No To Racism, Xenophobia, Austerity and War!

No To Racism, Xenophobia, Austerity and War!

08-09-2018 – According to federal minister Peter Dutton, citizens of Melbourne are too afraid to go out to restaurants at night in public, in fear of “African gang violence”.[1] Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull weighed in, attempting to whip up extreme racism in an effort to stave off the Labor Party in the lead up to the series of by-elections that took place on “Super Saturday”. Thankfully, voters in these electorates appeared to ignore the racist dog whistling, but neither did they sufficiently rush behind the Labor Party either. The vote for major parties fell, reflecting an ongoing trend in Australian elections going back years. At the same time, several of the MPs who were caught out by a nationalist interpretation of Section 44 of the Constitution, and found to be dual citizens – were returned to office by their constituents. Both racist and xenophobic attempts to instill over the top nationalism amongst voters failed.

Regardless, the hidden or open racism that African-Australians face continues. People born in Sudan and South Sudan account for only 0.14% of Victoria’s population,[2] yet these citizens face ongoing criminalisation by association, often being referred to as “gangs” simply for appearing in public with similar friends. As for the alleged tendency for those with Sudanese or South Sudanese background committing more crimes than others, this is abjectly false. The overwhelming majority of crimes committed in Australia are carried out by those born in Australia, at over 70%. Other ethnicities, including Sudanese and South Sudanese, usually make up a derisory 1%.[3]  Irrespective, the dire economic conditions the “free” market delivers continually results in the creation of more scapegoats by the corporate media. Channel 7’s tabloid racism about supposed “African Gangs” is a demonstration of their loyalty to a wealthy elite who live in luxury while the majority struggle to get by from day to day.

Why South Sudan?

The federal government rails against South Sudanese allegedly running rampant in Melbourne, without of course explaining why some South Sudanese have fled that country to others seeking a safe place to live. In the end, South Sudan today is a construct of yet more nefarious US Empire “creative chaos” which serves only their ends at the expense of countless lives. The US state, to which the Australian political elite are deeply enmeshed, has backed the separation of South Sudan from Sudan not for any romantic notions of “democracy” or “self-determination”, but to drive out the influence of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and disrupt and eventually destroy the massive New Silk Road integrated infrastructure projects it offers on favourable terms. Even though historically the area of South Sudan was cobbled together with Sudan by British colonialism, today’s US led imperialism – with Canberra as a vassal – seeks to Balkanise many African states, in the same way in which it attempted to Balkanise Syria through the arming and funding of barbaric Al Qaeda and ISIS operatives. For example, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s signature black cowboy hat was given to him by none other than former US President George W Bush when he visited the White House in 2006.[4]  The aim is to undermine, and eventually sever the ties that Khartoum (the capital of Sudan) developed with the Soviet Union in the past, and now it’s increasing trade and infrastructure ties to Red China.

Oil is a factor in the US Empire’s villainous intervention into South Sudan, with one aim being to open the oil fields of South Sudan to exploitation by Western oil companies. This is easier said than done, as both Sudan and South Sudan already is reliant on the extensive Chinese holdings in their oil facilities, including pipelines. Oil is not the only interest of the US deep state, however.  With assistance from pro-US leaders such as Salva Kiir, any US presence in South Sudan could easily be used to prop up AFRICOM (the US military’s Africa command), which has worked with Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni in the process of waging US proxy wars in Africa for years. US presence through its cultivated allies such as Kiir and Museveni would be another beach head from which they could pressure the Central African Republic to the east, Ethiopia to the West, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south.[5] The US Empire would not be averse to unleashing Boko Haram or ISIS or their own troops, for which they have a track record. The loss of countless human lives and destruction through war of parts of Africa does not even register as a concern. They will pay any price – potentially even their own destruction – in an attempt to counter the economic power of China’s gigantic state owned enterprises.

Bourgeois and proletarian multiculturalism

Understandably, some South Sudanese flee this violence ultimately created historically by British colonialism, and now by US imperialism – and end up in Australia. There is a certain irony with Canberra backing all the dissolute ends of the US Empire in Africa – and ending up taking in Africans seeking a better life as a result. This is one reason why the racism of Turnbull and Dutton cannot be fought with the multiculturalism of the Labor Party or the Greens, or that of “civil society” NGOs. Turnbull and the Liberal Party say they are for multiculturalism – even at the same time as spouting racism. Bill Shorten and the Labor Party, along with the Greens and other liberals also say they are for multiculturalism and, in words, state opposition to racism. Yet they are also vociferous backers of the economic base which maintains and sustains the ultimate source of racism: “free market” capitalism, which is generating staggering inequality in Australia, the US and Europe.

Moreover, some forms of multiculturalism imagine they are devoid of any political basis, but in practice end up fueling political reaction. Despite the protestations of some on the left, a person’s ethnic or cultural background is no guarantee of progressive politics, let alone being anti-capitalist. Take the example of former Family First and now Liberal Party Senator Lucy Gichuhi, who claimed in an interview that her $200 000 salary is “not a lot of money”[6] !!  The Kenyan born African-Australian had also been a part of a politician’s travel expenses rort, as many other federal politicians have been. Any multiculturalism which includes these antics self-evidently cannot be backed by working people.

As the economic crisis becomes worse, right-wing “opposition” and racism becomes more extreme – which is one reason for the resurgence of One Nation and the racist outbursts of MPs from Katter’s Australian Party. Struggle against this racism is essential, but it can only be effective through an independent working class political basis. In other words, the bourgeois multiculturalism of the Labor Party, the Greens, NGOs, Refugee Action Coalitions, etc., must be countered with the proletarian multiculturalism of the working people linked in struggle against the baneful effects of the profit system. For example, a workers’ struggle for public ownership of electricity, gas and water to drastically reduce skyrocketing utility costs could garner huge support amongst working people. If this was combined with a Union led struggle for a shorter working week with no loss in pay, in order to undercut high unemployment, as well as lift incomes for those employed, it could spark the desperately needed fightback working people and those struggling have been waiting for. Even if there was, on its own, a large scale movement against the privatisation of education and health care, for more public housing, and decent and affordable public transport,  led by workers and their Unions, it would at largely fill the political vacuum which is currently being filled by the far-right. Racism and xenophobia increases in direct proportion to the extent of the crisis of the stock-market economy of the corporate magnates, which affects working people in the form of austerity. Or, more specifically, racism and xenophobia spikes in response to capitalist crises AND the absence of a strong, left-wing workers movement. Not to speak of the absence of a politically sharp workers’ party.

The multiculturalism of the “community” or the “society”  has no aim to end the hardships facing the masses. This is why the only multiculturalism which is worth a damn is that which emanates from actual labour. Under capitalism, it is only the workplace which is truly integrated. Labour, which has been socialised by the process of generalised commodity production, cannot take place without the co-operation of all workers. Racial, cultural, religious and other differences have to be put to one side in order to enact even the simplest of work processes, let alone more complex ones. This is one reason why it is only the working class which has a material interest in the elimination of racism and xenophobia. Racism and xenophobia not only seriously impedes the labour process, it prevents workers from uniting against the real source of economic failure.

Multiculturalists for regime change

The ruling elite, however, do not just deploy racism and xenophobia to divide workers domestically. It is also used to imbue working people in the First World with the notion that the economic, political and diplomatic plunder and exploitation of the Third World is natural and normal, and that this must occur for “our own” living standards to be upheld. Crucially, it is also used to rally workers behind, or at least not oppose, the heaviest fist of finance capital – imperialist war. Imperialist war simply cannot be waged without hefty doses of racism, regardless of the official justification. Yet many of those who advocate multiculturalism are also some of the strongest backers of the wars of Empire, albeit wrapped up in noble-sounding rhetoric around “democracy”, “human rights”, and the “need” for regime change.

