Saturday, July 23, 2016

US imperialist war drive in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions


The United States recently launched another satellite over the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. It was not unnoticed and significant for three reasons. 

The launching of the NROL 37/US 268 model highlighted the continued high-level diplomacy between the US and Australia for 'joint use' of defence and security facilities.

Australia is a regional hub for 'US interests' in both regions, a vast area patrolled for combat by US naval fleets.

Secondly, the satellite launch formed part of a massive wave of US-led militarism across the wider regions.

Thirdly, despite intelligence classification, the satellite was quickly identified. The US is openly flouting its instruments of war.

At 1.51 pm, 12 June, the US National Reconnaissance Office launched NROL 37/US 268 as part of national defence. The satellite formed part of the Orion series and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT).

Within a few days amateur space enthusiasts located the satellite over the Straits of Malacca. (1) They found it drifting west over the northern Indian Ocean. The positions of the satellite, at 104E, were explained as a result of US-Australian “defence and security” facilities at Pine Gap, central Australia, being used for initial testing requirements.

The location of the satellite has therefore revealed the continued importance of Pine Gap, operating in conjunction with US facilities located on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The sensitive facilities remain central for US defence and security planning and operations.

Similar facilities at Silvermine, South Africa, operate in tandem with Diego Garcia. They, in turn, provide coverage of the South Atlantic, across Africa and the Indian Ocean. (2)
The US has been developing increased intelligence operations across Africa in recent years. 

It has been illustrated with Australian diplomatic media releases now regularly using the term Indo-Pacific in place of the former Asia-Pacific region. While their networks of smaller surveillance facilities are ostensibly concerned with Islamic terrorism, the real concern is the defence and security of 'US interests' in the resource-rich continent. The linking of defence and security matters with corporate sector considerations has resulted in Australia hosting hundreds of mining companies registered as business outlets solely in Africa. (3) 

The rapid increase of Chinese financial interests across Africa including mineral exploration and mining and elsewhere, likewise, has resulted in a tilting of the balance of forces away from traditional western positions. (4) China is regarded as a hegemonic threat to 'US interests'.

Combined western intelligence facilities central for war planning and operations with the US 3rd, 5th and 7th fleets in the Indian Ocean and Pacific are therefore preoccupied with containment and encirclement of China, wherever thought possible.

In this light it is significant to note the initial position of the NROL 37/US 268 over the Straits of Malacca. It is one of the most congested and sensitive shipping-lanes in the world, proving China with access and egress, to and from, the Indian Ocean with the South China Seas.

There is also a 'softer-sell' to US-led foreign policy toward China. It is significant to note many of the Australian-based mining organisations operating in Africa use 'third-country' banking and financial institutions based in Singapore. (5) The country has a long history of involvement with western defence and security provision together with a highly sophisticated maritime industry and ready access to regional shipping-lances and navigation.

Secondly, it is significant to note the satellite is intended for implementation into defence and security systems with the swing of an arc from Diego Garcia, from Sri Lanka to Africa: an area patrolled by the US 5th and 7th fleets.

The satellite launch formed part of a massive wave of US-led militarism across the regions. As one war-game and manoeuvre reaches completion, another begins. Some of the military exercises are very large with extensive multinational commitments.

Annual Operations, Foal Eagle and Key Resolve off the Korean peninsula last March, for example, were the largest ever. A total of 290,000 ROK troops joined US counterparts and others to test various scenarios and increase 'our continued readiness'. 

The annual US-led Operation Cobra Gold staged with Thailand in 2015, was the largest military exercise of its type in thirty years. Military officers from a total of 29 countries participated in the planning and manoeuvres. Diplomatic media releases later described the operation along lines Thailand was 'a strategic asset in the region'. (6) 
The US-led military operations have been conducted with swashbuckling bravado. They have not created stability and greater security within the wider region. To the contrary, US-led strategies of tension have created problems for Australia as greater responsibilities have been foisted upon Canberra. The recent Australian White Paper regarded the region as experiencing a 'generally deteriorating situation' with 'points of fruition' with the Russian Federation and China in the South China Seas. 
The launching of the NROL 37/US 268 has provided a classic example of US-led attitudes toward the region and elsewhere. It was supposed to be subject to classification. Intelligence considerations are usually conducted in that manner. In this instance, however, media releases were accompanied by the findings of a group of amateur space enthusiasts.
Progressive-minded people in Australia and elsewhere should remain on their guard. The US is not pursuing diplomacy to safeguard world peace. 

It appears to be not only preparing for war, but also provoking a reaction from adversaries.


