West Papua: Corporate Media Enlisted to Spread False Claims, Fake News

Map highlighting West Papua. Image from RNZ

West Papua: Corporate Media Enlisted to Spread False Claims, Fake News

30-12-18 – As far as false flags go, this one was a whopper. In an “exclusive” posted in The Saturday Paper on December 22, John Martinkus and Mark Davis make the outlandish claim that the Indonesian military used white phosphorus munitions against West Papuan villagers in the region of Nduga.[1] White phosphorus is an internationally banned chemical weapon, due to the immense damage it causes to humans in a battlefield. It ignites spontaneously in contact with oxygen, and burns human flesh incessantly, causing unbearable pain and often death. The very mention of white phosphorus condemns those who use it against supposed adversaries. However, in this case, the mention of white phosphorus is calculated to cause maximum outrage, up to and including demands for Western intervention – as if that would do anything but make things worse.

Embedded regime change media

Given the recent background of John Martinkus and Mark Davis, and The Saturday Paper, and SBS, in stridently backing the US led war of regime change against the Syrian Arab Republic, it’s not difficult to see how they have transferred their skills in fake news. And the deadly irony is that the side they were paid propagandists for – US imperialism and its ISIS and Al-Qaeda death squad proxies – repeatedly used white phosphorus against Syrian civilians and anyone suspected of defending their government and armed forces against arguably the dirtiest war in history. A little over a month ago, it was reported that the US military used banned white phosphorus bombs in the Deir Ez-Zor province of Syria for the fourth time in two months.[2] It is not as if the US denies using banned white phosphorus munitions – a crime of colossal proportion. In 2017, the US military claimed that white phosphorus rounds were used for “screening” in a way that “considers civilians”.[3] Needless to say, the US military would probably also claim that its entire war for the overthrow of the Syrian state was because it was concerned for civilians!

Unfortunately the US was actively assisted in this atrocious war by other imperialist powers such as the United Kingdom (UK), France, Canada and Australia. And the region of Deir Ez-Zor is very close to home for the Australian ruling class. In 2016, the Australian military admitted that its warplanes had been involved in bombing in Deir Ez-Zor which not only slaughtered up to 82 Syrian soldiers,[4] but actively assisted ISIS alongside the US military. This was during a period where the US was back-pedalling due to the military success of Russia’s air strikes against ISIS, which were requested by the Syrian government.

2016 was the year in which John Martinkus openly propagandised for US imperialism, again ironically in the same The Saturday Paper. At that time there was a slew of Western corporate media slanders against the actions of the Russian military in Syria, with fabricated claims that Russia was bombing civilians instead of bombing ISIS, especially in and around the ancient city of Aleppo. John Martinkus’ article at that time was a part of this unprincipled barrage, and even claimed that the Syrian government also took part in supposedly raining death upon Syrian civilians.[5] For his part, Mark Davis also joined in as a mercenary journalist for hire, posting a video about the mythical “Syrian uprising”.[6]

If these reporters were consistent, or were even half remorseful about their role in working for imperialist interests against Syria, and in practice for the terrorist death squads armed by the West, they might have written a story about how the US used white phosphorus during its war on Syria, and still does. But no – now they have turned their hand to put together fabricated claims that the Indonesian military used white phosphorus against West Papuan separatists. In Syria, the aim was to call for further Western intervention to accelerate the destruction of the entire Syrian nation, potentially triggering a global nuclear war. Now, the aim appears to be a call for Western intervention into West Papua, on the basis of unproven and fake claims against the Indonesian armed forces. It seems the material benefits of fanning the flames of the nefarious ends of imperialism are too much to resist.

What did happen in Nduga?