For example, when NATO bombed Libya to smithereens in 2011, all bourgeois political parties voiced their approval, as well as some misguided left parties. Black slavery being restored in Libya was one result,[7] while many multiculturalists applauded the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi, the leader of green Libya, and the African state which until that time had one of the highest standards of living. Yet this pious First World saviour complex was just a precursor to what was to unfold over the next seven years, when the US Empire launched arguably the dirtiest war in the history of civilisation against the Syrian Arab Republic. From 2011 to the current day, tens of thousands of unhinged ISIS and Al Qaeda lunatics were armed, funded and assisted by the West in an effort to overthrow Syria through barely describable levels of violence. The governments aiding mercenary “Islamic” jihadists included the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other Gulf Monarchies. NATO allies such as the UK, France, Australia, Canada, Denmark and others joined the slaughter of more than 500 000 innocent Syrians. Iran and Hezbollah intervened, and together with Russia’s superior air power, this ensured the defeat of ISIS and the reversal of the regime change war. And yet political forces which not only failed to oppose this war, but loudly backed it by denouncing the Syrian “regime”, included those who flag wave for multiculturalism. The Liberal Party, the Labor Party, the Greens, NGOs, right through to some “socialist” parties, to a man and woman, cheered on the US backed “moderates”, i.e. Al Qaeda proxies.

Dismissing the elected government, whatever its form, of a country targeted by the US Empire, contains inherent racism, even if not couched in those terms. It is not only in relation to Libya and Syria where liberal multiculturalists display their own form of xenophobia – this also occurs in relation to heavy hitting opponents of Western imperialism, specifically Russia and China. Mainstream parties, Greens, NGOs and pro-war “socialists” oppose racism in their own minds, yet practice a distorted form of it when they rally behind Washington and Canberra provoking potential nuclear war with Russia, China, Iran and the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – “North Korea”). The latent racism contained within Russophobia is generated at extreme levels, due largely to Russia’s effective defeat of US imperialism in Syria. Liberals and the pro-war left swear blind that they are not Sinophobic, and yet chime in with a hysterical and irrational corporate media and government furphy about “Chinese influence”.

For working class integration

It scarcely needs to be said that one cannot be for multiculturalism and anti-racist, while applauding imperialist war in the Asia-Pacific or internationally. In addition, the multiculturalism of the cross-class “community” can only serve the forces of capital which are not only preparing for, but waging, imperialist wars. The only multiculturalism which is worth anything is that which involves the multiracial working class waging a struggle for their liberation from the banks, the stock exchange and the mega-corporations which grind living standards into the dust. This struggle for socialism can only be waged effectively if led by an integrated Marxist vanguard party, combining the most committed and class conscious workers from all cultural, ethnic and national backgrounds. Racism and xenophobia will barely stand a chance against a revolutionary government with workers at the helm.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/victorians-scared-to-go-to-restaurants-at-night-because-of-street-gang-violence-peter-dutton-20180103-h0cvu4.html (08-08-18)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan/06/were-not-a-gang-the-pain-of-being-african-australian (11-08-18)

[3] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-22/african-crime-stats-overestimated-victorian-crime-agency-says/9348882 (11-08-18)

[4] http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/03/15/suda-m15.html (12-08-18)

[5] http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-plundering-of-south-sudan.html (12-08-18)

[6] https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2018/06/18/lucy-gichuhi-senate-wage/ (28-08-18)

[7] https://www.theroot.com/libyan-slavery-is-wrong-and-it-s-partly-america-s-faul-1821863389 (25-08-18)

Corporate media is enlisted to whip up a racially charged scare campaign, with little or no basis in fact. Image from http://www.policeaccountability.org.au

 

No War on DPR Korea! Lift the Sanctions

NO WAR ON DPR KOREA!

LIFT THE SANCTIONS!

STATEMENT OF THE WORKERS LEAGUE

05-12-2017 – As we go to press, the US and its puppet South Korean navy are completing yet more threatening war manoeuvres right on the border with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – or “North Korea”). This comes on top of the most extensive US, Japanese and Republic of Korea (ROK or “South Korea”) military war games ever this year, which are carried out annually. These “exercises” are little more than a dress rehearsal for an invasion and overthrow of the DPRK – something which is barely even concealed. There is nothing “routine” about them – unless threatening a sovereign nation with annihilation can be called “routine”.

Vanishing standard of living linked to war

The world teeters on the brink of a thermonuclear war. One side, and one side only, is responsible for this indescribable calamity – the US Empire, loyally backed by servile politicians in Canberra. The ruling class of the United States is presiding over a decline preceding a collapse similar to that of the Roman Empire of ancient times. Its capitalist for-profit economy is in many areas barely functioning, and US working people are paying a heavy price. Australian workers are also suffering, as the falling rate of profit for big capital results in bare-faced assaults such as stagnant wages, high unemployment, a skyrocketing cost of living and homelessness at chronic levels. Minimal working conditions, such as the right to be paid for working on a weekend, are being abolished. Basic liberal democratic rights and civil liberties, such as habeas corpus, and the right to form an organisation, are being torn to shreds. Many young people – the “millennials” – face a future of insecurity, joblessness and poverty.

Make no mistake, all of these privations and more are directly linked to the threat of nuclear war, which is twisted in the corporate media to be because of a “threat” from the DPRK. In reality, the DPRK has done, and is doing, everything which is humanly possible to avoid a war with the United States. For over six decades, all the DPRK has ever stated is that if it is attacked, it will respond – which is the inalienable right of every human being, let alone every sovereign nation on planet earth. The DPRK has repeatedly offered to suspend the testing of nuclear weapons in exchange for an end to the yearly military “exercises” – which practice invasion – on its border. This has been ignored. The DPRK has offered to abolish its nuclear weapons program altogether, if the US will withdraw all of its nuclear weapons and its 30 odd thousand permanently stationed troops from South Korea. This has been ignored. Recently in the United Nations, the DPRK was one of the first countries to vote in favour of a resolution banning the development, testing and use of nuclear weapons. This too, has been ignored.

The unavoidable political reality is that it is the ultra-hostile position of the US government over many years which has forced the DPRK to develop and produce nuclear weapons. And as its vote in the United Nations in favour of banning the production and use of nuclear weapons shows, the DPRK would prefer, a thousand times over, not to have to divert what relatively scarce resources that are available to them to a military defence program. The economy of the DPRK may be tilted heavily towards military spending, but it is the height of hypocrisy for the strongest imperialist power in world history to repeatedly threaten the DPRK with elimination – and at the same time condemn it for “neglecting its own people”. The resources that the DPRK has assigned to military defence, which has only ever produced a deterrent against a military attack, and nothing more, are resources which have, so far, ensured the survival of the DPRK. It hardly needs to be said that the recent US led wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria are proof positive that the DPRK’s decisions on its military spending have been eminently correct.

Lift the Sanctions!

The US in recent years has specialised in waging wars of regime change against countries which provide free health care and education to its citizens. Libya and Syria, pre-US invasion, willingly spent some of its resources in this way, and so does the DPRK. In fact the DPRK goes much further, to provide free housing, universal employment, and constitutionally guaranteed holiday leave from work, amongst other things, to all of its 25 million civilians. While certain distortions exist in the DPRK – who amongst us can claim that any socio-economic system is perfect? The fact is that the form of socialism which survives in the DPRK co-habits with the enormous strength and prosperity of next-door neighbour China, which also operates a socialist economy, albeit with differing restrictions. The unending US led sanctions on the DPRK, dramatically escalated this year, are ultimately aimed at overturning the socialism which has been achieved in the DPRK and China. In addition, the threatened war on the DPRK by the US will not just be against the DPRK but against China, and also Russia. Russia, while not socialist, has also stood in the way of total US planetary domination, e.g. Syria.

