Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Warmly Welcome the Centenary of the Communist Movement in Australia

Written by: Central Committee, CPA (M-L) on 1 January 2020

October 30 2020 will mark 100 years since the founding of the original Communist Party of Australia.
The immediate inspiration for the formation of a Communist Party in Australia was the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917, and the subsequent creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The introduction of Marxism-Leninism to Australia through the advocacy of the Communist Party built on local conditions and traditions of struggle against injustice,  British imperialism, and  exploitation.  The Eureka Rebellion of 1854, when the flag of Australian independence was first raised, and the great strikes of the 1890s, when the newly emerging Australian working class stood in direct conflict with capital on a large scale for the first time, gave a concrete Australian context to the theories and international experience of Marxism and Leninism.

Marxism-Leninism  stood in contrast to the reformism of the trade union movement which had sought to improve the conditions of the working class through the Labor Party acting in parliament and within the limits of the capitalist system The Labor Party and the trade unions in turn also influenced the Communist Party and the ways in which it sought to build the movement for socialism. Negatively, this led it at times, to place the parliamentary electoral interests of the Labor Party above the independent class interests of the proletariat.

The great struggles in which Australian Communists participated and led are a matter of deep pride and inspiration. On building sites, on coal fields, the railways, wharves and shipping, in factories and amongst many professional and semi-professional working people, the Party’s influence through its members’ involvement in many struggles, and party publications, was everywhere in evidence. Communists led and fought to prevent evictions of the unemployed and destitute, fought fascist gangs such as the New Guard,  opposed imperialist wars, and refused to load pig-iron bound for the Japanese imperialist war against China in 1938.They strengthened the Party during a brief period of illegality during WW2, stood resolutely against the anti-communism of the Menzies government, working  day and night for months in cities and country building and mobilizing a broad united front that defeated the referendum to dissolve the Communist Party  in 1951-2, stood up to the Petrov conspiracy and the Royal Commission into the Party in Victoria. Communists led the struggle to defeat the penal provisions of the Arbitration Act in 1969, turned the Vietnam War into a mighty crusade against US imperialism and actively supported struggles of the First Peoples, women and migrant workers. 

Communists and their families were hunted, vilified and demonized by the ruling class Many lost their jobs for serving the working class in the great class struggle against capitalist exploitation and imperialist wars. The overwhelming majority of party members were workers, dedicated to serving the people. They were self-less and courageous, striving for self-discipline and humility, consciously studying Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, arming themselves with the science of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism for Australian conditions. We strive to uphold these values as communists today.

The ability of capitalism to survive the Great Depression and continue relatively unscathed into the 1950s and 1960s led some leading members of the Party to lose confidence in the people, the revolutionary movement and in the working class as the leadership of that movement. Our Party, the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist), was formed in 1964 when it proved impossible to support and work with the defeatist leadership of the original Party that was deliberately vilifying and rejecting the main revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism. Another group of members left in 1971, forming the Socialist Party of Australia (SPA).

The defeatist liquidators took things to their logical conclusion in 1991 when they dissolved the original Communist Party. In October 1996, the SPA  retook for itself the name  Communist Party of Australia (CPA).  In early 2019 a group of members left the new CPA and declared the foundation of the Australian Communist Party (ACP).

Neither our Party, the CPA nor the ACP are the original Communist Party formed in 1920. No Party can claim that the centenary of the Communist movement in Australia and its inspiring history belongs to it alone. 

Real ideological, political and organisational differences exist between those parties that can trace their history back to the original Communist Party. There are differences on the revolutionary working class organisation, the bourgeois state, parliamentarism, imperialism, mass work and the application of Marxism-Leninism to Australia's local conditions. Without ignoring these differences, our Party seeks mutual agreement that a revolutionary movement must exist to promote the independent class interests of the workers. We seek mutual rejection of the defeatist notion that socialism has been a failed experiment. We seek agreement with the view that the main class contradictions and class struggle between labour and capital, and the necessity of proletarian led revolution to resolve those contradictions in accordance with the teachings of  Marx and Engels, and further elaborated by Lenin, have not disappeared, but are sharper than ever today,

Our Party honours the aspirations of the founders of the original Communist Party of Australia for an independent socialist Australian republic and continues to work towards that aim.

