National Flag of Iraq

Iraq: Deadly Chaos Through Subversion

13-10-2019 – It’s a familiar pattern. In a region where the US led Cold War against Iran is reaching fever pitch, protestors take to the streets of Iraq supposedly to demand an end to corruption and action on unemployment. Once again it is claimed that the “movement” is leaderless, and is composed of youths disenchanted about their future prospects. If you have seen this movie before, don’t be surprised. Sudan, Algeria, Hong Kong, Russia, China, Venezuela – all of these have sustained attempts at internal destabilisation in recent times, and all of them can invariably be traced back to one source – Washington.

In recent years, Tehran and Baghdad have been forming increasingly close ties, much to the chagrin of the US Empire. The US waged a criminal war which slaughtered at least 1 million Iraqis from 2003 on, in an attempt to undermine the Islamic Republic of Iran. Since that catastrophe, and the gradual withdrawal of US troops, Iraq and Iran have naturally forged closer ties for security and economic reasons. Now, Tehran is viewing the deadly protests as an attempt to drive a wedge between them and the Iraqi government. Iran’s state news agency IRNA publicly suspected the recent riots were the work of the governments of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel, and were an attempt to dislodge recent co-operation between Iran, Iraq and Syria.[1] The defeat of US imperialism in its war for regime change against Syria has only diverted similar attempts to neighbouring countries, and others who refuse to bow before the waning influence of Wall Street.

Burning of government buildings, snipers on roof tops

Current Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi is at pains to point out that Iraqi people have a right to protest, and even agrees that corruption and unemployment are issues that need to be addressed. But his office is also concerned that outside forces are once again taking advantages of economic grievances to advance a totally different agenda. “Protests” where 8 members of the security forces perish, and government buildings are torched causing infernos, are plainly aimed at violent destabilisation, if not regime change. Some party buildings were also reportedly razed to the ground by the fires. Mysterious snipers on roof tops appeared, as if out of nowhere. They apparently shot at the protestors[2], and it is likely at government security forces as well. This deadly ploy played out in the Ukrainian “Maidan uprising” in 2014, where pro-US proxy forces, carried out shootings of protestors – not the Ukrainian security forces.[3] It is not unreasonable at all to suspect that a similar reoccurrence took place in Iraq over the last week.

Why would Washington be so displeased with Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi as to launch a cookie cutter colour “revolution” against him?  PM Mahdi declared the Israeli state responsible for the destruction of five warehouses of the Iraqi security forces. He opened the crossing at Al-Qaem between Iraq and Syria. He expressed a desire to purchase Russia’s advanced anti-aircraft S-400 missile system. He gave a $284 million dollar electricity deal to Siemans – a German company, rather than a US one. He also rejected the US’s “Deal of the Century” which will likely permanently end the legitimate rights of Palestinians.[4] But this is only just for starters.

Ties to Red China expand

Iraq was one of the first countries to sign up to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) historically unprecedented Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or “New Silk Road”). The BRI is a massive network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks which will attract trillions of dollars investment, and will link Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.[5] The US simply cannot accept being eclipsed even by an imperialist rival, let alone an upstart socialist power! The clincher was a visit by Prime Minister Mahdi to the PRC in September, which culminated in the signing of huge trade and investments deals in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 23.[6] In May this year, Chinese Ambassador to Iraq Zhang Tao stated that trade between Iraq and the PRC had exceeded 30 billion dollars in 2018, where China is the largest trading partner of Iraq, and Iraq is the second largest oil supplier to the PRC.[7] This staggering amount of trade, combined with the overt willingness of PM Mahdi to be a part of the New Silk Road, is reason enough in itself for the CIA to send in its operatives.

As if this wasn’t enough, in the recent trip to Beijing, the Iraqi delegation signed an “oil for reconstruction” deal. Under this deal, Chinese firms will work in Iraq in exchange for 100 000 barrels of oil per day.[8] And this deal stretches out for 20 years! The US, with its capitalist economy seemingly in terminal decline, is not in a position to cover anything near what the PRC can. And even if it somehow could, the for-profit basis of imperialist industry means it would not be considered. The PRC’s economy, despite whatever inroads of free enterprise which have been allowed, does not primarily run on the basis of production for profit. The investments that the PRC makes through the Belt and Road Initiative and other mutually beneficial bi-lateral deals it makes with countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, are primarily socialist state investments. This does not mean that there aren’t occasions where privately owned PRC firms cash in, or even mistreat those they deal with overseas. Overall, however, the PRC’s gargantuan economic success derives from its predominantly public ownership of its means of production, and thus must be defended by workers internationally.

Working people have no stake with the nefarious ends of the US Empire, whether it be dangerous and reckless war provocations against Russia and China, or the intense propaganda against states deemed to be not sufficiently pro-US. Workers also have an interest in opposing and exposing, US led regime change efforts wherever they occur, such as the current unrest in Iraq. When socialism is victorious on a world scale, the concept of regime change will be considered a relic of a violent past.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

 

 

[1] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/iran-sees-iraq-unrest-plot-undo-bilateral-ties-191008052830021.html (11-10-2019)

[2] https://www.france24.com/en/20191004-iraq-protests-abdul-mahdi-cabinet-reshuffle-violence-baghdad-curfew (11-10-2019)

[3] https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-03-14/who-were-maidan-snipers (11-10-2019)

[4] https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-iran-silent-war-transformed-iraq-uprising/5691311 (11-10-2019)

[5] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/iraq-to-join-china-s-belt-and-road-project-11935462 (11-10-2019)

[6] https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/09/iraq-china-economy.html (11-10-2019)

[7] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-05/06/c_138036250.htm (11-10-2019)

[8] https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/iraq-china-india-oil-construction.html (11-10-2019)

Iraq: Deadly Chaos Through Subversion

XR: The Faux Rebellion

 

07-10-2019:  Extinction Rebellion (XR) are hitting the streets again, with a week of action throughout major cities in Australia – their so-called “Spring Rebellion”.[1] We are in a climate crisis, they claim, and the time for action is now. Almost no one disagrees. Yet in reality XR are not leading a “rebellion” and they are not, in the final analysis, “rebels”. To be genuine rebels would mean to stand opposed to the profit system – the domination of privately owned capital over social labour and over the environment. The XR charlatans make no pretence of opposing even one corporation, let alone the system which allows corporations to freely pollute the land, sea, air and water humanity requires for life on earth. XR, and their semi-religious self-righteousness, need to be exposed.

From politics flow tactics

Those who place demands on the capitalist state, in the same manner as any politician or any liberal, or any lobby group, cannot be described as “radical” in any way. XR are making repeated demands for “the government” to “do something”. The same politicians who have overseen climate destruction despite repeated and ongoing warnings, can now, XR aver, be made to change their spots if only we – disrupt business as usual. XR whine that we have had years of marches and rallies, for no result. There has been no result so far because almost all climate politics has remained within the sphere of liberalism – plaintive cries to those in power. Despite XR adopting slightly different tactics, the politics of XR remain just as liberal, if not more, than those that have preceded them.

XR imagine that by changing the tactics of climate protest, the politics will follow, and demands will be met. XR have things precisely upside down. The politics are paramount, and if the politics are sharp enough, the tactics themselves become less important. Yet XR’s politics are woefully inadequate – even if the aim is to wrench a few small reforms from the capitalist state. XR are not anarchists per se, but they share the petty-bourgeois political approach of anarchism, which is shared with all elements of the petty-bourgeois “democracy” – the Greens, some intellectuals[2], small business owners and centrist “left” parties. Russian revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin, more than a century ago, wrote…”The philosophy of the anarchists is bourgeois philosophy turned inside out. Their individualistic theories and individualistic ideal are the very opposite of socialism.”[3]

XR’s bourgeois philosophy turned inside out is revealed as soon as one tracks the corporate and capitalist government links of its spiritual founders Gail Bradbrook and Farhana Yamin.[4] Granted, many of those attracted to XR actions do not themselves have high level links to government or the corporations they act for. XR, however, is simply appealing to the government – which under capitalism, is a “government of persons”. Whatever criticisms XR may have of all politicians for not “doing something” about climate collapse, they still firmly believe that the capitalist government is “theirs”, or indeed, “ours”. This reflects a purely petty-bourgeois outlook, which cannot see outside their class position.

