No More “Emergency Measures”! Civil Rights Must be Restored

Australian soldiers enforce Melbourne’s “Ring of Steel”, alongside the police force. Image from http://www.portnews.com.au

No More “Emergency Measures”!  Civil Rights Must be Restored

26-09-2020: Just when you thought that government repression under the guise of “healthcare” could not get any worse, Dictator Dan Andrews in Victoria ramps it up to mind-boggling levels. The Labor Party Premier is attempting to pass through the Victorian parliament the Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill which among other things could result in detention without trial.[1] If enacted, it could mean that basic civil and democratic rights have become meaningless. Even the Victorian Bar Association has written to the Victorian government asking that they reconsider the bill which would allow Health Department appointed “authorised officers” to detain anyone they “reasonably believe” would negligently spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Sections of the establishment itself are opposed, as a group of retired judges and current QCs (Queens Counsels) have separately written to the government warning that the “emergency measures” could result in “unprecedented, excessive powers”.[2]

Raising a civilian paramilitary army

Barrister Stuart Wood AM QC, in an interview on the “Emergency Measures” bill, was aghast at the prospect that, if passed by the Victorian parliament, the legislation could empower untrained and unqualified individuals to detain their fellow citizens.[3] Union officials, so-called “Protective Service Officers”, public servants or members of the public appointed by them could be “authorised” to detain neighbours and members of the public who are suspected of not complying with self-isolation orders, protesting against lockdowns or even if they have a mental health issue.[4] It is suspected that these “authorised” persons would also have the powers to enter premises without a warrant if they “reasonably believe” a breach of public health orders is occurring. This is because police in some states are already able to do this – a grievous abolition of perhaps the most important right of all.

Currently, the Bill is being opposed by the Liberal Party opposition but may get across the line if some independents in the Upper House tip their hand in favour of the Labor Party. Whether this Bill comes into being or not, it is yet another grave warning of what is to come unless the working class resists and is able to assemble the organisation needed to strike blows against the inhuman lockdowns, mandatory facemask orders, social-distancing and all associated Corona ideology. It should be clear – if it wasn’t already – that “Covid-19” is being used as a Trojan Horse to inflict political repression greater than that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Lockdown fascism may be a greater threat, because the proposed Omnibus Bill in Victoria appears to be aimed at raising a civilian paramilitary army.

Even in Nazi Germany, one would imagine you had to actually be a member of the Nazis or one of their organisations to enact fascism against innocent workers and their families. Now, potentially under mainstream politicians in Australia, one can be appointed with a “monopoly on the means of violence”, and the authorisation to use force against blameless civilians without being a member of any political organisation whatsoever. In practice, however, such people will be the political shock troops of lockdown fascism. That is, they will be partisans of the capitalist assault on the working class which is falsely premised on the abjectly inverted reality of “saving lives” due to a “pandemic”. One could plausibly argue it is an intentional measure to create conflict in society, to tear it asunder.

Politics in 2020 is the reverse of the 20th Century

During the 20th Century, the danger of fascism always came from the right. For a whole range of reason, in the 21st Century, the danger of fascism is now coming from the left – or the so-called left. Union officials and the lockdown left comprise the spine of lockdown fascism – even if they themselves believe they have liberal and humanitarian values. It is this so-called left – the Labor Party, the Greens, Union officials and left parties which make now bizarre claims to be “revolutionaries” – which today is the strongest pillar of political support for a capitalism dangerously careening out of control. In addition to the police force itself, it is also the lockdown left which currently has the greatest propensity for verbal and/or physical violence against anyone they suspect of being skeptical about lockdowns, i.e. those who have a different opinion. This is why we can categorise lockdown mania as a form of fascism irrespective of its political leadership.

It is also why Dictator Dan Andrews is seeking to enlist the lockdown left as shock troops authorised with state violence. The lockdown left is already ideologically committed to the government and its capitalist state, as demonstrated by its deafening silence on the horror of the Melbourne “Ring of Steel”. By unleashing lockdown fanatics against other civilians, Dictator Dan can deflect blame away from his authoritarian rule and onto its only ideological foe – the anti-lockdown movement. In the same way that the pro-lockdown juggernaut can be designated as fascist regardless of its political form, the anti-lockdown movement can be designated as anti-fascist regardless of its political form. It follows that the pressing task for workers in 2020 is to politically and materially aid the anti-lockdown movement.

Under these conditions, the space for socialists within the anti-lockdown movement potentially becomes a minefield. Yet it must be navigated, even if it means employing a number of political and tactical concessions. Much of the anti-lockdown movement is anti-socialist, or at least according to the notion that socialism means political repression. What they reject – correctly – is a “socialism” without political rights for workers, e.g. the Soviet Union under Stalinism, China under Maoism, and so on. Yet lockdowns are currently eliminating political and civil rights, and they are wholly dispensed by capitalism, not “socialism”. As difficult as the venture may be, Marxists should attempt to imbue the anti-lockdown movement with the perspective that capitalism means political repression, and a collectively owned and democratically planned economy – socialism – means the opposite.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://catallaxyfiles.com/2020/09/18/victoria-now-introduces-detention-without-trial/ (25-09-2020)

[2] https://www.thebigsmoke.com.au/2020/09/24/the-omnibus-bill-victorias-plan-to-detain-those-who-fail-to-self-isolate/ (25-09-2020)

[3] https://www.news.com.au/national/dan-andrews-new-covid-omnibus-bill-empowers-the-untrained-with-draconian-abilities/video/d89f448ad7db81ad28ff557061b56634 (25-09-2020)

[4] https://www.rt.com/news/501366-victoria-people-arrest-each-other/ (25-09-2020)

West Papua: Independence or Ethnic Conflict?

A bus which was set ablaze by Papuan “independence” supporters outside the Manokwari Parliament building in August 2019. Image from sbs.com.au

West Papua: Independence or Ethnic Conflict? 