The greatest tribute we can pay to those who founded that Party is to work to strengthen the revolutionary movement that they began in 1920.

Fight for revolutionary anti-imperialist independence and socialism!

Celebrate 100 years of the Communist movement in Australia!

Challenges and opportunities of the New Year

Written by: John B. on 1 January 2020

The author of this New Year reflection, Cde John B., was elected to a position reserved for youth on the Central Committee at our 15th Congress last year.  John has written several articles for the website already, is a very serious, hardworking and conscientious young comrade worker and has been directly involved in struggle at his workplace. We are very proud of the fine qualities that our newer and younger members are bringing to the Party. They inspire us to do a better job of fighting for independence and socialism.

Coming into the New Year, the working people of the world are met with a growing series of challenges. These intensifying contradictions all differ in the proportions of their constituent aspects (that is, whether they are of a primarily social, political or economic nature in their content). Some have been on the horizon for longer periods of time, whereas others have taken shape more recently; some are more, some less developed: all trace their origin to the capitalist mode of production and all affect and condition one another. They include:

  •  an accelerating and intensifying global ecological crisis;
  •  increased automation of the productive process, raising doubts as to future economic prospects for the working class;
  •  the continuation of a crisis of overproduction and the ramping-up of attacks against the working class by the State;
  •  the heightening of geopolitical tensions and deterioration of diplomatic relations between major powers, subsequent disturbances in global power relations;
  •  the militarisation of critical economic and strategic regions of the world and of national borders;
  •  the ongoing development of a sophisticated international surveillance network by numerous departments of various national governments in close co-operation with a large number of private companies and contractors;
  •  rapid and accelerating technological advancement in the production and capabilities of weapons systems;  
  •  the setting in of a crisis of US-imperialism and the rise of deep internal divisions and factionalism within the US ruling class;
  •  the rise of right-wing populism and proto-fascist movements in Europe, India, South America and other part of the world, and the ‘crisis’ of Western liberal democracy;
  •  US-backed coups and coup attempts against popularly-elected, progressive leaders in South America;
  •  further imperialist provocations throughout the Middle East fuelled by overproduction in oil and consequently glutted markets

As daunting as these challenges, and the tasks which they necessarily bring in their wake, can be, it is certain that from great challenges also come great opportunities for victory, and for the continued growth and development of the revolutionary movement.

Such challenges bring about rapid changes in the economic and social life of the working class and can serve as the catalyst for the development and deepening of class consciousness.

Such changes in the conditions of material life for the people of the world will bring dramatic and sudden shifts, as already, in the interplay of the various contradictory forces of society and of the global economic order. The Marxist-Leninist party must be prepared for such new developments, and for the developments upon the developments. In this regard, correct analysis of the changes in material conditions, their relation to the various social phenomena, guided by disciplined study of theory and refined through rigorous social practice, is indispensable in the formation and fortification of correct ideology.

Ideology that changes in accordance with the changes in material conditions, that continuously adapts to the fluctuations of the social material forces, this is the kind of ideology that alone serves practice and that alone is capable of correctly guiding practice. Ideology that is rigid and inflexible, which seeks to impose upon the natural world and the phenomena of society some absolute and eternal principle; which does not regard a thing in its relation to other things, which does not acknowledge the constancy of change, the law of contradiction in things, inevitably lapses into dogmatism, stultifies and decays. Constant revision of ideological forms is a necessary condition for the correct application of the dialectical method. It should not be equated or compared with the revision of the fundamental essence of dialectics, or of the class struggle itself.

Revision of form serves the enrichment of theory and practice; revision of the revolutionary essence of Marxism amounts to a breakdown in and rejection of the very tool or method by which the dialectics of natural and social phenomena is apprehended.

