberation of Women

08-03-2020: March 8 marks International Women’s Day (IWD), which began its history as International Working Women’s Day. Originally a movement for the redress of the oppression of women through class-struggle socialism, IWD has unfortunately over time been watered down into something eminently acceptable, and even promoted, by sections of today’s capitalist ruling classes. IWD corporate breakfasts, fun runs, commercial dinners and more are now all held by conservative business groups, charity foundations and other bodies which would bitterly oppose workers and other oppressed groups posing fighting for real women’s liberation through socialism.

Corporate rule offers nothing for working women

At times the agents of the ruling class attempt to recognise the gross disadvantages working women encounter throughout their lives under the profit system. For example, recently it has been highlighted that women are retiring from the workforce with an average 47% less superannuation than men. Despite comprising 46.9% of the workforce, 44% of women rely on their partner’s income as the main source of funds for their retirement. 40% of older single women live in poverty or experience significant insecurity in retirement.[1] Statistics like these graphically demonstrate the structural oppression of women which is built into capitalism. However, the response of some figures in the establishment, such as Victorian Labor Party Premier Daniel Andrews, is to push for superannuation for all workers to be pushed up from the current 9.5% to 15% as soon as possible.[2] The aim is supposed to be a measure of compensation for women who generally accumulate less superannuation throughout their working lives, due to factors such as taking time out of work to raise children, support their families and by working part-time.

Enlightened political elites can only offer a “solution” which will mainly enrich corporate magnates, rather than allow extra savings to accumulate for women workers. The superannuation industry itself is a giant honey pot, with chunks of workers’ wages being compulsorily diverted into billion-dollar funds which are then gambled on the stock market. Venture capitalists reap the windfall and hand out crumbs to workers when they retire. At best, an increase of compulsory superannuation may slightly lift the average savings women retire with, but it won’t address the gender gap. This is due to the reliance of the capitalist system on the unpaid labour of women in the home, largely as a result of the reinforcement of the nuclear family as class society’s smallest repressive unit. The real liberation of women can only come about once the duties of the family (child rearing, care for the sick and elderly, food, shelter, education assistance and so on) are collectively taken over by society itself. Women would then be able to participate as true equals in the basic elements of production.

TERFs and SWERFs divert from the real issues

In recent times, the feminist movement has been swamped by bitter conflicts between those who wish to exclude transgender women (TERF – Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism) and sex workers (SWERF – Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminism) from the movement for women’s liberation. This is a huge discussion best held elsewhere. Suffice to say that while it is not in the interests of a working women’s movement for liberation to exclude transgender women or sex workers, these issues should not be the central issues defining the struggle for women’s liberation. The fact that they have become central issues speaks to the vast shortcomings of feminism. Feminism is not just an idea; it is a political program which is limited to fighting for the rights of women within the confines of the capitalist system. This is one reason why feminism as such cannot actually lead to the liberation of women but can in fact stand in the way. Women’s oppression is bound up with the family, private property and the state, as laid down by one of the founders of scientific socialism, Frederick Engels, in his 1884 treatise. It is these three pillars of class society which must be swept aside to enable the liberation of women from their second-class status under capitalism. Therefore, working women must ally themselves with working class men (and working-class transgender folk) in a pitch battle for the construction of a workers’ state – the first step towards the classless society.

For Women’s Liberation!

Practically, the most essential missing ingredient for the establishment of workers’ democracy is the Marxist vanguard party which can lead the working masses in the struggle to shatter the chains of capitalist wage slavery. This is therefore also the most pressing task of the movement for women’s liberation. A multi-gendered workers’ vanguard party would seek to assist the building and consolidation of a pro working-class movement for women’s liberation as part of the last-ditch effort to prevent the termination of humanity through climate collapse and/or nuclear war. But this perspective is light years away from all wings of the feminist movement, which is currently embroiled in unwinnable squabbles about issues which can appear esoteric to whole swathes of working people.

To be sure, there are women who sincerely believe in building a feminist movement who see themselves as anti-capitalist, and even socialist. Such pro-worker women staunchly resist the encroachments of the conservative and bourgeois feminists who only “fight” for more women members of parliament or more female CEOs in corporate boardrooms. But as long as feminism seeks to serve all women, regardless of class, it will be bogged down forever in a game to bridge the unbridgeable chasm between the ultra-rich and the very poor. As this divide cannot be united, screaming arguments ensue over issues which in themselves are important – but none of which question the rule of capital.

