Lift the Lockdowns! No to a Police State!

Police patrol Coogee Beach in Sydney. Image from Reddit

Lift the Lockdowns! No to a Police State!

04-04-2020 – The rhetoric is health and safety; the reality is potential fascism and war. Under the pretext of “public health”, Australia’s elites are installing measures which – under any other circumstance – would be denounced as those of a totalitarian dictatorship. This is not to say that the Coronavirus (Covid-19) is not, at some level, a health concern. Yet the measures the Western ruling classes are implementing are likely to create health conditions far more dangerous than the virus itself. It appears the Coronavirus is being used as an excuse to exert extreme ideological and political control of working people, in order to wage economic and perhaps military war against those states who have the temerity to say no to imperialism. A police state, or a state of semi-fascism, would for the capitalist class provide the ideal conditions for the launching of a pre-emptive war against those countries they cannot control.

Lockdown the healthy?

Lockdowns and orders to stay at home are in place across Australia and other nations. Sweden, however, has not gone into lockdown mania. Life largely goes on as normal, with only gatherings of more than 500 people prohibited. Neighbouring Norway has a similar amount of cases (around 3000), and entered lockdowns weeks ago, which meant unemployment quadrupled.[1] Absurdly, the Australian government has banned gatherings of more than 2 (!) people, inside or outside. “Stage 3” lockdowns have been in place, with threats of “Stage 4”.[2]  Fines worth thousands of dollars are to be wielded by the police against those found violating the 2 person gathering limit or the “social distancing” measures.[3] Isolation of those infected with Coronavirus is rational advice, but an attempt to stop any form of social interaction amongst the healthy is deeply suspicious.

Some doctors are publicly questioning the lockdowns, which appear to be driven by a combination of government and corporate media fueled hysteria. Swedish doctor Anders Tegnell stated that older people and people with significant health concerns should be isolated, as well as anyone with slight cold symptoms, but that is all.[4] Indian doctor Anurag Agarwal claimed that physical distancing (rather than social distancing) is necessary, but lockdowns have dire effects not just in health terms.[5] It appears no timeframes are being given for the lockdowns, leaving some to wonder whether they will be semi-permanent. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says six months will be needed. The political establishment and their staffers have no need to be concerned about changing their lifestyle very much at all within that time period. Workers and the now estimated 1 million unemployed workers in Australia, on the other hand, will have a much more difficult time dealing with the many restrictions.

The real dangers of the Coronavirus have been seriously exaggerated, as if there was an intention to frighten people. Television pictures from Italy appear to be serious, but what are the facts? A scientific paper published on the 17th of March reported that 87% of deaths in Italy have been patients over 70 years of age – the same as what happens every flu season.[6] The chief of Italy’s Superior Institute of Health reported that the majority of deaths from the Coronavirus have been among the very old – the average age being 80.3 years. The majority of deaths had three or more serious simultaneous health issues. Just two people under 40 perished, both were 39. But one had cancer, and the other had diabetes, obesity and other health problems prior to being infected.[7]

Even in the United States of America, where the Coronavirus appears to have spread significantly, the actual chance of losing your life is very low. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US noted that of those who contract the Coronavirus, the death rate for those over 80 years of age is 10.4%, 5.35% for over 70s, 1.51% for over 60s, and 0.37% in the over 50s. There are lower rates for those younger, dropping to zero for those under 29.[8] Prudent advice would be for those in a vulnerable demographic to exercise more care, and perhaps avoid huge crowds. Usual health measures of eating well and exercising apply as at all times. Yet there is no serious threat to humanity from Covid-19.

Pandemic?

In an interview with Bonnie Faulkner, Professor Michel Chossudovsky relayed the fact that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC) on January 30, in relation to the Covid-19 events in Wuhan in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). At the time, there were only 150 confirmed cases of Covid-19 outside of China. The world’s population is 7.8 billion, take away China of 1.4 billion, leaves us with 6.4 billion. So only 150 cases out of 6.4 billion was declared a PHEIC[9], and later a “pandemic”. Under any description, 150 out of 6.4 billion cannot be a “pandemic”. There is another agenda at work here, and it reeks of imperial geopolitics.

As we have previously mentioned, there is a distinct possibility that the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan was actually an act of biological war launched by the Pentagon against the PRC.[10] The PRC government has not stated in official terms that it was, but some experts within China urged the US to release the health status of the US military athletes who visited Wuhan in October last year for the World Military Games[11], to help locate the original source. The Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp of Iran publicly stated that the coronavirus may well be a US biological weapon, first aimed at China, then Iran and other states.[12] The Russian government, like the PRC government, has restrained itself from publicly speculating whether Covid-19 was a US based attempt to attack China and/or Russia. Yet some Russian politicians and some Russian media outlets have published articles which claim exactly that.[13] It is speculation, but it is all in one direction.

Union officials, left parties act as arms of the state

Australia’s top Union officials (not members) have openly sided with the government and the state against “their own” workers. Australian Council of Trade Union (ACTU) secretary Sally McManus reportedly has had daily briefings with PM Scott Morrison. Incredibly, at the joint request of Union officials and employers, the Orwellian named Fair Work Commission ruled that worker’s hours can be reduced, and normal time hours be extended, at any time during the alleged Coronavirus crisis. The unaccountable officials of the Australian Services Union agreed with major employers that hours where penalty rates should not apply extend from 6am to 11pm.[14] The officials of the United Workers Union of hospitality staff agreed with large employers that they should be allowed to reduce full-time hours to as little as 22.8 hours per week.[15] No doubt these officials did not even bother to even consult their members about this before openly offering to abolish working conditions won over decades of struggle.

Workers know, from their own experience, that employers will use ANY excuse to reduce wages or abolish conditions. The alleged Coronavirus “pandemic” produces a golden opportunity for large, medium and small business owners to once again push down the price of labour power – workers’ wages. Yet some Australian left parties cripple the ability of workers to resist this drive by agreeing with the capitalist class that there is a “public health emergency”, and even call for more workers to be stood down – albeit with pay.  The danger is that if workers agree with the employers’ (fake) excuse for a stand down, they are scarcely able to bargain about the terms of the stand down.

Some left parties assist the scaremongering. Solidarity does highlight instances of workers and Unions fighting back, while spreading hysteria that “150 000 could die in a worst-case scenario”.[16] Socialist Alternative has correctly called out Union officials for working with the government to reduce workers conditions. Yet they have also organised the “Workers Organising Resistance in the Pandemic” group – which agitates for workplaces to be shut down![17] The Communist Party of Australia explicitly called for a 2 week shutdown,[18] to which the government immediately agreed – and effectively made it six months. The Socialist Alliance calls for an even “wider shutdown than what is being proposed now”, (!) albeit one without the “draconian police measures currently being deployed”.[19] (!!)

Shredding of elementary rights

Yet here is the rub – once you call for intervention of any sort by the capitalist state, workers cannot control how the ruling class will carry out such action. The government is not “ours”, and therefore its state cannot be used in the interests of working people. It is not only fruitless to call on the capitalist state to act on your behalf – to do so vastly strengthens and emboldens it. It has other aims it needs to implement in its interests. In this case the “draconian police measures” are vastly understated. Never in their wildest dreams did the fascists of Nazi Germany have the power to restrict indoor and outdoor gatherings to two people! Yet this is precisely what the Australian government has done today, along with the potential total closure of public beaches, public parks, gyms, pubs, clubs and so on. At a stroke, a police state has been implemented which severely curtails, if not abolishes, freedom of movement. In addition, under the (false) guise of “public health”, almost all political activity has been eliminated – something which could not be achieved without a global war – or a (fake) “pandemic”.

Some can see the immense danger this proposes. It is the descent into a police state which is far more frightening than any virus. Michael Bradley wrote that the situation is such that citizens now have to prove their innocence before they are arrested. He noted that people walking or being stationery now have to give a “reasonable excuse” to police why they are outside.[20] Former British diplomat Craig Murray noted that dictatorship usually begins with emergency measures to combat a threat. Once these measures are in place, a new threat is found to continue the “emergency” measures.[21]  Lawyers advocate Greg Barns correctly noted that laws created in a crisis (e.g. September 11, 2001, the “anti-terror” laws) are very rarely, if ever, lifted or rolled back.[22] Here lies the outcome of calls by some on the left for shutdowns and lockdowns!

