Logo for the Global Climate Strike. http://www.globalclimatestrike.net

A Real Climate Strike Means Class Against Class

14-08-2019 – On September 20, young students will walk out of class, encouraging older workers to walk out of work and join them, in an inspiring continuation of the worldwide movement for urgent action on the increasingly dire warnings of climate collapse. Following the lead of Greta Thunberg, these climate strikers will send a message to all governments that they cannot be ignored any longer. Or so we are told. As in all things political, however, the truth lies somewhat beneath appearances. In this case, the ugly truth is one which should be repellent to workers with elementary class awareness.

The September 20 strikes are being primarily organised by SS4C (School Strike for Climate). Who are they? The real organisers are hidden, because if they were honest about who they were, they may not be welcomed. SS4C hide their tracks very well, so definite proof is hard to come by. But one glance at the politics they are trying to shoehorn everyone into coming behind reveals, within a few degrees of accuracy, forces whose ultimate aim are seats in parliament, not “climate action”.

Circle of reaction

Three organisations are key to understanding the dark forces behind the September 20 walkouts. SS4C is one, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC – or “Baby GetUp!”) is another, and the other is the Australian Labor Party (ALP). In reality, the first two are trustees of the ALP, the allegedly moderate front of capital in the wide brown land. When questioned, SS4C/AYCC deny their connections to the ALP – yet they remain in plain sight. SS4C have even altered their demands in a vain attempt to claw back their federal election defeat in May by the Liberal National Party (LNP), an election which should have been a shoe-in for the ALP.[1] The federal election swung to the LNP largely on the basis of regional Queensland, where sky-high unemployment led some workers to view that the ALP would stop the construction of the Adani mega coal mine, leading to the end of desperately needed flow on jobs. In reality, the ALP was never opposed to Adani, but had to equivocate in the face of the Stop Adani campaign.[2]

The parliamentary fixation of SS4C is plain to see. They speak of “our” [!] politicians, and “politicians can show they care” [!] by meeting our demands.[3] To say this is parliamentary cretinism is an understatement. Workers should be aware that capitalist parliaments are the key institution used by the ruling class to fool the masses into believing that there is some institution which represents them, albeit with some limitations they admit. The Australian federal parliament, like all parliaments under bourgeois democracy, is a den of corruption and deceit. Moreover, it is a class weapon brandished by the corporate elite against the workers and the poor. It cannot be used as a staging post for climate action any more than it can be used to advance housing for the homeless. For SS4C and AYCC, on the other hand, parliament is their holy grail, and their universal solution – for their own careers.

Perhaps the greatest crime of SS4C and AYCC is their deceitful use of young people to advance the careers of (ALP) Members of Parliament. The young primary and secondary school students are wise enough to understand the eminent danger that global warming poses, and they indeed should be congratulated for taking a brave stand, in some cases resisting principals and school authorities. Yet without sufficient political experience, which can only be gained over some years, these young people cannot be expected to see through the Machiavellian scheming of the SS4C/AYCC agents. They cannot be expected to understand that the AYCC’s raison d’etre is not climate action per se, but to be a youth front for the ALP, and thus for the very profit system which imperils human civilisation.

Dishonest climate campaign

SS4C proffer their campaign descriptors as “school student led, decentralised, grassroots, non-partisan, inclusive, non-violent, mission focussed, ambitious, creative”.[4] The only one of these that has a partial ring of truth is “inclusive”, in that all are invited to take part in the climate strike. This is the reason why workers can attend, stop work, and encourage Union members and officials to do likewise. Yet it must be with the aim of undermining and eroding SS4C/AYCC leadership – which, if left unchallenged, will lead the climate movement into parliamentary paralysis. It is false to claim that school students are leading this movement – the AYCC does the work on the ground. Decentralisation is fallacious – the ALP knows that every campaign must have a centralised leadership. Grassroots is mendacious – as politicians are anything but. Non-partisan is a furphy – they are non-partisan only towards the ALP and perhaps the Greens. Left parties are only welcome IF they politically submit to liberalism. The non-violent moniker is a pledge of fealty to the police forces of the capitalist state. In short, SS4C operate on a pack of half-truths.

Moreover, SS4C submit three demands: 1. No new coal, oil or gas projects, including the Adani mine. 2. 100% renewable energy generation and exports by 2030. 3. Fund a just transition & job creation for all fossil fuel industry workers.[5]  These demands are pitifully moderate, and could just as easily be asked of the ALP – and this is the giveaway that that is the aim. Consciously, there is zero in these demands which would even eat into the profits of capital, let alone threaten their existence. In practice though, workers should not oppose demands 1 and 3. Demand 2, on the other hand is problematic. IF it demanded 100% zero carbon energy generation, it would be rational. However, the 100% renewable energy demand remains seriously impractical if it was actually possible, and if nuclear power was excluded.[6]  It is a sop to the mistaken environmental movement whose anti-nuclear stance has effectively accelerated the burning of coal since the 1970s. There is evidence that some fossil fuel corporations have funded the anti-nuclear movement in order to ensure zero carbon nuclear fission does not replace them.[7]

The fraud of Greta Thunberg

As we have written previously,[8] the aura around Greta Thunberg is fraudulent. Greta Thunberg the brand is backed by some of the largest corporate players on the planet, and hence focuses on politicians not doing the right thing. This lets the corporations – and the capitalist system – off the hook. Raising no objections to capitalism leads to advocacy of the worst excesses of imperialism, which Greta displayed in spades when she tweeted, “Let Russia and Hong Kong strike for climate”.[9] Here is prima facie evidence that Greta is the anointed figurehead of what is essentially a pro-war “climate” movement. The US Empire is currently up to its eyeballs in hybrid war provocations for regime change against Russia and the People’s Republic of China, which are the harbinger of a nuclear holocaust arguably far more dangerous than extinction through ecological malfunction. Washington has already waged proxy wars against Russia in the Ukraine (by arming Nazis)[10], and against Syria (by arming Al Qaeda).[11] Washington is currently waging an attempted war to dismantle China through direct funding to “NGOs” who employ thousands of violent pro-capitalist Hong Kong yahoos, under the ruse of “independence”.[12]

In fact, the reality that the climate strikers never refer to Pentagon launched imperialist provocations and actual and potential wars is revealing. One could plausibly argue that the climate strike movement is thus not really about the urging of governments to seriously address anthropogenic global warming. It is more about aiding and assisting the First World governments of the US, Europe and Australia in regaining their credibility with “their own” people – by making at least cosmetic efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The climate strike leaders, from Greta Thunberg to SS4C to AYCC, ultimately desire the restitution of imperialist liberal democracy in the eyes of working people. And what better way to do this than by shepherding workers behind a US/EU launched war of “democratic” imperialism against the “totalitarian” states of Russia and China?

Left parties alibi climate parliamentarism

Some Australian left parties help build what they see as climate activism, without pausing to consider its content. While they may grumble about the SS4C climate movement needing more pro-worker positions, they effectively only call for a slightly more progressive movement. The Socialist Alliance appears to have few grumbles at all, and reproduce press statements from SS4C verbatim.[13] They are joined as disciples of Greta Thunberg by Socialist Alternative, who likewise endorse and take part in the “new activism” of Extinction Rebellion (XR).[14] Although XR are not organising the September 20 strikes, XR’s class basis of petty-bourgeois radicalism[15] dovetails squarely with the classical reformism of SS4C and AYCC. Solidarity correctly highlight the beginnings of some trade unions endorsing and taking part in the September 20 walkouts.[16] Yet there is no mention from them of the dangers of workers and their Unions obediently mobilising once again behind the abject parliamentarism of the SS4C/AYCC leadership of the climate strike.

After the disaster of the “Change the Rules” campaign, which saw Unions mobilise for two years in support of a failed attempt to elect an ultra-conservative ALP to federal government, one would think some lessons about electoral campaigns masked as movements might be learned. Yet the link between the parliamentarism of SS4C/AYCC, imperialist war and the misguided left are apparent. Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity are strident opponents of Russia and China, as are SS4C/AYCC, as is the Australian ruling class. These left parties do not imagine themselves to be parliamentarists, even while marching in lock step with capital’s hand-picked parliamentarist lieutenants.

Climate struggle is class struggle

The assault on the climactic conditions necessary for human survival is one more assault on the living and working conditions of the masses. While the industrial revolution was necessary to prepare mass production, the private capital which fostered it was never going to be able to regulate itself to any degree of environmental sustainability. For that, private capital must become social capital. In other words, the major means of production must pass from private hands into those of the working people who set it in motion. Yet even though climate science is issuing more and more shrill warnings almost on a daily basis, the climate crisis in itself cannot be separated from the struggle for working class emancipation.

Finance capital is plunging human civilisation into a double-barrelled Armageddon – the slaughter of imperialist war and imminent climate collapse. The parliaments that defend finance capital – and therefore facilitate climate destruction – cannot change their course. In the course of their struggle for decent working and living conditions, and for a safe climate, working people do not directly confront the ruling class itself. Workers instead confront the agents of finance capital within the (sometimes contrived) social movements. Through all manner of subterfuge, these agents attempt to herd workers and youth back into a purely lobbyist perspective. They attempt to paint begging for different policies from politicians who have diametrically opposed material interests, as “radical climate action”. It is a very small step from rehabilitating a capitalist parliament in this way, to a blanket endorsement of imperialist wars against an “other” – be it Russia, China, or whoever. There is little doubt that this is the aim of SS4C and AYCC, who drag along the moderate left parties behind them.

Thus, for the September 20 climate strike and beyond, working people and leftists need to participate with the express aim of breaking workers away from the political designs of the pro-ALP, pro-imperialist leadership which will not and cannot provide even the first steps towards a safe climate – or a safe world. Rather, what is required is a fight for demands such as: the expropriation of the major means of production, transport, banking and finance which could be administered by workers’ committees in the interests of working people. A left-wing climate movement should demand elected workers’ councils to administer a socialised and planned economy. Here, the leadership of a Marxist vanguard party is crucial. The horrors of potential climate incineration, imperialist war and wage slavery can only begin to be addressed through workers’ rule in the transition from the profit system to human liberation.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

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

 

[1] https://redfireonline.com/2019/05/19/liberalism-at-a-dead-end-alp-loses-the-unlosable-election/ (10-08-2019)

[2] https://overland.org.au/2019/06/why-adani-happened/ (10-08-2019)

[3] https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/about (10-08-2019)

[4] Ibid, 3.

[5] Ibid. 4.