In amongst the blanket of lies about white phosphorus, even compromised guns for hire feel compelled to report some of what actually occurred. The firing of some kind of gas projectiles into the Nduga region by the Indonesian military was in response to the slaughter of at least 31 workers who were constructing the Trans West Papua highway. The Saturday Paper’s “exclusive” admits that these killings were murders. These murders were apparently carried out after requests for the road workers to destroy a video of a flag raising ceremony in the region on December 1 – the day that West Papuans mark as their declaration of independence from Dutch colonialism in 1963. The armed Papuans apparently chased the workers back to their accommodation, and murdered 24 of them. 8 escaped to the home of a nearby politician, the armed Papuans again chased them to that place, and murdered 7 more.[7]

The Indonesian military (TNI) expressly denied using white phosphorus, and credibly pointed out that such munitions cannot be fired from a helicopter, but would be have to be fired from a jet fighter or a bomber, from a distances of tens or hundreds of kilometres away. A statement provided to the ABC by the Papua Military Command went on to say that the TNI does not operate jet fighters, let alone bombers.[8] On the other hand, the West Papuan armed groups make the likely claim that the road workers are in fact Indonesian military, and not civilians. Moreover, they claim that the Trans Papua Highway will be used for military purposes, and will not benefit civilians.[9] The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) has claimed responsibility for the attack which took 31 lives.[10] Needless to say, once a dispute reaches the point of armed conflict, a political resolution becomes more and more difficult to attain.

Independence for West Papua?

There appears to be a divide between some of the armed separatist West Papuan groups and a political wing. Benny Wenda, the exiled chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), stated in response to the incidents in Nduga that his organisation does not want bloodshed, but does want Indonesia to come to the international table so there can be an agreement about a referendum.[11] At the same time, Victor Yiemo, international spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), stated that the TPN-PB is “our military and are fighting for our freedom and we support them”.[12]

What stance should working people take on the issue of independence for West Papua? Many on the left misinterpret the leader of the Russian Revolution, V.I. Lenin, on the issue of national liberation. While it is the case that Lenin and the Bolshevik party often advocated for the right of nations to self-determination, up to and including the right to separate – this was not always automatic. And more to the point, it was only advocated by the Bolsheviks in order to strengthen the struggle for socialism against capitalist imperialism. In the case of the nations within the Tsarist “prison-house of nations”, it was specifically put forward in order to gain working class support for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a multi-national workers’ state. This later became a reality with the founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. However, this was only possible after the working-class seizure of state power which was the spectacular success of the October Revolution of 1917.

In acknowledging the right of nations to self-determination, it does not follow that Marxists will therefore automatically advocate the exercise of such a right. In addition, while Marxists do not of course insist that a national liberation movement must necessarily have international socialist politics driving it before offering support, the politics of the leadership of such a movement must be analysed and assessed. It therefore becomes not so much a case of whether or not to demand, and fight for, independence. It is much more a case of independence with which politics?

More to the point, what is the political character of the leadership of the various groups pushing for independence for West Papua?  There is no doubt a historic injustice has been perpetrated against the people of West Papua, and thus a strong case could be put forward for independence. Yet if the current political leadership of such a movement is prepared to allow blatant false flags (such as the claim of being bombed with white phosphorus) in cahoots with Australian journalists with a track record of working directly for imperialism in perhaps the dirtiest war in history, such a leadership must at the very least be questioned. Imperialism itself repeatedly used blatant false flags – claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians, without a shred of evidence, to prosecute a war which slaughtered at least 500 000 innocent people. Is the political leadership of the West Papuan independence movement at all concerned that its movement could be associated with such forces?

United Nations – a double edged sword

Taking the cause of West Papuan independence to the United Nations (UN), or appealing to it to intervene on behalf of West Papua, has some advantages, but many disadvantages. On the one hand, it may be possible to score moral victories, in terms of votes in the General Assembly in favour. For example, the UN General Assembly has voted for many years for the lifting of the economic blockade on Cuba. Repeatedly, the only countries to vote against usually include the US and Israel. These indicative votes in favour of a basic issue of justice of course cannot be enforced, but help to establish a certain political justification. On the other hand, the UN is a body which is controlled by the various imperialist powers, and led by the largest imperialist of all – the US. Therefore, appeals to the United Nations (UN) recognises the existing power structure and builds illusions in the very system which holds the world in its death grip. It doesn’t point a way forward to liberation from this system – in West Papua or elsewhere.