23-09-2020: One year ago, dangerous riots led by West Papuan supporters of “independence” spread across Indonesia. The trigger was said to be racist insults being hurled by Indonesian soldiers at Papuan students studying at a university in East Java. The governor of East Java apologised for the insults at the time, stating that these are not the views of the people in general. Even though racist insults are of course unacceptable, one can understand the Indonesian soldiers being incensed at a report on social media of a defaced Indonesian flag at the dormitories where the Papuan students were staying – at the very time of the marking of Indonesia’s Independence Day of August 17.[1] This is especially the case if the Papuan students are studying at a Javan University courtesy of the Indonesian government.

In response Papuan independence supporters (who in reality are separatists) went on several rampages throughout the country. Parliament buildings were set ablaze, vehicles were set on fire, power poles were torn down, a market in FakFak was torched, an airport was vandalised and shops were looted.[2] Following this violence, two months later armed Papuan separatist militia launched a vicious attack on the town of Wamena, in which 30 people perished, with 22 of them being Indonesian transmigrants.[3] The armed Papuans targeted Indonesian transmigrant workers such as motorcycle taxi drivers and hospitality staff. Yet it appears that some Papuans who do not support separatist independence were also caught in the crossfire of the reckless intent of the homicidal Papuan militia. Others who wish to live in peace with their Indonesian counterparts tried to make it to the airport in an effort to flee for their lives.

Left parties fall for the three-card trick

As we have previously reported,[4] almost all Australian and many international left parties sign up to the basic fraud of “Free West Papua”. Most left parties fall for a three-card trick. All they see is 1. An indigenous people. 2. Oppression/occupation by a colonial power, which means 3. A struggle for “freedom”. This is such a distortion of reality it is difficult to know where to start. For one thing, socialists should not automatically throw their weight behind a political movement comprised of an indigenous people just because they are the original inhabitants. Marxists always need to make a basic assessment of the aims, politics and tactics of any movement, and determine whether it is either a cause of elementary justice OR a progressive step forward for working people internationally, before beginning to champion it. Left parties should not simply jump on bandwagons when they hear someone agitating for “freedom”.

For example, while racism against African-Americans in the US is wrong, it does not follow that the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organisation or movement in the US necessarily has progressive politics. In fact, the recent rioting, looting and intimidation which BLM has carried out ostensibly in response to police violence cannot be an effective answer, let alone lead to equality between Americans of whichever colour. The current iteration of BLM is being used, whether consciously or not, to bolster the Democratic party in the run-up to the Presidential election. It is being used in an attempt to prevent Donald Trump and the Republicans from being re-elected in November, but with politics that are in many ways more right-wing than the Trump presidency.[5] Democratic party Presidential Nominee Joe Biden has a history of strongly backing segregation, and Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris is a former police prosecutor with a record of unjustly incarcerating African-Americans! BLM is also being used to further the “Covid-19” assault on working people, to say nothing of the fact that BLM is totally silent about the imperialist wars being waged on all kinds of people of colour by the Anglo/US/EU Empire. BLM is the ultimate example of how identity politics serves ends which are the opposite of those that it claims to stand for.

In a similar way, the separatist violence – often waged against innocent Indonesians – of the Papuan independence “fighters” is the culmination of what could be described as Papuan identity politics. They appear to be aware that such a movement could gain backing from major imperialist powers, with some Papuan separatists using the slogan “Papuan Lives Matter” following the response to the loss of George Floyd in Minnesota earlier this year.[6]  The Socialist Alliance, a left party which fuels Papuan separatism, interviewed Veronica Koman, who fled to Australia to avoid an arrest warrant being issued for her in Indonesia for inciting the race riots in 2019. She commented that the “uprising” contributed to increased Papuan “negritude” – a feeling of pride in being black, in their ethnicity and identity.[7]  This rather gives the game away – Papuan separatism is based on ethnic identity, and the armed Papuan separatists are more than prepared to use ethnic violence to achieve their ends.

Misapplication of Leninism

Needless to say, a movement which uses separatist ethnic violence as a key component CANNOT be backed by anyone on the left, let alone Marxists. In fact, intimidation and occasional murder is also used by armed Papuan militias even against other Papuans who prefer to live in peace with their Indonesian neighbours. So, in effect, Papuan separatism is not at all based on allegedly freeing Melanesians from the supposed repression of Austronesians (the majority ethnicity of Indonesia). Rather, it is about the promotion of a fraudulent narrative of discrimination against Papuans, combined with political lobbying of the ruling classes of actual colonial and imperialist powers (Australia, the United Kingdom, Holland etc., and its controlled United Nations), using any tactics up to and including the use of armed terrorism against anyone who does not agree with separatist independence. Again, this approach scarcely makes for a wholesome political movement.

The Bolshevik-Leninist group (BL) are a new left organisation in Australia and have taken some laudable pro-working class positions in the time they have been established. They correctly criticise other sections of the reformist left (such as the afore-mentioned Socialist Alliance) for positions such as endorsing the imperialist war on Syria. Yet they then join with these same organisations by chiming in with the call for “independence” for West Papua (and also on the false Coronavirus “deadly plague” deception – a topic best broached elsewhere). To do so, they misapply the position of Russian revolutionary leader VI Lenin on the issue of Marxist support for national liberation struggles. It should be noted that other petty-bourgeois and bourgeois national movements totally distort Lenin for their own ends, and unfortunately BL do likewise.

In an article posted in June this year, BL correctly state that Marxists are opposed to all forms of nationalism in the process of struggling for international socialism.[8] They quote Lenin with his well-known statement that the national struggle of an oppressed nation against an oppressor nation has a general democratic content, and it is this content which Marxists “unconditionally support”. They go on to say that Marxists must recognise the right of nations to self-determination in its efforts to achieve the fullest possible equality between nations.[9] Yet there is one small problem with this contention – “West Papua” is not a nation according to Marxist criteria.

The pamphlet “Marxism and the National Question” was written in 1913 by JV Stalin but was edited line by line by Lenin. The first lines of the first chapter clearly state that “a nation is not racial or tribal, but a historically constituted community of people.”[10] In those times, the concept of ethnicity was not as prevalent as it is now. Yet it shows that any attempt to forge a West Papuan “nation” based on Papuan or Melanesian ethnicity, not to speak of Papuan or Melanesian tribes, directly contradicts the established Marxist position. And in practice the Marxist position on the national question is simply a means to work towards the ultimate surpassing of nations on the road to socialism.