[6] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032117304495 (11-08-2019)

[7] https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2016/07/13/are-fossil-fuel-interests-bankrolling-the-anti-nuclear-energy-movement/#4bef933d7453 (11-08-2019)

[8] https://redfireonline.com/2019/03/13/for-real-climate-action-expropriate-capital/ (11-08-2019)

[9] https://twitter.com/gretathunberg/status/1128344612186279937?lang=en (11-08-2019)

[10] https://consortiumnews.com/2018/11/17/blowback-us-funded-ukraine-neo-nazis-mentor-us-white-supremacists/ (11-08-2019)

[11] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/cihan-celik/us-turkey-realize-al-qaeda-threat-in-syria–a-bit-late-61834 (11-08-2019)

[12] https://www.mintpressnews.com/hong-kong-protests/259202/ (11-08-2019)

[13] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/why-school-climate-strikers-are-demanding-just-transition-and-job-creation (11-08-2019)

[14] https://redflag.org.au/node/6855 (11-08-2019)

[15] https://redfireonline.com/2019/08/07/whats-wrong-with-extinction-rebellion/ (11-08-2019)

[16] https://www.solidarity.net.au/highlights/workers-and-unions-organise-to-join-climate-strike/ (11-08-2019)

 

A Real Climate Strike Means Class Against Class

Extinction Rebellion block traffic in Brisbane. Photo from http://www.newcastlestar.com.au

What’s Wrong with Extinction Rebellion?

04-08-2019 – Extinction Rebellion (XR) formed as an organisation in late 2018, and has since expanded into some 400 chapters around the globe. In April, XR burst onto the scene by blockading parts of London, with some participants in costumes, and topped off by a pink yacht.[1] Calling for urgent action to address the increasingly dire climate warnings, XR has drawn in many who are rightly fed up with the blatant inaction of politicians, and are willing to take action which disrupts “business as usual”. XR is correct about one thing: if immediate and drastic steps are not taken to eliminate carbon emissions and withdraw carbon already in the atmosphere within the next ten years, humanity itself will die a horrible death. However, XR display the wrong tactics, with the wrong strategy, which flows from wrong politics. So wayward is XR (the organisation – as distinct from XR members and supporters), we urge workers to stand clear and seek better methods of struggle, despite the critical importance of politically inspired climate action.

Anti-socialist action

Although one of XR’s slogans is “beyond politics”, they are very political – but not in a good way as far as working people are concerned. One of the core positions of XR is being against socialism – or at least their misunderstanding of it. Some XR organising sessions have warned participants against carrying placards saying “Down with Capitalism”, lest the action be interpreted as being organised by socialists!!  Explicit anti-socialism was on show with the now infamous XR training video, where a talk given by XR founder John Hallam identifies 20% of those who take part in political demonstrations as “obstructionists”, who have to be bypassed to get to those who are supposedly not as political. Hallam is referring to socialists who allegedly bring everyone down by denouncing capitalism. He states the solutions need to be a balance, “not socialism or anything”.[2]

From the off we can see what the XR leadership mean by “no politics”. They really mean “no socialism”. The most advanced workers would be aware that there is no other systemic alternative to capitalism other than socialism. It cannot be any other way in a society divided by the two major classes which are involved in production – capital and labour. In rejecting labour, the XR leadership consciously choose capital – no matter how radical they make themselves out to be. In choosing capital, they are choosing the very force responsible for impending human extinction, despite themselves.

It’s a contradiction, for some of those drawn into XR actions could easily view socialism quite favourably. But just a glance at the bios of two of the XR founders is revealing. Gail Bradbrook is one, who has reportedly spent the last 18 years in the pay of both NGOs, charities and some of the world’s largest corporations including Shell, BT, Microsoft, Panasonic, BAE Systems and Goldman Sachs.[3] Many of these roles has been as “advisor” – to the very governments she now implores people to lobby through XR “non-violent” action. Farhana Yamin has been an environmental lawyer and “advisor” on climate change “development policy” to the United Nations and the governments of other countries for 20 years.[4]  Ms Bradbrook and Ms Yamin, if nothing else, are clearly connected to the very capitalist governments and corporations which are responsible for the burning of the planet in the first place. We can scarcely believe that their new XR creation will therefore be anything other than another lobby group trying to get the ear of big capital and big parliaments. Far from rebellion, the XR leadership are after a seat at the table.

The 3.5% colour revolution

XR’s anti-socialism can only lead to open advocacy of capitalist imperialism, and their “theory” does likewise. The elite XR leadership state their agreement with the “3.5%” thesis – that only 3.5% of the population has to be mobilised in non-violent action to achieve fundamental change, even “revolution”. Which “revolutions” allegedly occurred this way? The 1986 “People Power” actions in the Philippines, which deposed President Marcos (but left the ruling class entirely intact), the “Rose Revolution” in 2003 in Georgia, the “Singing Revolution” in Estonia in the late 80s, and the “Velvet Revolution” in Czechoslovakia in 1989.[5] The last three were not “revolutions” in any progressive sense, but full-throated counter-revolutions against the distorted socialism which came through the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazified fascism in World War II. In the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, despite political power being monopolised by conservative bureaucratic castes, workers held state power which ensured basic economic security – jobs, healthcare, education – for all. For its part, Wall Street never wavered in its determination to bring down these admittedly imperfect workers’ states, yet decades later, the bishops of XR hail the restoration of free-market capitalism in Georgia, Estonia and Czechoslovakia as a “revolution” !!

The XR VIPs share the aim of US backed “colour revolutions”, which were not only used to bring down the Soviet bloc, but are now used to destabilise Russia itself and all of the countries it once had influence over.[6] This includes the relentless funding of imperialist fronts posing as NGOs in a vast network of countries throughout Eurasia. These deadly moves by Washington threaten to unleash a series of wars, or even a nuclear war, against Russia. XR has no objections though, not least because the leadership see themselves as a type of NGO. Tellingly, XR also says not one word against imperialist war in general – a major driver of climate collapse.

By attempting to ignore the working class, the elite XR leadership attempt to embrace all classes – and thus fall into the same nationalist fictions that imperialist governments constantly try to reinforce. That is, capitalist governments are “ours” and “we” are all a part of it. In fact, they insinuate that “we” are all responsible [!] for the climate crisis and therefore it is everyone’s [!] responsibility to do something about it. Such classless nonsense would be laughed out of even the most reformist Trade Union. Even if workers themselves are not yet class conscious in a Marxist sense, they know and feel instinctively that they are up against a force which is counterposed to their interests, and that collective action must be used in order to defend all those who labour for a living. Even if they do not yet see a way around it, workers see and feel, from their own experience, that highly paid managers, corporate executives and self-serving politicians are an obstacle to basic justice – and that includes urgent action on the climate crisis.

XR and the cops

By far the most dangerous approach of XR is its embrace of the police of the capitalist state as allies. In the UK, the blocking of intersections in London with a yacht and a truck for a week can only have been done through extensive consultation with the police,[7] which were likely carried out by the unaccountable leaders of XR, rather than those who attended the action. What is more, one of the core strategies of XR is actually to get people arrested, and there is evidence of the XR leadership actively assisting the cops to do just this.[8] It hardly needs emphasising that the police are the core security force of the capitalist state, which uses extreme violence against the working class and the poor in order to secure the wealth of private capital. Any organisation which advocates working directly with, or assisting, the cops, is plainly a deadly enemy of all working people. Directing workers to assist the cops in any task – not to speak of your own arrest! – is not only the most serious form of class treachery. It physically endangers workers, Aboriginal people, migrants, women, and all others who attempt exercise their political rights – which ultimately are very limited as long as capitalism remains economically stagnant.

The elite XR leadership’s willing embrace of the murderous core repressive forces of the capitalist state are a reflection of its political program. They are an example of the enraged petty-bourgeoisie, who cannot understand why big capital does not see its own extinction by continuing fossil fuel “business as usual”. The petty-bourgeoisie encompasses a whole range of political forces which stand between capital and labour by virtue of their class position. Their rejection of the working class and its aim – socialism – leads them into desperately tying themselves to big capital, but in the form of begging for reforms. Capital has no intention of granting them, which then drives the petty-bourgeois XR leadership further into a frenzy. It thus organises “radical” actions such as blockading traffic, and removing their clothes in parliamentary galleries, in a desperate attempt to shock the ruling class into change.

The ruling class, of course, cannot be changed. It must be overthrown, and by the only class which does not have a material interest in the maintenance of the profit system – the proletariat. As long as XR rejects the proletariat and its struggle for its own government and its own state power, it will be reduced to placing plaintive demands on the very forces responsible for the imminent climate collapse. And any political movement which simply asks its overlords for mercy cannot be described as “radical” in any way. This also explains why XR’s demands display a staggering combination of utopian liberalism and reformist populism. For example, XR demand that the government and the media “tell the truth” [!!] about climate change, while calling on the government of the capitalist profiteers to convene a “citizen’s assembly” [9] !! The petty-bourgeois democrats, materially and/or politically beholden to their class interests  (small scale capital), are incapable of a political course independent of the stock markets, the banks and the giant Western corporations, and therefore remain in thrall to the entire political state of the big bourgeoisie.

Bandwagon jumping left parties adapt

Some Australian left parties have simply adapted to the anti-socialist XR movement, by “temporarily” folding up their socialism and placing it in their back pocket. Never one to pass by a chance to jump on a bandwagon, the Socialist Alliance claim that some members of XR agree with an anti-capitalist approach, even if the XR platform does not.[10] Socialist Alternative avoid mentioning the XR platform, but claim that the major positive of XR is their focus on militant direct action, and urge these actions to grow.[11] Both these parties play out the fantasy that ANY movement can be “pushed to the left” if only socialists take part in it. They make the mistake that any movement can be a vehicle for progressive change. Even if XR has a pro-capitalist leadership, all that is supposedly needed is for the left to “relate” to left wing elements within them. Never tiring of tailing after the “left” wing of the ruling class, such tactics in fact tie workers to “their own” capitalist governments, for an indefinite period. Meanwhile, such waylaid left parties forever claim that they are only “working with” allegedly progressive bourgeois layers. Clearly, they are instead working for them, and by extension, for the bourgeoisie itself.

The XR leadership proffer the radically false theory that everyone, from a minimum wage earning seamstress right up to billionaire corporate magnates, are all affected by climate collapse so “everyone” has an interest in doing something about it. In reality, all strata of the capitalist class, right down to the small time business owner, would rather see the earth incinerated than be stripped of their “right” to exploit the labour power of the workers who produce their profits. Allowing for historical variations, this is just as true for the modern day capitalists as it was for the slave owners who pre-dated them, and the biblical kings before them. While the pre-capitalist ruling classes did not face civilisation ending threats, they also would have preferred to see the world burn rather than lose their social power over the toiling masses.

