A Real Climate Strike Means Class Against Class

Logo for the Global Climate Strike. http://www.globalclimatestrike.net

A Real Climate Strike Means Class Against Class

14-08-2019 – On September 20, young students will walk out of class, encouraging older workers to walk out of work and join them, in an inspiring continuation of the worldwide movement for urgent action on the increasingly dire warnings of climate collapse. Following the lead of Greta Thunberg, these climate strikers will send a message to all governments that they cannot be ignored any longer. Or so we are told. As in all things political, however, the truth lies somewhat beneath appearances. In this case, the ugly truth is one which should be repellent to workers with elementary class awareness.

The September 20 strikes are being primarily organised by SS4C (School Strike for Climate). Who are they? The real organisers are hidden, because if they were honest about who they were, they may not be welcomed. SS4C hide their tracks very well, so definite proof is hard to come by. But one glance at the politics they are trying to shoehorn everyone into coming behind reveals, within a few degrees of accuracy, forces whose ultimate aim are seats in parliament, not “climate action”.

Circle of reaction

Three organisations are key to understanding the dark forces behind the September 20 walkouts. SS4C is one, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC – or “Baby GetUp!”) is another, and the other is the Australian Labor Party (ALP). In reality, the first two are trustees of the ALP, the allegedly moderate front of capital in the wide brown land. When questioned, SS4C/AYCC deny their connections to the ALP – yet they remain in plain sight. SS4C have even altered their demands in a vain attempt to claw back their federal election defeat in May by the Liberal National Party (LNP), an election which should have been a shoe-in for the ALP.[1] The federal election swung to the LNP largely on the basis of regional Queensland, where sky-high unemployment led some workers to view that the ALP would stop the construction of the Adani mega coal mine, leading to the end of desperately needed flow on jobs. In reality, the ALP was never opposed to Adani, but had to equivocate in the face of the Stop Adani campaign.[2]

The parliamentary fixation of SS4C is plain to see. They speak of “our” [!] politicians, and “politicians can show they care” [!] by meeting our demands.[3] To say this is parliamentary cretinism is an understatement. Workers should be aware that capitalist parliaments are the key institution used by the ruling class to fool the masses into believing that there is some institution which represents them, albeit with some limitations they admit. The Australian federal parliament, like all parliaments under bourgeois democracy, is a den of corruption and deceit. Moreover, it is a class weapon brandished by the corporate elite against the workers and the poor. It cannot be used as a staging post for climate action any more than it can be used to advance housing for the homeless. For SS4C and AYCC, on the other hand, parliament is their holy grail, and their universal solution – for their own careers.

Perhaps the greatest crime of SS4C and AYCC is their deceitful use of young people to advance the careers of (ALP) Members of Parliament. The young primary and secondary school students are wise enough to understand the eminent danger that global warming poses, and they indeed should be congratulated for taking a brave stand, in some cases resisting principals and school authorities. Yet without sufficient political experience, which can only be gained over some years, these young people cannot be expected to see through the Machiavellian scheming of the SS4C/AYCC agents. They cannot be expected to understand that the AYCC’s raison d’etre is not climate action per se, but to be a youth front for the ALP, and thus for the very profit system which imperils human civilisation.

Dishonest climate campaign

SS4C proffer their campaign descriptors as “school student led, decentralised, grassroots, non-partisan, inclusive, non-violent, mission focussed, ambitious, creative”.[4] The only one of these that has a partial ring of truth is “inclusive”, in that all are invited to take part in the climate strike. This is the reason why workers can attend, stop work, and encourage Union members and officials to do likewise. Yet it must be with the aim of undermining and eroding SS4C/AYCC leadership – which, if left unchallenged, will lead the climate movement into parliamentary paralysis. It is false to claim that school students are leading this movement – the AYCC does the work on the ground. Decentralisation is fallacious – the ALP knows that every campaign must have a centralised leadership. Grassroots is mendacious – as politicians are anything but. Non-partisan is a furphy – they are non-partisan only towards the ALP and perhaps the Greens. Left parties are only welcome IF they politically submit to liberalism. The non-violent moniker is a pledge of fealty to the police forces of the capitalist state. In short, SS4C operate on a pack of half-truths.

Moreover, SS4C submit three demands: 1. No new coal, oil or gas projects, including the Adani mine. 2. 100% renewable energy generation and exports by 2030. 3. Fund a just transition & job creation for all fossil fuel industry workers.[5]  These demands are pitifully moderate, and could just as easily be asked of the ALP – and this is the giveaway that that is the aim. Consciously, there is zero in these demands which would even eat into the profits of capital, let alone threaten their existence. In practice though, workers should not oppose demands 1 and 3. Demand 2, on the other hand is problematic. IF it demanded 100% zero carbon energy generation, it would be rational. However, the 100% renewable energy demand remains seriously impractical if it was actually possible, and if nuclear power was excluded.[6]  It is a sop to the mistaken environmental movement whose anti-nuclear stance has effectively accelerated the burning of coal since the 1970s. There is evidence that some fossil fuel corporations have funded the anti-nuclear movement in order to ensure zero carbon nuclear fission does not replace them.[7]

The fraud of Greta Thunberg

As we have written previously,[8] the aura around Greta Thunberg is fraudulent. Greta Thunberg the brand is backed by some of the largest corporate players on the planet, and hence focuses on politicians not doing the right thing. This lets the corporations – and the capitalist system – off the hook. Raising no objections to capitalism leads to advocacy of the worst excesses of imperialism, which Greta displayed in spades when she tweeted, “Let Russia and Hong Kong strike for climate”.[9] Here is prima facie evidence that Greta is the anointed figurehead of what is essentially a pro-war “climate” movement. The US Empire is currently up to its eyeballs in hybrid war provocations for regime change against Russia and the People’s Republic of China, which are the harbinger of a nuclear holocaust arguably far more dangerous than extinction through ecological malfunction. Washington has already waged proxy wars against Russia in the Ukraine (by arming Nazis)[10], and against Syria (by arming Al Qaeda).[11] Washington is currently waging an attempted war to dismantle China through direct funding to “NGOs” who employ thousands of violent pro-capitalist Hong Kong yahoos, under the ruse of “independence”.[12]

In fact, the reality that the climate strikers never refer to Pentagon launched imperialist provocations and actual and potential wars is revealing. One could plausibly argue that the climate strike movement is thus not really about the urging of governments to seriously address anthropogenic global warming. It is more about aiding and assisting the First World governments of the US, Europe and Australia in regaining their credibility with “their own” people – by making at least cosmetic efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The climate strike leaders, from Greta Thunberg to SS4C to AYCC, ultimately desire the restitution of imperialist liberal democracy in the eyes of working people. And what better way to do this than by shepherding workers behind a US/EU launched war of “democratic” imperialism against the “totalitarian” states of Russia and China?