What is required is a pro-worker movement for women’s liberation as opposed to a cross (or upper) class feminist movement which debates the limited options available while the banks remain privately owned. It would fight for demands such as: free 24-hour childcare – to enable women to truly participate as equals in all parts of society. It would demand abortion services as part of a free healthcare system for all. It would demand free and expanded public transport to enable working women to travel anywhere at any time.  It ultimately demand the end of the profit system.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.womeninsuper.com.au/content/the-facts-about-women-and-super/gjumzs (26-02-2020)

[2] https://www.medianet.com.au/releases/184209/ (26-02-2020)

 

 

IWD 2020: For the Real Liberation of Women

Image from Politico Europe

Demand the Unconditional Release of Julian Assange!

24-02-2020 – Julian Assange should be feted as an international hero. The founder of Wikileaks, he put his immense talent not into enriching himself with material goods, but with exposing the manifest crimes of governments worldwide, not least the war crimes of US imperialism. Instead, Julian Assange is facing the barely believable prospect of 175 years in a US jail.[1] It should be needless to say that Julian Assange is not a US citizen, and he has never set foot on US soil. Yet the US government, with assistance from its vassals in the UK and Australia, claim the right to detain and likely torture, an Australian citizen. It should be something from a spy novel, but it is all too real.

Basic and elementary rights at stake

Almost every single democratic right working people supposedly enjoy under the rule of capital is at stake. The right to free speech, the right to a free press, the right to political opinion, the right to political communication, the right to publish information, the right not to be spied upon by “your own” government – all of these and more are gravely threatened. In fact, one could argue that these rights are in the process of being eliminated. For decades, Australian people have held on to a belief that, for all its faults, we are not headed down the dystopian political road of our apparent benefactor, the USA. Yet the most recent example of official restrictions on democratic rights should destroy such illusions. A Federal Court ruled that the Australian Federal Police raids on the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) were legal, threw out the case, and ordered the ABC to pay court costs.[2] The ABC had reported a story about the unlawful execution and other misconduct by Australian special forces during the ongoing war on Afghanistan. “National Security” according to the judge, overrode basic democratic rights such as the right to know. Just as Julian Assange is now in grave danger due to exposing the crimes of US imperialism, simple democratic rights are now in grave danger if or when the crimes of Australian imperialism become known.

Working people need to learn, if they have not already, that capitalism in crisis must aggressively stamp out elementary democratic rights if it is to survive. In times of economic expansion or boom, capitalism has few concerns about allowing working people democratic liberties and can even pose as a defender of them. Once capitalism goes into economic decline, however, an opposite effect takes place. During times of economic crisis for capitalism – which is more or less the case since 2008 – the ruling class can no longer take the risk that workers will not use bourgeois democratic rights to organise an insurrection to overthrow the rule of the banks and the stock exchange. It is not only the right to form political parties and build Unions that suddenly becomes a concern for the establishment. The right to be informed of the very acts of the governments taxes pay for has to go.

Working class political leadership is key

One of Julian Assange’s most marked aphorisms is that populations are generally opposed to wars. They have to be lied into it. And if people can be lied into a war, they can be “truthed” into peace. While we acknowledge the peerless courage and bravery of Julian Assange for selflessly standing up to the might of the US Empire, we should note that it is not enough to expose capitalist imperialism – it has to be brought down. No exposure of its litany of crimes will embarrass it or cause it to change course. Telling the truth is indeed a revolutionary act, but in itself it is insufficient. Also, while we stand in awe at the valour and fortitude of individuals like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, whistleblowing can only achieve so much. In fact, unless it is linked to a palpable solution, whistle-blowing on its own can in fact reinforce a sense of political demoralisation.

Fueling this political demoralisation is the dire lack of political leadership of the working class. To our knowledge, not one Australian Trade Union official has made a clear statement defending Julian Assange, let alone seeking to mobilise Union members to defend the basic democratic rights organisations such as Wikileaks uphold. Unions need basic democratic rights in order to operate. Yet there is deafening silence from these very well-paid officials. This includes Julian’s own Union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). This is unfortunately another example of Union bureaucracy attempts to ensure Australian workers remain loyal to US/AUST imperialism.

Following the capitulatory line of the conservative Union officials have been several of Australia’s left parties. After hailing Julian Assange in 2009-10 as a visionary, these left parties soon abandoned him and the Wikileaks project after the imperialist wars on Libya and Syria began. Ruthlessly non-partisan as far as governments go, Julian Assange exposed the Democrats drive to the NATO destruction of Libya, and the enabling role of Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton. He then followed with a similar exposure of their role in arming and funding the barbarian death squads sent into Syria in order to effect arguably history’s most extensive proxy regime change war. For this, these left parties, and the liberal milieu which form their constituency, universally turned against Julian Assange – even as they had backed him for exposing the crimes of the US war on Iraq from 2003.