The only way for slaves and serfs to change their conditions of life was to band together to overthrow the slave-owners and medieval monarchs. This eventually occurred, but now the task falls to the modern day working class to liberate humanity from the tyrannical rule of capital. The issue of impending ecological collapse does not invalidate this historical task, but only makes it more urgent. The capitalists and their state, and their governments, cannot be made to “see reason”, no matter how much traffic or business as usual disruption is organised – though different forms of mass action will certainly be needed. What is required is the organisation of the most class-conscious into a Marxist vanguard party, which can lead the working class in a struggle for the seizure of the major means of production. Workers’ control of production, and society itself, will greatly increase the chances of humanity avoiding extinction through the rational application of science and technology. The crusade for a workers’ state and a workers’ government is, in the final analysis, the only real rebellion.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012
www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/16/eco-protesters-armed-pots-pink-yacht-blockade-capital/ (29-07-2019)

[2] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/05/06/extinction-rebellion-training-or-how-to-control-radical-resistance-from-the-obstructive-left/ (31-07-2019)

[3] https://www.vigiliae.org/dr-gail-marie-bradbrook-compassionate-revolutionary-for-hire-by-un-extinction/ (31-07-2019)

[4] https://www.bond.org.uk/person/farhana-yamin (31-07-2019)

[5] http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190513-it-only-takes-35-of-people-to-change-the-world (03-08-2019)

[6] https://www.globalresearch.ca/coups-and-color-revolutions-us-wages-geopolitical-warfare-against-russia-in-central-asia-and-caucasus/5441969 (03-08-2019)

[7] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/04/24/extinction-rebellion-socialist-revolution/ (03-08-2019)

[8] https://libcom.org/blog/extinction-rebellion-not-struggle-we-need-pt-1-19072019?fbclid=IwAR1-PgvdDKz1NpAWnow8rkgtIzxfG5HC67gIw07ffmotFZ_xZThnfDuEwOg (03-08-2019)

[9] https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/demands/ (03-08-2019)

[10] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/what-kind-rebellion-will-it-take-save-humanity-extinction (04-08-2019)

[11] https://redflag.org.au/node/6812 (04-08-2019)

What’s Wrong with Extinction Rebellion?

Map highlighting the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), in western China. Image from Wikipedia

Xinjiang: The West’s Big Lie

24-07-2019 – A lie repeated a thousand times eventually becomes accepted as the truth. Such was the infamous advice of Josef Goebbles, Minister of Propaganda of fascist Germany from 1933 to 1945. The governments of the capitalist West have learned this lesson well, and apply it wherever they can. In recent times, the largest of lies they attempt to impose on workers as a supposed “truth” is the wild claim that one million Uyghurs have been detained in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). For this claim, Western governments and their compliant media offer not a shred of evidence – it is simply repeated over and over again. The Nazis themselves would have been suitably impressed.

The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) once had a reputation for ground breaking investigative journalism. Today it leads the charge in propagandising for a desperate US imperialism which enlists Canberra in its hybrid war against Red China. The Four Corners “documentary” program “Tell the World”, which aired on the 15th of July, compiles a litany of utterly fallacious claims about the political situation in Xinjiang, with the help of anti-socialist Uyghur emigres.[1] It is presented by Sophie McNeil, who is known for hailing ISIS and Al Qaeda linked death squads as “rebels” during the US led war for regime change against Syria.[2] Ms McNeil continues her backing of such barbarians through to Xinjiang – where a tiny minority of Uyghurs, infected with the Wahabist strand of Islam, also travelled to Syria to fight with ISIS linked cut-throats against the secular Syrian Arab Republic, from the early years of the proxy war.[3] If demented mercenaries, armed and funded by Western governments and the Saudi Arabian monarchy, should be hailed as brave fighters for “democracy” in Syria, why not in Xinjiang?

West’s anti-China drive dividing the UN

The Washington led drive against Red China drags all types of anti-worker governments behind it. The governments of 22 countries, most of them imperialist, signed a joint letter to the United Nations (UN) which condemned the “oppression” of Uyghurs and Muslims in Xinjiang. The US subordinates were: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK).[4] In response, a letter to the President of the Human Rights Council of the UN lauding the “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights” was signed by 37 countries. Among the defenders of the PRC were the governments of: Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cuba, Algeria, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Nigeria, Angola, Togo, Tajikistan, Philippines and Belarus.[5]  Needless to say, the governments of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar play both sides of the coin, siding with Washington for some imperialist wars, while siding with the PRC in order to safeguard certain trade and investment opportunities. However, while the UN is no longer a body where Washington holds pre-eminent control, the UN is also not an arena which working people should revere.

Washington’s concern is economics, not “human rights”

The Pentagon’s invented “human rights” issues in Xinjiang are, as usual, a façade for the real reason Washington is concerned about the rise of Red China. The imperialist shop-fronts such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank both now rate the economy of China as world number one in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). Despite recent “slowing” the PRC’s economy is still growing at a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate of 7%, which is three times that of the US. The training and education of the Chinese working class is also expanding, with the PRC now spending 4% of GDP skilling up their own people.[6] For Washington, with its production for private profit system staggering along in near or actual recessionary terms, the booming Chinese economy represents a nightmare come to life. For them, socialism and collective ownership is not supposed to be able to compete against the West with their stock markets, “free” trade and “free enterprise”, let alone surpass it. Yet this is reality.

Washington’s concerns about Xinjiang are not its bluster about “human rights”. Their concerns are the staggering overall performance of the PRC – which is primarily due to predominantly state owned means of production and a planned economy. This is one reason why the US ruling class is hell bent on derailing, or at least disrupting, Red China’s trillion dollar “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) – a trade and infrastructure mega-project, which will spur on further economic integration between the PRC and Asia, Europe and Africa. Xinjiang is a central node of the BRI, with Xinjiang sitting in the middle of the ancient Silk Road. Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, for example, now handles 3600 tonnes of cargo each day, much of it bound for other parts of Asia and Europe.[7] Each tonne of trade that the PRC conducts with countries not under the political domination of Wall Street is another nail in the coffin of US economic hegemony, and their privately owned corporations which trample on the living standards of both US and international workers.

While workers in Xinjiang and the rest of the PRC do not have political decision making power as a result of the fraudulent “Marxism” of the Communist Party of China (CPC), they nonetheless enjoy the fruits of the economic achievements of the PRC workers’ state – a precious gain of the 1949 socialist revolution. A genuine Leninist leadership in Beijing would seek to politicise and mobilise the Chinese proletariat in favour of economic integration with neighbouring socialist states such as Vietnam, the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – “North Korea”) and Laos, as a means of politically combatting the capitalism wreaking havoc outside the largest country (by population) in the world. But this would mean severing the restrictions of the “Marxist-Leninist” theory of “socialism in one country”.

Despite this, workers in Australia and internationally have a vital interest in combatting and negating the anti-China hysteria emanating from Canberra, Washington and elsewhere. Australian workers cannot afford to buy into the liberal intelligentsia’s lies which foster disruption in Xinjiang – or Hong Kong, Tibet or Taiwan. On the contrary, workers need to strategically ally themselves with the PRC workers’ state against US imperialism as a lever of their own struggle for liberation from capitalist tyranny.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012
http://www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-15/uyghur-forced-labour-xinjiang-china/11298750 (17-07-2019)

[2] http://www.handsoffsyriasydney.com/articles/jeremy-salt-destroys-abc-war-propaganda-against-syria/ (17-07-2019)

[3] https://www.voltairenet.org/article179260.html  (17-07-2019)

[4] https://news.yahoo.com/22-countries-signed-unprecedented-letter-152800378.html (22-07-2019)

[5] https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-07-13/China-s-efforts-on-human-rights-protection-backed-by-37-countries-Ii2dQv67ni/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2vUu_dp9Oo_At24A1RlbeWSM6dau1eykK2ZlaV0a2ujIlJtu_qfWc3p_g (22-07-2019)

[6] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/12/the-world-s-top-economy-the-us-vs-china-in-five-charts/ (22-07-2019)

[7] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-08/12/c_137384382.htm (22-07-2019)

Xinjiang: The West’s Big Lie

A ceremony marking 16 years since the return of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn

Hong Kong: US Fuels Right-Wing Sedition

23-06-2019 – In recent months, Hong Kong has been subjected to demonstrations which ostensibly push for elementary democratic “reforms” which, if attained, will prevent the extradition of those charged with crimes to “mainland” China. The Western corporate media has, true to form, presented these protests as being “pro-democracy”.  Yet little could be further from the truth. In reality, the contrived unrest in Hong Kong is yet another attempt by US imperialism and its allies to prevent the integration of Hong Kong into the People’s Republic of China (PRC), through the backing of openly right-wing and often pro-colonial elements – some of whom seek a return to British imperial rule.

The corporate media description of the protests in Hong Kong – reportedly up to a million on the streets on June 9 – as “pro-democracy”, turns reality on its head. From 1843 until 1985, under British rule, there were NO elections of any kind. It was not until 1995 that elections of all positions in the legislative council took place.[1] Hong Kong was officially handed back to China in 1997, where the Hong Kong “Basic Law” was implemented – basically an agreement between the British government and the PRC to enable the return of Hong Kong which was seized by the British Empire during the time of the Opium Wars. Since that time, the 1949 socialist revolution in China overthrew capitalist rule, and ended China’s “century of humiliation”. Capitalism remained, however, in British administered Hong Kong.

Hong Kong “activists” funded by NED

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was set up as a front of the notorious CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in the early eighties, after news of CIA involvement in blood soaked military coups became known. Today, the NED openly funds the misnamed Solidarity Centre and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Hong Kong.[2] Despite years of fact-free accusations against Russia for “meddling” in the 2016 US Presidential Election, Washington directly funds right-wing provocateurs in Hong Kong who seek to prevent Hong Kong’s re-integration into the culture it had been a part of for thousands of years. More than this, the US state department is seeking to retain capitalism in Hong Kong, as a means to undermine and prevent socialism in China from becoming even more economically and politically powerful than it is today.

The recent demonstrations in Hong Kong stem from the “Umbrella Revolution” in 2014, which was transparently backed by Washington, and it even led to the founding of a political party almost entirely backed from US shores. The “Demosisto” party in Hong Kong was launched in 2016 by 19 year old Joshua Wong, with no explanation as to why someone with almost no political experience could fund a party from out of nowhere.[3] Yet it had already been apparent that the West was financing and politically backing proxy forces in Hong Kong. In 2015, Freedom House held an event marking its 75th anniversary by honouring three generations of “democracy” activists in Hong Kong – Martin Lee, Benny Tai and Joshua Wong.[4] These “Occupy Central (Umbrella movement)” leaders were all beneficiaries of funding from those such as Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai. The Apple Daily head had slipped a cool HK $5 million the Hong Kong Democratic Party – whose founding chairman is none other than Martin Lee.[5] Can anyone imagine the outcry if Beijing created and funded an opposition party, in say, California? Or if Russia created and funded an anti-US party in Florida? Yet the opposite happens in relation to Hong Kong, but all the Western “democrats” remain silent.