Left parties alibi climate parliamentarism

Some Australian left parties help build what they see as climate activism, without pausing to consider its content. While they may grumble about the SS4C climate movement needing more pro-worker positions, they effectively only call for a slightly more progressive movement. The Socialist Alliance appears to have few grumbles at all, and reproduce press statements from SS4C verbatim.[13] They are joined as disciples of Greta Thunberg by Socialist Alternative, who likewise endorse and take part in the “new activism” of Extinction Rebellion (XR).[14] Although XR are not organising the September 20 strikes, XR’s class basis of petty-bourgeois radicalism[15] dovetails squarely with the classical reformism of SS4C and AYCC. Solidarity correctly highlight the beginnings of some trade unions endorsing and taking part in the September 20 walkouts.[16] Yet there is no mention from them of the dangers of workers and their Unions obediently mobilising once again behind the abject parliamentarism of the SS4C/AYCC leadership of the climate strike.

After the disaster of the “Change the Rules” campaign, which saw Unions mobilise for two years in support of a failed attempt to elect an ultra-conservative ALP to federal government, one would think some lessons about electoral campaigns masked as movements might be learned. Yet the link between the parliamentarism of SS4C/AYCC, imperialist war and the misguided left are apparent. Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity are strident opponents of Russia and China, as are SS4C/AYCC, as is the Australian ruling class. These left parties do not imagine themselves to be parliamentarists, even while marching in lock step with capital’s hand-picked parliamentarist lieutenants.

Climate struggle is class struggle

The assault on the climactic conditions necessary for human survival is one more assault on the living and working conditions of the masses. While the industrial revolution was necessary to prepare mass production, the private capital which fostered it was never going to be able to regulate itself to any degree of environmental sustainability. For that, private capital must become social capital. In other words, the major means of production must pass from private hands into those of the working people who set it in motion. Yet even though climate science is issuing more and more shrill warnings almost on a daily basis, the climate crisis in itself cannot be separated from the struggle for working class emancipation.

Finance capital is plunging human civilisation into a double-barrelled Armageddon – the slaughter of imperialist war and imminent climate collapse. The parliaments that defend finance capital – and therefore facilitate climate destruction – cannot change their course. In the course of their struggle for decent working and living conditions, and for a safe climate, working people do not directly confront the ruling class itself. Workers instead confront the agents of finance capital within the (sometimes contrived) social movements. Through all manner of subterfuge, these agents attempt to herd workers and youth back into a purely lobbyist perspective. They attempt to paint begging for different policies from politicians who have diametrically opposed material interests, as “radical climate action”. It is a very small step from rehabilitating a capitalist parliament in this way, to a blanket endorsement of imperialist wars against an “other” – be it Russia, China, or whoever. There is little doubt that this is the aim of SS4C and AYCC, who drag along the moderate left parties behind them.

Thus, for the September 20 climate strike and beyond, working people and leftists need to participate with the express aim of breaking workers away from the political designs of the pro-ALP, pro-imperialist leadership which will not and cannot provide even the first steps towards a safe climate – or a safe world. Rather, what is required is a fight for demands such as: the expropriation of the major means of production, transport, banking and finance which could be administered by workers’ committees in the interests of working people. A left-wing climate movement should demand elected workers’ councils to administer a socialised and planned economy. Here, the leadership of a Marxist vanguard party is crucial. The horrors of potential climate incineration, imperialist war and wage slavery can only begin to be addressed through workers’ rule in the transition from the profit system to human liberation.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

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

 

[1] https://redfireonline.com/2019/05/19/liberalism-at-a-dead-end-alp-loses-the-unlosable-election/ (10-08-2019)

[2] https://overland.org.au/2019/06/why-adani-happened/ (10-08-2019)

[3] https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/about (10-08-2019)

[4] Ibid, 3.

[5] Ibid. 4.

[6] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032117304495 (11-08-2019)

[7] https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2016/07/13/are-fossil-fuel-interests-bankrolling-the-anti-nuclear-energy-movement/#4bef933d7453 (11-08-2019)

[8] https://redfireonline.com/2019/03/13/for-real-climate-action-expropriate-capital/ (11-08-2019)

[9] https://twitter.com/gretathunberg/status/1128344612186279937?lang=en (11-08-2019)

[10] https://consortiumnews.com/2018/11/17/blowback-us-funded-ukraine-neo-nazis-mentor-us-white-supremacists/ (11-08-2019)

[11] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/cihan-celik/us-turkey-realize-al-qaeda-threat-in-syria–a-bit-late-61834 (11-08-2019)

[12] https://www.mintpressnews.com/hong-kong-protests/259202/ (11-08-2019)

[13] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/why-school-climate-strikers-are-demanding-just-transition-and-job-creation (11-08-2019)

[14] https://redflag.org.au/node/6855 (11-08-2019)

[15] https://redfireonline.com/2019/08/07/whats-wrong-with-extinction-rebellion/ (11-08-2019)

[16] https://www.solidarity.net.au/highlights/workers-and-unions-organise-to-join-climate-strike/ (11-08-2019)

 

Xinjiang: The West’s Big Lie

Map highlighting the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), in western China. Image from Wikipedia

Xinjiang: The West’s Big Lie

24-07-2019 – A lie repeated a thousand times eventually becomes accepted as the truth. Such was the infamous advice of Josef Goebbles, Minister of Propaganda of fascist Germany from 1933 to 1945. The governments of the capitalist West have learned this lesson well, and apply it wherever they can. In recent times, the largest of lies they attempt to impose on workers as a supposed “truth” is the wild claim that one million Uyghurs have been detained in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). For this claim, Western governments and their compliant media offer not a shred of evidence – it is simply repeated over and over again. The Nazis themselves would have been suitably impressed.

The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) once had a reputation for ground breaking investigative journalism. Today it leads the charge in propagandising for a desperate US imperialism which enlists Canberra in its hybrid war against Red China. The Four Corners “documentary” program “Tell the World”, which aired on the 15th of July, compiles a litany of utterly fallacious claims about the political situation in Xinjiang, with the help of anti-socialist Uyghur emigres.[1] It is presented by Sophie McNeil, who is known for hailing ISIS and Al Qaeda linked death squads as “rebels” during the US led war for regime change against Syria.[2] Ms McNeil continues her backing of such barbarians through to Xinjiang – where a tiny minority of Uyghurs, infected with the Wahabist strand of Islam, also travelled to Syria to fight with ISIS linked cut-throats against the secular Syrian Arab Republic, from the early years of the proxy war.[3] If demented mercenaries, armed and funded by Western governments and the Saudi Arabian monarchy, should be hailed as brave fighters for “democracy” in Syria, why not in Xinjiang?

West’s anti-China drive dividing the UN

The Washington led drive against Red China drags all types of anti-worker governments behind it. The governments of 22 countries, most of them imperialist, signed a joint letter to the United Nations (UN) which condemned the “oppression” of Uyghurs and Muslims in Xinjiang. The US subordinates were: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK).[4] In response, a letter to the President of the Human Rights Council of the UN lauding the “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights” was signed by 37 countries. Among the defenders of the PRC were the governments of: Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cuba, Algeria, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Nigeria, Angola, Togo, Tajikistan, Philippines and Belarus.[5]  Needless to say, the governments of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar play both sides of the coin, siding with Washington for some imperialist wars, while siding with the PRC in order to safeguard certain trade and investment opportunities. However, while the UN is no longer a body where Washington holds pre-eminent control, the UN is also not an arena which working people should revere.