The world’s working people must demand an immediate lifting of all sanctions and trade blockades on the DPRK, the immediate cessation of all US led military exercises near the DPRK (including South Korean, Japanese and Australian participation) and the removal of all US military hardware, nuclear weapons and personnel from South Korea. We must also demand the closure of the US spy bases in Australia, including Pine Gap and Nurrungar, and the removal of US troops from Darwin. Working people cannot resist the attacks on their own jobs and living conditions without also resisting their international extension – the threat of nuclear war.   HANDS OFF THE DPRK!

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

P.O.  Box   66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

www.redfireonline.com

DPRK Leader Kim Jong-Un stands next to Hwasong-15, the largest missile yet produced by the DPRK. Image from the South China Morning Post.

Hands Off the DPRK! No to Nuclear Armageddon

DPRKflag

Hands Off the DPRK! No to Nuclear Armageddon

22-09-2017 – The irony may not have been apparent to immediate observers, but in the body allegedly set up to prevent war between nations, days ago US President Donald Trump issued perhaps the greatest ever threat of war against the world. While Trump thundered against Iran and Venezuela, he openly threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea (its real name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK).[1] While the US Empire has previously used the platform of the United Nations (UN) as a basis for announcing war plans, e.g. Colin Powell’s 2003 speech about “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, this is arguably the first time in UN history that one nation has directly threatened another with elimination. The DPRK has only perhaps a handful of nuclear weapons ready to be deployed, which can only act as a deterrent. On the other side, the US has literally thousands of nuclear missiles, “locked and loaded” to use a Trumpism. Nuclear Armageddon, despite all the advances of modern technology, culture and science, is unfortunately closer than ever. Where do the interests of working people stand?

Socialism vs Capitalism

The current state of war between the US and the DPRK is due to a number of historical factors, tied in with the current geopolitical situation globally. The DPRK was founded in 1948, after a 40 year struggle against Japanese militarist occupation. In 1950 to 1953, the Korean people suffered immeasurably under a barbaric war against them led by the US, but also including the military forces of other countries including Australia. Four million lives were brutally extinguished. One could say this was the first time that the US “totally destroyed North Korea”. However, despite the staggering losses, the Koreans in the north of the peninsula, aided by Chinese volunteers, fought the US to a standstill, leading to an armistice being signed on July 27th, 1953. Despite the DPRK’s efforts, the US never signed a peace agreement, which was supposed to follow according to the armistice agreement.

Since that time, the US and the DPRK have remained technically at war. However, what the Western corporate media never tells is that the DPRK since then has built arguably the most advanced socialist system in the world. Not only does the DPRK’s socialist state provide universal and free health care, education, housing and a lifetime guarantee of employment – it does this while charging its citizens no tax at all.[2] The retirement age for men in the DPRK is 60, and for women it is 55. Eight months of fully paid maternity leave is automatically given to pregnant women. Despite fears of a “rape culture” in the capitalist West, in the DPRK women can walk the streets, or anywhere in the country, at any time of the day or night, in complete safety. Visitors to the DPRK may notice children walking around outside late at night, with some friends, also in complete safety. Crime is almost non-existent, as the state meets virtually every need, free of charge or at heavily subsidised nominal rates.

The comparison with living and working conditions for working people in the US, Europe and Australia could not be more different. The clear advantages for workers of collectively owned industry and commerce, administered through a planned economy, stand out in stark relief. Despite these gains, the political system in the DPRK is distorted, given that the immense threat of being wiped out by the US has remained for more than 60 years. Arguably, this enormous pressure has produced a system where it appears workers are not able to influence or exercise political decisions, and has contributed to a somewhat mythologised acclaim for its historical and current leaders. What drives Western capital into a frenzy, however, is the fact that due to the DPRK’s socialist system, which has produced a warm and friendly society based on solidarity, the DPRK is off limits to exploitation and plunder. In the same way, the giant next door neighbour, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is also barred to Western capital – despite the pro-market measures the PRC uses to develop its economy. Thus the bitter vitriol which the US and Australian rulers spew towards the DPRK and the PRC is ultimately the hatred of capitalism for socialism.

This is why it is in the vital interests of working people to stand with the DPRK and the PRC against the threats of nuclear war. It is not enough just to call for “peace” and “negotiations”, for this lets the system which creates and foments the crisis in the first place, directly off the hook. As Lenin analysed 100 years ago, imperialism is monopoly capitalism which has outgrown the system of national boundaries. Capital expands or it dies, and despite there being endless opportunities for infrastructure development and provision of services to “their own” people, Western capital will only do so if there is what they regard as an adequate return in the form of the rate of profit. For example, there is a dire need for a modern, up to date internet system to all rural and regional areas right across Australia. But due to a lack of customers being able to pay, capital could not be bothered. Hence, we have the decidedly second rate National Broadband Network (NBN), which covers some areas with slow speeds, and other areas not at all.

PRC’s rise and rise

The PRC’s vast economic expansion over the last 30 years has pushed the US ruling class to the brink. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the PRC, from 1978 until now, grew faster than the world’s total economic growth for 30 years.[3] Yet this is only possible because of the PRC’s overwhelmingly state owned and run socialist economy, which is protected by the workers state which emerged out of the 1949 revolution. While the PRC leadership has allowed a large degree of capitalist free enterprise which causes some political dangers, these capitalists have little or no chance of competing with China’s vast State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) which, by law, totally dominate the commanding heights of the economy. Banking, Finance, steel making, infrastructure construction, rail, roads, ports, telecommunications and more are either state owned or majority state owned. This strong collective state underpins planned economic expansion which, according to their Five Year Plans, must meet social goals such as employment and overall development – and not just a rate of return.

Similar to the DPRK, however, working people struggle to exercise political decision making, and the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership is almost solely concerned with internal matters – rather than the extension of world socialism. Of course, these aspects do not concern the US and European ruling classes.  What concerns, and even spells danger, for them are plans such as the PRC’s vast new infrastructure development plan, the “New Silk Road” as well as initiatives such as the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). These massive economic offerings to underdeveloped, and even some developed countries with ailing capitalist economies, mean that China is assuming world economic and political leadership, regardless of whether or not this is its aim. This is occurring while the profit based economies of the US, Europe and Australia are crumbling into ruin.

Defeat in Syria

While the US Empire’s frenzied threats against the DPRK and the PRC are to a large extent driven by the challenge of socialism, there is the additional factor of the comprehensive defeat suffered by the US with their attempt at regime change in Syria. As we go to press, the Syrian Arab Army has advanced to within 6 kilometres of the last ISIS base in Raqqa,[4] despite the US backed Kurdish “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) abstaining or working with ISIS in an attempt to seize Syrian territory for themselves.[5] Overall, however, the unspeakable US strategy of arming and funding death squads in order to bring down the Syrian government – arguably the dirtiest war in history – has collapsed. Syria, with the assistance of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have inflicted perhaps the first defeat of the US since the war on Vietnam. The Australian government is also culpable, having dispatched troops and warplanes to back the US marauding throughout Iraq and Syria. This defeat has halted – for now – US plans for the inevitable next stepping stone –  regime change in Iran.

Enraged that anyone would have the temerity to not only question, but take action to repel, the US war machine in its tracks, the US Empire is lashing out in any other direction it can. The DPRK is the next obvious target, as the US preparations for invasion and war are well practiced, and garrisons of US troops are already stationed and primed for war. 30 000 US troops are permanently based in South Korea (officially the “Republic of Korea” – ROK), and 50 000 US troops are permanently based in Japan. The annual war games on the border of the DPRK, including US, ROK and Japanese troops, have been expanded this year. This military “exercises” are nothing less than a dry run for the invasion and overthrow of the DPRK. Yet again, Canberra sends Australian troops to participate alongside the US in this reckless provocation,[6]  one that potentially pushes the world closer to the cliff of nuclear destruction.

