Defend Civil Rights! Open the State Borders!

Instances of police patrolling beaches is just one of the indicators of the virtual elimination of elementary rights. Image from http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz

Defend Civil Rights!  Open the State Borders!

30-05-2020: The Corona crisis is not caused by a virus. The deliberate destruction of the economy, the lockdown of healthy people inside their homes, the sacking of millions of workers, the decimation of small and medium sized businesses, the months long delay in vital medical treatment deemed “elective”, the abolition of basic civil and democratic rights – all of this and more was inflicted by politicians. In reality, behind them stands big capital, which stands to make a killing from the swallowing up of small and medium sized capital, enlarging what is already an effective monopoly. Whether they be Labor or Liberal, state Premiers or the Prime Minister, Australian politicians chose to inflict mass human suffering on innocent people. They must be stopped and stopped now.

Lockdowns have not saved a single life

There is not a shred of evidence which can confirm the brutal and inhumane lockdowns, absurd and logic defying “social-distancing” rules, and the sacking of around a million workers has saved even one human life. In fact, it stands to reason that the lockdowns and economic shutdowns themselves are taking lives.[1] Many of those who have lost their jobs are now in dire straits, despite Federal government emergency assistance. If workers are not allowed to work, understandably they cannot earn money to pay the rent, or even feed their families. Condescendingly, whole sections of the workforce have been labelled “non-essential”, and presumably therefore, expendable. This is a malicious lie – every worker is a vital part of the economy who contributes to the production and re-production of social life. Without workers going to work each day, capitalism collapses.

The elite politicians who are ordering fascistic lockdowns are on a power trip, and are seemingly deriving perverse pleasure from seeing just how far they can go. Queensland Labor Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk has taken the cake, vowing to keep the state borders closed until September. In a classic case of passing the buck, Palaszczuk claims that this is not her decision, but is based on the best health advice!![2]  Is that the health advice from arch-bureaucrat “Chief Medical Officer” Jeanette Young, who admitted in an interview that the closing of Queensland schools was not done for any scientific reason, but to “send a message”[3] about how supposedly serious Covid-19 was? These overpaid politicians and health bureaucrats – as opposed to genuine healthcare workers – have bullet-proof job security, and very comfortable retirements laid out for them, regardless of how many men, women and children are thrown into poverty and despair by their actions.

What is more, the closing of the state borders is an open and blatant violation of the Australian Constitution. Section 92 of the Constitution states that “intercourse among the states…shall be absolutely free”.[4] While well paid lawyers and academics claim that there are exceptions that can be made to the strict wording of the constitution for things like the protection of public health, it would stretch extreme limits of credibility to claim that closing state borders does this. For one thing, restricting the circulation of people prevents natural or herd immunity from being reached while it is in place – which reduces the health of everyone, rather than protecting it. For hundreds of thousands of years, natural or herd immunity is the way that humanity have dealt with viruses that are potentially harmful. There is no vaccine for Covid-19, it may be impossible to manufacture, and there is no guarantee that it would be effective anyway. More than this, many workers depend for their livelihood on businesses that need the flow of traffic across state borders. Border shutdowns endanger the physical health of people and imperils them economically.

Basic Civil Rights have been removed

Using the threadbare justification of the presence of one new coronavirus (in a family of 39!), which is allegedly the new Black Plague, elementary human, civil and political rights have been extinguished – without remorse. Although some lockdown measures are beginning to be lifted slowly, Orwellian social-distancing rules are still being enforced by police state measures. Social-distancing weakens immune systems for one thing and is only serving the other agenda behind the pre-manufactured Covid-19 crisis. This agenda is extreme ideological and political control, as well as the near total suppression of political activity of working people. In our view, this sets the stage for the possible launching of imperialist war by the Anglo/EURO/US Empire against Russia, China, Iran and others. A socially distanced, isolated, and house arrested population can scarcely oppose “their own” government waging what could be a civilisation ending conflagration.

Workers in the West assumed that they had achieved the basic rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association. Centuries of preceding political struggle had in fact only achieved implied rights. Even in the USA, where there was at one time a revolutionary struggle which produced a Bill of Rights, working people are discovering that state and federal governments are openly violating the black and white terms of the Bill of Rights. In the same way, the Australian state governments defile the very Constitution they claim to uphold. The forcible Covid-19 attack on working people has once and forever demonstrated that freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association can be abolished any time that big capital senses it has little political opposition.

The prime culprit for the appalling political situation of virtually no left-wing opposition to the government rests with the mind-bogglingly conservative Union officialdom (as opposed to rank and file Union members), which has backed the government to the hilt in its Coronavirus hysteria. Trailing on their coattails have been all manner of “left” organisations, from self-described socialists to anarchists to liberals. This “left” is of course nothing of the sort. What is required is a united front of all forces across society demanding the ending of the lockdowns, the re-opening of the state borders, and the restoration of all civil and political rights. Out of this movement must emerge a Marxist vanguard party, which can help lead the charge for the removal of tyranny via a general uprising.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

http://www.redfireonline.com

E:  workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH   QLD   4012

[1] https://www.globalresearch.ca/corona-tyranny-death-famine/5711942 (23-05-2020)

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-18/coronavirus-queensland-borders-closed-to-september-palaszczuk/2 (23-05-2020)

[3] https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/jeannette-young-who-is-the-woman-leading-queensland-s-fight-against-covid-19-20200406-p54hmd.html (23-05-2020)

[4] http://www.cefa.org.au/ccf/can-australian-states-lock-out-residents-other-states (23-05-2020)

No to House Arrest! Resist Martial Law!

Image from Yahoo News Australia

No to House Arrest!  Resist Martial Law!

12-04-2020: Australia, the US and Europe stand on the precipice of “medical” martial law. Fascistic lockdowns which effectively amount to house arrest are in place, enforced by a beefed-up police presence, who are monitoring and controlling workers with measures that in any other circumstance would trigger a township rebellion. Western governments have not only shredded basic rights but have in many cases eliminated elementary human decency. Millions have been thrown onto the unemployment scrapheap, and the economy has been deliberately crashed, pushing people to the brink of despair. All this has been imposed on the basis of government and corporate media hysteria fuelled by a big lie – “we all gone die!”

There is little danger from a virus – the real danger is fascism and imperialist war. Fascism and imperialist war were the only way out for the capitalist economies during the 1930s, but workers cannot allow history to repeat itself today. The Anglo/US Empire has been itching for war against Russia and China for the last ten years. Due to extreme patience and skilled political moves, Russia and China (and Iran and the DPRK) have, so far, prevented Washington from plunging the globe into World War III. Unable to procure the war outcome through relentless provocations, imperialism has turned against “their own” workers. After imposing devastating sanctions on umpteen foreign countries, the Western ruling classes are now effectively applying starvation sanctions at home.

Truth is the first casualty

Working people must resist this genocidal course. As in the 1930s, and even more so today, the first prerequisite to a generalised fightback is a complete break with the current phase of bourgeois ideology. Its fundamental tenet is that millions of people will die from an alleged coronavirus unless “we” lockdown the entire society, throw millions out of work, detain workers under house arrest, and install a police state redolent of Nazi Germany. This bare-faced lie must be rejected before there can be moves made to resist the vulgar display of power. For, if one accepts the spurious claim of a “deadly coronavirus pandemic”, one cannot then go on to oppose the measures which the ruling class maintains are a response to it – job cuts, house arrest, martial law and Orwellian “social-distancing”. The lives of millions are NOT at stake, and half of humanity will NOT perish from a coronavirus (Covid-19) which contains some similarities to a seasonal flu.[1]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a “pandemic” on March 11, after previously using the term PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern). Yet just as the 2009 “Swine flu” WHO declared pandemic was fake, so too is the coronavirus “pandemic”. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom is the first WHO director who is NOT a medical doctor. He is a doctor of philosophy and was previously an Ethiopian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Health.[2] He is a run-of-the-mill politician, in other words. A fake pandemic declared by a fake doctor! There’s one for the books.

