For Full Citizenship Rights! Defend Refugees by Opposing War!

For Full Citizenship Rights!  Defend Refugees by Opposing War!

24-06-2017 – Imagine living in limbo for four years, only to be told that you have four months to lodge an application for asylum, or face being deported. This is what faces thousands of refugees currently in Australia, following the latest move by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Liberal National Party (LNP) Minister Dutton has now given a deadline of October 1 to fill out a complex and involved application, for people who may be either illiterate, may not have English speaking ability, and may not be able to access any legal representation. This deadline refers to 30 500 people who arrived in Australia by boat between August 13, 2012, when the then Australian Labor Party (ALP) suspended processing of claims from “illegal maritime arrivals”, and January 1, 2014 – when those arriving were either turned back at sea or sent to offshore detention centres.[1]

These people have in some cases been waiting for four years to apply for asylum. Now they face somehow having to complete a 60 page application, full of dense legal definitions, comprising of over 100 questions. Kon Karapanagiotidis, of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, has stated that even experienced lawyers not trained in refugee law are not able to complete the applications. Experienced lawyers who are trained in refugee law can take up to eight hours to complete them. Hiring a private lawyer can cost $5000, a cost that is obviously unaffordable for asylum seekers trying to survive on welfare payments. Mr Karapanagiotidis claims that the government is trying to scare asylum seekers into completing the forms without any legal assistance, as the government is well aware that bodies that assist refugees and asylum seekers do not have the resources to even attempt this task.[2]

“Citizenship Test”

These measures contain a level of racism barely able to be conceived, but official government racism against those predominantly originating from less developed countries, does not stop there. The Federal Liberal government has proposed absurd levels of testing about so-called “Australian Values” for those applying for citizenship here. Instead of a one year waiting period, they are pushing for four years. Those applying will likely undergo strict English language tests, to a level which many Australian born residents would probably fail. On social media, some mocked and ridiculed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, suggesting “Australian values” includes: telling others where speed cameras are, destroying 200 indigenous languages and then imposing your own, English being the 5th or 6th language of some indigenous people, and scoffing a kebab while complaining about Muslim immigrants.[3]

Some of the proposed questions are deliberately targeted to inflame anti-Islam hysteria, as if there wasn’t already enough. For example, questions such as: do you support female genital mutilation? And: Under what circumstances is it permissible for someone to strike their spouse within the confines of their own home?  – are clearly hostile provocations against those whose religious beliefs may be Islamic. For centuries, people holding the Islamic religion have co-existed amongst Australian settlers, and amongst Australia’s indigenous people. All this changed after the misnamed “war on terror” began in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001. The Islamic – real or not – entity was the new bogeyman which the West conjured to replace the decades of Cold War anti-communism. Today, the atrocious wars of regime change in the Middle East by the Western powers and their allies, has once again incited extreme Islamophobia, even while the Western powers themselves arm, fund and train the terrorists they claim to be fighting.

Citizenship rights torn to shreds

While the politicians cynically try to create an “Australian” us and a threatening “them”, basic civil liberties and democratic rights for those already citizens are being incinerated in the “fight against terrorism” – in a security scare which inevitably sweeps up refugees and asylum seekers. No matter how many times these same politicians and other liberals decry “totalitarian” Russia or China, totalitarianism here in Australia is reaching unprecedented levels. The right to free speech, the right to assembly, the right to form political organisations, the right not to be arbitrarily detained, the right to private communication – all of these and more are being ripped up before our very eyes. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have risked their lives to inform us of the extent to which we can be monitored by “our own” spy agencies. For example, the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No.1) 2014, allows the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) to collect intelligence on Australian citizens, to enable ASIS to cooperate with the ASIO without ministerial authorisation, and allows ASIO to cooperate with the private sector.[4]

Even data stored on your own personal computer is effectively no longer yours. Laws have been enacted which redefines a “computer” as a network, or one or more systems, or one or more computers.[5] The entire internet connections of everyone in the country could be described as a “network”. And police would then only require one warrant to potentially hack into, or seize, any computer anywhere in the country. All in the name of security against “terrorism”. Almost anything can, and has, been justified by raising the word “terrorism”. This ties into the question of refugee and asylum seeker rights, because it is often directly raised in terms of a refugee being a potential “terrorist”.

The Australian government has some hide accusing refugees and others of being potential “terrorists”. From practical experience over the last six years, it is this gang which has demonstrated not only that it does not “fight” terrorism, but in practice aids, assists, and works alongside actual terrorists. The Australian government politically backed NATO in its destruction of Libya, in which terrorists armed by the US and the UK were proxies using violence to bring down the former Libyan government headed by Colonel Gaddafi. In Syria, the Australian government has sent fighter jets and troops to materially aid the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and Israel in their desperate attempt at regime change. To do so, the Australian military forces, working under US tutelage, cleared the way for the genocidal ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists to slaughter untold numbers of innocents. These appalling wars caused thousands to flee as refugees, to Europe, Asia and Australia. This is one reason why working people should not accord this Australian state the right to decide who, and who is not, a citizen. We need to fight for full citizenship rights for all those who have made it to these shores. That is, the right to safe haven, as well as the right to work, medical and welfare benefits, housing, and the right to apply for citizenship if that is what is desired.

For independent politics

The atrocious detention of innocent refugees and asylum seekers is linked to the abominable wars for Empire in which the Australian state is enmeshed. This is one reason why the refugee rights movement here must fully break from the domestic and foreign policy of Canberra. Thus far, however, in the main the refugee rights movement has sought a break with the domestic policies of the federal government, but has not attempted to break with the foreign policy of the national politicians, despite their claims. Hence, while groups such as the Refugee Action Collective (RAC), and the left parties which underpin it (such as Solidarity, Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance) correctly make efforts to force the government to close the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, at the same time they endorse, or at least fall silent, when the Australian state wages refugee-creating wars in the Middle East and North Africa. Nor do they speak out when the US Empire, currently in the persona of Donald Trump, threatens to blow the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or “North Korea”) off the face of the planet, threatening the world with nuclear war – and making potentially millions of refugees.

RAC and their constituent left parties put forward the demand “Sack Peter Dutton”. No doubt the current Immigration Minister displays virulently anti-human capacities. However, the entire ruling and political establishment are a part of the same system. This demand, essentially a demand for the ruling class to shuffle around their personnel, also ties the refugee rights movement ever closer to the Australian state. The persecution of refugees is ultimately aimed at dividing workers against themselves, let alone it being draconian and unjust. It is thus in the interests of working people to strongly oppose these practices. However, by guiding the refugee rights movement politically towards the very politicians who enable this barbarism, RAC and some left parties turn those most abhorred by these practices back into the arms of those we should be campaigning against. In short, the politics becomes dependent on the political arms of the profit system. What is needed for refugee rights, and also for defending basic living and working conditions, is independent working class politics.

This is the polar opposite of the “broad front” politics practiced by RAC and the left parties which drive it. They seek the broadest possible of fronts on the issue of refugee rights – which pushes them into forming alliances with the very forces which produce refugees in the first place. Even though the Australian Greens, for example, speak out against the abuse of refugees from the parliamentary benches, they are not about to do anything to jeopardise these cushioned seats. Rarely, there are some Australian Labor Party (ALP) politicians prepared to (timidly) oppose the detention of asylum seekers – but these are sought after as “broad” allies. NGOs such as GetUp! wage online campaigns for refugees, but their campaigns invariably target only Liberal ministers, giving the game away as to who they really work for. And while many church groups genuinely contribute valuable work towards refugee rights campaigns, in the end the limitations of their politics becomes one more conservative bloc which limits the “broad front” from taking the action which is most needed. Moreover, all of these political forces do not oppose, or actually endorse, the wars engendered by the capitalist West’s economic crisis, be it against Libya, Syria, Ukraine or the DPRK.

Defend refugees by opposing war

We need all hands on deck to win basic rights for refugees, so of course no one should be “kicked out” of actions in defence of refugee rights. At the same time, there does need to be a political split with the current leadership of the refugee rights movement, as their politics can ultimately only prevent, not enable, victory. The politics that can win is one which seeks primarily to mobilise a united front of the working class, which can then draw in students, artists, musicians, churches and even some community groups in behind. It is only the collective workers who have the power to end abuse of refugees due to their strategic class position, which drives the accumulation of wealth. Politicians, NGOs and similar elements cannot do this, as they are tied politically to the profit system.

The key obstacle to mobilising the working class is the conservative Union bureaucracy, tied also by a thousand threads to the system which provides them well-paid careers. From this materially privileged position, Union officials not only refuse to assist the refugee rights struggle, but tie their members and the workers generally into Canberra’s foreign policy – which is in turn tied into the US war machine. This war machine is currently threatening the world with nuclear war. It is not only in Syria and the DPRK where Wall Street seeks regime change – the ultimate targets are Russia and China. Working people cannot allow this catastrophic course to go unchallenged.

It is the decaying capitalist system which delivers permanent war, horrific abuse of refugees, poverty, unemployment, ecological collapse, and much more. These crises nonetheless present an opportunity for workers’ party to point the way forward to an internationally planned economy, where the prosperity of society will leave no one behind, where all will work in common and have sufficient time to develop whichever skills they possess. The Workers League holds these aims and more – join us!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX  66   NUNDAH  QLD   4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2017/05/27/peter-duttons-asylum-seeker-deadline/14958072004703 (14-06-2017)

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/02/27/government-threatens-to-cut-off-asylum-seeker-visas-within-30-da_a_21722259/ (14-06-2017)

[3] http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/04/20/social-media-asks-what-australianvalues-are-pms-new-citizenship-test (17-06-17)

[4] https://newmatilda.com/2014/09/23/abbotts-anti-terror-laws-are-real-danger-australia/ (17-06-17)

[5] http://theconversation.com/sweeping-security-law-would-have-computer-users-surrender-privacy-30041 (17-06-17)

The Manus Island detention centre will close, after being ruled illegal by a Papua New Guinea court. Image from http://www.cnn.com

 

For a 30 Hour Week With No Loss in Pay!