Due to their class position, the petty-bourgeoisie is incapable of coming to a position of class independence from big capital. That is why they are not able to politically lead a struggle against the capitalist system. This role must be played by the working class and its special historical product – the Marxist vanguard party. But XR are not only light years away from socialism – they occupy a different universe to the working class. Hence their arrogant disregard for working class folk who may be blocked in traffic by a disruptive XR stunt. Working class people – many of whom overwhelmingly support urgent action to address the climate calamity – should not be prevented by self-appointed XR scions from driving to or from work, picking up their children from schools, or trying to go about their daily lives. Workers certainly can be won to supporting political action to address climate distortion – up to and including strikes against corporations and “their own” government – if they are given the opportunity to discuss and decide on the tactics of the movement in which they take part.

Workers must lead and decide

Yet this is precisely what XR denies the working class – or anyone else. XR explicitly deny the right of anyone who takes part in their actions to question their principles, their positions, their politics or their tactics. XR refuses, point blank, to work alongside other climate activists. Sure, they attend things such as the Climate Strike to wave their flag. But once XR is holding an action, ALL participants must subordinate themselves wholesale – in brain and body – to the high priests of XR. No one is permitted to question the framework of activity, its direction, or to question XR’s holy principles.[5]  Each one of these principles, at their core, is wholly compatible with capitalist imperialism – which is why XR expressly deny the right of socialists to question them. Anyone or any group proposing anything in politics must have their positions examined by the workers – no one is above criticism. XR is no exception.

In fact, XR must be criticised for one of its deadliest shortcomings – its support for the police of the capitalist state. Although some XR members and branches claim that they do not support the cops, it repeatedly returns to the surface. Recently XR VIC attempted to prevent XR members from calling cops “pigs” as they arrested one of their organisers.[6] XR’s strategy of mass arrests first, which supposedly leads to political change, is a galling example of their base misunderstanding of the class nature of the capitalist state. Again though, the petty-bourgeois class does not have to face the cops too often in battle, unlike workers on strike, or Aboriginal people. Largely white middle class XR leaders can cope with being arrested, held for a few days and released. This is even their aim.

At the least, workers need to reject those who claim infallibility on climate protest tactics and aims. XR must be forced to argue their positions inside the climate movement like everyone else – there should be no special exceptions. There, workers should counter the lobbying of compromised politicians by putting forward such demands as:  a 30 hour week with no loss in pay, an end to coal mining and the collective ownership of the means of production.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

PO Box  66    NUNDAH   QLD    4012

[1] https://ausrebellion.earth/get-involved/spring-rebellion (07-10-2019)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/sep/20/we-declare-our-support-for-extinction-rebellion-an-open-letter-from-australias-academics (07-10-2019)

[3] https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/nov/24.htm (07-10-2019)

[4] https://redfireonline.com/2019/08/07/whats-wrong-with-extinction-rebellion/ (07-10-2019)

[5] https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/about-us/ (07-10-2019)

[6] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/xr-vic-debates-stance-police-friend-or-foe (07-10-2019)

XR: The Faux Rebellion

Part of the inferno set ablaze by separatist Papuan militia in Wamena. Image from wwwtribunnews.com

Wamena: Papuan Militia Terrorise Civilians

05-10-2019: Parts of West Papua are again in flames, after armed Papuan separatist militia launched an attack on the town of Wamena in the Papuan province of Indonesia. The death toll stands at 30, with 22 of the victims being Indonesian transmigrants, according to Indonesian national police Chief Tito Karnavian.[1] The armed Papuan militia set fire to numerous government and private buildings, leading to some Indonesians being burnt alive after becoming trapped.[2] These deadly attacks by armed Papuan separatists mark a serious turn to anti-Indonesian pogroms which cannot be justified, regardless of history. It reveals the “independence” movement, at the very least, as being politically compromised. Leftists in Australia and internationally need to carefully investigate the situation, rather than being swept into a trance by the slogan of “Free West Papua”.

Liberation movement?


Throughout history there have been many liberation movements which have fought for a just cause of emancipation from colonialism and imperialism. Over time, left parties and movements have thrown political support behind them, and have thereby stood on the side of elementary justice. The West Papuan case, however, is qualitatively different – in a negative way. A liberation movement forfeits the name if it is involved in ethnic violence, or in murderous acts against civilians or migrants. Unfortunately, armed Papuan separatists have done this repeatedly, and the attacks on Wamena in the last week of September were particularly vicious. By September 27, 1500 Indonesian residents had gathered at Wamena airport in a bid to leave. Local Air Force official Arief Sudjatmiko stated that 2500 people had registered to get aboard flights.[3] They were not fleeing the Indonesian military or security forces. They were fleeing for their lives from Papuan separatists, who were clearly targeting Indonesian transmigrant workers, such as motorbike taxi drivers, shop workers and restaurant waiters.[4] It should go without saying that socialists of any persuasion cannot endorse the wholesale slaughter of workers of any nationality – even if systematic discrimination against one group of workers is proven.

Yet even this does not appear to be the case in West Papua. While it is the case that the Indonesian transmigrants dominate the local economy in the Papuan provinces, there are policies in place to promote Papuans within the civil service.[5] There is a disparity between the coastal cities of West Papua, where transmigrants predominate in economic and commercial activity, and the relatively underdeveloped Papuan central highlands. The lack of development is not entirely the fault of the Indonesian government, but nonetheless the Indonesian government is attempting to spur development in Papua through infrastructure building, such as roads and electricity coverage. There is even an awareness that infrastructure building on its own will not solve all problems. Hence, in 2019, the Indonesian government increased spending on education by 13% across the country, including Papua.[6]  There may well be ways in which the Indonesian government is not administering the Papuan provinces using entirely just methods. For example, there are plans to have the roads built in Papua operate as toll roads.[7] A campaign to remove tolls from the roads would seem necessary. However, as in Australia, such a campaign would have to involve the working class of all nationalities, for lower living costs. It would not usually be a campaign against the road infrastructure itself – but particularly in Papua, where there are relatively few roads.

Not all Papuans are anti-migrant

There is evidence that the anti-migrant dimension of the West Papuan independence movement is not universal. For example, there appears to be peaceful co-habitation amongst indigenous Papuans and Indonesian transmigrants in certain areas. In Wamena during the separatist attacks, some indigenous Papuans helped to shield Indonesian transmigrants from the assaults. They even worked together to guard shops and buildings from the armed separatists – protecting their lives by doing so.[8] There were statements saying that the residents did not know where the armed independence marauders came from – perhaps the highlands. Wamena is the largest town in the central highlands, so it becomes the first target. Some Papuan independence militia claim that they have no issue with transmigrant workers, only those who act as informers for the government and security forces.[9]  In Wamena and elsewhere, however, this is not the case.  What cannot be denied is that the West Papuan independence movement has always had an anti-migrant basis. Romantically minded leftists in the West, who clamour to support West Papuan independence, are either not aware, or wilfully ignore, this base prejudice.

Moreover, it is the “exiled” West Papuans who are the most strident in prosecuting what is often a misleading campaign for separate independence. In the case of the Wamena attacks, Indonesian authorities, not without cause, have accused de-facto independence leader Benny Wenda and his international network of orchestrating the violence in order to make headlines days before the United Nations (UN) general assembly sits in New York.[10] Mr Wenda is no stranger to stoking deadly riots, as he is himself a fugitive for doing just that in Abepura in 2002. Benny Wenda incited a crowd of 50 to attack some shops, which resulted in two people dead.[11] While detained facing trial, he escaped from Indonesia and fled to the United Kingdom (UK). From Oxford in London, the fugitive Mr Wenda convenes a disingenuous campaign for West Papuan independence, particularly appealing to the forces of imperialism against Indonesia. To say the least, a movement which regularly incites violence against those of another ethnicity, often resulting in the slaughter of innocents, is not one to be endorsed.

