Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ships of Shame - People's Struggle to Ban Live Animal Export

Ned K.

On Friday 20 April, hundreds of people held a demonstration at Port Adelaide to demand the banning of live animal exports from Australia.

This follows the revelation by animal care groups of the shocking treatment of sheep exported by ships for slaughter and consumption in overseas countries.

The demonstration coincided with the expected arrival at Port Adelaide of the live sheep carrier, Bader 111 which the RSPCA said "has an appalling record of extreme animal suffering and mass deaths."


The RSPCA called for the immediate phase out of live animal exports.


Further demonstrations are to follow. Even Liberal Party leaders and Shorten are being forced to appear to be doing something about this issue.


The Bader 111 is one of three animal export ships that packs animals into two levels of pens on each deck which makes welfare checks during a sea journey of up to three weeks nigh impossible.


At the demonstration on Friday at Port Adelaide, the AMIEU (meat workers union) state secretary, Sharra Anderson, said the live animal export industry had cost 40,000 abattoir jobs in Australia over the last twenty years. The demonstrators included mainly women and children with one woman saying, "I think that it's important to raise children who are kind and ethical who know what's going on around them."


The "ethics" of the live animal export corporations are the ethics of exploitation and maximising profit. What other conclusions could be drawn when seeing the conditions in which these animals are transported and the cramming of up to 75,000 in one vessel with three sheep to one square metre space!


The live animal export industry is big business with $1.8 billion made each year from live animal exports. In the year ending March 2018, there were 894,176 cattle, 1.9 million sheep and 14,423 goats exported live to abattoirs overseas.


It is not only the plight of the animals that is a concern. The ships’ crews are usually impoverished workers from developing countries where any attempts to organise are suppressed and with insufficient crew numbers to look after the animals in a humane way.


The live animal export industry corporations claim that loss of the live animal export trade will ruin the cattle and sheep station owners in Australia because the countries importing live sheep and cattle have customs and culture that utilise the whole animal as a food source and therefore live animal imports from countries like Australia are required. This claim is doubtful as animals processed for human consumption can be carried out in Australia in a manner consistent with the demands of the importing country as was the case before the live animal export industry boomed in the 1990s.


The reaction by people towards the cruelty of live animal exports is a good thing and shows that in the age of social media and rapid communication systems it is becoming harder and harder for capitalism to hide its atrocities against humans, other species and the environment on which all species depend for their livelihoods.

Friday, April 20, 2018

New pamphlet:Who Owns Australia

In 2001, the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) published a pamphlet titled Who Owns Australia? There have been a lot of changes in Australia’s economy and the political situation in Australia and the world since 2001. The CPA (M-L) decided that it was time for an updated pamphlet to be produced.

Here is a link to a pdf version of the pamphlet:

Save Sydney Coalition launched to fight developers

Louisa L.

A coalition of organisations opposing the destruction of Sydney  by developers was launched under the Tree of Knowledge, behind NSW Parliament in Sydney’s Domain on Thursday, April 12.

Actor Michael Caton, famed for his role as a suburbanite galvanised into action to save his home in the film ‘The Castle’, began the launch of Save Sydney Coalition with a reference to Barcaldine’s Tree of Knowledge. 

At Barcaldine in 1891, striking Queensland shearers swore the Eureka Oath, ‘to stand truly by each other and defend our rights and liberties’. 

Michael Caton said he saw the Tree when it was gradually dying after being poisoned. He called it a good metaphor for Sydney because, he said, “we’re being poisoned by over-development, by people being in bed with developers.”

Total disregard

Barbara Coorey, spokesperson for the Save Sydney Coalition, stated, “Our group has been formed because of the frustrations of ordinary Sydney-siders, who are seeing the heart and soul of this city being ripped out by unprecedented development.” 

She spoke of “a total disregard for heritage, maintenance of character, preservation of community … and infrastructure requirements.” 

She said, “Whole suburbs, that have been in existence for over one hundred years, with the subdivisions dating back to the 1800s and early 20th century,” are being destroyed.

Barbara Coorey said, “Today marks the beginning of the good citizens of this city taking back control of their own city. We, as the peak body, demand a seat at the table with government on these important issues.”

“The Save Sydney Coalition seeks to protect local character of the entire Sydney region”.

Five year picket

Windsor is part of Greater Sydney but 50 years ago was still country town, 56 kilometres northwest of Sydney centre. Now it’s an outer suburb.

The Battle for Thompson Square and Windsor Bridge broke the Guinness Book record with a five-year picket against development. 

The square was established in 1795 and named Thompson Square in 1811.

Jan Sparks, from Community Action for Windsor Bridge, told the gathering, “There’s four-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, rain hail or shine.”