For a 30 Hour Week With No Loss in Pay!

(The following is the text of a leaflet distributed at the June 20 “Stop the War on Workers” rally)

20-06-2017 – The war on workers continues unabated. Today’s actions have been called by the leaderships of some Unions primarily over the issues of:

  • The federal government strengthening the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), which is specifically designed to slash wages, conditions and safety for workers in the construction industry.
  • The forced reduction of Sunday penalty rates for retail & hospitality workers.
  • The rampant wage theft by numerous employers
  • The exploitation of “overseas” workers

Working people are enduring all of these attacks on their working, and thus living, conditions, and much more. Bullying and harassment by managers and supervisors is rife, and workers are doing millions of hours of unpaid overtime. Understaffing is widespread, resulting in unbearable workloads for the staff remaining, especially in the public sector. Nurses and teachers are stretched to the limit, and there is gross underpayment of staff in areas such as childcare. Wage growth in Australia is currently standing at the lowest level in history. Unemployment is rife, with many young people and university and school leavers unable to find work. On top of all of this, the federal government is attempting to push the retirement age out to 70 years!

Who is waging this war?

There is indeed a large scale war on workers in Australia, and in large parts of the world internationally. In order to fight back, Union members and workers generally need to be aware of just who, or what, is waging this war against us. The fact is that it is not just the Turnbull government, and not just the Liberal National Party (LNP), which is putting in place anti-worker laws. The Australian Labor Party (ALP) has barely opposed ANY of the anti-worker laws being enforced. Nor has any parliamentary party taken a consistent position of defence of working people. Of course, the attacks on workers are not just emanating from the federal and/or state parliaments. They originate from the entire class of employers, large and small. This is because the capitalist profit system is in dire crisis, and the only way out – for them – is to make workers pay for it. This is the source of who, or what, is waging this war against workers, and driving anti-worker measures such as relentless privatisation.

The Union leaders who have organised today’s rallies around the country are correct to raise the slogan “Enough is Enough”. However, the politics of these leaders is far from adequate, and can even lead to more attacks on workers. By targeting only the Turnbull government, the implication is that the election of an ALP federal or state government is the one thing that can stop the attacks on workers. But this is demonstrably false. Little can be won for workers without an organised struggle of working people and their Unions against the class of employers as a whole. This means that Union leaders need to facilitate, at the least, ongoing meetings of members and delegates, so that Union members can decide on what is to be done, and what political strategy should be used. We would suggest that given the scale of the attacks on working people, a national industrial campaign needs to be waged, involving all types of mass action, up to and including nation-wide strikes.

For a shorter working week with no loss in pay!

The attacks on workers are so numerous, and so extensive, that it is almost exhausting to list them all, let alone campaign against them. One demand which can galvanise Unions and their supporters, nationally and internationally, is the demand for a shorter working week with no loss in pay. A universal demand for a 30 hour week with no loss in pay, if put forward by the entire Union movement, and backed by a concerted campaign of ongoing mass actions, including industrial stoppages, has the potential to unify and strengthen a Union movement and a working class which is in dire need of a fightback. Workers can explain how a 30 hour work week, with no loss in pay, would lead to a vast undercutting of unemployment. It would lead to an increase in disposable income in the hands of workers, enabling them to contribute to the wider economy in dire need of a stimulus. Workers could explain that the extra money required would need to be forced from the profits of the bloated corporations and government coffers – so both of these bodies would give back to the communities from which they extract labour. Under the banner of a shorter working week with no loss in pay, the increased confidence and combativeness that Unionists and workers will gain will most likely lead to increased ability to organise to defeat other attacks such as the ABCC, the removal of penalty rates, and rampant wage theft.

Workers cannot expect the current crop of Union leaders to wage this desperately needed struggle. Invariably, today’s Union leaders are so comfortably ensconced in the system that refusing to fight is their second nature. There must be a new, class struggle leadership of the Unions which must push aside officials feathering their own nest. This task is bound up with the trial of forging a workers party which fights for a workers government. FOR A 30 HOUR WEEK WITH NO LOSS IN PAY!

 

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

Ban the Bomb! No to Nuclear War!

BAN THE BOMB!     NO TO NUCLEAR WAR!

17-06-2017 – “There’s a bomb hangin’ over our heads”….this familiar refrain from the era of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is unfortunately even more relevant today. However, today there is no Soviet Union to offset the capricious destructive power of the US Empire. This does not mean the US behemoth encounters no opposition to its plans for global plunder. In Syria, Russia – at the invitation of the Syrian government – has effectively blocked US led efforts at regime change. Iran and Hezbollah have given assistance, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at least voted against moves for regime change at the United Nations (UN). The US led campaign for regime change had active support from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Australia and others.

The fact that this regime change operation was blocked, at least for now, has not stymied the US rulers’ appetites for regime change, in Syria or elsewhere. Economically, the global capitalist system is in terminal decline, and this drives ever more reckless wars of regime change, invasions, bombings, funding and arming of death squads to bring down sovereign governments, and much more. The USA, the leader of capitalist-imperialism, thus has its hands drenched in blood from current or completed or attempted regime change operations in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – also referred to as “North Korea”), and many others. US troops are stationed in over 130 countries around the world. Canberra, heading up the vassal Australian state, politically or practically backs, or participates in, all such operations.

Ongoing threats to the DPRK

Today’s day of action has been organised to call on the Australian government to sign up to a global ban on the production and use of nuclear weapons. The governments of 130 nations have signed up to endorse this agreement.[1] Working people should certainly not oppose such an agreement, were it possible to sign and have it enforced. The objectors at this stage include the governments of the US, Australia, Russia and China. Despite constant demonization by Western governments and their media, the DPRK was an enthusiastic signee. This fact demonstrates that despite the corporate media depiction of the DPRK as a mad “rogue state”, in actuality it would prefer not to have to spend resources in the development of nuclear weapons. The only reason it does, is that it is threatened with annihilation, nuclear or otherwise, at any moment, by US imperialism and its allies. Consequently, as Mike Whitney wrote: “There’s no country in the world that needs nuclear weapons more than North Korea”.[2]

This is why there is no contradiction between the DPRK signing up to a proposed ban on nuclear weapons, and the DPRK actually developing nuclear weapons themselves. It is purely a matter of survival. The ferocity of the US Empire’s war on Korea in 1953 left an indelible mark on the whole construction of the DPRK itself. The DPRK is more aware than anyone else of the unfathomable barbarism visited upon them during that war. Around 4 million Koreans and Chinese volunteers were slaughtered, bridges and power stations were reduced to rubble, relentless volumes of napalm were dropped on civilian targets, and that was just for starters. It is estimated that Pyongyang was reduced to a population of 50 000 during the war, whereas before the war it was 500 000.[3] To DPRK citizens, these horrific memories are as clear to them as yesterday.

Despite this, the DPRK has repeatedly stated, time and time again, that it is ready to “conclude an agreement to end its nuclear programs, put them all under IAEA inspection and conclude a permanent peace treaty to replace the ‘temporary’ cease-fire of 1953.”[4] The DPRK has consistently stated that it will end its nuclear weapons program if US forces are withdrawn from the southern half of the Korean peninsula, and if the annual “military exercises” conducted on the doorstep of the DPRK, where the US military and its allies practice for a regime change invasion, cease. This entirely reasonable offer has been stated time and time again, only to be ignored by the US state.

Threats to China, Russia

US designs for regime change in the DPRK are also aimed at the neighbouring People’s Republic of China (PRC), perhaps even more so. It was largely to contain the 1949 socialist revolution in China that the US launched the war against Korea in 1950-53. Today, China’s dominant socialist economy is leaving the capitalist economies for dead, outstripping it in ongoing GDP growth, driving spectacular investment in infrastructure development, and even offering other countries the opportunity to take part, with its One Belt One Road program. The US, with a declining economy and crumbling infrastructure, is well on the way to being overtaken as world number 1. The US ruling class knows that it must take action against Red China sooner rather than later to prevent this from happening. Hence we have the irrational threats against the DPRK, and relentless provocations by the US in the South China Sea. The installation of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missiles in South Korea are also patently aimed at China, given that they will be virtually ineffective against a conventional missile strike from the DPRK.[5]  These very real threats are the precise reason why the PRC itself needs its own nuclear arsenal.

The threats of the US Empire towards Russia are no less serious. Russia, as well as China, is being encircled by a swathe of US military bases. The relentless expansion of NATO, along with military hardware and missiles being installed right up to Russia’s border in Eastern Europe, means that Russia, regardless of its wishes, must also maintain and develop its nuclear weapons stockpile. To not do so would result in extermination. For example, the forces of NATO members Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), France and Denmark, which have recently been deployed, are part of an “Enhanced Forward Presence” in the Baltic states, as well as Poland. In excess of 4000 NATO troops are building what are in effect permanent bases in these countries, menacingly pointed towards Russia.[6] At best, these developments violate an express agreement signed in 1997, that NATO would not seek to establish permanent bases in the nations closer to Russia. At worst, it greatly heightens the danger of an accident which could trigger a military, or nuclear, confrontation.

