23-10-2020: If we were to believe the government, we are about to enter a summer which they variously refer to as “storm season”, “bushfire/flood season” or even “big weather” season – which now comes with its own TV series. Working people are supposed to believe that the droughts, bushfires and floods which devastated swathes of the country last summer is just par for the course for living in Australia. Sometimes the corporate media will mumble something about climate change in connection with these catastrophes, but will generally just sensationalise it – it is quite easy to simply film the aftermath of a cyclone, bushfire or flood and stick a reporter in front of a camera. Yet many demonstrators who took to the streets last summer while parts of Australia burned knew instinctively that these “weather” disasters are just one factor of the ecological collapse wrought not only by carbon emissions, but industrial scale corporate pollution of the seas, coasts, rivers and arable land.
This year, the climate crisis continues in the shadow of lockdown terror – a vicious assault on working people under the guise of a supposed Covid-19 plague. The Australian ruling class used the fake pandemic to establish a “Coronavirus Commission” – a hand-picked body of CEOs allegedly tasked with overseeing “economic recovery”. Not coincidentally, this non-elected CEO “government” immediately set about drawing the outlines of a “recovery” based on the vast expansion of coal-seam gas, using the method of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. Fracking blows apart rock formations underground while injecting carcinogenic chemicals amongst water supplies to extract oil and/or methane gas, much of which simply leaks into the atmosphere. This is supposedly the government transitioning away from coal and onto “cleaner” gas ! Meanwhile, in the background the Adani coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – the 10 million tonne per year monster – has been given virtually full approval by state Labor and federal Liberal governments, and its construction is well underway.
While the struggle for a safe climate remains vital, this cannot be separated from the assault of big capital on the wages and living conditions of the working class. In fact, it is one and the same. The capitalist system has been waging a low intensity war against workers – and thus also against the natural environment necessary for human survival – for decades now. This year, the Anglo/US/EU Empire vastly expanded this war by using the cover of a fraudulent health scare to abolish elementary civil and democratic rights, and impose a fascism which in some ways surpassed that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Workers were subjected to house arrest, the right to protest was effectively abolished, human and social interaction was heavily discouraged and often punishable by police action, children were abused by not allowing them to attend school, and many of the aged perished from induced depression via lockdowns which forbade human contact even with direct family members.
The Covid-19 Trojan Horse
The ruling classes of the West used the cover of a “health emergency” to drive down the cost of labour power using any and all means at their disposal. “Covid-19” was seized on as an opportunity to throw millions of workers out of employment on spurious grounds. Near universal lockdowns were used to shutdown large parts of national economies, and some governments even ordered small and medium sized businesses to close, driving them towards ruin. Unprecedented political repression was required to prevent workers from protesting these soul-destroying attacks, and thus gatherings of virtually any kind were deemed a “health risk” and prevented by security forces. Unfortunately, Union officials enforced the false Covid-19 narrative wholesale, and effectively acted as police auxiliaries – pseudo-state authorities preventing their own members from resisting mass suppression.
What does this have to do with the environment? Unfortunately, almost the entire so-called left and those who make up the climate change movement also imbibed the Covid-19 narrative as good coin. This meant that they were neutered when the government announced the “Coronavirus Commission”. Regardless of the fact that the Coronavirus Commission was used to vastly expand coal seam gas and its attendant fracking, much of the environmental movement could scarcely speak out because it would call into question the reality of the “pandemic”. For, if one believes the politicians’ mantra that a coronavirus will kill “millions” unless we shutdown human civilisation, one can scarcely oppose the politicians setting up a Coronavirus Commission to deal with it. The fact that the government used the Coronavirus Commission to boost gas fracking rather than put in place measures which allegedly protect the health of the community contains very sober lessons in the mechanics of bourgeois rule.
Firstly, to combat the onslaught of finance capital against labour and the natural environment, it is necessary to consistently oppose every single aspect of bourgeois ideology, not just parts of it. One cannot demand the politicians disallow fracking on the one hand, while at the same time wholly agreeing with the very same politicians that it is necessary to surrender basic civil rights due to a “pandemic”. One cannot demand stand down pay for workers sacked with the excuse of Covid-19 on the one hand, while agreeing with employers that Covid-19 is a lethal threat on the other hand. Secondly, helping the government implement ANY of its nefarious campaigns, no matter what the claimed intention, vastly expands the political authority of the capitalist state. The state will then use the political endorsement it has received to mercilessly crush ANY working-class resistance. Witness the “Covid-19” police state lockdown nightmare inflicted on innocent people in Melbourne.
Workers need to fight for demands which light the path to immediate solutions – the collectivisation of the major means of the production and a planned economy. For:
1. A six-hour day
2. Public ownership of energy, infrastructure, banks
3. A workers’ government
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