Fake videos, real lies

When violent riots by Papuan separatists break out, the Indonesian government sometimes responds by “throttling” or blocking the internet. While this raises a hue and cry by unenlightened West Papuan independence supporters internationally, this action has a rational basis. Often the violent riots are begun by the spreading of fake videos online, making false claims about mistreatment from Indonesian authorities. In the case of Wamena recently, the bloodthirsty riots were set off by rumours circulated that a high school teacher had used a racist remark against students. Papua police Chief Rudolf Alberth Rodja, however, stressed that the police had investigated the alleged school and teacher, and confirmed that this incident was fabricated, and was a blatant untruth. He said that it is believed that this was hoax information deliberately distributed in order to fuel riots.[12] As Papuan separatists have a history of telling lies in order to whip up support, it is not unreasonable to accept the police account here.

For example, the Papuan separatists told the mother of all lies in December 2018, when they made the preposterous claim that the Indonesian military had used white phosphorus munitions against them in the Nduga region after a flag raising ceremony. They had the active support of corporate journalists who had made the same unsubstantiated claims against the Syrian government during the US led war for regime change.[13] That is, Papuan independence advocates willingly worked with the corporate media which repeatedly referred to ISIS and Al Qaeda as “rebels” and “revolutionaries” in Syria, in order to use the same lies against the Indonesian government. These spurious claims were soon debunked as utterly fallacious, given that the Indonesian military had never stationed artillery in West Papua, let alone million dollar jet fighters. And the only helicopters the Indonesian military has there are transport choppers, unequipped with any offensive weapons, which would be needed to fire ANY ordinance.[14]

West Papuan separatists and their entourage need to spread whoppers because the politics of their independence movement falters at the first question. Prime among the distributors of falsifications is “human rights” lawyer Veronica Koman. Despite being herself of Chinese-Indonesian ancestry, Koman is inherently anti-China and pro-imperialist. On October 1, she posted on her Twitter account a claim of solidarity with the violent Blackshirt rioters in Hong Kong, who in turn claimed solidarity with Uyghurs.[15] The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are currently targeted by the CIA for destabilisation, and, they hope, regime change. Their aim is to counter the rising socialism of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) by any means – including funding those engaging in armed violence, and up to life-threatening extreme jihadism. But Koman’s anti-socialist fealty to the Pentagon is not the reason she is wanted.

Veronica Koman has been charged with serious crimes by Indonesian police. She refused three times to be questioned, who then charged her with violating the Electronic Information and Transactions Law and the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Law.[16] Racial and ethnic harmony is crucially important in a large multi-ethnic country such as Indonesia. However, Koman had repeatedly been stoking ethnic conflict by posting false information which aided violent riots in Surabaya. Instead of defending herself on charges of provoking deadly unrest and fuelling ethnic conflict, Koman fled to Australia. Understandably, the Indonesian government issued an Interpol red notice for her arrest,[17] but whether this will be enacted by the Australian government remains to be seen. Since fleeing as a fugitive to Australia, she has since appeared on ABC and SBS with favourable coverage, but without mentioning the criminal charges laid against her.  Unfortunately, a lack of basic honesty is de rigueur for pro-US “human rights” advocates.

Left parties blind on West Papua

Some Australian left parties blindly raise both hands when it comes to a request for volunteers for West Papuan independence. They barely lose a step before blundering into yet another international issue without checking its bona fides. Never one to miss a chance to embellish the Australian government, the Socialist Alliance chimes in with a demand that the federal government grant Veronica Koman protection and not hand her over to the Indonesian government. At the least, they display First World disrespect for the legal system of a Third World neighbour. They then pose the rhetorical comparison of West Papua to the case of East Timor.[18] If someone hasn’t told them, comparisons between East Timor – which after a long struggle won independence from Indonesia – and West Papua, are like chalk and cheese. Likewise, Socialist Alternative echoes the East Timor comparison, and swears to uphold all South Pacific struggles for  “self-determination”.[19] The Communist Party of Australia[20] and the Communist Party of Australia Marxist-Leninist[21] both reflexively hail the cross-class “people” of West Papua.

These left parties have forgotten their “Marxism”. Even if it was the case that Papuan militia did not slaughter innocent civilians, did not foster and foment ethnic violence against Indonesians, and did not spread lies and falsifications – Marxists would not automatically endorse self-determination or independence. While Marxists stand against national oppression, advocating the exercise of self-determination is dependent on a number of factors. The most important of these is whether or not it advances the struggle for socialism in that country, in the region, and internationally. Even accounting for the fact that, due to historical factors, the working class of Indonesia is more developed than that of West Papua, there is ample space for working class Papuan and Indonesian collaboration in struggles against capitalism in the region. For example, that which is facilitated by the common language of Bahasa Indonesian.

In stark contrast to liberal and petty-bourgeois nationalists, Marxists do not engage in the shadow boxing of a “good” versus a “bad” nation. What is required are methods of political struggle which advance the class consciousness of workers of all nations. “Self-determination” and/or “independence” may or may not play a role in this process. Either way, efforts to forge Marxist vanguard parties across the entirety of the Asia-Pacific remains essential.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6402252/migrants-caught-up-in-papua-violence/?cs=7579 (03-10-2019)

[2] https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/protesters-burn-buildings-in-indonesias-papua-province (03-10-2019)

[3] https://www.nst.com.my/world/2019/09/525226/thousands-scramble-flee-unrest-indonesias-papua (03-10-2019)

[4] Ibid, 1.

[5] https://www.theislanderonline.com.au/story/6402252/migrants-caught-up-in-papua-violence/?cs=11679 (03-10-2019)

[6] https://papuawest.com/2018/12/12/government-to-shift-focus-from-infrastructure-to-education-in-papua/ (03-10-2019)

[7] https://news.mongabay.com/2017/10/indonesias-big-development-push-in-papua-qa-with-program-overseer-judith-j-dipodiputro/ (03-10-2019)

[8] https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/09/30/good-neighbors-papuans-help-non-natives-flee-violence-in-wamena.html (03-10-2019)

[9] http://lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/violence-papua-could-get-worse (03-10-2019)

[10] https://www.muswellbrookchronicle.com.au/story/6402252/migrants-caught-up-in-papua-violence/?cs=7281 (03-10-2019)

[11] https://redfireonline.com/2019/04/27/west-papua-independence-movement-spreads-more-false-claims/ (03-10-2019)

[12] https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/protests-sparked-by-hoax-racism-claims-kill-injure-dozens-20190924-p52uez.html (03-10-2019)

[13] https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2018/12/22/exclusive-chemical-weapons-dropped-papua/15453972007326 (03-10-2019)

[14] https://infowestpapua.com/2018/12/26/phosphorous-bomb-propaganda-in-west-papua-a-seriously-fake-yet-silly-issue-administered-by-australian-media/ (03-10-2019)

[15] https://twitter.com/veronicakoman (03-10-2019)

[16] https://jakartaglobe.id/context/police-issue-red-notice-to-interpol-to-track-and-capture-veronica-koman/ (03-10-2019)

[17] https://en.tempo.co/read/1250173/veronica-koman-fugitive-police-issue-red-notice-for-interpol (04-10-2019)

[18] https://socialist-alliance.org/news/west-papua-australias-new-timor-leste (04-10-2019)

[19] https://redflag.org.au/node/6895 (04-10-2019)

[20] https://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2019/1888/11-west-papua.html (04-10-2019)

[21] https://www.cpaml.org/posting1.php?id=967 (04-10-2019)

Wamena: Papuan Militia Terrorise Civilians

US vs China: Workers Must Defend Their Side

26-09-2019 – Anti-China hysteria has been set at fever pitch. The attempt to besmirch Liberal Party Member of Parliament Gladys Liu as an agent of the Communist Party of China (CPC) eventually ran out of steam, as the case collapsed for lack of evidence. Gladys Liu’s conservative and pro-capitalist politics can be confirmed not the least by the fact that she has backed the anti-communist Hong Kong riots publicly, saying she admired the “passion and commitment”[1] of the largely US and UK government funded separatists.[2]  Regardless of Ms Liu’s past membership of groups associated with the Chinese government, she also admitted organising an overtly homophobic and transphobic WeChat social media campaign against equal marriage rights for same sex couples, and the “Safe Schools” program during the 2016 election campaign.[3] Yet Ms Liu’s ultra-conservatism, and membership of the Liberal Party, was not enough to shield her from a New Cold War witch-hunt.