Further, the pamphlet goes on to list the renowned four criteria for a nation to be recognised – to determine IF Marxists can in some circumstances, add their backing to a movement for self-determination. It lists: 1. A common language 2. A common territory 3. A common economic life or cohesion and 4. A common psychological make-up manifested as a common culture. It stresses that it is only when all four characteristics are present, a nation can be recognised. One or a couple of these characteristics is insufficient – they must have all four.[11]  And keep in mind that Marxists only recognise nations in order to take the national question off the agenda, so as to clear as many obstacles as possible to enable a working class struggle for socialism.

Common language?

If we take West Papua, we see that not only does it not meet all four criteria for a nation – it does not even meet one! Take language. The whole island of Papua (including Papua New Guinea – PNG) is one of the most linguistically diverse in the world. It contains around 852 languages, although 12 of them have no known living speakers.[12] Language is closely related to culture, and it is estimated that there are over 1000 different Papuan cultures.[13] Even the Free West Papua campaign itself – which is not of course bound to socialism – openly states that “West Papua is home to over 250 diverse tribes, all speaking their own unique languages with unique cultures (emphasis added).”[14] Is BL aware of this? In fact, to enable the members of over 250 tribes to converse with each other, the language they use is Bahasa Indonesian! This is where the movement for separatist independence enters into impracticality, if not farce. What would be the point of separating entirely from Indonesia (if that was possible or desirable), “liberating” oneself from the supposedly oppressive and tyrannical Indonesian colonisers, only to constitute a geographical boundary in which the lingua franca is Bahasa Indonesian?

Common territory?

With regard to a common territory, the entire island of Papua may be common, but for various historical reasons, the eastern half of Papua is now the nominally independent nation of Papua New Guinea. If the “Free West Papua” campaign was to achieve its objective of separatist independence, what would be the reason for maintaining two Papuas – West Papua and Papua New Guinea? If there was a successful movement (hypothetically) for West Papuan independence, wouldn’t there be a natural pressure to “liberate” Papua New Guinea – a “Papua for all Papuans” ?

Here is where the politics of “Free West Papua” are revealed. The Free West Papua campaign consciously appeals to imperialist governments directly, especially to Australia, but also via the UN. Despite PNG having attained independence from Australia in 1975, the reality of imperialism is that Australia is still the overseer. If the Papuan separatists aimed to also “free” PNG, it would meet with universal opposition from the Australian ruling class. So the Papuan separatists are not prepared to do this – they prefer to attempt a manoeuvre to lever Australian ruling class backing for West Papua against Indonesia, in a similar way to Australian government “backing” for East Timorese independence after 1999. As events later showed, Australian government “support” for East Timorese independence was also colonialist, with Australia literally stealing oil and gas reserves clearly belonging to the new nation,[15] and being exposed as spying on East Timorese representatives during 2013 negotiations over the division of natural resources.[16]

Common economy?

There is indeed a common economy in “West Papua”, but it is not the one of the allegedly oppressed nation. The only real economy operating in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua is, not surprisingly, the Indonesian economy. For better or worse, the Indonesian government and Indonesian businesses carry out the only real economic activity in all of West Papua. Granted, there is a tendency for the public and private sectors in West Papua to be largely staffed by Indonesian transmigrants. However, this is an unavoidable result of the fact that Indonesian transmigrants are generally the ones who have had the benefit of education and/or a history of skilled administration or commercial experience. This would only be a problem if it could be established – without a doubt – that Papuans were systematically and deliberately excluded from opportunities to work in such industries.

However, the Special Autonomy Law for West Papua enacted by the Indonesian government in 2001 contains sections which mandates priority employment for indigenous West Papuans in the regional civil service, as well as special quotas for the employment of indigenous West Papuans.[17] The positions of Governor and Deputy Governor of Papua and West Papau are reserved for indigenous Papuans. Whether the special quotas for the employment of indigenous Papuans are always fulfilled in practice is a question to be investigated. Yet there cannot be a serious claim that Papuans are excluded or deliberately discouraged from public sector employment. On the contrary, there appear to be government efforts to create jobs for indigenous Papuans.

As Marxists BL would be aware of Lenin’s famous quip that socialism equals “Soviets plus electrification”. Of course, Soviets or workers’ councils are a fair way off, but how about the supply of electricity to West Papua? Electricity supply would, at least, begin to lead to a raising of living standards of West Papuans, not to speak of enabling a connection to commerce, and thus development. West Papua is largely divided between the coastal cities, where the overwhelming majority of economic activity takes place, and the rural interior, which largely operates on subsistence farming. In an attempt to address this imbalance, the Indonesian state owned electricity firm PLN last year announced its intention to connect 1123 West Papuan villages to the grid, as part of its aim to connect 100% of Indonesia by 2020.[18] Amongst other things, this would enable some indigenous Papuans to access bank accounts for the first time. We doubt that BL would oppose the electrification of West Papua in the name of “independence”.

Common culture?

In Papua there is a saying “a different culture for every village”. The island of Papua, and the land referred to as West Papua is extraordinarily rich in cultures – but it is not a common culture. Common culture is the key as far as Marxist recognition of nationality is concerned. Yet West Papua is home to at least 250 different tribes, each with their own specific cultures, customs, languages and more.[19] During Dutch colonialism, some of these tribes were relocated by force, and some of them are nomadic. BL should be aware that tribal cultures on their own, are notoriously difficult to unite into a common entity. Arguably one of the reasons for ongoing conflict and violence in Papua New Guinea is inter-tribal conflict. On the other hand, differing ethnic and national cultures can be reasonably integrated and united in a developed nation such as Australia or the USA. This is because the majority of people are working class, and the very process of working side by side someone requires co-operation and harmony. Without that base, divisions such as tribal conflict cannot be overcome.