Washington’s concern is economics, not “human rights”

The Pentagon’s invented “human rights” issues in Xinjiang are, as usual, a façade for the real reason Washington is concerned about the rise of Red China. The imperialist shop-fronts such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank both now rate the economy of China as world number one in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). Despite recent “slowing” the PRC’s economy is still growing at a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate of 7%, which is three times that of the US. The training and education of the Chinese working class is also expanding, with the PRC now spending 4% of GDP skilling up their own people.[6] For Washington, with its production for private profit system staggering along in near or actual recessionary terms, the booming Chinese economy represents a nightmare come to life. For them, socialism and collective ownership is not supposed to be able to compete against the West with their stock markets, “free” trade and “free enterprise”, let alone surpass it. Yet this is reality.

Washington’s concerns about Xinjiang are not its bluster about “human rights”. Their concerns are the staggering overall performance of the PRC – which is primarily due to predominantly state owned means of production and a planned economy. This is one reason why the US ruling class is hell bent on derailing, or at least disrupting, Red China’s trillion dollar “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) – a trade and infrastructure mega-project, which will spur on further economic integration between the PRC and Asia, Europe and Africa. Xinjiang is a central node of the BRI, with Xinjiang sitting in the middle of the ancient Silk Road. Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, for example, now handles 3600 tonnes of cargo each day, much of it bound for other parts of Asia and Europe.[7] Each tonne of trade that the PRC conducts with countries not under the political domination of Wall Street is another nail in the coffin of US economic hegemony, and their privately owned corporations which trample on the living standards of both US and international workers.

While workers in Xinjiang and the rest of the PRC do not have political decision making power as a result of the fraudulent “Marxism” of the Communist Party of China (CPC), they nonetheless enjoy the fruits of the economic achievements of the PRC workers’ state – a precious gain of the 1949 socialist revolution. A genuine Leninist leadership in Beijing would seek to politicise and mobilise the Chinese proletariat in favour of economic integration with neighbouring socialist states such as Vietnam, the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – “North Korea”) and Laos, as a means of politically combatting the capitalism wreaking havoc outside the largest country (by population) in the world. But this would mean severing the restrictions of the “Marxist-Leninist” theory of “socialism in one country”.

Despite this, workers in Australia and internationally have a vital interest in combatting and negating the anti-China hysteria emanating from Canberra, Washington and elsewhere. Australian workers cannot afford to buy into the liberal intelligentsia’s lies which foster disruption in Xinjiang – or Hong Kong, Tibet or Taiwan. On the contrary, workers need to strategically ally themselves with the PRC workers’ state against US imperialism as a lever of their own struggle for liberation from capitalist tyranny.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012
http://www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-15/uyghur-forced-labour-xinjiang-china/11298750 (17-07-2019)

[2] http://www.handsoffsyriasydney.com/articles/jeremy-salt-destroys-abc-war-propaganda-against-syria/ (17-07-2019)

[3] https://www.voltairenet.org/article179260.html  (17-07-2019)

[4] https://news.yahoo.com/22-countries-signed-unprecedented-letter-152800378.html (22-07-2019)

[5] https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-07-13/China-s-efforts-on-human-rights-protection-backed-by-37-countries-Ii2dQv67ni/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2vUu_dp9Oo_At24A1RlbeWSM6dau1eykK2ZlaV0a2ujIlJtu_qfWc3p_g (22-07-2019)

[6] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/12/the-world-s-top-economy-the-us-vs-china-in-five-charts/ (22-07-2019)

[7] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-08/12/c_137384382.htm (22-07-2019)

Hong Kong: US Fuels Right-Wing Sedition

A ceremony marking 16 years since the return of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn

Hong Kong: US Fuels Right-Wing Sedition

23-06-2019 – In recent months, Hong Kong has been subjected to demonstrations which ostensibly push for elementary democratic “reforms” which, if attained, will prevent the extradition of those charged with crimes to “mainland” China. The Western corporate media has, true to form, presented these protests as being “pro-democracy”.  Yet little could be further from the truth. In reality, the contrived unrest in Hong Kong is yet another attempt by US imperialism and its allies to prevent the integration of Hong Kong into the People’s Republic of China (PRC), through the backing of openly right-wing and often pro-colonial elements – some of whom seek a return to British imperial rule.

The corporate media description of the protests in Hong Kong – reportedly up to a million on the streets on June 9 – as “pro-democracy”, turns reality on its head. From 1843 until 1985, under British rule, there were NO elections of any kind. It was not until 1995 that elections of all positions in the legislative council took place.[1] Hong Kong was officially handed back to China in 1997, where the Hong Kong “Basic Law” was implemented – basically an agreement between the British government and the PRC to enable the return of Hong Kong which was seized by the British Empire during the time of the Opium Wars. Since that time, the 1949 socialist revolution in China overthrew capitalist rule, and ended China’s “century of humiliation”. Capitalism remained, however, in British administered Hong Kong.

Hong Kong “activists” funded by NED

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was set up as a front of the notorious CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in the early eighties, after news of CIA involvement in blood soaked military coups became known. Today, the NED openly funds the misnamed Solidarity Centre and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Hong Kong.[2] Despite years of fact-free accusations against Russia for “meddling” in the 2016 US Presidential Election, Washington directly funds right-wing provocateurs in Hong Kong who seek to prevent Hong Kong’s re-integration into the culture it had been a part of for thousands of years. More than this, the US state department is seeking to retain capitalism in Hong Kong, as a means to undermine and prevent socialism in China from becoming even more economically and politically powerful than it is today.

The recent demonstrations in Hong Kong stem from the “Umbrella Revolution” in 2014, which was transparently backed by Washington, and it even led to the founding of a political party almost entirely backed from US shores. The “Demosisto” party in Hong Kong was launched in 2016 by 19 year old Joshua Wong, with no explanation as to why someone with almost no political experience could fund a party from out of nowhere.[3] Yet it had already been apparent that the West was financing and politically backing proxy forces in Hong Kong. In 2015, Freedom House held an event marking its 75th anniversary by honouring three generations of “democracy” activists in Hong Kong – Martin Lee, Benny Tai and Joshua Wong.[4] These “Occupy Central (Umbrella movement)” leaders were all beneficiaries of funding from those such as Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai. The Apple Daily head had slipped a cool HK $5 million the Hong Kong Democratic Party – whose founding chairman is none other than Martin Lee.[5] Can anyone imagine the outcry if Beijing created and funded an opposition party, in say, California? Or if Russia created and funded an anti-US party in Florida? Yet the opposite happens in relation to Hong Kong, but all the Western “democrats” remain silent.

Minor legal changes

The actual changes that are being proposed by Hong Kong’s legislature are relatively minor and probably should have been enacted as a matter of course years earlier. The bill is formally known as The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. It emerged as a result of a case where a pregnant woman was murdered in Taiwan and the perpetrator fled to Hong Kong to avoid being charged, as there is no extradition treaty between Taiwan and Hong Kong.[6] Despite being part of China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) still has separate extradition arrangements with different countries. In effect, the protestors in Hong Kong today are protesting to prevent a murderer from facing trial. If the bill does not pass as a result of the protests, future murderers and others accused of serious crimes could flee to Hong Kong from other countries, and they would never face any form of justice. To paint these protests as benign and “pro-democracy” flies in the face of even bourgeois justice, let alone “democracy”.