Minor legal changes

The actual changes that are being proposed by Hong Kong’s legislature are relatively minor and probably should have been enacted as a matter of course years earlier. The bill is formally known as The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. It emerged as a result of a case where a pregnant woman was murdered in Taiwan and the perpetrator fled to Hong Kong to avoid being charged, as there is no extradition treaty between Taiwan and Hong Kong.[6] Despite being part of China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) still has separate extradition arrangements with different countries. In effect, the protestors in Hong Kong today are protesting to prevent a murderer from facing trial. If the bill does not pass as a result of the protests, future murderers and others accused of serious crimes could flee to Hong Kong from other countries, and they would never face any form of justice. To paint these protests as benign and “pro-democracy” flies in the face of even bourgeois justice, let alone “democracy”.

To be sure, some in Hong Kong have legitimate grievances against the government, but they are more to do with the difficulties involved in finding affordable housing, work which is not exploitative and so on. Yet such issues do not aim to be addressed by the current Western backed protests – indeed they may worsen them. For all of their “democratic” rhetoric, these protests seek to retain the system of production for profit in Hong Kong, under the guise of warding off “authoritarianism” from Beijing. They do not wish to join with the rest of China in building a predominantly publicly owned and planned economy, which does not primarily run on the basis of production for profit. In fact, the publicly owned means of production on the basis of the workers’ state which emerged out of 1949 lays the basis for an economy which produces for human needs and jobs for workers as a first priority.

In reality, the current political leadership in China should abandon their pledge to retain capitalism in Hong Kong for 50 years after 1997. The fact that the West is now openly backing sedition in Hong Kong against Red China is more proof that agreements with Western governments will not ultimately be respected by imperialism. A more important goal for them is to prevent the rise of China’s gargantuan socialist state backed economy which is rapidly propelling it to the status of number one world superpower. Without endorsing all of the politics of the government in Beijing, workers internationally need to defend China and Hong Kong against the nefarious moves by US backed fronts to cut away its component parts. The interests of workers coincide with rising China, not with the fading but still dangerous US Empire.

 

Workers League

http://www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.liberationnews.org/what-is-happening-in-hong-kong/ (23-06-2019)

[2] https://www.ned.org/region/asia/hong-kong-china-2018/ (23-06-2019)

[3] https://journal-neo.org/2016/04/18/hong-kong-gets-new-us-backed-party/ (23-06-2019)

[4] https://freedomhouse.org/event/75th-anniversary-special-event-honoring-three-generations-hong-kong-democracy-activists (23-06-2019)

[5] https://journal-neo.org/2014/11/07/occupy-central-s-dirty-money-dirtier-leaders/ (23-06-2019)

[6] Ibid, 1.

Hong Kong: US Fuels Right-Wing Sedition

Sudan: US Plots Further Balkanisation

19-06-2019 – Corporate media throughout the world is flush with news of a “democratic uprising” in Sudan. Apparent activists on the ground claim a “revolution” is on the verge of removing a “dictatorship”. Those with keener insight, however, can easily see that there are very sinister forces behind the demonstrations in Sudan, and that the chaos occurring once again across Africa can only be orchestrated by the forces of US imperialism. A new “Scramble for Africa” (of sorts) is taking place, but over one hundred years after the last one, this time the imperialist powers are not competing against each other, but uniting as a bloc against the non-imperialist powers. What is taking place in Sudan today is not a “revolution”, but a proxy hybrid war waged by Washington against Beijing and Moscow.

US drives the Balkanisation of Sudan

Little more than 18 months ago, now ousted President Omar Al-Bashir stated in an interview that the Sudanese government was informed that the US desire is to divide Sudan into five parts if they are unable to obtain protection.[1] As a result, at the time Sudan requested the advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, as well as SU-30 and SU-35 fighter jets to be purchased from Russia. The SU-35 is the fighter jet which, with its superior capabilities, was used to great effect by Russia in effectively eliminating ISIS from the ground in Syria, and defeating the US-led regime change war. The information about US government plans to further Balkanise Sudan are eminently believable, given the fact that the US government was the key player in the partition of Sudan,[2] which created a new state – South Sudan, but led to immense suffering and destructive conflict since its beginning in 2011.

While the long running conflict in Sudan seems intractable, in reality it is fueled not only by the US government, but also by the governments of Britain, France and the entire European Union (EU). It is these imperialist powers which are the main architects of the conflicts in South Sudan and Darfur, with the training, arming and financing of militias opposed to the Sudanese government.[3] When conflict erupts, they lay all blame for the resulting violence on Sudan’s forces, while moving in to secure energy resources for themselves – particularly oil. If anyone has any doubts about the participation of the US and EU governments in the current “democratic uprising” in Sudan, the visits by US and EU consular officials to the protesters’ sit-in in Khartoum should dispel them. None other than US Charge d’affaires Steven Koutsis personally dropped in to the sit-in outside the Defence Ministry.[4] When the US state department approves and assists your protest, it’s not hard to smell a rat.

Necessary alliances with China and Russia

Protesters in Sudan may have any number of legitimate grievances. And indeed, the actions of Omar Al-Bashir’s government in sending troops to aid the Saudi Arabian monarchy’s genocidal war on Yemen can only be condemned. However, Sudan under Bashir was at the same time strategically tilting towards Russia for military security, and towards China for economic development. Given the fact that the US Empire cannot offer either of these, Sudan has little choice. Washington knows this, and this is what is driving its plans for ongoing chaos and instability in Sudan, at any price. War, communal and ethnic conflict, destablisation – all of this devastation can only benefit the US ruling class. For one thing, it will make it extremely difficult for Red China to deliver any infrastructure to Sudan which can only assist its economic development. For example, Chinese companies are involved in a planned 7500 kilometre railway from Port Sudan on the Red Sea to Dakar in Senegal on the Atlantic, crossing Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Bamako and Mali.[5] Nothing disrupts railway construction like war and political unrest – something in which AFRICOM (Africa Command – the US military across the African continent) specialises.

China’s socialist economic power is the reason it is able to offer mutually beneficial trade and much needed infrastructure development to all African countries, including Sudan. While Russia is not socialist per se, it remains independent of the US, and it contains unrivalled superiority in military technology – partially as a hangover from the days of the Soviet Union. With Washington bent on fostering the expansion of ISIS throughout Africa, as in Syria, it is only Russia who can offer effective prevention.[6] Washington and its allies, including the Zionist Israeli state[7], will stop at nothing to prevent cooperation between Africa and Beijing and Moscow. This includes fomenting false “democracy movements”.

Regardless of the actions of the Sudanese government, or the current Transitional Military Council (TMC), working people in Sudan and internationally risk everything by being manipulated by the forces of a US Empire which is willing to gamble with global nuclear war (against China, Russia, Iran) to prevent losing the status of world’s only superpower. Left political forces in Africa need to demand the withdrawal of AFRICOM from their continent, while welcoming economic assistance offered by China, and the military protection offered by Russia. The presence of AFRICOM troops increases the chances of chaos – as that is their brief. Workers need to reject the constant threat of war and economic malaise which is virtually all the private profit system currently offers, in Africa or the West.  At the same time it is important to maintain political independence, and seek to forge genuine Marxist parties which safeguard the interests of the working people of Africa, Eurasia and beyond. AFRICOM: GET OUT OF AFRICA!

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.rt.com/news/410932-us-wants-divide-sudan/ (19-06-19)

[2] https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/07/us-played-key-role-in-southern-sudans-long-journey-to-independence/241660/ (19-06-19)

[3] https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-balkanization-of-sudan-the-redrawing-of-the-middle-east-and-north-africa/22736 (19-06-19)

[4] https://www.globalresearch.ca/military-opposition-forces-reach-agreement-sudan-tensions-persist/5677597 (19-06-19)

[5] https://schillerinstitute.com/blog/2017/12/04/china-investiert-einen-transkontinentalen-bahnkorridor-afrika/ (19-06-19)

[6] https://eurasiafuture.com/2019/06/08/daesh-is-spreading-all-throughout-africa-and-only-russia-can-stop-it/ (19-06-19)

[7] https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-12987245/sudan-accuses-israel-over-port-sudan-air-strike (19-06-19)

Sudan: US Plots Further Balkanisation

Flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran

No War On Iran! Lift the Sanctions!

16-06-2019 – In a rehash of the lead up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a press conference on June 13 where he promptly blamed Iran for two alleged attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Pompeo provided not one shred of evidence, and did not take any questions from reporters.[1] This follows hot on the heels of similar attacks on four oil tankers in the region on May 12, which, not surprisingly, the US government also blamed on Iran. For its part, Iran has “categorically” rejected the accusations, for the June 12 incident,[2] as it did for the May 12 incident. It is not difficult to surmise that both incidents were false flags, designed to create a context for US strikes on the country it “lost” in 1979. Once again, with a pack of lies, the US ruling class is threatening the world with a catastrophic conflagration.

Days before the May 12 incident, the US government announced it was sending a strike force to the Middle East, ostensibly to respond to threats to US troops by Iran or their allies. The strike force includes the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf and other destroyers. The USS John Stennis aircraft carrier and its strike force is already in the Persian Gulf.[3] When the Islamic Republic of Iran has publicly made no threats against any country for 40 years, US claims of their security being jeopardised are in reality yet more public relations preparing the public for a major war.

Major US provocations

US President Trump had already “withdrawn” the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on May 8, which was a deal to restrict Iran’s development of nuclear technology which could be used to develop nuclear weapons. The governments of Britain, France and Germany demurred, and declared they would stay within the treaty as a means to better achieve its goal of the prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.[4] In fact, the “withdrawal” is a violation of international law, as the JCPOA is a plan adopted by the United Nations Security Council. The US cannot simply withdraw without bringing into question their membership of the UN. Needless to say, however, this has not stopped them before.

The US “withdrawal” also came with even more sanctions in Iran than had been in place previously. The scale of these sanctions cannot be underestimated. They aim to shut down Iran’s oil industry entirely, something that Iran heavily relies on. Iran produces 3.8 million barrels of oil per day, which represents 3.9% of the world oil supply.[5] In addition, the US has applied financial sanctions on Iran which effectively cut Iran off from the international financial system. Last November saw US sanctions applied on most of Iran’s banks, including its central bank. Just one result of these combined measures is estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be a 4% economic contraction in 2018, which could be followed by a 6% economic contraction in 2019.[6]  Added to an estimated 50% inflation increase over that time, one can see how adversely affected the Iranian masses are as a result.

As if this wasn’t enough, in April US President Trump announced that the US was designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) a “terrorist” organisation.[7] In response, the Iranian government promptly labelled the US Central Command or CENTCOM (US troops in the Middle East) as terrorist. The action of the US is unprecedented in that it is possibly the first time that a nation state’s armed forces have been labelled in such a way. Usually the designation of “terrorist” is reserved for non-state actors and other armed groups. The US government is overtly throwing the worst invective against Iran it can muster – and the truth be damned.