From where do the threats of war arise?

While working people should not oppose universal bans on nuclear weapons, i.e. a commitment by ALL countries, imperialist or otherwise, not to produce or stockpile nuclear weapons, we should be clear that the threat of nuclear war does not arise because some states are armed with nuclear weapons. The threat of war, nuclear or not, is present due to the day to day operation of the system of capitalist-imperialism. Leading this system is the ruling class of the United States, which is currently threatening nuclear world war via its simultaneous regime change threats against Syria and the DPRK. Any more US moves to take down the Syrian government, could activate Russia, which is doing its utmost to defend Syria and prevent such a potential nuclear war. At the same time, any more US moves to strike the DPRK, would of necessity bring in the PRC in self-defence, but also could lead to nuclear war.

This is why, despite laudable efforts to ban nuclear weapons, while US imperialism exists, anti-imperialist, socialist and independent states (e.g. China, Russia, Iran, DPRK) will need nuclear weapons to defend themselves. In fact, despite the demonization by the Western corporate media of the DPRK, the very existence of the DPRK’s weapons stockpile is actually part of what is currently preventing a nuclear war. Many attendees at today’s rallies are ironically enjoying a peace which the nuclear weapons stockpile of the DPRK (and China and Russia) ensures. It is only the nuclear deterrent existing in these states which currently prevents them, and large parts of the world, from being obliterated by the US juggernaut – inevitably with the backing of Canberra.

This situation of a delicate balance, where the nuclear weapons potential of the socialist or independent states is used as a defence against the nuclear weapons potential of US imperialism, unfortunately can’t last forever. Capital, the mainstay of the “free enterprise” system of the West, has to expand or die. It has to accumulate not only profit, but an adequate rate of profit. Once the opportunity for capital expansion has expired within the home country, it must seek others in other parts of the globe. If other countries do not allow foreign capital plunder, sooner or later the drums of war begin to beat, talk of “humanitarian intervention”, “democracy” and “human rights” grows louder and louder. The US and the NATO monster are switched on, and voila! Regime change is here again. This is one reason why war itself will not be removed until the planet is able to rid itself of capitalism.

Hands Off the DPRK, China, Syria, Russia, Iran

As it was during the First World War, the struggle to stop world war is also a struggle for the overthrow of governments prosecuting wars. This requires a politically aware working class, and a workers’ party prepared to lead this struggle. We can begin to assemble such a party now, even if the subjective conditions for it do not currently exist. Right now, it is important that working people raise and organise around such demands as Hands Off the DPRK, China, Syria, Russia and Iran – putting the political heat squarely on those who currently threaten to unleash World War III – the governments of the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and their allies, including Australia. To do this, working people will need to apply pressure to their own Union leaders – many of whom are thoroughly tied into the system which provides them well-paid careers, and thus are tied into Australian government foreign policy. These positions flow from Australia being an imperialist power in its own right, albeit a minor one.

The Australian people are overwhelmingly against a world war. This does not mean, however, that a “broad” peace movement is all that is needed to somehow prevail. In fact, rather than uniting the peace movement, such as it is, what is required is for pro-worker elements to break away from those who wish to direct appeals to the very rulers who are enabling the conditions for world war. That is, the anti-imperialist elements need to break away from the pro-imperialist sections. For no matter how many words political forces such as the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the Greens and NGOs may offer against war, the fact is that they are a strong pillar of the capitalist system producing it. Many of the members of these organisations would strongly campaign against imperialist war, and such folk should be welcomed. A problem arises when representatives of the liberal side of the ruling class are openly asked by peace campaigners to be “stars”, or special guests. Doing so cripples the politics to such an extent that it the movement becomes one which is appealing to the very purveyors of war itself – the Western ruling classes. Imagine in feudal times appealing to the King’s forces to stop waging war against the next fiefdom, which were conscripting peasants by force to do so.  Every rank and file worker today would understand that that appealing to the King would be fruitless, and that the only hope would lie in a generalised peasant revolt.

Today we no longer live in such times, and we have the advantage that the modern ruling classes, the bourgeoisie, often prefer to rule by manufactured consent rather than by force. Breaking this manufactured consent cannot be done, however, while political forces hostile to independent working class action are allowed to dominate the “peace” movement – whether they be ALP or other politicians, NGOs, or conservative Union leaders. The danger of world war is real, and it emanates from the very system which “our” politicians preside over. These politicians are not “ours” in the slightest. The working class must produce its own leaders, and its own party, if we are to stand a realistic chance of preventing war through ending the rule of capital, and establishing workers rule. NO TO WORLD WAR!

 

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/nuclear-ban-treaty-progresses-despite-us-led-objections (09-06-17)

[2] https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/17/the-problem-is-washington-not-north-korea/ (09-06-17)

[3] https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/17/the-problem-is-washington-not-north-korea/ (09-06-17)

[4] “North Korea’s consistent message to the U.S.”, President Jimmy Carter, Washington Post.

[5] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-defence-analysis-idUSKBN16F0CT (09-06-17)

[6] http://www.globalresearch.ca/war-preparations-against-russia-nato-builds-infrastructure-for-permanent-military-presence-near-russias-borders/5590363

UN General Assembly votes on resolution to move toward a ban on nuclear weapons. Image from http://www.cndpindia.org

Stop the Adani Death Mine! Mobilise Mass Opposition!

Stop the Adani Death Mine! Mobilise Mass Opposition!

02-06-2017 – Abomination. There is barely another word to describe the proposed mega-coal Carmichael mine proposed to be built by the Adani Corporation in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. If built and operated for the proposed 60 years, it may well contribute to the end of world efforts to limit global average temperature rises to less than 2 degrees Celsius. The carbon contained in the Galilee Basin’s coal reserves alone – 250 000 square kilometres of thermal coal – contain roughly the same amount of carbon contained in all of ExxonMobil’s holdings, the world’s largest company.[1] The development of the Adani “mine of death” would mean six open cut pits and numerous underground mines. The coal would be transported 200 kilometres to a terminal at Abbot Point, right next to the Great Barrier Reef. Australia’s carbon emissions would more than double.[2]

There is a high probability that the Adani mine will definitively finish off the Great Barrier Reef. To this point already, reef specialist Professor Terry Hughes revealed that coral bleaching – the literal dying off of the coral itself – now covered 93% of the Reef.[3] As the intensification of global warming warms the oceans, the sea itself becomes more acidic, killing off or threatening to kill off whole ecosystems – from coral to fish to large predators, i.e., whole food chains. One of the natural wonders of the world, the strangulation of the reef should be yet another urgent bell-weather of the desperate situation climactic collapse ensures. As Jeff Sparrow writes, however, any sense that an occurrence so grotesque as the annihilation of a natural wonder would somehow spur politicians to finally do something, should now be put to rest.[4] The politicians that currently exist here will scarcely do anything to even seriously limit environmental desecration.

Labor Party complicit

In fact, politicians here are doing everything they can to enable this hellish future. Take the Queensland Labor Party government. It has fallen over itself to get the diabolical Adani coal mine up and running, irrespective of the climate science, not to speak of its own members. First it offered a 320 million dollar “royalties holiday” to Adani, making a mockery of the entire concept of royalties.[5] After some outrage, the Labor Party and Adani later came to an agreement, the details of which are not fully known, but it is suspected that a flat 5 million dollars will be paid. For a 21 billion dollar mine, this is of course risible. In addition, in a move which flabbergasted even seasoned environmental activists, the Labor Party approved a measure which allows Adani to only monitor and report on the amount of water it extracts from the Great Artesian Basin, from now until the permit expires in 2077![6] Needless to say, this could have massive impacts on the water available for agriculture and other purposes. It is estimated that this would mean Adani would extract 9.5 billion litres of water for each year the mine was operational.[7] And on the driest continent on earth, Adani would not have to pay one cent for this water!

Some die-hard Labor party members state that despite the (virtually criminal) actions of the Queensland Labor party, “federal” Labor has opposed the mine. In fact, federal Labor under Bill Shorten worked with the Liberal Party to ensure that Native Title for the Aboriginal people would not even be considered when assessing approval for Adani’s mine building. This bill has been delayed in parliament, and the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council, representatives of the traditional owners, remains steadfast in its opposition to the construction of the mine.[8]

Add to this Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to New Delhi to Adani executives and his offer of a 1 billion dollar unconditional loan from Australian taxpayers to pay for the rail line needed to transport the coal.[9] As if this wasn’t enough, it is mooted that these funds will be allocated from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility![10] The level of direct and indirect corruption is staggering, but such corruption is business as usual for the capitalist system. In fact, the amount of corruption just for this project is just a slim percentage of the overall racket of virtually tax-free mining in Australia.

Red China closes coal mines while Australia opens them

Australia’s giant Pacific neighbour, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is trending in the opposite direction with regard to coal fired energy use. It should be noted that for a country which is still in many parts developing its economy, despite its huge advances, it is more difficult to do without coal as an energy source. Nevertheless, Red China is arguably leading the world push towards switching from carbon intensive energy sources to carbon free ones. Just this year, Beijing closed its last large coal-fired power station.[11] Moreover, as part of the drive towards using zero carbon energy sources, the PRC will close around half of its operating coal mines.[12] Some renewable energy advocates point to China in leading the way in the production of solar panels and wind turbines. But for serious capacity in terms of zero carbon energy, the PRC is building nuclear reactors. 46% of the new reactors currently being constructed are in mainland China.[13]

There is one reason why the PRC leads the world in both economic growth and in the drive towards sourcing energy from zero carbon sources. The Chinese economy, primarily, does not operate on the basis of production for profit. The socialist state led development they are capable of has only come about since the working people were able to overthrow feudal and foreign capitalist plunder, which triumphed in 1949. In the PRC today, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of the “commanding heights” of the economy remain state owned or majority state owned. They are often owned and controlled by gigantic state owned enterprises (SOEs) which simply do not have to turn a profit, and often run at profit rates below 1%, which would not be possible under the “capitalism” of which some critics accuse it. Decisions can be made in the interests of the environment and workers’ rights in the PRC, whereas in the capitalist West such motives barely rate a mention.