As a result, only handfuls of activists today stand in defence of Julian Assange. Those that do are critical, but they need to be joined by the only force capable of setting him free – the workers. Unleashing working-class power, however, requires the leadership of a Marxist vanguard party which can lead the struggle for socialism internationally as well as domestically. Such a party would help lead the efforts to free Julian Assange, in the process of building consistent opposition to all facets of US/AUST imperialism. The right to political expression is linked to the dire need for working people to oppose every imperialist war and regime change operation enacted by Washington. And imperialist war itself can only be ended by workers sweeping away the rule of capital. FREE JULIAN ASSANGE!

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/20/prosecution-julian-assange-calls-publics-defense-free-speech (19-02-2020)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/17/federal-police-raid-on-abc-over-afghan-files-ruled-valid (19-02-2020)

Demand the Unconditional Release of Julian Assange!

All electricity infrastructure needs to be in public hands, and not “supplied” for a profit. Image from EnergyMagazine.com.au

Climate Crisis: Fight for Public Ownership!

22-02-2020 – First came the fires, then came the floods. After the bushfire infernos which swept this country in December and January, Australia is now being viewed as the “canary in the coal mine” of global warming. As the driest continent on Earth, it is looking likely that Australia will experience some of the worst climate calamities due to the ever-approaching collapse of the ecology required for human (and much animal) habitation. The climate records keep being broken. In 141 years of climate records, this last January was the hottest on record, with an average 1.14 degree increase on the 20th century average. Describing an obvious worsening, the ten warmest Januarys on record have all occurred since 2002. To underline it still further, this latest broken record was “achieved” with no El Nino.[1]

Federal and State governments light the fuse

Fuelling the carbon emissions chiefly responsible for the climate catastrophe, we find Federal and State governments approving fossil fuel expansion like it is going out of fashion. The Adani mega coal mine in central Queensland ludicrously remains approved, with its 60 million tonne predicted annual coal output.[2] The Labor Party Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk has been a relentless champion of the Adani coal mine, in the face of overwhelming public opposition. Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his New South Wales counterpart Gladys Berejiklian just announced a plan to “reduce” emissions – by unleashing more gas. The 2 billion dollar deal could be dependent on the approval of the Narrabri gas project, which entails the drilling of 900 (!) coal seam gas wells, including in the Piliga state forest.[3] By now, it is common knowledge that coal seam gas releases methane, a gas many times more potent in terms of greenhouse gas emissions over a shorter period of time than carbon. To top it off, plans for new exploration and likely drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight were given the tick of approval by the Federal Government “regulator” last December.[4]

The clear separation between the governments sparing rhetoric about reducing emissions, and enabling big capital to expand fossil fuel extraction and burning despite the climate emergency is not lost on anyone. Even the satirical The Juice Media spelled out the reality with precision, when they warned in a short video that it is obvious that it is not the government’s job to protect the people, but to protect the giant corporations from the people.[5] This is the bare reality of capitalism – the private ownership of the means of production by a handful of billionaires, which is then protected by the state with all its law enforcement agencies. Irrespective of the damage inflicted on those who must labour for a living and the desecration of the natural environment, the capitalist state deploys the public service bureaucracy, the courts, the police and the armed forces against those who appeal for reason.

Climate Action means Public Ownership

As the most developed form of class exploitation – of which the destruction of the environment is a by product, capitalism is of course immune from reason. In fact, reason itself has a different meaning to the two great classes which the private profit system creates. The exploitation of natural resources to increase the rate of return on capital investment is entirely reasonable from the point of view of capital, but wholly irrational from the point of view of labour. This is one reason why the understandable cries for “climate action” fall flat unless they are accompanied by a demand for public ownership – of the mines, the land, infrastructure and transport. Working people as a class must own and control the basic means of production, and run them in the interests of all, not the corporate elite. It is only the working class which has the material interest in ensuring that energy production in particular, is not conducted for private profit, but to ensure a better life for all.

It is accepted by all in the climate movement that energy production must switch to zero carbon sources. This must include nuclear power, which has by far the greatest potential to replace coal and gas as a baseload source of power. The sheer urgency of the climate crisis demands that the old “anti-nuclear” diversion must be left in the past. More than this, public ownership of energy (and the means of transport and basic industry) must be linked to the demand for a workers’ government. If it was somehow possible to force the capitalist government to nationalise energy, it would still run it as a for-profit business – in order to assist the corporate magnates. In other words, climate action must be given a clear pro-working class character, for it to even begin to achieve its demands. In this vein, calls for climate action must be accompanied by the demand for a six-hour day. If won a six-hour day could eliminate unemployment, if not seriously undermine it. Not only is the right to work a necessity for workers, full employment is an urgent necessity if the full decarbonisation of society – implying a restructuring of the entire economy – is to occur.