There is another agenda being driven here, but it is not “public health”. Russia, China, Iran, the DPRK, Venezuela, Cuba – all took swift measures to contain the virus, which is a health issue to some extent. But, as far as we know, in these states which are relentlessly targeted by imperialism there were no workers thrown out of a job, no overblown hysteria, and no implementation of a police state. Ironically, all of these states are falsely accused by liberals in the West of “authoritarianism”, and even “tyranny”. Now, the boot is well and truly on the other foot, as the governments of Australia, the US and Europe emerge as even more authoritarian and tyrannical than those they accuse. Workers should be aware that the real agenda could be imperialist war launched by the Pentagon against the non-imperialist states, or any ally of China and Russia. Witness the fact that the US government, at the height of the coronavirus hysteria, has acted to tighten the murderous sanctions on Iran, and has indicted Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on baseless and evidence free charges of “narco-terrorism”.[23]

What is required is a united front of action of all those forces opposed to lockdowns which have little or no medical basis, those opposed to the imposition of a police state, and those opposed to needless job cuts and the willful crashing of the economy. This may mean a temporary alliance with non-working class forces, but leftists should not at all discard the Marxist program. On the contrary, the forging of a vanguard party remains more critical than ever, as does the struggle for the socialisation of the major means of production, energy, transport and banking. Then, a truly public health care system can be established, free from all interference from agents of the corporate elite.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com
PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://news.yahoo.com/swedens-resistance-lockdown-raises-questions-155335578.html (01-04-2020)

[2] https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/coronavirus-australia-what-would-stage-four-lockdown-mean/news-story/eeb4e4b4a6c77ba8475aba9c5448e561 (01-04-2020)

[3] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-31/how-australian-states-are-enforcing-coronavirus-measures/12106774 (01-04-2020)

[4] https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/28/10-more-experts-criticising-the-coronavirus-panic/

[5] https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/now-is-not-the-time-for-lockdown-says-doctor-as-india-fights-coronavirus-outbreak/story-G71Cdbo3YJR9dGsikh8nfO.html (01-04-2020)

[6] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763401?guestAccessKey=72f61225-c3fd-4fb1-81fd-09b6a1666aaa&utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=031720 (01-04-2020)

[7] https://www.sott.net/article/431559-First-Do-No-Harm-If-Primary-Healthcare-Remains-Shut-Down-Toll-on-Elderly-Will-be-Worse-Than-COVID-19 (01-04-2020)

[8] https://journal-neo.org/2020/03/27/covid-19-hysteria-vs-your-actual-very-low-chance-of-dying/ (01-04-2020)

[9] https://www.globalresearch.ca/covid-19-coronavirus-crisis/5706741 (02-04-2020)

[10] https://redfireonline.com/2020/03/22/covid-19-natural-pathogen-or-biological-war/ (02-04-2020)

[11] https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183658.shtml (02-04-2020)

[12] https://tass.com/world/1127137 (02-04-2020)

[13] https://zvezdaweekly.ru/news/t/20201291341-AfM0x.html (02-04-2020)

[14] https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/award-flexibility-during-coronavirus/clerks-award-flexibility-during-coronavirus (04-04-2020)

[15] https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/award-flexibility-during-coronavirus/hospitality-award-flexibility-during-coronavirus (04-04-2020)

[16] https://www.solidarity.net.au/highlights/editorial-morrisons-failure-to-stop-the-virus-the-result-of-a-sick-system/ (04-04-2020)

[17] https://www.facebook.com/WorkersOrganisingResistance/ (04-04-2020)

[18] https://www.cpa.org.au/resources/party-statements/index.html (04-04-2020)

[19] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/covid-19-mass-testing-shut-downs-and-guaranteed-incomes-all (04-04-2020)

[20] https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/04/01/new-world-citizens-rights-coronavirus/?fbclid=IwAR2QIMcLE9Fmh7Oi80h9Qn9LWYc3aNXOkNM7c5l0SbC781Ze9EMhK85V_B (04-04-2020)

[21] https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/04/how-it-starts/?fbclid=IwAR3SbN9XZU9hUTG2gXYgaSuyO9X86MUMjtwJrMvxYUsTAHMPSxNPIE7z9CY (04-04-2020)

[22] https://www.smh.com.au/national/laws-created-in-a-crisis-are-very-rarely-rolled-back-20200331-p54foj.html?fbclid=IwAR2G0CszxjScB8q5BXfpyR25pqtuWgWeqSplwosmf7JduNoQ1uWBKtPcc0k (04-04-2020)

[23] https://www.newsweek.com/us-iran-sanctions-venezuela-president-indicted-coronavirus-1494522 (04-04-2020)

Covid-19: Natural Pathogen, or Biological War?

Covid-19: Natural Pathogen, or Biological War?

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

Where did Covid-19 come from?

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

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

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

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

Act of biological war?

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

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

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

Social and political control

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

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

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

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

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

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Demand the Unconditional Release of Julian Assange!

Image from Politico Europe

Demand the Unconditional Release of Julian Assange!

24-02-2020 – Julian Assange should be feted as an international hero. The founder of Wikileaks, he put his immense talent not into enriching himself with material goods, but with exposing the manifest crimes of governments worldwide, not least the war crimes of US imperialism. Instead, Julian Assange is facing the barely believable prospect of 175 years in a US jail.[1] It should be needless to say that Julian Assange is not a US citizen, and he has never set foot on US soil. Yet the US government, with assistance from its vassals in the UK and Australia, claim the right to detain and likely torture, an Australian citizen. It should be something from a spy novel, but it is all too real.

Basic and elementary rights at stake

Almost every single democratic right working people supposedly enjoy under the rule of capital is at stake. The right to free speech, the right to a free press, the right to political opinion, the right to political communication, the right to publish information, the right not to be spied upon by “your own” government – all of these and more are gravely threatened. In fact, one could argue that these rights are in the process of being eliminated. For decades, Australian people have held on to a belief that, for all its faults, we are not headed down the dystopian political road of our apparent benefactor, the USA. Yet the most recent example of official restrictions on democratic rights should destroy such illusions. A Federal Court ruled that the Australian Federal Police raids on the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) were legal, threw out the case, and ordered the ABC to pay court costs.[2] The ABC had reported a story about the unlawful execution and other misconduct by Australian special forces during the ongoing war on Afghanistan. “National Security” according to the judge, overrode basic democratic rights such as the right to know. Just as Julian Assange is now in grave danger due to exposing the crimes of US imperialism, simple democratic rights are now in grave danger if or when the crimes of Australian imperialism become known.

Working people need to learn, if they have not already, that capitalism in crisis must aggressively stamp out elementary democratic rights if it is to survive. In times of economic expansion or boom, capitalism has few concerns about allowing working people democratic liberties and can even pose as a defender of them. Once capitalism goes into economic decline, however, an opposite effect takes place. During times of economic crisis for capitalism – which is more or less the case since 2008 – the ruling class can no longer take the risk that workers will not use bourgeois democratic rights to organise an insurrection to overthrow the rule of the banks and the stock exchange. It is not only the right to form political parties and build Unions that suddenly becomes a concern for the establishment. The right to be informed of the very acts of the governments taxes pay for has to go.

Working class political leadership is key

One of Julian Assange’s most marked aphorisms is that populations are generally opposed to wars. They have to be lied into it. And if people can be lied into a war, they can be “truthed” into peace. While we acknowledge the peerless courage and bravery of Julian Assange for selflessly standing up to the might of the US Empire, we should note that it is not enough to expose capitalist imperialism – it has to be brought down. No exposure of its litany of crimes will embarrass it or cause it to change course. Telling the truth is indeed a revolutionary act, but in itself it is insufficient. Also, while we stand in awe at the valour and fortitude of individuals like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, whistleblowing can only achieve so much. In fact, unless it is linked to a palpable solution, whistle-blowing on its own can in fact reinforce a sense of political demoralisation.

Fueling this political demoralisation is the dire lack of political leadership of the working class. To our knowledge, not one Australian Trade Union official has made a clear statement defending Julian Assange, let alone seeking to mobilise Union members to defend the basic democratic rights organisations such as Wikileaks uphold. Unions need basic democratic rights in order to operate. Yet there is deafening silence from these very well-paid officials. This includes Julian’s own Union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). This is unfortunately another example of Union bureaucracy attempts to ensure Australian workers remain loyal to US/AUST imperialism.

Following the capitulatory line of the conservative Union officials have been several of Australia’s left parties. After hailing Julian Assange in 2009-10 as a visionary, these left parties soon abandoned him and the Wikileaks project after the imperialist wars on Libya and Syria began. Ruthlessly non-partisan as far as governments go, Julian Assange exposed the Democrats drive to the NATO destruction of Libya, and the enabling role of Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton. He then followed with a similar exposure of their role in arming and funding the barbarian death squads sent into Syria in order to effect arguably history’s most extensive proxy regime change war. For this, these left parties, and the liberal milieu which form their constituency, universally turned against Julian Assange – even as they had backed him for exposing the crimes of the US war on Iraq from 2003.

As a result, only handfuls of activists today stand in defence of Julian Assange. Those that do are critical, but they need to be joined by the only force capable of setting him free – the workers. Unleashing working-class power, however, requires the leadership of a Marxist vanguard party which can lead the struggle for socialism internationally as well as domestically. Such a party would help lead the efforts to free Julian Assange, in the process of building consistent opposition to all facets of US/AUST imperialism. The right to political expression is linked to the dire need for working people to oppose every imperialist war and regime change operation enacted by Washington. And imperialist war itself can only be ended by workers sweeping away the rule of capital. FREE JULIAN ASSANGE!

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/20/prosecution-julian-assange-calls-publics-defense-free-speech (19-02-2020)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/17/federal-police-raid-on-abc-over-afghan-files-ruled-valid (19-02-2020)

What’s Wrong with “Socialism In One Country” in China?

President Xi dines with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Diplomacy or Collaboration? Image from http://www.qz.com

What’s Wrong with “Socialism In One Country”  in China?

16-02-2020: The US Empire’s war on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) rages on many fronts. Although the outbreak of the novel coronavirus presents countless opportunities for anti-Chinese racism[1], Washington has yet to use it in a significant way against China as a whole. The rampant and multi-pronged war against the PRC continues in other ways, however. Bans on contracts for Huawei telecommunications equipment[2], the funding of anti-communist rioters in Hong Kong[3], relentless provocations by Western navies in the South China Sea[4], and fake campaigns for the “human rights” of Uyghurs[5] in the west of the PRC are just some of the very real efforts to delegitimise the PRC in the eyes of the workers of the West. False propaganda, covert funding for “opposition” groups, and open military provocations softens up the public for what could be a catastrophic war against the world’s largest socialist state.

