12-07-15 – Eight. That was the number of warnings given to US P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft by the Chinese Navy as it provocatively flew through the South China Sea on May 20, 2015. The US plane had aboard a CNN reporter who was able to record the alleged Chinese “aggression” in the area in order to better help Washington make the case for war against the People’s Republic. The notion of of the Chinese state being increasingly “assertive” in the region is a flagrant absurdity, which turns reality on its head. For years, it has been the US which has been the bellicose aggressor, relentlessly goading China into reacting militarily, which would then “justify” a US response. China has shown incredible restraint to what would be simply unacceptable behaviour if anyone other than the US engaged in it. We need scarcely imagine what the response from the US and their allies would be if the Chinese were flying spy planes up and down the east coast of the US mainland. Yet the US, in its self-appointed role of global cop, arrogates to itself the “right” to patrol any patch of the globe, at any time.
Above: Map showing the activities of various countries on island and reefs in the South China Sea. Predominant are Vietnamese flags, followed by the Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia. Chinese flags are in a small minority. On May 13, US Assistant Sectrary of Defense, David Shear, said to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee “Vietnam has 48 outposts; the Philippines 8, China 8, Malaysia 5 and Taiwan 1”. Yet almost all we hear is about Chinese aggression!
Washington’s reckless and criminal war provocations are echoed by Canberra, which in turn has linked in with Tokyo against China, the world’s largest and most powerful socialist state. Driving the US “pivot to Asia”, with its increasingly shrill war threats, is none other than the dire recession afflicting the capitalist world, particularly in the US, Europe, Australia and Japan. The five remaining socialist states – China, Vietnam, DPRK (North Korea), Laos and Cuba – have been relatively unaffected by the capitalist economic crisis devastating the West – also known under the pseudonym of “austerity”. China, with its massive size, has even been able to drive some economic growth amongst its trading partners, or in the case of Australia, almost single-handedly prevent it from a generalised economic collapse. The spectacular economic success of the People’s Republic of China demonstrates the superiority of socialism over capitalism, as did the Soviet Union during the 1930s while the West was in the midst of the Great Depression. Yet many are confused over the nature of China’s economy and politics. Some who are simply unable to attribute economic success to socialism react by labelling China as “capitalist”, or having “restored capitalism”. The first query of why China is not now in recession if its economy is “capitalist” doesn’t appear to have dawned on them. This question is a huge one to address, and needs to be discussed. For now, we will simply point to China’s 10% GDP growth rate for the last thirty years – “down” to around 7.5% now – and the instance of workers in China leaving some jobs in search of higher wage increases than the ones they are receiving! Needless to say, an economy where often employers struggle to pay their workers enough to convince them to stay in the job, does not sound very “capitalist” at all.
Unfortunately, some left parties here square the circle by claiming just that, absolving themselves of the duty to defend a revolution which finally overturned capitalism in 1949. Unconsciously, such left parties are carrying the can for the very ruling class they claim to oppose. Their hostility to Red China is not what workers in Australia can afford to engage, especially given the very real threat of war against China being launched from Australian soil. Recently, scrambling denials by the Australian government that the US plans to station B1 bombers in Australia have merely confirmed that in fact, US war plans against the People’s Republic are currently at an advanced stage. The US already has 2500 troops stationed in Darwin, and the forthcoming “Talisman Sabre” war games off the coast of central Queensland will for the first time involve Japan and New Zealand. These war games are literally a dry run for strikes against China, using the fig leaf of a coalition, in much the same way as the “Coalition of the Willing” which invaded and destroyed Iraq in 2003. Workers internationally have a vital interest in not only preventing an imperialist war against China (which could easily morph into a world war) but also in overturning the very source of war in our time – the system of private production for private profit.
Revelations released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden have brought to light the massive spying powers of the “Five Eyes” alliance and their respective intelligence agencies – US (National Security Agency – NSA), UK (Government Communications Headquarters – GCHQ), Canada (Communications Security Establishment Canada – CSEC), Australia (Australian Signals Directorate – ASD) and New Zealand (Government Security Communications Bureau – GSCB). Operating in secrecy from the public of all five nations, these agencies carry out unlimited interception of communications with the aim of suppressing any dissent to the aims of US imperialism. This does not mean that the US and its allies are targeting “terrorists” – far from it. These arms of imperialism are using their own state terror to wipe out any domestic opposition to their war agenda from “their own” working classes, as well as working toward the undermining and/or overthrow of any state, socialist or not, which attempts to chart a course independent of the US empire. It also means that secretive US bases such as Pine Gap can and are being used both to spy on all communications of Australian (and indeed global) citizens – from fax right through to email. In addition US spy bases such as Pine Gap are reportedly being used to direct drone attacks wherever the US desires. Most recently, this has been used against the anti-imperialist Houthi rebellion in Yemen, assisting the Saudi/Israeli war against what they claim is an Iranian ally.