To an extent, BL do recognise, and call for, the unity of West Papuan and Indonesian workers. They acknowledge that some Papuan nationalists are aggrieved at what they perceive to be the Indonesian government moving more Indonesian workers into Papua to solidify backing for Indonesian nationalism. They recognise that setting up Papuan workers against Indonesian workers is counter-productive, and that “closer collaboration” between the two should be the aim.[20] We would agree. But the largest barrier to Indonesian and West Papuan working class unity is the pushing of separatist independence. What material interest do Indonesian workers have in supporting separatist independence for West Papua – if they are to be excluded?  Not without reason, many Indonesian workers see West Papuan independence as being anti-Indonesian – especially if the violent tactics of the armed militia are anything to go by.

In their article, BL point to the 2011 strike at the Grasberg mine as an example of joint Indonesian and West Papuan worker co-operation in labour struggles.[21] No doubt there are any number of labour issues at a mine operated by an overseas owned multi-national. However, even during this labour unrest, the question of separatism was right in the middle of it. Direct information is difficult to come by, but there are reports that during this unrest, separatist forces were intimidating Union leaders, even while they were conducting a strike for higher wages.[22] What is more, there are other reports that work had to cease at the mine not due to the strike, but due to a pipeline being sabotaged by separatists.[23] Workers striking for higher wages and salaries only would hardly sabotage the workplace which was the basis for their employment.

Genocide?

BL state that “Since Indonesian takeover, hundreds of thousands of Papuans have been killed in a brutal occupation.”[24] BL repeat the claims of the “Free West Papua” movement that up to 500 000 Papuans have been killed by Indonesian armed forces over 50 years.[25] This is the highest “genocide” figure claimed, and it is usually done on the context of demanding the presence of an international peacekeeping force – read: imperialist intervention. If this was the case, there may be a case for urgent action. There is one small problem though: the Papuan population of West Papua has doubled in the last 50 years. If this has taken place within just two and a half generations (if a generation is 20 years), no “genocide” has occurred at all.

According to a 1971 census, the Papuan population of what is now referred to by separatists as West Papua was approximately 900 000 in 1971. By the time of the 2010 census, the Papuan population was around 1.7 million, and is estimated to have now surpassed 1.8 million.[26] There is room for debate on the exact numbers, the efficiency of census taking over different time periods and so on. Yet the trend is clear – Papuans have in fact thrived while being a part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. Of course, there are many political issues that need to be addressed, such as poverty and relative underdevelopment – although some of this can be put down to the at times impenetrable jungle terrain of the Papuan highlands.

One reason why Papuans have in fact expanded their population is that the Indonesian government has, to at least some extent, recognised the development gap between West Papua and other regions of Indonesia and make some effort to overcome it. This is codified in the law which the Indonesian parliament passed in 2001, granting Special Autonomy to the Papuan provinces. In addition, Article 56 of this law enables all Papuan students to receive education up to High School at the “lowest possible cost to the community”. And Article 59 of this law stipulates that all Papuans shall be provided with health care services with the “lowest charge to the community”.[27] No wonder their numbers are expanding. What is more, Australian working people do not even have this – their health care and education costs are rising as they are both being increasingly privatised! It is counter-intuitive to claim that the same government providing you with low-cost health care and education – for all residents, including Papuans – is also inflicting a “genocide”.

There is no “genocide in West Papua”. There is no “national liberation” struggle in West Papua either. There is a campaign of lies, deception and fraud which masquerades as a movement for “freedom”. A minority of Papuans seek to separate from Indonesia, no matter what the human or economic cost. A smaller minority of Papuans are prepared to take up arms and engage in ethnic conflict with other ethnicities which make up the state of Indonesia – up to and including violent terrorism. To interpret this scenario as something which is deserving of socialist support, not to speak of claiming the posthumous endorsement of Marx or Lenin for what is essentially ethnic conflict, is to expose oneself before facts and evidence. Genuine socialists do not seek to inflame ethnic tensions but seek to overcome them through joint struggle for a common class cause. The overall task is the forging of workers’ vanguard parties throughout Papua, Indonesia, Australia and internationally to help end ethnic and national tensions on the road to a socialist order.

 

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] https://redfireonline.com/2019/09/04/west-papua-separatists-incite-violence/ (19-09-2020)

[2] Ibid, 1.

[3] https://redfireonline.com/2019/10/05/wamena-papuan-militia-terrorise-civilians/ (19-09-2020)

[4] https://redfireonline.com/2020/01/12/veronica-koman-human-rights-fraud/ (19-09-2020)

[5] https://redfireonline.com/2020/06/21/black-lives-matter-friend-or-foe/ (19-09-2020)

[6] https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-02/papuan-lives-matter (19-09-2020)

[7] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/veronica-koman-war-west-papua-escalating (19-09-2020)

[8] http://bolshevik-leninist.org/independence-for-west-papua/ (20-09-2020)

[9] ibid, 7.

[10] https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1913/03a.htm#s1 (20-09-2020)

[11] ibid, 9.

[12] https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/papua-new-guinea-tongue/ (20-09-2020)

[13] https://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/36503/1/Ethnicity%20Democracy%20and%20Development%20in%20PNG.pdf (20-09-2020)

[14] https://www.freewestpapua.org/info/about-west-papua/ (20-09-2020)

[15] https://kontinentalist.com/stories/australia-east-timor-a-tale-of-oil-and-exploitation (20-09-2020)

[16] https://theconversation.com/after-a-border-dispute-and-spying-scandal-can-australia-and-timor-leste-be-good-neighbours-121553 (20-09-2020)

[17] https://westpapuaupdate.com/strategic-positions-employment-west-papuans/ (20-09-2020)

[18] https://papuastory.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/electrification-for-1123-villages-in-papua-west-papua/ (23-09-2020)

[19] https://westpapuaupdate.com/understanding-diverse-culture-west-papua/ (23-09-2020)

[20] ibid, 7.

[21] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/10/indonesian-forces-striking-mine-workers#maincontent (23-09-2020)

[22] https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/indonesia/Grasberg-mine-PT-Freeport (23-09-2020)

[23] https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/10/18/freeport-halts-work-amid-sabotage-separatist-pleas.html (23-09-2020)

[24] ibid, 7.

