24-12-2020: Chan Han Choi is undoubtedly a pro-socialist class war political prisoner. The Australian government imprisoned Choi under high security for almost three years in 2017 without charge. Choi is the first person ever to be charged in Australia under the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act. After nearly three years behind bars and being subjected to cruel restrictions – such as having to speak to his wife in English only and having his conversations with his lawyers listened to by authorities – Choi has been released from prison only to now be engaged in a form of house arrest until his trial takes place. Chan Han Choi originates from South Korea, (Republic of Korea – ROK) but has lived in Sydney and worked as a cleaner for over 30 years. He views the political system in North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK) as one which protects and acts in the interests of working people – which indeed it largely does.
His only “crime” was to allegedly organise some trade deals which – if they had actually occurred – would have enabled a small measure of relief from the crippling sanctions imposed on the DPRK effectively by US imperialism. During his period of detention, Choi stated his belief that the sanctions administered by the United Nations (UN) on the DPRK are fundamentally unjust and unfair. Workers of the world can only reaffirm this basic truth. The UN, acting as a cat’s paw of the US Empire, imposes sanctions which themselves could be a form of genocide against the people of the DPRK. The sanctions forbid any sailing vessel or aircraft from transferring goods directly or indirectly from another country to the DPRK. An exhaustive list of materials, goods, equipment and technology are simply prohibited from reaching the DPRK. Many basic necessities are listed under “luxury items” or are listed as “dual use” – meaning they COULD be used for the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile weapons programs.
In reality, any electrical goods and equipment could be used for military purposes. Obviously though, they could also be used for straightforward domestic industrial and commercial purposes, and for the basic functioning of the economy. The DPRK – a heavily deformed workers’ state – has the express right to defend itself from invasion from US imperialism. This is a daily and ongoing reality for all Koreans, as a result of the repelling of the US led war on Korea in the early 1950s. The DPRK has seen what has happened to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya if a state does not possess nuclear weapons and other ballistic missiles: it will be invaded and destroyed by Washington. The DPRK would much prefer not to have to build ANY weapons of mass destruction. Alas, it has no choice but to do so.
All lockdowns must be opposed
Without question, the campaign of solidarity to free Chan Han Choi has been organised and led by the left party Trotskyist Platform (TP). From the outset, TP have been the drivers behind the important demonstrations which help to break down the fierce anti-socialist hysteria directed against the DPRK, which in turn is a sub-set of the irrational antagonism against China (People’s Republic of China – PRC). At the same time, TP’s campaign in 2020 has a fatal flaw. TP is a card-carrying member of the lockdown left – ostensibly revolutionary left parties which allied with the very imperialist powers they claim to oppose on the fake coronavirus “pandemic”. As we wrote in August, so fervently does TP agree with the Australian government and all bourgeois politicians that the world is beset by a deadly plague of biblical proportions, TP actually make public calls for mandatory temperature testing in workplaces of more than two people, and for public housing residents to be locked down by health workers rather than police! Yet Chan Han Choi is himself subjected to a lockdown: prison and now house arrest. Does TP call for the release of Choi from lockdowns, but for all other workers to be locked down – due to Covid?
The lockdown left tries in vain to separate the lockdowns from all other political activity. They would have us believe that the response of the capitalist governments to a virus which is most likely one of the many coronaviruses which circulate every winter is simply a “health” issue. With TP at the forefront, the lockdown left mumble about the job losses, poverty, depression, domestic violence and economic destruction – but echo government lies that this is all caused by a virus. TP would have us believe that the removal of free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and the most elementary civil and democratic rights are necessary to “save lives”. They rally workers against the same politicians who are inflicting cruel punishment on Chan Han Choi – but also want us to strongly back these politicians when they prevent children from going to school or playing with their friends! The lockdowns themselves take lives, as that is a part of the civil war that finance capital is waging against the working class. For TP though, lockdowns enforced by cops and/or the military is actually the state trying to save your life! Years of TP’s warnings about the dangers the capitalist state pose to workers have vanished into thin air.
The ideological and political Covid prostration of TP before the very bourgeois forces which not only are detaining Choi but are threatening the DPRK and the world with nuclear war, is illuminating. Workers need a consistent message. They cannot be told, on the one hand, that capitalism is their enemy, but on the other hand, be asked to fully comply with the same capitalist system when it locks them down under house arrest – with the threadbare Covid excuse. If the Prime Ministers and Presidents of the West are allies on Covid – why would they not be allies on other issues? Why be a socialist? Why join a Union or any left party at all – if, on Covid, all we should do is obey “our own” corporate politicians and the mainstream media?
Workers should strive to support the campaign to free Chan Han Choi. But it is crucial to oppose all lockdowns and ALL aspects of lockdown terror. Chan Han Choi and the working class can only be fully emancipated once EVERY part of bourgeois ideology is defeated – not just fragments of it. Therefore we urge workers to build the anti-lockdown movement as part of an initial struggle for the reclaiming of free speech, freedom of assembly and every other right that workers need in their battles against the rule of the private banks and the stock exchange. The most class aware workers amongst those resisting the draconian dictates of the Covidian state need to be welded into internationally linked Marxist vanguard parties, to help lead the struggle for liberation from lockdowns and other relics of class society.