Day after day, workers in Australia are beset by a corporate media (especially the government owned ABC) slur against virtually anything to do with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Lurid tales of the PRC allegedly repressing ethnic minorities, overtly monitoring their people with social credit systems and facial recognition cameras and supposed debt-trap lending to Pacific nations, are retailed ad nauseum. All of these stories distort the truth beyond recognition, yet they still appear. Capitalist states must have an adversary, or create one, lest its own workers turn their justifiable grievances against their own rulers. This becomes even more urgent when capitalism enters economic crisis, and even more urgent again when a large country in its region is literally running laps around it.

Socialism in the PRC, capitalism in Australia

China’s rise as an economic power is noted by all classes, but it is causing serious concern for Australia’s ruling elite. They, like their patrons in the USA, are well aware that they must “do something” before being overtaken by the PRC economically, politically, financially and diplomatically. Australia’s capitalist economy is now stumbling along, effectively in recession. Many of the key economic indicators for Australia are at their worst point ever, and Australia is plummeting down the rankings of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development) countries. Australia now ranks 18th (out of 36, 36 being the lowest) for total numbers of unemployed, 21st in youth unemployment, 18th in economic growth, 20th in terms of lack of wage growth, 19th in terms of gross national savings, and 28th in terms of unequal wealth distribution (the Gini coefficient).[4] In short, Australia is following the USA, Europe and Japan in a long recession, which shows no sign of ending, and is plainly getting worse.

Compare this bleak outlook to the situation of the PRC. In 2018, despite economic growth “slowing” to its lowest point in 28 years, it still had a growth rate of 6.6% – compared to Australia’s average 1.5%, which is now 1.4%. The PRC’s economic output for last year was 1.4 trillion, which surpassed the total output of Australia for 2017, at 1.32 trillion.[5] Yet it is not just sheer economic data which is damning for the capitalist West. In January this year, the PRC became the first country in history to carry out a soft landing on the dark side of the moon,[6] demonstrating its scientific and technological advances. This is also reflected in the top 500 world supercomputer ratings. PRC based companies in 2019 claimed 219 of the fastest and most powerful supercomputers, compared to the USA’s 119.[7] In terms of high speed rail, the PRC has built and installed more than 25 000 kilometres of dedicated lines since 2008, which represents more than the total operating in the rest of the world.[8] Australia, on the other hand, has no high speed rail, and is unlikely to obtain any in the foreseeable future.

More figures demonstrating the contrast would be easy to find. It should be clear though, that in economic terms the PRC is moving forward, and Australia is moving backwards. This is because socialism in the PRC is the dominant mode of production, whereas in Australia we are stuck with capitalism – for now. The PRC has never had a recession, because the strategic means of production are all state owned or majority state owned, and the government runs five year economic plans. The PRC’s state ownership of the banks is a key factor in fireproofing their economy from the shocks of the recessions of the capitalist world. Economically, the PRC runs a socialist system – despite the inroads of free enterprise allowed by the CPC. There is much to criticise politically from a working class point of view – but mainly in terms of the lack of decision making power. Despite political limitations, the state and the economy of the PRC is still delivering gains for its workers, 70 years after its socialist revolution.

Neutrality?

One might assume that in an atmosphere of New Cold War red-baiting raised to unprecedented levels, a priority for Australian left parties would be to defend the PRC against what is essentially war propaganda from the liberal intelligentsia right up to the highest political offices of Canberra and Washington. Unfortunately, what prevails amongst most of them has recently been a rash of attempted neutrality, or a position of “we are against both sides”.  Yet even accounting for some justifiable left criticisms of the PRC and the CPC, the US vs China is a very real case of capitalism versus socialism. In this battle, working people internationally have a vital stake in the defence of socialism (even in the distorted form of the PRC) against capitalism (largely represented by Anglo-US imperialism). The shortcomings of socialism in the PRC (lack of workers’ decision making power, disallowance of non-CPC yet pro-socialist organisations) can only be addressed while defending the PRC against internal and external overthrow. Paraphrasing Leon Trotsky, those who will not defend past gains will not be able to win new ones. Therefore, workers defence of the PRC is bound up with any further advances for world socialism.

Alas, some Australian left parties not only refuse to defend the PRC, but in practice join with imperialist propaganda against China, albeit with “left” overtones. The newly formed Australian Communist Party (ACP), in a review of the Netflix documentary American Factory, goes overboard with denunciations of alleged “Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics”[9]. The China based Fuyao Glass took over a defunct General Motors plant in Ohio, and began employing American workers. This in itself is indicative of the state of US capitalism versus the prosperity of the Chinese economy. The ACP review goes on to denounce the practices of Fuyao management, who allegedly attempt to prevent workers in America from forming a Union, and mistreat them by threatening them with the sack if they do. The American workers struggle to understand why the Chinese workers generally accept what management expects of them, even if they receive poor treatment.

The ACP infer that the actions of one Chinese owned company operating in the United States is symptomatic of what occurs in the PRC, and that it is as bad, or worse, than what occurs in the US. The nature of work in the PRC compared to the US is a huge discussion – but the ACP dismiss this as their superficial analysis of the PRC is that it is “capitalist”, where most industry is allegedly privately owned. This is a long way from reality. Suffice to say that Unions in a workers state which is attempting to build socialism play a very different role to Unions in a capitalist state which is a mainstay of world imperialism. The role of Unions in a workers’ state is not that of total opposition to their own government or to their own building of socialism. It is to protect workers interests while also assisting and defending the basis of their independence from world imperialism – the socialist state. Unions in a capitalist state, on the other hand, need to oppose both their own government and “their own” capitalist state – which is the basis of their oppression. This is anathema to the ACP, however, who overlook the vast differences between the PRC and the US, and dismiss both as “capitalist”.

In real world politics, it is impossible to be “neutral” or to imagine that one is against both the US and China. As long as imperialism exists, taking a position of “neither the US nor China” means in practice siding with imperialism, despite intentions. The US Empire can skilfully use “defence of workers’ rights” to aid their political, economic and military campaign against Red China. This fools some workers in the capitalist West, and even some self-described “Communist” parties. The ACP is the first cab of the rank on this score. One does not have to look very far to discover that, in fact, American Factory was produced by none other than the former President and First Lady of the United States, the Obamas!![10] The recent former Commander in Chief of the US Empire did not just endorse American Factory, but helped to produce it. By your friends ye shall know thee, as the saying goes. The ACP finds itself in very unsavoury company indeed.

China as “imperialist” ?

A graphic demonstration of how it is impossible to remain neutral in a Cold War is proffered by Socialist Alternative (SAlt). In an editorial of Red Flag, they declare that the new Cold War is being fought by “two reactionary imperialist states” where there is “no good side” ![11] The falsity of this position is immediately brought into stark relief, as in the same editorial, they grandstand about “standing with Hong Kong and the Uyghurs”.[12]  It should hardly need explaining that right now, Hong Kong and Xinjiang are the key crystallisations of counter-revolutionary CIA backed intrigue against Red China. Imperialist backed rioters in Hong Kong have wreaked havoc for the last three months, terrorising bystanders going about their daily lives, who might disagree with them.[13]  The far Western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XAUR) has also been targeted by the Pentagon, over transparently false claims that the PRC government is preventing Uyghur Muslims from practicing their religion. The outrageous claim that the PRC is detaining one million Uyghurs in detention camps has been exposed as a furphy.[14]

The irony is strong. SAlt claim to oppose both US (real imperialism) and Chinese “imperialism”, but in practice go on to openly and loudly assist key US imperialist political assaults on the PRC. SAlt’s forerunners in the International Socialist Organisation proclaimed “neither Washington nor Moscow” in the 1980s when the Soviet Union was still in place. In practice, this position always meant support for Washington against Moscow, by way of reserving the strongest opposition to “totalitarian” socialism through covert endorsement of “democratic” imperialism. In the same way, today’s effective slogan of “neither Washington nor Beijing” means in practice political support for Washington against Beijing. In reality, this means siding with capitalism against socialism – clearly the wrong position for workers.