War abroad linked to war at home

The sheer insanity of nuclear Armageddon provoked by Washington, with the backing of Canberra, has reduced many to stunned disbelief. This may be understandable, but if working people can draw the links from the war abroad to the war at home, we can begin to comprehend why degenerate politicians are prepared to flick the switch to cause the deaths of tens of millions, and take action to prevent it. The wars being prepared against China (via the DPRK) and Russia (via the Ukraine and Syria) are directly linked to the intractable crisis of the Western economic system of production for profit, which went into severe recession in 2008, and has barely recovered. This depression, known as the “Third Slump” (the first two being the Great Depression of the 1930s and the second being the onset of the recession beginning around the mid-1970s), has accelerated the ongoing assault on working people, many of whom have been barely surviving for the last thirty odd years. Australian workers, similar to workers in the US and Europe, face mass unemployment, unaffordable housing, skyrocketing bills for basic utilities, crumbling infrastructure, the privatisation of public assets and virtually non-existent wage growth. Public transport is unreliable and expensive, and only covers some areas. The privatised banks charge outrageous fees, securing billions of dollars in profit, much of which goes into paying million dollar CEO salaries. Schools and universities are turned into profit gouging racketeers, as academic standards fall further and further. Government funding for vital public services is stripped from service after service.

To top it off, basic bourgeois democratic rights and civil liberties are being shredded day by day. Para-military like fare inspectors threaten public transport users. Email, phone, internet access and other forms of communication are monitored, and, as whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden revealed, details are routinely handed over to US intelligence agencies. Western governments are aware that masses of people will inevitably rise up against the limitless inequality which capitalism generates, and the unacceptable burdens it places upon working people. One of the key methods they use to head this off is to present us with an “external threat” which is supposedly so “evil” that war – even nuclear war – must be declared. It is a classic case of projection – the system they represent is the only real evil.

Stand with the DPRK and the PRC against war

This is why it is imperative that working people internationally stand with the working people of the DPRK and the PRC against the threatened US led nuclear holocaust. While Koreans currently face annihilation, this horror is but the extension of the same attacks that working people here face at home – the job losses, the abolition of elementary rights, and the daily struggle to survive under capitalist exploitation. To a large extent, the workers of the DPRK do not endure these hardships by virtue of their socialist system. To a lesser extent, the socialist system in the PRC also shields workers there from untrammelled plunder.

Capital’s assault on humanity cannot be upheld by calls for “peace” or “negotiations”. It neither knows nor understands such concepts. It is a monster which will not stop until private capital becomes the property of all working people, for the common good. The workers of the DPRK and the PRC have already achieved this, despite the at times wayward direction of their political leaders. Working people here need the leadership of a workers vanguard party, which can lead the struggle against imperialist war through combining working people’s efforts for a decent life with the working class victories achieved in Asia. Such a revolution necessarily leads to the foundation of a workers republic. HANDS OFF THE DPRK!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD   4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/21/politics/kim-jong-un-on-trump-comments/index.html (22-09-17)

[2] http://exploredprk.com/news/dprk-country-free-of-taxes/ (22-09-2017)

[3] http://www.unrisd.org/80256B3C005BD6AB/%28httpAuxPages%29/2893F14F41998392C1257BC600385B21/$file/China%27s%20growth%20miracle%200808.pdf (22-09-17)

[4] https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-syrian-army-advances-within-6km-isils-last-stronghold-raqqa/ (23-09-17)

[5] https://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/09/17/russian-military-observed-no-fighting-between-isis-and-sdf-north-of-deir-ezzor-in-the-last-days/ (23-09-17)

[6] http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/08/21/australia-joins-south-korea-us-war-games (23-09-17)

Ban the Bomb! No to Nuclear War!

BAN THE BOMB!     NO TO NUCLEAR WAR!

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

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

Ongoing threats to the DPRK

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

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

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

Threats to China, Russia

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

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

From where do the threats of war arise?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO BOX 66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Release the Refugees! Close the Detention Centres! For Workers Leadership!

Manus Island detainees plead for release. http://www.masalai.wordpress.com

RELEASE THE REFUGEES! CLOSE THE DETENTION CENTRES!

FOR WORKERS LEADERSHIP!

09-04-2017 – The dead are many. Reza Berati, Hamid Khazaei, Kamil Hussain, Faysal Ishak Ahmed and Omid Masoumali are some of the recent innocents to have lost their lives in the off-shore hell-holes referred to as detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Countless others remain there, mentally and physically tormented by inhuman conditions.  Approximately 1200 are detained off-shore, as well as around 1300 in detention on the Australian mainland.[1] These are people who have, for whatever reason, fled their homelands and sought asylum in what they may have believed to be a fair country governed by at least the pretence of the rule of law. Once here, however, they endure hardships that are in many cases beyond human endurance, with little or no recourse to any legal redress.  It may always have been a myth that Australia was built on the ethos of the “fair go”, but here we can safely say that not even this applies.

Refugees and those seeking asylum in Australia – at least when they arrive by boat – are mistreated in inhuman ways for one main reason. The Australian ruling class are acutely aware that they must divide workers against themselves to prevent them from aiming their just demands for decent working and living conditions at the place they belong – at the foot of the banks, mining and other corporations, and the governments who serve them. If Australia’s rulers, backed in no small way by the parliamentary parties, did not create an “other” (refugees, migrants, “foreigners”), they may be facing mobs of angry folk with the proverbial pitchforks. This creation of an “other” that we must hate and fear also serves a subsidiary purpose when these same rulers want to sign Australia up to yet another US led war of conquest, in Africa, the Middle East, Asia or elsewhere.

In recent years, however, some in the leadership of the refugee rights movement have been used by the very same ruling oligarchs they claim to be protesting against. Wars waged by Washington, with the backing of Canberra, against Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine have created untold numbers of refugees, on top of the destruction of human lives the actual conflict ensures. Refugee Action Collectives and Coalitions (RAC) around the country have unfortunately been largely led by some left parties which have been unable to politically break from the parties and organisations of the liberal wing of capital’s rule. This has, in turn, drawn them in behind imperialist wars which threaten the very future of humanity.

US backed refugee campaigns

During the last six years, the US and their Saudi, Israeli, Turkish and Qatari allies – with the backing of Canberra – waged one of the most atrocious proxy wars in history, in an attempt at “regime change” in Syria. The fact that Russia intervened at the request of the Syrian government, and with Iranian and Hezbollah’s assistance, turned the tide against the US, and prevented their proxy ISIS/Al Qaeda barbarians from overthrowing Syria, is now a matter of historical record. Unfortunately, it is also a matter of historical record that the leaderships of the RAC organisations in this country did their utmost to bring down the Syrian state, which could have potentially launched World War III. At a certain point, this was done out of a concern for refugees fleeing from Syria. To be sure, all refugees fleeing from war zones should be welcomed to safe shores such as Australia. However, at the point when the US was extending every effort to remove the Syrian Republic, encouraging refugees to flee would have served the interests of the US backed mercenaries beheading their way across the country. More Syrian refugees fleeing from Syria would have meant an easier “victory” for the ISIS/Al Qaeda sociopaths. It was a classic case of imperialism manipulating the very real concerns that the masses have for the well-being of refugees. Chief agitators for this US backed “refugee” campaign were some of the left parties which form key parts of the leaderships of the RAC groups – Socialist Alternative (SAlt), Socialist Alliance (SAll) and Solidarity (Sol).

Washington’s latest refugee cause celebre is the plight of the Rohingya people of the Rakhine region in Myanmar, formerly Burma. While it cannot be denied that there are some serious issues affecting the Rohingya people, and consequently understandable motivation to flee, it is also the case that the US state has no scruples whatsoever in exploiting the persecution of any people for their own nefarious ends. From all appearances, what the US is attempting to do is to create an “Asian Kosovo” in the Rakhine region of Myanmar[2] – that is, a pro-US enclave which can then be used as a staging post for the positioning of US military bases, as well as a geo-political beach head against the US’s chief rival in Asia – Red China. The Rohingya inhabited Rakhine region is strategically located on the coast, where the US and their allies could easily ship arms and other supplies to “rebels”, in the same manner in which Turkey was used as a training and provision supplying territory for the funnelling of abominable “freedom fighters” into Syria. US designs to completely militarily and geo-politically encircle China and Russia are gathering at pace, threatening a global conflagration, and the exploitation of the Rohingya cause by the US deep state is just one part of it. As if on cue, the RAC organisations around Australia, led by SAlt, SAll and Sol, leap into action, in some cases thrusting Rohingya speakers on to the platform of the Palm Sunday “peace” rallies.