Residents are fighting a proposal that will “replace our historic bridge and cut a path through the oldest public square in Australia. Currently we have approximately 3000 trucks a day.” These are B-doubles or bigger, and with numbers predicted to rise to 5000 daily she stated.

“It’s like a road going through The Rocks with 5000 trucks a day” bringing sand from sand mines, for all Sydney’s developments, Jan Sparks said.

People power

RIPA (Residents Infrastructure and Planning Alliance) is an alliance of 16 community groups on the north and north west fringes of Sydney, including some very affluent areas. RIPA rep, Ray Sloss, said, “We are happy to join Save our Sydney, because we need to be strong and we need to have people power.”  

He outlined three struggles. In south Dural, a proposal had over 6000 objections. 
600 people also joined a community meeting to stop 240 hectares of land being destroyed, with massive houses to be built. 

RIPA is now fighting Mirvac’s plans for the IBM site next to Cumberland State Forest, with 3,500 objections, he continued.

The forest, where the National Trust and community replanted over 40,000 indigenous plants beginning 30 years ago, is some of the last blue gum forest in Sydney. The development cuts into the forest, including Powerful Owl habitat.

‘Be humble and listen’

Save Sydney is aiming to systematically broaden its membership, with affordable housing a key demand.

Attempts have been made to link up with those fighting public housing evictions. 

Speakers echoed Michael Caton’s words, “It’s time for the people to take their power back.” 

He had important advice, “You’re going to have to think a bit bigger, and you’re going to have to be humble and listen and understand the other folks’ point of view in terms of what you push and how hard.”

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Indonesia and the legacy of US imperialist interference


Nearly seventy years of Australian and Indonesian diplomacy has proven problematic for Canberra. Recent developments in Indonesia, resting upon the legacy of decades of political turbulence and interference, continue to give cause for alarm for both Australian and Indonesian progressive forces.