Not to be outdone, the Socialist Alliance (SAll) also chime in with the China bashing, under the guise of “a plague on both your houses”. Echoing SAlt, SAll write that “In the conflict between the US and China, we should not support either side.”[15] But this is immediately exposed as false, as SAll shout to the heavens about the need to support “democracy” (!) in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang. These three regions are targeted for destabilisation, chaos and – the US state department hopes – the spreading of anti-government action throughout China, leading to regime change. The more the PRC necessarily builds up its military defences – vital for defence against an external imperialist assault – the more the US state department depends on the funding of internal pro-capitalist (“democracy”) dissidents within China. The capitalism allowed in Hong Kong has meant a substantial section of right-wing youth are able to be recruited as counter-revolutionary rioters. The separatists still remain wholly in the minority, however.

The imperial left are wrong – workers have a vital stake in the conflict between the real imperialism of the US and the rising socialism of the PRC. Regardless of justifiable left-wing criticism of the CPC, workers internationally must act to defend the PRC workers’ state, whether deformed or not. This means calling for unconditional military defence of the PRC against internal and external political, diplomatic, economic and military moves against Beijing. It is vital that socialism be defended and extended from the workers’ states to the centres of Western imperialism – the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH QLD 4012

[1] https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/gladys-liu-paranoia-and-the-chinese-communist-party-20190912-p52qhz (22-09-2019)

[2] https://www.workers.org/2019/08/16/whats-behind-hong-kong-protests/ (22-09-2019)

[3] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/completely-abhorrent-julia-banks-slams-former-liberal-colleague-liu-20190416-p51ek1.html (22-09-2019)

[4] https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australias-economy-has-deteriorated-under-the-coalition,12644 (22-09-2019)

[5] https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/2188404/china-says-last-years-gdp-growth-was-worth-more-australias (22-09-2019)

[6] https://www.space.com/42883-china-first-landing-moon-far-side.html (22-09-2019)

[7] https://venturebeat.com/2019/06/17/top500-china-has-219-of-the-worlds-fastest-supercomputers/ (22-09-2019)

[8] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/07/08/chinas-experience-with-high-speed-rail-offers-lessons-for-other-countries (22-09-2019)

[9] https://www.auscp.org.au/militant-monthly/2019/9/17/capitalism-with-chinese-characteristics-key-lessons-from-american-factory?fbclid=IwAR2XbjHqDMiALF2v_A9n4b5MoMmApdvoYdrCTE4jWzo-1spu025rvXXOYps (25-09-2019)

[10] https://qz.com/quartzy/1700915/american-factory-makes-barack-and-michelle-obama-2020-oscar-contenders/ (25-09-2019)

[11] https://redflag.org.au/node/6876 (25-09-2019)

[12] Ibid, 11.

[13] http://socioecohistory.x10host.com/2019/09/08/hk-protesters-rioters-besiege-innocent-bystander-on-street-beat-him-and-smash-his-car/ (25-09-2019)

[14] https://thegrayzone.com/2018/08/23/un-did-not-report-china-internment-camps-uighur-muslims/ (25-09-2019)

[15] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/china-scare-campaign-ignores-greater-threat (26-09-2019)

US vs China: Workers Must Defend Their Side

Climate Mayhem: Capitalism Must Fall!

20-09-2019 –  The planet is burning alive. On September 10, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast were on fire, as were parts of northern New South Wales.[1] Summer is still three months off, but the “bushfire season” starts earlier and lasts longer each year now. It is nothing like a “bushfire season”, or a “storm season”. It is clear that global warming tipping points are being approached, if not surpassed. Australia and the world face a climate meltdown which is already underway. World governments have been warned for 40 years that without serious moves to avert carbon emissions, ecological collapse is immanent. With the partial exception of some socialist states such as Cuba and China, they have done little or nothing. In the case of the Queensland government, by approving the Adani mega coal mine,[2] they are virtually cranking the gas burner up to high, and disconnecting emergency sprinkler systems.

Strike for Climate

Like never before, student and worker strikes for a safe climate are desperately needed. Yet every strike has a political leadership, which attempts to direct it in line with their material interests. The September 20 Strike for Climate is no exception. Its political leadership, unfortunately, are not the young students themselves, even as they defy school authorities to attend. Behind the scenes, the strike is organised and led by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), in essence an arm of GetUp! – who in practice are the foot soldiers of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). The political demands have been watered down so as to assist the ALP back onto the parliamentary benches in Canberra. GetUp! and the AYCC work for the ALP, no matter how strenuously they deny it in public. The demands of no new coal mines, renewable energy by 2030, and re-training for workers in fossil fuel industry  – should not be opposed per se (even though “renewable energy” is largely a furphy). However, they are so moderate that they make a mockery of pretensions to radical climate action.

In addition, the Strike for Climate is a double lobbying act. It is timed to occur just days before the United Nations (UN) “Emergency Climate Summit”. So working people in Australia are being asked to not only lobby parliaments on these shores, but to lobby the “world parliament” of the UN. Pleading for crumbs from the global and local political arms of capitalist imperialism is not only fruitless – it entrenches submission to the profit system responsible for ecological collapse in the first place. The Climate Strike organisers even boast about how many for profit businesses have now backed the “strike” in some way, even by allowing their workers leave to attend.[3] To say this is class collaboration is vastly understating things. Conservative Union officials, masters at encouraging class collaboration amongst workers, are not to be outdone. Many have endorsed the Climate Strike, and some have even asked employers themselves to join in. To say the least, if workers march alongside employers, the “cause” is false.

Climate is a class issue

Even if climate collapse affects everyone – meaning both labour and capital – the subordination of the workers to direct agents of capital in the name of “climate action” is the highest political crime. The struggle for a safe climate cannot be separated from the overall struggle for human liberation. In the current period, human liberation is entirely bound up with the workers movement for socialism. Global warming induced bushfires burning closer and closer are linked to the lowest wages in history, wage theft, unemployment, homelessness and crushing poverty. Extreme weather events are also linked to US imperialism’s drive to nuclear war against China and Russia, and endless regime change wars against smaller states. The 700 odd businesses endorsing the climate strike are also responsible for the catastrophic decline in living standards, as they drive down the wages of their own workers – no matter how “enlightened” they may be. Marching with them for the “climate” is an illusion of colossal scale.

The Climate Strike is yet another attempt to subject the workers to the ideological forms of bourgeois democracy – as if there can be any “democracy” between workers and business owners. Unquestionably, there must be many strikes for a safe climate, but these can only raise class awareness if pro-working class elements are able to depose liberal leadership, and forge their own path. To save the earth and humanity, all those bound up with private capital – AYCC, GetUp!, the conservative Union officials, business owners themselves – must be ruthlessly driven out of the climate movement. If nothing else, these are the same forces that aid and assist the Pentagon’s drive towards imperialist war. If they are not on the side of workers in war, they cannot be allies for “climate”. The climate movement must be based on a pro-working class axis, which can then gather behind it other strata of society which are not antagonistic to the workers’ interests – e.g. left-wing students, pensioners, retirees, unemployed youth and so on. Vital demands which could assist this include:

  • For a 30 hour work week – a six hour day.
  • For the formation of workers’ councils, comprised of elected workers from all industries.
  • The workers’ councils to organise not only strikes but workers’ occupations of key industries – the banks, mines, railways, transport, telecommunications.
  • The workers’ councils to elect regional and national representatives – the basis of a workers’ government.
  • The workers’ government to declare the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production, and the constitution of a single economic plan.