1.     Website: Skygazers have already found the U.S. Government's new spy satellite,
        Took just a few days, Joshua Kopstein, 26 June 2016.
2.     The Star, International Airmail Weekly, South Africa, 10 March 1973 and 17 March 1973.
3.     Website –
4.     US expands covert operations in Africa, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 22 June 2012,        
Pentagon looks to Africa to join fight, Weekend Australian, 29-30 June 2013,        
New drone bases open in east Africa to target al-Qaida, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 30 September 2011,        
China doubles loans to Africa, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 27 July 2012.
5.     Investing in Africa via Oz miners,  Weekend Australian, 9-10 November 2013.
6.     Cobra Gold Exercises, Washington Times, 9 February 2015.

The Imperialist war on Iraq: John Howard the war criminal!

Pat F.

The recent Chilcot Report on Britain’s involvement in the War on Iraq in 2003, arrives at the conclusion that Prime Minister Blair based his decision on “defective intelligence”. 

While it is tempting to read this as saying he was stupid, it isn’t saying that. It is saying that the information which he was given concerning Iraq’s alleged possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction was insufficiently substantial to justify a decision to declare war on, invade, conquer, and destroy another country and its people.

There is a background to Blair’s decision.

The area called Kuwait was found to be rich in oil in 1937. It had been regarded as a rather worthless part of Iraq for many centuries.

Eventually  the oil became owned by US and British oil companies and the country itself handed to Kuwaiti monarchists. This arrangement suited the US imperialists well, especially the US President of the time George Bush Snr. It also suited the Saudis and other comprador capitalists who benefited greatly from US domination of the Arabic people. It did not suit the Iraqi people and it did not suit the Iraqi capitalists, nor the government of Saddam Hussein.

In 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, deposed the Kuwaiti Royal family, and declared ownership of the land and oil.

The First Iraqi war was the response of the US and Britain to Iraq’s reclamation of its stolen oil wealth. As such it also was an unjustified, illegal, and cowardly attack on a weaker opponent. “Desert Storm”, as the attack on the Iraqi forces was named, descended upon a weak and technologically unprepared army with “shock and awe” and massive and pitiless death and destruction. The Iraqi forces attempted to flee back to Iraq, but were caught and destroyed in a shameful massacre of soldiers and civilians, the images of which shocked the world. The American armed forces wished to pursue the Iraqis into Iraq and capture and destroy Saddam Hussein and his government. International outcry caused Bush Snr to stop the US invasion at the Iraqi border.

The American government regarded this as unfinished business, as indeed did the British, Australian and Saudi governments. For the next 10 years Iraq was punished for its defiance of the US. Trade restrictions, food shortages, and inspections for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons were imposed for years. United Nations inspectors, in particular Hans Blix, was eventually satisfied that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction production in Iraq.

At this point Australia’s shameful role in the Second Iraqi war commenced. Australian and US inspectors rejected the report of the UN inspectors, and claimed that the Iraqi government was hiding its factories for production of WMDs. One of the British inspectors, David Kelly, subsequently disclosed that the claim that Iraq had WMDs and was capable of launching a strike in 30 minutes, was inserted into the report by the British government. Two days after this disclosure, he was found dead, probably murdered, in the woods near his home. 

Australia, Britain and the US invaded Iraq again in 2003, to finish the job which was started by George Bush Snr and was to be continued by George Bush Jnr. Australia’s role in this was to foster, encourage and reward. The most vocal of the WMD inspectors who insisted that Iraq had hidden and retained the means to produce WMD, and that war on Iraq was justified, was Richard Butler. (Later he won the support of the ALP, when he opposed the invasion, and was critical of Howard’s commitment to the war.) Perhaps this villain was a US agent, perhaps just a willing collaborator. He was rewarded by being made Governor of Tasmania (by Jim Bacon), a well-funded, plum of a sinecure, which he proved to be incapable of understanding. The only task of a Governor is to do nothing, especially to do nothing political. But he couldn’t stop himself, and in a very short space of time he resigned from office, with an unprecedented gratuity of $650,000!

After the death of so many Iraqi people, and the death of so few of the US imperialists, the destruction of so much of the property and possessions of the people, and the execution of Saddam Hussein, and his family and his government, the anger of the Iraqi people boiled over and was channelled into a religious sectarian dominated resistance through which emerged what became known as “Islamic State”. Thus it was that the Iraqi war created its own avengers.

And now the Chilcot Report has shown that Blair, Bush and John Howard were heads of governments who took their nations into an unjustified, brutal and ultimately disastrous invasion and destruction of Iraq. Blair, Bush and Howard presided over the execution of Saddam Hussein, because he was the head of government in Iraq, and was forced to carry responsibility for the alleged crimes of the Iraqi state.