Linked to US defeat in Syria

Although the US White House has sought the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran since it’s revolution in 1979 dispensed with the US backed monarchy, the recent moves against Iran are linked to the failed eight year long war for regime change against Syria, from 2011 to the present. Although US troops are still in parts of Syria, where they are enlisting reactionary Kurdish armed groups through its Orwellian named “Syrian Democratic Forces”, overall the US suffered a stinging defeat. It was not able to bring down the Syrian Arab Republic despite the arming and funding of tens of thousands of barbaric death squads, under various guises such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and Al Nusra. The Russian intervention, at the express invitation of the Syrian government, was decisive. Beginning in September 2015, superior Russian air power took out ISIS strongholds, and cut off ISIS supply lines. From this point, Washington’s proxy ISIS forces, which had been recklessly carrying out atrocities across Syria, barely stood a chance.

US defeat in Syria was arguably the first military defeat for US imperialism since the liberation of Saigon in Vietnam in 1975. Yet as decisive as the superior Russian air power was, air power alone cannot win a war. For this, troops on the ground are needed. And these were provided by the Syrian Arab Army, the Lebanese Hezbollah and armed forces from Iran. The Iranian government recognised that if Syria was taken down by the Pentagon, it would be next. Just as Russia saw that it had to draw a red line on US regime change wars after the destruction of Green Libya, Iran drew its red line also. Thankfully for humanity, the non-imperialist forces of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Syria were able to “contain and roll back” US imperialism and its allies – Israel, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Qatar and so on. Turkey began the war on the side of the US Empire, but finished as an ally of Russia.

While the failed regime change war on Syria has burnt the Pentagon, its 2003 invasion of Iraq has left a string of US bases in that country, although the current Iraqi government is pushing hard to remove them. The US occupation of Afghanistan, in place since 2001, has furnished the US with a string of bases on another side of Iran. Iran is thus encircled with hostile US military bases, in the same way in which the US has encircled Russia and is attempting to do to China. As Brett Redmayne-Titley writes, however, a US ground invasion of Iran will need a stable and secure border.[8] That could have been Iraq in the past, but not now. Other bordering countries of Iran, such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan can hardly allow the US to use their soil for an invasion of Iran either.

“Internal” Regime Change

US air strikes on Iran in isolation from a ground invasion are possible, but would hardly cause what the Pentagon seeks – regime change. Hence, Washington uses the military stick at the same time as using covert means to bring down independent Iran. Using familiar fake political themes as “human rights” and “democracy”, and even “workers’ rights”, the CIA constantly seeks pro-US allies inside Iran, and amongst liberals and deluded left parties internationally. This formula may have worked in Syria but for the assistance Syria received from Russia, Hezbollah and Iran. In Iran, the Zionist Israeli state and the Saudi Arabian monarchy, while outwardly appearing to be foes, would supply dangerous levels of succor to both an external and internal US led war on Iran.

The madness of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US National Security Adviser John Bolton make US war moves against Iran rather obvious. In the face of this, many Australian left parties swear blind that they oppose a US led war on Iran – while simultaneously calling for regime change in Iran!!  They don’t wish to acknowledge that Wall Street seeks regime change in Iran any which way it can; by external invasion OR by internal destabilisation. In practice, both are intertwined and cannot be separated. US imperialism fosters internal destablisation in lieu of an external invasion. Washington has been doing this since the CIA was created in the aftermath of World War II. Why would Iran be an exception?

If US imperialism somehow did not exist, it might be possible for those on the left to agitate for a socialist overthrow of the “capitalism” that currently operates in Iran. But we do not live in such a fantasy world. US imperialism has its agents ensconced in virtually every country in the world (with the exception of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK), as well as a layer of internal pro-US liberals who retain desperate illusions about “American freedom”. While working people can certainly have their criticisms of some of the actions of the Iranian government (as do Iranians themselves), the fact is that US control of Iran would plunge the Middle East into a hell previously unknown. The immediate task for workers internationally is to defend Iran against US imperialism, internally and externally.

Excuses offered for anti-government agitation

Some misguided left parties which backed the imperialist led war for regime change in Syria, repeat the dose in Iran. Only this time they offer what appear on the surface to be left justifications for their call to overthrow the government of Iran. However, these “left” justifications are grossly distorted, and no matter how much left rhetoric accompanies them, end up fanning the flames of imperialist war. For example, Socialist Alternative (SALT), reporting on the contrived January 2018 protests in Iran, claim that Hassan Rouhani’s government has “privatised numerous state-owned enterprises”.[9] But is this true? It is certainly not “privatisation” as we experience in the capitalist West, where a formerly state owned enterprise is handed over to private capital – whose only goal is profit for themselves. What has actually occurred is the transfer of some state assets to other state bodies, such as the IRGC, the mass organisation the Basij, or the bonyads (charities). As Ramin Mazaheri of Press TV has exhaustively argued, the Iranian government still controls the overwhelming majority of the economy, and would not politically be able to carry out privatisation as it has been known in the West for the last 40 years.[10]

The Spartacist League offers banner headlines opposing a US led war on Iran, but then undermine their claimed position by railing against the Iranian government for the oppression of “national minorities”.[11] They are joined on this imaginary bandwagon by the Socialist Alliance,[12] the Communist Party of Australia (CPA),[13] Solidarity,[14] and the Socialist Equality Party (SEP).[15] All of these left parties consciously or unconsciously ignore the extent to which violent separatists and jihadists are materially and politically aided by the imperialist powers, as well as the Saudi Arabian monarchy and the Zionist Israeli state, in their multi-faceted efforts to reverse Iran’s 1979 revolution. Baluchi Salafists in the southeast of Iran[16], Ahwaz separatists in the southwest, as well as some Kurdish reactionary parties such as PJAK (“Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan”)[17] – all carry out barbarous acts against innocent Iranians, while being materially aided by Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh. For example, in September last year, Ahwazi separatists, disguised in IRGC and Basij uniforms, opened fire at a military parade in Ahvaz, slaughtering at least 25 people, including women and children.[18] Yet the misinformed left parties would have us believe that it is the Iranian government which is “suppressing national minorities” !

Workers in Australia and internationally have a vital interest in undertaking all measures which can prevent yet another US led imperialist war in the Middle East. As in Syria, working people need to defend Iran against internal and external regime change, against the Pentagon and its allies, and against leftists who struggle to grasp geopolitics. While world socialism is the ultimate necessity, this goal will not be reached unless workers can prevent the imperialist annihilation of Iran today.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

 

PO Box 66  NUNDAH QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

 

[1] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51764.htm (15-06-2019)

[2] https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2019/06/13/us-iran-oil-tanker-attack/ (15-06-2019)

[3] https://www.studentnewsdaily.com/daily-news-article/u-s-strike-force-heading-to-the-middle-east-to-counter-iran-threats/ (15-06-2019)

[4] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/08/donald-trump-announces-decision-iran-nuclear-deal-live-updates/ (15-06-2019)

[5] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-07/17/c_137330922.htm (15-06-2019)

[6] https://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2019/apr/23/impact-us-sanctions-iran-oil (15-06-2019)

[7] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/designates-iran-elite-irgc-terrorist-organisation-trump-190408141756166.html (15-06-2019)

[8] https://www.globalresearch.ca/geography-war-no-iraq-no-iran/5678358 (15-06-2019)

[9] https://redflag.org.au/node/6153 (16-06-2019)

[10] https://www.mintpressnews.com/what-privatization-irans-unique-socialist-economy/244887/ (16-06-2019)

[11] https://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/1156/iran.html (16-06-2019

[12] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/iranian-workers-protests-confront-regime-crisis (16-06-2019)

[13] https://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2018/1852/06-rally.html (16-06-2019)

[14] https://www.solidarity.net.au/refugees/ahwazis-face-persecution-in-iran-detention-in-australia/ (16-06-2019)

[15] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/11/26/irst-n26.html (16-06-2019)

[16] https://thesaker.is/foreign-backed-terrorism-in-iran-part-one-us-israeli-backed-salafists-in-iran/ (16-06-2019)

[17] https://thesaker.is/foreign-backed-terrorism-in-iran-part-two-us-israeli-backed-insurgency-and-separatism-in-western-iran/ (16-06-2019)

[18] https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/22/574848/Iran-Ahvaz-terrorist-attack (16-06-2019)

No War on Iran! Lift the Sanctions!

The Black-Throated Finch faces extinction if the Adani mine goes ahead. http://www.abc.net.au

Jobs for All Workers and….Stop Adani!

02-06-2019 – The proposed Adani mega coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, beset from the off by a political campaign to prevent it, has now been given a new lease of life. Pumping blood back into the veins of what will arguably be Australia’s greatest environmental crime is none other than the Labor Party. In the immediate aftermath of the federal Labor Party losing the unlosable election,[1] Queensland Labor Party Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk has moved to accelerate the construction of the mine by demanding a definite timeframe[2] for the building of an ecological nightmare. Since then, Adani’s supposed plan for the preservation of the endangered black-throated finch – a smoke and mirrors archetype – has been approved by the state government, weeks after it was initially rejected.[3]

It is blatantly obvious that the Queensland Premier is reacting to the federal election loss by the Labor Party. Voters in central and north Queensland, desperate for jobs after suffering 25% unemployment in areas such as Townsville, swung to the Liberal National Party presumably on the promise that the Adani coal mine would produce at least some jobs which would stimulate the rest of the economy in those areas. Queensland voters will go to the polls in a little over 12 months, and Premier Palaszczuk holds on to a slim margin in government. In fact, the Queensland Labor Party only scraped home in the last election after Premier Palaszczuk during the campaign announced that it would block a 1 billion loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) due to a possible conflict of interest. Her partner at the time was working for Price Waterhouse Coopers, which was involved in Adani’s application for the loan.[4]

This gave the perception that the Labor Party was withdrawing support for the Adani mine – which is hugely unpopular – apart from economically devastated areas of central and north Queensland. This is little more than an illusion. The Labor Party has always been strongly pro-Adani, but has hedged its bets in public statements. For example, aside from the NAIF loan, before the Federal Election the Labor Party ensured Adani received a $400 million taxpayer funded loan, promised to build a $100 million access road, and approved a 60 year unlimited water licence. If this was not enough, the Labor Party has not ruled out extinguishing the native title of the Wangan and Jagalingou indigenous people – who have never approved even the start of the Adani mega mine.[5]

Carbon vortex

It is impossible to understate the environmental damage which will be caused by the Adani mine alone, let alone the other mines slated for construction in the Galilee Basin. The Labor government has approved the use of 12.5 billion litres of water every year from the Suttor River, which compares to 15.4 billion litres of water for all other agricultural users combined.[6] This is on top of an unlimited amount of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin – when of course groundwater is specifically not unlimited. The Adani mine is slated to produce 60 million tonnes of coal per year, all of which will be transported through the Great Barrier Reef.[7] It is estimated that if all of the Galilee Basin coal is burnt, it will release 705 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, which represents 1.3 times Australia’s total carbon emissions.[8] For comparison, the projected carbon emissions just from the Adani mine would be three times the annual carbon emissions from New Delhi, twice those of Tokyo, six times that of Amsterdam and 20% more than New York City.[9]

The Adani corporation itself is a poster boy for the degeneracy of capitalism. It is basically a corporate criminal, which has repeatedly been charged with tax avoidance, environmental damage, and bribery of government officials – not that the Labor Party needed bribing. The Adani corporation has 26 subsidiaries in Australia, 13 of which are owned through the Cayman Islands. Adani mining poisoned a river in Zambia, and then hid this from the Australian government. In 2011, Adani sunk a coal ship off the coast of Mumbai, causing a massive oil spill. Adani made no attempt to clean up the mess for five years.[10] Socialists are aware that ALL capitalist corporations are unscrupulous, to say the least, but Adani takes the cake for its lawless and reckless behaviour.