 It is highly likely diplomatic relations will be further strained in coming months with the rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism. There is also the likelihood of greater repression within Indonesia as Islamic groups increasingly enter the political arena to confront democratic forces. There is little ambiguity with the intended outcome.
A recent reading of a nineteen-year-old poem, Ibu Indonesia ​(Mother Indonesia), by Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of founding Indonesian President Sukarno, at a fashion event which led to demands for her to be tried for blasphemy by hard-line Islamic groups has raised the very real problem of repression in the country. Some of the contentious lines in her poem include, as translated to English:
I don’t know Islamic sharia
But I know Mother Indonesia’s konde saree is very beautiful
Prettier than your face veil
I don’t know Islamic sharia
But I know Mother Indonesia’s ballad, it’s so very elegant
More soothing than your aza
n (Islamic call to prayer)
The development has followed the targeting of former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja 'Ahok' Purnana, an ethnic Chinese Christian, who was jailed last year for blasphemy. There is a great deal more to the two cases than meets the eye: Islamic forces seek to capitalise on their demands and push Indonesia closer to harder line agendas. They have now also targeted the daughter of a political leader who established Indonesia as a pluralist state, leaving little ambiguity about their real agendas.
A central part of the political standpoint of the former Sukarno administration was the policy of NASAKOM, a balancing of the military with political Islam and Communism in a 'guided democracy'. Sukarno was politically progressive: a committed Socialist and anti-imperialist. He was also a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement of recently independent countries at the United Nations, a body which supported progressive forces and national liberation movements in what is now the developing world.
From the independence from Holland in 1949, to its demise in 1965 by military coup, the administrations of President Sukarno presented Australia with a problem; at the height of the Cold War, Indonesia developed favourable diplomatic relations with the Socialist bloc, including China, and had one of the largest Communist parties in the world.
Much of the US-led attempt to undermine and destabilise the Sukarno administration included Australian involvement. A CIA operation to destabilise Sumatra in 1958, for example, included direct support from Canberra. (1)  There are numerous other examples. (2) Some were conducted with professional military planning and an official stamp. Others were not so professional 'jobs', either with planning or implementation.
A CIA plan to destabilise Sukarno in the eyes of his supporters in the late 1950s included the making of a hard-core pornographic film with the male intended to look like Sukarno, who was renowned for possessing a healthy libido. The outcome, however, was described by a CIA officer, Joe Smith, as a 'grainy and gamey exposition of genital activity between what looked like a Mexican man and a seedy-looking woman'. (3) The legacy to the present day was a massive reaction and what can only be described as the later formation of an Indonesian sex-police aimed at regulating and restricting normal sexual behaviour by those of questionable standing. Indonesia has highly restrictive and repressive laws about sexual encounters.
The Indonesian coup, which took place under US tutelage, resolved part of the problem for the west. It removed the Communist section of NASAKOM, strengthening the remaining two parts to serve the interests of finance capital and the US. The legacy remains to the present day.
The CIA blueprint, Plan Jakarta, was also used as 'a model to be applied throughout the Third World'. (4) It has been suggested from informed sources the CIA plan was used extensively in Chile with the destabilisation of the Allende administration and coup in September, 1973. (5)
It is also important to note decision-makers in Canberra kept quiet as between 400,000 and one million Indonesian people of left-wing political persuasions and innocent ethnic Chinese were murdered. It is thought the figure of those killed might be as high as three million. (6) It is important to note the Australian diplomatic response to Indonesian atrocities, likewise, has remained appallingly consistent to the present day. Genocidal policies, formulated in Jakarta and implemented in East Timor and West Papua, were cast aside in Canberra with flourishing fountain pen signatures on official diplomatic documents for joint military exercises and corporate deals.
Large numbers of those Sukarno supporters who survived the coup were either forced underground or into exile. Both groups were routinely spied on by Indonesian agents linked to the rising Suharto regime with an appalling record of human rights abuses, largely ignored by western countries. Indonesia, for all intents and purposes, became a police state; the legacy of which remains, in part, to the present day.
Moves toward a more open and democratic Indonesia in the late 1990s have proved problematic; the country has a highly authoritarian past, which served 'US interests'. A trade union movement has, nevertheless, emerged although democratic rights for ordinary working people both in civil society and their workplaces has remained extremely limited. Those associated with the trade union movement live in fear of the return of government repression. 
Australia, historically, has sought favourable diplomatic relations with Indonesia for a variety of reasons including the Defence of Australia doctrine which has required countries to the north acting as buffers with compliant governments with military planning to deal with the threat of invasion. Indonesia was also used as a training ground for Australian government officials. It is highly significant to note rising Australian diplomatic personnel were usually given postings to Jakarta on their way to more prominent diplomatic and other positions within the Australian state. 
Traditional Australian defence doctrines have become more important in recent times with the perceived threat of China moving within striking distance of northern shores. Recent developments in Indonesia have, therefore, come at a particularly difficult time for decision-makers in Canberra as they seek to draw Jakarta into closer diplomatic ties. 
The problem of radical Islamic traditions, however, continued to cause Canberra problems, particularly in recent times. Indonesia, historically, has moderate Islamic traditions, which are now being swept aside by more militant Islamic forces and secretive, conspiratorial groups linked to Saudi Arabian Wahabist Islamic traditions. (7) The poem, Mother Indonesia, read by Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, in fact, 'lionises Indonesian culture over imported Islamic traditions such as the full-face niqab, and other aspects associated with Wahabist traditions. (8)  
It is not difficult to establish a list of Indonesian Islamist organisations and the money trial, revealing US connivance through proxies and why they have become so upset about the reading of the poem, Mother Indonesia.
The Islamic Defenders Front was a key player in the anti-Ahok movement which mobilised huge number of Indonesians. They have now similarly targeted Sukmawati Sukarnoputri with mass rallies. It has been noted ten years ago such groups lurked on the mere fringes of Indonesian society. Today they are waiting to grab centre-stage of the whole country and impose Sharia practices with a polarisation of Indonesian society. (9)   
Secondly, the GNPF Ulama organisation was also a central player in the anti-Ahok demonstrations and is a hard-line conservative Islamic grouping. (10) They have been active campaigning against Sukmawati Sdukarnoputri.
Finally, the so-called 212 movement was also involved with the anti-Ahok protests and provides the strategic link with Saudi Arabia. Their leader, firebrand cleric Riziez Shibab, in fact, is based in exile directing protests from Saudi Arabia. (11) 
Saudi Arabia has formed part a strategic part of US military planning for decades. The secretive money trail through shadowy Wahabist connections to far-flung Jihadist groups has been well documented to serve 'US interests'. (12) They have now targeted Indonesia, at a time when large numbers of Saudi-funded jihadists are returning to their countries of origin, including Indonesia, after active service in Iraq and Syria. It is also significant to note jihadist activity in Indonesia in past decades has involved the burning of Christian churches and terrorising their congregations. Today the jihadists are concentrating their efforts upon so-called legitimate protests within established political arenas in the lead-up to presidential and other elections.
It is, however, the link between the grassroots Islamic groupings and their mosques with the inner workings of the Indonesian state which give serious cause for alarm both in Australia and Indonesia. Earlier this year Gatot Nurmantyo, a former military leader announced his intention to stand for the position of vice-president in forthcoming elections next year. Regarded as 'a nationalist with close Islamic ties' the former general still retains high levels of support in military circles. (13) Gatot is also regarded as 'someone who is so hostile to democratic ideals and Indonesian democratic systems' that, if elected, may be used to introduce repressive measures which will ultimately serve the interests of finance capital and the US.
And it will be ordinary working people and their democratic organisations who will bear the brunt of such policies.
1.     Oyster, The Story of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, Brian Toohey and Willian Pinwill, Melbourne, 1989), page 69.
2.     Ibid., page 71, page 90, page 90, page 96, page 100, page 102, page 105, page 106, page 107, page 114, page 119.
3.     Ibid., page 93.
4.     Ibid., page 101.
5.     Ibid., page 102.
6.     US Role in 1960s Indonesia Anti-Communist Massacres Revealed, AP., 19 October 2017, was written following the declassification of 30,000 files which revealed US involvement.
7.     Islamists set for culture clash with Sukarno daughter, Australian, 5 April 2018.
8.     Sukarno daughter in hardliners' crosshairs, Australian, 6 April 2018.
9.     Sukarno kin shapes up as target of Islam's dirty political war, Weekend Sydney Morning Herald, 7-8 April 2018.
10.   Former first daughter in hot water, The Age (Melbourne), 5 April 2018.
11.   Australian, op.cit., 5 April 2018.
12.   The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda, Andrew Gavin Marshall, September 2010, and, NEXUS, (Australia, October-November 2010), pp. 15-16.
13.   Jakarta hardman throws hat in ring, Australian, 3 April 2018.