These principles naturally extend to, and are reflected in, the life of the Marxist-Leninist party itself. If the party is disconnected and cut off from the working class, if it has no presence in the struggles of the people against capitalism and imperialism, if it does not allow itself to grow, to develop as a living organism, to be conditioned by the class struggle, and to regard all of the contradictions of society in their complexity and interrelation, it will be incapable of developing a truly revolutionary theory and of effectively building a revolutionary movement.
The Draft Fighting Program of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) summarises the general aim of the work of the Party as such:


“Our rallying call is to organise and build a powerful and united peoples’ movement to fight for Australian independence and socialism. Our Party members place great importance on mass work. In other words this means immersing ourselves among the masses. It means listening to and learning from the people. It means active involvement in peoples’ struggles and having deep connections with the people and their struggles, to develop a full understanding of concrete conditions.”


Join the struggle for Australian independence and socialism!

Editorial: Make 2020 a year of revolutionary struggle!

Written by: CPA (M-L) on 1 January 2020

As Australia burns like never before “we are all in this together” say the politicians and mass media. But that’s bullshit! It’s workers and the people, mostly volunteering and unpaid, who are tirelessly fighting to defend homes and communities from the uncontrollable fires.Too many have died already. But the politicians and the capitalists don’t care. They’re off on family holidays in Hawaii or Europe, or in their comfortable air-conditioned mansions. No threat to their comfortable lives.

We are experiencing first-hand the effects of the climate crisis brought on by capitalist exploitation. The system’s continual drive for ever larger profits is destroying the country and the planet. The river systems run dry and towns are running out of drinking water. Yet unsustainable multinational fossil fuel companies and agribusinesses are given access to huge amounts of water so they can continue to make a profit.

They tell us there’s no money for public services, hospitals, Newstart, to pay all firefighters, or for anything that would help the working class and poor. But there’s plenty of money for subsidies to tax dodging big businesses, automatic weapons for the police, and huge military budgets to serve US imperialist interests in wars around the world.

We aren’t all in this together! The interests of the rich and the capitalists, and the poor and workers aren’t the same. As we enter a new year, and the crises brought on by the class system of capitalism intensify, now is the time to ask yourself, like our comrades here and around the world, which side are you on?

There is always hope for the future, but only if people are prepared to take united action to make that future a reality. We believe that future lies on the path of a revolutionary struggle for an independent and socialist Australia. In 2020, we encourage you to join the CPA (M-L) and fight with us in the struggle to build that future!   

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Naval exercises: China, Russia, Iran steal a march on US imperialism

Written by: (Contributed) on 29 December 2019 

(Above: Xi Jinping inspects the guided missile destroyer Xining which has been sent to the naval exercises)

A naval drill involving China, the Russian Federation and Iran in the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean in December 2019 has revealed a changing balance of forces in two distinct areas traditionally regarded as an important part of a traditional US sphere of influence.

The military exercise has also shown the importance of developments in Syria.

Toward the end of December, China, the Russian Federation and Iran staged a joint naval exercise intended to 'deepen co-operation between the three countries' navies'. (1) Code-named Marine Security Belt, the areas covered by the military drills are important for international trade, security and US regional influence and evolved from an earlier joint drill between China and Iran in 2017. (2)

In recent times the Russian Federation has developed 'growing military and diplomatic ties' with Iran. (3) Iran is a regional power in the Middle East and centre of Sh'ia Islam. China has also developed strong trade and diplomatic links with Iran in recent decades.

 The timing of the joint naval exercises has also proved a sensitive issue for Washington; while the Trump administration proposed a US-led military exercise in the same areas in mid-2019, military planners in the Pentagon have yet to make the necessary arrangements with regional allies. The Marine Security Belt operation has, therefore, sent a clear message to the US in relation to diplomacy in the areas concerned.

The Gulf of Oman, is regarded by the US military as particularly sensitive, in the northern part of the Arabian Sea and close to US allies Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which has hosted the US Fifth naval fleet since 1995. It also is a sensitive stretch of water linking into the Straits of Hormuz which carries about a fifth of the world oil supplies, including about half of Iran's oil imported by China. The Indian Ocean, likewise, forms part of the US-led Southern Ocean Defence Plan, with sensitive intelligence facilities based on Diego Garcia, linked into Pine Gap, Central Australia.

The naval exercise can be regarded as important for two reasons.