Jobs illusion

Regardless of the unquestionable scale of the climate emergency, it is acknowledged that working people need jobs to survive as a first priority, to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. It is understandable to some extent that workers will first lend their political support to any party or part of government where they may perceive that more or better jobs will be the result. This is especially the case in regional Queensland, where youth unemployment levels are at stratospheric levels. A national youth unemployment rate of 12% compares to a 67.1% youth unemployment rate in outback Queensland, and 27.7% in Wide Bay.[11] The official, and grossly underestimated official unemployment rate in Townsville is 8.21%,[12] but it is reportedly more like 25%.

In these desperate circumstances, some workers can latch on to ANY economic development that might occur, which MAY lead to the prospect of ongoing employment. Yet the Adani mine will not produce the jobs they are seeking. Adani – and the Queensland Labor government, first trumpeted that the Adani mine will create “10 000” jobs. This was a bare-faced lie. Adani later admitted that the Carmichael mine will only create around 1500 jobs during the construction phase. Recently, National Party leader and backer of Adani, Bridget McKenzie, admitted that the Carmichael mine will only create “around about 100” ongoing jobs![13] Why? Because Adani itself has stated that the mine will automated “from pit to port”. That is, even the trucks transporting the coal will be driverless. In Queensland, coal mining only accounts for 1.1% of the workforce. Even in North Queensland, 96% of the workforce is NOT employed in an industry that is related to coal mining.[14]

The vast scale of unemployment and the climate catastrophe of global warming are linked. Both are outcomes of the current phase of the system of generalised commodity production where there is private ownership of the means of production. The profit system is at an impasse in all countries where the rule of capital has not been overthrown. To combat this, workers should seek to push their Unions into demanding a shorter working week with no loss in pay. Working hours should be reduced as far as is necessary to obtain full employment. A key demand would be for a 30 hour week – or a six hour day. In addition, workers should demand their Unions lead a struggle for a massive program of public works, to build the sorely needed public infrastructure and health care systems working people need. All workers have the right to decent and secure jobs which provide an adequate standard of living. If the capitalist system cannot provide this, then let it perish.

Stop Adani campaign crashes

The fact that the Adani coal mine is now going ahead at full steam, despite overwhelming public sentiment against it, is proof positive that corporate environmental and “activist” NGOs directly achieve the opposite of what they claim to combat. Despite two solid years of effort, and with history on its side, the official Stop Adani leadership organised barely even one mass action that could have begun a process of exerting serious political pressure. Instead, smaller and “targeted” actions were prioritised, many to coincide with the activities of the bourgeois parliament and their elections. Why was this? Even a brief look at their website reveals they are linked to the “Sunrise Project”, another corporate environmental NGO with a staff chock full of ex-company directors and business high-fliers.[15] Their aim is simply to have capitalism switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and that’s it. The plethora of injustices that the rule of the stock market imposes on working people, the unemployed and the homeless mean nothing to them – and why would it? As long as “free enterprise” continues, they can continue to haul in huge salaries as hangers on to big business, albeit one that claims to be fossil fuel free.

The notorious GetUp! also played a similar role, selectively mobilising their supporters for slick photo-ops at selected locations, while avoiding allowing people who wanted to help any say in what was being planned. GetUp!, despite public denials, is inextricably linked to the Labor Party. GetUp! targets the Liberal Party over Adani, while going soft on the Labor Party by organising pleading petitions to them, in the vain hope that Labor Party politicians will change their mind.[16] They were aided in this strategy by “baby GetUp!” – the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), who organised the “Student Strikes 4 Climate” in the lead up to the Federal Election. They explicitly had a whole campaign organised as the “climate election”.[17] They deceive some indigenous people by organising SEED[18] along the same lines.

The campaign to stop Adani did not fail (so far) because the Liberal Party won the Federal Election. It failed because the conservative leadership of the stop Adani campaign – Stop Adani/GetUp!/AYCC – directed the entire campaign into lobbying the very politicians who had already approved it. But this flows from their politics. Despite the apparent differences of opinion between the Adani corporation and Stop Adani/GetUp!/AYCC, the fact remains that all of them remain staunch partisans of the capitalist system. The only difference is that one wants to continue to use fossil fuels for energy, while the others wans to use “100% renewable energy” (yet 100% renewable energy is another illusion).

Stop Work to Stop Adani

Despite the fact that it is possible to stop the Adani mine this side of the overthrow of capitalism, effectively anti-capitalist methods will need to be used. Most especially, there will be a need for workers around the country to strike against the construction of new coal mines. Other forms of mass action to involve people, such as large demonstrations, will be crucial also, but workers will be key. The banks can sustain any number of weekend rallies against Adani – as necessary as they are. But the capitalist state does not really view a protest movement as an economic liability until workers are prepared to “down tools”. Then it becomes a matter of who exactly is in charge.

Standing in the way of this are the conservative Union officials, almost all of whom have not uttered a word of opposition to the Adani abomination. An exception is Bob Carnegie, the leader of the Queensland branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, which merged with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU).[19] However, Mr Carnegie has at the same time actively promoted a vote for the Labor Party amongst his members – which grates against working class progress. The fact is that to have any chance of succeeding, i.e., in stopping the Adani mine, the movement will need to split, not unite, with the entirety of the pro-capitalist stop Adani political leadership. This means a political break with the corporate NGOs (Stop Adani/GetUp!/AYCC/SEED), the capitalist state and all of its parliamentary parties – the Labor Party, but also the Australian Greens. It’s true that the Greens stated opposition in words to Adani – but as parliamentarists they barely contribute to extra-parliamentary action.

There is still time to stop Adani. Overall though, working people need to draw the conclusion that to have any chance of preventing the civilisation bus careering over a cliff, the economic and political power of capital will have to be toppled. In its place workers will need to erect their own state, administered by their own government, which will socialise the means of production and collectively plan the economy to meet the needs of all those who labour. And this revolution requires the leadership of a Marxist vanguard party.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

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

[1] https://redfireonline.com/2019/05/19/liberalism-at-a-dead-end-alp-loses-the-unlosable-election/ (01-06-2019)

[2] https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/everyone-s-had-a-gutful-queensland-premier-wants-time-frame-on-adani-20190522-p51q0r.html (01-06-2019)

[3] http://theconversation.com/adanis-finch-plan-is-approved-just-weeks-after-being-sent-back-to-the-drawing-board-118114 (01-06-2019)

[4] https://www.sbs.com.au/news/palaszczuk-vows-to-pull-queensland-government-from-adani-loan (02-06-2019)

[5] https://redflag.org.au/node/6794 (02-06-2019)

[6] https://junkee.com/adani-river-water-licence/176102 (02-06-2019)

[7] https://junkee.com/adani-ad-coal-fairfax/114375 (02-06-2019)

[8] https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/adanis-ticking-carbon-bomb/ (02-06-2019)

[9] https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/adani-coal-mine-eco-crime-heres-why/ (02-06-2019)

[10] https://adanifiles.com.au/#key-finding (02-06-2019)

[11] http://library.bsl.org.au/jspui/bitstream/1/10573/1/BSL_Unfair_Australia_Mapping_youth_unemployment_hotspots_Mar2018.pdf (02-06-2019)

[12] https://economy.id.com.au/townsville/unemployment (02-06-2019)

[13] https://theaimn.com/bridget-mckenzie-revealed-the-adani-jobs-lie-and-no-one-noticed/?fbclid=IwAR1Oy7S_kT4ChOeIHlWa1BmRJHzqLQvQgr8E6M_LnWms51Iv_3Yf6DCM7iQ (02-06-2019)

[14] Ibid, 13.

[15] https://sunriseproject.org.au/people/ (02-06-2019)

[16] https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/great-barrier-reef–3/stop-adani/stop-adani-s-dodgy-reef-destroying-mine (02-06-2019)

[17] https://www.aycc.org.au/climate_election (02-06-2019)

[18] https://www.seedmob.org.au/ (02-06-2019)

[19] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/queensland-unionist-urges-labor-to-put-climate-action-ahead-of-coal-jobs-20190525-p51r4i.html (02-06-2019)

Jobs for All Workers and…..Stop Adani!

Supporters of President Duterte rally in Manila. Image from http://www.channelnewsasia.com

Philippines: Liberals Cry Foul After Crushing Defeat

25-05-2019 – The May 13 midterm elections in the Philippines delivered an unprecedented victory for the overwhelmingly popular President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies. At the time of writing, it is likely that allies of President Duterte will sweep all 12 Senate seats which were up for election[1], which represents a history making effort. Virtually all mid-term elections in the Philippines run against the incumbent government – but not this one. President Duterte, first elected President in 2016, is by now the most popular President in Filipino history.

Elections in the Philippines use a unique mixed-member majoritarian system, where a part of the legislature is elected through proportional representation and another part are elected from local districts. Unusually, candidates for the Senate compete against each other for a spot, even if they are members of the same party. This can lead to a situation where Senators transfer their political loyalties according to political developments. This partially explains how many elected members switched their allegiance to President Duterte’s party PDP-Laban (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng-Bayan) in 2016, creating the so-called supermajority in the House of Representatives.[2]

Defeated parties claim “fraud”

In Australia, some left parties – in defiance of their usual strident defence of “democracy” – line up with particularly unsavoury political elements in order to oppose President Duterte. The Socialist Alliance (SA), in its newspaper Green Left Weekly, retailed the claims of electoral fraud by the Partido Lakas Ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses – PLM). In the wake of their defeat, the PLM called for the dissolution of the Philippine electoral commission COMELEC and its replacement with an “independent” body. Independent from whom? The overwhelmingly popular President !  They bleated that COMELEC should be replaced by a “genuinely independent” body which is accountable to the people, not the President, which includes representatives of “grassroots people’s organisations, not the elite”.[3]

It takes some chutzpah for SA in Australia and the PLM in the Philippines to accuse President Duterte as being part of the “elite”. President Duterte’s commanding popularity amongst Filipino workers and poor masses occurs precisely because he is NOT seen as part of the elite. Certainly he is not a “trapo” (traditional politician), who for generations have been involved in direct or indirect corruption, and have come from wealthy backgrounds. President Duterte is the first President to hail from southern Mindanao, what was a poorer region in comparison to the industrialised northern Luzon region. And he is decidedly not in any way linked by any relations to wealthy Manila families such as the Aquinos. President Duterte reportedly doesn’t wear socks, and doesn’t know how to tie a necktie. He doesn’t appear to covet material wealth, and lives in a modest house. These idiosyncrasies are only just a part of why poor and working class Filipinos see him as one of their own, and back him so strongly.