And now Bush, Blair and Howard must be held responsible for their governments’ slaughter of thousands of Iraqis, and for the emergence of Islamic State and its barbaric religious bigotry. No longer should our governments escape punishment for war crimes.

Former senior Australian intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP for Denison, has recently stated: “Then Prime Minister John Howard took Australia to war on the basis of a lie and stands accused of war crimes. That he has never been held to account, and that his Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is now Australian High Commissioner to London, is quite simply outrageous.”

He added: “These matters have never been properly investigated in Australia and there remains a pressing need for an inquiry similar to Chilcot.”

Wilkie’s own book, Axis Of Deceit: The Extraordinary Story of an Australian Whistleblower (2010) has done essential groundwork for such an enquiry.

As for the Saudi Royal family, it deserves to suffer the same fate as the Romanoff family, the last Czars of Russia, and all other regimes consigned by their people to the dustbin of history. 

Questions arising from the Brexit vote.

Questions arising from the Brexit vote.
Pat F.

Comrade Ned K raised important issues in his discussion of the Brexit. His recommendation to look at the website of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) is very helpful.

At first sight the Brexit vote is startling. Is this the first time parliamentary democracy has wielded real power and damaged the interests of the capitalist class? Will the German and French capitalists passively allow the British people to break out of the EU, withdraw the British armed forces, and create a precedent for Denmark, Greece, Italy, and other disaffected states?

The Brexit vote to leave the EU gives rise to some important questions. 

1. Is it in the interests of the Working Class?

The answer is a resounding YES.

The EU is an imperial power of the sort identified by Lenin as the highest stage of capitalism. It is a strong rival of other imperialist powers like Russia, the US, and China.
The EU has successfully extended and intensified the exploitation of workers in Europe, and other workers who through immigration have moved into the sphere of EU control.

The EU has hidden its emergence beneath the shroud of Parliamentary Democracy, its use of referenda, the support of the popular press, and the protection of the British capitalists who benefit, as compradors, from the EU.

Every popular movement contains competing elements. The pro-Brexit forces included racists, nostalgic British Imperialists, independent-minded capitalists, and a huge block of class conscious workers in the North of England. 

Many workers saw the influx of refugees as a threat to their standards of living, and xenophobic anti-immigration sentiment was promoted by right wing organisations. The anti- Brexit forces included the comprador capitalists represented by the Conservative Party, young people who see no alternative, and those who have benefited from the EU welfare system in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales after generations of neglect by England, often with a sectarian basis. 

2. Will it happen?

The vote in Britain to exit the EU reminds one of the exit of states from the collapsing USSR, or the exit of the Ukraine from the Russian empire to the EU empire, or of Allende from the US empire, or of Greece from the EU. It brings to mind the timid effort of the Australian Parliament to stretch the bonds tying Australia to the US Empire in 1974. All of these failed overtly or covertly through coups, corruption, or military intervention.

The answer is that the break from the EU will NOT happen unless the organised working class makes it happen, forces it to happen. 

3. How might the Brexit vote be frustrated?

The usual methods are Parliamentary reversal of the vote; negotiation to retain the appearances of a Brexit, but not the reality; application of military force to suppress the working class. These methods were used in the examples mentioned above.

Already the British Parliament is moving along the Parliamentary reversal strategy. With Cameron moved aside, his replacement as Conservative Prime Minister was Theresa May. Her campaign slogan is “Unite and Govern”, which are code words for “keep Scotland, Nth Ireland and Wales in Great Britain” and “over-rule the vote”. Her recent comment that “Brexit means Brexit” can be seen as ensuring that she was better positioned to win the Prime Minister position, without any unambiguous commitment to execute the Brexit. Indeed her only opponent withdrew, saying a contest is not necessary. There is now the ridiculous position, in which Cameron has resigned because he thought an anti- Brexit PM should not be tasked with implementing the Brexit; but the new PM is a committed anti-Brexiter! And Boris Johnson, the pro-Brexiter, is now “Foreign Minister for the Brexit”! Or is he the fall guy?

The new PM may attempt a Parliamentary reversal, though she has said that is not her strategy. She may attempt to negotiate some minor changes to Britain’s position in the EU, possibly the appearances of an exit, but not complete withdrawal. The EU hot-heads are favouring an economic war on Britain; trade restrictions, travel restrictions, diplomatic isolation, to force the British capitalist class to attack this working class rebellion against the EU. And there will be Police and armed forces involved to supress the “terrorists”. All the anti-terrorist laws will be available for use. And whatever strategy the British capitalist class uses will be supported and aided by the press in all its forms.