Firstly, as friction has increased following President Trump pulling out of a nuclear diplomatic deal made with Iran in 2015, tensions have risen between Washington and Tehran. The US position is a classic Cold War-type stance, aimed at polarising the region between Sh'ia and Sunni Islam. It has, however, backfired: traditional US ally, Saudi Arabia, the centre of Sunni Islam, has been pushed back onto defensive positions in recent times with the widespread defeat of the jihadists they finance and support elsewhere.

Secondly, the US decision to withdraw troops from Syria has had serious implications for US-led regional diplomatic positions. The Russian Federation, through supporting the Assad administration in Damascus, has subsequently strengthened its position in the wider region. (4) Iran, likewise, through its strong support for President Assad, has been drawn closer to the Russian Federation; both countries have had exchanges of military advisers. (5)

Elsewhere, growing diplomatic ties between Turkey and the Russian Federation have sent shock-waves into the heartlands of the Pentagon. The changing balance of forces has also drawn Turkey into the diplomatic realignment; Turkey recently installed a Russian Federation-made missile system and a recent threat to close two strategically-placed US military bases has shown the Trump administration they are no longer dealing with a compliant government and country at their beck and call.

The response of the Trump administration toward recent regional diplomatic developments has, therefore, been interesting, to say the very least. Mainstream media coverage has been extremely limited, using the bare minimum of factual information without even an official comment from Washington. It would not be unreasonable to suggest they have been left aghast.

As Australia has formed part of US-led regional operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan for nearly two decades, we should perhaps watch recent developments and the changing balance of forces with apprehension. Australia has little to gain from participating in wars and military incursions in a region so far from our shores, with no relevance whatsoever for our defence and security. 

We need an independent foreign policy!

1.     China, Russia Iran join forces for Indian Ocean naval drills, The Weekend Australian, 28-29 December 2019.
2.     China, Russia, Iran, The South China Morning Post, 21 September 2019.
3.     Iran's Defence Diplomacy with Russia, Modern Diplomacy, 30 January 2019.
4.     Syria's Assad gets a prize for US withdrawal, AP., 24 October 2019.
5.     Modern Diplomacy, op.cit., 30 January 2019.

Colonialist Influences Remain In Hong Kong

Written by: Ned K. on 29 December 2019 

The persistent demonstrations, sometimes peaceful, sometimes violent, on the streets of Hong Kong are taking place 22 years after the formal transition of Hong Kong from a colony of Britain to a Special Administration Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC).tent demonstrations, sometimes peaceful, sometimes violent, on the streets of Hong Kong are taking place 22 years after the formal transition of Hong Kong from a colony of Britain to a Special Administration Region (SAR) of the 
The British seized the island of Hong Kong in 1842, the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and in 1898 the New Territories were leased to Britain by the Chinese rulers in Beijing on a 99-year lease expiring in 1997.

During the 150-year colonial rule, the British ruled Hong Kong in true colonial fashion, using it as a gateway for trade with the Chinese mainland and treating the non-Europeans as second-class citizens. By the early 1900s a new class of Chinese capitalists and professionals established themselves, having arisen from large migration of Chinese merchants to Hong Kong from China following the Taiping Rebellion during which 20 million Chinese people lost their lives.

The Chinese merchant class contributed to Hong Kong becoming a center of a transnational trade network. They were tolerated by the British who had bigger fish to fry competing with other European colonial powers for Concessions in China and due to British fear of an aggressive Japanese push in to China.

However, the British tolerance of a rising Chinese capitalist class in Hong Kong only went so far. Ordinances passed by the British colonialists in 1904 and 1918 explicitly barred Chinese and Eurasians from living in Victoria Peak, the hill district on Hong Kong Island.

However, the Chinese capitalists still considered themselves superior to the Chinese workers, many of whom were migrants from the impact of the Taiping Rebellion and earlier Opium Wars.

Thousands lived a squatter existence on the hillsides away from the British's Victoria Peak homes.
Despite contradictions between the new Chinese capitalists and Chinese workers and farmers, they were united against colonial powers when these powers over-reached. For example, in 1905-06 they boycotted US goods when the US government prevented Chinese labor from migrating to the US. In 1912-13, they boycotted tram and ferry services in Hong Kong when the British colonialists tried to ban Chinese coin usage. This occurred after the nationalist revolution in China of 1911. British colonialism was nervous about the political awakening in mainland China.

