Above: Map showing US military bases encircling the People’s Republic of China (PRC)
25-04-2021: The threat of war in the Asia-Pacific looms as large as it ever has in 2021. Or should we say, the Indo Asia Pacific. The language emanates from the highest levels of Washington’s war machine, which operates a number of “Commands” in regions across the globe to maintain the US Empire. In 2018, the US Pacific Command was renamed the Indo-Pacific Command, as US imperialism sought to draw India into their efforts to militarily encircle the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Transparently, US imperialism and its allies such as the governments of the European Union (EU), Australia and Japan, are hell-bent on potentially apocalyptic military confrontations with Red China, demographically the largest nation on Earth. The PRC’s gigantic and still expanding socialist economy is rapidly overtaking the faltering capitalist economies of the West – something the US/EU ruling classes will risk anything to prevent from coming to pass.
The formation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad”, is another dead giveaway as to the intentions. Hardly an innocent undertaking, the Quad is a glaring attempt to draw more US allies into an explicit anti-China military alliance – containing the US, Japan, Australia and India. Its apologists deny that the Quad is being set up as an Asian NATO, but here the axiom of never believing anything until it is officially denied cannot be more apposite. The geographical surrounding of mainland China from Japan to its East, Australia to its South, and India to its West is easily triangulated by the briefest of perusals of a high school map of the region. As in the 1950s and 60s, the once supreme Western ruling classes are yet again embroiled in a deadly game to “contain and roll back communism”. This time, arguably, the stakes are even higher.
Military grade weapons expo
This is the geopolitical context which surrounds Brisbane hosting a weapons manufacturers expo in early June. The very title of the conference indicates not just a military grade weapons garage sale, but a subliminal message as to who the organisers wish to portray as the boogeyman “we” need to arm ourselves against. The first line of the publicity for the expo of Land Forces Australia Indo Asia Pacific International Land Defence Exposition states openly that the expo showcases “equipment, technology and services for the armies of Australia and the Indo Asia Pacific”. The explicit exclusion of China, by far the largest component of Asia, gives the game away. The weapons manufacturers such as Thales, Rheinmetall Defence, Boeing, DB Schenker, BAE Systems, EOS etc., are joined by the Queensland Government and the Australian Army as event sponsors. The links between weapons manufacturers and the governments of capitalist countries have been well documented over the last century. Such governments prosecute wars which then feeds the profits of weapons manufacturers. Yet this does not occur without underlying politics driving it. Without being stated overtly, the prevailing politics of the corporate and government sponsors of Land Forces 2021 are directed against Red China.
To be sure, what exists in the PRC is not a socialist society but rather a socialist state. And this state is heavily and bureaucratically deformed, both by the multi-class character of its 1949 revolution, and the saddling of this state with the Maoist/Stalinist politics of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Despite this, the capitalist mode of production was overthrown, land was nationalised, the predominant and strategic means of production remain publicly owned, and the economy is administered through five-year plans. This – rather than the politics of the CPC – is what must be defended by working people. At the same time, to synchronise the socialist state of the PRC with socialist politics, what is required is the rule of elected workers’ councils comprised of all political tendencies committed to the defence of modern China. That is to say, genuine Leninist-Trotskyism must prevail over the distortions of Maoism/Stalinism, despite its relative popularity in the PRC due to 20th Century history.
Disrupt LandForces 2021
Unfortunately, neither the defence of the PRC state against US/AUST imperialism, nor even opposition to war on China is on the agenda of the activists organising a series of protests against the military expo, under the hashtag of “#DisruptLandForces”. In fact, by the omission of material opposing wars fuelled, led and directed by the US Empire, #DisruptLandForces can find themselves on the same side of the barricades as the US/EU/AUST imperialism, even if this is not their intention. The wars that threaten humanity in 2021 are wars waged by the imperialist bloc and their allies -US/EU/AUST/JAP/CAN/Israel/Saudi Arabia etc., against the non-imperialist bloc and their allies – China, Russia, Iran, the DPRK, Libya, Syria, Venezuela and so on. Most of these wars are proxy regime change operations waged by imperialism against the allies of the non-imperialist bloc. Examples are the destruction of Green Libya in 2011, the Nazi coup in Ukraine in 2014, the failed regime change war on Syria from 2011 on, and attempted regime change destabilisations in Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar. Workers must resolutely oppose all such regime change wars and attempted colour revolutions organised and funded by imperialism as a matter of self-defence, even if this means a temporary bloc with governments targeted by Anglo/US imperialism which could not be described as left-leaning or even progressive.
Moreover, #DisruptLandForces activists implore progressive folk to picket Land Forces 2021 primarily on the basis that weapons manufacturers will make millions from making weapons of war. While this is true in itself, the implication that there should be no army, or that no nation should maintain and operate a defence force will be automatically rejected by the working class. The working class cannot be won to a position that their nation-state should reduce all military spending to zero, and nor should leftists make such an attempt. This is effectively a demand for the capitalist state to abolish itself, and while workers are no automatic fans of capitalism, they recognise that states as such cannot be abolished overnight. Working people can, however, be won to positions which oppose imperialist wars, i.e. predatory wars of conquest waged by the Anglo/US Empire – which today includes proxy wars of regime change and Western funded subversion. Therefore, the left should attempt to convince workers to oppose particular wars, not the manufacture of weapons per se.
