No Virus Recession!

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

No Virus Recession!

 

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

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

Corporate media and government fuel hysteria

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

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

Lockdowns may worsen health conditions

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

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

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

2. Public ownership of energy, infrastructure, banks!

3. A Workers’ Government!

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

http://www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Covid-19: Natural Pathogen, or Biological War?

Covid-19: Natural Pathogen, or Biological War?

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

Where did Covid-19 come from?

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

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

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

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

Act of biological war?

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

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

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

Social and political control

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

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

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

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

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

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philippines Says Yes to BRI, No to VFA

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Image from Thai Visa Forum

Philippines Says Yes to BRI, No to VFA

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

Decline of US as regional hegemon

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

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

Philippines joins the New Silk Road

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

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

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

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireoline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box  66   NUNDAH   QLD  4012

 

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

(07-03-2020)

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

(07-03-2020)

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

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

(07-03-2020)

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

(07-03-2020)

IWD 2020: For the Real Liberation of Women

IWD 2020: For the Real Liberation of Women

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

Corporate rule offers nothing for working women

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

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

TERFs and SWERFs divert from the real issues

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

For Women’s Liberation!

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

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

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

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

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

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