The intensifying revolutionary situation in southern China in particular in the 1920s gave rise to significant migration of Chinese from Guangzhou (Canton) to Hong Kong. The business elements of the migrating Chinese filled a vacuum created by a withdrawal of British capital from the East due to World War 1.

Chinese capitalists from Guangzhou set up factories in Hong Kong and Kowloon. The workers they employed were in glass making, rope making, boat building, soaps, cosmetic, flashlights, batteries, financed by Chinese owned banks.

The British colonialists still held political power and resisted Hong Kong Chinese demands for representation on the Executive Council, controlled by the British. The British also resisted demands from workers for better wages and conditions in the factories.

In the early 1920s big strikes by mechanics and seamen won big pay rises of up to 40%.
The British colonialists passed "The Societies Ordinance" prohibiting any society having "unlawful purposes or purposes incompatible with the peace and good order of the colony".

The anti-British colonialist struggles of Chinese workers in Hong Kong carried over to the 1960s with the Star Ferry riots of 1966 against increased ferry fares and 6 months of protests in 1967 over wages and working hours. Street barricades, as in the current 2019 demonstrations, were a feature of workers' actions in 1967 Hong Kong.

So, with this history of anti-colonial struggle by both workers and to a lesser extent Hong Kong capitalists and professionals, where did the resistance to the formal end of colonial rule in 1997 come from?

A sense of Hong Kong identity grew significantly during the rapid economic development of the 1970s and 1980s, an aspect of changes in economic direction towards capitalism in China following Mao's death.

Hong Kong's economy, according to writer John Carroll in his excellent book "A Concise History of Hong Kong", became increasingly interconnected with the economy of southern China, Guangzhou in particular. By the late 1980s, 3 million mainland Chinese worked in Hong Kong-owned businesses in Guangzhou. This benefited the Hong Kong business class but not necessarily Hong Kong workers, many of whom still lived as homeless people in squatter huts in the hillsides.

Blue collar women workers were hit hardest as many Hong Kong based factories relocated to southern mainland China.

By mid 1990s 90% of Hong Kong factories had moved to mainland China with manufacturing in Hong Kong dropping to 10% of GDP.

Events in Beijing in 1989 at Tiananmen Square gave rise to a demonstration of 1 million people in Hong Kong. Their hopes of a say in the running of their own region of Hong Kong come 1997 did not look any brighter than under the 150 years of British colonial rule.

Very wealthy pro-British and US imperialist Chinese business and professional interests supported the British Government move to grant full British citizenship to up to 50,000 Hong Kong residents and their families. Needless to say, none of these 50,000 were to come from the homeless workers living in slums in the hillsides or in the tiny over crowded high-rise multi-story housing estates springing up.

Fast forward to 2018 and the integration of the Hong Kong economy with mainland China had become even more pronounced. The value of imports from mainland China to Hong Kong was US$278.9 billion in 2018, 46.3% of all imports, and the value of Hong Kong domestic exports to mainland China in the same year was US$2.6 billion, 44.2% of all domestic exports.

Hong Kong was the largest source of direct foreign investment in mainland China in 2018, accounting for 54% of the national total in 2018.

In 1997 during the final stages of the Basic Law being drawn up for rules determining the 50-year transition period from 1997 to 2047, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in Beijing insisted that Hong Kong not become a base for "subversive activities against China".

This may have been a referral to groups like Falun Gong which was illegal in mainland China but still legal in Hong Kong. But it was also a broad brushstroke aimed at eliminating destabilization of China by US imperialism.

However, for many Chinese people living in Hong Kong for generations, perhaps it appeared little different from the British colonialists passing "The Societies Ordinance" in the 1920s mentioned above? The Ordinance of the British in the 1920s framed their rule by appealing to the need for "peace and good order of the colony".

The Standing Committee in 1997 framed their rule of the former British colony by warning of "subversive activities".