[25] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/03/west-papua-un-must-supervise-vote-on-independence-says-coalition (23-09-2020)

[26] https://www.globalresearch.ca/indonesias-west-papua-settlers-dominate-coastal-regions-highlands-still-overwhelmingly-papuan/5569676 (23-09-2020)

[27] https://www.refworld.org/docid/46af542e2.html (23-09-2020)

Socialist Strategy to Lift the Lockdowns

Anti-lockdown protestors march past Parliament House in Brisbane on September 5. Image from Tott News.

Socialist Strategy to Lift the Lockdowns

13-09-2020: In the face of a virtual corporate media blackout, thousands across Australia took part in the September 5 Freedom Day demonstrations.[1] Protesting “Covid-19” lockdowns, social-distancing, mandatory masking and other forms of political repression, the rallies were a success given the circumstances. The bravest faced off against police in Melbourne[2], the centre of perhaps the most extreme lockdown regime on the face of the planet. Solidarity with the people of Victoria was a feature of the actions in the other states. The fact that the mainstream media almost ignored the actions is a tell-tale sign that this movement runs as a direct counter to the rule of big capital. More than this, the anti-lockdown movement is a necessary groundswell against a particular form of fascism – the “New Normal”. Thus, it is vital that workers help build resistance to corona tyranny.

The main paradox with politics in 2020 is that the anti-lockdown movement confronts political forces which have betrayed them to form an arm of the capitalist state – Union officials and the lockdown left.[3] Needless to say, merging with the state when it is in the middle of imposing a form of fascism exposes these elements as little more than the bourgeois politicians they claim to oppose. As a result, leadership of the anti-lockdown movement has fallen into the hands of those who have historically not been a part of what previously passed for the left. However, this does not mean that far right-wing forces dominate – far from it. If anything, while nationalism plays a significant role, ultra-nationalist and Nazi type elements are totally absent. The leading political forces of the anti-lockdown movement appear to include those who correctly oppose lockdowns from several different angles.

Some oppose lockdowns from a civil liberties angle, some are supporters of President Trump and the  QAnon group, some reject what they see as a “New World Order”, and some are against forced vaccinations. There are peace and anti-war activists and those who support incarcerated whistleblower Julian Assange. Some laughingly embrace the label of “conspiracy theorists” – a term which has come to mean anyone who simply questions the official line of elite politicians and the corporate media. There are some who favour a strategy of lobbying politicians, and others who favour a strategy of mass action. Whatever their motivation, these people do not wish to see a world of totalitarian terror and are doing what they can to prevent a world of darkness for current and future generations.

At the same time, there are some trends within the anti-lockdown movement which constitute a barrier which Marxists need to skillfully navigate to assist the movement in achieving its goals. For while a mass anti-lockdown movement may succeed in eventually rolling back lockdowns and some logic-defying restrictions, the “New Normal” fascism and the enforced economic depression can only ultimately be defeated by the overthrow of the governments enforcing it. That is, it will require a series of workers’ revolutions in the capitalist West, combined with proletarian political revolutions against the conservative bureaucracies in the heavily distorted workers states of the East, particularly Red China. Nevertheless, to build a bridge between the anti-lockdown movement and the forging of democratic workers’ councils which can propel forward the struggle for proletarian power, socialists first have to address and contend with a series of views which nobble the anti-lockdown movement.

  1. Anti-socialism

The first misunderstanding is the widely held – though not universal – view of anti-socialism amongst those prepared to mobilise against lockdowns. This partly reflects the general anti-socialism of many workers, yet it contains both progressive and reactionary content. It is reactionary in that it reflects the hostility of both small and large capital to public ownership of the means of production, administered by workers’ rule. However the progressive side is the rejection of the lack of political rights for workers as it existed in degenerated form in the former Soviet bloc, and as it now exists in the deformed workers’ states of China, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos and Cuba. The problem is that in correctly rejecting the lack of workers’ democracy in the five current deformed workers’ states, they then make the error of conflating this with socialism itself. To some extent, this mistake is entirely understandable. Unconsciously, they are rejecting the Stalinist or Maoist perversions of “Marxism” – which is necessary – but misidentifying this with the fast disappearing political rights and overt intrusion of the state into workers’ most personal needs under capitalist imposed “Covid-19” lockdowns.

Workers in power does not necessarily mean no or limited democratic or political rights. The fact that this occurs in China and the other deformed workers’ states in no way means that the first step towards socialism – a workers’ government based on a collectivised and planned economy – will result in deterioration of political rights. On the contrary, for the working class it should mean a vast expansion of democratic rights for working people – as did occur in the early years of the Soviet Union before Stalinist degeneration set in after 1924. Just as the expropriation of political power by Stalin, Bukharin, Rykov and others in the years after 1924 represented the revolt of the petty-bourgeoisie against the successful proletarian revolution of 1917, the limitation of political rights for working people in China, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos and Cuba reflects the petty-bourgeois rather than proletarian character of their respective political leaderships. To correct this, working people need to aim for proletarian political revolutions to oust the conservative and nationalist leaderships of these states, while retaining the working-class forms of economic and state power. This needs to be combined with genuine socialist revolutions in the West, uniting workers internationally.

To fully grasp this perspective necessarily requires the study of genuine Leninism. Perhaps understandably, many workers are put off the investigation of Marxism by the actions of the governments of the workers’ states such as China (People’s Republic of China – PRC). Due to the primarily nationalist character of the Communist Party of China (CPC), workers in the West never hear of any appeals made to it – because there are none. A genuine Marxist party would be consistently trying to reach out to workers internationally with appeals to help it build socialism internationally. The CPC leadership never does, and never will, due to its locked in position of nationalism socialism, or “socialism in one country”. This flies in the face of actual socialism, where the world’s resources will be used for the well-being of the world’s people, with workers’ rule being the initial guarantor. With the CPC leadership acting as mirrors of the governments of the West – even to the point of playing up to the coronavirus plot and imposing their own lockdowns – many in the anti-lockdown movement are not entirely incorrect to view “China” as being in on the act.