The ULMWP is apparently campaigning throughout 2019 for a UN vote on West Papua, and are asking Australian to lobby the federal government to support it.[13] This is the same UN which oversaw the discredited “Act of Free Choice” decades ago, and rubber stamped the Indonesian take-over of West Papua soon after.  Some also lobby to expand the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP), which includes current Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.[14] Ironically, closer to home, Jeremy Corbyn is on record as opposing independence for Scotland. But the supreme danger in terms of working people swinging behind such moves is that it reinforces the central myth of corporate class rule – that, despite everything, bodies such as the UN, the Australian and UK Parliaments are “our” politicians and “our” leaders. Little could be further from the truth. These bodies are marionettes whose strings are pulled by the real rulers of the world – the holders of finance and industrial capital, accumulated daily by the endless toil of working people throughout the globe.

Neither can working people make apologetics for the Indonesian government or its military (TNI) with its role in West Papua. The only way to combat this politically though, is to reach out to Indonesian workers in West Papua and throughout Indonesia, in a struggle against capitalist rule in South West and South East Asia, and indeed throughout Australasia and the Pacific. This would impair the unhealthy dynamic of “Indonesia versus West Papua”, and also the even more unhealthy “Muslim versus Christian” by-product. Under this political context, the demand for West Papuan independence could be backed by working people in the region, and could spur on the much needed socialist revolutions in the imperialist centres. Key to this drive will be the formation of workers’ vanguard parties in West Papua, Indonesia, Australia and the Pacific. West Papua can only be liberated by the actions of workers united across Australasia.


E: workersleague@redfireonline.com


PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2018/12/22/exclusive-chemical-weapons-dropped-papua/15453972007326 (27-12-18)

[2] https://www.mintpressnews.com/us-uses-banned-white-phosphorus-bombs-in-syrian-city-for-the-fourth-time-in-two-months/251537/ (27-12-18)

[3] https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706091054502594-us-coalition-white-phosphorus-raqqa/ (27-12-18)

[4] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-18/australian-jets-involved-in-botched-air-strike-on-syrian-army/7855610 (27-12-18)

[5] https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2016/10/01/syrian-city-aleppo-under-siege/14752440003804 (27-12-18)

[6] https://www.sbs.com.au/news/dateline/story/syrias-uprising  (27-12-18)


[7] Ibid, 1.

[8] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-23/indonesia-military-denies-using-chemical-weapons-in-west-papua/10664402 (27-12-18)

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/05/west-papua-fears-of-spiralling-violence-after-attack-leaves-up-to-31-dead (27-12-18)

[10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s2h8nHc1KA&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0mv9fNQ1anWtMi1Xco-mos6f_ZcJujcJVmeQdjC6vhvkobrwj3CKJ1mPM (27-12-18)

[11] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/06/west-papua-independence-leader-urges-calm-after-killings (27-12-18)

[12] Ibid, 11.

[13] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/west-papua-liberation-movement-calls-un-support-independence-referendum-2019 (28-12-18)

[14] https://www.ipwp.org/ipwp-news/historic-meeting-with-leader-of-the-opposition-rt-jeremy-corbyn-london/ (28-12-18)

Yellow Vest Rebellion Shakes Neo-Con Rule

Yellow Vest protestors, with one holding a placard calling for the resignation of President Macron. Image from the Daily Sabah

Yellow Vest Rebellion Shakes Neo-Con Rule

18-12-2018 – “Act Five” of the Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vest) demonstrations continued across France this past weekend. While the numbers were down compared to round four the week before – perhaps due to police violence against the demonstrators, tens of thousands across France again rallied in the face of the armed fist of the state. Some reports say that 3 000 rallied in Paris, while there were 66 000 across the country – compared with 125 000 a week ago.[1] In typical French fashion, anti-government protests, when they erupt, continue for weeks on end. Whether it can keep its momentum remains to be seen.

The brave protestors have already won one of their main demands – the abolition of the fuel tax increase on petrol and diesel, which had been imposed by the government as a “green tax”. At the same time, French President Emmanuel Macron refused to abolish the scrapping of a “wealth tax”, which has earnt him derision as the “president for the rich”.[2] If the Yellow Vest movement continues across France, and inspires similar actions across Europe, the French President will struggle to retain his post.