Is it possible the US might seize the opportunity to embrace Britain into its weakening grasp? Very possible, indeed Obama’s recent comments can be seen as an invitation to Britain to do just that. 

4. What is to be done?

During the Vietnamese war against US imperialism, Ho Chi Minh was asked the best way workers in the rest of the world could help the Vietnamese people. His reply was clear and succinct; “Rebel against US imperialism in your own country!”

Rebellion in the Middle East is rebellion against US imperialism and its comprador partners like Saudi Arabia. The rebellion is distorted by sectarianism, just as the struggle in Ireland was distorted by tensions between Catholics and Protestants. In the Arabic states the Sunni Islamic sect is often associated with the Saudi and pro-US states, and the Shia sect with more popular forces. There are some indications that the progressive forces are having more success in attacking military targets.

In Australia the recent elections are revealing a high level of dissatisfaction with the Parliamentary system. The Government attempt to use the Double Dissolution tactic to impose anti-union legislation has failed utterly. The Abbott attempt to hand the billions of dollars to the Japanese for submarine construction was thwarted. There may now be a period in which the working class can extend its opposition to the US conscription of Australia’s armed forces in opposition to China. It is likely that the passage of “Free” Trade agreements will become problematic. A closer alliance between Britain and the US could suit US anti-China policy well.

In Europe, there may be more working class attempts to exit the EU. It is difficult to see that being a peaceful process.

Wherever there are wars there are people who wish to flee, to migrate to safer countries. It will always be a challenge to balance the desire to help, with the necessity to make the rich pay. The real solution to the refugee problem is to remove the cause of the problem, US imperialism, the Saudi royal family, and all the others who prevent the Arabic people from owning the wealth of their countries.


The Brexit vote has thrown a cat amongst the vultures. The British working class is now involved in an open struggle against imperialism. So many peoples around the world are now involved in anti-imperialist struggles. One hundred years on from the first working class seizure of state power, may we again experience 10 days that will shake the world, and overthrow the old order!

Medical Specialists

Medical Specialists

(A reader has sent this account of his dealings with medical specialists.  We publish it as a reminder that relations between people under capitalism are based on the ideology of self-interest, and that a socialist transformation of society will make possible the emergence of a truly socialist ideology based on serving the people.)

According to Business Insider the highest paying jobs in Australia are Surgeons and Anaesthetists, at over $300,000 pa. This is more than many CEOs but probably does not take into account other benefits like share issues.

After recent bouts of illness and spending a lot of time, involuntarily, in reflection, I am led to report on my experiences with the medical profession. There is nothing like a period of blindness to provide opportunity for reflection upon painful and disappointing experience.

As a child, I remember being taken to a GP for a few childhood complaints. The local GP was, after the priest, the most respected person in the community. My mother was a widow with 5 children, and I don't recall money being involved in these infrequent visits. This was long before Medicare, so I guess the GP was doing this work "Pro Bono", literally, for the common good. Later, this GP stopped to assist at a traffic accident, and was killed when struck by a passing car. His memory now is kept in the Court Reports, because his death gave rise to a legal precedent.

Previously, kids like me had the benefit of a kindly GP, or a trip to the public hospital. I well remember receiving dental treatment from dental students. I also received free dental treatment from the family Dentist. I guess kids with working parents received medical treatment only when necessary, and their parents paid. Maybe they even had health insurance.

Then in the sixties and seventies, as the working class and its allies became active and strong in organisation, and the Party was leading a progressive mass movement, Whitlam and the ALP entered the stage to dilute, diverge, and deceive. Medibank was created to give all the right to access medical services when required. What a con that was.

Very soon the medical profession funded a High Court case against the essential Medibank plank that required medical specialists to work for wages in public hospitals, as they still do in Britain. The medical profession’s argument was laughable: this constituted conscription, which was unconstitutional. (Strange that it seemed constitutional in 1964, when I received my call up notice for military conscription.)

What was even more laughable was the decision of the judges to uphold the medical profession’s objection. I wonder to what extent the judges, jumped up lawyers from private legal practices, could see “Legalbank” in the distance, working for wages, and legal access for all. Self-interest needs no crystal ball!

So there I was, legally blind, with a condition which leaves mainly Aboriginal people permanently blind; and an internal problem that has a very high mortality rate amongst men. The vision problem was rectified through a 30 minute procedure the cost of which was almost completely covered by medical insurance. Without the private medical insurance I would still be waiting for my turn to have the procedure through the public hospital, which I guess explains why so many Aboriginal people become permanently blind from the condition.

That left the other condition.