In this atmosphere, some leftists who rightfully see an urgent need to defend the PRC against imperialist assaults, look to adopt the central pillars of “Marxism-Leninism”, seeing them as a key reason for the rise of modern China vis-à-vis the decline and deterioration of the United States of America (USA), at least as far as its unipolar world power outlook is concerned. Chief among these are the twin policies of “Socialism in One Country” and “Peaceful Coexistence”. Both these positions feed in and reinforce each other, ultimately in a negative fashion in terms of the interests of the workers of the world. However, to some leftists who are open to “Marxism-Leninism”, the PRC’s defence of their country and the seeking of co-operation with world imperialism (chiefly led by the US), appear to be sensible and rational, or even “the best they can do” under the circumstances. As we intend to show, however, these sentiments are misguided, even if motivated by good intentions.

  1. “Socialism in One Country” means no class struggle

The theory of “Socialism in One Country” (SIOC) was unilaterally announced by Joseph Stalin towards the end of 1924, who had remained the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, despite V.I. Lenin’s desperate attempts to have him removed from this post before he passed away due to illness.[6] Such was the authority of Lenin, Stalin had to wait some eight months before daring to declare SIOC, as it ultimately represented class collaboration within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), as well as class collaboration internationally. Its natural corollary is “peaceful coexistence”, whereby the USSR sought to stave off hostility towards it from the imperialist powers – principally at that time, Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States of America.

SIOC is allegedly where a workers’ state consolidates the power it has conquered over the capitalists via revolution, while supposedly waiting for more favourable conditions for socialism to develop internationally. In reality, SIOC attempts to hold in check the enormous and relentless forces of class struggle, and even attempts to hold imperialism to one position. Needless to say, as class struggle is the motor force of all class divided societies, this is an impossibility. Any attempt to do so by the political leadership of a workers’ state – such as the PRC – involves political compromises of a huge scale at best, and open betrayal of workers’ interests at worst.

For example, in April 2017, US war provocations against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or “North Korea”) were at extremely dangerous levels. Despite this, President Xi Jinping flew to dine with US President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate,[7] a 126-room mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump and Xi Jinping reportedly ate chocolate cake together, while the PRC news agency Xinhua took out a full page advertisement in the New York Times, hailing the meeting as “a vital moment for the two nations, the Asia-Pacific region and the globe as a whole”.[8] The political leadership of a workers’ state – even the world’s most powerful one – would need to somehow deal with the political leadership of an imperialist state. Trade agreements, non-aggression pacts, all kinds of diplomacy would be required, to avoid imperialist war, amongst other things.

However, the political task of the leadership of a workers’ state is to aid and assist the class struggle internally and internationally. The Communist Party of China (CPC), rigidly adhering to “Socialism in One Country”, does not seek to unleash class struggle anywhere. Instead of appealing to US workers, Xinhua’s advertisement appealed to the US as a whole, rich and poor alike. At the same time, the DPRK was being threatened with a nuclear strike from Washington, while the PRC leader wined and dined with the US President! Later that year, the PRC voted with the US in the United Nations Security Council to impose even more crippling sanctions on the DPRK.[9] “Socialism In One Country” therefore not only means collaboration with imperialism in general, but also collaboration with imperialism against a smaller workers’ states.

It is true that the political leadership of DPRK workers’ state also practices “Socialism In One Country” and “Peaceful Coexistence” (with imperialism). Both the PRC and the DPRK should be uniting as one against US imperialism and promoting socialism in every possible way to workers of the Asia-Pacific and internationally. Yet this course, which would appear natural, would necessarily lead to the end of “Socialism In One Country”, and thus an end to the positions and (relative privileges) of the essentially nationalist bureaucracies of these states. In a similar way, a conservative trade Union official in the capitalist West cannot allow their workers to engage in ongoing class struggle. If such a struggle won significant victories, the Union official’s privileges (over the top salary, comfortable retirement etc.) would be undermined. Similarly, if significant class struggle erupted within a workers’ state – the PRC or the DPRK – the positions of the leading officials and respective bureaucrats would be seriously questioned. All classes together – the opposite of socialism – is the result.

  1. “Socialism in One Country” means socialism nowhere else

 

During 2019, right-wing anti-Communist Blackshirts rampaged throughout Hong Kong, over farcical demands for “democracy”. In reality, they were using extreme violence in a vain attempt to split Hong Kong from the PRC, and even calling on US President Trump to “liberate” them, while waving US flags.[10] The Hong Kong police were stretched to the limit in an attempt to contain the violence, which, under any definition, amounted to terrorism. Some of the NGOs based in Hong Kong backing the violence have been funded by the West, including the notorious US National Endowment for Democracy (NED).[11] As the violence dragged on, less and less support, and even outright opposition, emerged from pro-PRC Hong Kong residents. At times, the very health and safety of Hong Kong residents who did not back the pro-US demonstrations was under threat.

 

Hong Kong was returned to the PRC in 1997, after around 100 years of British colonialism. Yet at the time, the PRC leadership agreed to maintain capitalism in Hong Kong until 2047. It adopted the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, i.e. socialism in the PRC, capitalism in Hong Kong. “Socialism In One Country” sometimes doesn’t even mean socialism in your own country! Of course, the PRC leadership is attempting to integrate Hong Kong with the PRC, to some extent. The spectacular Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the world’s longest sea-spanning bridge and tunnel system,[12] is an example. Yet there is little or no attempt to win Hong Kong workers to the perspective of class struggle socialism. In fact, waging a class struggle against the fascistic Blackshirts in Hong Kong would have been the only way to politically defeat them. Their facile calls for “democracy” and their ties to the US government would have been exposed thoroughly. Yet the PRC leadership in Beijing, and its Carrie Lam led administration in Hong Kong did nothing of the sort. They simply attempted to “restore order”, and even made concessions. Very light sentences, or even just a community service order, were handed to those who were actually arrested for serious offences including rioting, assaulting police, and possession of weapons and explosives.[13]

 

The PRC’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or New Silk Road) has been dubbed “China’s Marshall Plan”. In fact, it is far more extensive than the plan of the post-World War II US government to rebuild capitalism in Europe after the destruction the war wrought. Western critics of the BRI question where the trillion-dollar funding is coming from.[14] Yet the vast network of railways, ports and infrastructure built by the BRI in co-operation with the 70 odd countries which have signed on, will dramatically aid trade and economic development for all involved. It will even economically assist some European countries, as well as Asian and African countries. No leftist would think of standing in the way or linking with the right-wing to complain about such development. At the same time, the BRI does not seek to aid a path towards socialism in the countries it is co-operating with. The interaction with other countries is with their political leaderships, not with the workers of such countries. Diplomacy trumps the CPC’s “Marxism”.

  1. “Socialism in One Country” breeds nationalism and inaction

“Socialism in One Country” was originally the expression of the defeat of the revolutionary situations which developed in Europe, principally Germany, after World War I. The program of Marxism is the extension of workers’ power until it is completed internationally. If the political and physical/military conditions do not yet allow for this, the task of Marxists is to foster the political conditions in preparation. Stalinism/Maoism (which can mean many things but is assumed to be “Marxism-Leninism”) breaks with this essential condition and uses petty-bourgeois class collaboration to foster nationalism, in order to “protect” the building of socialism in one country. Ultimately, class-collaboration – the strongest tenet of nationalism – internally and internationally, does not at all protect a workers’ state surrounded by imperialism on almost all sides. For example, the class collaboration of conservative Union officials (saturated with nationalism) in the West is not in the class interests of their own members. A class struggle for socialism certainly is, however. In a similar way, the nationalism of the political leadership of the CPC does not ultimately protect the PRC workers’ state. Only the extension of socialism internationally, especially into imperialist centres such as the US, Europe, Japan and Australia, can permanently eliminate the threat of imperialist war.

This would require political activity and political education of workers, however. And this is the last thing that the CPC leadership desires. Instead, it delivers platitudes about building a “harmonious socialist society”, peaceful development, the “strength of the nation” and suchlike. “Socialism In One Country” implies that all workers in a workers’ state need to do is to build up the “nation”, and somehow, as if by osmosis, other countries around the world will one day arrive at socialism. All one has to do is protect the “home” nation, and wait. Needless to say, this breeds passivity, inaction, and even indifference to politics amongst workers. If the political leadership of the PRC workers’ state barely comments on major international political developments – even including imperialist wars against Libya and Syria, for example – why should PRC workers be concerned? It will all sort itself out eventually, once they adopt their own version of “Socialism In One Country”.

Such sophistry is a glaring departure from Marxism, to say the least. In fact, “Socialism In One Country” in practice only seeks to come to terms with imperialism, to allow it to plunder whole slabs of the planet, while small corners (or large corners in the case of the PRC) should be out of bounds. Yet the class struggle cannot be stopped still by temporary deals with the Pentagon. It goes on regardless and will turn against the working class if its political leadership does not lead a struggle to end capitalist power wherever it exists. What is required is genuine Leninism, as apposed to the class-collaboration of “Marxism-Leninism”. To be sure, workers need to defend the PRC workers’ state against internal counter-revolution, and against imperialist assault externally. This is best aided by the forging of Marxist vanguard parties, who stand with the PRC while illuminating the path to socialism.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/wuhan-virus-coronavirus-italy-racism-12373002 (05-02-2020)

[2] https://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/mobile-phones/huawei-banned-from-australian-5g-network/news-story/d1d6ec001747ba51e7c5c8738021f7ee (05-02-2020)

[3] https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/11/article/us-ngos-local-tycoon-funding-hk-protests-report/ (05-02-2020)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/20/australian-warships-challenged-by-chinese-navy-in-south-china-sea (05-02-2020)

[5] https://www.workers.org/2019/12/44963/ (05-02-2020)

[6] https://www.marxists.org/archive/weisbord/conquest44.htm (08-02-2020)

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/06/trump-china-meeting-xi-jinping-mar-a-lago (08-02-2020)

[8] Ibid, 7.