More than cost of fuel concerns

Yet the Yellow Vest movement is not just about President Macron, and not just about a concern about high fuel prices. The leaderless movement has nonetheless circulated a list of demands, with the vast majority about the high cost of living, heavy workloads for little or no gain, and general unease about an unjust order which favours the rich at the expense of the poor and the “middle class”.[3] In other words, the Yellow Vest rebellion is an uprising against capitalism, but without saying so openly. The lack of pro-working class leadership somewhat restricts the goals of the movement, but at the same time this distance from the official “left” is what has allowed its launch and growth so far. From a distance it seems that in France, like Australia, what passes for the left is seen as too reformist, and the Union bureaucracy too concerned for the contents of their own pockets. In such conditions, revolt against neo-conservative government rule, had to take place outside of the “left”.

Some have claimed that amongst the Yellow Vests are right-wing or even fascist elements, attempting to drive it down their avenues. While the Yellow Vests have so far eschewed association with any political party or movement, left or right, the direction so far is much more left wing insofar as it is demonstrating against the immense inequality of a profits first system. Moreover, it possibly portends even a revolution to redress these rightful grievances, and many others, built up over several decades. It is a revolt against the elite which is not only enriching itself at the expense of the poor, but threatening the very existence of human civilisation. In addition, in stark contrast to the right-wing populism which has perhaps understandably produced Brexit in the United Kingdom, Trump in the US, and Bolsonaro in Brazil, the Yellow Vests do not have an anti-immigrant or a racist anti-European Union (EU) position per se.[4]

In fact, the Yellow Vest’s stance towards the EU does call for a “Frexit” – a pull-out from the EU. According to some demands which have been circulating in their name, the Frexit is called for to “regain economic, monetary and political sovereignty”.[5] Here there is perhaps a lack of class awareness, for if France was to exit the EU, French workers would still be subject to the oppression of “their own” ruling class. Nevertheless, the content does not indicate the arrant racism which compelled some Britons to vote for Brexit. The EU is an imperialist trading bloc, which seeks to drive down the living and working conditions of all European workers to benefit the wealthiest European ruling classes, particularly the French and German. Workers need a left-wing opposition to the EU, which the Yellow Vests provide.

Perhaps the most progressive Yellow Vest demand of all is the call for France to cease its participation in foreign wars of aggression, and for an exit from NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation).[6] French imperialism took part in arguably the dirtiest war in history – the arming and funding of terrorist death squads to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic from 2011 to 2018. Much of what passes for the “left” internationally backed this atrocious war of regime change against Syria, so in this sense alone the Yellow Vests are leagues ahead of liberal war-mongering. As for NATO, it is no exaggeration to say that it is threatening the world with global nuclear war. NATO was always an imperialist anti-Russian pact, whether in the form of the former Soviet Union, or modern Russia. Driven by the US Empire, it is an imperialist alliance pushing humanity to the brink of a catastrophic war. The Yellow Vest demand for a French exit from NATO fills part of the anti-war gap which flowed from the liberal non-opposition to the NATO wars against Libya and Syria. This should be complemented by similar demands to leave NATO by workers in NATO countries, and demands internationally for its abolition.

Similarly, the Yellow Vest demand for the repatriation of all French soldiers from “Francafique” – former French colonies in Africa, to cease interfering in the African countries, and for equal relations between them and France[7], is virtually a demand for the final end of French colonialism. Algeria was only the most well-known French African colony, after its battles for independence. But “Francafique” includes Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Benin, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Gambia, Chad and Cameroon. Direct military occupation by France is not entirely a thing of the past, to which the Yellow Vests draw attention.


The Yellow Vests were criticised in some quarters for ignoring environmental issues such as global warming, given that their central demand (which they subsequently won) was for the abolition of a fuel tax increase. But in fact, the Yellow Vests were well aware of the acute danger of climate disruption and agreed that measures must be taken to deal with it. Their only precondition was that the poor, working class and sections of the middle class should not be made to pay for it – while the rich elite get off scot-free. In Australia, while there was no open revolt on the streets, many people rejected the former Labor Party federal government’s “carbon tax” for similar reasons – despite right-wingers also opposing it on the basis of climate denial.