NGOs, Greens, Labor loyal Union leaders block action

Socialism versus capitalism as a pathway to address climate meltdown, however, is the furthest away from the agenda of the three main bodies which are combining to stifle mass action to stop the Adani leviathan. Peak environmental “NGOs”, the Australian Greens, and some Union leaders, who remain loyal to the Labor Party and/or the capitalist system, represent the obstacle to the action which has the possibility of preventing the erection of climate destroying mega-coal mines. NGOs such as GetUp!, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), and 350 Australia are active online in opposing the Adani mega-coal mine. However, these peak bodies are all about controlling the campaign against Adani, and controlling it to align with their politics – which ultimately means lobbying the very corporations and governments enabling it. For example, 350.org were the main organisers of large scale public meetings about the Adani mega-mine, but they were only “public” for those who could afford the $15 dollar entry fee!

The Australian Greens, despite their commendable words against the Adani inferno, are almost solely campaigning in electoral terms. After winning a Brisbane City Council seat in the Woolloongabba ward for the first time, the Greens are attempting to capitalise on the sentiment against Adani to win the state seat of South Brisbane from the Labor Party’s Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.[14] To be clear, if the Australian Greens win parliamentary seats as a result of a principled position against climate destroying developments, then working people should not begrudge them. But it is something else entirely to subordinate the politics of such a movement to electoral machinations of any party, even one which is, at least verbally, taking a side against the encroachments of capital.

There has been scant, if any, opposition to Adani from any of Queensland’s Union leaders. In fact, there has even been support. The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union’s (CFMEU) Stephen Smyth and the Australian Workers Union’s (AWU) Ben Swan, for example, have gone on record as complaining that the Adani mega-mine has come up against too much “green tape” from the state government![15] No doubt these self-serving Union leaders were eyeing the mythical “10 000” jobs the state government claimed would be the result of the Adani mega-mine. In fact, Adani’s own figures state that only 1464 jobs will be created over the lifetime of the mine.[16] In any case, one wit responded to State Treasurer Curtis Pitt’s claims that jobs will be created by saying: “Detention centres create jobs, wars create jobs – what’s your point?”

Union leaders should be leading a campaign for jobs through raising and fighting for demands such as a shorter working week with no loss in pay, rather than building a cosy alliance with exploitative corporations themselves. Then they would be free to help lead mass based campaigns, which could gather backing from working people, and could be joined by others justly concerned about the potentially catastrophic future vastly increased carbon emissions will mean for those who come after us. They could also sideline wealthy corporate NGOs and prevent them from shepherding all opposition into harmless lobbying exercises. Political parties such as the Greens would be welcome to take part, but not in terms of reducing the entire campaign to an electoral front.

There is huge potential for such a campaign, as there is overwhelming sentiment amongst the majority of working people that this disaster of a mine should not go ahead, and there definitely should not be billions of dollars of taxpayers funds handed over to a dubious corporation to build it. Yet the potential for the desperately needed campaign of mass mobilisation is crippled by the political outlook of the mines’ opponents. Well-funded NGOs, parties such as the Greens, and conservative Union leaders do not have a perspective which can see outside the parameters of the system of private production for private profit. This is not a matter of expecting such forces to consent to a workers’ revolution. But long before the conditions for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism come into being, the methods of class-based struggle are the only ones which can win a serious battle such as this one.

The Adani mega-mine is symptomatic of the normal workings of capitalist exploitation of the natural world. It is for this reason that the political forces which complain about the excess of this system without opposing the system itself, e.g. GetUp!, 350.org, AYCC, must be challenged by working people for leadership of this campaign. Working people also need to position their silent or complicit Union leaders, which should at least be helping to facilitate a movement of class-based mass opposition, centred on mass mobilisations. Working and oppressed people desperately need a victory. Here is one campaign, which, given correct leadership, has a huge chance of succeeding.

At the same time, working people should be aware that even if the Adani monstrosity is stopped, runaway climate collapse is still on the cards. To begin to deal with this emergency, let alone the other dire emergencies such as economic stagnation, joblessness, homelessness, and the threat of war, the capitalist system will have to be overthrown and replaced with socialism, run by working people. Key to this task is the forging of a genuine workers party, the assembling of the most class conscious working people into a politically leading force. There is nothing to lose, but a world to win.

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO Box 66  NUNDAH QLD 4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2013/june/1370181600/bill-mckibben/how-australian-coal-causing-global-damage (02-06-17)

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/05/17/the-damning-report-that-says-adanis-carmichael-mine-is-a-slow-t_a_22094639/ (02-06-17)

[3] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bleaching-hits-93-percent-of-the-great-barrier-reef/ (02-06-17)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/07/its-either-adani-or-the-great-barrier-reef-are-we-willing-to-fight-for-a-wonder-of-the-world (02-06-17)

[5] http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/adani-says-carmichael-megamine-viable-without-royalties-holiday/news-story/c40786658dc12c935777729349addd26 (02-06-17)

[6] http://www.smh.com.au/environment/barbaric-adanis-giant-coal-mine-granted-unlimited-water-licence-for-60-years-20170404-gvd41y.html (02-06-17)

[7] https://www.marineconservation.org.au/pages/adani-carmichael-coal-mine-rail-project-factsheet-.html (02-06-17)

[8] http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/govt-fails-to-pass-native-title-bill-major-setback-for-adani/ (02-06-17)

[9] http://www.afr.com/news/politics/adani-firms-on-1bn-loan-as-turnbull-promises-to-fix-native-title-problems-20170411-gvisan (02-06-17)

[10] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-29/conflict-of-interest-concerns-over-adani-rail-loan/8564368 (02-06-17)

[11] http://www.smh.com.au/world/beijing-closes-last-big-coalfired-power-station-in-push-for-clean-energy-20170320-gv20hx.html (02-06-17)

[12] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-energy-coal-idUSKCN0VV0U5 (02-06-17)

[13] http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/plans-for-new-reactors-worldwide.aspx (02-06-17)

[14] http://larissa-waters.greensmps.org.au/articles/queensland-labor-and-adani-join-forces-queensland-taxpayers-get-screwed-over (02-06-17)

[15] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/unions-slam-new-rules-for-adani-acland-mines/news-story/4e74aacda44ef2d710ff0d0525865477 (02-06-17)

[16] https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2017/05/truth-adani-jobs/ (02-06-17)

The Adani Corporation has begun fencing off land in the Galilee Basin. Image from http://www.southasiatimes.com.au

US Hands Off Venezuela! For a Leap Forward to Socialism!

US Hands Off Venezuela!  For a Leap Forward to Socialism!

26-05-2017 – The images are as disturbing as they are frightening. Right-wing Venezuelans, knowing they have the direct and indirect backing of the US Empire, are literally burning down Venezuela. The most recent egregious example was the setting fire to a Venezuelan government supporter, on the grounds that he was a “Chavista”.[1] Right-wing opponents of the government led by President Nicolas Maduro also recently took a public bus driver hostage, and then set his bus on fire. Hispan TV reported the bus driver as saying “Honestly, if they had known that I support the Revolution….if I had said Homeland, Socialism or Death…. they would have killed me.”[2]

There is extensive evidence of US government funding for these ultra-violent hoodlums, as well as the conservative political parties themselves. In 2015, the US government delivered $4.26 million for Venezuela through the notorious US Agency for International Development (USAID), with most of this going to numerous anti-government organisations.[3] For years, the US government has not even attempted to hide their backing of the Venezuelan opposition to the Bolivarian Revolution. In 2014, the US federal budget allowed $5 million for funding opposition activities in Venezuela as a line item.[4] If there has been anything like this amount pouring in to these groups annually, one can only imagine the cumulative total over the 19 odd years of “Chavismo” (the movement led by former President Hugo Chavez).

The right-wing opposition to the Hugo Chavez led “Bolivarian Revolution” which swept to electoral power in 1998, has often been fragmented. In recent years, however, it has coalesced around the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) – a coalition of around 50 political parties and organisations, whose main point of unity does not extend much beyond anti-Chavismo. Its main leader is Henrique Capriles Radonski – a staunchly conservative anti-socialist, who seemingly does not baulk at either receiving aid from the US state, nor being seen to organise and lead violent anti-government actions, regardless of whether or not there are casualties. Radonski has Jewish ancestry, which may explain the MUD’s links to the Israeli state, which former President Chavez claimed in 2010, was also involved in funding the right-wing opposition.[5]

Gains for workers and the oppressed

Make no mistake, the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela did win impressive gains for the Venezuelan workers and impoverished sectors. For example, Venezuelan Chavismo ensured that illiteracy had been eradicated by 2005. A National Public System was established to provide free access to health care for all Venezuelans. From 1999 to 2010, the number of doctors increased by 400%. The infant mortality rate was reduced by 49%. Since 1999, child malnutrition was reduced by 40%. Since 1998, the minimum wage was increased by over 2000%. GDP per capita increased from $4,100 in 1999 to $10,810 in 2011.[6]  And this is to name but a few. Internationally, bodies such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and Petrocaribe were established for Latin American and Caribbean countries to forge ties for trade and energy supplies not purely on the basis of buy and sell, but on mutual benefit. It also began to lay the groundwork for Latin American and Caribbean countries to break from the suffocating imperialist domination of Wall Street and the US deep state.