To be sure, some in Hong Kong have legitimate grievances against the government, but they are more to do with the difficulties involved in finding affordable housing, work which is not exploitative and so on. Yet such issues do not aim to be addressed by the current Western backed protests – indeed they may worsen them. For all of their “democratic” rhetoric, these protests seek to retain the system of production for profit in Hong Kong, under the guise of warding off “authoritarianism” from Beijing. They do not wish to join with the rest of China in building a predominantly publicly owned and planned economy, which does not primarily run on the basis of production for profit. In fact, the publicly owned means of production on the basis of the workers’ state which emerged out of 1949 lays the basis for an economy which produces for human needs and jobs for workers as a first priority.

In reality, the current political leadership in China should abandon their pledge to retain capitalism in Hong Kong for 50 years after 1997. The fact that the West is now openly backing sedition in Hong Kong against Red China is more proof that agreements with Western governments will not ultimately be respected by imperialism. A more important goal for them is to prevent the rise of China’s gargantuan socialist state backed economy which is rapidly propelling it to the status of number one world superpower. Without endorsing all of the politics of the government in Beijing, workers internationally need to defend China and Hong Kong against the nefarious moves by US backed fronts to cut away its component parts. The interests of workers coincide with rising China, not with the fading but still dangerous US Empire.

 

Workers League

http://www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.liberationnews.org/what-is-happening-in-hong-kong/ (23-06-2019)

[2] https://www.ned.org/region/asia/hong-kong-china-2018/ (23-06-2019)

[3] https://journal-neo.org/2016/04/18/hong-kong-gets-new-us-backed-party/ (23-06-2019)

[4] https://freedomhouse.org/event/75th-anniversary-special-event-honoring-three-generations-hong-kong-democracy-activists (23-06-2019)

[5] https://journal-neo.org/2014/11/07/occupy-central-s-dirty-money-dirtier-leaders/ (23-06-2019)

[6] Ibid, 1.

Algeria: US Foments Destabilisation in Africa

Algeria: US Foments Destabilisation in Africa

17-04-2019 – Algeria was one of the foremost countries of the wave of anti-colonialist liberation struggles which followed the Second World War, winning its independence from France in 1962. Today, there are both hidden and barely hidden attempts to bring Algeria back within the vice-like grip of Western imperialism. The US Empire, desperate after being defeated in Syria, and following ham-fisted failed attempts at regime change in Venezuela, is responding by doubling their bets. Anywhere they can see even half a chance at fostering and fomenting internal regime change where an independent country exists, Wall Street in all probability has contingency plans ready to roll.

To the uninitiated, waves of protest in Algeria calling on an octogenarian leader to refrain from running in the Presidential election for a fifth time appear to be self-justified. Yet in Africa, and politics in general in 2019, things are not at all what they seem. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a joint press conference with Algerian Deputy Prime Minister Ramtane Lamamra last month. Lavrov pointedly warned of external interference and destabilisation in Algeria.[1] This was a veiled reference to the US state department, delivered with trademark Lavrov diplomacy. Russia and Algeria have been strong allies since the time of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and Algeria also signed a Strategic Partnership agreement with Russia in April 2001.[2] More recently, in 2014 Algeria rejected a US demand to set up a military base on their soil.[3] Since then, Algeria has been one of the very few Arab countries to vigorously defend the Syrian Arab Republic against the US/Israeli/Saudi backed jihadist death squads which besieged them, as Algeria itself is susceptible to similar attacks,[4] some as spillover from the NATO destruction of Green Libya in 2011.

Algeria tilts towards Russia, against NATO

Given the aftermath of NATO’s annihilation of Libya, in cahoots with Al Qaeda linked death squads they armed, Algeria has found it necessary to align itself with the Russia/Syria/Anti-NATO bloc. This is the real reason for the current round of staged protests calling for “regime change” in Algeria. There are always some domestic pro-US layers of society in all countries, from liberal students to agents of small or large business classes. In this case, such elements are betraying Algeria’s independence under a grossly distorted banner of “freedom and democracy”. To be sure, working people in Algeria have no stake per se in the capitalist system operated by the Algerian political leaders. However, allowing Algeria to be fully open to US/NATO plunder via US backed regime change would be consonant with a return to occupation by French imperialism, i.e. it would return Algeria to a situation before its independence in 1962. To that extent, workers in Algeria and internationally need to militarily side with Algeria/Russia/Syria against the US Empire, while retaining their own organisational and political independence.

Russia, in the form of the then USSR, has backed Algerian independence since the first hours of its declaration in 1962. Yet today the alliance between Algeria and Russia to a large extent hinges on Algeria’s backing of Russia’s actions in Syria, where it is still combatting the residues of the unhinged US backed ISIS death squads. Russia also appreciates the Algerian government’s role in what they term the “pacification” of Libya and Mali.[5] That is, Algeria taking measures to prevent the further spread of the remnants of the Al Qaeda elements used by Washington to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. These actions by Algeria are in the interests of working people across North Africa despite the politics of the Algerian government.

Further, it is not just in a tactical security bloc against US backed jihadism in North Africa where Algerian-Russian co-operation is apparent. Energy supplies are vital also. Algeria and Russia are top gas exporters, with Algeria producing 130 billion cubic metres of gas annually. 14% of this amount is exported to Europe.[6] Russian gas exports to Europe are also extensive, so co-operation with Algeria in this sphere is mutually beneficial. Washington, of course, views such trade and co-operation with Europe as an obstruction, and political impertinence – despite the US not being able to supply gas itself.

Algeria signs onto the New Silk Road

As if to further underscore declining US economic power across the globe, in 2018 Algeria became one of the 90 countries to have signed onto Red China’s One Belt One Road (also known as the New Silk Road or the Belt and Road Initiative – BRI). Algeria signed onto the BRI in Beijing itself, while attending the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.[7] Under the BRI, China’s booming socialist economy commits billions of dollars to infrastructure development in countries along the old Silk Road. Algeria will be a part of the Maritime Silk Road, which connects China, Europe, India, East Africa and the Red Sea states. Washington is furious at this, but is unable to prevent it. What is more, the People’s Republic of China has remained Algeria’s largest trading partner since 2013. 2017 figures have China accounting for $8.3 billion of Algeria’s $45.95 billion worth of imports.[8]

The People’s Republic of China (PRC), like the USSR at that time (and now Russia), has extensive ties with Algeria due to its assistance for its struggle for national liberation. This is not lost on the current Algerian leadership, regardless of their politics. As Guy Burton wrote:

“China’s connections to Algeria go back even further. In 1958 China was the first non-Arab country to recognize the National Liberation Front and provide it with arms and funds in its struggle for independence. Following independence in 1962, China provided soft loans and other forms of assistance, including medical missions to the new government. When China eventually joined the UN in 1971, Algeria was one of the co-sponsors that proposed the resolution. Today, Algeria has one of the largest Chinese communities in Africa and the Middle East, at around 70,000.”[9]

Such ties, forged in bonds against colonialist and imperialist struggle decades ago, are not easily forgotten. The US can fume as much as it likes, but it cannot match anything like the camaraderie and mutual backing offered by both China and Russia – in political and economic terms. The economic crisis of the capitalist US economy, however, drives it further and further into reckless military adventures, and/or, constant preparation for them. This is why Africa today is subjected to US military intervention, the arming and funding of proxy jihadist death squads, and constant backing for compromised opposition groups within African states. The aim is chaos, destabilisation and disruption, and even open war, in order to undermine friendly relations with Russia and China. Washington will consider using any means, from using its own troops, to arming and funding Al Qaeda linked barbarians, to covert or overt backing of internal regime change “revolutions” – such as the one in Algeria today.