The most advanced workers must forge a vanguard party to lead this process. There is no time to waste – there is no disagreement about that. To save civilisation, capitalism must go, and socialism must emerge.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/queensland/2019/09/10/queensland-bushfires-peregian/ (11-09-2019)

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-22/adani-approvals-removal-environment-department/11138140?pfmredir=sm (11-09-2019)

[3] https://www.mybusiness.com.au/management/6198-notbusinessasusual-businesses-urge-support-for-climate-strike (14-09-2019)

 

Climate Mayhem: Capitalism Must Fall!

A local government building in Manokwari was set ablaze by separatist Papuans. Image from http://www.theguardian.com

West Papua: Separatists Incite Violence

04-09-2019 – The desecration of a national flag, destruction of shops, torching of government buildings. Are we talking about Hong Kong? Try West Papua. In the former, Western governments materially aid separatists[1], while in the latter Western governments diplomatically aid separatists – for now. Separatism in itself, under certain circumstances, may be the correct political move for an oppressed class or nation. Likewise, a movement for independence – up to, and including, the right to form a separate state, may, under specific conditions, resolve political issues in favour of working people. Independence, if achieved against the interests of domestic and international capital, may clear the way for an advance of a workers’ struggle for liberation. In West Papua today, however, a much different situation transpires.

Student disrespect

Just before August 17 – Indonesia’s national day – a post on WhatsApp by a youth organisation displayed a defaced Indonesian flag lying in a gutter near a University dormitory in Java.[2] In response, Indonesian soldiers descended on the University dormitory and accused Papuan students of disrespecting the national flag. During this incident, some soldiers apparently used racist insults, calling them “monkeys”.[3] Reports of this incident triggered protests across Indonesia and throughout West Papua. While racist insults are of course unacceptable, a heated emotional response to the national flag being desecrated on the eve of the national day is understandable. After all, Indonesia’s national day marks the proclamation of Indonesian independence from Dutch colonialism (August 17, 1945), which had ruled Indonesia for 350 years.[4] While nationalists exist in Indonesia as in other countries, animated reaction against Papuan students disrespecting the Indonesian national flag, while being hosted at a Javan University, was likely.

The separatist or independence protests that ensued as a result appeared to have a clear target – Indonesian government built infrastructure, government buildings, and Indonesian commercial activity. Despite the Papuan students using these services, alongside Indonesians themselves, the separatists displayed scant regard for them, or for the danger posed to human life in the process. Like Hong Kong, the protests were in effect violent riots. In Manokwari, the capital of the West Papua province, the local government building was torched and reduced to ashes.[5] The separatists pulled down power poles and set fire to vehicles.[6] A market in Fakfak was set ablaze, as was a prison in Sorong – leading to the escape of 250 prisoners.[7] Also in Sorong, the airport was vandalised and many shops were looted.[8]

Liberation?

The demand “Free West Papua!” sounds alluring and enticing, and is redolent of a struggle for justice and right. In reality, the slogan is devoid of political content, not to speak of class content. More than 200 years ago, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels railed against anarchist opposition in the First International, which called for “freedom” in the abstract, regardless of the development of society in an economic or political sense. “Freedom” in itself is a meaningless term in politics, unless it is referred to in concrete terms and to a certain class it seeks to liberate. West Papuan separatists appear to see “freedom” in terms of being released from integration with Indonesia, or specifically, from non-Papuan Indonesians. While there is some nationalism and racism directed against Papuans from ultra-nationalist groups within Indonesia, this is not reflective of Indonesia as a whole. At the same time, there are eerie elements of Papuan disapproval of Indonesians on the basis of their ethnicity. This does not endow the West Papuan independence struggle – under its current leadership – with wholesome aims.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo stated that he understood why Papuans were offended, and asked that both sides forgive each other as “fellow countrymen”.[9] The governor of East Java, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, apologised for the behaviour of the Indonesian nationalist mobs, and said it does not “represent the…people of East Java”.[10] These are scarcely the words of government leaders who are allegedly carrying out systemic discrimination against Papuans. The extent to which the Indonesian government always enacts fair treatment of Papuans is of course up for debate. However, the intent of the Indonesian government appears to be consistent – it is attempting to integrate Papuans into the whole of Indonesia. In 2001, the Indonesian government granted Papua a status of “Special Autonomy”. This may well be rejected by separatist Papuans, but “liberation” has to have a more positive political program than simply rejecting Indonesia.

A liberation movement also needs a basic honesty, so that all can clearly see that the cause is just. Yet in the hands of the current political leadership, a lack of honesty is the major drawback for the West Papuan independence movement. Time and again, the West Papuan separatist leaders have fabricated blatant untruths in their attempt to whip up false hysteria against “Indonesia”. In December last year, Papuan separatists made the fatuous claim that the Indonesian military used white phosphorus munitions against independence supporters. They allied themselves with reporters who openly sided with US imperialism against Syria, where the US government accused the Syrian government – without evidence –  of using chemical weapons, while at the same time admitting they had themselves used white phosphorus munitions against civilians in Syria.[11] Around April this year, Papuan separatists were backed by Western NGOs in claiming – without a shred of evidence – that 32 000 people had been displaced in the Nduga region in West Papua, and that 34 schools had been damaged by the Indonesian military.[12] No verification was provided. But this doesn’t stop Papuan separatists from trying it on again.

Instigators of violence

Papuan independence supporters raised their hands in horror at the Indonesian government blocking the internet in response to the outbreaks of violence wrought by the crowds they had incited. The Indonesian government claimed that this move was made in order to stop Papuan separatists sharing fake videos to further incite more violence. There were some reports that the Papuan students were circulating a video allegedly showing a student being killed by Indonesian soldiers, which was entirely fake. Without offering the Indonesian government any political support, they appear to be telling the truth here. Why? Because the West Papuan separatists have a history of retailing bald faced lies to artificially pump up support for their movement. It is not beyond belief that the violent riots which occurred in the last week of August were fuelled by the separatists spreading a fake video online. Given that this then lead to a government building being burnt to the ground, an airport vandalised, shops looted, markets set on fire, power poles being felled and more – it is in turn not unreasonable for the Indonesian government to “throttle” or even block the internet in an attempt to prevent further violence.

The political violence instigated by the separatists only follows on from the instigation of military conflict by armed West Papuan militia. Time and again, the armed West Papuan groups provoke violent conflict with the Indonesian military only to claim “oppression” when the inevitable retaliation ensues. It is similar to the situation in Syria, where US/UK armed death squads would attack Syrian government positions, and then claim that the Syrian response to overt violence against them was evidence of an “oppressive regime”.  In December last year, armed Papuan militia slaughtered 31 Indonesian road workers constructing the Trans Papua Highway through the Nduga region.[13] Understandably, the Indonesian security forces had to move in to, at least, recover their bodies and secure the area. Hence, the Indonesian government claims that the military build up in parts of West Papua occurs only in response to the violent attacks from the separatists – are not without foundation.

Rejecting development

At the time, Sebby Sambom of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) claimed that the group deliberately attacked the road workers building the Trans Papua Highway because they reject all infrastructure development programs in West Papua.[14] !  This statement is revealing. The West Papuan separatists appear to be aware that the infrastructure development programs paid for and installed by the Indonesian government will benefit Papuans and non-Papuans alike, and will lead to increased economic activity, contributing to a higher standard of living for all. If this occurs, political support for separatist independence would be likely to dissipate. So to keep alive their aim of separatism, 31 innocent Indonesian workers had to die – and with no apology. Is it any wonder that the separatist Papuans do not attract sympathetic Indonesians to their cause?