Misguided opposition to the Trump Administration

RAC and its guiding left parties have also led those motivated by genuine disgust at the Australian government’s abuse of refugees into the politically misguided “Fight Trump” movement. While it is of course true that US President Trump opportunistically uses fear of refugees, Muslims and migrants to bolster his rule, the previous Obama/Clinton Administration carried out the same policies, but with different rhetoric. It is now well known that the Obama Administration deported more people from the US than any other Administration in history, and also more people in total than all US Presidents in the 20th Century.[3] A report from the Huffington Post, speaking in relation to recent US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, where suspected “illegal” migrants are detained and often later deported, remarked that “….the recent ICE raids under Trump were significant and alarming, but hundreds of such arrests happened every week under Obama.”[4]  The RAC organisations, led by SAlt, SAll and Sol, allow their pathological hatred of Trump to obscure their political judgement – which has led them into the camp of the Democrats, the CIA and the US Security Agencies. This camp is straining at the leash to replace or impeach Trump, or at least tame him, so that he does not carry out his election rhetoric of a rapprochement with Russia against ISIS – the creation of US deep state agencies themselves.

The Democrats/CIA are apoplectic that the Obama/Clinton position of confrontation, if not outright war, against Russia, now seems to be off the cards. It seems needless to say that a war against Russia would be a world war – a war that would drown large portions of the globe in blood. NATO has encircled Russia to an extent not seen since the hey-day of the original Cold War. RAC and their leading left parties highlight the backward immigration positions of the Trump Administration, but they are seemingly unaware of being used in the process to ramp up extreme Russophobia – today’s anti-communism. Moreover, they may well find themselves in a bind if they continue with the “Fight Trump” angst, while at the same time continuing their vitriol against China, Iran and the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic). Trump has threatened each of these countries, with either sanctions and/or invasion and war. As we have previously stated, a refugee rights movement which does not oppose imperialist war cannot be a refugee rights movement.

Who should lead the refugee rights movement?

This year marks 100 years since the triumph of the October Revolution in Russia, which led to the world’s first workers state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). During that history making struggle, it was the Menshevik opponents of the successful Bolshevik party which always fought for an approach where the liberal bourgeoisie would lead the struggle for socialism, and it was the task of the workers parties to follow them. Granted, there is currently no revolutionary struggle amongst workers in Australia. However, we see an echo of the Mensheviks mistaken tactics reflected in political struggles here today, including within the refugee rights movement. The RAC groups, led by some left parties, argue for and enforce liberal political leadership. Consciously or unconsciously, they consistently seek to put the Labor Party, the Greens, NGOs, lawyers, do-nothing Union officials and others at the forefront. They have also shamelessly promoted spokespersons for the Syrian “opposition” , i.e. barbarous mercenaries linked to Al Qaeda, as “refugee activists” !! They want the “stars” to feature, as if prominent personalities and/or celebrities are more important than “ordinary” workers.

What this practice does is steer the politics of the refugee rights movement into a politically conservative dead end. Organisations such as GetUp!, and lobbyist NGOs may oppose the mistreatment of refugees in words, but they have no intention, and will actively seek to block, the one political strategy which can free the refugees – independent working class action. In fact, organisations such as GetUp! already see themselves as the police of the refugee rights movements, and often bully anyone who challenges their political strategy of endless appeals to the parliamentary circus. In fact, it is suspected that GetUp! has political, organisational and financial links to the ALP.

In recent years, the RAC groups have taken over Palm Sunday, which was formerly an anti-war peace rally. In doing so, the RAC groups and their leading left parties allow various church congregations and church Ministers to lead the Palm Sunday refugee rights rallies. In Brisbane, the march is even planned to end at St John’s Cathedral ! SAlt, SAll and Sol should know that over 150 years ago, Marxism began as a criticism of religion. It then moved to a political strategy for the emancipation of the working class. Left parties today, should not be leading us back into the churches. The Workers League warns of the dangers of allowing the churches to lead political struggles over any issue, including that for refugee rights. For one thing, liberal operatives of the ruling class – reactionary Union officials amongst them – know very well, and are very skilled, at using “respect” for religion, and the churches themselves, for politically crippling social movements, and thereby bolstering and fortifying the rule of capital over labour. Witness how they have promoted the Christian based Love Makes A Way organisation.

If it is not against the “morality” of the Australian ruling class to torture refugees on remote Pacific islands, they will not be swayed by pleas from churches to review the morality of their actions. Socialists are not opposed to church members and leaders taking part in important political struggles. At the same time, left parties should seek to ensure that it is the working class which leads these struggles, not liberal NGOs, self-serving Union officials or religious organisations, no matter how well-intentioned. The refugee rights movement, led by some left parties, has endlessly appealed to everyone, regardless of class, regardless of business ownership, regardless of political connections, to all “come together” and lobby the very same politicians who enable refugee abuse. This strategy has been implemented now for nearly 20 years and it is not working. It won’t work because it can’t work.

Freeing the refugees, and improving the lot of working people, is linked. It is only the independent intervention of the working class which has the possibility of extracting concessions from those in power – whether it is retaining penalty rates for workers, for example, or ending barbarous treatment of asylum seekers – the overwhelming majority of whom are working people seeking a better life. To do this requires a political break from those forces who in turn refuse to break from the operatives of the liberal intelligentsia. In order to challenge the class collaboration of most “left” parties and the majority of the Union officials, a workers’ party based on class struggle will need to be forged. Such a party would at all times fight for a workers government, in the process of aiding struggles to release refugees, restore basic Union rights, for jobs, education, healthcare and a livable society.

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO BOX 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.asyluminsight.com/statistics/#.WOH5JKIlGUk (03-04-17)

[2] http://orientalreview.org/2015/06/09/american-plan-for-a-south-asian-kosovo-in-rohingyaland-i/ (04-04-17)

[3] http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obamas-deportation-policy-numbers/story?id=41715661 (04-04-17)

[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hard-truths-about-obamas-deportation-priorities_us_58b3c9e7e4b0658fc20f979e (04-04-17)

No To War! US/AUS: Hands Off the DPRK!

19-03-2017 – Speaking during a visit to South Korea (“Republic of Korea” – ROK), new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that US “strategic patience” with North Korea has ended.[1] He implied that military action against North Korea, whose real name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), remained ‘an option’. US representatives claimed that the DPRK’s growing nuclear and missile arsenal is the principle reason for Rex Tillerson’s trip to the ROK. These comments were widely interpreted to mean that the US could realistically be weighing up its chances with a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK. Referring to US President Donald Trump’s penchant for commenting on the social media forum Twitter, one Facebook commentator summed it up by writing “we are one tweet away from war”.

The notion that the US, and the world, is under imminent threat from an attack launched by the DPRK is the ultimate in fake news. Like most of the statements emanating from the corporate media mouthpieces of the Western ruling classes, the claim that “we” are under threat from the DPRK, with or without nuclear weapons, is the direct opposite of the truth. What is palpably real is that it is the US state, backed by Tokyo and Canberra, which is daily threatening the DPRK with annihilation, and that the possibility of a US attack on the DPRK is closer than ever. It is the US which is currently engaged in some of the largest war games ever staged on the border with the DPRK. The US and it’s puppet South Korean military carry out military “exercises” named “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle” each year, where the drills, right on the sea, land and air border with the DPRK, are barely concealed  dry runs for invasion and “decapitation” regime change.