The climate movement in Australia so far has organised some impressively sized mobilisations. But for it to achieve serious gains it must become a pro-working class climate movement. This means it must force a split with Labor Party fronts such as GetUp! and School Strike 4 Climate. Many honest school students and workers do not yet grasp that such fronts attempt to steer the climate movement back towards the politicians (even if they dislike some of them) and thus back into capitalism itself. Only the power of the working class and its attempts to build its own state has a chance at winning climate action – and much else besides. To begin, we suggest workers demand:

1. A six hour day

2. Public ownership of energy, infrastructure, banks.

3. A workers’ government

 

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.engadget.com/2020/02/13/january-2020-hottest-on-record/ (16-02-2020)

[2] http://statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/coordinator-general/assessments-and-approvals/coordinated-projects/completed-projects/carmichael-coal-mine-and-rail-project.html (16-02-2020)

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/31/australian-prime-minister-scott-morrison-strikes-2bn-deal-with-gladys-berejiklian-nsw-to-boost-gas-supply (16-02-2020)

[4] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-18/equinor-receives-environmental-approval-to-drill-in-bight/11811534 (16-02-2020)

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BmbvTvFQ3g (16-02-2020)

Climate Crisis: Fight for Public Ownership!

President Xi dines with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Diplomacy or Collaboration? Image from http://www.qz.com

What’s Wrong with “Socialism In One Country”  in China?

16-02-2020: The US Empire’s war on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) rages on many fronts. Although the outbreak of the novel coronavirus presents countless opportunities for anti-Chinese racism[1], Washington has yet to use it in a significant way against China as a whole. The rampant and multi-pronged war against the PRC continues in other ways, however. Bans on contracts for Huawei telecommunications equipment[2], the funding of anti-communist rioters in Hong Kong[3], relentless provocations by Western navies in the South China Sea[4], and fake campaigns for the “human rights” of Uyghurs[5] in the west of the PRC are just some of the very real efforts to delegitimise the PRC in the eyes of the workers of the West. False propaganda, covert funding for “opposition” groups, and open military provocations softens up the public for what could be a catastrophic war against the world’s largest socialist state.

In this atmosphere, some leftists who rightfully see an urgent need to defend the PRC against imperialist assaults, look to adopt the central pillars of “Marxism-Leninism”, seeing them as a key reason for the rise of modern China vis-à-vis the decline and deterioration of the United States of America (USA), at least as far as its unipolar world power outlook is concerned. Chief among these are the twin policies of “Socialism in One Country” and “Peaceful Coexistence”. Both these positions feed in and reinforce each other, ultimately in a negative fashion in terms of the interests of the workers of the world. However, to some leftists who are open to “Marxism-Leninism”, the PRC’s defence of their country and the seeking of co-operation with world imperialism (chiefly led by the US), appear to be sensible and rational, or even “the best they can do” under the circumstances. As we intend to show, however, these sentiments are misguided, even if motivated by good intentions.

  1. “Socialism in One Country” means no class struggle

The theory of “Socialism in One Country” (SIOC) was unilaterally announced by Joseph Stalin towards the end of 1924, who had remained the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, despite V.I. Lenin’s desperate attempts to have him removed from this post before he passed away due to illness.[6] Such was the authority of Lenin, Stalin had to wait some eight months before daring to declare SIOC, as it ultimately represented class collaboration within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), as well as class collaboration internationally. Its natural corollary is “peaceful coexistence”, whereby the USSR sought to stave off hostility towards it from the imperialist powers – principally at that time, Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States of America.

SIOC is allegedly where a workers’ state consolidates the power it has conquered over the capitalists via revolution, while supposedly waiting for more favourable conditions for socialism to develop internationally. In reality, SIOC attempts to hold in check the enormous and relentless forces of class struggle, and even attempts to hold imperialism to one position. Needless to say, as class struggle is the motor force of all class divided societies, this is an impossibility. Any attempt to do so by the political leadership of a workers’ state – such as the PRC – involves political compromises of a huge scale at best, and open betrayal of workers’ interests at worst.

For example, in April 2017, US war provocations against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or “North Korea”) were at extremely dangerous levels. Despite this, President Xi Jinping flew to dine with US President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate,[7] a 126-room mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump and Xi Jinping reportedly ate chocolate cake together, while the PRC news agency Xinhua took out a full page advertisement in the New York Times, hailing the meeting as “a vital moment for the two nations, the Asia-Pacific region and the globe as a whole”.[8] The political leadership of a workers’ state – even the world’s most powerful one – would need to somehow deal with the political leadership of an imperialist state. Trade agreements, non-aggression pacts, all kinds of diplomacy would be required, to avoid imperialist war, amongst other things.