The question of the economic and industrial development of West Papua is important. Without offering political support to the Indonesian government, the fact remains that the Indonesian government is ramping up its efforts to connect West Papua, parts of which are still inaccessible due to mountainous and jungle covered territory. The Trans Papua highway is a part of this, but there are also moves to extend electricity coverage to more areas of West Papua. In fact, the Indonesian state owned electricity company PLN recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Indonesian military and some Universities, where the aim is to provide electricity to 99% of the villages across West Papua in 2019.[15] Is this the type of development which is rejected by the armed West Papuan groups – connecting villages to electricity, which have never seen it before? West Papuan independence advocates can arguably claim that the Trans Papua highway will only benefit Indonesians, as most Papuans do not own cars or commercial vehicles. However, it is not plausible to suggest that the electrification of nearly all of West Papua will not benefit Papuans, especially those from the highland areas which are currently in darkness.

Transmigration

The critical issue which is driving some Papuans towards nationalist and pro-independence views is the desire to end the transmigration of Austronesians to Papua from other parts of Indonesia. The transmigration is significant, with Austronesians now making up around 51% of the population to the approximately 49% Melanesian indigenous population. However, there remain huge regional variances within the Papuan provinces. While Austronesian and other transmigrants now outnumber Papuans in urban and coastal areas, Papuans are still the overwhelming majority in the highland interior.[16] To some extent, fears of being pushed out of their own land MAY be understandable IF there was systematic and blatant exclusion of Papuans by the Indonesian government and those who tend to dominate commercial activity. However, it is apparent that the Indonesian government is attempting to integrate them into the “Unitary State” of Indonesia, through granting regional autonomy, spending vast sums on transport and electricity infrastructure, and, where possible,  providing healthcare and education for all residents.

Doubtless, there may be many blemishes on the record of the Indonesian government while attempting to implement their aims. Despite this, the Indonesian government  cannot stand by and allow armed Papuan groups to engage in wanton killings of non-Papuan residents. Nor can it stand by and allow Papuan separatists to engage in terroristic violence such as provoking gunfights with police and the military OR the incitement of crowds to commit riotous acts such as setting ablaze government buildings, markets, shops or transport facilities.

It is true that Marxists MAY sometimes give critical support to a movement for national liberation IF it is directed against imperialism.  However, the current West Papuan “liberation” movement is oriented in the opposite direction. It aims to enlist imperialism to help achieve its aims, both because it knows it cannot defeat the Indonesian military on its own, and because it does not aim to convince Indonesians, let alone Indonesian workers, of the justness of its cause. So there are appeals to the United Nations, to British and Australian parliamentarians, and so on. The British ruling class has partially come to the party, by offering fugitive independence figure Benny Wenda “asylum” in London.[17] The nationalism of a small state often means, in turn, recognising the nationalism of the largest states, as a quid-pro-quo. Working people, from Indonesia, Papua, the UK and Australia – on the other hand – have a material interest in politically combatting the nationalism of small and large states, in their combined struggle for liberation from capitalist imperialism. Papuan separatists, and their supporters, need to decide where they stand.

 

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] https://www.workers.org/2019/08/16/whats-behind-hong-kong-protests/ (26-08-2019)

[2] https://globalvoices.org/2019/08/25/indonesia-sends-in-troops-and-cuts-internet-as-west-papua-protesters-denounce-racist-treatment-of-students/ (28-08-2019)

[3] Ibid, 2.

[4] http://www.bali3000.com/article/IndependenceDayofRepublicofIndonesia.asp (28-08-2019)

[5] https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/explained/article/3023640/explained-riots-indonesias-papua-region (28-08-2019)

[6] https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6337270/jakarta-to-hold-probe-after-papuan-protest/digital-subscription/ (28-08-2019)

[7] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/indonesia-papua-riots-unrest-history-problems-development-11836300 (28-08-2019)

[8] https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Papua-violence-shows-Indonesia-s-fragile-grip-on-eastern-provinces (28-08-2019)

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/20/indonesian-president-calls-for-calm-after-violent-protests-in-west-papua (28-08-2019)

[10] Ibid, 9.

[11] https://redfireonline.com/2018/12/30/west-papua-corporate-media-enlisted-to-spread-false-claims-fake-news/ (29-08-2019)

[12] https://redfireonline.com/2019/04/27/west-papua-independence-movement-spreads-more-false-claims/ (29-08-2019)

[13] https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2176302/indonesia-probing-reports-rebels-executed-31-construction (30-08-2019)

[14] https://indonesiaexpat.biz/news/free-papua-movement-kills-workers/ (30-08-2019)

[15] https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/07/30/pln-signs-deal-to-expand-electricity-in-two-provinces-in-papua.html (01-09-2019)

[16] https://www.globalresearch.ca/indonesias-west-papua-settlers-dominate-coastal-regions-highlands-still-overwhelmingly-papuan/5569676 (01-09-2019)

[17] https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-49009326 (01-09-2019)

West Papua: Separatists Incite Violence

Flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)

Hong Kong: Towards Capitalism or Socialism?

25-08-2019 – As the staged provocations in Hong Kong enter their 12th week, it is becoming more obvious that the Blackshirt separatists have the (unofficial) backing of the US state department. It is likely that the violent pro-capitalist demonstrators have been given an assurance that they will continue to receive covert support if they do not let up with their efforts to destabilise Hong Kong. The aim appears to be to provoke a military response from Beijing, which, if it occurred, would again give the Western world the chance to manufacture another 1989 Tiananmen Square type propaganda coup.[1] One of the reasons that Julian Assange is now in prison facing possible extradition to the US is the fact that Wikileaks revealed that in 1989 in Beijing, there was no “massacre” in Tiananmen Square – it was manufactured by the West’s corporate media.[2]

This has not prevented Washington convincing almost half of humanity – or at least those who reside in the first world – that moves for “democracy” in China will be crushed by a “totalitarian communist government”. But as the People’s Republic of China moves to surpass the West economically, scientifically and technologically, more and more people are beginning to welcome the rise of the world’s largest socialist state. This is alarming for Washington, London, Canberra and other acolytes, as they need “their own” people in a state of fear and loathing of China, in order to shoehorn them back behind their capitalism – despite the fact that it is driving masses of working people further into poverty. Hence, the orchestrated attempted colour revolution in Hong Kong today, using black shirted pro-US separatists and/or revanchist pro-UK colonial footmen – and women.

Democracy?

The Western corporate media endlessly drone that “pro-democracy” protests are occurring weekly in Hong Kong. Hardly. Democracy in the abstract is a totally meaningless concept, unless it is connected with the political aims of a particular class. The politics and the class character of all movements must be analysed carefully – but the West’s paid scribes have no interest in doing so. This is because the class character of the separatist rioters in Hong Kong is clearly pro-capitalist and anti-socialist. The separatists sometimes claim left cover even while agitating for capitalism. For example, the separatists claim that Hong Trade Unions are supporting their movement. But there are two Trade Union bodies in Hong Kong. One is the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU) – which has strongly opposed the often violent protests. It is the largest body of Unions, and 251 of its affiliated Unions have campaigned against the separatists’ call for a general strike.[3] On the other hand, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) has backed the anti-China protests, but they represent a much smaller body of workers, and only have 61 affiliated Unions.[4] They have joined with the bogus “Civil Human Rights Front” which co-ordinates the anti-Beijing demonstrations. However, it is no exaggeration to describe the HKCTU as “CIA Unions”, for there is evidence that they receive funding from the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED),[5] the public relations arm of the CIA.

NED funding of “democracy activists” gives the game away wholesale. The US imperialist state is never interested in “democracy” or “human rights”, even in the most nebulous sense. They are about protecting and maintaining the interests of US based capital, regardless of the human cost anywhere on the planet. Aside from yellow “Unions”, the NED admits to spending $400 000 in funding for “democracy” advocates just in the year 2018.[6] There is little doubt that this has ended up in the hands of the right-wing “Civil Human Rights Front” directing the ugly and often violent anti-China demonstrations. What’s more, the dangerous targeting of those suspected of backing the Hong Kong police or China, even the elderly, is a sure sign that the separatists’ aims are not pure.