The Yellow Vest manifesto does contain significant pro-environment measures. For example, it calls for a ban on the production of plastic bottles, a call to weaken the power of Big Pharma (large scale pharmaceutical companies), and demands a ban on GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops, carcinogenic (cancer causing) pesticides, endocrine disruptors (cancer causing chemicals) and monocrops (the large scale growing of one crop over vast fields).[8] It should be recognised that under a socialist system, with the profit motive absent, GMOs could potentially be used to increase crop yield to feed more people. Under private production for private profit, however, GMOs in the hands of corporate agribusiness contain critical danger. The Yellow Vests are on point here, as was the President of Syria – a target of imperialism, when he banned the use of GMOs in that country in 2012.[9]

Perhaps the most remarkable environmental demand of the Yellow Vests is the call for all products to be made to last 10 years, and for spare parts to be available for them during that time.[10] They explicitly call for the end of “planned obsolescence” – a hallmark of late capitalism. “Planned obsolescence” is of course where the manufacturing corporations deliberately manufacture products with a short lifespan, sometimes as little as 12 months. At a certain point, capital realised that making good quality products which had a long life span actually prevented the masses from purchasing new ones. Thus the “throw away” society was born, with people more or less encouraged to dispose of old things rather than have them repaired. And indeed, repairs became uneconomical or even impossible to come by. The throw-away society is just one aspect of the inherently anti-environmental practice of the profit system.

For state protection of the vulnerable

The Yellow Vest manifesto contains significant demands for the welfare and well-being of the masses. For example, it calls for an increase of 40% of the basic pension and social welfare. It calls for an increase in hiring in the public sector to re-establish public services. It demands a public housing program to house the 5 million homeless, and severe penalties for mayors that leave people on the streets.[11] This is recognition of how the capitalist system has abandoned and turned against the working class over the last 30 years.

This drive is often referred to as “neoliberalism”, but this is a misnomer. “Neoliberalism” is not a policy choice, but the current phase of capitalism. From their perspective, the crisis in the rate of the profitability of capital has driven demands to release whole areas where previously the state organised and ran public services. Education, public housing, healthcare, legal aid, public transport, infrastructure – all of these areas and more had previously been undertaken by the capitalist state in order to assure the profitability of private capital. It did this by running sections of the economy where the capitalists could not obtain an adequate rate of return, and thus had no interest. Now, capital no longer makes an adequate profit from the industries it traditionally invested in. This is the basic reason for the relentless wave of privatisation.

Confuting demands

Despite the progressive overall direction of the Yellow Vest manifesto, at the same time it contains demands which aid the oppressive system they rebel against. For example, it calls for the “prevention of migratory flows which cannot be accommodated or integrated”.[12] This does not come across as an extreme anti-immigration position, but appears to bend in that direction. Mass migration to Europe in recent times has largely come about due to the wars imperialism has waged in the Middle East and Northern Africa – a fact recognised by other Yellow Vest demands. Yet it is a dangerous path to go down to play into the central divide and rule tactic the ruling classes use against workers. Capital says to unwitting workers, your enemies are “foreigners” – not the obscenely rich corporations. It should be recognised that there are some issues with the large numbers of migrants flowing into Europe in some areas. Yet these issues are minor in comparison with the error of throwing in your lot with the elite classes, which is the inevitable result of falling for an anti-migrant line.

In addition, the demand for the “quadrupling of the budget for law and order” could easily go in the opposite direction to that which is intended. The full demand does demand access to judicial procedures for all[13], which trends in a progressive direction. Under the rule of capital, the poor and working classes generally cannot afford to either defend a legal case, or bring one before a court of law. This is yet another injustice of the rule of finance capital. However, calling for a four-fold increase of the budget for law and order could very well mean four times the amount of riot police the Yellow Vests will face on the streets! The Yellow Vests appear to be somewhat unaware of the class nature of the capitalist state.

The treacherous role of the Trade Union bureaucracy was displayed in a statement released by six Union confederations on December 6. It denounced “all forms of violence”, did not ask anyone to join the Yellow Vest demonstrations, and effectively called for “negotiations”.[14] The conservative officials risk being seen as at one with the government itself, which again increases the risk of workers turning away from Unions altogether, into the hands of the far right.