AFRICOM – footprint of the US Empire

AFRICOM (Africa Command) was established in 2007 as a counterpart to the US Empire’s CENTCOM (Central Command) and SOUTHCOM (Southern Command). It currently shares its headquarters with EUCOM (European Command) in Stuttgart, Germany. Some US Senators have recently openly questioned why, after 10 years of “operations”, the US does not have its AFRICOM headquarters stationed in Africa.[10] It takes some galling arrogance, even from the standards of US imperialism, to assume that they have a right to permanent bases in countries overseas, and base entire military commands based on sections of the globe. Yet this is the reality of Africa today.

Even some US citizens were surprised to learn, after US troops were ambushed in Niger in October 2017, that US troops are crawling over many countries in Africa.[11] The reaction was one of “what are they doing there?”. To put it bluntly, they are there as an imperial occupying force – albeit one that is not advertised as such. There is some evidence that the main task of US troops across Africa is the fostering and fomenting of coups against African countries which demonstrate even half a shred of independence from the US behemoth. Today Algeria and Sudan, tomorrow Cameroon and Nigeria, and on and on it goes.

Many African countries have baulked at allowing a permanent US military base to be set up on their soil. One of the core responsibilities of AFRICOM is supposedly “stability operations” – but what is meant by this is clearly demonstrated in Algeria and Sudan in recent times. That is, not stability, but thinly veiled destabilisation, to bring down any government or any ruler not willing to play by the rules of Washington. To facilitate this, the Pentagon operates what are euphemistically termed “Cooperative Security Locations” or “Lily Pads”. Lily Pads are weapons and vehicle depots which include airfields for military aircraft as well as drones. Lily Pads have been constructed in Algeria (despite its refusal to host a US base), Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cabo Verde, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe and Togo.[12] It doesn’t take too much understanding of geopolitics to realise that this is an imperial occupation, which can only serve Washington to the detriment of hundreds of millions of Africans.

Left parties toe Washington’s line

Seemingly oblivious to the US Empire’s troops across Africa, or perhaps because of it, some Australian left parties have been eager to put their hands up to man the megaphone for the US state department. First cab off the rank was the Socialist Alliance (SA), as an extension of its role of propagandist for US led regime change war against Syria. In Syria, SA pumped for US/Saudi/Israeli armed jihadists who were leading a mythical “revolution”, alongside secular forces which did not exist. Similarly in Algeria, SA falls for a corresponding assortment. Sam Wainwright in SA newspaper Green Left Weekly claims that the Algerian opposition marches have “included Islamists, people with a democratic secular outlook, the Kabylie independence movement (a Berber speaking part of the country) and the Algerian Socialist Workers Party (PST).”[13]

For a start, the PST is linked to the French NPA (New Anti-Capitalist Party). The NPA was notorious for calling on French imperialism to arm jihadist death squads to effect regime change in Libya and Syria. French imperialism certainly did this, and parties such as the NPA in France and SA in Australia, cheered on these atrociously dirty wars – arguably the dirtiest in history. Islamists were at the heart of the “uprisings” in Libya and Syria, and SA again hails their participation in regime change operations in Algeria. Some Berber independence groups also backed US led regime change in Syria, and “democratic and secular” opposition to the Syrian government was a fantasy.

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and its “World Socialist Web Site” (WSWS), to their credit, did not back US led regime change in Syria. However, in Algeria they switch sides and fall into line with Washington. The SEP loudly criticised parties such as SA for spruiking for US led regime change in Syria. Yet they don’t notice the irony of adopting the same position – regime change backed by imperialist powers – as SA in Algeria!  Will Morrow claims in the WSWS that the “…ongoing movement of the Algerian working class against the military backed regime is part of a renewed eruption of working class struggle around the world.”[14] One could only believe this if it was possible to ignore the swathe of US operated “Lily Pads” across Africa, US troops swarming across many African nations, Algeria’s alliance with Russia in security and gas exports, Algeria signing onto Beijing’s New Silk Road and major trade with Red China. One would have to have to be wearing blinkers to ignore Washington’s concern about all African countries’ dealings with both Russia and China. For all rational observers, Algeria’s “uprising” is anything but pure.

To be sure, to lift Algeria and Africa finally clear of the devastating legacy of Western colonialism, socialism – the class rule of the workers – will have to emerge victorious. The current Algerian government will ultimately stand in the way of such progress. However, right now, working people in Africa and internationally have a vital interest in militarily siding with Algeria, Syria, Russia and China against the nefarious ends of US imperialism. At the very least, workers should demand that the US withdraw AFRICOM and all US troops from African soil. The sovereignty of Algeria and all African countries must be guarded, and defended in a temporary bloc alongside the non-imperialist (and anti-NATO) states. US backed coups, in such a scenario, will have little or no chance of “success”.

Workers  League
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com
http://www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://dailynewssegypt.com/2019/03/19/russia-warns-of-external-interference-in-algeria-lavrov/ (10-04-19)

[2] https://jamestown.org/program/the-broader-regional-meaning-of-russian-foreign-minister-lavrovs-maghreb-tour/ (10-04-19)

[3] https://www.sott.net/article/278889-Defeat-for-the-empire-Algeria-rejects-US-demand-for-military-base (10-04-19)

[4] https://www.globalresearch.ca/algeria-on-the-edge-of-a-soft-coup/5528762 (10-04-19)

[5] https://africandailyvoice.com/en/2019/01/24/algeria-syria-and-yemen-at-the-heart-of-sergei-lavrovs-visit-to-algiers/ (13-04-19)

[6] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-01/25/c_137771977.htm (13-04-19)

[7] https://africandailyvoice.com/en/2018/09/05/algeria-joins-the-new-silk-roads/ (13-04-19)

[8] http://northafricapost.com/25232-algeria-joins-belt-and-road-initiative.html (13-04-19)

[9] https://thediplomat.com/2019/03/what-protests-in-algeria-and-sudan-mean-for-china/ (13-04-19)

[10] https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/03/13/senators-consider-putting-africom-headquarters-staff-in-africa/ (13-04-19)

[11] https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/04/28/605662771/the-military-doesnt-advertise-it-but-u-s-troops-are-all-over-africa (13-04-19)

[12] https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/02/26/africom-giant-waste-money.html (13-04-19)

[13] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/algeria-turning-point-people-rise (13-04-19)

[14] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/06/alge-a06.html (13-04-19)

Stop Adani Now – the Planet is Burning!