Sections of the anti-lockdown movement also entertain wild misunderstandings of socialism, even to the point of seeing Labor Party Premiers Dictator Dan Andrews and Anastacia Palaszczuk as being “socialists” or heading a “socialist government”. According to this mistaken view, the Greens are also “socialist”. And in fact, one Greens member of parliament did vote with the Labor Party in Victoria to extend the lockdowns by six months.[4] Even though the Liberal Party voted against this, workers need to understand that all of the parliamentary parties – Labor, Liberal, National, Greens etc. – are all parties of the capitalist class, and are thus galaxies away from any kind of “socialism”. There may be some very minor disagreements between them over the imposition of lockdowns and when to roll them back, but their fundamental class interest is that of either small or big capital. And the whole capitalist class is united in imposing the political repression of lockdowns – so as to enable immense downward pressure on working people’s wages and conditions. This has been done by mass sackings, the forced closure of many small and large businesses – meaning staff “stand-downs” or furloughs, and so on. The unprecedented attack on the working class is the principle aim of lockdown terror, and the predominant goal of the fake “pandemic”. Working people are thus facing an assault[5] of capitalism, not “socialism”.

  1. The role of the police

An unfortunate lack of class consciousness amongst the anti-lockdown movement is apparent with the view of police “doing their job” by sometimes allowing protests or not arresting demonstrators. This view is not universal, but where it appears it even extends to some leading anti-lockdown speakers calling on police to join the movement (!!). This is more than the “good cop, bad cop” routine, which alibies the entire police force. The police will not, and cannot, be allies of working people in any political movement whatsoever. The police cannot be won (!) to a political cause because they are paid to be the key apparatus of capitalist state repression of working people. The attempt by some in the anti-lockdown movement to appeal to police to stand with the “people” or to think of their “families” is a reflection of the distinct lack of pro-working class politicisation. This major error is unfortunately fueled by the treasonous behaviour of the Union bureaucracy and the lockdown left, whose abject genuflection before Corona madness identifies them as police deputies. In swallowing Coronavirus hysteria wholesale, the lockdown left cannot then go on to oppose the vicious police repression (witness Melbourne) which their class collaboration has brought into being.

The view of police as “workers” or as part of the “working-class” needs to be sternly disabused by socialists within the anti-lockdown movement. The fact that police are employed does not therefore mean that police are “workers”. In Marxian terms, the police are the hired security forces of the capitalist state, whose essential function is to ensure that workers do not touch the levers of state power. The police will carry out whatever level of political repression against workers that is politically required by the ruling class at a particular juncture. Pre Covid-19, the “normal” amount of political repression was sufficient. The implementation of lockdown fascism obviously requires an enormous escalation of political repression, and the police are the first ones to enforce it. A graphic demonstration of this lawless outrage was the arrest of a pregnant mother in Victoria for posting a notice about a peaceful anti-lockdown protest on social-media.[6] At the slightest sign of working people resisting the barely disguised chains of capitalist enslavement, the police are unleashed to do their worst. The only true allies are workers yet to be won to the fight against the “New Normal”.

  1. Nationalism

Theories and variations of the “New World Order” have been around for a very long time, and now the Covid-19 deception has given this slogan a new lease of life. Those who use this to describe what is apparently happening also have various interpretations. However, common notions are that the New World Order is a one world government of “globalists”. These “globalists” control the United Nations, the international banking system, and are using organisations such as the World Economic Forum to reduce world population via the World Health Organisation….and so on. There is little doubt that Bill Gates is up to his neck in the fake “pandemic”, and that he funds large parts of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the “fact-checking” industry and large sections of the corporate media.[7] Many within the anti-lockdown movement are well read on this and related material. But if it was not Bill Gates, it would be some other corporate billionaire – or billionaires.

Substitute “New World Order” for capitalism, and “globalists” for imperialists, and socialists can sign up as subscribers to this view. Yet that reveals one of the primary barriers to the political progress of the anti-lockdown movement. Currently, if it did identify capitalism as the major source of global problems, it could invite socialism in as the next logical step. Due to many misunderstandings of socialism – some of them very understandable – adherents of the New World Order/globalist mindset prefer to remain on the ground of simply exposing the undoubted crimes of the obscenely wealthy. Yet as the situation of Julian Assange readily attests to, exposure of the crimes of capitalism alone are not enough. The bravery, heroism and self-sacrifice of Julian Assange and Wikileaks cannot be questioned. Yet without the building of vanguard parties which can lead workers towards the expropriation of big capital and the collectivisation of the economy, the establishment will remain in control regardless of how many times its crimes are revealed.

Nor can nationalism be used as a counter to the “globalist” agenda. The global capitalists use nationalism to deceive “their own” workers at home, while they practice the opposite. Big capital can flick its investments around the world at the click of a button, even at the same time as demanding and receiving protection by their “home” state. Even though the United Nations and the WHO appear on the surface to be controlled by a global agenda, this is just the reflection of the confluence of interests of the major imperialist states. In short, the capitalist classes of the imperialist states are very class conscious, and they collaborate internationally with their class without batting an eyelid. Needless to say, the only effective counter working people have in response is international collaboration with their class across the borders of the 193 UN member states. The nationalism of the bourgeoisie is a false front, and so working people shoot themselves in the foot if they try to restore “national sovereignty” in opposition to “globalism”.

Socialists within the anti-lockdown movement need to be tactical about how to take up these three issues, and many others. Where possible, discussion and debate with all those opposed to lockdowns is vital. However, during rallies and other protests physical defence or evacuation obviously takes priority, if the police are moving in. While unity of the anti-lockdown movement is important for its collective strength, civil discussion of differing political views must also be accommodated.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] https://tottnews.com/2020/09/05/freedom-day-demonstrations/ (09-09-2020)

[2] https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/freedom-day-protest-melbourne-20200905-h1qj2v.html (09-09-2020)

[3] https://redfireonline.com/2020/08/25/the-labour-lieutenants-of-lockdown-terror/ (09-09-2020)

[4] https://themarketherald.com.au/vic-govt-to-extend-covid-19-lockdown-powers-by-six-months-2020-09-01/ (13-09-2020)

[5] https://redfireonline.com/2020/04/18/covid-19-savage-assault-under-the-guise-of-health/ (13-09-2020)

[6] https://www.fr24news.com/a/2020/09/pregnant-mother-arrested-for-facebook-post-inciting-protest-against-coronavirus.html (13-09-2020)