Despite the reformism of the hidebound Union officials, and despite the at times contradictory demands of the Yellow Vest manifesto, it is in the interests of workers internationally to join and/or come behind a general uprising against capitalist class rule. If a Marxist vanguard was to form, it could give crucial leadership to a movement which has thus far remained leaderless by necessity – given the reformism of the “left” and the conservatism of the Union officials. Clarity of the political role of capital and the role of the working class in fighting for its liberation is at a premium. The rule of the rich must end.



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

[1] https://www.dw.com/en/fifth-round-of-yellow-vest-protests-in-france-with-3000-in-paris/a-46754716 (18-12-18)

[2] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/05/macron-mulls-bringing-back-ultra-rich-tax-halt-yellow-vest-protests/ (18-12-18)

[3] https://www.sott.net/article/402396-What-do-the-protesters-in-France-want-Check-out-the-official-Yellow-Vest-manifesto (18-12-18)

[4] http://newsjunkiepost.com/2018/12/07/are-the-gilets-jaunes-todays-sans-culottes/ (19-12-18)

[5] https://www.sott.net/article/402396-What-do-the-protesters-in-France-want-Check-out-the-official-Yellow-Vest-manifesto (19-12-18)

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/assad-bans-gmos-in-food-to-preserve-the-health-of-human-beings/article4620664/ (22-12-18)

[10] Ibid, 5.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] https://redflag.org.au/node/6640 (23-12-18)

Stop Adani Now – the Planet is Burning!

Image from @stopadani on twitter

Stop Adani Now – the Planet is Burning!

08-12-2018 – Queensland is literally on fire. 140 bushfires, some of which are described as “firestorms” have torched areas of Central Queensland this last fortnight. Some people who have evacuated have spent a week away from their homes, unable to return. The rabid intensity of these fires is a window to the dire portent of cataclysmic global warming which is only just beginning. Climate denialists no longer have an audience, if they ever did, in the face of chaotic and dangerous “weather” sweeping the globe.

In the face of this reality, the obscenity of the Adani coal mine slated for the Galilee Basin is a stark reminder of the archaic political system which allows, and even encourages, its own destruction. In the face of coal mines being green lighted and Pacific Islands being swallowed up by the sea, last week saw a “School Strike 4 Climate” where primary and secondary students around the country walked out of school to protest the glaring lack of action by politicians.[1] The Stop Adani campaign continues, following on from Adani’s recent claim that its mega coal mine will go ahead. It will apparently now be self-funded, after a string of domestic and international banks refused to provide finance.[2]

Break with the system to stop Adani

All of the urgent student actions and all of the actions against the Adani monstrosity need to continue. They are desperately needed and allow those most aware of potentially civilisation ending ecological collapse to step into activism. At the same time, the political leadership of the official Stop Adani campaign and the School Strike for Climate steer the actions on a course which is 180 degrees in the wrong direction. They seek to simply lobby the very politicians who know very well who they are serving, which is certainly not “the people” or those without wealth. These politicians are “not listening” because they are trained operatives defending that which produced Adani – the capitalist system of production for private profit. The parliament itself is set up as a foil for working people – it sustains the massive illusion that there are representative bodies that are responsive to their needs.

The official Stop Adani campaign is focusing on lobbying the Labor Party, especially in the lead up to the coming federal election. The Labor Party (ALP) is as committed to capitalist environmental desecration as the profit-gouging corporations themselves. If the Labor Party wanted to, it could Stop Adani tomorrow, as it holds government in Queensland. Instead, federal ALP leader Bill Shorten recently stated that the Adani coal mine would not affect carbon emissions !![3] It should be clear that the Labor Party is prepared to lose an election rather than oppose the Adani coal mine. This highlights the futility of not only lobbying the ALP, but the parliament and every pillar of the rule of capital. To really stop Adani, the political leadership of the campaign will have to break with the entire apparatus of the system.

Yet breaking with the system is not the intention of the political leadership of the Stop Adani campaign, and the campaign against global warming in general. On the contrary, their intention is to drive working people back towards the system, towards parliament, towards “our politicians”. This is the deadliest illusion of them all. Politicians who are paid apparatchiks of the rule of the banks are not “ours” in the slightest way. They are hired guns of an alien class – the elite billionaires whose wealth accumulates on the backs of the labour of workers. There may be some politicians who, in words, sound more liberal, and more progressive than others. Yet they are just as much guns for hire as conservatives.