It is difficult to avoid a conclusion that parties such as the PLM are claiming fraud in the elections not due to fraud occurring, but because they lost. They claim all kinds of voting irregularities to do with the vote counting machines, but the Philippines changed from a manual voting system to an automated voting system in 2007 – more than ten years ago. All of a sudden, after an election in which they rail against the supposed “tyranny” of President Duterte, they suffer a huge electoral defeat – and promptly claim “fraud”. In reality, the vast majority of Filipinos endorse and support their President who has been elected with a huge majority, and do not regard him as a “tyrant” at all.

SA in Australia, and the PLM in the Philippines, despite their claims of advocating “socialism”, line up with the real elite bourgeois opposition to President Duterte. For example, the Otso Diretso electoral ticket openly fanned the flames of chauvinistic anti-communism against Red China. Otso Diretso tenders baseless claims of Chinese “imperialism” in the South China Sea, and ludicrous declarations of a Chinese “invasion” of the Philippines. They claim that President Duterte is a stooge of Beijing – for not being willing to go to war against China !!  During the election campaign Otso Diretso members attempted to sail to the Scarborough Shoal in order to plant a Philippine flag – an act of blind anti-communist ultra-nationalism. They were not able to do so, having not gained permission from the Philippine Coast Guard. Instead they brought their flag-waving bigotry to the coastal town of Masinloc in Zambales.[4]

Fascism?

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) join in with other left parties they usually criticise for reformism, such as SA, in denouncing President Duterte as “fascist” or using “fascistic” measures. In an article about the May 13 elections, the SEP incredibly compared the Duterte Youth to the Hitler Youth. They claim that the Duterte Youth declared in an election statement that they would “finish” those who worked with “rapist, criminal and terrorist comrades”.[5] The Duterte Youth are chasms away from being a fascist youth group who are targeting “communist” youth from a right-wing standpoint. They are certainly nationalist, and backers of President Duterte.[6] However, the armed “communist” groups in the Philippines are Maoists, rather than “communists”. This means they display no solidarity, and in fact engage in bitter enmity, with the Chinese workers’ state. In the context where it is the US state department which is provoking China in the South China Sea, and even attempting to use ISIS to destabilise President Duterte, it is the Maoists and the liberal “socialist” groups which form a right-wing bloc, rather than the Duterte Youth.

Liberals in the Philippines and internationally also use the label of “fascist” to describe President Duterte’s use of the police force in order to combat the drug problem in the Philippines. They use the universal “human rights” card in order to whip up a largely false scare campaign against President Duterte’s war on drugs. But this reeks of hypocrisy, especially when the campaign is backed by such fronts for US imperialism as Human Rights Watch (HRW).[7] HRW is the very same US state department backed organisation which prosecuted Washington and Riyadh’s barbaric war for regime change against Syria over the last 8 years. HRW repeatedly referred to Al Qaeda and ISIS elements as “rebels” fighting a supposedly just cause – when in fact they were death squads carrying out regular atrocities.

President Duterte’s war on drugs takes no prisoners, certainly. But it is a war against the drug dealers and the drug pushers, not those who become addicts as a result. And what the liberal opposition cannot dispute is that despite what seem to be harsh police measures, the majority of Filipinos recognise the problems hard drug prevalence was causing, and back Duterte’s stern measures to deal with the problem. Many Filipinos now recognise that the streets are safer at night, now that the heavy police measures have scared off many of those involved in the drug trade. Some employers are grateful, because some employees were telling them they didn’t want to go home late from work at night, for fear of being accosted by the drug pushers, some of whom were the tricycle drivers themselves.[8]

From any objective analysis, let alone a Marxist one, President Duterte’s administration cannot be described as “fascist”. Fascism means a precipitous environment where a capitalist ruling class has decided to dispense with the normal trappings of “democracy”, and forcibly disbands opposition – most especially trade Unions, socialist and left parties. Nothing of the sort is occurring in the Philippines. Liberals and fake left parties, combining with ruling class opposition to Duterte, are labeling something “fascist” out of desperation. This is because despite their hosannas to “democracy”, they are loathe to admit that in fact it is they who are in a minority, and the majority is behind the President. What is in fact occurring is that the domestic and international critics of President Duterte – such as the PLM in the Philippines, SA and SEP in Australia – oppose the Philippine government from the right.

Sinophobic and Russophobic opposition

Today’s New Cold War includes Sinophobia (fear of China) and Russophobia (fear of Russia). Both are forms of racism and anti-communism, even despite the overthrow of socialism in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) through capitalist counter-revolution in 1991-2. Reformist left parties in Australia, the Philippines and internationally are united with US backed NGOs and mainstream liberals in their bitter hostility to anything which approaches real socialism. Or, for that matter, political independence from Washington – which Moscow demonstrates in spades. This is why their political positions, despite denials, line up with the Pentagon and Wall Street. President Duterte, on the other hand, is immune from the illness of Sinophobia and Russophobia, and like many others, can see the declining economic and political power of the former “sole superpower”.

As a nationalist, Duterte is seeking what he sees as the best way forward for the Philippines. China’s gigantic socialist state backed economy is rising so rapidly that it is offering trade and investment partnerships to neighbouring and regional countries of mutual benefit. The US former hegemon is not in any position to offer anything remotely comparable, so its influence in the Pacific is waning. Duterte recognises this, and positions the Philippines to take advantage of it – and is denounced as a “Chinese agent” by the opposition. Worse than this, the liberal opposition castigate Duterte for taking measures to avoid a war with China! Hence, in the same way in which Obama and Clinton liberals in the US condemn US President Trump for avoiding a war with Russia, the liberal pro-US opposition condemn Duterte for avoiding a war with China. If there is any indicator that liberals (and fake “socialists”) in practice work for the opposite of the very values they claim, this is it.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the new parliament in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Duterte stated: “I am being criticised about the South China Sea. Am I prepared to go to war? I am not. Will we win the war? No. It will just create a massacre. I would lose my soldiers and policemen. If you attack China, its closest missile will hit Manila in seven minutes. Those fools want me to… We can’t do anything about it. That’s how it is. The United States will help???”[9] Not only is President Duterte determined to avoid a war with China (provoked by US imperialism); he is determined to ensure that the Philippines takes advantage of China’s economic largesse.

President Duterte has thus signed the Philippines up to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or New Silk Road). At the recent Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, President Duterte inked a deal which would see China inject 12.2 billion US dollars into the Philippine economy.[10] Rather than conflict with China in the South China Sea, a deal was struck in which both the Philippines and China will cooperate to explore and utilise resources in the area. One can see how news of this would be received in Washington. In return, Washington politically and materially aids fronts posing as NGOs to in turn mount campaigns against the “tyranny” of President Duterte. Dutifully, reformist left parties follow suit.

If this wasn’t enough to cause consternation in the Oval Office of the White House, President Duterte has also tilted the Philippines towards Russia. Trade ties with Russia have been increased, with the Duterte administration actively enabling the Philippines-Russia Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation (JCTEC).[11] In addition, for the first time in history, the Philippines and Russia have engaged in military cooperation, in areas of international defence and security. Last month, Russian warships docked in Manila for a four-day friendly visit in what was the latest round of military cooperation.[12] This took place under President Duterte’s “friend to all, enemy to no one” approach to international relations. This means that while the Philippines will not ditch the traditional relationship with the US (somewhat fractious at times due to US colonial history in the Philippines); non-traditional allies will be sought and engaged. All of this sounds normal to rational people. Unfortunately, in an era of the decline of US economic and political power, Washington and their liberal allies are scarcely rational.

Defend Filipino sovereignty

There are other areas where the Duterte administration breaks new ground.  President Duterte seeks a Pan-Philippine federalism, where areas such as the Muslim south can take part as equals. To this end, the Bangsamoro region now has its regional parliament. He has sought to integrate Muslim Filipinos into the national dialogue, and win them away from extremism. President Duterte has also emphasised the freedom of religion which is guaranteed by Filipino law. The practical effect of this has somewhat undermined the authority of the Catholic Church in what has historically been a deeply Catholic country. To be able to confront the power and influence of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, without losing overall popularity, is a measure of the depth of support President Duterte commands.

Nevertheless, the aim of socialism is workers’ power in the Philippines, the Asia-Pacific and beyond. To this end, Marxists in the Philippines should remain in a temporary bloc with the Duterte Adminstration, while continuing to recruit to their own banner. This would take account of the popularity of the President, while seeking to forge the vanguard party needed to advance socialism internationally. Marxists internationally need to tread the line between defending Filipino sovereignty and striving for revolution.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3010065/philippine-midterm-elections-unofficial-count-shows-all (25-05-2019)

[2] https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/05/13/1914710/fault-our-system-how-fix-elections-philippines (25-05-2019)

[3] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/philippines-election-dirtiest-decades (25-05-2019)

[4] https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/04/08/19/otso-diretso-bets-barred-from-scarborough-shoal (25-05-2019)

[5] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/15/phil-m15.html (25-05-2019)

[6] https://news.abs-cbn.com/focus/03/06/17/voice-of-change-a-closer-look-at-the-duterte-youth (25-05-2019)

[7] https://www.hrw.org/tag/philippines-war-drugs (25-05-2019)

[8] https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2179753/his-silent-supporters-philippines-president-duterte-man-who-can (26-05-2019)

[9] https://eurasiafuture.com/2019/04/01/duterte-completely-rejects-war-against-china-and-calls-for-further-cooperation/ (26-05-2019)

[10] https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d774e79497a4d34457a6333566d54/share_p.html (26-05-2019)

[11] https://www.dti.gov.ph/exports/1071-main-content/moscow-news/11957-philippines-and-russia-follow-through-jctec-and-pv-initiatives (26-05-2019)

[12] http://www.arabnews.com/node/1478236/world (26-05-2019)

 

Philippines: Liberals Cry Foul After Crushing Defeat

Palestine: Eurovision Marred by 71 Years of Al Nakba

20-05-2019:  This year, the annual Eurovision song contest coincides with the 71st anniversary of Al Nakba (The Catastrophe), when 750 000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands in 1948 to enable the violent founding of the colonial setter state which became Israel. The awarding of Eurovision to Israel took place after the Israeli entrant Netta Barzilai won the contest in 2018. Yet the suffering of Palestinians living in the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza continues.