Sometimes even the pretence of attempting to deny the aim of the US led manoeuvres is dispensed with. It was reported in The Independent  that a South Korean official told Yonhap News that this year’s Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises will “practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.”[2]  It doesn’t get much clearer than this. Regime change may not be the official name, but regime change is certainly the game. And just as it was in 1950, in 2017 the gunsights are aimed not just at the northern half of the Korean peninsula, but the giant next door neighbour – the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Chinese governmental leadership, despite distancing itself from the DPRK, and even voting with the US in the UN against the DPRK, nevertheless warned the US not to provoke things beyond control. On May 8 China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi likened the US and the DPRK to two accelerating trains coming towards each other on the same track. He warned: “The question is: are the two sides ready for a head-on collision?”[3]

DPRK/China vs US

The Western corporate, and even liberal, media constantly whip up a frenzy of demonization aimed at the DPRK. It is so intense that even normally left-leaning and progressive working people can start to believe the fantastic lies told about the “paranoid peninsula”.  What working people are generally not told is that the DPRK is one of the most advanced socialist societies on the face of the planet. DPRK citizens enjoy zero unemployment, free housing, free healthcare, free education, opportunities for sport and cultural activities, and a much cleaner environment than workers in the West are exposed to. While there are undoubtedly political problems in some areas, the basics of a socialist state are in place, and they have been won through incredible sacrifice. When the US, backed by their allies including Australia, waged war from 1950 to 1953 in order to prevent a socialist revolution on the Korean peninsula, and to roll back the Chinese socialist revolution, up to 4 million Koreans and Chinese volunteers were slaughtered. The bombardment of a furious capitalist ruling class which had just lost China and was in the process of losing Korea, resulted in the annihilation of close to 30% of the North Korean population at that time.[4]

Understandably for the DPRK, they live their lives as if this happened yesterday. And, given the unceasing hostility of the US state for the six decades since, the DPRK has little option but to proceed this way. Today, the 1.4 billion people which buttress the Chinese socialist state has provided a basis to propel its economy to a position of overtaking the US as the world’s number one economy. 30 years of economic growth in China at a rate of 10%, which has “slowed” in recent years to around 7%, shows little sign of stopping. While the US cannot tolerate a capitalist rival, a socialist rival causes even more problems. Sooner or later, working people will demand a Chinese style economy – one which provides jobs, prosperity, infrastructure development and more. The arguments for free enterprise and free markets wear exceedingly thin for most workers in the West. In Australia, many workers face joblessness, casualization of work, and relentless attacks on those who have work – such as the removal of penalty rates. There is a technical recession, and every day sees less and less government spending on essential services such as public transport, energy, education, healthcare and more.

Western rulers need war

Given that the Western countries do not possess state owned enterprises which buttress a workers’ state, as in China and the DPRK – the US, Europe, Japan and Australia cannot simply order private capitalists to invest. Much needed investment in infrastructure will simply not occur unless the captains of industry receive what they regard as an adequate rate of profit. In China, on the other hand, the Communist Party led government can simply order its state owned enterprises to invest regardless of the rate of profit. Even the private sector – which is not so clear cut in China – has to line up its ventures within the framework of the Five Year Plan. The result is sustained development, and usually plentiful jobs for working people. The free marketeers in the West have no such levers. As working people there lose more and more jobs, and wages growth declines, capitalists cease to invest. A downward spiral begins, as classically analysed by Karl Marx. Almost nothing except “creative destruction” can restart production.

As if on cue, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on March 26 claimed that the DPRK has developed ballistic missile technology capable of reaching Australia.[5] The fact that the DPRK has stated countless times, for decades on end, that they will only defend themselves if attacked is immaterial for the vassal Australian political class. There is but one purpose for warnings that “we” could be hit by the DPRK – the preparation of working people to come behind, or at least not oppose, a US led pre-emptive strike and/or invasion of the northern side of the Korean peninsula. The fact that this could be catastrophic even for the US and Australian imperialists, by drawing a massive China acting in self-defence, is beside the point. The US and their vassal states may have to take that risk, in order to save their system. If things are left as they are, China will become the world’s leading force, economically, diplomatically and politically – if it is not already.

DPRK and China’s nuclear deterrent prevents war

The hysteria generated when the DPRK is forced to test a missile, or even just to launch a satellite, is entirely one-sided. The DPRK seriously began developing a nuclear deterrent when former US President George W Bush proclaimed that the DPRK, along with Iran and Iraq, was part of an “axis of evil” which needed to be eliminated. Given what has since occurred to Libya – where former leader Colonel Gaddafi gambled by agreeing with the West to relinquish nuclear or conventional weapons, and then in 2011 could not defend Libya against a regime change war which claimed his life, the DPRK’s decision to develop a nuclear deterrent makes perfect sense. Further, the US led war on Syria has added further weight to the verdict that the DPRK had little choice but to develop a nuclear deterrent – or face annihilation. As Yongho Thae, a DPRK embassy representative in London has stated, the DPRK’s actual policy is to denuclearise the Korean peninsula. In order to reach that objective, the DPRK has little option but to develop effective nuclear weapons.[6]

The People’s Republic of China also has little choice but to defend its socialist revolution through the use of nuclear weapons. Imperialism, led by the US but backed by Canberra, showed what appalling destruction it is capable of during the Korean War of 1950-53 – which was aimed as much at the newly victorious revolution in China in 1949, as it was against the socialist inspired Koreans. Red China then had no alternative but to develop nuclear weapons, and is today one of the five nuclear weapons states recognised by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  Recently, China reportedly moved some long range nuclear capable missiles to the Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia. This was in response to US President Trump ramped up rhetoric targeting China.[7] Despite this, China, like the DPRK, stridently advocates the ridding of nuclear weapons from the world. President Xi Jinping, in a speech at the United Nations in Geneva recently, stated that “Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited and destroyed over time to make the world free of nuclear weapons.”[8]

The equation is thus: China and the DPRK desire an end to nuclear weapons the world over. While capitalist imperialism exists, however, the threat of invasion and/or war by the US and its allies, remains ever present, and at the present time more likely. The only element which can stay the hand of US led imperialism, the only aspect which can make the US ruling class think twice about waging war, is the existence of nuclear weapons in those states which are targeted. Therefore, contrary to the “advice” working people receive from the corporate media, it is the readily deployable nuclear weapons in the DPRK and China which is currently preventing a world war. This is why working people must defend the right of socialist states, or others states independent of the West, to test, develop and prepare their own nuclear weapons stockpile. It is capitalist imperialism which threatens the world with obliteration, not the DPRK, and certainly not China.

Defence of socialism and defence against war are linked

The system of generalised commodity production using private property for the purpose of private profit is in terminal crisis. Recession plagues the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. As we have learnt previously, however, capitalism can survive any crisis provided working people are not provided with a viable alternative. War could well break out despite efforts to prevent it. If it does, working people must be clear that it is in our interests to defend the socialist and other independent states against the encroaches of US led imperialism, in whatever form it takes. For working people in the capitalist states, the outbreak of war must be combated with both a defence of the socialist states and a vital struggle for socialism in the capitalist states. In such a struggle, there will be no room for “broad” campaigns involving an assortment of moderate and wealthy liberal organisations and other operatives of the “enlightened” ruling class. The struggle against imperialist war, as well as the struggle for socialism, can only begin on the basis of the leadership of the working class, which then draws in other non-antagonistic elements – class conscious students, pensioners and so on. A split in the Union movement will likely to be necessary, due to the ongoing conservatism of most Union officials. And most especially, a workers vanguard party, which combines the most advanced leaders of the class, will be vital to provide leadership in a time of both self-defence and upsurge. We have a world to win.