Try as they might, Western governments cannot suppress facts about the coronavirus from emerging – facts which totally contradict their narrative. In Australia, PM Scott Morrison (“Scomo”) has every level of government, all health departments, all major parties, all corporate media, conservative Trade Union leaders (not members), most left parties, the intelligentsia etc – all on his side, fanning the flames of relentless panic-mongering. Yet the numbers and statistics to indicate a supposed mortal danger are just not there. This is not to say that some preventative health measures – arguably for temporarily isolating the most vulnerable – may be justified. However, a mass coronavirus die-off is a fantasy.

Pandemic’s rubbery figures

The world is a large place, inhabited by 7.8 billion people, of whom around 90 000 people pass away each day[3], from all causes. Dr John Lee states that over the first three months of this year, we could expect around 14 million people to pass away. Of that, the world’s 18 944 coronavirus deaths represent only 0.14% of that total.[4]  This mortality rate is lower than other infectious diseases, such as the seasonal flu, that we currently live with. In the United Kingdom (UK), on March 19, Covid-19 was downgraded as a danger, and was no longer considered a High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID).[5] Why? Due to a low mortality rate. Ironically, this was four days before the UK entered lockdown. Their lockdown appears to have been implemented for other (suspicious) reasons.

In the US Dr Anthony Fauci is the White House spokesperson on Covid-19. In public press conferences in front of the media, Dr Fauci speaks of a doomsday like coronavirus worst case scenario. Yet this is completely at odds with a report he co-authored on the coronavirus. That report explicitly states that “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”[6] Again the fatality rates of Covid-19 are nowhere near “pandemic” levels. In fact, a seasonal flu much more resembles a “pandemic”. So, while his own academic research (which most people will never see) says one thing, he says the opposite in a White House media scrum. Here we have a concrete example of medicos paid by the state skewing their public message to that of those who fund their careers.

In any other situation, the notion that workers could be confined to their homes and not be allowed to venture out unless for a “good reason”, on pain of arrest and prosecution, would be rejected as unimaginable tyranny. Yet this has been implemented in the US, UK and Australia, alongside “social distancing” measures for which little or no scientific or medical justification has been presented. In fact, there are some indications that social distancing may prolong the existence of the coronavirus, whereas if it was left to run its course, nature would allow humans to develop immunity in a matter of weeks. In a stunning interview, an epidemiologist with 35 years’ experience stated that the coronavirus could be exterminated by lifting the lockdowns, and only taking measures to temporarily isolate very vulnerable sections of society such as those with advanced age. Knutt Wittkowski, previously the long-time head of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design at Rockefeller University in New York, also stated that going outdoors is what kills every respiratory disease.[7] “Flattening the Curve”, used nowadays by government and the media to insane groupthink levels, and enforcing social distancing as part of that, can in fact make the disease hang around much longer than it should. Perversely, that seems to be the government’s aim – to keep us in lockdown and apart from each other for between six months to two years.

Social control, not social distancing

The big lie propaganda machine insists that social distancing will “stop the spread”, and that “staying at home saves lives”. How convenient for the authorities that such measures disorient and paralyse the masses, as well as generating spontaneous deference to the government. This is the same Scomo led government which, little more than a couple of months ago, was condemned from all quarters for displaying callous disregard for people and wildlife losing their lives and/or livelihoods in catastrophic global warming fuelled bushfires. Many have switched from believing that the government doesn’t care if we die, to the government is trying to save our lives – overnight. We can’t have it both ways.

A few examples of the absurdities of police enforcement demonstrate that social distancing is about social and political control, rather than about “stopping the spread”. In the US, a paddleboarder was arrested in Malibu for refusing to exit the water. He was paddling alone in the ocean, clearly distancing himself from anyone.[8] In Pennsylvania, a woman was fined for violating stay-at-home orders – when she was actually just driving alone.[9] She had gone for a drive to relieve the boredom of isolation, but had obviously maintained isolation. Closer to home, the Queensland Police Commissioner reaffirmed that over Easter, anyone “blatantly” just going for a drive – which is not “essential travel” – will if found be apprehended and fined.[10] Go for a drive, be punished by the state. There is clearly another agenda here; it cannot be about “health” or “safety”. This is about getting working people accustomed to blind and unthinking submission to authority, even when it is irrational and counterproductive.

Even some who retain some level of backing for certain restrictions have major reservations about the practice of the lockdowns. Professor Peter Collignon, of the Australian National University medical school, is concerned that Australia’s extreme measures against going outside “don’t even make biological sense”. He is another expert who says that people are safer from a virus when they are outside, as opposed to being locked inside.[11] He has called for the implementation of biologically plausible measures which do not cause social, mental or economic harm.[12] A man of science cannot be expected to imagine that the lockdowns are primarily motivated by anti-working class politics, rather than biology. The ruling elite of Australia, the US and Europe have separate aims.

False “Overwhelmed hospitals” news

In the US, the LA Times was exposed as distributing transparent fake news when it claimed that its city hospitals were “overwhelmed” with Covid-19 infected patients. When journalist Del Bigtree visited the hospitals himself just to check on this story, he found that the waiting areas and entrances to the hospitals were empty – hardly a soul in sight.[13] Here in Australia, we are not even allowed to check our hospitals here, because we are basically not allowed outside, on pain of prosecution! In addition, there are no media photos or video of hospitals or local GP wards here being flooded with coronavirus patients – no prizes for guessing why.

It needs emphasising over and over again, passing away WITH the coronavirus is not at all the same as passing away FROM the coronavirus. Time and time again, from various countries around the world, there emerge reports which confirm that medical statistics of Covid-19 “deaths” simply record IF the patient had Covid-19 present in their body at the time of their passing.[14] Whether it is the US, Europe or Australia, these skewed stats do not at all indicate to what extent the coronavirus contributed to their deteriorating condition or their eventual death. These skewed stats do not mention what other serious health conditions the patients had. Suffice to say, if there are ANY other serious health conditions, ANY flu strain or virus could be dangerous – but it is hardly the sole cause.

Drop the charges, waive the fines

Others have noted that martial law is not “law” at all. It is the abolition of any pretext of a legal process and is direct rule by the decree of the head of the armed forces. In a sense we have entered into a period of “medical” martial law, and effective house arrest. It is estimated that one million workers have been sacked, and many businesses have simply been forced to cease trading. The mental health of millions is now being threatened, and poverty is rising. Fascism and imperialist war launched by Washington (backed by Canberra) looms large. If this is not fought, the ruling classes will get away with even more than they have planned with the coronavirus diversion.