Just a few weeks before the Eurovision song contest took place in Tel Aviv, the Western media dishonestly claimed that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) were carrying out missile strikes on Gaza “in response” to rocket attacks from Hamas, the Islamic Palestinian resistance organisation. In fact, the IDF has relentlessly been pounding Gaza for months without response from Hamas. IDF strikes have reportedly caused the death of 20 Palestinians so far this year, many while taking part in the weekly Friday protests against the suffocating blockade of Gaza.[1] In other words, the IDF repeatedly strikes Gaza, causing fatalities – and the Palestinians continue their protests regardless. When Hamas finally relents, and fires off rounds of rockets into Israel – most of which are shot down by the “Iron Dome” Israeli defence system – the Western media hypocritically paint Palestine as the aggressor. They routinely claim that the Israeli state is only “responding” to the rocket attacks,[2] when in fact it has goaded and provoked Palestine until they can take no more.

BDS calls for a boycott of Eurovision

For some time, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has called for a boycott of this year’s Eurovision song contest purely because it is taking place in Israel. While BDS campaigners are correct to highlight the grinding oppression of Palestinians carried out by the Israeli state, calling for a boycott of Israel with regards to Eurovision begs a few questions. For example, in which other European country should the Eurovision song contest take place? In the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands or Denmark?  Or how about Australia, now that Australia is a competitor in Eurovision? The governments of the UK, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia all took part in the criminal proxy imperialist war on Syria, carrying out air strikes “against” ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria.[3] In reality, they were aiding and abetting the barbaric death squads armed and funded by the US[4] and Israel.[5]

In an instant, it is plain to see that the Israeli state is not the only European state which carries out war crimes against innocent people. Yet many BDS advocates were virtually silent during the entire imperialist war on Syria, even when Israel’s role in it became known – and after Israel’s repeated missile strikes on Syria. As recently as April this year, the IDF reportedly struck the Syrian town of Masyaf in the province of Hama, wounding 6 soldiers.[6] For all of the bluster from BDS advocates, they tend to operate as if Palestine exists in a vortex, unrelated to the Middle East and world politics. No one is louder in their condemnation of “Israel”, and yet no one is more silent than when Israel bombs anyone else apart from Palestinians, e.g. next door neighbor Syria.

With a few exceptions, another glaring incongruity BDS advocates display is their hostility to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Zionist Israeli state regards Iran as a bitter enemy, and most BDS advocates echo this position, no matter how many times they throw up their hands in horror at “Israel”. Iran is also currently being threatened, yet again, by Washington without all out nuclear war. Despite Iran’s assistance to Palestinian resistance groups, many BDS advocates are the first ones to call for “regime change”, i.e. imperialist war by another name, in Iran. They don’t appear to be aware of a contradiction.

Imperialist backing of the Zionist Israeli state

BDS advocates are also largely silent on the real source of the Zionist Israeli state’s lifeline – US imperialism. Whole rallies and demonstrations can take place organised by BDS supporters, and not once is the Pentagon or the US state named. However, without military and financial backing from the US state, the Israeli state would arguably collapse within six months. Yet BDS does not call for a boycott of the US, only “Israel”. Before Marxists can advise workers to take part in any international campaign, it must first demonstrate that it stands in opposition to the interests of US imperialism. Unfortunately, BDS does not pass this first marker. Instead, BDS attempts to work with and alongside imperialist governments, by lobbying them to apply sanctions (the “S” in BDS) on Israel.

In practice, BDS attempts to paint “Israel” as a state which is wrong in a moral sense. However, there are no morals which workers and capitalists share in common, and certainly no morals which oppressed Palestinians share with the US state department. We do not at all deny that the state of Israel came into being through a murderous expulsion and ongoing occupation of the original inhabitants. Yet this is what also occurred for the colonial settler states of Australia, New Zealand and even the United States itself. If they were consistent, BDS advocates would call for a boycott of all colonial settler states.

While we would defend BDS advocates against repression from the right, at the same time we urge them to strive for consistency in a world threatened by US imperialism. We recognise that the suffering of the Palestinians is unbearable. But to defend Palestine, working people around the world must oppose the very real threat that the economic crisis of world capitalism produces – unending imperialist wars launched by Washington and all of its allies. To definitively defend Palestine, BDS advocates must also defend Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Russia, China and the DPRK against the nefarious ends of the Pentagon. International socialism, through a series of workers’ revolutions in the imperialist centres, is ultimately the only guarantee against world war. Likewise, Palestinian liberation is bound up with the overthrow of capitalism in its region, which necessitates the joint efforts of Israeli and Palestinian workers. Ridding workers of capitalism and imperialist war is a single task, in Palestine no less than in Australia. BDS advocates must decide where they stand.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

 

 

[1] https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/israel-continually-strikes-gaza-and-hamas-hasnt-fired-back/ (20-05-2019)

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48160098 (20-05-2019)

[3] https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161206-denmarks-decision-to-withdraw-from-airstrikes-on-syria-and-iraq/ (20-05-2019)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq (20-05-2019)

[5] https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-chief-acknowledges-long-claimed-weapons-supply-to-syrian-rebels/ (20-05-2019)

[6] https://www.israelhayom.com/2019/04/14/syria-says-israeli-airstrike-on-military-position-wounds-6/ (20-05-2019)

Palestine: Eurovision Marred by 71 Years of Al Nakba

Liberalism at a Dead End: ALP Loses the “Unlosable” Election

19-05-2019 – It’s a cliché to put forward the “Don’t mourn, organise” aphorism after a significant defeat for workers. After the victory of the Coalition (Liberal Party, National Party, Liberal National Party in Queensland – collectively the L/NP) in the 2019 Federal Elections, the working class will certainly need to double down on its organising efforts. But some crucial political lessons will need to be learnt before embarking on much needed organising.

At the time of writing, with around 75% of the vote counted, the L/NP are two seats short of forming a majority government.[1] They will either govern in their own right, or form a minority government with the formal or informal backing of some independents. For the Australian Labor Party (ALP), this was a classic case of losing an unlosable election. Yet again the ALP’s “small target” strategy cost them. That is, the ALP were promising very little, if anything, which was substantially different, let alone more progressive, than the L/NP. The one progressive aspect the ALP were promising was the extremely conditional (and likely false) pledge that they would restore penalty rates which have been taken away from some workers. The ALP was perhaps expecting to limp home into government without doing much at all, because voters would naturally want to get rid of the L/NP. Even within the sphere of bourgeois politics though, unless the majority of voters are offered something substantial by the liberal side, they will stick with the status quo, or even move to the right.

Catastrophe of “Change the Rules”

Working people must be clear. If the ALP had won the Federal Election, the working class would still be subjected to intense attack on all fronts – from low wages, near starvation aged pensions and unemployment assistance, privatisation of health care, cuts to education, worsening public transport and so on. The pace and severity of the attacks may have been slightly lower than under an L/NP government, but that is all. This is because the major parties are the twin parties of Australian capitalism, which is a component part of Wall Street led imperialism. The system of production for private profit is in acute crisis in Australia, Europe, the US and Japan. This is what is driving the relentless austerity, the ongoing danger of US led imperialist wars, not to speak of the imminent danger of potentially irreversible ecological collapse – of which global warming is but one aspect.

For two years, the top officials of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) have been running the “Change the Rules” campaign. This was always code for “Vote Labor”. In fact, at a late stage the careerist officials of the ACTU changed the rules themselves – from “Change the Rules” to “Change the Government to Change the Rules”.[2] It became an explicit “Vote Labor” campaign. But in fact, the politically compromised ACTU officials advised not only a vote for the ALP, but also preferenced the Greens above the ALP in some states for the Senate. In other seats, the ACTU produced how-to-vote cards which preferenced the racist Katter’s Australian Party and the right-wing Democratic Labor Party.[3] After selectively mobilising workers for two years on the vague promise that industrial relations laws could be changed by electing the ALP, the conservative officials of the ACTU, from Sally McManus down, ended up playing preference exchanges with right-wing parties!  And now that the L/NP has been re-elected, the Union movement has been brought back to ground zero.

The fraud of “Vote Climate”

The nightmare of staggering carbon emissions from the Adani mega coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland triggered a wide campaign against it throughout the country. Yet the “Stop Adani” campaign was always led by operatives of GetUp! – an NGO which repeatedly denies its links to the Labor Party, yet inevitably assists them.[4] This was why the Stop Adani campaign stopped short of doing what was actually needed to Stop Adani – a mass action effort independent of the parliament, the government and its state. The complete opposite occurred – Stop Adani was directed entirely towards lobbying the ALP, lobbying the parliament, and lobbying the government. That is, the leadership of “Stop Adani” was committed to the political forces of capital which began Adani – and indeed all new coal developments in the country. The overwhelming majority support for halting the Great Barrier Reef destroying Adani mine could have stopped Adani – but for the leadership of Stop Adani.

In any case, an ALP government was hardly going to Stop Adani. Yet an ALP or ALP/Greens government was also the aim of the “Student Strike 4 Climate” (SS4C) actions which preceded the elections, and were geared towards them. Again, however, the student strike for climate was organised by GetUp! and “Baby GetUp!” the AYCC (Australian Youth Climate Coalition).[5] Hence, they organised student strikes – outside L/NP electorate offices!  This could scarcely have been a more blatant vote catching exercise. This is light years away from organsing against the profit system which is the prime culprit of environmental vandalism.

The leaderships of some Unions even boasted about linking with GetUp!, despite it being the face of the liberal elite. The conservative officials of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU) hailed its virtual affiliation to GetUp! in its attempt to gain a much needed boost to Newstart (unemployment benefits).[6] To do this, it had to trample on AUWU members who so much as questioned the political compromises required for such an unholy alliance. Ironically, either internal Union democracy, or internal movement democracy, is the very thing which GetUp! and their backers cannot tolerate.

Much more needs to be analysed about this election. But the crucial lesson for workers is that all forms of liberalism – whether in the form of GetUp!, the conservative Union officials, the NGO led “environmental” movement, the ALP and others – offer no way forward. The working class can only advance by making a political break with all the liberal agents of capitalist class rule. Socialism is needed, but the pre-requisite is a Marxist vanguard party composed of the most class-conscious workers. The Workers League seeks to take the first steps on this path, and calls on all who agree to take part.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://tallyroom.aec.gov.au/HouseDefault-24310.htm (19-05-2019)

[2] https://www.actu.org.au/actu-media/media-releases/2019/change-the-government-change-the-rules-nationwide-door-knock (19-05-2019)

[3] https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/actu-puts-greens-ahead-of-labor-on-how-to-vote-cards-in-higgins-20190516-p51o2h.html (19-05-2019)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/23/getup-warned-by-electoral-commission-it-may-be-associated-entity-of-labor (19-05-2019)

[5] https://redfireonline.com/2019/03/13/for-real-climate-action-expropriate-capital/ (19-05-2019)

[6] https://unemployedworkersunion.com/join-get-up-auwus-joint-newstart-campaign/ (19-05-2019)

Liberalism at a Dead End: ALP Loses the “Unlosable” Election