Saturday, October 26, 2019

Film review: Birds of Passage

Humphrey McQueen,                            14 October 2019


‘Savage capitalism’ headlined the Sydney Morning Herald’s review of Birds of Passage, (28 September) the 2018 feature film about the origins of the drug trade out of Colombia.

All capitalism is savage. It came into the world dripping dirt and blood from every pore and has never ceased to do so. The devastation wrought by drugs is still being more than matched by the horrors out of the conquest in pursuit of gold, silver, copper, beef, oil, sugar and coffee. (Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America 1973).


However, capitalism is barely a bit player in this film. If you know the fuller account, you can join such dots as are presented. Otherwise, the danger is that audiences might leave feeling that the Indian clans brought devastation upon themselves. They were superstitious and greedy. That possible reaction needs to be balanced against the danger of assuming that the locals are never more than passive victims. Given their limited options in harsh social and physical environments, some seek a way out by whatever means are at hand. The film portrays a range of responses but also reveals how a search for an easier life slides into a corruption of their traditional values.
The gringos turn up as Peace Corps volunteers who are many times more anxious to get hold of marijuana than to hand out their anti-Communist leaflets. That is pretty likely to have been the case in the late 1960s. The only other Yanquis shown are three pilots to courier thousands of kilograms of pot. They make one brief and fateful appearance. Otherwise, the crops are sold to unnamed and unidentified buyers. Not until the final minutes does anyone mention Medellin.
Birds of Passage deals with one corner of the drug trade before 1980 in the desert in the far north of the country. The drug is marijuana, not cocaine. There is no sign of a civil war, no kidnappings, no death squads and no FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
A feature film is not a documentary. They rarely have footnotes. Nor should it be a political tract. Those needs are supplied by Oliver Vilar and Drew Cottle’s Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia (2011). The authors set out two factors essential for getting beneath the news as propaganda and propaganda as ‘all the news that fit to print’. One: the FARC is the current expression of more than 150 years of rural resistance to the landowners. There is, of course, much more than the drug trade driving the struggles of the Colombian people, as there is to the centuries of revolution and resistance across the continent, whether the Tupamaros in Uruguay or the electoral majorities in Bolivia.
Villar and Cottle deliver a second rule for penetrating the surface of Colombia’s drug deals: cocaine is just one more commodity, produced and traded according to the laws of capitalist accumulation in its era of monopolising, (Bukharin’s Imperialism and World Economy and Lenin’s Imperialism).
For the British, forcing opium on the Chinese was far more than a matter of profit-grabbing by adventurers like Warren Delano, maternal great-grandfather of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Reasons of state decided the British to wage the Opium Wars from the 1830s in order to get back the Indian silver with which Britain paid for all the tea out of China. The East India Company grew the opium; William Jardine and William Matheson smuggled it into China. Today, the firm they founded is a pillar of Hong Kong business.
From the 1940s, the United States Air Force was feeding its pilots methamphetamines to keep them alert. From there, ‘speed’ moved into workplaces to intensify and prolong labour-times for the extraction of surplus-value from barristers and baristas. Nowadays, meths is at work both nourishing the ‘ice’ epidemic and being force fed to children guilty of Attention Deficit Disorder. Many of those kids are victims of how the anti-social media, notably games, are addicting them to instant gratification, as Susan Greenfield shows in Mind Change: How Digital Technology is Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains (2015). More hyper-activity flows from food intolerances, documented by Sue Dengate, Fed Up, 2008).
The CIA was in the forefront of researching applications for LSD and in developing the chemical means to terminate with extreme prejudice. (Stephen Kizner’s recent Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control.) Anyone who had been reading Alfred W. McCoy, starting from his The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia in 1972, could have predicted how Bush-Noriega-North cooked up Iran-Contra in the 1980s.
Like the Right’s War on Drugs, the Left’s focus on how the corporate warfare state both deploys anti-drug campaigns and employs drug overlords overlooks the political economy. Other drugs missing in action are tobacco (now vaping) and alcohol. No less poisonous are the food conglomerates pushing of fat, sugar and salt. Their need to expand sales is the pandemic of obesity. (See my ‘Poisonous Food Industries’,
As part of the curative rather than preventative medicine, Big Pharma goes on bribing GPs to over-prescribe antibiotics and more recently opioids. Their other big earner is from hormones to accelerate the growth of chickens, and antibiotics in cattle, both of which enter our bodies and water supply.
Birds of Passage is a wonder to watch, with tonal shifts across desert landscapes to match the changing fortunes. Spherical camera lenses enhance the magical sequences. Birds are central to the mythology; inhabiting dreams, they foretell death and revenge. The actors bring a conviction to a story as compelling as it is grim. To present an indigenous sense of time and its passing, the directors break from the tight, fast pattern of westerns and gangster movies. Instead, a singer shapes the plot into five cantos, or chapters.
There is much to praise. Nonetheless, we should not allow the excitements from watching Birds of Passage to overlook that the directors are a long way from knowing how to integrate more of the forces in play, whether in Miami, Mexico or Manhattan. The U.S. warfare state and the drug cartels, illicit or sanctioned, are not even birds of passage.
Poisonous Food Industries’,
Oliver Villar and Drew Cottle Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia (2011).  
Charlie Chaplin Modern Times features a sequence where the Tramp snorts cocaine. 
Ian Angus Superbugs in the Anthropocene: A Profit-Driven Plague Ian Angus edits the website Climate and Capitalism and is the author, most recently, of A Redder Shade of Green: Intersections of Science and Socialism (Monthly Review Press, 2017).
Stephen Kizner Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control.
Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia in 1972,
Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America 1973
Susan Greenfield Mind Change: How Digital Technology is Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains (2015).
Sue Dengate, Fed Up, 2008).