Prostatic Hyperplasia is a condition of old blokes, like me actually. The drain pipe from the bladder passes through the centre of the prostate gland which stretches to allow urine to pass through to the dual purpose penis. Except it has a stupid design fault. As a man gets older, the prostate becomes more inflexible, and the flow of urine may become restricted.

So the first symptom of PH is difficulty in passing urine, and may then progress to total blockage. Which is not good. It is extremely painful, and if untreated is terminal, but slowly and painfully. It is said that Alexander the Great of Macedon died from that condition; or from the efforts of an early medical practitioner to force a straw up his penis to clear the blockage. (I suspect that one of my surgeons was Macedonian.)

However that is not the worst thing about PH, which comes in two forms and frequently progresses from the first form, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), to the second and terminal form, Prostate Cancer (PC), which is the cause of death for large numbers of men. 

The first Urology surgeon to whom I was referred by my GP, was uninhibited in his delight that I would need to have surgery, and that he would do it. I was his “catch of the day”! Because of my misplaced trust in the medical profession, I allowed him to make arrangements for immediate surgery, at my expense, and at an undisclosed price. Then he mentioned, casually and in passing, as if unimportant, that this operation would have an impact upon my sexual performance.

Being a former gold medal winner at the Sexolympics, this concerned me not a little. Further enquiry revealed that the operation would render me infertile, unable to sire progeny. As I was wishing to do that, the information was pertinent.

My second Urology surgeon, alerted to my first Urology surgeon’s gaffe and its aftermath, recommended a daily tablet which worked quite satisfactorily for the next twenty years.

After 20 years, and a small family, it was recommended I should have a procedure which would check for the presence of cancer, or cancer indicators, and so I met my third Urology surgeon. And what a vulture he was. Every consultation involved a Medicare payment, a Private insurance payment and a cash payment as large as the others to be paid in cash prior.

Exploratory procedure, then laser surgery, then exploratory surgery, and a recommendation for bladder surgery, which I declined, followed by a procedure in which, while I was unsedated and conscious, he tried to insert a cutting tool into my penis, and only desisted when I threatened him with immediate violence (you see why I empathise with Alexander the Great of Macedon). He was not happy.

After that aborted procedure, he recommended further surgery to remove scar tissue caused by the laser surgery, and which was now, instead of the prostate gland, blocking the flow of urine from my bladder. The report included notification that for this surgery he would require the prior payment of several thousand dollars, in addition to the government payment and insurance payment.

And here I got lucky. I wrote him a letter in which I said that as the surgery was required because of the mess he had made of the previous surgery, I would NOT pay the fee. The letter was placed in my medical file, which he did not read until he was standing in front of me, and I was on the operating table, and the anaesthetist was sticking a blunt needle into my wrist. The surgeon glared at me, realised he should have read the notes earlier, and as I slipped into unconsciousness, I heard him say, “Let’s get this over quickly.”

I didn’t see him after the surgery, but I bled profusely for days.

When I saw him a week or so after surgery, which he is obliged to do, he did not say hullo, he gave me a referral letter to Urology surgeon number Four, pushed me into his waiting room and publicly announced that my medical file was closed and I was no longer a client.

As I left his property I passed his Porsche, and reminded myself that the enemy is US imperialism, and capitalist productive relations, not greedy medical specialists, who should be given a chance to learn to serve the people.

But perhaps only one chance.

Let’s be fair; the same things could be said about other professions like lawyers, vets, dentists, pharmacists, etc, in fact wherever profit has become the motive, instead of a will to serve the people.


Surgeon number 4 read my medical file with raised eyebrows, and then told me to come back when I had something wrong with me. Was it ALL un-necessary surgery??

Surgeon number 5 sent me a bill for non-attendance at an appointment I had cancelled. The old “Invoice for Work Not Performed” scam!

40th Anniversary of the Sowetan Uprising and Africans still suffer dispossession

Max O.

Soweto, June 16 1976 was one of the most momentous uprisings in the history of the anti-apartheid struggle. The streets of this township were stained with students' blood, a tragedy that is deeply etched in the minds of dispossessed Africans.

Students from surrounding Sowetan schools protested in the streets of Soweto in reaction to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in schools. 20,000 black students marched from their schools to Orlando Stadium to vent opposition that their learning be conducted in the oppressors language.

The protest was organised by the Soweto Students' Representative Council Action Committee and backed by the influential Black Consciousness Movement. The Soweto protest became famous around the world and synonymous with opposition to apartheid South Africa.

The apartheid police brutality was fierce in crushing the Sowetan student's protest. The number of 176 protestors killed by police is generally given, however the number of 700 would be closer to the mark. The Sowetan Student's protest of 16th June is now commemorated as a public holiday in South Africa.