Image from @stopadani on twitter

Stop Adani Now – the Planet is Burning!

08-12-2018 – Queensland is literally on fire. 140 bushfires, some of which are described as “firestorms” have torched areas of Central Queensland this last fortnight. Some people who have evacuated have spent a week away from their homes, unable to return. The rabid intensity of these fires is a window to the dire portent of cataclysmic global warming which is only just beginning. Climate denialists no longer have an audience, if they ever did, in the face of chaotic and dangerous “weather” sweeping the globe.

In the face of this reality, the obscenity of the Adani coal mine slated for the Galilee Basin is a stark reminder of the archaic political system which allows, and even encourages, its own destruction. In the face of coal mines being green lighted and Pacific Islands being swallowed up by the sea, last week saw a “School Strike 4 Climate” where primary and secondary students around the country walked out of school to protest the glaring lack of action by politicians.[1] The Stop Adani campaign continues, following on from Adani’s recent claim that its mega coal mine will go ahead. It will apparently now be self-funded, after a string of domestic and international banks refused to provide finance.[2]

Break with the system to stop Adani

All of the urgent student actions and all of the actions against the Adani monstrosity need to continue. They are desperately needed and allow those most aware of potentially civilisation ending ecological collapse to step into activism. At the same time, the political leadership of the official Stop Adani campaign and the School Strike for Climate steer the actions on a course which is 180 degrees in the wrong direction. They seek to simply lobby the very politicians who know very well who they are serving, which is certainly not “the people” or those without wealth. These politicians are “not listening” because they are trained operatives defending that which produced Adani – the capitalist system of production for private profit. The parliament itself is set up as a foil for working people – it sustains the massive illusion that there are representative bodies that are responsive to their needs.

The official Stop Adani campaign is focusing on lobbying the Labor Party, especially in the lead up to the coming federal election. The Labor Party (ALP) is as committed to capitalist environmental desecration as the profit-gouging corporations themselves. If the Labor Party wanted to, it could Stop Adani tomorrow, as it holds government in Queensland. Instead, federal ALP leader Bill Shorten recently stated that the Adani coal mine would not affect carbon emissions !![3] It should be clear that the Labor Party is prepared to lose an election rather than oppose the Adani coal mine. This highlights the futility of not only lobbying the ALP, but the parliament and every pillar of the rule of capital. To really stop Adani, the political leadership of the campaign will have to break with the entire apparatus of the system.

Yet breaking with the system is not the intention of the political leadership of the Stop Adani campaign, and the campaign against global warming in general. On the contrary, their intention is to drive working people back towards the system, towards parliament, towards “our politicians”. This is the deadliest illusion of them all. Politicians who are paid apparatchiks of the rule of the banks are not “ours” in the slightest way. They are hired guns of an alien class – the elite billionaires whose wealth accumulates on the backs of the labour of workers. There may be some politicians who, in words, sound more liberal, and more progressive than others. Yet they are just as much guns for hire as conservatives.

There are a myriad of NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) who are very well funded, whose prime aim is to steer the Stop Adani and climate change movements back towards the supposedly liberal politicians, into parliament, and indeed, right back into the very source of environmental destruction – capitalism itself. This appears as a contradiction only to those who have yet to side with the workers in their struggle for emancipation. Stop Adani, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), SEED (a branch of AYCC), 350.org, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and GetUp!  are the primary NGOs who bend over backwards to limit the campaign to stop Adani within the strict bounds of appealing to corporate Australia, and the parliament as its puppet, to “be reasonable”. But there is no reasoning with those who build their careers and accumulate obscene profits at the expense of the lives of workers.

PRC lights the way

The idea that socialism in power can counteract dangerous climate change is anathema to liberal minded NGOs. Yet this is precisely what is happening in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In the PRC, working class power arrived with the victory of the 1949 revolution. There have been many changes since that time, but today the PRC government is the major power in the world which is making serious efforts to counteract fast approaching global warming. The PRC is phasing out coal, implementing electric bus transport in cities, and heavily investing in solar and wind power.[4] For serious efforts to move away from coal, however, the PRC is now the fastest expanding nuclear power producer.[5]  Rather than the fantasy of “100% renewable energy”, what is required is the correct mix of all zero carbon energy sources. That is, perhaps until nuclear fusion is developed, at which point all other zero carbon energy sources will probably be eclipsed. And, lo and behold, it is the PRC which is leading the way here also.[6]

While China’s socialism is far from perfect, the graphic lesson is that only a workers’ state can take resolute measures towards holding humanity back from the abyss of climate catastrophe. Rather than a fool’s gallery of elite politicians and their plush parliaments, the Stop Adani campaign must look to working people and its potential collective power to stop both coal and capitalism in its tracks.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.smh.com.au/education/school-students-on-mass-strike-to-protest-climate-change-inaction-20181129-p50j4c.html (05-12-18)

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/adani-carmichael-coal-mine-to-proceed-scaled-back-self-funded/10568600 (05-12-18)

[3] http://www.greencareer.net.au/news/shorten-coy-on-adani-emissions (05-12-18)

[4] https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/after-airpocalypse-5-ways-china-becoming-global-climate-leader (06-12-18)

[5] https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/how-china-has-become-the-worlds-fastest-expanding-nuclear-power-producer (06-12-18)

[6] https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-43792655 (06-12.18)

APEC 2018: US Threatens New Pacific War

Papua New Guinean indigenous dancers welcome delegates to the APEC summit in Port Moresby. Image from Sputnik International

APEC 2018: US Threatens New Pacific War

24-11-2018 – Asia Pacific Economic Co-Operation (APEC) meetings are usually straight forward affairs, full of feel good rhetoric about “free” trade and co-operation. This year it is a different story, with no traditional joint communique able to be cobbled together amongst the 21 member states.[1] The corporate media offer the vapid analysis that this was due to tensions between the governments of the United States of America (US) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In reality, this year’s APEC summit was one in which the US rulers threatened, yet again, to launch a catastrophic war against Red China.  If triggered, such a war could annihilate millions of innocent human beings. As usual, Washington is backed to the hilt by vassal Canberra politicians, recklessly endangering the entire Asia-Pacific.

Manus Island military base?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the development of the Lombrum naval base, along with the US military at the APEC summit. The Lombrum naval base is on Manus Island, and has not been used as a US base since World War II. The Manus Island  Papua New Guinea (PNG) governor, Charlie Benjamin, stated that the naval base is only in the interests of the US and Australia, not PNG locals.[2] It is the cruelest of ironies, that the base could be expanded on Manus Island, which the Australian government has made notorious by using it as a location for the inhuman torture of refugees and those seeking a safe place to live. To be both a base for the illegal and unjust detention of innocents, as well as a staging post for the potential launching of US led imperialist war, condemns the systems which allow it. The Australian ruling class has already allowed the US to use Darwin as a rotating training ground for thousands of its marines, but Manus Island would be a beach head significantly closer to their target – mainland China.