Nonetheless, all of these gains and more are imperilled by the political developments in Venezuela of the last few years, which are currently reaching a crisis point. We are entitled to ask how is it that all such gains can be reversed, given that they had the mandate of numerous election victories for 15 years?  Some try to explain the misfortunes of the current Venezuelan government in terms of the falling oil revenues. Venezuela is a major oil exporter and it is the case that the Chavez led Bolivarian government used oil income to fund health, education and other social spending. It is also the case that until mid-2014, a barrel of crude oil would sell for around $110, whereas in 2015 they fell below $50 a barrel and have hovered around that mark since.[7] On its own, however, this doesn’t explain the economic malaise, which is severe. For example, inflation reportedly reached 800% in 2016, while the economy shrunk by 18.6%.[8]

“Socialism of the 21st Century”

President Maduro blames anti-Chavismo capitalists for hoarding, creating artificial scarcity, in order to deliberately create these economic problems, in an effort to bring down the elected government. No doubt, there is a lot of truth to this. Yet this just points to the question of why such capitalists have such free reign to do their worst, to almost entirely bring down the Venezuelan economy with the government seemingly powerless to prevent it. To answer this, we have to examine the political motivation of the Bolivarian Revolution, and its leader’s adherence to what they term “Socialism of the 21st Century”.  Soon after winning governmental power in 1998, and witnessing the immediate hostility of the US government and elements of the Venezuelan ruling class to any sense of redistributing wealth, former President Chavez embarked on what he believed to be “socialism”. Later, he proclaimed to be building “Socialism of the 21st Century”. Analysing this slogan, we can see that the leading Chavistas, and many of their international supporters, wanted to distance themselves from “20th Century Socialism” – by which they mainly referred to the former Soviet Union.

To learn from the mistakes the workers of Russia endured at the hands of the leaders of the Soviet Union is necessary, however the Chavistas pushed themselves away from association with “20th Century Socialism” in the wrong direction. Rather than seeking more means to expand workers’ political decision making ability while maintaining the workers’ state, the Chavistas ended up rejecting the need for a workers state altogether. Put simply, they wanted to change the world without the seizure of state power, and the establishment of a workers republic. They explicitly rejected the key Marxist tenet of aiming for the “dictatorship of the proletariat” as the first step towards the beginning of the implementation of socialism. Consequently, they also dumped the Leninist conception of the need for a workers vanguard party to lead this historic struggle.

This is not simply a debate over which set of rhetoric is best able to build socialism. Whether one refers to it as a workers state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, or workers democracy, the effect is the same. Working people are in need of a state of their own, not to reproduce the rule of a minority over a majority, as in all previous historic states, but to hold down their capitalist adversaries, whose resistance to the rule of the poor will be furious. A workers state, led by a vanguard party or parties, is also necessary to guide workers, born and raised under capitalism, towards the new values of socialist society – cooperation, mutual benefit, solidarity and internationalism. The politically class conscious workers are needed to lead the less class conscious towards these goals. The most politically class conscious elements are usually located within the leading party or parties.

For all of their declarations of socialism, in fact the Chavistas junked the most basic part of socialism. Socialism begins with the overthrow of the capitalist state, and the forging of a workers state which will, in Marx’s words, make “despotic inroads” into the ownership of capital. Capital enables capitalists to profit from the exploitation of the labour of others. At the least, a socialist government would aim to take control of the banks and the major means of production, such as ports, railways, roads, and telecommunications and so on. It would have to mobilise working people for this vital task. In Venezuela, however, the creed of “Socialism of the 21st Century” prevented ANY of these crucial tasks from being attempted. Consequently, the Maduro government is not able to prevent major economic sabotage by some capitalists, the shortage of goods, high unemployment, runaway inflation, and more.

The right-wing is very adept at capitalising on these difficulties, especially given the links of the right-wing opposition to the dark forces of the US deep state. Shortages of consumer goods, electricity blackouts, falling production – the right-wing elements, now led by MUD, can easily point the finger at what they claim is “socialism” and draw a whole swathe of workers and underemployed poor over to the agenda of the far-right. The intense irony of the situation is that it is precisely because the Maduro government is NOT socialist, that the right wing are able to gather thousands to their side – despite thousands still remaining loyal to the “Bolivarian Revolution”.

“Government of the Left”

It is a lesson which has been learnt before, but will now have to be learned all over again. It is the age-old question of reform versus revolution. No matter how radical the wording, it is a fatal illusion to believe that capitalism can be reformed into socialism, or even into a system which doles out a few larger crumbs to the masses. For all of their efforts, many of which can be applauded, in the end the Chavistas are attempting to reform capitalism. The belief that electing a “government of the left”, or someone or some party who is more “left-wing”, to administer the existing capitalist state has come undone repeatedly throughout history, often with tragic consequences. Salvador Allende in Chile in the early 1970s paid for this illusion with his own life, and the people of Chile went on to endure 17 years of US backed military dictatorship. In 2015, the people of Greece elected the SYRIZA party to head the government there, with huge hopes. It took just a few hours for the “left-wing” SYRIZA to form a coalition with the far-right ANEL party. It went on to abandon any pretence of resisting the crushing austerity measures demanded by the bankers of the European Union (EU), and rapidly agreed to measures which were even more harsh than that the previous conservatives dared to impose. The suffering of the working people of Greece is almost indescribable, with employment opportunities, health care, pensions, education and so on being decimated. The suicide rate remains at unprecedented levels. It may be the last time Greek workers will trust a “government of the left”.

The right-wing in Venezuela know exactly what they want, and they are prepared to use mass violence to achieve it. They do not have to topple the capitalist state, as they aim simply to replace the leading personnel of the capitalist state with some of their own, with the financial and political support of Wall Street. They have demonstrated a willingness to set fire to people themselves to get their way.

The left in Venezuela, and internationally, has to once again learn the lesson that it is not possible to vote for socialism. Socialism can only come about through the organisation of the workers into a class, and the organisation of the most class conscious workers into a party which is firm with its allegiance to Marxism. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is in no way a vehicle for this task. We have no illusions about how difficult it is to raise millions of workers to the political level needed for the seizure of state power, let alone how to maintain the rule of the poor once achieved. There are no guarantees in class struggle. Yet this task cannot be begun until this is the perspective and outlook of the leading parties and organisations of working people in Venezuela.

US imperialism has specialised in regime change operations in the first years of this century. Afghanistan, Iraq, Honduras, Libya, Syria, Ukraine – all have either been overthrown or violent attempts have been made working with the most reactionary elements on the ground, up to and including fascists. To prevent yet another case, working people in Venezuela, and internationally, need to demand that the US cease all political and financial interference in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe. This struggle against wars of regime change is also a struggle to form a workers party fit to lead the struggle for socialism, and no less in Australia. US HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX  66   NUNDAH QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-image-idUSKBN18I2HF (26-05-17)

[2] http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/As-Opposition-Burns-Bus-Venezuela-Slams-Violence-Against-Youth-20170514-0009.html (26-05-17)

[3] http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Pumped-4.2M-in-2015-to-Destabilize-Venezuelan-Government-20170408-0006.html (26-05-17)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/18/venezuela-protests-us-support-regime-change-mistake (26-05-17)

[5] http://empirestrikesblack.com/2013/01/henrique-capriles-radonski-israels-man-in-venezuela/ (26-05-17)

[6] http://www.globalresearch.ca/50-truths-about-hugo-chavez-and-the-bolivarian-revolution/5326268 (26-05-17)

[7] http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29643612 (27-05-17)

[8] http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/20/venezuela-2016-inflation-hits-800-percent-gdp-shrinks-19-percent-document.html (27-05-17)

A man was set alight by violent right-wing Venezuelans, attempting to bring down the government. Image from http://www.thenation.com

Corbyn and Labour: Parliamentary “Socialism” or Class Struggle?

Corbyn and Labour: Parliamentary “Socialism” or Class Struggle?

18-05-2017 – On the face of it, it’s an impressive list. In the United Kingdom, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s platform for the June 8 elections include sweet sounding promises, as far as working people are concerned. Renationalising the railways, a 10 pound minimum wage, abolishing University tuition fees, free school meals, ending “zero hours” contracts, the right to trade union representation and much more. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has reportedly led to thousands of people joining the Labour Party; it has drawn in young people previously not involved with politics, and has even put a semblance of an anti-war agenda back into “mainstream” politics.

Yet Jeremy Corbyn is far from the “real deal”. He has been a Labour Party MP in the UK for around 30 years. Many have commented that he has spent his life campaigning against what his own party enforces. And there are glaring inconsistencies in a reliable left wing, much less “socialist”, agenda. For example, Corbyn has previously instructed Labour dominated councils in the UK to refrain from passing “no cuts” budgets.[1] That is, despite all his words against “austerity”, Corbyn directs Labour Councils to pass austerity budgets.  Also, for all of his former leadership of the Stop the War Coalition, when it came to the crunch, Corbyn allowed Labour MPs a “conscience” vote on whether or not to bomb Syria! [2]

We will leave it to the socialist parties and workers’ organisations in the UK to determine which is the best path for them, based as we are in Australia. However, we make the general point that continually trying to replace the leadership of the Labour Party with someone more “left” or even more “socialist” has failed time and time again. Tony Blair was replaced with Gordon Brown. Gordon Brown was replaced with Ed Miliband. Ed Miliband was replaced with Jeremy Corbyn. Has the result improved for working people? Overall, things may have even become worse.