Maybe for some working people of Hong Kong, there was not much difference in the messages from the British colonialists in the 1920s and the Standing Committee from Beijing in 1997 at the time of transition. There was always bound to be a backward element that could accept a colonialist Ordinance denying China sovereignty over its own territory, whilst rejecting a ruling from China’s own government based on the exercise of that sovereignty.

This situation was ripe for exploitation by China's imperialist rivals, particularly the USA and Britain, as well as criminal elements such as Triad Gangs in Hong Kong who feared rule of Hong Kong by the Chinese Government.

From afar in Australia it is difficult to conclude who is the main internal driver of the current protests in Hong Kong. The US imperialists are busily stoking the fires of discontent and the Stars and Stripes flies over the heads of protesters demanding “independence” for Hong Kong.

However, one thing is certain. The Chinese Government and Communist Party of China, committed to the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and following the capitalist road to prosperity for those allowed to “get rich first” would do well to read and practice Mao's "On The Ten Major Relationships" if they wish to resolve the issues in Hong Kong and indeed in some other regions of China.

Monday, December 23, 2019

S.A. Ex-Premier Jay Weatherill becomes a promoter of Andrew Forrest's self-help capitalism

Written by: Max O. on 23 December 2019 

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Saint Mark

Just recently the past Labor Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill made a Faustian pact with the mining and farming mogul Andrew Forrest to become the new CEO (one can imagine with a huge salary) of the early education arm of his philanthropic Minderoo Foundation.

Like Faust, a 16th-century German legendary character who agreed to sell his soul to the devil for knowledge, earthly pleasures, youth, and magical powers, Weatherill has attached his fortunes to the false gods that Forrest advocates.
He is the latest in a long list of former state and federal Labor politicians who, having worked for the capitalist class in parliament, have gone into direct service to capitalism in private post-political life. An obvious case in point is former Queensland Premier Ann Bligh who was appointed CEO of the Australian Banking Association in 2017, five years after she “left politics”.
Forrest is a moral crusader of many inconsistencies. He professes care and concern for Aboriginal people but has no hesitation in crushing them when they oppose his mining operations on their land. He poses as a free-marketeer who has also campaigned for a mining industry cartel to benefit himself. He regularly parades himself as a generous philanthropist but chains his charities to his business interests.
Weatherill, who hails from the Labor Left and conveys a humanist persona, aligned himself with Forrest's ideology back in 2014 when he came out in support of his proposed "Indigenous Employment and Training Review", which recommended that Centrelink clients who are placed on the cashless welfare card have 100 percent of their funds 'managed'. This was an unparalleled assault on the rights of people on income support to manage their finances.
What is the ideology of Andrew Forrest and his Minderoo Foundation that Jay Weatherill has now committed himself to? Forrest eschews Gina Rhinehart's blatant libertarianism and guided by his Christian-'humanitarian' faith embraces a high visibility capitalist philanthropy to solve human crises.
His Minderoo Foundation promotes the notion of a charity working in unison with capitalist development. Commitment to the private sector and markets is the preferred approach to current troubles facing society.
By reducing the public and expanding the private sector to invest huge amounts of money to solve complex societal predicaments and implementing biased technical fixes, Forrest and Weatherill can claim capitalism is the solution, not the cause of the society's problems.
What capitalist philanthropy does is camouflage the conflict between the poor and the rich, claiming that the poor do not have a better friend than the rich. In effect the poor should be grateful and beholden to the rich for their help.
Forrest runs an impressive list of Minderoo Charities:
•             Building Community: Funding arts, culture, community projects in Western Australia.
•             Eliminate Cancer: Provide funding to reduce the incidence of cancer and speed up the development of breakthrough therapies.
•             Flourishing Oceans: Fund research on eliminating overfishing and marine pollution.
•             Frontier Technology: Fund a range of projects that research the governance of artificial intelligence and data-flooded consumers.
•             Generation One: Training and employment programs for Indigenous Australians and linking service provider payments to long-term outcomes i.e. cashless welfare card.
•             Research: Fund and identify opportunities, new ideas, and new technology.
•             Thrive By Five: Funding research into early childhood development.
•             Walk Free: Campaigns against the estimated 40 million people living in modern slavery. Has undertaken to create the Global Slavery Index.
Jay Weatherill is just the man to take on the job of CEO of Thrive By Five for Minderoo. His track record of dismantling the public sector and embracing the private sector to shape and control government social policy proved to be a wise career move for life after state politics.
He has a litany of service to capitalism's wish list:
•             Closed the Adelaide Repatriation General Hospital, which was much valued by war veterans.
•             Closed down emergency departments in local hospitals and shifted them to a small number of hospital 'supersites'.
•             Pretended to consult the public by holding a royal commission into the nuclear industry, that was headed by a pro-nuclear former SA Governor, Rear Admiral Kevin Scare. Their real intention was to expand further the nuclear industry in SA, from mining to enrichment, energy and storage.
•             Sold off government assets such as the South East forests, state-owned buildings, and land; gave away western suburbs open space to the Real Estate industry, and forced school mergers.
•             Offered the “broadest possible support” to all 27 recommendations in Forrest’s blueprint for welfare reform which included punitive measures covering health, education and welfare, with the clear aim of driving participants off welfare into low-wage jobs for the benefit of employers.         
•             Campaigned with Forrest to implement a 100% cashless welfare proposal and joined the mining mogul’s reactionary push to use such measures to end “the blight of disparity” between black and white Australians.
•             Designed the child protection system, which catastrophically failed the safety of South Australian children and dumped the responsibility on the chief of the Education Department. 
•             Oversaw the chronic lack of funding and the appalling standard of care at state-run nursing homes for dementia patients. State investigation uncovered abuse and the rough handling of patients, excessive use of restraints and a concerning level of injuries at these facilities. A culture of a cover-up was employed to hide the damning evidence.
The problems that capitalist philanthropists claim to be solving are embedded in the same economic system that allows them to amass enormous wealth which comes off the back of workers' produced surplus-value. Philanthropy represents the reverse side of the coin of growing inequality between rich and poor.
There is a direct association between increased wealth accumulation, regressive tax measures, and funding toward philanthropic activities. This is all quite fine with Andrew Forrest and Jay Weatherill who are convinced of their own good deeds. A quote from Goethe's novel, Faust, aptly sums up their situation: Faust asks  "…who are you, then?", Mephistopheles (who is a demon) answers "I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good."
Doing “good works” under capitalism (Forrest-style philanthropy) is the way the devil of capitalism does its social evil

