Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Broaden the base, narrow the target!

Vanguard September 2013 p. 3


This was the call by Mao Zedong to build a united front of workers, peasants and patriotic classes and sectors in response to the Japanese invasion of China in 1937.

It was a strategy based on distinguishing the major contradiction at that time – between the Chinese people and Japanese imperialism – from the other contradictions which then became secondary, such as the contradiction between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang.

The united front policy was not ‘lowest common denominator’ politics. Mao stressed the need for the Communist Party to have both ‘independence and initiative’ within the united front, maintaining its organisation and freedom of action while proving itself to be the most steadfast and reliable force in the collective resistance to Japanese imperialism. The unity with other forces and class interests was conditional on them both taking a stand against Japanese imperialism and not harming the interests of the workers and peasants.

These lessons can be applied to our situation in Australia where the major contradiction is between the Australian people and the economic, political and military interests of US imperialism and, to a lesser extent, European and Japanese interests. We need to build a united front to win our independence.

US imperialism dominates Australia economically through multinational corporate influence in the powerful Business Council of Australia, along with the US-based merchant banks and credit ratings agencies that dictate the flow of investment capital. Imperialism’s ‘free trade’ agenda is promoted by the World Bank and is being stepped up with the US-sponsored Trans Pacific Trade Agreement which will further erode Australia’s manufacturing base, the PBS and many service industries.

Parliamentary politicians from the major parties absolutely grovel before US imperialism, and readily agree to endorse every foreign policy position taken by the US. The same politicians have no qualms about handing over the Australian military and naval forces, bases and airfields to US imperialism, or committing Australian military personnel to whatever wars and adventures US imperialism wants to embark upon.

None of this serves the Australian people well. But at the present time many do not see the connections sufficiently clearly to take a conscious anti-imperialist stand. They lament the inroads being made into their notion of Australian independence, but do not yet see the need to build an anti-imperialist united front to ‘broaden the base and narrow the target’.

Nevertheless, in many struggles across the country, workers, unionists, farmers, small producers, tradespeople, students, professionals and unemployed people do come together to defend their environment, their towns, their jobs, their schools and hospitals and communities from the greed and destruction wrought by corporate monopolies.

Recent examples in Victoria have been the alliance between SPC Ardmona workers and fruit growers in the Goulburn Valley, the rally in support of the Yallourn power workers (page 10), the cavalcade from Seaspray to Melbourne against Coal Seam Gas, and the courageous battle of the residents of Tecoma against McDonalds.

From these beginnings, a powerful movement can develop to challenge the real rulers of Australia and expel foreign imperialism for good.

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