Reducing huge political issues to individuals is a huge problem. It becomes not about classes but personalities. For his part, and for all of his activism, and for all of his stated policies, Jeremy Corbyn is committed to the Labour Party, i.e. the system of capitalism and Britain’s role in US led imperialism. This will remain the case no matter how many people join the Labour Party, and no matter how many votes the Labour party receives. The Labour Party strengthens the parliament, and thus strengthens capitalism as a system, despite any “socialist” rhetoric.

In the UK, and here in Australia, what is desperately needed is working class struggle – the ultimate product of which is the replacement of the capitalist system with a socialist one. Yet this struggle for socialism cannot begin until working people break from social-democracy, whether that is in the form of the Labour Party in the UK, or the Labor Party in Oz. This requires most political efforts to be directed towards building a workers’ party completely devoted to the overthrow of the rule of capital.

Of course we can recognise that Jeremy Corbyn is potentially drawing in thousands new people, and thousands of young people, into political action, and into some vague support for “socialism” – in reality, social-democracy. In itself, this can only be welcomed by working people. Yet it is an entirely different thing for the left to then go onto to urge workers to join, vote and campaign for the Labour Party. For one thing, this process does not distinguish oneself from the pro-Tony Blair right wing of the Labour Party. Secondly, this delays the urgent task of attempting to win working people to the only thing which can win lasting gains for them – class struggle, up to and including the seizure of political power by the workers. In fact, it pushes this task off into a day which will never come.

It is a deception of the highest order to claim, as some on the left do, that by urging workers to vote and/or join the Labour/Labor Party, they are working with people to bring them closer to socialist conclusions. On the contrary, joining the Corbyn “movement”, and urging other workers to join and be a part of the Labour Party takes people further away from socialism, no matter how radical their rhetoric. In fact, it is not radical at all. Strengthening the “left” wing of the entire edifice of corporate rule strengthens corporate rule itself. More people in the Labour Party means more people campaigning for the Labour Party. This is hardly going to approach the serious change working people need.

Humanity is running out of time.  The possibility of nuclear war and the inevitability of uncontrollable climate change are bearing down on all of us. The left’s basic answer is that these problems, and many more, can only begin to be addressed with the triumph of socialism. Yet the left needs to emphasise that socialism begins with a successful struggle for state power, that is, the victory over the former ruling class and the founding of a workers’ republic. It will entail the seizure of the major means of production, communication, electricity, banking, finance, transport, at the least. A series of elected workers councils will then administer a nationalised, planned economy, which will aim to eliminate the scourge of unemployment, poverty, homelessness and underdevelopment. Those who used to be first, will be last, and those who were formerly last, will come first. A Labour Party is part of the old world. Only a workers vanguard party has a chance of leading us to the new. Our task is to build it.

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX   66    NUNDAH  QLD   4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/12/jeremy-corbyn-warns-labour-councils-not-set-no-cuts-budgets (13-05-17)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/nov/30/syria-airstrikes-jeremy-corbyn-gives-labour-mps-free-vote

(14-05-17)

For Palestinian Liberation! Israel/US/AUS: Hands Off the Middle East!

For Palestinian Liberation! Israel/US/AUS: Hands Off the Middle East!

 

15-05-2017 – 69 years. For 69 years, ever since the 15th of May 1948, or Al Nakba (the catastrophe), the Palestinian people have endured expulsion from their land, murder, slaughter, imprisonment, starvation, blockade and more at the hands of the Israeli state. For almost all of those decades, the Israeli state has executed these crimes with the material and political support of the strongest imperialist powers, principally the US state. Today the situation is little different, and is arguably worse. Aside from the routine shootings of Palestinians by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), and even by Zionist settlers, the Palestinian economy lies in tatters, and has barely recovered from the war on Gaza by the Israeli state in 2006. As of last year, only 10.7 % of the 11 000 housing units totally destroyed in the 2006 war have been rebuilt, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) losses in Gaza since then have been greater than 50%.[1]

The oppression of Palestine is central to the question of the Middle East, and for that matter the world. However, for the last six years, the question of Palestine cannot but be viewed through lens of the US led war for regime change in neighbouring Syria. This imperialist war, unprecedented in history for both its level of barbarity and its accompanying corporate media and Western government lies, has also defined the Palestinian solidarity movement during that time. The Palestinian solidarity movement seems to have been split into three sections: 1. Those who have come behind the US led war on Syria, which unfortunately includes some left parties. 2. Those who oppose the US led war to destroy the Syrian state and 3. Those who defend Palestine against the Israeli state’s crimes, but who are genuinely confused and do not wish to take a side in the Empire’s war on Syria. Unfortunately, those in category 3 have, for the most part, gone along with those in category 1, even if they have their doubts about those fighting to bring down the Syrian government.

Israeli state co-operation with ISIS and Al Qaeda death squads in Syria

Palestinian solidarity activists know better than most how extensive the remorseless inhumanity of the Israeli state is towards the Palestinian people, and play a useful role in making working people aware of this. Yet some of them have not seen fit to make working people aware of the Israeli states’ role in the war for regime change in Syria. If their aim is to condemn the Israeli government, why not make working people aware of Israel’s role in assisting ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and other genocidal lunatics, in their efforts to overthrow Syria? Story after story recounts that Israeli hospitals treat injured Al Nusra death squad members, and how Israeli ambulances cross through Palestinian territory, and into Syrian territory to evacuate injured terrorists.[2] Why not expose the ISIS-Israeli state axis?

For that matter, why wouldn’t one report on the fact that Israel has launched missile strikes on Syria on multiple occasions during the war for regime change? The latest one was on 23rd of April this year.[3] Why not outline how the Israeli state has attacked Syrian Army positions, as well as Hezbollah fighters? Because to do so would undermine their claim that they stand in total opposition to the Israeli state, and would highlight their silence in the face of these attacks.

If one would assume that Palestinian solidarity activists would expose the role of Israel in assisting ISIS, we might expect that Australian Palestine solidarity activists would also expose the Australian military for doing the same thing. Yet, when the Australian government admitted that it assisted the US in the bombing of Syria on September 19, 2016[4], there was deathly silence. These strikes clearly assisted ISIS to temporarily move in on Deir Ez-zor. Yet the only protests in Australia came not from the Palestinian solidarity collectives, but the groups around the various Hands Off Syria branches.

BDS: A mistaken tactic based on a mistaken strategy

The silence of the majority of Australian Palestinian solidarity activists with regard to the US led war on Syria was arguably aided by their adoption of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. In the main, Palestinian solidarity activists posit BDS as axiomatic if one wishes to defend Palestine. However, there is much that is mistaken with BDS, for all of its laudable intentions. For one thing, the BDS campaign appeals to the very imperialist powers which have been waging war against the Palestinian people for decades on end. It aims to “pressure” the governments of Australia, the US, UK and others to impose sanctions on Israel for its gross mistreatment of Palestinians. Even if this was possible, this tactic of appealing to the governments which are ultimately responsible for the oppression of the Palestinians arguably prevented them from condemning, in this case, Australian military assistance to ISIS to undermine the Syrian state. For if on the one hand, you are lobbying the Australian government to condemn and impose sanctions on Israel, it would be counter-intuitive to simultaneously demonstrate against the Australian government for bombing Syria on the other hand.

With regard to Palestinian liberation, either the Australian ruling class is your friend, or it is something you help organise workers to oppose. BDS tries to walk both sides of the street. As this is not possible, it tends to side with the most powerful side, despite its intentions. Let us look at the “boycott” part. This refers to a consumer boycott. In almost every other campaign against war and/or national oppression, and much else, the left usually warns that consumer boycotts are ineffective, because working people cannot boycott the capitalist system if they want to survive – they have to organise to overthrow it. Yet we are told that BDS is an exception – Israel is supposedly so unique, that in this case, the left should call for consumer boycotts of Israeli products. Yet, with the Western capitalist economies in a dire state of crisis, working people have even less disposable income than before. The messaging is also skewed. The “victory” in this case, may be, if it comes off, a corporation deciding not to invest in Israeli businesses. Aside from the possible loss of jobs for Palestinians and Israelis in Israel, this corporation may simply decide to buy other shares on the stock market. The corporation becomes something to work with, rather than something to campaign against.

Similarly with “divestment”. Divestment implies all kinds of efforts to convince a corporation, which runs on the basis of private production for private profit, to divest, or invest elsewhere – somewhere other than Israel. The efforts seem to be intended to weaken everything Israeli, so that it will be unable to carry out repression against the Palestinians. Yet “Israel” is not a single unit. It has come about through the terrible suffering of others, but it has become a nation, which survives through the hideous repression of several different peoples within. As a nation it is far from homogenous, with around 20% of the population being Palestinian Arabs, around 25% being non-Jewish[5], along with migrants and refugees from Africa and other countries, as well as a large domestic working class. This working class includes some who oppose Israeli state militarism, as well as those who in 2011 embarked on “Occupy” style social justice protests in Tel Aviv, which protested gross inequality within Israel.[6]

Needless to say, a BDS movement, if “successful”, would target all of these potential allies, rather than reaching out to them. Worse than this, it tends to drive the Israeli working class deeper into the hands of the Zionist state, which in some sense is a natural reaction to an external siege. What is desperately needed is to break the Israeli working class from Zionism, as difficult as that may seem, and link them with the Palestinian working class in order to overthrow capitalism in the region. It is a sobering fact, but Palestinian national rights cannot be solved on the basis of a nationalism which remains entirely within the imperialist framework. The Palestinian solidarity movement must learn that support for Palestinian nationalism, on its own, is not enough to win justice for Palestine.

The BDS movement, backed by some left parties, not only does not challenge the capitalist division of the world into competing nation states, but goes cap in hand towards it. Think of the agencies it appeals to: Boycott – individual consumers going shopping, Divestment – corporations plundering the world, and Sanctions – the governments of the very First World states enforcing world poverty. At no point does it question the very forces pushing the world to the brink of world war and/or climactic destruction – capitalist corporations and the governments that serve them. In fact the BDS founder has emphasised the need to reach out to the “liberal mainstream”.[7] That is, the mainstream which accepts the system as a system, but only attempts to push for changes of policy within it.

Working people can liberate Palestine, and end the threat of war

While we should defend BDS campaigners against any repression from the Zionist state, or any Western state backing Israeli militarism, we need to seek to unleash the power of those the BDS campaign passes by – the working class. We recognise this is easier said than done, but it is only the working people who collectively have the power to liberate Palestine, end war in the Middle East, and stave off the threat of world war. The largest obstacle to mobilising the working people in Australia remains the self-serving Union leaders, which, almost without exception, are tied by a thousand threads not only to the capitalist system, but also the foreign policy of Australian imperialism. The left parties which have come behind the US led war for regime change in Syria, unfortunately are another link in the chain to these careerist bureaucrats. But they can be challenged.

Attempting to campaign for justice for Palestine, in 2017, without mentioning the US led war to destroy Syria, is akin to trying to save a French village in 100 AD without mentioning the Roman Empire. For Australian Palestinian solidarity activists, it is vital to attempt to mobilise opposition to the junior imperialist role Australia plays in these atrocious wars, from Syria, to Iraq, to Afghanistan. If Syria is overthrown by Washington, with the assistance of Canberra, Palestine will stand little chance of surviving. The US clearly seeks to isolate Russia by taking out Syria, making Iran an easier target. Russia is the ultimate target of regime change in Europe, while China is the ultimate target of regime change in Asia. The US seeks not only to dominate Eurasia, but the planet.  As the US is also the principal sponsor of the Zionist Israeli state, targeting only “Israel” is only targeting one of its agents.

Our tasks in relation to the liberation of Palestine should be twofold. Firstly, we need a political shift away from the dead end of ceaselessly supporting Palestinian nationalism. National rights for Palestine, as well as basic living and working conditions for its people, cannot be addressed by fighting for a “free” i.e. capitalist, Palestine. BDS plays into this strategy, despite the good intentions of its adherents. What is required is to link the working classes of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and others in a struggle for socialism in the Middle East. This will require the forging of genuinely international workers’ parties. We hold no illusions as to the difficulty of this task, but the nationalist only strategy has produced what we have today, which obviously is not acceptable.

Secondly, and most immediately for those on Australian shores, we need to make all attempts possible to break working people from the foreign policy of Australian imperialism, tied as it is to the wild depredations of the US Empire. Even if your own priority is justice for Palestine, we need to seek to mobilise working people and their Unions in opposition to Australian support for the Western imperial project in the Middle East and Europe by demanding the complete withdrawal of all Australian troops and hardware from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. We also need to demand that the US and Australia cease all military, diplomatic and political co-operation and protection of the Zionist Israeli state, as well as any co-operation or arming of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has been waging an appalling war on the popular resistance forces in Yemen.

Working people need not fear sell-out Union leaders, or the Western governments threatening to unleash even more worldwide carnage. With remarkable heroism, the Palestinian people have been resisting such forces of repression for 69 years. We have an obligation to at least match them. Working people the world over have the power to bring about an end to the system of capitalist-imperialism, before it brings about an end to us. ISRAEL/US/AUS: HANDS OFF THE MIDDLE EAST!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX  66   NUNDAH   QLD   4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2016/09/15/income-stagnation-and-worsening-living-standards-continue-for-palestinian-families (09-05-17)

[2] http://theduran.com/how-the-us-israel-al-qaeda-and-isis-work-together-in-the-war-against-syria/ (09-05-17)

[3] http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/04/23/israeli-attack-syrian-military-camp-kills-three (09-05-17)

[4] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-18/australian-jets-involved-in-botched-air-strike-on-syrian-army/7855610 (09-05-17)

[5] http://arabisraeliconflict.info/arab-israel-facts/fact-2-arab-israeli-citizens (09-05-17)

[6] http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/from-the-protest-tents-of-tel-aviv-to-occupying-wall-street-1.389760 (09-05-17)

[7] http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/servile-barghouti-daughter/ (10-05-17)

Protests in Gaza in solidarity with the hunger strikers imprisoned by the Israeli state. Photo from Reuters via http://www.telesurtv.net

No to Nuclear War! Hands Off the DPRK, China, Syria, Russia!

No to Nuclear War! Hands Off the DPRK, China, Syria, Russia!

04-05-2017 – The world teeters on the edge of a nuclear war. The US Empire, currently with the Trump Administration at the helm, reels off threat after threat of regime change towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and towards the Syrian Arab Republic. If Trump was actually crazy enough to attempt either of these, China would be forced to defend itself in the event of a regime change strike on the DPRK, whereas Russia would be forced to defend itself in the event of a regime change war on Syria. China and Russia are nuclear armed states, but their arsenals pale in size before that of the US behemoth. Needless to say, there can scarcely be any winners in a nuclear war.

As usual, Canberra has signed the Australian military up to every one of the current theatres of war the US threatens to unleash. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had the temerity to state that “The North Korean Government should invest in the welfare of its long suffering citizens, rather than weapons of mass destruction”.[1] This level of hypocrisy can only be reached by those defending an unjust system. It is the Australian Government which, for 30 years or more, has been ripping out investment in the welfare of Australian citizens, with casual indifference to the suffering it causes. Decades of funding cuts to education, healthcare, unemployment and disability services, aged care, pensions, public transport, legal aid, and so on ad nauseum, have not slowed down, but have accelerated. The government has slashed public sector employment, and is idly sitting by while thousands upon thousands of jobs are being eliminated as private industry downsizes or closes down.

Meanwhile, the government of the DPRK, on the other hand, has maintained its form of a socialist system which guarantees its citizens employment, healthcare and education at no cost, housing at no cost, while doing away with the need for personal income tax.[2] DPRK citizens have enjoyed completely free heathcare since 1960, and completely free education since 1959. Women in the DPRK can retire on a full pension at age 55, while men can retire on a full pension at age 60.[3] Just who is it that is not investing in the welfare of its citizens?

Moreover, the government of the DPRK has clearly stated, on many occasions, that it will only use the weapons it has if it is attacked first. The 7th Congress of the Korean Workers Party in 2016 confirmed its stance of “no first use” of its nuclear weapons.[4] China has declared its “no first use” policy of its nuclear weapons program in 1964, and has maintained that ever since.[5] No matter how strong the barrage of Western corporate media demonises the DPRK, and for that matter China, it will not change these facts.

Facts mean little to an empire fighting to maintain its declining claim to be world number one, however. The war for regime change against Syria has arguably been accompanied by levels of government and mainstream media lies which have been unprecedented in history. The latest attempt to blame the Syrian government for using chemical weapons was pathetic. The fact that the French foreign minister jumped to conclusions about the alleged incident in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria seems to indicate French government involvement in the incident itself.[6] Regardless of one’s opinions about the Russian government, the fact is that the Russian military campaign to defeat ISIS, at the invitation of the Syrian government, had turned the tide against the US backed mercenaries, and may have already prevented a wider war from breaking out.

Working people should be aware that the threats of nuclear war stem from one side – the system of capitalist-imperialism, headed by the rulers of the United States. It is the US and their allies, which include the governments of Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Israel and others – who threaten to unleash apocalyptic war. The governments of China and Russia, for different reasons, have no interest and no need for such a catastrophic conflict. Temporarily at least, the interests of those governments resisting the US Empire – China, Russia, Iran, the DPRK, Syria etc. – and the interests of the working people of the world are coinciding.

No matter how grim the situation appears, we can be confident that the overwhelming majority of working people strongly oppose a world war, and will be prepared to take action to prevent it. The attempted war for regime change against Syria for the last six years has largely sorted out those who are really opposed to war, and those who make apologies for it. Working people need to demand that their Unions at least assist the building of a serious anti-imperialist anti-war movement. Their leaders, and the leaders of moderate parliamentary and extra-parliamentary groups will have to be pushed aside if they choose their careers over the survival of our children. NO TO  NUCLEAR WAR!     HANDS OFF THE DPRK, CHINA, SYRIA, RUSSIA!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO BOX 66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-22/north-korea-accuses-australia-of-blindly-following-the-us/8464252 (04-05-17)

[2] http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Korea-Democratic-People-s-Republic-of-DPRK-TAXATION.html (04-05-17)

[3] http://www.korea-dpr.com/economic.html (04-05-17)

[4] http://apjjf.org/2016/14/Suh.html (04-05-17)

[5] https://cpianalysis.org/2017/04/03/china-and-nuclear-weapons-implications-of-a-no-first-use-doctrine/ (04-05-17)

[6] http://www.syriatimes.sy/index.php/news/local/30361-syria-condemns-frantic-campaign-of-misleading-and-lying-launched-by-french-foreign-minister-on-khan-sheikhoun-crime (04-05-17)

A tomahawk cruise missile, similar to the ones fired at Syria by the US recently. Image from http://www.presstv.ir

Jobs Not Casinos! Housing not Hotels! Public not Private!

22-04-2017 – The Queens Wharf Mega Casino and luxury hotel “development”, in the middle of Brisbane city, has begun its seven year construction period. Nine hectares of previously public land is fenced off, with the demolition of previously state owned buildings set to begin. All of this is to make way for not only 2500 poker machines, but an unlimited number of traditional and electronic gaming machines, which has recently been approved by the Queensland government.[1] The Echo business consortium will also build 2000 apartments and 1100 luxury hotel rooms with four, five and six star ratings, from the Ritz-Carlton and Rosewood brand names.[2] The plans include a bridge, which may not happen as it has not yet been funded, from South Bank across the river into the casino floor. Family entertainment indeed!

Working people generally should not attempt to take a moral position of opposition to gambling per se – as we know that billionaire developers represent an alien class and so have an alien perspective of what is and what is not moral. However, working people do have a right to demand decent working and living conditions, and fight for them in opposition to the government which, in this case, clearly represents the billionaires. The fact that these governments are approving the building of a casino and luxury apartments entirely reveals the depth of the economic crisis of the system of private production for private profit. There is a severe recession, because virtually no new value is being created. Whole industries, for example the auto industry, are closing down. Little or no manufacturing is occurring. Unemployment is rife, especially amongst youth. Wage growth for those still in work is the lowest it has ever been in history. What government public spending exists is more and more geared towards providing business opportunities for the private sector – such as the Queens Wharf Casino.

The Right To The City organisation is correct to frame the discussion as “Instead of a Casino”. Instead of luxury apartments and exclusive motel rooms which few working people can afford, what is desperately needed is a state run program of building ample public housing. The building of quality but affordable public housing could not only house the homeless, but will help exert downward pressure on the astronomically high cost of housing. Instead of a casino, there could be a state run program of public works, to upgrade and expand an affordable public transport system – given that Brisbane’s public transport is one of the most expensive in the world, and the passenger rail problems are legion. Instead of a casino, public money could be spent on replacing the millions of dollars of funding ripped out from under schools and hospitals by successive Labor and Liberal federal governments.

Union leadership is key

The only Union action that we know of on the issue of the casino was a rally led by the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) on November 30 last year. The rally was not against the casino, but was calling for construction related jobs for the casino to be given to local workers, rather than 457 visa workers![3] There are two points to be made here. One, Union leaderships should not be encouraging competition against “foreign” workers by lining up with “local” employers. This nationalism encourages racism and xenophobia, which is poison for a workers movement. Two, rather than going cap-in-hand to the employers and pleading for jobs, Union leaderships should be demanding jobs through such demands as: a shorter working week with no loss in pay.  A national campaign for a 30 hour week, or a six-hour day, has the potential to turn around the widespread demoralisation amongst working people. Workers can see society going backwards, and are prepared to fight, but they see no one leading a fightback. Nationalist and conservative Union leaders need to be pushed aside if they will not even organise a struggle to prevent workers from falling into an abyss.

Working people must be aware, if they are not already, that the huge number of problems in society, domestically and internationally, are all linked to the crisis of the capitalist mode of production. The construction of a casino is linked to the thousands of homeless people sleeping on the streets each night. Public space being privatised is linked to increasing harassment on public transport by security services. Banks raking in record profits is linked to schools and hospitals being starved of funds. Youth being offered a future of joblessness, poverty and stress is linked to the ever increasing salaries of politicians who sleep on parliamentary benches. The wholesale destruction of the Great Barrier Reef is linked to the threat of nuclear war launched by the Western powers against anyone who dares to stand up to them.

Unfortunately, a “community” campaign against the Queens Wharf casino is unlikely to stall the ceaseless operations of capital. Everyone, all in together, means power is ceded to those currently holding it. What is required is the intervention of the working class. The obstacle to mobilising this class is the careerist leadership of most Unions, who collaborate with the government, its state, and the corporations it serves. The struggle for class leadership of the Unions is bound up with the struggle for a workers party. To be worthy of the name, a workers party must fight for a workers government, the first step towards the overthrow of the rule of capital, and the initiation of the socialist order.

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO BOX 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://realmoneycasinos.com.au/queensland-approves-crack-cocaine-of-gambling-at-queens-wharf-6502/ (14-04-17)

[2] http://www.smh.com.au/business/echo-consortium-to-build-2000-apartments-for-2b-queens-wharf-complex-20150721-giguyx.html (14-04-17)

[3] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/industrial-relations/unionists-march-to-back-jobs-for-locals-on-queens-wharf/news-story/f796cc35bd1a52af04d946b712114ff2 (14-04-17)

No To War on Syria! US/AUS Troops: Out Now! Saudi/Israeli/UK/FRA: Hands Off!

08-04-2017 – In days just past, the US launched 59 cruise missiles from warships aimed at the Syrian air base of Al-Shayrat, outside of Homs. The claimed trigger is a claimed chemical attack on civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the province of Idlib, which the Western corporate media immediately, and without a shred of proof, blamed on the Syrian government headed by President Bashar Al-Assad. Let it first be said that there is a long history of imperialist wars being started by false flag incidents. Perhaps the most evident was the Gulf of Tonkin incident which led to the US and their allies waging war against Vietnam and slaughtering 3 million people in the process. Another prominent one was the infamous claim in 2003 that the Iraqi government then headed by Saddam Hussein held “weapons of mass destruction”, which could be deployed with 45 minutes. The US and their allies massacred around 1 million Iraqis, on the basis of what was confirmed to be a pack of lies.

For six years, the US state and their allies – Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Kingdom, France, Qatar, Turkey, Australia and others – have waged perhaps the most vicious proxy war in world history against the Syrian state. It is a matter of historical record that the Al Qaeda and ISIS death squads have been armed and funded by the Western powers hell-bent on regime change in Syria.[1] Around 500 000 Syrians have lost their lives in the most brutal fashion, for daring to stand independently of the US Empire. All the while, the corporate media funnelled us wild stories about “moderate rebels” being engaged in “civil war” in Syria. It was all lies, and the lies continue with the latest absurd claim that Syria, while it was in the process of defeating the Western backed barbarians, and with an international conference discussing Syria about to convene, all of a sudden decided to gas its own people. This fantastic narrative is easily disabused.[2]
What we know is that the US led proxy war on Syria, using mercenary lunatics, was defeated. It was defeated by the resistance of the Syrian Arab Army, with the assistance of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. China also voted in support of Syria in the UN. The intervention of Russia, at the request of the Syrian government, was crucial in turning the tide of the war for regime change. Unable to accept defeat, and especially by Russia, the US has now decided that the game of outsourcing war with regard to Syria has not produced a result, so now it is time for its own military to do the job. It remains to be seen whether or not the US will be able to continue with its air strikes, given that Russia and Iran, at the least, cannot accept yet another hostile provocation to their very existence.

The Trump Administration in the US has done an about face in a matter of a week. As recently as March 30, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was indicating that only the Syrian people should decide the status of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.[3] Yet on the 6th of April, Tillerson, when asked if the US would lead a regime change effort in Syria, apparently responded “those steps are underway”.[4] These about faces have as much to do with internal US politics, as the disaster the US war machine has created in Syria and Iraq.

The moment the Trump Presidency assumed office, it was besieged by a “Fight Trump” movement, the motivations and politics of which was always extremely murky. Strongly backed by the Democrats and the elements of the US deep state, which was horrified at a US President which did not wish to continue a strategy of confrontation and war with Russia, the “Fight Trump” movement adopted reactionary pro-war positions, under the guise of combatting the “racism, sexism and homophobia” of the Trump campaign. The “Fight Trump” movement alibied the Obama/Clinton administration for exactly the same things for which they condemned Trump. Consciously or unconsciously, the “Fight Trump” movement implicitly demanded the continuation of Washington’s extreme provocations, if not outright war, against Russia. Trump, in order to disprove the constant allegation that he was working with the Russians, had to go to war simply to save his Presidency. Otherwise, an impeachment headed by the US deep state in alliance with the Democrats may well have followed.

Of course neither Trump nor the Republicans or Democrats, nor the Labor and Liberal parties on these shores, offer anything to working people. These elite parties of capital can only enact the needs of capital, whichever personnel they field. The same goes for all the parliamentary parties, which are a part of the economic crisis of capitalism, even if they imagine they are fighting it. The world crisis of capitalism is so deep that the rulers in the US, Australia, Europe and Japan have no answer but to once again plunge the world into war. Currently standing in the way of the US Empire are Russia, Iran, China, Syria and others. To that extent only, working people need to defend the anti-imperialist wing while also pushing forward for a socialist system in which those who labour govern.

What is desperately needed is an anti-war movement which is genuinely anti-imperialist, and is prepared to politically break from all wings of the system, from all corporate media, from all institutions which apologise for the system which is producing multiple crises. This movement should, at least, demand a total withdrawal of all US allied forces, including Australia, from Syria and the Middle East.

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO BOX 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] http://www.globalresearch.ca/logistics-101-where-does-isis-get-its-guns/5454726 (08-04-17)

[2] http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/04/04/reviving-the-chemical-weapons-lie-new-us-uk-calls-for-regime-change-military-attack-against-syria/ (08-04-17)

[3] http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-31/mccain-furious-rex-tillerson-saying-assad-can-stay (08-04-17)

[4] https://www.rt.com/usa/383762-tillerson-assad-syria-statement/ (08-04-17)

UK Funded “White Helmets” stage a false flag gas attack, in order to urge more war against Syria. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info