Tragically, left-wing leadership of the working class is all but absent. What has taken its place is a Union bureaucracy actively aiding the government itself[15], and so-called left parties who also act as government auxiliaries. Whomever falls for the Covid-19 psy-op is of no use to those who labour. What we demand is the dropping of all charges and the waiving of all fines against all those apprehended under the draconian “social-distancing” and “stay-at-home” orders. Out of resistance to the “health” fiasco must be forged a vanguard party of advanced workers, who will lead a struggle for a planned economy based on public ownership of the means of production.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu (10-04-2020)

[2] https://journal-neo.org/2020/04/02/can-we-trust-the-who/ (10-04-2020)

[3] https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ (10-04-2020)

[4] https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/The-evidence-on-Covid-19-is-not-as-clear-as-we-think (10-04-2020)

[5] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid (10-04-2020)

[6] https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/04/02/ground-control-planet-lockdown-only-test/ (10-04-2020)

[7] https://www.thecollegefix.com/epidemiologist-coronavirus-could-be-exterminated-if-lockdowns-were-lifted (10-04-2020)

[8] https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/04/03/paddleboarder-arrested-in-malibu-for-refusing-to-exit-water/ (10-04-2020)

[9] https://reason.com/2020/04/07/to-enforce-social-distancing-rules-cops-fined-a-pennsylvania-woman-who-was-driving-alone/ (10-04-2020)

[10] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8190769/Top-cop-says-Australians-shouldnt-driving-amid-coronavirus-lockdown.html (10-04-2020)

[11] https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6707817/expert-pans-panic-decisions-that-dont-make-biological-sense/?fbclid=IwAR0vWHAgHVkTx3w2VKwBshpeX–TlH4L7x1-KdnAg0u4ZHOKrVwoML4hSNE (10-04-2020)

[12] https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/05/we-need-to-live-restricted-lives-for-at-least-six-months-police-enforced-lockdowns-are-unnecessary? (10-04-2020)

[13] https://www.sott.net/article/431750-Empty-Hospitals-Where-Are-All-The-Coronavirus-Patients (11-04-2020)

[14] https://off-guardian.org/2020/04/05/covid19-death-figures-a-substantial-over-estimate/ (11-04-2020)

[15] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOPNv2t0grQ  (11-04-2020)

Lift the Lockdowns! No to a Police State!

Police patrol Coogee Beach in Sydney. Image from Reddit

Lift the Lockdowns! No to a Police State!

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

Lockdown the healthy?

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

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

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

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

Pandemic?

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

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

Union officials, left parties act as arms of the state

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

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

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

Shredding of elementary rights

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

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

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

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

WORKERS   LEAGUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Virus Recession!

Queues form outside Centrelink Offices in the wake of overnight job losses. Image from abc.net.au

No Virus Recession!

 

26-03-2020 – Amidst the Coronavirus crisis, the civil and democratic rights of working people are fast becoming collateral damage. Australia’s Prime Minister yesterday announced the closure of pubs, clubs, gymnasiums, indoor sporting venues, cinemas and places of worship, and warned that these closures could be in place for six months.[1]  PM Scott Morrison feigned to apologise for the workers who would lose their jobs as a consequence. A recession, or more to the point, a worsening of an already dire economic malaise, is inevitable. Public gatherings of 500 or more, and indoor gatherings of 100 or more have already been banned. Incredibly, the PM put the blame for this situation on “young people” supposedly not abiding by the rules.

Tens of thousands of workers have been thrown out of employment overnight. The Virgin Australia airline stood down 8000 of its staff,[2] following QANTAS which stood down 20 000.[3] It is estimated that one million workers have lost their jobs following the closure of “non-essential” services. Queues have formed automatically at Centrelink, overwhelming their capacity to respond – but this is after years of funding and staffing cuts. Centrelink advised workers not to attempt to visit a Centrelink office, but to go to the MyGov website and lodge an “intent to claim” form online.[4] All this did was to cause the MyGov website to crash – twice.[5]

Corporate media and government fuel hysteria

It is vital that working people resist this enforced recession. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) effectively and swiftly dealt with the Coronavirus outbreak, and as far as we know, no workers were thrown out of work. This included temporary shutdowns of workplaces and temporary directions to stay at home. While the PRC and the SRV are weighed down by bureaucratic political leaderships which do not consistently defend workers’ interests, the contrast between the socialist response and the capitalist response to coronavirus could not be more stark. However deformed socialism may be in the PRC and the SRV, there was co-operation with the government measures there, because workers knew that it was unlikely that they would be the targets, and that they would not be asked to pay the costs. In capitalist Australia, on the other hand, many workers have already lost what is most vital to them – an income to keep food on the table. More than this, fear and uncertainty of the future grips workers in the West, engendering despair.

What is more, this has been done on the basis of wild distortions of scientific facts and realities. Coronavirus hysteria is pounding people non-stop, inducing fear. Yet, the government, the corporate media, bought and paid for medicos, employers, big business and obsequious Union officials are all vastly exaggerating the danger of the coronavirus. They have abominable political reasons for doing so. There is evidence that this may well have been an act of biological war by the Pentagon against China and Iran, and also Italy. The latter may well have been punished for being the first G7 (Group of seven most industrialised countries) to sign on to China’s gargantuan trade and infrastructure development project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or “New Silk Road”).[6] It may well have backfired spectacularly on Washington, given that the virus appears to be rapidly spreading throughout the USA. Nonetheless, the ruling classes of the capitalist West from Australia to Europe to the US have seized on the opportunity the coronavirus presents to them. Their economy has been staggering along for ten years or so, but now there is a chance to throw millions of workers onto the scrapheap, and thereby push down the price of labour-power, or wages, even further than legal minimums. Moreover, it provides the opportunity to launch catastrophic war against China or whoever – with a crippled and disoriented working-class unwilling or unable to take political action against “their own” imperialism.

Lockdowns may worsen health conditions

Of concern is the fact that it is likely that lockdowns and closures of workplaces and places of recreation and needed social gatherings will lead to more unnecessary fatalities, not less. Not to speak of the mental health problems created by mass unemployment, the severe curtailing of social interaction for almost all purposes exacerbates the extent of the symptoms those with accompanying health conditions suffer. One medical specialist who, to his credit, is not bowing down to his government, has inferred that the social lockdowns are “collective suicide” that will shorten the lives of millions.[7] The cancellations of elective surgery, which has already occurred in Australia, by itself will mean prolonged suffering for those waiting – and even premature death.

The fact is that the numbers of cases of a virus are nowhere near “pandemic” levels. In addition, the vast majority of those infected with coronavirus will suffer mild symptoms and recover after a period of about two weeks. While reasonable and rational precautionary measures to counter this virus are justified, a full-scale economic recession and all of its life-extinguishing consequences needs to be avoided at all costs. What has to be recognised is that all points of authority within capitalist society are universally on board with the elite’s recession and war planning – for they will not suffer from it. Working people must grapple with the fact that fascism is a distinct possibility.

Workers must not despair, and must not fear, however. Throughout history, fascism has only triumphed in the absence of determined working class opposition, i.e. without a strong and organised left-wing. It is critical that a Marxist vanguard party is formed, now more than ever. Such a party can form out of mobilisations behind demands that can address parts of this crisis, and others besides. For a start, we urge workers to fight for:
1.  A six hour day!

2. Public ownership of energy, infrastructure, banks!

3. A Workers’ Government!

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

http://www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.mygc.com.au/australia-shut-down-pm-orders-pubs-restaurants-churches-gyms-to-close/ (23-03-2020)

[2] https://www.hepburnadvocate.com.au/story/6695892/virgin-australia-stands-down-8000-staff/ (25-03-2020)

[3] https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/employee-engagement/qantas-stands-down-two-thirds-of-staff/217358 (25-03-2020)

[4] https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6144476072001 (25-03-2020)

[5] https://www.themercury.com.au/news/coronavirus/anxious-tasmanians-continue-to-line-up-at-centrelink-as-mygov-website-crashes-again/news-story/d2a20f022f52cae32052bceaf7962f8c (25-03-2020)

[6] https://redfireonline.com/2020/03/22/covid-19-natural-pathogen-or-biological-war/ (25-03-2020)

[7] https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:nhbO6vLdYsgJ:https://www.anti-empire.com/fantastic-video-interview-german-infectologist-govt-lockdowns-are-collective-suicide-will-shorten-the-lives-of-millions/%20&cd=1&hl=pt-BR&ct=clnk&gl=br&fbclid=IwAR0cr0zTLxTKRUNvDqPQoCmCcU2qSFkyyof971KVX0CLPiY0j6BiSzmeOGw (25-03-2020)

 

 

Covid-19: Natural Pathogen, or Biological War?