At the same time, there is obviously a need for working people to oppose the $270 billion by 2030 defence spending plan of the Australian government, which was announced in June 2020. This is because the Australian ruling class itself – through its government – hardly shies away from an admission that the vast bulk of this spending will be used to militarily confront and provoke China, albeit as junior sidekicks of the US government. They state openly that “we want a free and open Indo-Pacific”, i.e., one not “controlled” or even influenced by the PRC, but in fact presided over by the US and their allies. This is not even slightly realistic, as the PRC is the largest nation on earth, it is situated in the Asia-Pacific, and its economy is still growing rapidly. It is thus in a position to offer much needed economic development and infrastructure building projects to its near neighbours – something the Anglo/US powers simply cannot, given their geographical distance and their long-term economic woes. The only way the US/EU/AUST ruling classes can prevent this from happening is by sowing chaos, sabotage and destabilisation up to and including the collapse of states. Ergo, Myanmar today.
#DisruptLandforces proclaim their solidarity with the “people of Myanmar”. Here they display their loyalty – perhaps unwittingly – to the very “colonisers” they claim to be protesting against. British imperialism certainly did rule what was then Burma until independence in 1948. Since then, the UK ruling class has not ceased its efforts to virtually recolonise Myanmar. It works in concert with the US state department to create and fund an entire “opposition” movement which will politically serve London and Washington, e.g., Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD). They managed to subvert Myanmar’s societal institutions to such an extent that Suu Kyi became State Counsellor in 2015. The government of Myanmar had allowed this overt foreign intervention into Myanmar’s internal affairs for decades, as many third world countries generally welcome any financial assistance from the West. However, the NLD, with backing from Wall Street, London and billionaire regime change kingmaker George Soros, had ensured by around 2015 that only they could “win” elections in Myanmar. Finally, on February 1 this year, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) stepped in and said enough is enough. Thus the military “coup” was in fact an act which defended the national sovereignty of Myanmar.
The “anti-coup” protests in Myanmar since early February have in fact been the culmination of decades of US and UK government funding for scores of imperialist backed fronts posing as “civil society” organisations and “NGOs”. The narrative in the Western corporate media of the Tatmadaw mowing down entirely innocent and unarmed “protestors” in the streets of Myanmar is utterly false and is eerily reminiscent of the storyline spun by Western governments to cover their atrocious regime change wars in Libya and Syria. As much as the Tatmadaw is demonised via the corporate press, it remains the only institution standing in the way of a total takeover by Washington and London. In a similar way in which the Pentagon’s regime change war on Syria was aimed at Russia (and Iran), today’s “uprising” in Myanmar has been carefully prepared by years and decades of covert funding for ANY opposition which could serve the interests of imperialism in its losing economic war with Beijing. Patently, Myanmar’s “protests” today are in fact a US/UK proxy war of regime change against Red China.
If #DisruptLandForces fall prey to deception in relation to Myanmar, they double and triple their illusions in relation to West Papua (the Indonesian provinces of Papua and Papua Barat). #DisruptLandForces, and many “peace” activists, imagine that the Indonesian government occupies West Papua, suppresses their culture, and uses armed force to take the lives of those who call for “independence”. This inversion of reality is regurgitated by liberals the world over, who are generally not aware that they are being ensnared by the very people they claim to be fighting for. The West Papuan “independence” movement is not an innocent campaign for “human rights”, but an armed separatist insurgency predominantly motivated by ethnic antagonism. This inevitably spills over into murderous anti-Indonesian violence, which the Indonesian government must respond to. For example, in December 2018, armed Papuan separatists slaughtered 31 Indonesian road workers constructing the Trans-Papua Highway. Papuans who do not necessarily support separatist independence can also be targeted with lethal intent, as in the case of the town of Wamena in September 2019. On that occasion, Papuan separatist militia attacked and burnt down sections of the town, killing 30, including 8 non-Papuan Indonesians.
This is not to say that there are no political and economic problems existing in West Papua. Yet Indonesia is far from an imperialist entity, and all indications are that the Indonesian government is attempting to include, rather than exclude, Papuans within the “Unitary State of Indonesia”. The Indonesian government regularly spends billions of rupiah in economic and social development in West Papua, and not only by building the Trans-Papua Highway. Where the geographical terrain does not prevent it, education (up to Year 9) and health care is provided for West Papuans free of charge. The Indonesian government is also pressing ahead with its plans to provide electricity to all areas of West Papua, in some places which have never before seen a light bulb. Would a separate West Papua, standing on its own, have such resources? To ask the question is to answer it.
For an end to hybrid wars
#DisruptLandForces is also silent on the major war underway against the global south and the workers of the world – the fake “Covid-19” pandemic. The “virus” provides a cover for lockdowns, which are a form of extreme violence against working and oppressed people – no less than physical wars waged with weapons. Thus we find that both #DisruptLandForces and Land Forces 2021 in fact both agree on just who is the enemy: Covid-19 and China! Needless to say, working people need to resist ALL hybrid wars waged by imperialism – against “Covid”, or China, or Russia, or whoever is the next target. Essential for this is the building of a vanguard party upholding genuine Marxism, with international sections dedicated to the supersession of capitalism and the inauguration of a socialist order.
 https://disruptlandforces.org/west-papua-resources/ (25-04-2021)