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Militant unionism and the independent aims of the working class.

Nick G.                                  24 October 2019

The fundamental purpose of trade unions is to fight for improved wages and conditions on the one hand, and to fight against employer attacks on the other. Trade unions, as fighting organisations of the working class, provide opportunities for the introduction of socialist ideas and are therefore an important field of activity for Communists. We do not advocate a narrow concentration on trade union work only: socialist ideas must also be brought to the anti-war, anti-fascist and climate change movement amongst others. The point must be made that correct, scientific socialist ideas do not spontaneously arise from militant trade unionism, but must be introduced into it through mass work.

Militant unionism without the guidance of Marxism-Leninism is just another form of reformism. It aims for improvements in wages and conditions by direct action and confrontations with the employer, rather than waiting for parliamentary changes or arbitration by an “independent umpire”, but its end result is the same: winning changes within the system of capitalism rather than leading workers to struggle against capitalism as a system.

No matter how militant a union may be, if its leadership rejects the historical experience and basic viewpoint of Marxism, it will be unable to pose, let alone correctly answer, the question of who are its enemies and who are its friends.  This question is basic to the survival of unions when they come under attack for their militancy. In the history of our Party, a great working class leader abandoned this approach in his later years and fought his friends as if they were his enemies.  Completely isolated, he took the union ship down with himself as its captain. Such lessons should be remembered.

For strong and principled militant leadership

Reactionary views do great damage to the unity of the working class and can never be justified in the name of militancy. All the great leaders of the revolutionary working class were ethical in their personal lives and in the example they set for others. Mao Zedong was a great Marxist ethicist. What the Chinese called his “Three Constantly Read Articles”, namely In Memory of Norman Bethune , Serve the People , and The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains , together with the Three Rules for Discipline and Eight Points for Attention  that guided soldiers in the Peoples Liberation Army, are standards on which all working class militants should base their personal relations and political work.

The struggle to work within unions to create a mass movement capable of independently asserting the interests of the workers has gone on since the first days of unionism.  Against this has always been a tendency for union leaderships to accept dependency on the ALP and parliament given restrictive legislation and an absence of trade union leaders with a Marxist class struggle outlook.

It is said that the Labor Party is the party of the unions. They created the ALP after the defeat of the working class in the great strikes of the 1890s. It is today the party to which a majority of unions are affiliated. Although it may well be said that it is the party of the trade unions, it is not a party of and for the working class. It is a party of capitalism and will not fight for the working class.

ALP factionalism has become a major preoccupation for many leaders and officials of the unions. Even those union officials who scream blue murder against the ALP generally do so from their own factional positions within it. We do not believe that the cause of militant unionism will be served by affiliation with the ALP. Pouring union funds into its pockets will not change its class character. Affiliation often requires affiliated unions to go soft on the Labor Party when it is in office. Workers need unions that are not bound by cries to “not embarrass the Labor Party”, unions in which there are members determined to maintain an independent capacity to fight regardless of which party holds office.

At the present time, three great straight-jackets restrain the militancy of the working class.  They are the Fair Work Act, the Registered Organisations Commission and, for construction workers, the Australian Building Construction Commission. The Labor Party created the first, the Liberals the second, and both parties when in office embraced the ABCC. The ruling class now plans to add the Ensuring Integrity Bill to tighten ruling class control over union members and officials.