There are a myriad of NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) who are very well funded, whose prime aim is to steer the Stop Adani and climate change movements back towards the supposedly liberal politicians, into parliament, and indeed, right back into the very source of environmental destruction – capitalism itself. This appears as a contradiction only to those who have yet to side with the workers in their struggle for emancipation. Stop Adani, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), SEED (a branch of AYCC), 350.org, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and GetUp!  are the primary NGOs who bend over backwards to limit the campaign to stop Adani within the strict bounds of appealing to corporate Australia, and the parliament as its puppet, to “be reasonable”. But there is no reasoning with those who build their careers and accumulate obscene profits at the expense of the lives of workers.

PRC lights the way

The idea that socialism in power can counteract dangerous climate change is anathema to liberal minded NGOs. Yet this is precisely what is happening in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In the PRC, working class power arrived with the victory of the 1949 revolution. There have been many changes since that time, but today the PRC government is the major power in the world which is making serious efforts to counteract fast approaching global warming. The PRC is phasing out coal, implementing electric bus transport in cities, and heavily investing in solar and wind power.[4] For serious efforts to move away from coal, however, the PRC is now the fastest expanding nuclear power producer.[5]  Rather than the fantasy of “100% renewable energy”, what is required is the correct mix of all zero carbon energy sources. That is, perhaps until nuclear fusion is developed, at which point all other zero carbon energy sources will probably be eclipsed. And, lo and behold, it is the PRC which is leading the way here also.[6]

While China’s socialism is far from perfect, the graphic lesson is that only a workers’ state can take resolute measures towards holding humanity back from the abyss of climate catastrophe. Rather than a fool’s gallery of elite politicians and their plush parliaments, the Stop Adani campaign must look to working people and its potential collective power to stop both coal and capitalism in its tracks.



E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.smh.com.au/education/school-students-on-mass-strike-to-protest-climate-change-inaction-20181129-p50j4c.html (05-12-18)

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/adani-carmichael-coal-mine-to-proceed-scaled-back-self-funded/10568600 (05-12-18)

[3] http://www.greencareer.net.au/news/shorten-coy-on-adani-emissions (05-12-18)

[4] https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/after-airpocalypse-5-ways-china-becoming-global-climate-leader (06-12-18)

[5] https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/how-china-has-become-the-worlds-fastest-expanding-nuclear-power-producer (06-12-18)

[6] https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-43792655 (06-12.18)

Nazi Backed Coup Govt Drives Ukraine to War – Again

A view of Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait closed for the passage of civil vessels after three Ukrainian Navy vessels illegally crossed the Russian border into Russia’s territorial waters. (Alexei PavlishakTASS via Getty Images)

Nazi Backed Coup Govt Drives Ukraine to War – Again

02-12-2018 – In a world which was not upside down, open military provocations against a neighbouring country which threaten catastrophic war near the European landmass would be universally condemned. When the targeted country happens to be Russia, however, any provocation, however hostile, is justified. Defying basic logic, such taunting can even be twisted to be presented as a “Russian attack”.[1] Such is the world of the Western corporate media, official mouthpieces for the behemoth of US imperialism.

What actually occurred was an open and reckless provocation by the Kiev based Ukrainian government against Russia, acting as a cat’s paw for US/EU/NATO imperialism. Three ships were ordered to deliberately enter Russian territorial waters by crossing the Kerch Strait, without the required notification to Russian maritime authorities. How do we know this? Because the Ukrainian sailors have already admitted as such.[2] Not only that, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), have also admitted that it had two agents aboard the Ukrainian naval ships which were detained by Russia for ignoring warnings to cease their dangerous manoeuvres.[3] Throwing away even a semblance of an independent mask, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko then publicly appealed for NATO ships to patrol the Sea of Azov to “provide security”[4].

Martial law?