Friday, December 20, 2019

Afghanistan Pt 2: Lies and psy-ops revealed

Written by: (Contributed) on 21 December 2019
(Above; US-Taiban talks)

A trove of United States government records about military considerations and Afghanistan have shown what observers have long speculated and departments in Washington and the Pentagon denied.

Following the US-led military invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, defence officials used Psychological Warfare Operations (PWOs) or psy-ops, to deliberately convey a misleading and distorted vision of operations to justify the US-led occupation of the country. US-led military planners, however, totally under-estimated the forces in Afghanistan which opposed their presence; they have been unable to achieve any of their original objectives.

The fact the Trump administration is now desperately attempting to establish a lasting peace agreement with the ruling administration in Kabul has shown they want to reduce troop numbers and withdraw as soon as possible before there is greater damage to US credibility.

On 9 December 2019, the Washington Post finally published a story about the US-led military involvement in Afghanistan, following a three-year legal battle to secure access to about two thousand pages of documents regarded by the Pentagon as restricted. (1) The fact the Pentagon hid behind legal technicalities for three years remains proof, in itself, of the military organisation seeking to hide incriminating material. The following day the Australian published three short columns covering the same story, a remarkably brief account given the commitment from Canberra to follow US directives. (2) But then, Canberra would appear to have had no wish to divulge more than the mere basics of information which at the very least cast US imperialism in a very dim light. 

During the period 2001-14, US-led military planning for Operation Enduring Freedom resulted in a coalition of over forty countries, including all NATO members, backing an invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. US military planning for Operation Freedom's Sentinel from 2015 has continued to the present day. There are still an estimated 15,000 US-led troops stationed in the country.