[9] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2125548/united-nations-agrees-more-sanctions-north-korea-world (08-02-2020)

[10] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/hong-kong-protest-donald-trump-liberate-city-china-11884704 (08-02-2020)

[11] https://www.mintpressnews.com/hong-kong-protests/259202/ (08-02-2020)

[12] https://www.chinadiscovery.com/greater-bay-area-tours/hong-kong-zhuhai-macau-bridge.html (08-02-2020)

[13] https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3029636/lenient-sentencing-rioters-could-only-prolong-protests-and-lead (08-02-2020)

[14] https://www.cnbc.com/advertorial/2018/03/06/where-is-the-funding-for-a-26-trillion-initiative-coming-from.html (08-02-2020)

Olympics 2020: Let the Russians Play!

Russian Ice Hockey players at the last Winter Olympics, wearing the “Olympic Athlete from Russia” jersey. Image from Zimbio

Olympics 2020: Let the Russians Play!

27-01-2020: The US Empire’s hybrid war on Russia covers many arenas, extending even into sport. On December 9 last year, the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) approved recommendations to strip Russia of the right to participate in major international sporting competitions for a period of four years. WADA also banned Russian state officials, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) officials and Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) officials from attending global sports tournaments. This means that Russia as such will be banned from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the Paralympics, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the FIFA (soccer) World Cup (!) in Qatar in 2022. In 2016, WADA claimed over 1000 Russian athletes were involved in state-sponsored doping – without providing credible evidence proving the allegation.[1]

Breathtaking hypocrisy

To say this is a political decision, rather than a sports administration decision, is vastly understating matters. The use of performance enhancing drugs in elite level sports is a global problem, and no country is unaffected by it. But to claim that Russia has a state-sponsored doping program – without evidence – is clearly a geopolitical move by Washington to undermine the nation which is exposing its hypocrisy on many fronts, and thereby even approaching global political leadership. The US ruling class is preparing its people for a possible war with Russia – and this must be preceded by years of extreme Russophobia and propaganda demonising an entire nation. The lies that are required for this are piled upon each other until they form a mountain.

Even the author of WADA’s McLaren report, which was used to ban Russia at previous Olympics and, incredibly, Paralympics, admits that WADA does not have evidence of a state-sponsored sports doping program in Russia. When asked in an interview to respond to Dmitry Peskov’s statement that “as long as there is no evidence of a state-sponsored doping program, it is difficult to respond to accusations, which appear unfounded…”, Professor Richard McLaren stated: “Dmitry’s correct. We don’t have any evidence of a systematic state-wide doping mechanism. [Emphasis added] If we did, we would have published it and so we have to go on the inference.”[2] So the head of the infamous report into “Russian sports doping” himself admits no fault on the part of the Russian government, but also claims that the (unfounded) incendiary accusations must proceed on an inference.

Ever since sports doping became an issue, there has been no shortage of US representatives amongst those who have been found guilty of doping. Remember Carl Lewis, who was awarded the 100 metres gold medal from the Seoul Olympics in 1988, after the winner Ben Johnson was disqualified for using a steroid? Carl Lewis later admitted that he failed three tests during the 1988 Olympic trials, which under international rules at the time should have disqualified him from competing at the Seoul Olympics two months later. However, the automatic ban was overturned by none other than the US Olympic Committee (USOC) ! Carl Lewis’s response to this in 2003 was “Who cares if I failed the drug tests?”.[3] This was just one of the cases at that time that the USOC was accused of covering up and ignoring.

In 2000, Sydney in Australia hosted the Olympic Games. Those games were full of allegations that US athletes had used performance enhancing drugs to win medals. The USOC flatly denied it. Then, several years, later the BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative) scandal emerged. One of the stars of the Sydney Olympics, US athlete Marion Jones, won five medals including three gold. BALCO head Victor Conte admitted creating drug cocktails, and named dozens of athletes, including Jones. Jones sued Conte for defamation, but in 2007 admitted that it was all true. She received a six-month jail term for lying to federal investigators and was stripped of her medals.[4] The probe which started this was headed by none other than Professor Richard McLaren. Other US athletes at the Sydney games who were suspended for sports drug violations were Regina Jacobs, Alvin Harrison, Michelle Collins, Kevin Toth and John McEwen.[5]

In fact, of the top ten running doping disqualifications in world history, six of them were American.[6] Arguably the biggest doping scandal in cycling history involves US cyclist Lance Armstrong. Between 1999 and 2005, Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour de France titles. Allegations of performance enhancing drug use dogged the latter part of his career, which he denied. It turned out that all of these victories were won while being doped up. In 2013 he admitted extensive drug use throughout his career, and was stripped of a bronze medal he won at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.[7] Despite a wealth of examples over previous decades, there is not even a hint of a suggestion that the USA should be banned from the Olympics, the Paralympics or the FIFA World Cup.

Expose the Empire

Imperialism uses many different means to wage war against its enemies – the military means is but one. Through sport, politics, culture, ideology, the US ruling class is waging a desperate campaign to avoid being outshone by Russia – even as the Russian government itself endlessly attempts to co-operate with the US. Despite this, Russia (with the help of Iran) effectively defeated the US in its regime change war on Syria. Russia was also a prime reason why the US could not regime change Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. In Europe, Russia is doing all it can to defuse the threats posed to it by NATO troop mobilisations on its borders. These efforts delegitimise US imperialism in the eyes of the world’s workers even further, and politically strengthen Russia. Hence, the litany of false accusations of state-sponsored sports doping. If we are to prevent the horror of nuclear war, the world’s workers must side with those states resisting US imperialism.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

[1] https://ahtribune.com/world/europe/russia/3709-banning-russian-athletes.html (27-01-2020)

[2] https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/summer/trackandfield/richard-mclaren-russian-doping-wada-1.3314048 (27-01-2020)

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2003/apr/24/athletics.duncanmackay (27-01-2020)

[4] https://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/31/us/balco-fast-facts/ (27-01-2020)

[5] https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/guilty-until-proven-guilty/ri16032 (27-01-2020)

[6] https://www.podiumrunner.com/the-top-10-running-doping-scandals-of-all-time_28190 (27-01-2020)

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/mar/09/lance-armstrong-cycling-doping-scandal (27-01-2020)

 

Veronica Koman: Human Rights Fraud

Crowds look on as the Manokwari Parliament building is set alight on 19.08.19. Image from http://www.ucanews.org

Veronica Koman: Human Rights Fraud

07-01-2020 – When leftists hear the term “human rights lawyer”, suspicions are, or should be, immediately raised. “Human rights”, so-called, has been twisted and distorted by the paid and unpaid scribes of Western imperialism into something which no longer corresponds to what these words originally meant in the English language. Wholesale wars of regime change, outright invasions and occupations of countries deemed too independent of the Anglo/US Empire, the funding and very creation of an “opposition” in countries seen as too friendly to Russia or China – all of this and much more is justified under the deliberately misleading rubric of “human rights”.  The case of Veronica Koman in relation to West Papua is yet another page in this sorry tale.

Ms Koman is currently being paraded around Australia by swindled left parties eager to promote their blind support for West Papuan “independence”. The Socialist Alliance (SAll) featured Ms Koman on a “World in Revolt” panel at their national conference in December last year.[1] Socialist Alternative (SAlt) are also billing Ms Koman as a featured speaker at their (misnamed) Marxism 2020 conference in Melbourne on April 11.[2] While not hosting Ms Koman, the Spartacist League (SL) chimes in with the other left parties they chastise as “reformist”, to sing her praises. They even use the term “human rights lawyer” to refer to her (Australasian Spartacist, No. 239, Summer 2019/20), which could be a first for a party which so proudly proclaims its revolutionary credentials. Solidarity (Sol), which usually has a policy of physically excluding the SL from their public forums, nonetheless echo SL and other left parties employing the liberal approved “human rights lawyer” vernacular.[3]

Why did Ms Koman flee?

The corporate media narrative is that Ms Koman fled into exile, in fear of her life, to Australia after bravely defending West Papuans from the Indonesian armed forces. Like almost all of the narrative spun by supporters of Papuan separatism, this is fiction. Ms Koman has been accused by Indonesian police of “incitement” for the spreading of fake videos and hoaxes online, some of which led to ultra-violent protests across Indonesia and West Papua in the second half of 2019. Under Indonesian law governing online activity, if found guilty Ms Koman could be jailed for six years and fined $US 70 000.[4] So she fled to Australia to avoid a lengthy jail term, NOT because she was merely “reporting” on events in West Papua. The riots which were partly fueled by Ms Koman’s social media posts led to the deaths of at least 40 people – both Indonesians and Papuans. (For clarity, we use the terms “Indonesian” and “Papuan” even though Indonesians regard Papuans as part of the Republic of Indonesia.) This was an extremely serious matter, and the Indonesian police followed procedure by asking her to step forward to be questioned. Ms Koman refused, point blank. Indonesia’s national police spokesperson, Argo Yuwono, speaking about the request sent to Ms Koman, said “We have communicated it with the international relations division..to make her available for questioning. We really hope that she would come. If she refuses to come, well, what else can we do? We have to respect rules”.[5] From this statement, it is clear that Ms Koman was under no physical threat by turning herself in for questioning. What she feared, instead, was being charged and convicted of racial incitement. To avoid this, she fled to Australia, knowing that the corporate media and even sections of the Australian government would shelter her. So much for the high principles of a “human rights lawyer” !!

Ms Koman, who grandstands with sombre intonations about the “human rights” of West Papuans, is silent about even the right to live, and the right not to be slaughtered by maniacal Papuan separatists, if you are an Indonesian living in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia. According to the Jakarta Post, on September 23 last year, a mob of Papuan militia descended upon Wamena and proceeded to set ablaze hundreds of shops, government buildings, vehicles in the street and also “attacked other residents with weapons.” (Emphasis added)[6] Papuan Police announced that they were searching for those responsible, who they regard as provocateurs, and who they believe are members of the KNPB (National Committee of West Papua) and/or the ULMWP (United Liberation Movement for West Papua). The Indonesian government suspects that the life-taking violence in Wamena last September was orchestrated by UK based Papuan exile Benny Wenda through contacts with the ULMWP and KNPB.[7]

If Ms Koman was indeed a “human rights lawyer”, if such a thing exists, wouldn’t she offer to defend the Indonesians attacked with hand weapons by Papuan separatists? Further, wouldn’t she offer to assist the families of those who were burnt to death after being trapped in the buildings which were set alight by rampaging Papuans? We won’t be holding our breath. From what can be observed, not all Papuans support separatist independence, and only a small minority of Papuans are prepared to take up arms in a Papuan militia. An even smaller minority of Papuans are prepared to use wanton and life-taking violence against neighbours who have a different ethnicity. i.e. non-Papuan Indonesians. Yet Ms Koman has decided to hitch her wagon to these very types – while claiming the exalted mantle of one who is waging a noble battle for “human rights”. The hypocrisy is stunning.

What is the basis of West Papuan separatism?

Ms Koman, and the Australian left parties singing hosannas to her, have to face up to an uncomfortable truth. In large part, West Papuan separatism is based on ethnic animosity and violence towards Indonesians, as opposed to claimed oppression and institutional discrimination by the Indonesian state. Needless to say, the left cannot support ANY political movement based on ethnic antagonism. In the main, what Papuan separatists are opposed to is the large-scale transmigration of Indonesians into West Papua over several decades. While it is true that the numbers of transmigrants are significant, figures from 2017 indicate that Austronesian transmigration has not turned the indigenous Melanesians into a minority, as separatist Papuans had feared.[8] Out of an overall population in the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat (West Papua) of 3.6 million, it is estimated that the Melanesian population comprises 66% of the total,[9] meaning that largely Austronesian transmigrants make up 34%. Moreover, many “transmigrants” have been residing in the Papuan provinces for several decades, making the “migrant” term misleading. However, West Papua researcher Dr Jim Elmslie has also pointed out that in some regencies of West Papua, largely Austronesian settlers have become a majority, outnumbering Melanesians. These are the regencies containing the coastal cities such as the capital Jayapura. Yet in the highland regions, indigenous Melanesians still comprise the overwhelming majority.[10]

If, and it’s a big if, the Indonesian state was systematically discriminating against, excluding, or even attempting a physical genocide of Melanesians in Papua, a separatist movement for independence MAY be one of the political options. But there is scant evidence that anything approaching this is occurring. There is no “genocide” in West Papua, in terms of a military occupation which is attempting to expel, much less exterminate, the indigenous population. On the contrary, there is much more evidence that the Indonesian government is attempting to integrate Papuans into the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia. This does not mean, of course, that leftists should endorse the Indonesian government or its politics. But it does mean investigating the claims of the Papuan separatists, and not taking their word for it.

In politics Marxists must be able to distinguish the essence of phenomena from its form. Under most circumstances, generally the left would support a movement aimed against an imperialist power. But here’s the rub: Indonesia is not imperialist!  Not even our presumed Australian socialist parties who loudly proclaim their backing of West Papuan independence – SAll, SAlt, SL, Sol – would claim that. On the contrary, Indonesia is a third world nation which is still in the process of developing, which means it cannot approach even Australia in terms of labour productivity, for example. While it is true that Indonesia operates a capitalist economy, Indonesia itself fought for its independence from 350 years of Dutch colonialism. Again, this does not at all mean that Marxists politically support the current Indonesian government. At the same time, Marxists should side with the third world nation when it comes to a question of meddling or interference into their affairs by imperialism.

Lies for Empire

Ironically, Papuan separatists actively collude with, and cultivate, liberal yet pro-imperialist elements in order to prosecute their movement for “independence”. Ms Koman is but one example. Liberal pro-imperialists today line up with the conservative imperialists they feign to criticise when it comes to war, and even national sovereignty. For example, US imperialism was (or is) engaged in counter-revolutionary intrigue in Hong Kong, funding and encouraging ultra-violent separatist riots throughout 2019, with the ultimate aim of overturning socialism in mainland China. Blackshirt fascist leader Joshua Wong, openly courted by the US state department through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)[11], is the poster boy for this reactionary movement. In the middle of all of this, on the 18th of June 2019, none other than Veronica Koman tweets a happy snap of her alongside Mr Wong.[12] Two days later, Mr Wong would incite a riot at the Wan Chai Police Station in Hong Kong, for which he was later arrested and charged. One wonders if our purported Australian socialist parties can see the connection. Mr Wong incites racially charged riots (reports of anti-mainland Chinese racism among the Hong Kong Blackshirts are legion) in Hong Kong at the service of US/UK imperialism, while Ms Koman incites racially charged anti-Indonesian riots in West Papua also at the service (albeit covertly) of US/UK imperialism. When ethnic based riots (containing ethnic violence in the case of the armed Papuan separatists) forms part of your politics, you are not in good company.

Examples of Ms Koman’s lies for Papuan separatism are tweeted (on Twitter) frequently. In a tweet dated 21-08-19 from the Fakfak regency, Ms Koman posts two images, with claims that one West Papuan protestor had his stomach slashed and his intestines were pouring out, and another claiming that a protestor was hit by stray bullets.[13] The images are clearly fakes, with staged actors, and with faces blacked out. If it came to it, the photos would be thrown out of any court of law as unverifiable. Five days later, in a tweet from Wamena, Ms Koman claims the protest rally gathering there would contain healthy people from among those displaced by the Indonesian military operation in Nduga, which allegedly “caused the death of 186 civilians”.[14] The lies here are palpable. Numerous sources will confirm that what actually happened was that Papuan separatists armed with guns executed 24 road workers constructing the Trans Papua Highway. Eight more fled, only for seven of them to be tracked down and butchered the next day.[15] Behold the real intentions and actions which underpin West Papuan “independence” !

Anti-China gun for hire

Despite Ms Koman’s ethnic Chinese heritage, her anti-Chinese anti-communism knows few bounds. The fake Western media concoction of Uyghur “oppression” in China’s Xinjiang province has been in full swing in the last 12 months. As we wrote in July last year[16], the West is not concerned in the slightest about “human rights” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Washington – backed by Canberra – are attempting to demonise socialism in China by inventing boundless fictions such as Uyghur “concentration camps”. This is because China’s stupendous economic growth and concomitant advances in science, technology, education etc., is in the process of surpassing the failing capitalist economies of the US, Europe, Australia and the rest. Chiming in with the utterly deceitful Uyghur “human rights” corporate media hoax is – you guessed it – Veronica Koman.

Ms Koman tweeted dolefully that the Indonesian government would “never” speak out for the Uyghurs because it needed the Chinese government’s support on the Human Rights Council over West Papua![17]  Much more likely is that the Indonesian government can see a fake “human rights” campaign orchestrated by Washington when they see one. As a Muslim majority country, most Indonesians can see that the US government and their Western allies cannot possibly be concerned about the Muslims of the XUAR, when it has waged horrific wars against other majority Muslim countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, slaughtering well over 1 million adherents of the Islamic faith.

What price integrity?

Lest anyone imagine that it is only the “Trotskyist” Australian left parties (SAll, SAlt, SL, Sol) which fall for the torrent of tall tales from the West Papuan separatists, the fact that they are joined by two “Stalinist” (and/or “Maoist”) Australian left parties should kick this misconception. Both the Communist Party of Australia (CPA)[18] and the Communist Party of Australia Marxist-Leninist (CPA-ML)[19] make firm calls for Papuan separatism, with both demanding a referendum take place. They don’t appear to notice that this is ultimately a call for imperialism itself to “oversee” the referendum – either through the United Nations (UN) or US/UK/AUST troops on the ground. The CPA-ML try to deflect likely questions about the fact that Australian Union members and Waterside workers, including Communists, aided and assisted the Indonesian struggle for independence from Dutch colonialism during World War II. Yet the contradiction is too large to ignore. Both the “Trotskyist” and “Stalinist” parties have been fooled by the habitual lies and falsification which drives West Papuan separatism.  It could be understandable why liberals would not have the basis on which to question the political claims of an indigenous people, which is covertly backed by sections of world imperialism. Socialists, however, should know better, and should be able to apply basic Marxist investigative skills in ANY sphere, especially when dealing with claims of a “human rights lawyer”.

Veronica Koman, and by extension, the Papuan separatist movement, is a fraud. Regardless of the actions of its government in the past, or in other situations, Indonesia is not “imperialist”. Armed Papuan separatists especially are guilty of anti-Indonesian violence, and the likes of Ms Koman sell vast fake narratives placing the blame on Indonesia, with the assistance of the corporate media in Australia and elsewhere, to an eager Western audience. Indonesian workers are aware of what is happening, and don’t buy it. A political movement based on truths, facts, and actions against basic injustice is one thing. A quasi-political movement based on lies, distortions, ethnic antagonism and violence is another thing entirely. The left, at the very least, should be able to sense when it is being hoodwinked.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] https://www.greenleft.org.au/video/world-revolt-free-west-papua (02-01-2020)

https://www.facebook.com/events/539475839964278/    (02-01-2020)

[3] https://www.solidarity.net.au/international/students-shot-dead-as-west-papua-protests-continue/ (02-01-2020)

[4] https://asiapacificreport.nz/2019/09/05/indonesian-police-target-veronica-koman-for-west-papua-incitement/ (02-01-2020)

[5] https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/indonesian/Papua-rights-defender-11212019184820.html (02-01-2020)

[6] https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/10/08/papua-police-name-13-suspects-for-deadly-wamena-unrest.html (03-01-2020)

[7] Ibid, 6.

[8] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201830960/west-papuan-demographics-update-highlights-disparity (03-01-2020)

[9] https://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/post/pacific-news-minute-new-statistics-show-indigenous-melanesians-remain-majority-w-papua#stream/0 (03-01-2020)

[10] https://www.globalresearch.ca/indonesias-west-papua-settlers-dominate-coastal-regions-highlands-still-overwhelmingly-papuan/5569676 (03-01-2020)

[11] https://www.mondialisation.ca/hong-kong-gets-new-us-backed-party-funded-by-washington/5520536 (04-01-2020)

[12] https://www.dimsumdaily.hk/veronica-koman-human-rights-lawyer-based-in-australia-who-advocates-for-west-papua-pursued-by-indonesian-government/ (04-01-2020)

[13] https://twitter.com/VeronicaKoman/status/1164181784612859905 (07-01-2020)

[14] https://twitter.com/VeronicaKoman/status/1165821234174496768 (07-01-2020)

[15] https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2176302/indonesia-probing-reports-rebels-executed-31-construction (07-01-2020)

[16] https://redfireonline.com/2019/07/24/xinjiang-the-wests-big-lie/ (07-01-2020)

[17] https://twitter.com/VeronicaKoman/status/1204991932927115264 (07-01-2020)

[18] https://cpa.org.au/guardian/2019/1898/05-papua.html (07-01-2020)

[19] https://www.cpaml.org/lostfiles.php?id=1568513614&catid1=9,15 (07-01-2020)

No War on Iran! US: Get Out of Iraq and Syria!

Mourners mark General Soleimani’s assassination in Baghdad. http://www.politico.com

No War On Iran!  US: Get Out of Iraq and Syria!

05-01-2020: In an act of cold blooded murder, the US military assassinated Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the leader of Kata’eb Hezbollah, in air strike on Baghdad Airport on New Year’s Day.[1] General Soleimani was the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, and was overwhelmingly popular as the key leader of the military defence of the 1979 Iranian revolution. In every sense of the word, General Soleimani is a martyr in the cause of resistance to the scourge which threatens the world – US imperialism.

Absurdly, US President Donald Trump claimed in the aftermath that the US “took action to stop a war…we did not take action to start a war”.[2] Defying reality, Trump also claimed that the US does not seek regime change in Iran. Little could be further from the truth. For four decades, the US has remained in better enmity to the Iranian Islamic revolution which overthrew the US backed Shah of Iran and proceeded to build an anti-imperialist and independent Iran. Iran is now almost the only country in the Middle East without a US military presence. It is encircled by US military bases in neighbouring countries, in a similar way in which the US is attempting to militarily encircle Russia and China.

US defeat in Syria

This latest unparalleled act of war is more related to recent setbacks for US imperialism, it is not a demonstration of US success. After destroying Libya in 2011, Washington – with the backing of Canberra, London, Paris, Riyadh and Tel Aviv amongst others – set about engaging in a terroristic and criminal war of regime change against the Syrian Arab Republic. Hordes of unhinged mercenary barbarians in the form of ISIS, Al Qaeda and others were armed, funded, trained and sent into Syria to slaughter innocents using extreme violence. The Pentagon was the key supplier of weaponry for the deranged Daesh cutthroats[3], along with its allies. Thankfully, the sadistic imperialist war on Syria was defeated – arguably the first time that US imperialism has been defeated since the liberation of Saigon in the Vietnam War in 1975. The defeat of US imperialism – via their ISIS proxy – came about in no small part due to the painstaking efforts of General Soleimani and the IRGC.

Crucial assistance also came from the Russian government, which turned the tide in the regime change war after it was invited to do so by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Russia’s superiority in air warfare, particularly the use of the SU-35 jet fighter, cut US/Saudi supply lines to ISIS, and prevented their advance throughout the country. Yet even with Russia’s technologically superior air power, a war cannot only be won from the skies. Ground reconnaissance and securing areas won with the air power is necessary. This role was heroically played by the Syrian Arab Army, the IRGC and also the Lebanese Hezbollah. Though not playing an active role, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) offered some forms of aid for rebuilding and helped to block attempts by the imperialist Western powers to enforce sanctions against Syria at the United Nations (UN). The PRC had a direct interest in stifling Saudi financed Wahabist terrorism, as some 5000 extremist Uyghurs had enlisted with ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria.[4] The PRC correctly sought measures to prevent these misanthropic loons from returning to China to carry out even more terrorist attacks against innocent civilians.

Iraq colour revolution derailed

The event which preceded the criminal assassination of General Soleimani was the US backed phony “uprising” against the Iraqi government last October and November. As we wrote at the time,[5] this was no “revolution”, but yet more US backed subversion aimed at breaking the ties the Iraqi government of Adel Abdul Mahdi to Iran, Syria and the PRC. The Iraqi government has little choice but to join with Iran for collective security, and little choice but to join with the PRC for economic assistance. For example, signing on to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or “New Silk Road”), a huge infrastructure development program largely funded by the PRC’s still booming socialist economy. Washington was doing all it could to prevent this from occurring – now to the extent of assassinating the key General who defeated its proxy ISIS forces on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

Some have suggested that Iran’s recent discovery of a new oil field containing an estimated 50 billion barrels of oil[6] was what pushed Washington to move yet again against Iran. Iran’s oil wealth is certainly a part of the US Empire’s concerns, but by no means the only one. Even if US troops are still in Syria to illegally steal Syria’s oil despite being expelled from almost all other parts of the country[7], regime change in Iran is the supreme aim of Wall Street. One could say that the wars on Iraq and Syria were only preliminary wars waged by Washington in order to get to Iran. And taking out Syria, Iraq and Iran are key aims in the overall (failing) strategy to weaken Russia and China.

Needless to say, a new US war on Iran would be catastrophic for the world, not only the Middle East. Capitalist imperialism cannot function without horrific wars against anyone, socialist or not, who attempts to stand independently of political control from Washington. Workers of the world have a vital interest in preventing a new calamitous war from being waged not only on Iran, but also on themselves via “their own” governments. The threat of imperialist war is directly linked to the global warming fueled bushfires threatening large parts of Australia currently, and is linked to unemployment, homelessness, relentless funding cuts of government services and falling or stagnant wages. The struggle against imperialist war is simultaneously a struggle for a workers’ government. NO WAR ON IRAN!

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/update-qassem-soleimani-and-abu-mahdi-al-mohandes-confirmed-dead-after-us-strikes/ (04-01-2020)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/jan/03/iran-general-qassem-suleimani-killed-us-trump-drone-strike-baghdad-reaction-live-updates?page=with:block-5e0fa0dd8f08c397226445f2#block-5e0fa0dd8f08c397226445f2 (04-01-2020)

[3] https://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-military-aid-to-al-qaeda-isis-daesh/5548960 (05-01-2020)

[4] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2133064/china-step-aid-syria-war-winds-down (05-01-2020)

[5] https://redfireonline.com/2019/10/13/iraq-deadly-chaos-through-subversion/ (05-01-2020)

[6] https://apnews.com (05-01-2020)

 

[7] https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-s-has-no-right-syrian-oil-adviser-president-assad-n1106846 (05-01-2020)

XR: False Friends of a Safe Climate

Image from the Queensland Times

XR: False Friends of a Safe Climate

15-12-2019 – Australia is on fire. During November, even before summer began, raging bushfires razed parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. New South Wales was the worst hit, with six people losing their lives, and over 600 homes destroyed.[1] It is undeniable that the fires have been fueled by catastrophic conditions related to the drought conditions, which in turn are related to the rise in temperatures due to global warming. Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are the main culprit, a fact effectively denied by all Australian governments to date – which not only have failed to act, but enabled the acceleration of carbon emissions, through the approval of new coal mines. What is particularly alarming about this year’s bushfires (they now happen every year) is the occurrence of rainforests burning – something previously thought to be impossible.[2]

Climate action, however that is defined, is a dire and urgent necessity. The question is what type of climate action should be taken, and by whom. Into this breach has stepped Extinction Rebellion (XR), with XR activists in Brisbane organising and calling for a shutdown of the Go Between Bridge on December 13, during morning peak hour.[3]  XR effectively claim that due to the recent bushfires, their hand has been forced, thus they are impelled to shut down business as usual. Yet XR’s misguided attempts to attract attention to the need for climate action may very well lead to even less climate action than current conservative governments and corporations are doing now – which is almost zero.

Working people need to be won to climate action

The most counter-productive effect of blocking major bridges in peak hour is that working people, the overwhelming majority of whom support climate action, could be turned away, and even turned against climate activism if they find themselves blockaded on the streets by people waving the XR insignia. The careless attitude of XR towards working people getting to work or going about their daily lives exposes XR’s anti-working class tactics. Anti-working class tactics flow from anti-working class politics – something XR demonstrate in spades. Their open support and backing for the police who arrest them at actions is but one expression of this. Their reporting of some fellow “rebels” to the police for pickpocketing – who were subsequently subjected to immigration checks[4] – is another.

Many in the climate movement, such as it is, demand a cross-class climate movement, even if they don’t use such terms. That is, they imagine that everyone from all social classes (workers, small business owners, capitalist magnates) can all work together on climate because “everyone” is affected. The climate movement is different, they claim, from a workers’ struggle for improved conditions, so it is not an “us and them” scenario. This is radically false, but XR exemplify this, being a classical movement of the despairing petty-bourgeoisie. It is an elementary Marxist tenet that the petty-bourgeoisie (small business owners, start-up entrepreneurs and so on) cannot lead and independent struggle against capitalism, by virtue of their class position. Some layers of this class can be won to an anti-capitalist struggle for socialism under certain conditions and for certain periods. But essentially it is only the working class which has a material interest in the overturn of the private ownership of the means of production – the main source of the imminent climate danger.

Thus it is imperative that working people be won to climate action. Yet the XR cavaliers do not even aim at winning the majority of working people to climate action, let alone leading them to a struggle for the public ownership of the means of production. In fact, XR are priests of anti-socialism. Irrespective of their rhetoric about a “toxic system”, they see little wrong with capitalism, just that it is led by the wrong people – the politicians in parliament. Replace these politicians with those who are prepared to “do something”, and the climate problems can be addressed, or so they imagine.  Attempting to solve inherently social political problems with individual solutions is a hallmark of the world outlook of the small proprietor.

The right to protest is limited under “liberal democracy”

XR’s lack of a class analysis feeds their stunning naivete of the nature of the capitalist state. The right to protest under capitalism is a result of a historical balance of class forces between labour and capital. It is not an absolute right that the establishment is bound to uphold. It can be taken away at any time the ruling class feels the balance of class forces tip in its favour. That is, when they sense that the working class will not (yet) act to prevent the ruling class increasing its power over them. Already, XR in Brisbane have played with fire by repeatedly disrupting traffic, resulting in the Palaszczuk Labor government passing “anti-protest” laws. In fact, these laws only ban lock-on and similar devices,[5] but they could well empower police to expand their “stop and search” powers.

XR protested the introduction of these laws, seemingly oblivious that their actions themselves had provoked the ruling class into putting them in place. If XR continue to defy the bourgeois state without the majority of the working class actively (or at the very least passively) backing them, the ruling class could well decide to ban all climate protest altogether. This may lead to a banning of all protest, and a return to days similar to the Civil Rights movement in Queensland in the late 1970s, when former National Party Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen banned street marches. It is possible that a Labor or Liberal government could enact such a ban, because the majority of the working class right now does NOT endorse the appalling tactics (provocative bridge and road blockades) of XR even at the same time as they understand and support the need for climate action.

XR are entitled to put forward whatever their ideas are in amongst the climate movement – or what passes for it currently. If they wish to argue for mindless traffic blockades, they are welcome to do so. However, like every other political organisation or group, they must be subject to a critical appraisal of their tactics and their proposals by all concerned, and most especially by working people. XR must not be allowed to monkey with the right to protest under capitalism. At this stage, workers cannot afford to lose that right, as temporary as it might be under bourgeois democracy. If this occurs, next to no climate demands will be put forward, and thus no “climate action”. And XR will be to blame.

Intelligentsia for climate?

As if to underscore their commitment to the political rights of the middle classes, XR in Brisbane have organised a “Graduation March” specifically appealing to “graduates, academics and professionals”. XR bill this as a supposed action where emerging professionals will declare they will not sit idle while the climate crisis looms, but will “approach their lives with the health of the planet at the forefront of their minds”.[6] Decked out with academic gowns and mortar boards, this spectacle march is no doubt intended to show that young graduates are “woke” with the urgent need for climate action. It is true that XR is not a political party per se, but XR defends the rights of the petty-bourgeoisie arguably better than a real one. Elementary Marxism, however, stresses that the educational institutions of any society are always controlled by the class which holds state power. Right now in the Western world at least, capital rules, and therefore their Universities will ultimately reflect the interests of its benefactors.

While it is true that some genuine dissidents emerge from the halls of Universities, as a general rule academics will ultimately justify the rule of capital, even if only because their income is dependent on a state stipend. Here, though, XR is also encouraging young people with University degrees to become small-business owners, as consultants, private practice physicians, marketers and so on. These new professionals will carry on the “business as usual” that XR crows about the need to stop – but this will presumably be enlightened small business as usual. Business as usual “for the planet”, that is. Needless to say, small business engenders big business. The professionals who engage in small capitalism spontaneously engender big capitalism, but it is the entire capitalist system which must be overturned if we are to have a chance of preventing ecological collapse. No matter how aware highly trained professionals are about the need for climate action, the very process of privately owned business seeking private profit grates against it.

The urgency of the climate crisis requires not millions of small businesses competing with each other (and with big business) to increase their market share, but public ownership of the means of production, and state ownership of industry, banking, finance, telecommunications, transport – so as to serve the needs of workers, not small proprietors per se. A single economic plan needs to be drawn up, which uses all available resources for economic goals and priorities decided upon by working people themselves. In other words, a government of workers’ councils administering a workers’ state. Social production must be brought into correspondence with social ownership. In the transition from climate destroying capitalism to socialism, some degree of small enterprise may be required – but this would need to be strictly controlled, to prevent the re-emergence of capitalism. Professionals and academics will also be required, not for careers in themselves, but to build a society without exploitation of labour and the environment.

XR remain silent on imperialist war

Small business, on its own, is always nationalist, and therefore pro-imperialist. The petty-bourgeois XR strut like bulls on parade, in an ostentatious display of their supposedly progressive credentials. Yet with one mention of imperialist war, and XR reveal themselves to be downright reactionary. At the height of the ultra-violent US/UK government backed pro-capitalist Blackshirt terror in Hong Kong, some representative of XR openly claimed to be using “Hong Kong” style tactics for the climate.  We perhaps should be thankful that, so far, XR have not emulated the anti-socialist and US flag waving Hong Kong separatists to the extent of setting people on fire, beating up bystanders who disagree with them on the street, burning and destroying train stations, or using bows and arrows to fire on police. The last one might be too much even for the pro-cop XR.

From pillar to post, XR remain dead silent on the US war machine, even as it has gone into overdrive in the last ten years. It has become mainstream news that the US military emits more greenhouse gases than 140 countries.[7] The US global military empire uses more ships, trucks, bombs, cargo planes and other materiel than any other, all literally fed by fossil fuels – with the possible exception of nuclear powered aircraft carriers. Washington has occupied Afghanistan, invaded Iraq, bombed and destroyed Libya, and waged internecine war on Ukraine and Syria over the last 17 years. This has been backed to the hilt by London, Paris and Canberra, amongst others. Imperialist war is, needless to say, devastating for the environment, and not just in terms of carbon emissions. Yet XR’s lips remain sealed. The potential world war machinations of Washington and the West against Russia, China and Iran also merit not a word from the pontiffs of XR. Here, silence really is consent.

It may seem a contradiction that some parties that call themselves socialist – such as Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance – remain card carrying members of XR despite XR’s avowed anti-socialism. XR allow these  parties to take part in their actions because they agree on the “need” for imperialist war against China, Russia, Syria, Iran the DPRK (North Korea) and so on. The twin SAs may complain about war in general, but they loudly back US led destabilisation attempts in Hong Kong, Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and on and on. Needless to say, the governments preparing imperialist wars and imperialist backed subversion cannot be allies in the need to take action on climate change!

Public ownership key

Life threatening climate collapse is here now – only a few inconsequential cranks now deny the need for climate action. Unfortunately, XR build dangerous illusions in the very political and economic system which is the largest driver of extreme climate. Despite their seeming appearance as radicals, XR still limit themselves to placing demands on “the government” which they imagine is “ours”. XR reject the very element which has the possibility of saving us from extinction – a socialist revolution. Without the public ownership of the major means of production – the banks, strategic industry, transport, telecommunications, road, rail and port infrastructure – linked to a planned economy based on priority decisions made by workers themselves, “climate action” is impossible. Workers need their own government, and their own state, which would seek to link internationally with all workers across the globe. With the corporate magnates expropriated, the vitally important work of reversing climate catastrophe, imperialist war and economic collapse can begin in earnest.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/nov/22/australia-bushfires-factcheck-are-this-years-fires-unprecedented (01-12-2019)

[2] https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/why-are-our-rainforests-burning (01-12-2019)

[3] https://www.facebook.com/events/481665399120050/ (01-12-2019)

[4] http://gal-dem.com/this-is-what-extinction-rebellion-must-do-to-engage-with-people-of-colour-on-climate-justice/ (01-12-2019)

[5] https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/dangerous-protest-devices-banned-as-laws-pass-queensland-parliament-20191024-p533vs.html (01-12-2019)

[6] https://www.facebook.com/events/767281987070381/?active_tab=about (07-12-2019)

[7] https://www.newsweek.com/us-military-greenhouse-gases-140-countries-1445674 (12-12-2019)

Release Julian Assange!

Release Julian Assange!

10-12-2019 – The life of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is in extreme danger. At stake is not just the well-being of Assange himself, but the very right to political dissent. Detained in Belmarsh Prison in the United Kingdom (UK) where it is likely that he will be extradited to the United States (US), his health is failing due to the inhumane physical and psychological conditions of deprivation to which he has been subjected. On November 22, 80 medical doctors wrote to the UK government voicing their grave concern that Mr Assange could die before his farcical “trial” is set to take place. The letter has been sent to the Lord Chancellor, the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Justice.[1] The deliberate denial of medical care, at the very least, is a flagrant breach of basic medical ethics. It also makes a mockery of noble sounding declarations of a “democratic” society.