The language from PRC President Xi Jinping was conciliatory and offered cautious warnings, whereas the language from US Vice President Mike Pence was almost inflammatory. President Xi defended the trillion dollar One Belt One Road (New Silk Road) infrastructure development project as one which has no hidden political agendas, and which targets no one. Vice President Pence, on the other hand, claimed that the US offers its partners no coercion, no drowning countries in a sea of debt, and no compromises on their independence.[3] The US spokesperson retailed bald faced lies when referring obliquely to China’s mutual assistance projects it undertakes throughout Eurasia and the Asia-Pacific. The fact is that the US, mired in a capitalist economic crisis of its making, is not in a position to offer the development assistance that China’s huge state led economy can. The US rulers know that the longer they sit back, the more they will be overtaken by the PRC. Unable to countenance coming second to anyone, let alone an Asian country which 70 years ago was mired in Third World conditions, Washington’s only chance to prevent being overtaken is to launch a cataclysmic war – regardless of the costs.

Socialism versus capitalism

Mainstream media reports of China and the US refer to “rivalry” and “tensions” between two superpowers, where they sometimes admit that the US is past the peak of its power, whereas China is rising. What they cannot say is that China versus the US today is a case of socialism versus capitalism. Yes, the socialism in China is distorted, imperfect, and sometimes politically misled internally and internationally by the Communist Party of China (CPC). Despite this, China’s rapid advance over the last 30 years clearly demonstrates the superiority of the socialist mode of production, based predominantly on public ownership of the means of production, vis-à-vis the capitalist mode of production based on private ownership of the means of production by a tiny handful of obscenely wealthy elites, as in the West. While world capitalism entered the “Third Slump” in 2008 and has barely recovered, China’s economy powers along, outstripping the West even despite not being able to yet match Western labour productivity overall.

China ended the “century of humiliation” at the hands of the colonial powers in 1949, with the final victory of its socialist revolution. Today, China’s stupendous economic growth is driven by the workers’ state which emerged out of this victory, in which hundreds of millions of workers and peasants overturned feudal and capitalist rule. In the PRC, the banks, transport infrastructure, telecommunications, electricity, shipping, defence industries, space industries, robotics, aircraft and train manufacturing, media, cinema and computer chip manufacturing, amongst other things, are all state owned or majority state owned. And they are all supervised and controlled by the government to ensure they stay within the limits of the five year plan. This has led to stunning breakthroughs by Chinese made technology, with, for example, China leading the way in the production of supercomputers,[4] and being the first country to effect a soft landing on the dark side of the moon.[5]

The capitalist economies of the US, Europe, Japan and Australia, on the other hand, remain mired in effective recession. In Australia, wages in terms of purchasing power have never been lower in history. All governments routinely slash public spending on healthcare, education, public transport, pensions, aged care etc., and funnel it directly to the private sector. This has little effect, the rate of profit continues to fall, and working people suffer the consequences. Poverty and homelessness is skyrocketing in Australia and also the United Kingdom (UK). These governments then try to divert the backlash – onto China!

Working people should not fear China but defend it, in the process of struggling to achieve socialism on these shores. Infrastructure development, decent public transport, banks which provide a low cost service, affordable housing, indeed – a better life – all this and more awaits if workers can prevent Washington and Canberra from launching a calamitous war in the Pacific.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://postcourier.com.pg/happens-undeliverable-apec-2018-png-communique/ (24-11-18)

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-21/manus-governor-slams-australia-over-naval-base-plans/10515910 (24-11-18)

[3] https://mothership.sg/2018/11/chinese-president-xi-jinping-us-vice-president-mike-pence-2018-apec-summit/ (24-11-18)

[4] https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/supercomputers/world-s-10-fastest-supercomputers-pictures (24-11-18)

[5] https://bgr.com/2018/08/16/china-moon-rovers-dark-side-launch-2018/ (24-11-18)

Repeal the “Espionage” and “Interference” Act! No War On China!

Repeal the “Espionage” and “Interference” Act! No War On China!

07-07-2018 – Chilling. There are few other words for it. The passage through federal parliament of the “National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018” re-sets the framework, yet again, of the shredding of elementary democratic rights by the Australian government. Under the false guise of combatting “foreign interference”, the federal government is close to outlawing political opinion, political activity and journalism. The key targets are anyone who is suspected of calling attention to the danger of imperialist war, let alone opposing it. Canberra, in concert with Washington, is preparing for what could be a world war involving nuclear weapons. It is imperative that working people prepare to organise now in an attempt to avoid a global catastrophe.

Working people have been subjected to a bombardment of hysterical anti-China venom from politicians and the subservient corporate media for years. It is reaching fever pitch because the US and Australian ruling classes know their for-profit economies are in dire straits, and are being rapidly out-performed, many times over, by China’s powerhouse economic mountain. The further behind the US, Australia and Japan fall, the more shrill do the cries from these governments sound. While the US, Australia and Japan are mired in a privatised, private-profit seeking dead end, the largely nationalized and planned economy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) strides ahead in leaps and bounds. On almost every indicator, be it GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth, infrastructure development, technological advances, the development of science, you name it – the PRC is way ahead of the capitalist West.

Dire threat to journalism and political expression

The Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill[1], passed within three days by the Labor and Liberal parties in federal parliament, seriously threatens the very act of journalism. The bill potentially means jail terms of up to 20 years for a journalist reporting a story in the public interest. Even before researching and writing a story, the very act of “receiving” information which could “harm” Australia, could be deemed a criminal act. Actually reporting and letting the public know about a potential breach of international law by the Australian government, could result in 25 years, or life, in prison. The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Union covering journalists, have warned that journalists could be jailed for doing their job.[2] The MEAA officials, it should be noted, have not lifted a finger to defend Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, who is still detained in London, fearing deportation to the United States. Assange is defending the civil and political rights of all, including the MEAA. But now the “foreign interference” laws could snare even the journalists that the MEAA officials seek to represent, and potentially their entire membership. They must now join with those willing to defend what remains of our rights.

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) linked GetUp!, who have also abandoned Julian Assange, are nonetheless also crying foul, correctly pointing out that legitimate political protest could be targeted under the Espionage/Interference laws. The section of the Bill which refers to “damage to public infrastructure” could mean that those intentionally blocking access to the Adani Coal Mine, in an attempt to prevent incalculable damage to the environment through carbon emissions, may be imprisoned for decades.[3] The Bill also contains a 7 year jail term for planning such a protest action. In addition, the Bill contains Orwellian redefinitions of “treason”, “treachery”, “mutiny” and “sabotage”, while creating new ones such as “foreign interference”. Any group or individual that, for example, organises a rally to “influence” government positions, without revealing supposed coordination with a foreign organisation, could be jailed for 20 years.[4] It is doubtful whether Nazi Germany would have conceived such arbitrary power.

Just who is “interfering” ?