Continuing the charade, Poroshenko then declared martial law – inside Ukraine – supposedly to deter hostile acts from Russia. As others have pointed out, declaring martial law within Ukraine, for something that happened out at sea, is highly suspicious.[5]  Yet more dubious actions have followed. On November 30, Poroshenko banned Russian males between the ages of 16 and 60 from entering Ukraine. He claimed that this was to prevent Russians forming private armies which, he claimed, act as directed by the Russian Federation.[6] He outrageously claimed that these “armies” aim to finish what started in 2014.

Working people need to be clear. What actually occurred in 2014 in Ukraine was a US/EU/NATO backed fascist coup against an elected government. It was this fascist coup in February 2014 which brought Poroshenko and his cronies into “government”. While the Poroshenko government just barely stops short of being an organised fascist movement, his government relies on support from literal pro-Nazi Ukrainian fascists who are viscerally anti-Russian, anti-socialist and pro-US. In response to this fascist backed coup, Ukrainian areas in the East bravely declared independence in opposition to the Kiev based fascist coup government. They formed the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Given their refusal to submit to NATO armed fascism, they deserve the support of workers worldwide.

Once again on Crimea

Ever since 2014, the Western corporate press has repeated a falsehood over and over and over again – that Russia “annexed” Crimea. Such language harks back to pre-World War I rhetoric, and provides an ominous presage to World War III. What occurred was that Crimeans voted by an undisputable majority – over 95%[7] – to secede from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. Crimea is overwhelmingly ethnically and linguistically Russian, but even that was only part of the reason why a reunion with Russia was the almost universal choice. Crimeans voted to join Russia because the alternative was to live under the rule of NATO armed fascists.  Barely a word of this essential truth ever appears in the corporate media of the US Empire and its vassal states. No amount of desperate fairy-tale retelling of events by Washington, London, Paris and Canberra can unmake this fact.

For the imperialists, war is the only way out of the economic and political crisis which is almost entirely of their own making. The collapse of “free enterprise” capitalism in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia, and the subsequent vicious attacks on the workers which result, means that the Western elites must have a scapegoat and a target, lest they face open revolt at home. Russia is the easy target, what with a century of anti-Soviet propaganda already hammered into the psyche of a suffering Western working class. Hence, Russophobia makes a dramatic return, and is then ramped up to hysterical levels. As we have mentioned previously, the Russophobia of today contains a combination of racism and anti-communism, even despite the overthrow of socialism in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991-2.

This is why it is in the vital interests of the word’s workers to defend Russia against US imperialism, despite the capitalism restored in Russia since that time. This is why also it was necessary to stand by Russia as it effectively defeated the ISIS mercenary death squads in Syria. In fact, the US led war for regime change in Syria was in part a proxy war against Russia. In the same way, the NATO backing of fascists in Ukraine is in some ways an even larger proxy war against neighbouring Russia. While the foreign policy of the Russian state can sometimes be highly questionable, e.g. maintaining good relations with dubious states such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, at the same time the Russian state is one of the only entities which is currently preventing Wall Street from launching a catastrophic war which could potentially incinerate hundreds of millions of people. In fact, Russia today effectively takes on the responsibility – which it did not ask for – of holding the US/EU/NATO juggernaut in check.

The Russian state today, with its strategic military strength, will need to be a temporary ally in the struggle for socialism of the world’s working people, insofar as it acts to stay the hand of a marauding and dangerous US imperialism. At the same time, pro-socialist workers within Russia need to recruit to their own banner, in the course of linking with other pro-working class forces internationally, in the struggle to prevent the US Empire from launching World War III. Australian left parties especially, need to utterly reject all facets of Russophobia, and act to combat its dissemination amongst working people.



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[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-26/whats-next-after-russia-and-ukraine-tensions-rise/10554870 (27-11-18)

[2] https://thesaker.is/ukrainian-sailors-confirm-that-they-deliberately-entered-russian-waters/ (01-12-18)

[3] http://tass.com/world/1032816 (01-12-18)

[4] https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/putin-defends-seizure-of-ukrainian-ships-poroshenko-invites-nato-in-azov-sea/ (01-12-18)

[5] http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/11/ukraine-provokes-russia-to-what-end.html (01-12-18)

[6] https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/ukraine-bans-russian-men-between-16-and-60-from-entering-country.html (01-12-18)

[7] https://www.rt.com/news/crimea-vote-join-russia-210/ (02-12-18)