However, the political task of the leadership of a workers’ state is to aid and assist the class struggle internally and internationally. The Communist Party of China (CPC), rigidly adhering to “Socialism in One Country”, does not seek to unleash class struggle anywhere. Instead of appealing to US workers, Xinhua’s advertisement appealed to the US as a whole, rich and poor alike. At the same time, the DPRK was being threatened with a nuclear strike from Washington, while the PRC leader wined and dined with the US President! Later that year, the PRC voted with the US in the United Nations Security Council to impose even more crippling sanctions on the DPRK.[9] “Socialism In One Country” therefore not only means collaboration with imperialism in general, but also collaboration with imperialism against a smaller workers’ states.

It is true that the political leadership of DPRK workers’ state also practices “Socialism In One Country” and “Peaceful Coexistence” (with imperialism). Both the PRC and the DPRK should be uniting as one against US imperialism and promoting socialism in every possible way to workers of the Asia-Pacific and internationally. Yet this course, which would appear natural, would necessarily lead to the end of “Socialism In One Country”, and thus an end to the positions and (relative privileges) of the essentially nationalist bureaucracies of these states. In a similar way, a conservative trade Union official in the capitalist West cannot allow their workers to engage in ongoing class struggle. If such a struggle won significant victories, the Union official’s privileges (over the top salary, comfortable retirement etc.) would be undermined. Similarly, if significant class struggle erupted within a workers’ state – the PRC or the DPRK – the positions of the leading officials and respective bureaucrats would be seriously questioned. All classes together – the opposite of socialism – is the result.

  1. “Socialism in One Country” means socialism nowhere else

 

During 2019, right-wing anti-Communist Blackshirts rampaged throughout Hong Kong, over farcical demands for “democracy”. In reality, they were using extreme violence in a vain attempt to split Hong Kong from the PRC, and even calling on US President Trump to “liberate” them, while waving US flags.[10] The Hong Kong police were stretched to the limit in an attempt to contain the violence, which, under any definition, amounted to terrorism. Some of the NGOs based in Hong Kong backing the violence have been funded by the West, including the notorious US National Endowment for Democracy (NED).[11] As the violence dragged on, less and less support, and even outright opposition, emerged from pro-PRC Hong Kong residents. At times, the very health and safety of Hong Kong residents who did not back the pro-US demonstrations was under threat.

 

Hong Kong was returned to the PRC in 1997, after around 100 years of British colonialism. Yet at the time, the PRC leadership agreed to maintain capitalism in Hong Kong until 2047. It adopted the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, i.e. socialism in the PRC, capitalism in Hong Kong. “Socialism In One Country” sometimes doesn’t even mean socialism in your own country! Of course, the PRC leadership is attempting to integrate Hong Kong with the PRC, to some extent. The spectacular Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the world’s longest sea-spanning bridge and tunnel system,[12] is an example. Yet there is little or no attempt to win Hong Kong workers to the perspective of class struggle socialism. In fact, waging a class struggle against the fascistic Blackshirts in Hong Kong would have been the only way to politically defeat them. Their facile calls for “democracy” and their ties to the US government would have been exposed thoroughly. Yet the PRC leadership in Beijing, and its Carrie Lam led administration in Hong Kong did nothing of the sort. They simply attempted to “restore order”, and even made concessions. Very light sentences, or even just a community service order, were handed to those who were actually arrested for serious offences including rioting, assaulting police, and possession of weapons and explosives.[13]

 

The PRC’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or New Silk Road) has been dubbed “China’s Marshall Plan”. In fact, it is far more extensive than the plan of the post-World War II US government to rebuild capitalism in Europe after the destruction the war wrought. Western critics of the BRI question where the trillion-dollar funding is coming from.[14] Yet the vast network of railways, ports and infrastructure built by the BRI in co-operation with the 70 odd countries which have signed on, will dramatically aid trade and economic development for all involved. It will even economically assist some European countries, as well as Asian and African countries. No leftist would think of standing in the way or linking with the right-wing to complain about such development. At the same time, the BRI does not seek to aid a path towards socialism in the countries it is co-operating with. The interaction with other countries is with their political leaderships, not with the workers of such countries. Diplomacy trumps the CPC’s “Marxism”.

  1. “Socialism in One Country” breeds nationalism and inaction

“Socialism in One Country” was originally the expression of the defeat of the revolutionary situations which developed in Europe, principally Germany, after World War I. The program of Marxism is the extension of workers’ power until it is completed internationally. If the political and physical/military conditions do not yet allow for this, the task of Marxists is to foster the political conditions in preparation. Stalinism/Maoism (which can mean many things but is assumed to be “Marxism-Leninism”) breaks with this essential condition and uses petty-bourgeois class collaboration to foster nationalism, in order to “protect” the building of socialism in one country. Ultimately, class-collaboration – the strongest tenet of nationalism – internally and internationally, does not at all protect a workers’ state surrounded by imperialism on almost all sides. For example, the class collaboration of conservative Union officials (saturated with nationalism) in the West is not in the class interests of their own members. A class struggle for socialism certainly is, however. In a similar way, the nationalism of the political leadership of the CPC does not ultimately protect the PRC workers’ state. Only the extension of socialism internationally, especially into imperialist centres such as the US, Europe, Japan and Australia, can permanently eliminate the threat of imperialist war.