The military documents revealed the Pentagon knew the war they were fighting in Afghanistan was not winnable despite a total of 775,000 US troops being deployed in the country from 2001 to the present day, at an estimated cost of US$934-978 billion. Fatalities, to date, include 2,300 soldiers together with a further 20,589 injured; the estimated costs of the war also do not include medical expenses.   

Behind the scenes the Pentagon deployed Psychological Warfare Techniques or 'psy-ops', to deflect unnecessary attention from the military fiasco which included 'distorted statistics … issued and false statements made by officials from Kabul and Washington to give the impression that progress was being made'. Military officials were held responsible for 'hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable', and used techniques in which 'every dot-point was altered to present the best picture possible'.

The seemingly efficient manner in which the US imperialists were able to manipulate news with distorted and unreliable information about the Afghan war has also thrown light upon their control of the media. The notion of the so-called free press would appear almost meaningless in the context, and the natural outcome has strengthened the old maxim that the first casualty of war is the truth. Coverage of US-led military operations in Afghanistan appears to have been based more on downright lies than sensible journalism.

One US military official, Colonel Robert Crowley, who was a leading figure in the counter-insurgency during the 2013-14 period, was actually quoted in an interview as stating 'truth was rarely welcome', and that 'bad news was often stifled'.

A rare insight into the distorted and perverted thinking of then US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was also included in the trove of documents. He claimed that 'we are never going to get the US military out of Afghanistan unless we take care to see that there is something going on that will provide the stability that will be necessary for us to leave. Help!' It is not difficult, therefore, to observe the very real uses of psy-ops as a means through which senior officials in the Bush administration hid the truth for political expediency and self-preservation.

There is still controversy over the original US-led military aims surrounding the invasion of Afghanistan. While ostensibly it was the outcome of the 9/11 terrorist attack, the fact so many of those in the Bush administration were linked to senior positions in oil and natural gas corporate bodies has led some observers to conclude the US wanted to use Afghanistan as a 'energy bridge' to serve what were deemed as 'US interests'. Natural resources from the former Asia republics of the Soviet Union, rich in oil and natural gas, could be exported by pipeline to port facilities in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Piping the oil and natural gas across the Russian Federation was regarded as potentially problematic.

During the early days of the US-led occupation media releases also publicised a stated intention of establishing a multi-party democracy and market-based economy together with an independent police and military. There were also planned moves to emancipate women through free educational facilities in a country where semi-feudal social relations have historically favoured men.

These pipe-dreams, formulated in Washington-based think-tanks to serve neo-colonial US-interests, have conspicuously failed in a spectacular manner; they will remain forever an example of the so-called New World Order where the US placed itself at the centre of the newly globalised world economy and sought to dictate terms and conditions to sovereign countries to serve 'US interests'. The grandiose idea, more an outcome of megalomania than sensible economic planning, would appear to have serious implications for the people of Afghanistan. The trove of documents, for example, has revealed that US policies fostered 'mass corruption' and actively encouraged the cultivation and production of opium. It is no coincidence Afghanistan is now the biggest producer of the narcotic in the world. (3)

In December last year the Trump administration had talks with the ruling Taliban grouping in Kabul in the United Arab Emirates. For nearly two decades the US-led military operation in Afghanistan was designed to remove the Taliban from power. The US, now however, is desperate to seek a peaceful solution so as to withdraw 4,000 troops and recognise the ruling administration in Kabul. (4) In reality they do not have any other option. Further talks took place in February this year hosted by Qatar. To date, nevertheless, the US-led occupation of Afghanistan has continued: an estimated 300 Australian Defence Force personnel are also based in the country under Pentagon command.

There has been, to date, a notable lack of any open political discussion in Canberra or elsewhere about the Australian role in the US-led fiasco in Afghanistan. Just what had Australia, as a country, to gain from military involvement in Afghanistan?

And those in senior positions in Washington and the Pentagon clearly do not want any publicity about the problem; their sycophants in Canberra are only too pleased to oblige and stifle publicity here.                                    

We need an independent foreign policy!

1.     At War with the truth, The Washington Post, 9 December 2019.
2.     US public lied to about Afghan war, Australian, 10 December 2019.
3.     See also https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47861444
4.     Bid to drag Bolton into impeachment probe, Australian, 17 December 2019.