The ANC government sells out its own people

Unfortunately the struggles of those times is officially dissipated and the day is inscribed with the insipid name of, "Youth Day". The black students of 1976 were not asking for civil rights but demanding liberation of their country and rejection of white colonial rule when they sang out 'Azania' (land of the African People).

The African National Congress (ANC), then and now, only ever promoted a limited agenda of civil rights and ignored the struggle of returning stolen land back to African People. Before the ANC became the government of South Africa in 1994, it did a deal with the local white elite, foreign imperialist powers and multinational corporations to maintain and enforce their dominance of the land and economy.

Now 40 years after the famous uprising of Soweto and supposed black majority rule, black Africans have little to show for their struggles and sacrifices. Their plight has not improved but rather deteriorated since Mandela and the ANC took on government back in 1994.

Blacks in South Africa still suffer appalling living conditions of no running water, electricity, decent sanitation, no return of land and in contrast they see a small black bourgeoisie cosying up to a white-imperialist dominated economy. The ANC government's political treachery saw them in 2012 command black police to gun down the striking Marikana miners in support of the Lonmin Corporation.

44 African mineworkers were murdered at Marikana, marking it as a watershed of betrayal in the history of the ANC, Council of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). By 2013 political upheaval in South Africa ensued with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), lead by Julius Malema, breaking away from the Jacob Zuma led ANC.

Opportunism of the Economic Freedom Fighters

However the EFF have been more puff than substance and is really just a vehicle for Julius Malema's personal political ambitions. Publicly the EFF denounces the ANC for their pro-business position, selling out black people of South Africa to capitalism as cheap labour, proposing to expropriate stolen land, calling for the nationalisation of the mining and banking sectors.

Things came to ahead politically within the EFF when Malema in April, 2015 met with the white agricultural capitalist class in Paarl and Stellenbosch. Invited to their forum "Gesprek" (Afrikaans for conversations) he reassured the rich white farmers that their land holdings were secure and allayed their fears on the issue of “expropriation of land without compensation”.

Malema stated, to the delight of these white farmers, that as long “as it’s a productive farm, we don’t have to interfere with the production on that piece of land” and opportunistically pointed out that there would only be expropriation and occupation of “non-productive land". He thus guaranteed to these white land thieves that "their" land is safe from blacks who would only occupy unused and unproductive land; in other words the best land would stay with the whites and blacks would only take what was left over.

This sell out was all too much for sections of the EFF who were unwilling to accept the abrogation of 'expropriation of stolen African land' policy in the party's platform. By August, 2015 activists who were expelled from the EFF established the Black First Land First (BLF) movement. Its most notable leader, Andile Mgxitama after being expelled from the EFF, described it as a "watered-down version of the African National Congress".

Emergence of the Black First Land First movement

BLF was officially launch in Soweto, 14 May 2016 declaring its ideology as Black Consciousness, Pan-Africanism and Sankarist, completely rejecting the ANC's Freedom Charter, 'South Africa belongs to all who live in it, both black and white'. After more than 350 years of land dispossession and more than 22 years of cowardice by the ANC, there is a resurgence of the Pan-Africanist agenda of Robert Sobukwe (the land must be returned to the indigenous custodians) amongst black South Africans. For blacks the 'Rainbow Nation' has proved a bitter illusion that only benefited the white un-settlers and their black lackeys.

The need for black people to think and act for their own liberation, as articulated by the Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, is essential because their freedom struggle cannot be outsourced to others; a problem of the past where whites had too much influence within the black liberation movement.

The BLF employs within its black agenda the Sankaraist leadership approach. Thomas Sankara (21/12/1949 - 15/10/1987) was a Burkinabe military captain, Marxist revolutionary, Pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987, until he was overthrown in a coup. Viewed by supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution, he is commonly referred to as Africa's Che Guevara.

The BLF sees the Sankarist leadership ethos, both in belief and practice, following and honouring the revolutionary legacy of Thomas Sankara, as a crucial measure to counter corruption. To this end their black agenda promotes a servant leadership that is accountable, democratic, responsive leadership that puts black people first.

The movement has busily been promoting land occupations of white owned land by blacks throughout the country. A strategy that aims to return stolen land back to Africans faces a huge task.

Out of the 54 million people in South Africa 35 000 white families, including white businesses, own more than 80% of the land. Since 1994, the ANC government has bought 8% of the land from whites at the cost of about R50 billion.

The ANC's buy-back, using the willing seller-willing buyer method, is a futile approach to the black landless problem. Since 1994 more than 1 million black people have been forcibly removed from white farms. Farm workers, who are always black, are essentially slaves in South Africa.