We Condemn Imperialist Aggression Against Syria!

Central Committee, Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
April 15, 2018

The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) unequivocally condemns the outrageous so-called “precision strikes” against Syrian government facilities by the US-British-French imperialists. The strikes are a gross violation of Syria’s sovereignty and a clear breach of International Law that the imperialists hypocritically claim to uphold.

We also condemn the Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull for his obsequious support of the US-led strikes. The continuing slavish support for the so-called “US-Australia Alliance” by both the LNP and the ALP and Australia’s unfaltering subservience to US imperialism risks dragging us into yet another US war of aggression.     

Recent claims against the Syrian government over the use of nerve gas remain nothing but allegations. Until independently verified, we believe there are good reasons why they may be fabrications. Meanwhile, the US-led imperialist coalition prefers to “shoot first and ask questions later.”

The US, UK, France, and other countries vetoed Russia’s proposal to send an investigation team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to Syria on April 10, 2018. That team has nevertheless arrived in Damascus at the invitation of Syrian President Assad and has been given unrestricted access to sites around Douma where it is alleged that Assad had gassed his own people.

Why do we say that there are good reasons for disbelieving the allegations? There exists no strategic advantage to the Syrian government to use chemical weapons at this time when its army, with Russian support, has won one victory after another and recovered much of the terrorist-held territory. If the government was to use nerve gas, why use it against non-combatant civilians rather than terrorist fighters?

We note that this is not the first time such allegations have been levelled at the Assad government. In 2013, it was alleged that Assad had used chemical weapons against civilians at East Ghouta. The Syrian government provided access to a team of UN investigators. Carla del Ponte, a senior member of the team said that testimony gathered from casualties at East Ghouta and medical staff indicated that the nerve agent sarin had been used by rebel fighters. 

yria undoubtedly had chemical weapons. They agreed to destroy these in 2013. Yet much of Syria has been under the control of terrorist “rebels” and weapons of all sorts have been seized by them. The rebels are not freedom-fighters but feudal-minded terrorists affiliated with ISIS and al-Qaeda. They have used inhuman methods of torture and execution. 

It is far more likely that the terrorists used chemical weapons to create an “incident” to justify US military aggression against Syria. They understand the tremendous propaganda effect of women and children being presented as victims of a government nerve gas attack. The US, which has killed more innocent people than any regime in history, weeps over the “mass murder of innocents” and parades as the protectors of “Assad’s victims”.

The ongoing political and military conflict over Syria is underpinned by the rivalries of the big powers as they vie for control of the region’s natural resources, markets, and political influence. Assad, like Gaddafi in Libya, and Hussein in Iraq, has become a target for regime change because he will not bow to the interests and dictates of US imperialism.  

In this context, it remains to be seen what further developments may flow from the US-British-French missile attacks. But after 7 years of courageous and stubborn resistance by the Syrians to the proxy war waged in their country and instigated by the US imperialists, it is obvious the war drums are beating louder and louder as US hegemony and economic interests across the globe are challenged.

Hands off Syria!

Imperialists out of the Middle East!

Australian independence – end the US-Australia Alliance - no slavish backing of US provocations!