Julian Assange and Wikileaks are guilty of nothing. Supposedly under capitalist “liberal democracy” all citizens have the right to engage in political discourse, have the right to free speech, the right to publish and distribute information, and the right to question how revenue collected for taxation is spent. The governments overseeing Western imperialism – the US, the UK, Australia and others – clearly breach virtually all the rights of citizens piously claimed by its defenders, when push comes to shove. Right now, Western imperialism is in a state of perilous decline due to yet another capitalist economic downturn which has lasted for the last ten years. In this condition, capitalist governments are in the process of removing the basic democratic rights many imagined were guaranteed. The whistle-blowing of Julian Assange and Wikileaks proves the opposite.

Canberra loyal to Washington

Born in Townsville, raised in northern New South Wales, Julian Assange is as Australian as can be. Yet his Australian passport has almost no meaning, given the appalling lack of action from the Australian government. In December 2018, Australian consular officials apparently met briefly with Julian Assange while he was still effectively held in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. This was reportedly the first contact with Mr Assange in six years.[2]  Incredibly, the Australian government released a statement on May 31 this year, claiming that the appropriate level of consular assistance and health concerns had been raised and addressed during two visits to Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison.[3] Even if these visits did take place, Canberra is lock-step with Washington in vain attempts to re-establish the global domination the US enjoyed for a period after the capitalist counter-revolution destroyed the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR) in 1991. To do this, they must not only threaten and wage endless imperialist wars around the globe, they must intimidate into silence every last vestige of questioning over their reckless policies from “their own” citizens.

The West is the dystopian nightmare, not China or Russia

Julian Assange, alongside Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, are proof positive that the Orwellian style totalitarian states now in existence are in the capitalist West – they are not China or Russia – the propaganda bogeymen of the corporate media. Chelsea Manning was jailed for refusing to testify against Julian Assange, bravely defying the US authorities even after previously being incarcerated.[4] Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst, cannot return to his home in the United States, after he exposed to the world the fact that the CIA is effectively spying on everyone through the internet.[5] There is surveillance of  virtually every computer user in almost every country which is routinely handed over to the CIA for monitoring, and whistleblowers such as Assange, Manning and Snowden are living proof.

Despite this, working people in Australia, the US, Europe and elsewhere are subjected to a non-stop barrage of hysteria in the corporate media claiming that China and Russia are totalitarian states which suppress democratic rights!  The hypocrisy is staggering. The People’s Republic of China (PRC), born of a momentous revolution of hundreds of millions culminating in 1949, is today surpassing the technological, scientific and economic former power of the US Empire. In doing this, it does not threaten war against anyone. Yet deliberately deceitful Western press complain that the PRC uses facial recognition technology, implying a mistrusting government monitoring its citizen’s every move. At the same time, police in Australia use the very same technology – but of course in the name of “security”.  Russia is accused, without a shred of evidence, of “meddling” in US elections, of invading Ukraine, and of shooting down flight MH17. This, coming from the Pentagon which has overtly waged endless regime change wars around the globe, routinely funded and created “opposition” parties in countries they don’t like, and arming Nazis in Ukraine.[6]

Julian Assange despised the cant of those in power, and set out to hold them to account, whatever the cost. He may pay the highest price, unless a world-wide movement can be mobilised. This movement must be so powerful that the ruling classes of the West realise that they will lose a lot more by making a martyr, than by making a concession. Crucially, it will take actions of the working class, in defiance of conservative Union officials and other liberals who have abandoned him, to achieve results. At stake are the very rights to “life, liberty and happiness” that capitalist society always promises but never delivers. Workers are in dire need of a Marxist vanguard party not only to blaze a path to socialism, but to help free those who sacrifice themselves for a better world. RELEASE JULIAN ASSANGE!

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/05/doctors-intensify-pressure-on-britain-over-assange/ (08-12-2019)

[2] https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australian-officials-pay-visit-to-julian-assange (08-12-2019)

[3] https://dfat.gov.au/news/media/Pages/statement-on-julian-assange.aspx (08-12-2019)

[4] https://www.npr.org/2019/05/10/722059301/chelsea-manning-is-freed-from-jail-faces-new-subpoena-in-wikileaks-case (08-12-2019)

[5] https://www.wired.com/story/after-six-years-in-exile-edward-snowden-explains-himself/ (08-12-2019)

[6] https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-arming-assisting-neo-nazis-ukraine-congress-debates-prohibition/5673930 (09-12-2019)

Bolivia: The Empire Oversees Another Coup

Image from The Intercept

Bolivia: The Empire Oversees Another Coup

24-11-2019: It was one of the fastest nullifications of an election result for decades. On October 20, Bolivian President Evo Morales was re-elected with a margin of 10 percentage points, only to resign on November 10 in the face of a right-wing opposition with links to the US Empire. The opposition groups claimed the election results were fraudulent, but statistical analysis found that there were no irregularities with the process or counting of the votes.[1] One of the opposition groups has members of a Christian fascist organisation from Santa Cruz,[2] a hotbed of US government linked separatism. The main opposition candidate in the election, Carlos Mesa, is a named member of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington based “think tank” funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).[3]  The Organisation of the American States (OAS), a Cold War alliance of Latin American anti-communist governments led by Washington, chimed in with the call for “new elections”. After reported raids on his home, Evo Morales and former Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera have fled to Mexico, which offered them asylum.

US in regime change frenzy

Over the last eight years, the US ruling class has left no stone unturned in efforts to overthrow and depose governments from countries around the world seen to be too independent, or resistant to global US domination. In Libya, the US used NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) to destroy Green Libya, leaving a hellhole in its aftermath. In Syria, the US and its Western allies armed and funded barbaric ISIS mercenaries in an effort to remove the Syrian government. Here they were defeated by a combination of military and political defence from Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. Seething from this loss of face, Washington redoubled its regime change machinations, repeatedly attempting a coup in Venezuela, fostering fake uprisings in Sudan and Algeria, and funding faux “human rights” fronts in Cambodia and Thailand, to name but a few. Most brazenly, Wall Street has overtly and covertly backed ultra-violent right-wing separatists in Hong Kong, in a vain attempt to spread political unrest throughout China.

Unfortunately, the faulty political basis of Morales and his (misnamed) Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) offered Washington the easiest path to install domestic right-wing collaborators at the crucial time. Evo Morales was the first indigenous President of Bolivia, in a nation where the majority of the population are indigenous. Morales and Linera managed to govern Bolivia for 13 years, repeatedly winning elections, sometimes by landslides. The MAS government used redistributive social-democratic policies which resulted in some gains for Bolivian workers and the poor. Under Morales the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate was a steady 4.9% per year, and per capita GDP grew by over 50%. Poverty fell from 60% in 2006 to 35% in 2017. Unemployment nearly halved, the minimum wage increased threefold, and social transfer payments were given to millions of poor Bolivians, enabling many to enter full-time education for the first time.[4] Such measures were the basis of the popularity of the Morales government, especially amongst the Indian majority.

Reformism no solution

At the same time, the Morales government made repeated concessions to the agribusiness class and sought partnerships with capitalist industry in order to spur growth. It is not entirely wrong to use private sector capital to develop agriculture and use mineral resources, but it was often done at the expense of Bolivian workers, with little regard for the environment. In fact, Bolivian workers had to struggle and often strike against the Morales government, and in response Morales had little hesitation in sending in heavily armed police to severely repress them. In 2016, the COB (Bolivian Workers Central) trade union body called a strike in response to Morales closing Enatex, the state-run textile company, causing the loss of 1000 jobs. Hundreds of workers were arrested by the police repression ordered by the MAS government.[5] In 2013, miners launched a general strike against the Morales government for continuing the anti-worker pension scheme of the previous government, demanding “retirement with dignity”. The police repression was severe, with the arrest of 400 miners, with the Morales government in some cases demanding prison terms of up to six years![6] In 2011, some 5000 rural teachers embarked on strikes against the Morales government for a reasonable wage increase. The COB had to settle for less than their demands, after hundreds of riot police were unleashed against the teachers, resulting in nine wounded.[7]

The police Morales ordered to repress striking workers were the same police who in turn turfed Morales when the signal was given. Far from “socialism”, the Morales/Linera government was reformist at best, which used the armed forces of the bourgeois state against workers when they saw fit. There was no effort to build workers’ power, or workers’ militias, because Morales only sought a few reforms within the capitalist system, regardless of his rhetoric. Morales may have railed against capitalism, against US imperialism, and against the extreme danger of climate collapse in words – but his loyalty was always with the very system he denounced. Bolivian workers paid a heavy price for this. Now, Bolivian workers and the poor are left almost defenceless to face the fascist right, in paramilitary or government form, while Morales and Linera themselves have deserted the sinking ship.

Workers in Bolivia, and their peasant and Indian allies, need to politically break with MAS before they can take steps forward in their defence. Workers internationally need to resolutely oppose the US backed coup, while offering no political support to the remnants of the legacy of Morales. It is another lesson that capitalism cannot be reformed, and that real socialism begins with workers in power.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com
PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] http://cepr.net/press-center/press-releases/no-evidence-that-bolivian-election-results-were-affected-by-irregularities-or-fraud-statistical-analysis-shows (24-11-2019)

[2] https://thegrayzone.com/2019/11/11/bolivia-coup-fascist-foreign-support-fernando-camacho/ (24-11-2019)

[3] Ibid, 2.

[4] https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/democraciaabierta/evo-morales-la-caída-del-héroe-de-la-transformación-boliviana-en/ (24-11-2019)

[5] https://nacla.org/blog/2016/07/05/why-bolivian-workers-are-marching-against-evo-morales (24-11-2019)

[6] www.internationalist.org/boliviageneralstrike1306.html (24-11-2019)

[7] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2011/04/boli-a28.html (24-11-2019)