The uprising in Soweto 40 years ago left an indelible mark, as did Sharpeville 16 years before and Marikana 36 years after, upon black South Africans. These three historic tragic massacres have taught black Africans that their freedom will only be found once they have control of their land.
The launch of the Black First Land First  movement is reminiscent of Pan Africanist Congress beginnings in 1959 and the evolvement of Black Consciousness Movement in the 1970s, where on both occasions it was seen as crucial to breakaway from reformist strategies that deliver nothing to the dispossessed. The BLF has flagged its willingness to unite with the Pan Africanist Congress - PAC and the Azanian Peoples Organisation - AZAPO (the current Black Consciousness organisation) to forge an Azanian Front that can mobilise blacks to overcome their dispossession and win back their country.

The class divide in South Africa reflects the race divide and the race divide is materially expressed in the land divide, where 80% of the population or 43.2 million people are virtually landless. This is an explosive matter that no 'Rainbow Nation' veneer can ever hope to contain nor control, for the dispossessed cannot be suppressed for ever.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ruling class relaxes: parliament set to function again

Nick G.

The ruling class has a new federal government to carry out its wishes.

With counting still taking place in seven seats, Labor leader Shorten has conceded defeat, allowing Coalition leader Turnbull to declare victory in the 2016 election.

Turnbull led the Coalition to the brink of defeat, proving that US presidential-style personality politics have yet to completely mesmerise the Australian people.

Neither Turnbull’s smarmy affability, nor Shorten’s gormless vacuity, could deliver the Coalition the landslide vote it sought.

And despite Turnbull’s strategy of using a double dissolution and changing the rules around Senate voting he was unable to reduce the presence of minor parties in the upper house.

Shorten pledges his loyalty to capitalism

Far from pledging to lead the people against every reactionary measure on the Coalition platform, Shorten used his concession speech to pledge his loyalty to the interests of the ruling class, offering to work with Mr Turnbull to find "common ground" and make the parliament work. 

The question “Work for whom?” was not on his agenda, and its absence immediately signalled to the ruling class that they would have no cause for alarm.

Having served its purpose, the parliamentary circus can now pull down its tent and leave town for a further three years.

Ticket sales were down and a substantial part of its former audience have gone to new entertainers. It remains to be seen what their performance will really consist of: early indications are that even clowns dressed in racist costumes may have some role to play in frustrating part of Turnbull’s agenda. They have yet to declare that they intend to “find common ground” with the Coalition.

Build the revolutionary movement armed with class analysis

In a new publication, Parliament and Elections – a superficial democracy, the CPA (M-L) steps away from the particular personalities and politics of this year’s election and restates some fundamentals of bourgeois democracy.

In an introduction, we state that “…it is our view that Australia’s parliament administers and protects the exploitative and corrupt economic system of capitalism, and that real democracy will grow out of a grass roots movement with an independent working class agenda based on the needs of working people.”

We recommend this small publication, available as a download from our website, as an antidote to the endless reams of rubbish written in the Murdoch and Fairfax press, and spoken on the radio and television of the monopoly media.

We must continue to build a revolutionary movement that can build people’s confidence in actual mass struggle for anti-imperialist independence and socialism in Australia.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Foreign Land Ownership Debate Brings Out the Compradors

Duncan B.

In his important work Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society written in 1926, Mao Zedong asked the question, “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?”  He pointed out the need for the revolutionary party to identify the real friends and the real enemies of the revolution so that it can unite with the real friends to defeat the real enemies. To this end Mao made a general analysis of the economic status of the various classes in Chinese society and of their respective attitudes towards the revolution.

One of the classes he identified was the comprador class. The Chinese comprador class was that section of the bourgeoisie which directly served the capitalists of the imperialist countries and was nurtured by them. Mao said they always side with imperialism and constitute an extreme counter-revolutionary group.

Although we don’t call them compradors in Australia, we have plenty of people who fit this description. The current debate about foreign ownership of Australian farm land is bringing these people to light. There are many who benefit from the sale of Australian farm land to foreign interests, and they have been vocal in support of the foreign takeover. As the statistics show, they have plenty to gain from it.

The latest figures on foreign farm ownership, released in 2014, show that 11% of Australia’s agricultural land (49.6 million hectares) was foreign owned. The Foreign Investment Review Board’s 2014-15 annual report, released in April showed applications for overseas investment in Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries totalled $5.3 billion, up from $3.4 billion in 2013-14. The five-year annual average was $3.3 billion. China made the biggest investment, with deals worth $2.5 billion, followed by the US with $1 billion.