Covid-19: Natural Pathogen, or Biological War?

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

Where did Covid-19 come from?

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

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

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

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

Act of biological war?

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

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

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

Social and political control

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

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

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

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

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

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rise Against the Climate Collapse!

The Adelaide Hills bushfire from afar. Image from abc.net.au

Rise Against the Climate Collapse!

20-12-2019 – The climate collapse is no longer only the content of Hollywood disaster films, but is a lived reality. Australia, the driest continent on earth, is burning alive, and Sydney is being blanketed in smoke and ash which is hazardous to human health. Last Monday, the Climate and Health Alliance released a statement declaring the smoke haze covering Sydney to be a public health emergency.[1] The statement urges New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to show leadership and implement measures to alleviate the climate and health crisis. The Liberal Party of Berejiklian and Morrison is stacked with climate deniers, but in reality, ALL government parties and politicians have failed to act on the urgent necessity of climate collapse over a period of some 40 years. Labor and the Greens call for climate action in words but they are bound to the same parliaments as the Liberals and Nationals at whom they wave cardboard swords. And these parliaments are but appendages of the rule of the privatised banks and finance capital, set against working people and those without property.

One part of a system in crisis

Ecological breakdown is now so severe that it is a clear and present danger to the survival of humanity. The sheer volume of carbon emissions also threatens to cause catastrophic malfunction of the basic ecosystems needed to sustain most animal and plant life. As serious as it is, workers need to be aware that the collapse of a habitable environment is but one symptom of the crisis of capitalism, which is linked to other major crises. It is linked to the lowest real wages in history, to the rampant wage theft of countless workers. It is linked to the attempt to illegally collect large but completely false “robodebts” from welfare recipients. It is linked to mass unemployment, unaffordable housing and thus relentless increases in the number of homeless people. It is linked to never-ending attempts by all governments to restrain what remains of workers’ Unions. It is linked to the shredding of basic democratic rights and civil liberties. It is linked to the repeated imperialist wars and attempts at regime change against any country deemed too independent from Washington. It is linked to the insane provocations by Washington, Canberra and London against Russia and China, which if triggered could mean an unavoidable World War III.

There are alternatives to this nightmare scenario, provided the working class is able to produce leadership which corresponds to their interests. The greatest illusion is that a cross-class climate movement, a movement of “everyone” is the way forward. Such movements of “everyone all together” is precisely what has led to the current political impasse. The “climate strikes” of recent times have mobilised millions of people, but they have only passed on plaintive pleas to the very self-serving politicians who have a material interest in sitting on their hands. After 40 years of inaction, after 40 years of dire warnings from the world’s climate scientists, it is clear that these politicians will not act. The bushfires razing Australia currently, and the stark indifference from state and federal politicians is the clearest indicator that the unaccountable elite are no longer fit to rule. PM Morrison is currently holidaying in Hawaii ! This is why it is fruitless for working people to demand these governments act. They are not “ours”, but are paid functionaries of a class alien to the basic interests of workers. Placing demands on these government hacks recognises their “authority” and, in turn, demoralises and disempowers workers, leading to more confusion and despair.

Working class political leadership is crucial

Instead of pleas for the government of the corporate class to provide free face masks to ward off bushfire smoke, what is urgently required is a political leadership which can inspire and arouse working people to take matters into their own hands. A cross-class climate movement which mobilises hundreds of thousands, but then waits powerlessly for corporate politicians to come to their aid does little but assist hand-wringing about how bad things are. The fact is that the world’s capitalist ruling classes, in Australia as elsewhere, would prefer to see the world burn one thousand times over rather than lose a fraction of their wealth and power. They may have their own children, but their material interest of preserving their capital over-rides even family ties.

While political activity which urges action on climate makes a contribution, a climate movement which attempts to be agnostic on the question of capitalism vs socialism will remain trapped in contradiction. The socialist overturn of private ownership of the means of production is no automatic guarantee that the planet will be able to save humanity from extinction, but without it there is little chance. It is impossible for class society to only “take action” on climate change, and leave all other forms of exploitation untouched. A climate movement which confines itself within the parameters of a for-profit economy will not be able to get past first base.

An urgent transition to zero-carbon energy sources, using all available methods to draw carbon out of the atmosphere, to the reversing of soil degradation, to the cleaning out of the seas of plastic and other pollution – none of this can be begun while private capital retains its ownership rights. Paraphrasing Karl Marx, “despotic” inroads into the rights of corporate property are the first step towards not only a society fit for working people, but also to a safe climate. The forging of a Leninist vanguard party to lead this struggle is not only an overarching goal, but a critical and immediate task.

To begin, we urge agitation around the following demands:

                      1. A SIX HOUR DAY

  1. PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF THE BANKS, TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
  2. A WORKERS’ GOVERNMENT

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/no-safe-level-pollution-labelled-a-public-health-emergency-20191215-p53k5d.html (16-12-2019)

 

For Public Ownership of All Aged Care Facilities!

For Public Ownership of All Aged Care Facilities!

04-11-2019 – Another year, another damning report into the critical failings of Australia’s Aged Care system. An interim report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has again found that the Aged Care system displayed shocking levels of treatment of elderly residents, including excessive use of chemical restraints.[1]  The aged people of a supposedly advanced industrialised country, after a lifetime of contribution to the community through work and other areas, are being treated with cruel inhumanity. A related problem is that young people with a disability are being funnelled into Aged Care homes, because there are no other facilities available for them. An estimated 3500 people with a disability under the age of 60 live in aged care nursing homes, which are not suited to their needs.[2]

Profit system failure

It is no mystery why the appalling treatment of aged care residents has gone on for years. It has effectively been privatised, and is now run by big business for private profit. In these circumstances, the physical and mental health of Aged Care residents is at the bottom of the list of priorities, if at all. At the top of their list is the extraction of cash, usually from Aged Care residents who are pensioners, and their families who are mostly working class people with little accumulated wealth. For over a decade, doctors and nurses have warned the federal government about the critical level of understaffing in nursing homes across the country, but have been met with no response. The New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association released a statement stressing the fact that Aged Care needs to be affordable and accessible, and provided by professional and accredited staff who are remunerated accordingly.[3] Instead, what transpires are Aged Care centres that are chronically understaffed, with a shortage of qualified nurses, which leads to long waiting lists, unmet expectations and unnecessary pain and suffering.

Two years ago, for profit “health care provider” Bupa actually issued a directive to their staff to conserve continence pads in their Aged Care facilities because they were allegedly running “over budget”.[4] Unless the pads were 75% wet, Bupa staff were told not to change them. Cost cutting on essential items includes food for the residents. In recent times, the amount many Aged Care homes had been spending on food for residents had dropped to $6 per day. Some who raised the alarm over this critical underfunding commented that both prisoners and guinea pigs receive more fresh food than those in Aged Care.[5] The lack of fresh food in at least adequate proportions, apart from the base inhumanity of private profit margins, leads in turn to more health problems for residents in terms of wounds, falls, and hospital readmissions. To say this is a false economy is a vast understatement.

Public health care a basic need

As with other multiple crises affecting society, the plummeting standards of Aged Care in Australia mirror the declining state of the capitalist economy. Since 2008, the “global” financial crisis hit the West hard, and it has barely recovered. The previous sectors of the economy where capital had been making what they consider an adequate rate of return – manufacturing, industry, agriculture – have long since ceased to do so. In turn, the capitalist class demanded that the public relinquish parts of the public economy which had previously been denied them – such as Aged Care. Capital moved into Aged Care not to take care of the elderly people in their final years, but to make a quick buck. Providing the smallest amount of “care” while extracting the most amount of money, for them, is “good business”.  For working people who have worked their whole lives, raised children, built communities – this is insanity. For this issue, as for many others, working people and private capital have utterly irreconcilable interests.