This would require political activity and political education of workers, however. And this is the last thing that the CPC leadership desires. Instead, it delivers platitudes about building a “harmonious socialist society”, peaceful development, the “strength of the nation” and suchlike. “Socialism In One Country” implies that all workers in a workers’ state need to do is to build up the “nation”, and somehow, as if by osmosis, other countries around the world will one day arrive at socialism. All one has to do is protect the “home” nation, and wait. Needless to say, this breeds passivity, inaction, and even indifference to politics amongst workers. If the political leadership of the PRC workers’ state barely comments on major international political developments – even including imperialist wars against Libya and Syria, for example – why should PRC workers be concerned? It will all sort itself out eventually, once they adopt their own version of “Socialism In One Country”.

Such sophistry is a glaring departure from Marxism, to say the least. In fact, “Socialism In One Country” in practice only seeks to come to terms with imperialism, to allow it to plunder whole slabs of the planet, while small corners (or large corners in the case of the PRC) should be out of bounds. Yet the class struggle cannot be stopped still by temporary deals with the Pentagon. It goes on regardless and will turn against the working class if its political leadership does not lead a struggle to end capitalist power wherever it exists. What is required is genuine Leninism, as apposed to the class-collaboration of “Marxism-Leninism”. To be sure, workers need to defend the PRC workers’ state against internal counter-revolution, and against imperialist assault externally. This is best aided by the forging of Marxist vanguard parties, who stand with the PRC while illuminating the path to socialism.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/wuhan-virus-coronavirus-italy-racism-12373002 (05-02-2020)

[2] https://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/mobile-phones/huawei-banned-from-australian-5g-network/news-story/d1d6ec001747ba51e7c5c8738021f7ee (05-02-2020)

[3] https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/11/article/us-ngos-local-tycoon-funding-hk-protests-report/ (05-02-2020)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/20/australian-warships-challenged-by-chinese-navy-in-south-china-sea (05-02-2020)

[5] https://www.workers.org/2019/12/44963/ (05-02-2020)

[6] https://www.marxists.org/archive/weisbord/conquest44.htm (08-02-2020)

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/06/trump-china-meeting-xi-jinping-mar-a-lago (08-02-2020)

[8] Ibid, 7.

[9] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2125548/united-nations-agrees-more-sanctions-north-korea-world (08-02-2020)

[10] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/hong-kong-protest-donald-trump-liberate-city-china-11884704 (08-02-2020)

[11] https://www.mintpressnews.com/hong-kong-protests/259202/ (08-02-2020)

[12] https://www.chinadiscovery.com/greater-bay-area-tours/hong-kong-zhuhai-macau-bridge.html (08-02-2020)

[13] https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3029636/lenient-sentencing-rioters-could-only-prolong-protests-and-lead (08-02-2020)

[14] https://www.cnbc.com/advertorial/2018/03/06/where-is-the-funding-for-a-26-trillion-initiative-coming-from.html (08-02-2020)

What’s Wrong with “Socialism In One Country” in China?

Russian Ice Hockey players at the last Winter Olympics, wearing the “Olympic Athlete from Russia” jersey. Image from Zimbio

Olympics 2020: Let the Russians Play!

27-01-2020: The US Empire’s hybrid war on Russia covers many arenas, extending even into sport. On December 9 last year, the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) approved recommendations to strip Russia of the right to participate in major international sporting competitions for a period of four years. WADA also banned Russian state officials, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) officials and Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) officials from attending global sports tournaments. This means that Russia as such will be banned from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the Paralympics, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the FIFA (soccer) World Cup (!) in Qatar in 2022. In 2016, WADA claimed over 1000 Russian athletes were involved in state-sponsored doping – without providing credible evidence proving the allegation.[1]

Breathtaking hypocrisy

To say this is a political decision, rather than a sports administration decision, is vastly understating matters. The use of performance enhancing drugs in elite level sports is a global problem, and no country is unaffected by it. But to claim that Russia has a state-sponsored doping program – without evidence – is clearly a geopolitical move by Washington to undermine the nation which is exposing its hypocrisy on many fronts, and thereby even approaching global political leadership. The US ruling class is preparing its people for a possible war with Russia – and this must be preceded by years of extreme Russophobia and propaganda demonising an entire nation. The lies that are required for this are piled upon each other until they form a mountain.