[7] https://www.corbettreport.com/gates/ (13-09-2020)

Navalny “Poisoning”: One False Flag Begets Another

At left, the symbol of the Belarusian internal security service, the KGB. At right, Western backed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny. Image from Periodicodaily.com

Navalny “Poisoning”: One False Flag Begets Another

06-09-2020 – If we were to believe the Western press, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the poisoning of the main opposition leader Alexei Navalny to knock out a rival, to ensure his rule continues. Cue another round of corporate media hue and cry about “human rights” in Russia, leading to another round of sanctions, flowing on to even more US/EU war games literally on Russia’s border. Cue another round of baseless accusations of the Russian government supposedly fixing elections in the US, enabling Brexit, allegedly doping up their athletes with performance enhancing drugs and more. And working people are supposed to swallow these baseless and evidence free claims, so they do not bat an eyelid when the NATO powers push the world closer to a nuclear conflagration.

Novichok lies

Jumping the shark, US National Security spokesperson John Ullyot claimed that the Russian people have a right to express their views peacefully without fear of retribution (!). German President Angela Merkel claimed that tests showed that Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group and called it attempted murder.[1] It should not be necessary to point out the absurdity of such claims. For one thing, there is not one speck of evidence that the Russian government caused Mr Navalny’s current illness. Nor is there a shred of evidence that Mr Navalny was poisoned at all, let alone with Novichok. What happened was that Mr Navalny fell ill and was taken to the emergency section of the Omsk hospital in Russia. There, Russian doctors worked feverishly for 44 hours to save his life. Russian medical specialists stressed that all that could be said was that Mr Navalny’s cholinesterase activity was low, but there was NO evidence that this was due to poisoning with cholinesterase inhibitors.[2]

Mr Navalny was then flown to Berlin for continued medical treatment, which was organised and funded by the Western backed NGO “Cinema for Peace”.[3] This alone should raise eyebrows. It raises the question of why the Russian government would allow Mr Navalny to be flown immediately to Berlin if it had just arranged his poisoning. Furthermore, no traces of any unusual substances were found in the two Russian laboratories which analysed the blood tests of the sick Mr Navalny.[4] After the debacle of the false flag poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who somehow survived being smeared with the deadly military grade nerve agent Novichok,[5] workers are entitled to be just a little more than usually sceptical of this latest claim.

Western corporate media outlets continually infer that Navalny is the primary “opposition leader”. This is farcical. Navalny is part of the pro-US liberal opposition to the Russian government and President Putin who has extremely minimal domestic political support – around 2%.[6] The real opposition are the parties which call themselves Communist, who have wide support within Russia. Navalny, on the other hand, is the US government’s favourite – because it funds him. He has received financial backing[7] from the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – the public relations arm of the CIA – for the running of the Democratic Alternative (DA!) party. One can imagine the outcry in the West if it was discovered that a dissident residing in the US somehow received funding from the Russian government for a US opposition party. Regardless, Navalny is put on a false pedestal by the elites in the West to enable the fuelling of yet more war provocations against Russia. On September 1, the Russian government protested vociferously at the restarting of yet more NATO military exercises on Russia’s border, this time in Estonia.[8]

Failed Covid-19 Colour Revolution in Belarus

Estonia borders Belarus, which is the base of the latest NATO backed colour revolution against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Despite the best efforts of NATO and its agents, the transparent subversion failed, not least because they did not have a collection of muscle-bound ultra-reactionary and fanatically anti-Russian men to arm – unlike during the “UkroNazi” coup in Ukraine in 2014.[9] The US Empire has been itching for a chance to get rid of Lukashenko, over and above the wishes of the majority of Belarusians, for decades. Lukashenko never totally de-Sovietised Belarus, a high crime in the eyes of imperialism. This is not to say that Lukashenko was without fault, for he also flirted with the very NATO states bent on his removal perhaps in an effort to better bargain with Russia. Yet as far as the Western governments and their agents were concerned, the final straw was Lukashenko’s courageous stand on the fake Covid-19 “pandemic”. Lukashenko rightly considered panic about this particular coronavirus to be more dangerous than the pathogen itself.[10]

It can also be plausibly argued that the fake Navalny “poisoning” may also have been arranged by the deep states of the West so as to derail Nord Stream 2. This is a gas pipeline extending from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany. The US government is apoplectic with rage at the prospect of the completion of the pipeline connecting Russia and Germany, as it will allow Russia to sell its hydrocarbons to Europe directly, without the ability of the US to do anything about it.[11] To the advantage of Europe and Russia, Nord Stream 2 bypasses the Ukraine entirely, meaning neither party has to deal with the political and military instability wrought by the NATO backed UkroNazi coup government installed in Kiev in 2014.

Working people have a direct interest in defending Belarus against US backed subversion, and Russia against NATO-led imperialism. This is despite the fact that the Belarusian government wisely rejected the contrived Covid-19 crisis, while the Russian government played up to the manufactured hype of Covid-19. The Russian government even imposed harsh lockdown measures, mimicking those of the Western governments that are continually staging false flags so as to blame Russia for anything and everything under the sun. Be that as it may, NATO led provocations against Belarus and Russia must be strongly opposed by workers internationally, as part of a struggle against war and for socialism.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/sep/2/white-house-condemns-completely-reprehensible-pois/ (04-09-2020)

[2] https://www.globalresearch.ca/politicizing-alexey-navalny-illness/5722378 (04-09-2020)

[3] https://www.cinemaforpeace-foundation.org/our-vision (04-09-2020)

[4] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/55529.htm (04-09-2020)

[5] https://redfireonline.com/2018/03/19/hands-off-russia-no-to-nuclear-war/ (04-09-2020)

[6] https://www.rt.com/op-ed/499721-navalny-novichok-germany-russia/ (04-09-2020)

[7] https://alansalbiev.livejournal.com/28124.html (04-09-2020)

[8] https://www.globalresearch.ca/nato-begins-provocative-military-exercises-russian-border/5722855 (04-09-2020)

[9] https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/08/belarus-nato-lobby-acknowledges-that-its-color-revolution-failed.html (05-09-2020)

[10] https://redfireonline.com/2020/08/20/belarus-covid-19-colour-revolution/ (05-09-2020)

[11] https://www.globalresearch.ca/kremlin-critic-flown-germany-german-russian-nord-stream-2-nears-completion/5722074 (05-09-2020)

Refuse and Resist Lockdown Terror!

Defiant anti-lockdown “protests” in Melbourne. Image from the Daily Mail

Refuse and Resist Lockdown Terror!

05-09-2020: It needs to be repeated – this was never about a virus.[1] If anyone has lingering doubts as to what the Covid-19 “pandemic” is really about, one need only view the desperate resistance of the brave young men in Melbourne who are risking arrest, prosecution by the state and their potential futures to defy the inhuman lockdowns which have virtually abolished civil rights won over centuries of struggle. In one instance, the group of mainly young men wore Guy Fawkes masks – creatively observing scientifically unjustifiable mandatory facemask orders while protesting against them. In unimaginable scenes, police chased down some of the men, detaining and arresting them – even as they formally abide by the absurd one hour of exercise per day rule, by walking around their neighbourhoods in spaced groups.[2] These heroic young men are going to great risk to provide a lead to the anti-lockdown movement, and helping to liberate society from a totalitarianism that many never expected to see in their lifetimes.

Covid-19 is a class attack

Now that the full horror of the extreme lockdowns in Melbourne is known, there is barely anyone who will raise their head to defend them – even amongst the most craven pro-government lackeys. The liberal left still adheres to the fantasy of a supposed universal danger, yet even they mumble about the heightened danger of lockdown-induced domestic violence and suicides. Sycophantic Union officials fully back the government even as it inflicts pain and suffering on their own members and the working class generally. The abandonment of working people by Union officials and the so-called “left” has resulted in the lead being taken by the young men defying lockdowns in daily walks in Melbourne. This courageous and instinctive resistance to lockdown terror is certainly needed and will play a significant role in future struggles. Yet due to the fact that Covid-19 is being used as a cover for an assault on the working-class[3], what the anti-lockdown movement requires is political leadership.

It can scarcely be denied that lockdown terror is a form of fascism – albeit one that differs in significant ways from 20th century fascism. In the US, UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the “New Normal” fascism is politically led by the mainstream capitalist parties and is strongly backed by ostensible “left” parties. It can thus appear that New Normal fascism is an example of the “left” in power. On this (mistaken) basis, some in the anti-lockdown movement view the extreme repression of the lockdowns as a form of “socialism” or “communism” – and even claim that Dictator Dan Andrews, other state Labor premiers, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and even Australian PM Scott Morrison are therefore “socialists” or “communists”. This is a striking misconception, but it is one that is unfortunately fueled by the fact that the nationalist caste leading the People’s Republic of China (PRC) imposed their own lockdowns, and played up to the fake “pandemic” narrative.[4]

“New Normal” is capitalism in decline

New Normal or lockdown fascism is delivered by capitalist imperialism, NOT by any form of socialism or “communism”. Capitalist ruling classes resort to fascism when the existing forms of supposed liberalism become barriers to the amount and extent of repression “needed” to annihilate working-class political opposition to their rule. While millions of workers lose their jobs, or have their wages and conditions frozen under lockdowns, finance capital expands the wealth of the billionaires.[5] Under “normal” conditions, there would be some fightback against millions of job losses, and the immense downward pressure on the price of labour-power, i.e., wages. Hence the lockdowns, mandatory facemask orders, social-distancing and New Normal fascism. Ditto for the concomitant and invasive surveillance of contact tracing, proposed mandatory vaccinations and border shutdowns.

In the same way in which 20th Century fascism could not be effectively combatted without wholesale political opposition to the capitalism from which it spawned, New Normal or lockdown fascism in the 21st Century cannot be seriously countered without working-class political opposition to the declining capitalism of the Anglo/US/EU Empire. Regardless of the current political make-up of the anti-lockdown movement, it represents foremost opposition to the nightmarish future of capitalist rule. Therefore, despite the political or non-political viewpoints of its component parts, the anti-lockdown movement is intrinsically anti-fascist and anti-capitalist. It is a contradiction born of the times, but this remains the case even if some of its leading elements consider themselves to be in a battle against “socialism”.

The anti-lockdown movement is gathering steam internationally, and Australia needs to emulate the hundreds of thousands who have mobilised recently in Germany, the UK, Ireland and New Zealand. It is possible that with an amalgamated movement which is prepared to mobilise again and again, government lockdowns could be rolled back. For this to come to pass, however, all wings of the anti-lockdown movement need to form a united front for common action. Currently the anti-lockdown movement is comprised of several detachments. Without pigeon-holing any individual, there is a moderate wing which favours lobbying parliamentarians, a President Trump supporting wing which includes QAnon followers, a wing concerned about forced vaccinations and the potential effects of 5G telecommunications infrastructure, and a wing rightly concerned about civil liberties and privacy.

Revolutionaries are faced with the dual task of uniting all wings of the anti-lockdown movement, while simultaneously seeking to win the most pro-working class elements over to the side of socialism – despite prevalent suspicion as to its historical and current forms. Marxists must also be alert to the possibility of exploiting the differences amongst the ruling class, with some parts pushing for a one or two year lockdown, and others pushing to re-open the economy. While lockdowns may be partially lifted without systemic change, the “Great Reset” with its attendant political repression will not be defeated without the building of a workers’ party which fights for a workers’ government.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] https://www.sott.net/article/436327-Everything-You-Think-You-Know-About-Coronavirus (31-08-2020)

[2] https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/three-men-arrested-after-broadmeadows-anti-lockdown-protest-20200830-p55qr0.html (31-08-2020)

[3] https://redfireonline.com/2020/04/18/covid-19-savage-assault-under-the-guise-of-health/ (31-08-2020)

[4] https://redfireonline.com/2020/06/06/covid-19-the-corruption-of-science/ (31-08-2020)

[5] https://www.mintpressnews.com/super-rich-see-wealth-rise-282-billion-three-weeks-coronavirus/267027/ (31-08-2020)