Central leaders of the separatists have been caught openly colluding with the US state department, who are essentially their benefactors. Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were photographed literally meeting with US embassy staff at the height of the protests.[7] Soon after, Nathan Law revealed that he was leaving Hong Kong, to study at the prestigious Yale University in the US.[8] Joshua Wong was the noted head of the “Demosisto” party which launched in 2016 in Hong Kong, when Mr Wong was then 19 years of age, and with little or no political experience. Given that Mr Wong was at that time too young to run for office in Hong Kong, it is apparent that the Western corporate media did not wish to admit that the Demosisto “party” was patently another front funded by the NED.[9]

“Independence” – code for capitalism

The other fraudulent claim about the separatist protests is that they are a legitimate move for independence. As in so many other “independence” claims – such as the one in Tibet – in reality the call for independence is a rallying cry for counter-revolution. In other words, those in favour of “independence” in Tibet or Hong Kong are in fact protagonists for capitalism, who aim to break away from the socialism the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has created. In Hong Kong, this is masked by the yet more fraudulent call for “universal suffrage”. Here the call is for separate electoral and political laws to mainland China – to which Hong Kong is in the process of being integrated. Hong Kong certainly did have separate political reality to mainland China when operated by British imperialism until the handover in 1997. During this time, there were no elections, no elected government, no right to a minimum wage, no right to decent housing or healthcare and definitively no freedom of the press or freedom of speech.[10] This was capitalism, British imperial style. And yet some of the separatists today wave the Union Jack!

If it ever were to occur, an “independent” Hong Kong would be entirely dependent on the US and the UK – precisely what the right wing separatists desire. But it is a pipe dream that the PRC will give up on Hong Kong, especially after the completion of the high-speed rail link from West Kowloon to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, which opened on September 23, 2018. It links Hong Kong with 44 mainland China rail stations, and is part of the largest high speed rail link in the world.[11] For a road link, try the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge, the longest sea-spanning bridge in the world, built at a cost of 20 billion dollars.[12] Together, the high speed rail link and the mega-bridge will permanently connect Hong Kong to mainland China, irrespective of the reactionary desires of Hong Kong separatists and their imperial backers. The deep state operatives of the US and the UK know this, which is why they pin their hopes on triggering anti-socialist political unrest, which they hope will politically destabilise Hong Kong, and then spread into mainland China.

Who holds power in the PRC?

In referring to the PRC’s socialism, we do not infer that there are no concerns or political problems for Chinese workers. The PRC is socialist to the extent that there is a predominantly nationalised and planned economy, which is underpinned by a workers state which was the vital gain of the 1949 socialist revolution. The PRC is socialist insofar as the key state apparatus – the police, the courts, the civil service, the armed forces – uphold and defend the working class rule which emerged out of the victorious revolution led by the Communist Party of China (CPC). Workers in China hold state power and economic power – yet political power remains elusive. For now, political power is exercised by a conservative and nationalist caste, inside and outside the CPC. This caste blocks workers from exerting political decision making power, in relation to domestic and international matters.

At the same time, Chinese workers benefit from the gains of socialism in China, and not only economically. Additionally, workers internationally benefit from the gargantuan economic power of the PRC, which even props up and drives economic growth in its trading partners – including Australia. Without trade from China, Australia’s capitalist recession would be much worse than it is now. Workers in South East Asia also benefit from the planned extension of further trade and integration with the PRC – which results in the US state department frantically attempting to fund “opposition” parties in Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar, amongst others. What drives the huge economic growth in China – which has averaged 9% per year, every year, for 30 years – is the fact that the major means of production in China are state owned or majority state owned. They do not have to run at a profit. The PRC government can use them to build the economy by providing employment for workers – something for which no capitalist enterprise could ever exist.

The CPC is politically based on distortions of “Marxism-Leninism”, the twin pillars of which are the mistaken theories of “socialism in one country” and “peaceful coexistence”. Yet the very disturbances we see in Hong Kong over the last three months are another reminder of the falsity of these theories, which have little in common with Marxism or Leninism. Under the theory of “socialism in one country”, it is posited that a workers state can arrive at an agreement with imperialism that they should be left alone, to build “their own” socialism, while the imperialists continue building capitalism in their country.

Marx and Lenin, had they lived, would have scoffed at the very suggestion that imperialism could be trusted at any time, let alone be trusted to leave you alone for years or decades. Capitalism must expand or die, and it cannot expand sufficiently within the borders of “their own” countries. Capitalism cannot expand within its own borders, mainly because it cannot raise the standard of living of “its own” workers beyond a certain level. Competition for an adequate rate of profit means they must drive down wages, not raise them. Hence they constantly seek new fields of capital plunder overseas. If any government resists, they must be subverted, undermined or overthrown – via imperialism.

Defend the PRC

The imperialists know that they cannot overthrow the PRC directly, due to its huge population, and also because the PRC retains a necessary nuclear defence. As remote as the possibility seems, imperialism must try regardless. Funding and backing pro-capitalist dissidents in Hong Kong is just one strategy they employ – making a mockery of the theory of “peaceful coexistence”. The imperialists will not, and cannot, think of peacefully existing with a socialist state. In fact, as we know, ANY state – not just a workers state, which does not sufficiently bow to the will of Washington, can expect to be targeted for regime change sooner or later. The vast and relentless funding of “democracy” activists in Hong Kong by the governments of the US and the UK will not stop until real workers power is extended from the mainland. Standing in the way of this, however, is the distorted “Marxism-Leninism” of the CPC.

Despite this, workers in China and Hong Kong and internationally, have a vital stake in defending the PRC against the reactionary intrigues of Western imperialism. The Western media is currently in a frenzy, whipping up anti-China hysteria to an extremely dangerous level. It is becoming clear that Washington, London and Canberra are preparing us for a catastrophic war with Red China. The only disagreement amongst the capitalist ruling classes is when to begin. To do this though, they need to saturate the working class with any and all anti-socialist propaganda they can muster. If this is carried on at fever pitch for a number of years, there may be little working class resistance to the launch of what could be “mutually assured destruction”.

Workers in Australia and internationally need to insure that imperialist propaganda, and their preparations for war, fall flat. This should be done by exposing the hypocrisy of the US flag waving separatists in Hong Kong, defending the PRC against “our own” ruling class, and by striving to forge working class parties based on genuine Leninism – true internationalism. The defence of the PRC workers state must be linked to our struggles for our own workers state, as the first step towards a classless socialist society.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/07/24/tiananmen-redux-west-pushing-baba-beijing-to-send-pla-into-hong-kong-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190724/ (17-08-2019)

[2] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8555142/Wikileaks-no-bloodshed-inside-Tiananmen-Square-cables-claim.html (17-08-2019)

[3] http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/8/17/hong-kong-protests-are-attack-socialism?fbclid=IwAR2tVik0YpoOqgXaBdOsfYW8ljNjbDXuaCavox0XTIv1eb57srN8aE7SFcA (21-08-2019)

[4] Ibid, 3.

[5] https://www.mintpressnews.com/hong-kong-protests/259202/ (21-08-2019)

[6] https://www.ned.org/region/asia/hong-kong-china-2018/?fbclid=IwAR1PzFM6XJXl_aQPilORsVyep2F3Vjsx-pahxdCzIR3mWFo5sl3h0fqpv6Y (21-08-2019)

[7] https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-08-08/U-S-organization-accused-of-funding-violent-HK-protesters-IZmV4qHTWg/index.html (21-08-2019)

[8] https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-08-16/Leader-of-violent-protests-leaves-HK-for-U-S–Jd91H7TJLi/index.html (21-08-2019)

[9] https://journal-neo.org/2016/04/18/hong-kong-gets-new-us-backed-party/ (21-08-2019)

[10] https://www.workers.org/2019/08/16/whats-behind-hong-kong-protests/ (21-08-2019)

[11] https://multimedia.scmp.com/native/infographics/article/2172120/high-speed-rail/ (24-08-2019)

[12] https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/hong-kong-zhuhai-macau-bridge-travel-tips/index.html (24-08-2019)

Hong Kong: Towards Capitalism or Socialism?

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