US/AUS: HANDS OFF THE DPRK!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO BOX 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2017/mar/17/us-strategic-patience-north-korea-rex-tillerson-video (25-03-17)

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/navy-seals-north-korea-kim-jong-un-assassination-training-osama-bin-laden-team-six-a7631056.html (25-03-17)

[3] http://shanghaiist.com/2017/03/08/us_nk_collison_course.php (25-03-17)

[4] http://www.globalresearch.ca/know-the-facts-north-korea-lost-close-to-30-of-its-population-as-a-result-of-us-bombings-in-the-1950s/22131 (26-03-17)

[5] https://www.businessinsider.com.au/north-koreas-ballistic-missiles-could-hit-australia-foreign-minister-julie-bishop-warns-2017-3 (27-03-17)

[6] Interview with Yongho Thae, conducted by Carlos Martinez in London in 2013.

[7] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/china-deploys-long-range-nuclear-cpable-missiles-russian-coast-us-president-donald-trump-a7548296.html (30-03-17)

[8] http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2063383/chinas-xi-calls-world-without-nuclear-weapons (30-03-17)

Change the Date! For Aboriginal Liberation through Workers Unity!

26-12-2017 – 229 years after the first British colonialists landed in Sydney Cove, what became the Australian nation state still “celebrates” the beginning of a genocide against the original inhabitants, who had tended this continent for upwards of 50 000 years. A war of near extermination was carried out by the colonialists for 150 years against the Aboriginal people, first with guns and unimaginable cruelty, then by horrific governmental oppression. The Australian nation, such as it is, could not have been founded without these barbaric practices, which were both official and unofficial policy. It is a perverse affront that January 26th, the day the settler-colonialists arrived in 1788, is still marked as Australia’s national day.

The physical war of extermination of Aboriginal people may have ended, but the oppression of Australia’s indigenous peoples remains as entrenched as it has ever been. A few statistics will illustrate this. Figures from recent years indicate that the suicide rate of indigenous people is four times higher than that of the non-indigenous population.[1]  The unemployment rate for indigenous people is three times that of those who are not descended from the traditional owners.[2] Most revealingly, Aboriginal people are fifteen times more likely to be thrown in prison than those who have no Aboriginal lineage.[3] In a very real sense, Aboriginal people remain prisoners in their own land.

To even begin to redress the historic and present crimes being inflicted upon the indigenous people, at the very least Australia’s national day must be changed to a date, any date, which does not mark the beginning of a colonialist war. While the changing of Australia’s national day would be a progressive reform, by no means would it mean the end of the oppression of the Aboriginal people. The oppression of the Aboriginal people is bound up with the capitalist mode of production, which was established over the top of them, and all other working people who ended up here. The capitalist socio-economic system requires deep divisions within the working class, to prevent them from uniting to liberate themselves and other repressed layers. Working people are also oppressed by the capitalist private profit system, though to a lesser extent than Aboriginal people. Liberation for Aboriginal people is thus linked to workers’ liberation, which can only be realised through a united struggle for a workers’ republic, i.e. for socialism.

International socialism is an ally

Aboriginal political resistance, therefore, falls into error if it inadvertently tilts against socialism. Such a political direction aids Australian (and international) capitalism – the source of their subjugation.  The Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) play a tremendous organisational role in leading a fight for justice for indigenous people. On occasion, however, WAR can adopt positions which, we suggest, are harmful both for the liberation of Aboriginal people and working people generally. For example, in Issue #7 of The Black Rising, WAR’s publication, an article appears criticising Australia’s compulsory voting laws. It is a valid concern that Aboriginal people today are being directed to vote for the very establishment which was, and is, responsible for their colonisation, and it is correct to raise a discussion of alternatives. However in doing so, WAR fall into the arms of the very establishment they wish to disown. They write:

“The Australian government, like North Korea, (emphasis added – WL) enforces compulsory voting laws meaning that the federal government expects us Aboriginal people to vote in its elections. Australia expects us to help choose the next leader of the government which invaded our ancestors only 228 years ago. We are required to vote for a person to represent the very same government who refuses, to this day, to sign a treaty and formally acknowledge Aboriginal sovereignty and title. We are expected to participate in this colonial structure and perform the civic duties of a good citizen while the federal government mines and pollutes our land, deregisters, desecrates and builds over our artefacts and sacred sites.”[4]

We do not, of course, dispute that the Australian government refuses to sign a treaty, refuses to recognise Aboriginal sovereignty, presides over an order which blocks the advance of Aboriginal people, and much more. Yet by simultaneously criticising North Korea – whose real name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), WAR line up with the Liberal Party, the Labor Party, billionaire magnates and virtually the entire Australian ruling class. These elements of private capital, and their underlings, also virulently oppose the DPRK, from the standpoint of preventing the advance of socialism. For whatever distortions that may exist in the DPRK, the fact is that they defend their system of socialism, and have done so against the might of US imperialism for 60 years. Workers remain in power in the DPRK, preventing the US and Australian ruling classes from forcing capitalism back onto the entire Korean peninsula, and by extension, into China and Vietnam. The DPRK is thus an opponent, not an ally, of global capitalism – and is therefore an ally of workers and the oppressed in all lands. This includes working people in Australia, and, especially, Aboriginal people.

For defending socialism, the DPRK is almost universally demonised in the West. It is frequently vilified by the corporate media, often without a shred of evidence, or even basic facts. Regrettably, WAR has also chimed in with the false allegations constantly directed at the DPRK. For it is not true that the DPRK “enforces compulsory voting”. Here is Article 66 of Chapter V of the Constitution of the DPRK:

All citizens who have reached the age of 17 have the right to elect and to be elected, irrespective of sex, race, occupation, length of residence, property status, education, party affiliation, political views or religious belief.
Citizens serving in the armed forces also have the right to elect and to be elected.
A person who has been disenfranchised by a Court decision and a person legally certified insane do not have the right to elect or to be elected.[5]

That is, DPRK citizens have the right to elect their representatives, and to stand for election themselves, enshrined in their constitution. Needless to say, they have this right regardless of how much money or property they may possess. In practice, in the Australian capitalist political system, millions of dollars are required to run an effective campaign against the major parties. The almost total turnout for elections in the DPRK, combined with relentless Western propaganda, may give the unenlightened the impression that voting is compulsory in the DPRK, yet this is not the case. DPRK citizens overwhelmingly support their government for several reasons, one of which is that the DPRK remains a workers state. Thus the DPRK, as it is currently formed, aligns with the class interests of Korean workers. It is not only a defence against the ever-present threat of a US invasion which leads most Koreans in the North to collectively back their nation. It is also the constitutionally guaranteed free healthcare, education, and even housing, plus – guaranteed employment. It is likely that none of this would remain if the US was able to overthrow the DPRK.

Moreover, the Korean people are the indigenous people of their land – their history stretches back at least 5000 years. When the US and Australia launched a war on Korea in 1950, essentially to prevent socialism prevailing on all of Korea, and also to undermine the recently victorious Chinese socialist revolution, 4 million Koreans perished. Out of this unprecedented brutality emerged an independent socialist Korea in the north, and an occupied, capitalist Korea in the south. The DPRK thus gives more weight to the claim that the only way for an indigenous people, or for any working people, to free themselves from capitalist rule is to struggle for your own workers republic. Therefore, we would suggest that WAR should ally themselves with, or at least not oppose, the workers movement.

For a united Aboriginal, “ethnic” and Australian born workers party

The Aboriginal people suffer intolerable discrimination in Australia, “Australia Day” being but one manifestation. The Aboriginal struggle against this dire situation is thus always progressive. However the politics of the leadership of this struggle is another matter, especially if it develops in isolation from a strong workers movement, and a united workers party. In fact, separated from a workers movement, and particularly the Union movement, it is often the case that the politics of certain leaders of the Aboriginal struggle can veer towards conservative, liberal, and/or anti-socialist ideas. WAR’s condemnation of the DPRK is but one example.