The Espionage and Interference Bill was not given wide mainstream media coverage within Australia. But working people are constantly bombarded with anti-China hysteria, from all sides of the corporate media, from some academics, and politicians themselves. They falsely claim that “China” is attempting to “interfere” with Australia’s political system, and its “national sovereignty”. This is simply breathtaking hypocrisy from Labor and Liberal politicians, with both political parties receiving large and regular donations from Chinese owned businesses.[5] One Chinese businessman, Dr Chau Chak Wing, has hosted former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and former Labor Treasurer Wayne Swan at his luxurious estate north of Guangzhou in China.[6] If China is “interfering”, they are doing so with the express co-operation of Labor and Liberal politicians!

However, there are huge dangers in the reporting of exactly what is “Chinese interference”. For one thing, to directly link Chinese owned businesses, whether based in Australia or China, to the Chinese government, is stretching the bounds of reality. To do so also invokes both racism and anti-communism. It also stands reality on its head. The Australian military is being consistently urged by Washington to provoke China by sailing warships and jet fighters within 12 nautical miles of islands under Chinese sovereignty – so called “Freedom of Navigation” exercises. And the Australian government is obliging, absurdly claiming even the right to overflight. It is estimated that US 5 $trillion in trade sails through the South China Sea annually.[7] The aim of the US and its allies including Canberra, is to choke off this trade route to China in the event of war, starving China of provisions. It has nothing to do with “freedom” of anything. There were no “disputed” islands in the South China Sea, until the US sent its warships in there, and exerted significant pressure on the governments of Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan to claim islands from China. The government of Vietnam should be ashamed at siding with the US, which waged a genocidal war against it, to score points against China in the South China Sea. The “interference” in this case, is carried out by Washington and Canberra, not by Beijing.

Socialism vs Capitalism

For decades, working people have been told the lie that socialism equals poverty, and capitalism equals prosperity. Now that China is definitively putting that canard to rest, and in fact demonstrating that socialism can mean economic, developmental, scientific and cultural advancement, imperialism is close to panic. To prevent capitalism falling further behind, imperialism is willing to risk nuclear war with China – such is its level of desperation. It is yet another sure sign that capitalism is historically outmoded, and needs to be cast aside by working people in favour of socialism.

Yet the imperialists will try the full gamut of deceptive tactics to prevent working people from seeing what is before their eyes – China’s socialism is vastly superior to the collapsing stock market casino capitalism in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. Imperialism’s vast propaganda machines, for which they are prepared to fund to the tune of billions of dollars, works overtime on China – but in two directions. One the one hand, the corporate media claim that China is a “communist dictatorship” where workers have no rights, and constantly suffer under extreme repression. On the other hand, the corporate media claim that China’s massive economic success, the lifting of hundreds of millions out of poverty, is due to the PRC having restored “capitalism”. According to them, workers have no rights in China, but their wealth is increasing year by year.

Unfortunately, some on the left accept this false precept. In the face of a New Cold War, which is arguably closer to nuclear conflict than at any time during the first Cold War, any faltering by the left on the question of China undermines the very struggles which may soon be upon us. No one is claiming that China today is a classless society with no state and no government – the final aim of socialism. China is only socialist to the extent that it has a predominantly collectivised economy, where the major means of production are state owned, and these are guarded by a workers’ state. To give just one example, the 102 largest State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in China are supervised by the State Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).These SOEs are valued at around 50 trillion yuan. This is wealth NOT in the hands of private capitalists, but in the hands of the workers’ state. What is more, out of the 40 million employees of the SOEs, around 10 million are members of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), who take part in around 800 000 party committees. In addition, on SOE boards, the chair is invariably the highest ranked party member.[8] To say the least, this is hardly “capitalism” !

What may be understandable confusion about the mode of production existing in China is contributed to by the political leadership of the CPC. The CPC never makes any announcement addressing the workers of the world, heralding China’s socialist system, and urging workers internationally to join them in a struggle to rid the world of capitalism. This has to do with the ultimately national limitations of Maoism, despite the largely positive role it has played within China. A genuinely international socialist leadership, would seek ways to reach out and connect with workers across Asia and internationally. It would seek to work with neighbouring socialist states extensively, up to and including regional economic planning. But the CPC as it is currently constituted does not have this perspective. And for that matter, neither does the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), nor the Workers Party of Korea (WPK).

Halt the war drive through workers’ power

Despite the political limitations of its leadership, working people need to defend China against the gathering war drive spearheaded by Washington and Canberra. Given such semi-fascist measures as the Espionage and Interference Bill, this could be a risky path. But working people will lose a lot more by allowing such unbridled totalitarianism to go unchallenged. If the imperialists launch the war, there will scarcely be opportunities to launch a “peace” movement, calling for calm and rational negotiations between the US Empire and its targets. Working people will need to take measures into their own hands, even just to prevent people being rounded up as “collaborators”, working for the “enemy” and so on. It should be noted that the Espionage and Interference Bill does not just target Red China, although that appears to be the main perverse rationale. Incredibly, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in his introductory speech to the bill, claimed that it was not only China which was engaged in “interference” activities, but also Russia, Iran and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK) !![9].

Working people need a struggle to repeal the Espionage and Interference Bill, and take immediate action the moment that any journalist or activist is jailed – up to and including general political strikes. Only significant mass working class pressure will have the possibility of forcing the release of those jailed, before or during the outbreak of war. A significant barrier to the type of action required are the invariably conservative and pro-capitalist Union officials, who can only maintain their well-paid careers by seeking to line up workers behind “their own” government. But any government which openly threatens to jail workers for life for questioning their actions at home, let alone opposing their predatory wars, is clearly not “our” government. It is an arm of the banks and the stock exchange, tied through a thousand threads to Wall Street and the Pentagon.

Well-heeled Union officials also seek to line workers up behind the foreign policy of Canberra and Washington, hence their complete silence in the face of prospective nuclear war against Russia, Iran, China and the DPRK. Riding on their coat tails, consciously or unconsciously, are a whole host of left parties and other groups who found themselves on the side of the governments waging the imperialist wars on Libya and Syria. The state of the working class is a question of the leadership of the working class. What is urgently needed is a genuine Leninist vanguard party, which can lead the struggle against vast inequality at home, and the linked threat of a global war launched against the non-imperialist states. The approach of dangerous times means an opportunity for workers to take the reins of power.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66   NUNDAH  QLD   4012

[1] https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_LEGislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6022 (06-07-2018)

[2] https://pressfreedom.org.au/espionage-and-foreign-influence-bills-5943e87e8228 (06-07-2018)

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jun/26/espionage-bill-could-make-some-protests-criminal-acts-getup-says (06-07-2018)

[4] http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/06/29/inte-j29.html (06-07-2018)

[5] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-21/china-australia-political-donations/7766654 (06-07-2018)

[6] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/foreign-minister-julie-bishops-links-to-chinese-political-donors-20160823-gqzauy.html (06-07-2018)

[7] https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/australianz/china-challenged-australian-warships-in-south-china-sea-australian-media (06-07-2018)

[8] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/economy/article/2098755/how-communist-party-controls-chinas-state-owned-industrial-titans (08-07-2018)

[9] https://www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/media/speech-introducing-the-national-security-legislation-amendment-espionage-an (08-07-2018)

Protesting the building of the Adani Coal Mine could be a criminal act under the broad sweep of the “foreign interference” laws. Image from http://www.theaimn.com