Even the author of WADA’s McLaren report, which was used to ban Russia at previous Olympics and, incredibly, Paralympics, admits that WADA does not have evidence of a state-sponsored sports doping program in Russia. When asked in an interview to respond to Dmitry Peskov’s statement that “as long as there is no evidence of a state-sponsored doping program, it is difficult to respond to accusations, which appear unfounded…”, Professor Richard McLaren stated: “Dmitry’s correct. We don’t have any evidence of a systematic state-wide doping mechanism. [Emphasis added] If we did, we would have published it and so we have to go on the inference.”[2] So the head of the infamous report into “Russian sports doping” himself admits no fault on the part of the Russian government, but also claims that the (unfounded) incendiary accusations must proceed on an inference.

Ever since sports doping became an issue, there has been no shortage of US representatives amongst those who have been found guilty of doping. Remember Carl Lewis, who was awarded the 100 metres gold medal from the Seoul Olympics in 1988, after the winner Ben Johnson was disqualified for using a steroid? Carl Lewis later admitted that he failed three tests during the 1988 Olympic trials, which under international rules at the time should have disqualified him from competing at the Seoul Olympics two months later. However, the automatic ban was overturned by none other than the US Olympic Committee (USOC) ! Carl Lewis’s response to this in 2003 was “Who cares if I failed the drug tests?”.[3] This was just one of the cases at that time that the USOC was accused of covering up and ignoring.

In 2000, Sydney in Australia hosted the Olympic Games. Those games were full of allegations that US athletes had used performance enhancing drugs to win medals. The USOC flatly denied it. Then, several years, later the BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative) scandal emerged. One of the stars of the Sydney Olympics, US athlete Marion Jones, won five medals including three gold. BALCO head Victor Conte admitted creating drug cocktails, and named dozens of athletes, including Jones. Jones sued Conte for defamation, but in 2007 admitted that it was all true. She received a six-month jail term for lying to federal investigators and was stripped of her medals.[4] The probe which started this was headed by none other than Professor Richard McLaren. Other US athletes at the Sydney games who were suspended for sports drug violations were Regina Jacobs, Alvin Harrison, Michelle Collins, Kevin Toth and John McEwen.[5]

In fact, of the top ten running doping disqualifications in world history, six of them were American.[6] Arguably the biggest doping scandal in cycling history involves US cyclist Lance Armstrong. Between 1999 and 2005, Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour de France titles. Allegations of performance enhancing drug use dogged the latter part of his career, which he denied. It turned out that all of these victories were won while being doped up. In 2013 he admitted extensive drug use throughout his career, and was stripped of a bronze medal he won at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.[7] Despite a wealth of examples over previous decades, there is not even a hint of a suggestion that the USA should be banned from the Olympics, the Paralympics or the FIFA World Cup.

Expose the Empire

Imperialism uses many different means to wage war against its enemies – the military means is but one. Through sport, politics, culture, ideology, the US ruling class is waging a desperate campaign to avoid being outshone by Russia – even as the Russian government itself endlessly attempts to co-operate with the US. Despite this, Russia (with the help of Iran) effectively defeated the US in its regime change war on Syria. Russia was also a prime reason why the US could not regime change Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. In Europe, Russia is doing all it can to defuse the threats posed to it by NATO troop mobilisations on its borders. These efforts delegitimise US imperialism in the eyes of the world’s workers even further, and politically strengthen Russia. Hence, the litany of false accusations of state-sponsored sports doping. If we are to prevent the horror of nuclear war, the world’s workers must side with those states resisting US imperialism.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

[1] https://ahtribune.com/world/europe/russia/3709-banning-russian-athletes.html (27-01-2020)

[2] https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/summer/trackandfield/richard-mclaren-russian-doping-wada-1.3314048 (27-01-2020)

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2003/apr/24/athletics.duncanmackay (27-01-2020)

[4] https://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/31/us/balco-fast-facts/ (27-01-2020)

[5] https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/guilty-until-proven-guilty/ri16032 (27-01-2020)

[6] https://www.podiumrunner.com/the-top-10-running-doping-scandals-of-all-time_28190 (27-01-2020)

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/mar/09/lance-armstrong-cycling-doping-scandal (27-01-2020)

 

Olympics 2020: Let the Russians Play!