To be sure, WAR are not at all responsible for the situation they find themselves in. The main culprit for the abandonment of the struggle for Aboriginal rights is the leadership of the Australian Union movement, from the ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) down to the highly paid top officials of various Unions around the country. There is some rhetoric from Union officials about supporting Aboriginal rights, but little to no action. In many instances, Aboriginal rights do not even appear on the radar of most well-heeled Union officials. Under these circumstances, it is understandable that the leaders of the Aboriginal rights movement look to other means, or other political ideologies.

However, history has yet to provide a systemic opponent of capitalism other than socialism. WAR and similar groups are in a sense correct to demand special attention to the struggle of Aboriginal people, for the suffering of the Aboriginal people is unique and does require a tailored approach. We agree that the struggle for justice for Aboriginal people cannot simply be swept into a generalised workers movement, as if it was only a component part of a movement towards socialism. What is required is a workers’ vanguard party, which can champion Aboriginal rights, and the rights of all other oppressed peoples, in a mighty mass movement which aims to end the rule of capital.
The class character of the workers vanguard party should not be in doubt – only the combined working class has the power to challenge the rule of capital. Yet the various social movements should not be competitors for the leadership of the workers. Rather, the best elements of them should be integrated into the vanguard party. This includes the most class conscious elements of the movement for Aboriginal rights. There cannot be a separate workers party for white Australian workers, and another party for Aboriginal workers. WAR and similar groups are in a sense correct to demand that the Aboriginal struggle should not be subsumed within a general struggle for the rights of all minority ethnicities, and migrant groups – for the indigenous people are neither migrants nor “ethnic”. Yet neither should they be totally separated from them when struggling against a common foe.

The workers vanguard party should thus be multiracial and multi-ethnic. It should combine pro-worker Aboriginal people, Australian born “white” workers, and pro-worker migrants of various national backgrounds. Such a party will strive to win the movement for Aboriginal rights to the theory and practice of Marxism, the program for workers emancipation. The Aboriginal rights movement will not be asked to forsake any of its culture or its history for the pursuit of socialism. On the contrary, the workers party will demand the inclusion of all Aboriginal particulars, alongside the special needs of all oppressed strata which rely on the working class for their existence. The combined and integrated struggle of all working people, through their vanguard party, is the guarantor for the successful combination with the Aboriginal struggle for elementary justice. The Aboriginal struggle and the workers struggle will either go forward together, or fall back separately. FOR ABORIGINAL LIBERATION THROUGH WORKERS UNITY!

 

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO BOX 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-natsisps-strat-toc~mental-natsisps-strat-1~mental-natsisps-strat-1-ab (05-01-17)

[2] http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features20Nov+2013 (06-01-17)

[3] http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/aboriginal-prison-rates-shame-our-nation-20160408-go1y5o.html (07-01-17)

 

[4] https://theblackrising.com/2016/12/04/australias-compulsory-voting-laws-no-room-for-dissent/ (08-01-17)

 

[5] http://www.kfausa.org/chapter-v-fundamental-rights-and-duties-of-citizens/ (09-01-17)

 

Demand Public Housing and Public Space! Down with the Profit System!

15-12-16 – The image of media with cameras filming the eviction of homeless people from under the Go-Between Bridge in October tells a damning story. The fact that the Brisbane City Council was proud to broadcast its callousness speaks volumes about an administration which plays its part in creating homelessness, and then punishing those who become homeless. The local councillor for the area, the Greens’ Jonathon Sri, stated that he was not informed of the evictions beforehand.[1]  Brisbane City Council claims that all those “moved on” will be found accommodation to move into is largely suspected to be hot air. Homelessness in Brisbane, and around Australia, in recent years is increasing, and may even be at its highest level ever.

One of the major drivers of homelessness is the privatisation of public housing stock, and the drive towards so-called “social housing”. Using these means, state governments absolve themselves of any responsibility to ensure housing for all, regardless of income and employment status. “Social Housing” invariably is handed to a religious organisation or housing company, which takes it on as a money making business, rather than service provision. As opposed to a set amount of rent collected from a person who required public housing, say 10% of their income, the profit seeking outfits place upward pressure on the amount of rent collected. Tenants’ rights under “social housing” also tend to be undermined, as a church group or NGO does not have the regulated oversight of a public body.

Another key force behind homelessness is chronic unemployment and underemployment, which has been steadily rising since the world capitalist economies entered into a deep recession in 2008. The official unemployment figures are widely regarded to be vast underestimates, if not outright falsifications. While the official unemployment rate is around 5%, combined unemployment and underemployment according to some figures is 19.1%, or around 2.3 million Australians of working age.[2] The decline of manufacturing, such as the closure of the entire industry of car production, only adds to the dilemma. Some laid off waterside workers who know little else are languishing on miniscule unemployment benefits. Regional towns like Townsville, Dirranbandi and Biloela have many of their residents simply leaving because there is no work. They move to the big cities to find work, but often without luck.

Along with the privatisation of public housing comes the privatisation of public space. The Queens Wharf mega-casino monstrosity in the middle of Brisbane is another case of public land being handed to private corporations. The privatisation of public land shrinks the area not only that the public can use, but that homeless people and others can find some temporary respite. A privately owned mega-casino simply becomes another area from which the public and the poor are excluded.

Working people’s right to both housing and public space at a certain point come into collision with the profit system, i.e. the system of generalised commodity production for private profit. As the capitalist economy declines, public space and public housing are seen as more commodities that should be plundered by private capital. Capitalist governments organise for public space to be handed to private corporations, and for public housing to be degraded or handed to the private sector. Working people and the marginalised lose out automatically.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In the Asia-Pacific region, there is a prime example of a state which not only provides huge amounts of public space, but also provides free housing. This state is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – incorrectly referred to by the Western corporate media as “North Korea”. As we have mentioned previously, in our article on the “West Village” development[3], the DPRK’s capital of Pyongyang has a massive 58 square metres of green space per person[4], compared to an almost non-existent 4 square centimetres of green space per person for the city of Brisbane.[5] Pyongyang is also known for its ten metre wide footpaths, which are made for people to meet and congregate on, while allowing a pathway for those who wish to reach their destination.

Moreover, the phenomenon in Australia of housing being virtually unaffordable for many young and working people is simply unknown in the DPRK. Article 25 of the DPRK’s constitution states: “The State shall provide all of the working people with every condition for obtaining food, clothing and housing.”[6] This means that housing is provided at no cost to DPRK citizens. Understandably this means that there is no homelessness. What a contrast to capitalist Australia – with thousands homeless every night, and affordable housing virtually out of reach for vast swathes of the population!

The DPRK can only achieve such things due to the fact that it has, through an immense struggle against the worst excesses of US imperialism, abolished capitalism in the process of establishing a workers state. That is, a state which represents and places in power no class other than that of the working people. This is the first step towards the classless, socialist society which Karl Marx envisioned. Thus here in Australia, while we struggle for decent public housing and a livable amount of public space, we must keep in mind that ultimately, the only permanent guarantee of such rights is the sweeping away of the capitalist system through workers’ revolution. For this task, a workers’ party which fights for a workers’ government is indispensable. DOWN WITH THE PROFIT SYSTEM!

———————————————————————————————

Workers League

PO Box 66   Nundah  QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://newmatilda.com/2016/10/22/reality-tv-when-you-move-on-the-homeless-make-sure-the-media-is-around/ (10-12-16)

[2] http://propertyupdate.com.au/real-unemployment-in-australia-is-now-9-2/ (11-12-16)

[3] https://redfireonline.com/2016/11/15/for-public-housing-green-space-and-livable-cities/ (11-12-16)

[4] Willoughby, R., 2014, North Korea – The Bradt Travel Guide.

[5] https://prezi.com/ja61waahkmhx/green-space/ (11-12-16)

[6] http://www.naenara.com.kp/en/order/pytimes/?page=Culture&no=21317 (11-12-16)