At the very least, all aged care should be taken back into public ownership, and treated as part of a public health care system. For profit “providers” should be expelled from the Aged Care system without compensation. Qualified and specialist nurses, doctors and Aged Care workers should be employed until there are adequate ratios of residents to care workers and medical staff. This campaign should be led by the Unions, who should both organise and mobilise the overworked and underpaid staff currently employed. There would be more than enough public sympathy for such a militant campaign, given the horror stories that have emerged from numerous enquiries.

Standing in the way of this much needed effort are the conservative and self-serving Union officials, who have either restricted themselves to silence, or the occasional press release. Unfortunately under capitalism the labour bureaucracy has a material interest in maintaining the status quo – even an unbearable one. The top officials live the life of riley off the funds provided by Union members and their numerous connections to regional and national Union bodies, the Australian Labor Party, and state and federal parliaments. It is the parents and grandparents of current Union members and unorganised workers who languish in below standard for-profit nursing homes, not those of well-off officials.

Careerist Union officials must be positioned by workers into taking a stand for basic justice for the elderly. Even just to win decent Aged Care, let alone other public services, the working class will have to jettison the current Union misleaders, and replace them with those committed to a class struggle against the capitalist system. This is bound up with efforts to forge a Marxist vanguard party, which could provide the desperately needed leadership workers are crying out for. Such a party would stop at nothing to build a socialist world, where the health and well-being of working people would come before all else.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66    NUNDAH   QLD  4012

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-31/aged-care-royal-commission-report-finds-unsafe-industry/11658328 (03-11-2019)

[2] https://synapse.org.au/information-services/young-people-in-nursing-homes.aspx (03-11-2019)

[3] https://www.nswnma.asn.au/chronic-understaffing-in-aged-care-is-causing-enormous-pain-and-suffering-for-residents-and-families/ (03-11-2019)

[4] https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/cost-cutting-and-understaffing-of-aged-care-homes-leads-to-rationing-and-neglect-20171010-gyxn7b.html (03-11-2019)

[5] https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/news/my-guinea-pigs-eat-better-ama (03-11-2019)

 

Jobs for All Workers and…..Stop Adani!

The Black-Throated Finch faces extinction if the Adani mine goes ahead. http://www.abc.net.au

Jobs for All Workers and….Stop Adani!

02-06-2019 – The proposed Adani mega coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, beset from the off by a political campaign to prevent it, has now been given a new lease of life. Pumping blood back into the veins of what will arguably be Australia’s greatest environmental crime is none other than the Labor Party. In the immediate aftermath of the federal Labor Party losing the unlosable election,[1] Queensland Labor Party Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk has moved to accelerate the construction of the mine by demanding a definite timeframe[2] for the building of an ecological nightmare. Since then, Adani’s supposed plan for the preservation of the endangered black-throated finch – a smoke and mirrors archetype – has been approved by the state government, weeks after it was initially rejected.[3]

It is blatantly obvious that the Queensland Premier is reacting to the federal election loss by the Labor Party. Voters in central and north Queensland, desperate for jobs after suffering 25% unemployment in areas such as Townsville, swung to the Liberal National Party presumably on the promise that the Adani coal mine would produce at least some jobs which would stimulate the rest of the economy in those areas. Queensland voters will go to the polls in a little over 12 months, and Premier Palaszczuk holds on to a slim margin in government. In fact, the Queensland Labor Party only scraped home in the last election after Premier Palaszczuk during the campaign announced that it would block a 1 billion loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) due to a possible conflict of interest. Her partner at the time was working for Price Waterhouse Coopers, which was involved in Adani’s application for the loan.[4]

This gave the perception that the Labor Party was withdrawing support for the Adani mine – which is hugely unpopular – apart from economically devastated areas of central and north Queensland. This is little more than an illusion. The Labor Party has always been strongly pro-Adani, but has hedged its bets in public statements. For example, aside from the NAIF loan, before the Federal Election the Labor Party ensured Adani received a $400 million taxpayer funded loan, promised to build a $100 million access road, and approved a 60 year unlimited water licence. If this was not enough, the Labor Party has not ruled out extinguishing the native title of the Wangan and Jagalingou indigenous people – who have never approved even the start of the Adani mega mine.[5]

Carbon vortex

It is impossible to understate the environmental damage which will be caused by the Adani mine alone, let alone the other mines slated for construction in the Galilee Basin. The Labor government has approved the use of 12.5 billion litres of water every year from the Suttor River, which compares to 15.4 billion litres of water for all other agricultural users combined.[6] This is on top of an unlimited amount of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin – when of course groundwater is specifically not unlimited. The Adani mine is slated to produce 60 million tonnes of coal per year, all of which will be transported through the Great Barrier Reef.[7] It is estimated that if all of the Galilee Basin coal is burnt, it will release 705 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, which represents 1.3 times Australia’s total carbon emissions.[8] For comparison, the projected carbon emissions just from the Adani mine would be three times the annual carbon emissions from New Delhi, twice those of Tokyo, six times that of Amsterdam and 20% more than New York City.[9]

The Adani corporation itself is a poster boy for the degeneracy of capitalism. It is basically a corporate criminal, which has repeatedly been charged with tax avoidance, environmental damage, and bribery of government officials – not that the Labor Party needed bribing. The Adani corporation has 26 subsidiaries in Australia, 13 of which are owned through the Cayman Islands. Adani mining poisoned a river in Zambia, and then hid this from the Australian government. In 2011, Adani sunk a coal ship off the coast of Mumbai, causing a massive oil spill. Adani made no attempt to clean up the mess for five years.[10] Socialists are aware that ALL capitalist corporations are unscrupulous, to say the least, but Adani takes the cake for its lawless and reckless behaviour.

Jobs illusion

Regardless of the unquestionable scale of the climate emergency, it is acknowledged that working people need jobs to survive as a first priority, to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. It is understandable to some extent that workers will first lend their political support to any party or part of government where they may perceive that more or better jobs will be the result. This is especially the case in regional Queensland, where youth unemployment levels are at stratospheric levels. A national youth unemployment rate of 12% compares to a 67.1% youth unemployment rate in outback Queensland, and 27.7% in Wide Bay.[11] The official, and grossly underestimated official unemployment rate in Townsville is 8.21%,[12] but it is reportedly more like 25%.

In these desperate circumstances, some workers can latch on to ANY economic development that might occur, which MAY lead to the prospect of ongoing employment. Yet the Adani mine will not produce the jobs they are seeking. Adani – and the Queensland Labor government, first trumpeted that the Adani mine will create “10 000” jobs. This was a bare-faced lie. Adani later admitted that the Carmichael mine will only create around 1500 jobs during the construction phase. Recently, National Party leader and backer of Adani, Bridget McKenzie, admitted that the Carmichael mine will only create “around about 100” ongoing jobs![13] Why? Because Adani itself has stated that the mine will automated “from pit to port”. That is, even the trucks transporting the coal will be driverless. In Queensland, coal mining only accounts for 1.1% of the workforce. Even in North Queensland, 96% of the workforce is NOT employed in an industry that is related to coal mining.[14]

The vast scale of unemployment and the climate catastrophe of global warming are linked. Both are outcomes of the current phase of the system of generalised commodity production where there is private ownership of the means of production. The profit system is at an impasse in all countries where the rule of capital has not been overthrown. To combat this, workers should seek to push their Unions into demanding a shorter working week with no loss in pay. Working hours should be reduced as far as is necessary to obtain full employment. A key demand would be for a 30 hour week – or a six hour day. In addition, workers should demand their Unions lead a struggle for a massive program of public works, to build the sorely needed public infrastructure and health care systems working people need. All workers have the right to decent and secure jobs which provide an adequate standard of living. If the capitalist system cannot provide this, then let it perish.

Stop Adani campaign crashes

The fact that the Adani coal mine is now going ahead at full steam, despite overwhelming public sentiment against it, is proof positive that corporate environmental and “activist” NGOs directly achieve the opposite of what they claim to combat. Despite two solid years of effort, and with history on its side, the official Stop Adani leadership organised barely even one mass action that could have begun a process of exerting serious political pressure. Instead, smaller and “targeted” actions were prioritised, many to coincide with the activities of the bourgeois parliament and their elections. Why was this? Even a brief look at their website reveals they are linked to the “Sunrise Project”, another corporate environmental NGO with a staff chock full of ex-company directors and business high-fliers.[15] Their aim is simply to have capitalism switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and that’s it. The plethora of injustices that the rule of the stock market imposes on working people, the unemployed and the homeless mean nothing to them – and why would it? As long as “free enterprise” continues, they can continue to haul in huge salaries as hangers on to big business, albeit one that claims to be fossil fuel free.

The notorious GetUp! also played a similar role, selectively mobilising their supporters for slick photo-ops at selected locations, while avoiding allowing people who wanted to help any say in what was being planned. GetUp!, despite public denials, is inextricably linked to the Labor Party. GetUp! targets the Liberal Party over Adani, while going soft on the Labor Party by organising pleading petitions to them, in the vain hope that Labor Party politicians will change their mind.[16] They were aided in this strategy by “baby GetUp!” – the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), who organised the “Student Strikes 4 Climate” in the lead up to the Federal Election. They explicitly had a whole campaign organised as the “climate election”.[17] They deceive some indigenous people by organising SEED[18] along the same lines.

The campaign to stop Adani did not fail (so far) because the Liberal Party won the Federal Election. It failed because the conservative leadership of the stop Adani campaign – Stop Adani/GetUp!/AYCC – directed the entire campaign into lobbying the very politicians who had already approved it. But this flows from their politics. Despite the apparent differences of opinion between the Adani corporation and Stop Adani/GetUp!/AYCC, the fact remains that all of them remain staunch partisans of the capitalist system. The only difference is that one wants to continue to use fossil fuels for energy, while the others wans to use “100% renewable energy” (yet 100% renewable energy is another illusion).

Stop Work to Stop Adani

Despite the fact that it is possible to stop the Adani mine this side of the overthrow of capitalism, effectively anti-capitalist methods will need to be used. Most especially, there will be a need for workers around the country to strike against the construction of new coal mines. Other forms of mass action to involve people, such as large demonstrations, will be crucial also, but workers will be key. The banks can sustain any number of weekend rallies against Adani – as necessary as they are. But the capitalist state does not really view a protest movement as an economic liability until workers are prepared to “down tools”. Then it becomes a matter of who exactly is in charge.

Standing in the way of this are the conservative Union officials, almost all of whom have not uttered a word of opposition to the Adani abomination. An exception is Bob Carnegie, the leader of the Queensland branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, which merged with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU).[19] However, Mr Carnegie has at the same time actively promoted a vote for the Labor Party amongst his members – which grates against working class progress. The fact is that to have any chance of succeeding, i.e., in stopping the Adani mine, the movement will need to split, not unite, with the entirety of the pro-capitalist stop Adani political leadership. This means a political break with the corporate NGOs (Stop Adani/GetUp!/AYCC/SEED), the capitalist state and all of its parliamentary parties – the Labor Party, but also the Australian Greens. It’s true that the Greens stated opposition in words to Adani – but as parliamentarists they barely contribute to extra-parliamentary action.

There is still time to stop Adani. Overall though, working people need to draw the conclusion that to have any chance of preventing the civilisation bus careering over a cliff, the economic and political power of capital will have to be toppled. In its place workers will need to erect their own state, administered by their own government, which will socialise the means of production and collectively plan the economy to meet the needs of all those who labour. And this revolution requires the leadership of a Marxist vanguard party.

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/ (01-06-2019)

[2] https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/everyone-s-had-a-gutful-queensland-premier-wants-time-frame-on-adani-20190522-p51q0r.html (01-06-2019)

[3] http://theconversation.com/adanis-finch-plan-is-approved-just-weeks-after-being-sent-back-to-the-drawing-board-118114 (01-06-2019)

[4] https://www.sbs.com.au/news/palaszczuk-vows-to-pull-queensland-government-from-adani-loan (02-06-2019)

[5] https://redflag.org.au/node/6794 (02-06-2019)

[6] https://junkee.com/adani-river-water-licence/176102 (02-06-2019)

[7] https://junkee.com/adani-ad-coal-fairfax/114375 (02-06-2019)

[8] https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/adanis-ticking-carbon-bomb/ (02-06-2019)

[9] https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/adani-coal-mine-eco-crime-heres-why/ (02-06-2019)

[10] https://adanifiles.com.au/#key-finding (02-06-2019)

[11] http://library.bsl.org.au/jspui/bitstream/1/10573/1/BSL_Unfair_Australia_Mapping_youth_unemployment_hotspots_Mar2018.pdf (02-06-2019)

[12] https://economy.id.com.au/townsville/unemployment (02-06-2019)

[13] https://theaimn.com/bridget-mckenzie-revealed-the-adani-jobs-lie-and-no-one-noticed/?fbclid=IwAR1Oy7S_kT4ChOeIHlWa1BmRJHzqLQvQgr8E6M_LnWms51Iv_3Yf6DCM7iQ (02-06-2019)

[14] Ibid, 13.

[15] https://sunriseproject.org.au/people/ (02-06-2019)

[16] https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/great-barrier-reef–3/stop-adani/stop-adani-s-dodgy-reef-destroying-mine (02-06-2019)

[17] https://www.aycc.org.au/climate_election (02-06-2019)

[18] https://www.seedmob.org.au/ (02-06-2019)

[19] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/queensland-unionist-urges-labor-to-put-climate-action-ahead-of-coal-jobs-20190525-p51r4i.html (02-06-2019)

Liberalism at a Dead End: ALP Loses the “Unlosable” Election

Liberalism at a Dead End: ALP Loses the “Unlosable” Election

19-05-2019 – It’s a cliché to put forward the “Don’t mourn, organise” aphorism after a significant defeat for workers. After the victory of the Coalition (Liberal Party, National Party, Liberal National Party in Queensland – collectively the L/NP) in the 2019 Federal Elections, the working class will certainly need to double down on its organising efforts. But some crucial political lessons will need to be learnt before embarking on much needed organising.

At the time of writing, with around 75% of the vote counted, the L/NP are two seats short of forming a majority government.[1] They will either govern in their own right, or form a minority government with the formal or informal backing of some independents. For the Australian Labor Party (ALP), this was a classic case of losing an unlosable election. Yet again the ALP’s “small target” strategy cost them. That is, the ALP were promising very little, if anything, which was substantially different, let alone more progressive, than the L/NP. The one progressive aspect the ALP were promising was the extremely conditional (and likely false) pledge that they would restore penalty rates which have been taken away from some workers. The ALP was perhaps expecting to limp home into government without doing much at all, because voters would naturally want to get rid of the L/NP. Even within the sphere of bourgeois politics though, unless the majority of voters are offered something substantial by the liberal side, they will stick with the status quo, or even move to the right.

Catastrophe of “Change the Rules”

Working people must be clear. If the ALP had won the Federal Election, the working class would still be subjected to intense attack on all fronts – from low wages, near starvation aged pensions and unemployment assistance, privatisation of health care, cuts to education, worsening public transport and so on. The pace and severity of the attacks may have been slightly lower than under an L/NP government, but that is all. This is because the major parties are the twin parties of Australian capitalism, which is a component part of Wall Street led imperialism. The system of production for private profit is in acute crisis in Australia, Europe, the US and Japan. This is what is driving the relentless austerity, the ongoing danger of US led imperialist wars, not to speak of the imminent danger of potentially irreversible ecological collapse – of which global warming is but one aspect.

For two years, the top officials of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) have been running the “Change the Rules” campaign. This was always code for “Vote Labor”. In fact, at a late stage the careerist officials of the ACTU changed the rules themselves – from “Change the Rules” to “Change the Government to Change the Rules”.[2] It became an explicit “Vote Labor” campaign. But in fact, the politically compromised ACTU officials advised not only a vote for the ALP, but also preferenced the Greens above the ALP in some states for the Senate. In other seats, the ACTU produced how-to-vote cards which preferenced the racist Katter’s Australian Party and the right-wing Democratic Labor Party.[3] After selectively mobilising workers for two years on the vague promise that industrial relations laws could be changed by electing the ALP, the conservative officials of the ACTU, from Sally McManus down, ended up playing preference exchanges with right-wing parties!  And now that the L/NP has been re-elected, the Union movement has been brought back to ground zero.

The fraud of “Vote Climate”

The nightmare of staggering carbon emissions from the Adani mega coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland triggered a wide campaign against it throughout the country. Yet the “Stop Adani” campaign was always led by operatives of GetUp! – an NGO which repeatedly denies its links to the Labor Party, yet inevitably assists them.[4] This was why the Stop Adani campaign stopped short of doing what was actually needed to Stop Adani – a mass action effort independent of the parliament, the government and its state. The complete opposite occurred – Stop Adani was directed entirely towards lobbying the ALP, lobbying the parliament, and lobbying the government. That is, the leadership of “Stop Adani” was committed to the political forces of capital which began Adani – and indeed all new coal developments in the country. The overwhelming majority support for halting the Great Barrier Reef destroying Adani mine could have stopped Adani – but for the leadership of Stop Adani.

In any case, an ALP government was hardly going to Stop Adani. Yet an ALP or ALP/Greens government was also the aim of the “Student Strike 4 Climate” (SS4C) actions which preceded the elections, and were geared towards them. Again, however, the student strike for climate was organised by GetUp! and “Baby GetUp!” the AYCC (Australian Youth Climate Coalition).[5] Hence, they organised student strikes – outside L/NP electorate offices!  This could scarcely have been a more blatant vote catching exercise. This is light years away from organsing against the profit system which is the prime culprit of environmental vandalism.

The leaderships of some Unions even boasted about linking with GetUp!, despite it being the face of the liberal elite. The conservative officials of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU) hailed its virtual affiliation to GetUp! in its attempt to gain a much needed boost to Newstart (unemployment benefits).[6] To do this, it had to trample on AUWU members who so much as questioned the political compromises required for such an unholy alliance. Ironically, either internal Union democracy, or internal movement democracy, is the very thing which GetUp! and their backers cannot tolerate.

Much more needs to be analysed about this election. But the crucial lesson for workers is that all forms of liberalism – whether in the form of GetUp!, the conservative Union officials, the NGO led “environmental” movement, the ALP and others – offer no way forward. The working class can only advance by making a political break with all the liberal agents of capitalist class rule. Socialism is needed, but the pre-requisite is a Marxist vanguard party composed of the most class-conscious workers. The Workers League seeks to take the first steps on this path, and calls on all who agree to take part.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://tallyroom.aec.gov.au/HouseDefault-24310.htm (19-05-2019)

[2] https://www.actu.org.au/actu-media/media-releases/2019/change-the-government-change-the-rules-nationwide-door-knock (19-05-2019)

[3] https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/actu-puts-greens-ahead-of-labor-on-how-to-vote-cards-in-higgins-20190516-p51o2h.html (19-05-2019)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/23/getup-warned-by-electoral-commission-it-may-be-associated-entity-of-labor (19-05-2019)

[5] https://redfireonline.com/2019/03/13/for-real-climate-action-expropriate-capital/ (19-05-2019)

[6] https://unemployedworkersunion.com/join-get-up-auwus-joint-newstart-campaign/ (19-05-2019)

For Real Climate Action: Expropriate Capital!

For Real Climate Action: Expropriate Capital!

15-03-2019 – The 2018 report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued yet another dire warning: the world has until 2030 to limit the rise in pre-industrial temperatures to an average of 1.5 degrees.[1] Failure to do so will risk drought, floods, hurricanes, storms and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Vast climate distortion, with the current 1 degree average rise in global temperatures, is a current reality, with bushfires and floods now a semi-regular feature of Australian “weather”, to say nothing of the extreme conditions buffeting Asia, Europe and the Americas. The demand for ultra-urgent action to prevent the further life-threatening emission of carbon is now almost universal.

In the face of this, students are now following the lead of Greta Thunberg, a 15 year old from Sweden who has taken the initiative of walking out of school on Fridays in a bid to call global leaders to account. Or so we are told. Is it really as simple as that? Not likely. Greta Thunberg was born into wealth and privilege, and the strings behind her lead directly to some of the most powerful corporations on planet earth – which are part and parcel of the very system responsible for the potential termination of the climatic conditions necessary for human survival. The truth must be told – this is a set up.

Compromised NGOs lead climate activists to parliament

The entire game is given away by just a brief glance at the “School Strike 4 Climate”  website. First, the demands purportedly being put forward are 1. Stop Adani (coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland) 2. For no new Coal or Gas and 3. For 100% renewable energy by 2030. Immediately below is an exhortation for supporters to “host a climate change forum for school students in your electorate before the Federal Election.[2] (emphasis added) So the future of the entirety of human civilisation is tied back down to a run of the mill bourgeois election! If this wasn’t blatant and tawdry enough, the website comes replete with tips on “How to get your (!?!?) politician to take some REAL climate action”, including how to “ask for a meeting”, “tell them why you care” and “ask them to make concrete commitments” at the meeting.[3] Despite being incredibly patronising, the NGOs behind School Strike 4 Climate demonstrate that they are cynically using children who are motivated by perhaps the most progressive cause of our time, to bolster and fortify the very system entirely responsible for climate catastrophe in the first place – the rule of private finance capital.

Which NGOs are linked to the School Strike 4 Climate? The website Wrong Kind of Green has carried out an exhaustive exposure of the corporations behind Greta Thunberg and their motivations.[4] They include Avaaz, The B Team, World Resources Institute, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Purpose, TckTckTck, Rockefeller Foundation, Oxfam, Amnesty International and the World Wildlife Fund, amongst others. Al Gore, personally worth around $350 million dollars, is amongst them, as is Richard Branson – fresh from a failed attempt to join with the US Empire to violently overthrow the Venezuelan government.[5] Many have been taken in by a supposedly innocent 15 year old Greta Thunberg, staging a one-out vigil outside the Swedish parliament every Friday. But as the research of Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer shows, Greta Thunberg is linked to Al Gore to Bill Gates to Richard Branson to the “liberal” wings of the most powerful ruling classes in the history of world capitalism. It is clear they demand the impossible – a movement to arrest or reverse global warming which remains entirely within the bounds of the US Empire.

The concept that the very same politicians who have, for over one hundred years, overseen the development of catastrophic global warming, can at the same time be somehow convinced to reverse course and save the world is not only a flight of dangerous fantasy. It reveals the entire political strategy of the liberal bourgeoisie, which in this country is represented most particularly by the notorious GetUp! – founded by the very same people behind Purpose and Avaaz. GetUp! disingenuously claim that they are not linked to the Labor Party, when former and current board members have been prominent Labor Party politicians, including Bill Shorten himself.[6] It is suspected that GetUp! are the concealed hands behind the School Strike 4 Climate, given their heavy promotion of the first one on November 30, 2018.[7] Particularly disorienting is their herding of people back into the parliament, pushing the notion that the politicians there are “ours” and can be made to “listen” to us.

Working people should be crystal clear on this point – politicians from all parliamentary parties in Australia, be they Liberal, Labor, National, Greens, One Nation, Katter’s Australian Party and so on are not “ours” at all. They are politicians of the capitalist class responsible for not only the catastrophe of impending climate collapse, but the decimation of the standard of living for all workers and the oppressed. They CANNOT be allies in any political struggle, and most especially one as important as climate change. Working people need our own party, and our own state – which necessarily must be politically and organisationally independent of all federal and state parliaments. A workers’ government will have no impediments such as private profit standing in the way of rational action to address climate distortion.

Driving the illusion of “100% renewable energy”

The School Strike 4 Climate [or likely the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) behind the scenes] proffers the demands to Stop Adani and for no new coal and gas. These demands are necessary and can be backed by workers. However, the demand for 100% renewable energy – by 2030 or anytime – is a green illusion which hooks most liberals and almost the entire environmental movement. Renewable energy – by which its advocates mean primarily wind and solar power, and to a lesser extent geothermal, tidal or pumped hydro – is nowhere near a point which it could be rolled out to provide 100% of Australia’s electricity needs. Wind and solar are intermittent sources – solar power produces nothing at night, and wind power relies on strong consistent winds. They need backup, which is primarily slated to come from gas, or biomass. The lack of capacity of wind and solar means that the build out for it has to take into account building in overcapacity – which is probably completely impractical. This is an ongoing debate, but there are already comprehensive critiques compiled which supply convincing evidence that the “100% renewable energy” demand is essentially an empty claim.[8] At any rate, using current technology, there is hardly an industry which is willing to switch to 100% renewable energy right now. Industry, as well as a small household, needs baseload and peakload power. Grids set up for the intermittent power of wind and solar have yet to be built, and would involve wasted endeavour trying to devise.

As the intense carbon emissions from coal and gas rule them out as power sources into the future, the best placed replacement for baseload carbon free energy is nuclear power.[9] Yet decades of misinformation and scaremongering from many environmentalists has pushed the development of zero-carbon nuclear power off the agenda. Ironically, being anti-nuclear has arguably contributed to the use of coal, and thus the adding of dangerous emissions to the atmosphere. It is ironic that Australia exports Uranium overseas for use in fuelling zero-carbon nuclear power overseas, but there are laws which prevent the building of zero-carbon nuclear power on these shores.

Red China leads the way

What the GetUp!/Avaaz/AYCC/Al Gore/Greta Thunberg crew cannot mention, due to loyalty to the system of production for private profit, is that it is actually the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which is far and away leading the transition away from fossil fuels and towards zero carbon energy sources. The corporate NGOs lament the wholesale lack of action of any kind of transition to wind, water and solar power in Australia, while simultaneously ignoring the PRC, the world’s largest country by population, where this is actually taking place. The sheer scale of the installation of wind, water and solar power in the PRC dwarfs any of the deliberately half-hearted attempts to do so in the West. Figures from the China Electricity Council (CEC) in 2017 show that there is a marked shift towards zero carbon energy sources on the Chinese mainland. Wind, water and solar power added 51.9% of new capacity, thermal accounted for 42.9% and nuclear for 5.2%.[10]

The 5.2% for zero carbon nuclear power may sound small, but in fact Red China is again leading the way in the operation and construction of reactors. There are now more than 40 reactors operating in China, and another 18 under construction – and that is just for starters. The specialists advising the Communist Party of China (CPC), unlike the Western environmental movement, anticipates that the share of power from renewables will tail off in the longer term, to less than half of the total. In other words, they are aware of the limitations of renewables vis-à-vis the advantages of nuclear generated electricity. Moreover, if China’s rapid economic growth continues at anything like what has occurred since the 1980s, China’s power demands will double by 2040. Hence, China’s Energy Development Strategy Action Plan for 2014-2020 has set a target of 58 Gigawatts (GWe) for nuclear power, with an additional 30 GWe slated to be under construction.

The key here is “plan”. Red China is leading the way on the replacement of fossil fuels, because it has a planned economy. Not only that, China’s economy primarily does not run on the basis of production for private profit. The 1949 socialist revolution in China established a workers’ state which has not been overthrown, despite policy shifts since that time. The major means of production in China are state owned or majority state owned. This is especially the case for the strategic drivers of the economy – such as roads, railways, ports, steel production and infrastructure construction. And this is even before taking into account the fact that all of the largest banks and financial institutions are not only state-owned, but directed by leading members of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In short, China’s socialism allows it to take the lead in combatting climate distortion, whereas the West’s capitalism stands as an immediate and major block to even the first steps.

Left parties unite for climate – across classes

To be sure, workers in the PRC need more political decision making power than they currently have. Nevertheless, workers internationally need to work with, not against, the leadership on climate being shown by the PRC. Grating against this are some Australian left parties, who have fallen hook, line and sinker for the Greta Thunberg roadshow. The Socialist Alliance (SA)[11], Socialist Alternative (SAlt)[12] and Solidarity(Sol)[13] are all building the March 15 Climate Strike as if it is perfectly normal to be working directly with GetUp! and Avaaz and Al Gore and Richard Branson. There is a reason why these ostensibly left parties do not see a contradiction – they all unite as one for imperialist war. SA, SAlt and Sol uniformly joined with GetUp! in its subtle backing of the US/Saudi/UK/FRA/AUST led imperialist war for regime change on Syria. Likewise, they all combine to drive relentless calls for US backed regime change in Iran. And, despite claiming to be “anti-war”, they all spruik about “repression” in China, Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – which indicates they will not genuinely oppose a US led war against these or other countries independent of Wall Street.

Joining this unholy alliance are the top officials of Australian Unions – some of whom have donated Union members funds directly to GetUp! What transpires is a cross-class popular front, where the politics is wholly subordinated to the “left” wing of the ruling class – that part of the elite which can see something needs to be done about catastrophic climate change, but will stanchly resist any challenge to the capitalist system. Workers must be clear – human relations will not be rational so long as the working class has not yet abolished the private ownership of the means of production. Capital – the banks, the mines, major industries – must be expropriated from the obscenely rich and placed in the hands of society, held in trust by a workers’ republic. A pre-requisite will be the forging of a Marxist vanguard party, which could lead workers and all of the oppressed in the consolidation of a collectivised, planned economy – and hence rational action to avoid dangerous climate collapse. This should be the ultimate aim of “climate strikes”.

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

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report (27-02-19)

[2] https://drive.google.com/file/d/18MtPGabeW5lPQ9asPRQGk26YuRB94te4/view (02-03-19)

[3] https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/blog/tips-for-getting-your-politician-to-commit-to-real-climate-action (02-03-19)

[4] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/02/24/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-a-decade-of-social-manipulation-for-the-corporate-capture-of-nature-crescendo/ (02-03-19)

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/19/maduro-government-richard-branson-rival-venezuela-concerts (02-03-19)

[6] https://www.jimball.com.au/blog/the-getup-setup-brad-norrington-the-australian/ (02-03-19)

[7] https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/climate-action-now/climate-strikes/school-strikes-for-climate-action (02-03-19)

[8] https://bravenewclimate.com/2014/06/02/critique-100pc-renewables-edm/ (02-03-19)

[9] https://nuclearforclimate.com.au/2019/02/05/the-heat-is-on-time-for-nuclear/ (02-03-19)

[10] https://reneweconomy.com.au/chinas-amazing-green-shift-solar-wind-water-power-57490/ (03-03-19)

[11] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/unions-join-students-call-strike-our-climate (03-03-19)

[12] https://redflag.org.au/index.php/node/6634 (03-03-19)

[13] https://www.solidarity.net.au/mag/current/123/editorial-strike-out-morrisons-coalition-of-climate-deniers/ (03-03-19)