Recently, Australian workers were subject to an orgy of nationalism in relation to the centenary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli in 1915. These maudlin commemorations were not just to remember the fallen, if they ever were. One of the principal reasons for the reanimation of the Anzac mythology at this particular time is to once again psychologically prepare the masses for another war – most likely in this region against China. It was, and is, the organised misuse of history to rally workers behind, or at least not to question – US imperialist rampages across the planet. As ever, Canberra will be a willing participant in such atrocities. The sacking of SBS journalist Scott McIntyre for tweeting comments questioning Australia’s sordid history in wars for the British empire, was a sharp warning that ANY anti-war sentiment in the current period will be harshly dealt with. The Australian ruling class is prepared for any course of action in its drive to restore the rate of profit for the billionaire class, even if this means backing yet more US led wars of slaughter – in Libya, Syria, Ukraine…or China.
Recognising this, some within the progressive movements call for an “independent” Australian foreign policy, assuming that such independence will result in the Australian government upholding “peaceful” international values. We sympathise with the sentiment behind such a view, and indeed join with their calls for the closing down of US bases and spy installations on Australian soil. However, we must emphasise that “Australia” already is “independent” in foreign policy and everything else. The Australian ruling class willingly allies itself closely to the US ruling class, seeing its interests as best being served being a “deputy sherriff”. There is no arm twisting by the US or any other imperialist power, and no subjugation of “Australia”. As unpalatable as it may be to accept, the Australian ruling class is every ounce as reactionary as the US empire it serves, and divesting itself from the US, even if it did occur, will not change its political outlook. The reactionary pro-war politics of the Australian ruling class, whether it is lead in the charade of the national parliament by a red or blue (or green) team, stems from its defence of world capitalism, which in this period of dire recession, drives it to wage reckless wars against millions of innocents.
In this respect, the only “independence” worth striving for is the independence of labour from capital. In international terms, this comes about through breaking the chains of imperialism, from removing your nation from the world capitalist system. The five socialist states, through various roads, have achieved independence by overthrowing capitalist rule, and embarking on the road to socialism. As many former colonial countries have found, political independence while remaining within the bounds of world capitalism in practice often falls well short of sovereignty. Iraq, Libya and Syria can attest to this fact, having been almost destroyed by US led imperialist war over the last ten years.
The People’s Republic of China has every right to defend itself against the baleful and menacing provocations by the US in the South China Sea, up to and including the building of airstrips and bases on reefs and atolls. In any case, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines are doing exactly the same thing! Unfortunately in this battle, the nationalist administration of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is allying with the very imperialist power that murdered at least 3 million of its citizens during the 60s and 70s, against China. Rather, the socialist states should be allying with themselves against the US for mutual protection and benefit. Nonetheless, workers here and in the Asia-Pacific need to rally in defence of Red China, and not just because of an opposition to war, as important as that is. Workers also need to rally in defence of Red China because they enjoy what we need to begin to avoid the worst depredations of capitalist decline – a socialist state. Only by the workers seizing and holding state power here in Australia and throughout the region can we put in place measures which can lead to the end of unemployment, poverty, racism and indeed war itself. We are under no illusions that this is an easy path. Yet our road to socialism will be made much easier by allying ourselves with the workers in our region who, through incredible mass sacrifice, have already attained state power. Workers here need to align ourselves with the socialist states of China, the DPRK, Vietnam (despite the currently wrong position of its leadership) and Laos, against the imperialist alliance of the US, Australia, Japan, New Zealand AND US vassal states like the Philippines and Taiwan. A war between the US and China is ultimately a war of capitalism versus socialism. Workers must ensure that we are on the socialist side in this battle.
The US “pivot to Asia” is code for war against China. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is one aspect of the war, the military encirclement and goading of China in the South China Sea is another aspect, the funding of parts of the Uyghur movement in the east of China is another, as is the political backing of the pro-capitalist “Umbrella Revolution” in Hong Kong and the feudalist “free Tibet” movement. Workers have an interest in steadfastly opposing all attempts by the US and its allies to undermine or overthrow the People’s Republic of China – and not just to avoid a potential world war. Workers should defend Red China in order to make the leap towards socialism here an easier task. For it is only with the triumph of socialism will “peace” and “independence” become a reality.
NO TO WAR! SHUT DOWN THE US BASES! DEFEND RED CHINA!
PO Box 66 Nundah QLD 4012