It is not surprising then to see people such as the Chairman of the Prime Super superannuation fund that has extensive investments in agribusiness to be quoted as saying, “We’ve always had it (the debate about foreign investment), but generally speaking to grow this country we need external investment in every field.”

There is also Lindsay Fox, who was the losing bidder for the Kidman & Co. pastoral empire, which the Kidman Company was seeking to sell to a Chinese backed consortium for $370.7 million. Speaking on the Government’s decision to block the sale pending an independent review of the sale, Fox said, “At the end of a day, if I have an asset, I would expect to be able to sell it to anyone. How can you restrict someone from making a profit by selling something?”

The Murdoch-owned farmer’s paper The Weekly Times is also a supporter of foreign investment in Australian agriculture. In its editorial of April 27, entitled Folk Law Versus the Future, the paper says “Australia needs to have an adult conversation about investment in agriculture. Not just foreign investment.” 

Discussing the Government’s review of the Kidman sale, and comparing this proposed sale with other sales that have gone ahead, the editorial continues, “The review poses more questions than it answers and reeks of inconsistency. It comes down to one thing: emotion. Kidman is part of Australian folklore. Opponents are too busy holding on to the past to see the future.”

Even farmer leaders support foreign investment. The Victorian Farmer’s Federation vice-president  David Jochinke said, “Sometimes we get tripped up on the word ‘foreign’, sometimes we even get tripped up on the nationality of that foreign investment , and it really detracts from the real game of agriculture or what agriculture needs.”

The Weekly Times editorial concluded with the above quote from David Jochinke, and added “And what agriculture needs is investment.”

It is obvious that the Weekly Times is the mouthpiece of the foreign investors, agribusiness corporations and all the others in Australia who benefit from the exploitation of Australia’s small and medium farmers.  If the future envisaged by those the Weekly Times represents means even greater foreign investment and greater exploitation of Australia’s people and resources, we want no part of it

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Brexit: Contradictions between Imperialist States Intensifies

Ned K.

The recent vote by the people in the UK to exit from the European Union has increased tensions between competing imperialist powers within Europe. 

Germany and France in particular appear unhappy with the UK vote to exit the EU. The two countries were the principal drivers of the expansion of the European Economic Community into the European Union via the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. To what extent the economic bases of the UK and major European imperialist powers have become intertwined needs further analysis. The original intention of the major imperialist powers within the European Union was to create a bloc capable of competing with US imperialism and the rising capitalist powers of Japan, and more lately China, in Asia. German and French finance capital sought to remove regional barriers to the free flow of labour and capital to the mutual advantage of the major European monopoly capitals.

The increased mobility and displacement of workers in the European Union also assisted all the imperialist powers within the EU to force down the cost of labour by the utilization of migrant labour from Eastern Europe and the transfer of production and services to countries within the EU where labour is cheaper. In their struggle against the working classes of their respective countries and the working classes of poorer EU countries, the big powers in the EU, including the UK, have tried to impose harsh cuts to government services and in some cases income. The latest example of this is in France where the government is trying to pass anti-worker laws to repress struggle and reduce living standards.

Making Sense of It All

To understand the current events in the European Union it may be useful for readers to re-visit the CPA-ML June 2015 booklet, Marxism Today - For Australian Independence For Australian Socialism. The booklet contains an article "Imperialism: What Is It?" The article contains the following useful passage:

"The British born US based Marxist, David Harvey, in his book The New Imperialism, acknowledged the importance of the Marxist theory of imperialism as an analytical tool. Drawing on the tradition of Marxist analysis of capitalist imperialism (as opposed to the imperialism of the Roman Empire for example), Harvey put forward his view on what constituted the core relationship lying at the heart of capitalist imperialism. The core relationship was a dialectical one, between what he called 'territorial and capitalist logics of power'.

"On one side was the territorial logic of power which was the realm of the political where states' interests were of paramount importance. On the other was the capitalist logic of power where the capitalist accumulation was the dominant factor. To unravel the complexities involved in actual situations requires the ability 'to keep the two sides of this dialectic simultaneously in motion and not to lapse into either a solely political or predominantly economic mode of argumentation...In practice the two logics frequently tug against each other, sometimes to the point of outright antagonism.' "

The French working class is showing the way forward in the current situation where political contradictions between the imperialist powers are intensifying in tandem with continued economic "austerity measures" against working classes of many European countries.
The French working class is fighting back in a way which will make it more difficult for the French ruling class to involve the French people in any war of aggression through inter imperialist rivalry. 

Study the views of European Communists

Our European comrades are in the best position to make sense of the Brexit. We recommend that the following statements, by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist) respectively: