Friday, September 25, 2020

Working from home: The future of cities and impact on the working class


 Written by: Ned K. on 26 September 2020

Covid-19 outbreaks have seen major cities become virtual ghost towns for different lengths of time. 

In Australia the worst effected has been Melbourne in the last two months. However other capital cities in Australia have not returned to pre – Covid-19 levels of activity and people.

One of the main reasons for this is that many businesses in office towers in cities still have workers working from home. There are office towers in capital cities which are still at 40% or 50% occupancy levels as some business owners discover that it is cheaper for them to have workers working from home. Others are finding it difficult to persuade workers to come back to work in the office as many workers find it a better balance of work and family life to work from home.

The big business community are divided on what to do about it. 

Last week the Australian Financial Review held a Property Summit in Sydney. Big business property owners like Dexus, Jones Lang LaSalle(JLL)  and Scentre ( formerly Westfield) pleaded with major office building  tenants to order their workers back to work in the office to "kick start the economy". 

JLL boss Stephen Conry said, "If you want a strong economy you've got to have thriving CBDs...It is the office ecosystem that supports so many other businesses". 

JLL and Dexus, two of the top property landlord owners and property management companies in cities in Australia, also called on governments to make their workers return to their CBD offices. 

Public service workers make up a big percentage of office workers in cities and their retreat for health safety reasons to working from home has had a big impact not just on the share market and asset value of city office towers owned in many instances by foreign capital, but also on the hundreds, perhaps thousands of small businesses and their workers that rely on office workers as their customer base, 

For example, Scentre's flagship mall in Sydney CBD, Westfield Sydney recorded a 50% reduction in foot traffic due to workers still working remotely. That is 50% less people likely to buy their lunch at a small struggling food outlet in the food court and probably a 50% cut to the hours of cleaners clearing and cleaning the tables in the food court as just one flow on effect.

However not all the big business leaders at the Property Summit shared the same view as Dexus and JLL in pleading for business and governments to return their workers to the office.

Other big landlord property owners saw the preference of many office workers to continue to work at home as an opportunity for property owners to make money by investing in construction of new office buildings in the suburbs and regions. Retiring Stockland CEO Mark Steinert expected a permanent reduction in city office workers in capital cities of about 20% in to the future. 

Other business leaders at the Summit said that 'core' office work such as essential face to face workshops, essential group meetings would continue in city offices. 

Impact on Workers' Collective Organisation and Action

The impact of a permanent reduction of workers in the center of cities will make it harder for workers to act collectively to defend their rights at work and entitlements, especially as many thousands of workers in city jobs rely on the restrictive enterprise bargaining system to advance their interests. On the other hand, working remotely provides workers with more autonomy on a daily basis away from the eye of the boss.

The biggest impact will be on the thousands of weekly paid or casual workers in cities whose type of work does not enable them to work remotely from home. These workers include service workers of various types from elevator mechanics to the lowest paid cafe slaves or office cleaners, to the corner dry cleaner or shoe repairer or hairdresser. 

In the reports about the Property Summit held last week in Sydney, there was no mention of the impact of the collapse of capitalism's tertiary education system in capital cities due to the huge reduction in overseas students coming to Australia in 2020. 

This adds another dimension to the crisis for big capital property owners as their apartment towers built for ripping off overseas students remain empty while the number of homeless people in the surrounding streets grows.

The future of cities in the hands of the big business landlords and major tenants is a scary thought for the vast majority of the people. In the hands of the working class and allies the core of cities will become not places for speculation and profiteering by multinational property owners, but places for people to combine recreation activities, affordable housing and workplaces performing work for people's needs.

 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

US arms sales to Taiwan a regional provocation


 Written by: (Contributed) on 25 September 2020

The announcement that the Trump administration was increasing arms sales to Taiwan has resulted in further diplomatic tensions with China.

The recent US diplomatic stand-off with China has focused on several regional flashpoints, with the South China Seas being a central concern.

The relationship of Taiwan to the South China Seas and their own strategic territorial claims has, however, been quietly pushed down US agendas to avoid unfavourable publicity.

In September, The Trump administration announced a further $7 billion arms deal with Taiwan, in addition to the already planned $15 billion allocated in previous defence budgets. The latest arms deal also included provision of a US$400 million package of MQ-9B Reaper drones, sensors, logistics, ground control stations, training and other related equipment. (1)

The latest arms deals also coincided with an official visit by US under-secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, Keith Krach, to Taipei, where high-level diplomatic talks with Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and President Tsai Ing-wen had been arranged. (2) The talks followed similar high-level diplomacy in August when US cabinet member, Alex Azar visited Taipei.

Similar diplomatic initiatives conducted by the Czech Republic, which included a large trade delegation to Taiwan, were also subsequently viewed by China in a very dim light. (3)

China, historically, has regarded Taiwan as a renegade province; any favourable diplomacy with Taipei has therefore been challenged by China, which has maintained territorial claims toward the small landmass.

The dramatic rise of China to become the world's second biggest economy, has altered the balance of forces across the Asia-Pacific region. It has been regarded by the US as a threat to traditional hegemonic positions. US Cold War diplomacy has subsequently drawn their regional allies even closer in an attempt to challenge perceived Chinese influences.

Several flash-points can be observed as a conspicuous part of the US-led wave of militarism sweeping the region: Australia and Japan are the two main regional hubs for 'US interests', with neighbouring countries clustered as spokes. A main Pentagon focus, however, has remained the South China Seas, a long, congested series of shipping-lanes which link the Asia-Pacific region with the Indian Ocean, Middle East and European markets.

China's recently constructed fortifications in the South China Seas have enabled ready access into Oceania and have, therefore, been regarded by the US as a serious challenge to their hegemonic positions. Little, however, has been openly stated by the US about Taiwan's strategic claims for the same areas; they are virtually the same as China's.

Taiwan has established sovereign access to Itu Aba, which they re-named Taiping Island, 1.4 kms long and 0.4 kms wide, adjacent to Ban Than reef and part of the Nansha (Spratly) Islands (see National Geographic map of the Nansha Islands above). It has also established living quarters on the island for a small permanent community, together with the construction of an airport, hospital, and other facilities to support long-stay inhabitants. (4)

A particularly significant feature of the Taiwanese strategic claim to the landmass has included the airport landing-strip and run-way which cover the whole length of the island, supporting a view that it was constructed for major logistics and military purposes. No publicity about the Taiwanese fortifications, however, has been noted in official US media releases.

Itu Aba, it should also be noted, is strategically-placed on the arc from Pine Gap which swings from Diego Garcia to Guam, which are major US-led regional intelligence facilities for military and security provision. The Taiwanese government has also linked Itu Aba with cell-phone and internet services which can easily be used for military communications.

The US regional intelligence presence with its surveillance of the Chinese fortifications tends to reveal their extensive use of satellite systems, which possess high-quality vision transmission to monitor details of the facilities when re-produced in mainstream media releases in photographic form. (5)

It is important to note the Cold War diplomatic silence from the US about other fortifications in the South China Seas has also followed the same common pattern: they only complain about China.

The Philippines, for example, occupies nine landmasses in the Nansha (Spratly) Islands  which were collectively re-named as the Kalayaan Island Group by previous presidential administrations in Manila. They have living quarters for about a hundred permanent residents and a military base. The Philippine military have also established an air-strip on nearby Pag-asa Island.

Vietnam has, likewise, established outposts in the same area of the South China Seas, which include infra-structure facilities. Malaysia has also established a top-end of the tourist market dive report with dual-use facilities as a naval base. (6)

Japan, as the northern regional hub for 'US interests', has also been a player with these US-led operations. In 2015 Japanese foreign policy initiatives included the provision of ten coastguard vessels to the Philippines and Vietnam. (7) It was also announced that Japanese funding for upgrading of a Philippine military base on Palawan Island was being considered, as the facilities were the closest to the Nansha (Spratly) Islands and therefore regarded as useful for rapid deployment. (8)

It is highly significant to note the latest US $7 billion arms deal with Taiwan has been largely composed of military equipment usually associated with intelligence-gathering and related military functions; drones and their ground-control equipment are used as surveillance systems together with tracking and targeting adversaries for assassinations.

Previous US arms deals with Taiwan were largely composed of military equipment usually associated with traditional defence and security provision, including tanks and armoured vehicles to prevent military incursions and aircraft for attack positions with strategic targets.

Taiwan also already has extensive air defence missile defence systems for surveillance purposes. (9)  

It remains to be established, therefore, where the latest US military equipment for Taiwan will be based, either on a permanent or temporary basis. Drones have a limited range although Taiwan's military facilities on Itu Aba provide coverage of the South China Seas for a variety of purposes. The silence, to date, however, would appear deafening: the Pentagon, clearly, do not want any publicity.  

With Australia being drawn into these US-led military plans for real-war scenarios, we need an independent foreign policy!

 

1.     US to sell Taipei drones in $10 billion weapons deal, Australian, 18 September 2020.
2.     Envoy's visit to Taiwan triggers Chinese military manoeuvres, The Weekend Australian, 19-20 September 2020.
3.     Military build-up blamed on America, Australian, 11 September 2020.
4.     Roque: We're not behind our rivals in reef dev't, The Philippine Inquirer, 9 May 2018.
5.     See: China installs cruise missiles on Phil reef, The Philippine Star, 4 May 2018.
6.     Philippine Inquirer, op.cit., 9 May 2018.
7.     Tokyo eyes new South China Seas role, The Age (Melbourne), 12 March 2015.
8.     Ibid.
9.     We will retaliate against Chinese attack: Taiwan, Australian, 23 September 2020.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

ICOR Statement on the Events in Belarus


Lukashenko’s bourgeois-reactionary, authoritarian ruling regime in Belarus also using open terror is characterized by detachment and alienation from the masses of the Belarusian people and is justifiably and massively losing popularity.

Many citizens believe that it committed violations of democratic procedures and massive election fraud in the August 9 presidential elections.

This provoked protests from opposition supporters, claiming the victory of their candidate Tsikhanovskaya. Tsikhanosvskaya is promoted by bourgeois forces.

The regime responded with unbridled police violence which sparked widespread discontent. Cases of brutal reprisals against protesters must be investigated and those responsible held accountable.

At first, the streets were dominated by the petty bourgeoisie and students under its influence.
 
Then the workers collectives joined the protests. Despite massive repression, workers strikes are developing in various forms as part of the protest movement. The masses take their justified demands to the streets, while massive attempts are made from various sides to influence them.
 
The character of the movement is to be assessed in a very differentiated way and includes different currents. One part is a spontaneous and independent current with militant actions of the working class, in which the left and revolutionary forces seek backing. On the other hand, as the currently probably strongest current in the leadership of the movement, there is the bourgeois and liberal opposition, which is oriented towards the EU and influenced and partly controlled by it. It is reactionary, sometimes even ultra-reactionary. It demands massive privatization and unhindered access to the country for imperialist capital. Greed of corporations for profits prompts European, US-American and Russian imperialism to intervene.
 
In the confrontation between the interests of different imperialist powers with their representatives in Belarus both are trying to use the masses as pawns. The people and the proletariat of Belarus will only be able to win if they are able to formulate their own demands, lead the struggle for their interests and intervene in an organized way in order to take the power into their own hands. 
 
We therefore welcome corresponding efforts by the communists. We all must support the Belarusian workers in their class organization and the ICOR organization to fight for their interests and for the construction of a socialist society.
 
Strengthening the ICOR and the international antifascist and antiimperialist united front means strengthening the chances of victory all over the world.
 
For the right of self-determination of the peoples against any imperialist intervention!
 
No police violence! Release of the progressive political prisoners! No privatization and dismissals!
 
Workers of all countries, unite!
 
For democracy, freedom and socialism!
 
Signatories (as of 21 September 2020, further signatories possible):
1. PCPCI   Parti Communiste Proletarien de Côte d'Ivoire (Proletarian Communist Party of Ivory Coast)
2. ORC   Organisation Révolutionnaire du Congo (Revolutionary Organization of Congo), Democratic Republic of the Congo
3. UPC-Manidem   Union des Populations du Cameroun - Manifeste National pour l’Instauration de la Démocratie (Union of Populations of Cameroon - National Manifesto for the Establishment of Democracy)
4. MMLPL   Moroccan Marxist-Leninist Proletarian Line
5. CPSA (ML)   Communist Party of South Africa (Marxist-Leninist)
6. PCT   Parti Comuniste du Togo (Communist Party of Togo)
7. PPDS   Parti Patriotique Démocratique Socialiste (Patriotic Democratic Socialist Party), Tunisia
8. MLOA   Marxist-Leninist Organization of Afghanistan
9. CPB   Communist Party of Bangladesh
10. CPI (ML) Red Star   Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Star
11. NCP (Mashal)   Nepal Communist Party (Mashal)
12. PPRF   Patriotic Peoples Republican Front of Nepal
13. CPA/ML   Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
14. Krasnyj Klin   Gruppa Kommunistov-Revoljucionerov „Krasnyj Klin“ (Group of Communist Revolutionaries “Krasnyj Klin” ), Belarus
15. PR-ByH   Partija Rada - ByH (Party of Labor - Bosnia and Herzegovina)
16. MLPD   Marxistisch-Leninistische Partei Deutschlands (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany)
17. UCLyon   Unité Communiste Lyon (Communist United Lyon), France
18. UPML   Union Prolétarienne Marxiste-Léniniste (Marxist-Leninist Proletarian Union), France
19. BP (NK-T)   Bolşevik Parti (Kuzey Kürdistan-Türkiye) (Bolshevik Party (North Kurdistan-Turkey))
20. KOL   Kommunistische Organisation Luxemburg (Communist Organization of Luxemburg)
21. RM   Rode Morgen (Red Dawn), Netherlands
22. MLP   Marksistsko-Leninskaja Platforma (Marxist-Leninist Platform), Russia
23. MLGS   Marxistisch-Leninistische Gruppe Schweiz (Marxist-Leninist Group of Switzerland)
24. KSC-CSSP   Komunisticka Strana Cheskoslovenska – Cheskoslovenska Strana Prace (Communist Party of Czechoslovakia – Czechoslovakian Workers Party), Czech Republic
25. MLKP   Marksist Leninist Komünist Parti Türkiye / Kürdistan (Marxist Leninist Communist Party Turkey / Kurdistan)
26. KSRD   Koordinazionnyj Sowjet Rabotschewo Dvizhenija (Coordination Council of the Workers Class Movement), Ukraine
27. PCC-M   Partido Comunista de Colombia – Maoista (Communist Party of Colombia - Maoist)
28. PCP (independiente)   Partido Comunista Paraguayo (independiente) (Paraguayan  Communist Party (independent))
29. BDP   Bloque Democratico Popular (Popular Democratic Bloc), Peru
30. PC (ML)   Partido Comunista (Marxista Leninista) (Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)), Dominican Republic
31. PCR-U   Partido Comunista Revolucionario del Uruguay (Revolutionary Communist Party of Uruguay)

 


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Sunday, September 20, 2020

US swashbuckling can’t hide its decline


 Written by: (Contributed) on 21 September 2020

An escalation of US-led diplomatic tensions toward China in the Asia-Pacific region has seen one aggressive foreign policy initiative launched after another.

Regional allies have already been drawn closer to the US through military alliances.

In the lead-up to US presidential elections in November, diplomatic tensions toward China have escalated. 

A dominant feature of the campaign has been the sparring between President Trump and contender Joe Biden over who is the 'tougher on China'. (1) With the Asia-Pacific being the most dynamic sector of the global economy, most of the aggressive US foreign policy has been played-out across the region.

A continual diplomatic stand-off is being played-out with endless US-led military exercises and brinkmanship in the South China Seas, a congested main regional shipping-lane.

Central to the US foreign policy position is the fact they have to deal with a competitor.
The matter is more complicated than most US assessments acknowledge. US foreign policy, historically, has been based in defence and security considerations resting on economic foundations, which combined, are 'US interests'. The US also has also a long history of wholesale interference in the domestic affairs of allies, with the aim of safeguarding their 'US interests'.  

China's foreign policy, in contrast, is primarily economic and based on trade relations and investment. While it has established defence and security provision for safeguarding vital supply-lines and other facilities, and the PLA now has the task of safeguarding China’s overseas interests, it is not simply repeating the pattern of US-style military aggressiveness. And despite the Murdoch media’s scaremongering about Chinese interference in Australia, a recent study established that 'Beijing's influence operations into Australian politics have been a dismal failure'. (2)

With a rapidly expanding economy it is, however, no surprise to find China has increased its regional influence and diplomacy in its nearby region. It has invested heavily in the smaller Pacific island countries of the western and southern Pacific and Micronesia. The development has been assessed by the Pentagon as a major threat to traditional US hegemonic positions.

Regional allies have also been drawn closer to aggressive US diplomatic positions: both Australia and Japan have been developed as major hubs for regional 'US interests', with a subsequent clustering of nearby countries as spokes.  

Ports in the storm

An example of the role of Australia and its relationship with the US can be seen with the development of a network of sensitive maritime facilities extended across the nearby region. Over the past year Ports Australia has extended its reach into Fiji, Samoa, the Cook Islands, PNG and the Solomon Islands. (3) The maritime facilities across the western and south Pacific regions, can be easily converted for military use, if, and when, required. A Ports Australia feature in the Australian was quite explicit abut its moves into the region: 'strong regional ports', they declared, lead to 'strong regions'. (4)

Lombrum base on Manus Island, PNG, as a further example, has been used by maritime vessels and freight for decades. It is now being considered for an upgrade for joint military use. The present practice of satellite-tracking of cargo and freight has already been used for other intelligence purposes, including the use of shipping-lanes by vessels from other countries.   

It is, however, the interoperability of defence, security and intelligence systems across the region and the role of the US which is an important consideration:

Each Pacific island country has their own defence and security provision, with a reliance upon Australia as the Mother Country. Australian military and security have operated historically, with US guidance and under the arc from Pine Gap to Diego Garcia and Guam, and further round into the western Pacific.

The relationship between the three areas of provision, however, is problematic.

Studies: “US could lose war with China”

In recent times a number of intelligence assessments about the Asia-Pacific have revealed an underlying trend of relative US decline in regional affairs and influence, creating a situation whereby a volatile mixture of frantic attempts to reassert traditional hegemonic positions have also included denial. They both have a major bearing on present US regional diplomatic positions which have been noted by the Australian corporate sector to have reached 'new lows'. (5) Whatever the outcome of the US presidential elections, the present Cold War outcomes are unlikely to be reversed.  

Behind the present US-led diplomatic stand-off with China lie military considerations.

Last year a major study of US military capability established the country was losing superiority with China. A special commission formed by US Congress in late 2018, likewise, concluded 'the US is no longer clearly superior'. (6) It was, furthermore, noted 'the US might fail to deter – or could even lose – a limited war with China, with devastating consequences for the region's future strategic landscape'. (7)  

The studies were also accompanied with results from a military simulation exercise conducted by the Rand Organisation at the Centre for New American Security, contracted by the Pentagon. The outcome of the simulation exercise saw the US 'totally destroyed by Russia and China in almost every scenario'. (8) Despite a massive defence budget of about $1 trillion, 'the US had lost its military edge' and there remained an urgent need to further increase defence spending. (9)

Despite these developments the two main competitors in the forthcoming US presidential elections continue to talk about military superiority and trade war with China, as if in a state of denial of the practical consequences of their actions.

As the presidential campaign has been used to heighten diplomatic tensions toward China, it can be seen how we do, indeed, live in troubled times, with the everyday threat of real-war scenarios occurring being very real: We need an independent foreign policy!


1.     Military build-up blamed on America, Australian, 11 September 2020.
2.     Beijing 'a failure on foreign influence', Australian, 17 September 2020.
3.     Regional alliance to aid trade, security, Ports Australia, Special Report, Australian, 18 September 2020.
4.     Ibid., Regional ports are future focused,
5.     'Don't confuse China trade with security', Australian, 17 September 2020.
6.     Study: US no longer dominant power in the Pacific, Paul D. Shinkman, Information Clearing House, 22 August 2019.
7.     Ibid.
8.     World War Three simulations, The Sun (U.K.), 12 March 2019

9.     ibid

Thursday, September 17, 2020

US Out! China Stay Out! We don’t want your rivalry or war!

 


Written by: Central Committee, CPA (M-L) on 18 September 2020

US imperialism’s agents of influence in Australia are whipping up a new Cold War-style hysteria against their imperialist rival China. They are responsible for promoting anti-Chinese racism which threatens all Australians of East Asian and South East Asian origin.

They are creating an atmosphere in which it seems like we are already at war with China, and if we are not careful, we will be.

Since Mao’s death, the struggle inside China between those who wanted to continue to advance along Mao’s road of collectivization and reduction of social inequalities, and those who advocated a capitalist economy and capitalist development as a short-cut to great power and influence, intensified, with the latter group ultimately triumphing. 
 
Since that time, we have had no relationship with the Communist Party of China.  We have been critical of its embrace of capitalism and of the emergence of its social-imperialism (socialism in words, but imperialism in deeds). (2)
 
Central to our struggle for socialism and independence however, is our belief that US imperialism remains the dominant master of Australia’s destiny.  It is by far the major investor in Australia and has enjoyed the loyalty of the dominant group within our ruling class since the end of World War 2.  That loyalty even extends into the ranks of part of the working class thanks to years of false propaganda about the US being our protector and shield under the ANZUS Pact.
 
The rise of a financially and militarily powerful China has occurred at the same time as a weakening in the economic and military clout of the US. In every field of trade and investment, of access to the labour power of other countries and to their raw materials, the Chinese and US engage in pushing and shoving, one against the other, with an escalating tension particularly throughout our region.
 
The revival of an anti-China Cold War mentality in this country, specifically to serve US provocations aimed at halting China’s growing strength and influence, is leading Australia to harm its own interests – economically, politically and militarily.
 
In 2018 the Victorian Andrews Labor government signed a Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  At the time of signing the MOU, a few murmurs of disapproval came from the direction of some members of the hard right in Liberal and National Parties and the right-wing thin-tank, the Institute for Public Affairs.   It all changed in May 2020 during Pompeo’s overnight visit to Australia.  Pompeo voiced the US disapproval with the Victorian government signing the BRI and warned that closer economic ties with China threatened Australia’s up to now warm relationship with the US.  He broadcast a warning that the US “could simply disconnect” from Australia.  Immediately a loud chorus of Liberal and Labor politicians pounced on the Andrews government calling for cancellation of the BRI.
 
Morrison and his senior Ministers are out of their depth in trying to confront China on behalf of the US (3).  Their clumsy provocation of calling for an investigation into the origins of the Coronavirus with China as the assumed source came to nothing when China co-sponsored a call for a genuinely independent investigation under the auspices of the World Health Organisation. Australia was quickly isolated and had merely set itself up for Chinese trade retaliation.
 
The June 2020 raids by ASIO and the federal police on NSW upper house Labor member Shaoquett Moselmane and a member of his staff, John Zhang were designed to investigate alleged Chinese foreign interference. Foreign interference is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment. 
 
What was not known at the time was that on June 26, four Chinese journalists' residences were raided by the Australian Federal Police coordinated by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Ten officers raided each journalist’s house, the raids lasting over four hours. Laptops and even children’s tablets were seized and taken away, and the journalists warned to keep quiet because the raids related to Australian national security.
 
Australians remained in the dark about this provocation when news broke of an Australian-Chinese journalist having been placed under detention in China, and then of two other journalists having been required for questioning.  We do not endorse China’s tit-for-tat response but we do condemn the use of so-called “national security” becoming the go-to excuse for our government to withhold information from Australians.
 
In this atmosphere of anti-Chinese feelings, South Australian Liberal Legislative Councillor Jing Lee was prevented by hard right members of the State and federal governments from being elected as President of the Legislative Council. Born in Malaysia, she was attacked for having attended a function of the pro-Chinese Xinjiang Association of SA.  The attack was led by federal Liberal senator Alex Antic, and MPs Nicole Flint and Tony Pasin. All are aligned with the hard right led by Peter Dutton. Jing Lee was the Premier’s choice.  Mud-slinging by the Australian which alleged that Jing Lee was a threat to Australia on national security grounds proved to be more powerful than the State premier.
 
We do not support Chinese companies scraping social media to compile a data base on a reported 35,000 Australians (of a total of 2.4 million people around the world).  But this pales into comparison with data scraping by the likes of Facebook and Google.  Vietnamese-Australian entrepreneur Cam-Hoan Ton-That, now based in the US and associated with white power and neo-Nazi activists, established Clearview AI, a facial recognition database that has scraped more than three billion photos from social media and websites without anyone’s permission. Ton-That sells this data to security firms and police forces, as well as real estate agents wanting to block black and Hispanic applicants for rental housing. Data scraping should be illegal, but China is certainly not alone in using it.
 
The ultra-right clique that infests ASIO and the Australia Federal Police, and has its sworn supporters in the federal government, is backed by opinion makers in a number of so-called “independent” think-tanks.  Chief amongst them is the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI – sometimes called Australians Serving Predatory Imperialism). ASPI’s finances come from its strategic sponsors, primarily the huge multinational armaments companies who have a vested interest in regional tension by way of lucrative Australian contracts for arms and equipment. Those sponsors are the Naval Group (France), Jacobs Engineering (US), Northrop Grumman (US), Lockheed Martin (US), MBDA Missile Systems (Fr-Br), SAAB (Sweden), Thales (France), Raytheon (US), and Austal (Australia).  There are also a number of Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors including the Australian government twice – (one is the spy agency the Australia Signals Directorate), Microsoft, Google and Facebook.  
 
US imperialism has its agents of interference in the media, the think tanks, the government, the military and the security agencies. China has made some clumsy attempts to create its own.  It is not in our interests to have either the US or China trying to interfere in the lives of Australian workers.
 
We must insist:
 
US imperialists out!
Chinese imperialists stay out!
No Australian involvement in imperialist war – for an independent and peaceful Australia!
No to racism – friendship and understanding between all peoples!
Socialism and independence for Australia!
………………………
(1) The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence, are mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Message of solidarity to US workers experiencing major wildfire crisis


Written by: CPA (M-L) on 15 September 2020

The wildfires raging in parts of the USA are a reminder of the bushfire crisis in Australia last season.  We have sent the following message of solidarity to US workers:

 

Revolutionary Organisation of Labour
Freedom Road Socialist Organisation
Party for Socialism and Liberation
Party of Communists USA
Workers World Party
Progressive Labor Party

14 September 2020

To the working people of the United States,

The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) is watching with great concern the wildfires devastating parts of California, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Washington.

From September 2019 to February 2020 Australia experienced bushfires unprecedented in their scope, duration and intensity. Fire-fighting services had warned the government that such a crisis was imminent, but still the government did nothing. Its biggest failure has been its failure to take action on global warming, leaving the fossil fuel industry free to continue its damaging carbon emissions.

The working classes of Australia and the United States fought together against fascism during World War 2 and then were forced into unjust wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.  We have much in common.

We sincerely hope that the terrible losses of life and property can soon be contained and that that we can support each other to demand immediate action to limit and reverse climate change.

In solidarity,

Nick G.
Chairperson
Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)