Invasion Day 2020: For Joint Struggle Against 250 Years of Oppression

26-01-2020: 2020 marks 250 years since the first landing of the British Empire’s emissary, Captain Cook, on to the Australian mainland in 1770. In 1788, the colonial power landed and set about establishing penal colonies by force of arms against the Aboriginal (First Nations) people, who predated them by some 60 000 years. The founding of Australia was thus an invasion and a war of dispossession against the continent’s original inhabitants. The genocide of Australia’s traditional custodians was vast in scope and led to their elimination in Tasmania.[1]

Today, Australian federal and state governments continue a war against First Nations people in a thousand different ways, even at the same time as offering token recognition, such as flying the Aboriginal flag on some official buildings. Yet the chronic disadvantage suffered by First Nations people in education, housing, employment, health care and average life spans cannot be hidden. Indigenous incarceration rates are a crime in themselves. Despite making up only 3% of Australia’s population, First Nations people make up 28% of the nation’s prison population.[2] The winning of elementary justice for First Nations people remains an urgent task.

“Abolish Australia Day” or “Change the Date” ?

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of indigenous and non-indigenous people have rallied on January 26 to mark Invasion Day rather than Australia Day. There had been increasing sentiment, even amongst elite levels of society, that January 26 is not at all an appropriate day to use for a national day – given that it is part of a day of mourning for First Nations people. Progress towards this was made, when radio station Triple J made the decision to move its “Hottest 100” countdown away from January 26 in 2017.[3] Huge parts of Invasion Day rallies at that time held banners and yelled chants demanding “Change the Date”. Momentum was building, and many held hopes that Australia’s national day would be moved to a more inclusive date.

Despite this, some Indigenous political groups abruptly changed course to replace the “Change the Date” demand with the “Abolish Australia Day” demand. Prominent militant groups such as the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) were behind this. While WAR and other staunch indigenous political groups play a tremendous organisational role in facilitating Invasion Day rallies and associated events, we stand by our claim that the replacement of “Change the Date” with “Abolish Australia Day” was a tactical error which has set back the struggle for indigenous rights. “Abolish Australia Day” may indeed sound more militant, but it has the effect of turning away potentially thousands of non-indigenous people who would otherwise willingly march with First Nations people under the demand “Change the Date”. In fact, this year, there is next to no discussion or debate taking place on whether January 26 is appropriate or not. A significant opportunity has been lost.

It is true that even if the “Change the Date” demand had have been won through mass pressure, it would not end the oppression of Aboriginal people – for this is bound up with the capitalist profit system and the state which protects it. However, the struggle for indigenous rights could then continue from a higher base. If indigenous people and non-indigenous people could band together to win a political victory, why couldn’t further victories be won? In general, non-indigenous people do not have a material interest in backing the “Abolish Australia Day” demand. Many polls taken several years ago revealed that most Australians do not particularly mind which day marks Australia’s national day – as long as there is one. The nihilist “Abolish Australia Day” demand – while perhaps enunciating justifiable rage – grates against many who support indigenous rights and is thus counter-productive.

For joint struggle

The natural allies of indigenous people struggling for justice are the advanced sections of the working class. This is because the oppression of both the indigenous people and the working class (with much crossover) originates from the same source. Australian capitalism (with its international connections) keeps both the working class and indigenous people in a state of severe subjection. It is of course recognised that the oppression dealt out to indigenous people is much harsher and far-reaching than that experienced by the non-indigenous working class. The non-indigenous working class are oppressed as workers. Aboriginal people, in addition, experience oppression for being Aboriginal. Nevertheless, Aboriginal people cannot win their liberation without allying themselves closely with the most left-wing elements of the working class. Conversely, a non-indigenous working class which did not champion the cause of indigenous liberation could not lay claim to political leadership.

Just as the most advanced workers need to be won to the perspective of Marxism, the most advanced and left-wing indigenous fighters need to be won to the struggle for socialism. This is a difficult task, yet there is no other way. And neither can these tasks be separate, nor be won on different time scales. It must be carried out simultaneously in a single struggle. Concretely, this means the forging of a multi-racial Leninist vanguard party which champions Aboriginal liberation as a component part of winning working-class rule.

As vital as the struggle for Aboriginal liberation is, it cannot be won on its own, or disconnected from all other crises facing the Australian and international working class. There is a very real struggle for climate justice right now, as well as important efforts to prevent the US Empire from waging a catastrophic nuclear war across the Middle East, ultimately aimed at Russia and China. Skyrocketing unemployment, poverty and homelessness are but more symptoms of this same malaise. Indigenous and non-indigenous workers alike have a material interest in establishing a workers’ government, where collective ownership and democratic planning will replace the crumbling edifice of capital.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012
[1] https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/australia/the-last-indigenous-tasmanian.aspx (23-01-2020)

[2] https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/law/aboriginal-prison-rates (23-01-2020)

[3] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-06/triple-j-hottest-100-to-day-after-australia-day/10591168 (23-01-2020)

Invasion Day 2020: For Joint Struggle Against 250 Years of Oppression