We certainly stand for militant unionism. We promote it as a great school enabling workers to learn just how powerful their unity is in action, and how completely dependent upon their labour power are the capitalists. But their economic struggles, their militancy, must take on a revolutionary political character in order to break the stranglehold that capitalism exerts over their lives. Leaders need to come through the unions – leaders who embrace and can popularise that revolutionary perspective, leaders whose motivation is to serve the people in struggle without thought of personal gain, who are not driven by ego or backward ideas and behavior, and who are without fear of persecution and attack. Leaders like Clarrie O’Shea , Ted Bull  and John Cummins .

We cannot say for certain when or how the workers will tear off the straight-jackets that are holding them back. Many workers want unions to fight, and resent the fact that they don’t. Resistance to the attacks of the monopolies will grow. Good leadership linked to the wisdom of rank and file union members will see militancy that is conscious and purposeful.

We will carry forward the independent agenda and demands of the working class with the guidance of Marxism-Leninism developed in and applied to Australian conditions.

(The photo that accompanies this article is the front page of a publication issued by this Party in June 1987)

Unite All Who Can Be United Around Widely, Deeply Felt Issues

Ned K.                            24 October 2019


Conferences at which the organising of theory and practice, presented to union organisers and delegates at ACTU-run training courses, has for many years encouraged participants to find the issues that are not only widely felt by workers and their communities, but deeply felt and around which it is possible to organise in collective action to win the issues.


Not all issues are won by this method and rarely is victory complete. For example, Your Rights At Work Worth Fighting For was a widely, deeply felt campaign that succeeded in throwing out the Howard Government and the hated Work Choices industrial legislation. However, workers were left with "Work Choices Lite" under the new Labor Government.

The long-lasting positive effect of the theory and practice of uniting around widely, deeply felt issues is that through the collective actions, workers and their communities realise the power of the collective and the associated benefits of establishing networks and of bringing forward newly emerging leaders within their own ranks.

Whatever happens to Labor policies?

The stark contrast to this organising theory and practice within progressive sections of the union movement is the transactional relationship between unions and the ALP embedded in the bourgeois parliamentary system. This system encourages and promises workers through their unions and their community sub-branches to express their widely, deeply felt issues in ALP policies determined at State or federal conferences.

Year after year, union leaders trudge along to ALP conferences and sometimes get quite progressive resolutions passed only to see them never implemented even when a Labor Party forms government at state or federal level.

However, the issues highlighted in many of the resolutions tabled at ALP conferences do give an indication of many of the widely felt issues faced by workers. According to one union leader, the recent state ALP conference in SA is an example of this. He said there were many resolutions that rank and file unionists and sub-branch members spoke passionately about. He gave the following examples of widely felt demands:

* secure and affordable housing - There are 6,000 homeless men women and children in SA. 43% of homeless people are women and that percentage is on the rise
* end and reverse privatization of public services with resolutions covering a diverse range of public services from pathology to trams and trains
* renewable energy with demands for the state government to support the $650 million solar thermal power station at Port Augusta and the demand for a state-owned clean energy generator as part of a transition to a low carbon economy
* all government infrastructure projects to use Australian Certified Steel 100% locally produced
* government support for electric vehicle manufacturing in SA
* increase New Start to $430 per week
* no Australian acquisition of nuclear weapons or basing nuclear weapons on Australian territory
* no export of gas until local needs satisfied. Australia is currently the biggest gas exporter with the world's highest gas prices!
* no nuclear power
* affordable public dental health system. 32,000 South Australians are on the general dental health waiting list

The list could go on. Any of these issues and more may be not only widely felt but deeply felt and the "spark that lights a prairie fire".

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Leaked Documents Offer No Surprise

Finn G.                                        15 October 2019

On Tuesday October 14 SBS reporter Brett Mason tweeted that the Governments talking points for the week were “inadvertently” sent to the press gallery. (1) This in itself is not surprising, as leaks are a common occurrence in bourgeois political circles as each ladder climber has their own axe to grind within their respective organisations.

What’s surprising is the lack of imagination portrayed in the document. One would assume that the government hires the best spin doctors available, but it appears that even they are unable to polish the turd that is the current economic and social situation in Australia. Perhaps the government feels that it needn’t waste its energy on such trivialities given that we are some time away from the next election, or perhaps they feel that the same tired phrases will continue to keep the general populace happy, a population that they clearly assume to be intellectually inept.

The key talking points, or topics that the LNP Government expects to be confronted with include:

- A stable economy
- Support for drought affected farmers
- Water infrastructure
- ACCC bank enquiry
- Welfare
- Assange
- Mandatory jail time for child sex offenders
- Northeastern Syria

The brief kicks off with one of the LNP’s favourite catchphrases - “a stable economy”. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious. Point 1 is a quote from the main man Scott Morrison: “From our government you have seen certainty, you have seen stability. You’ve seen a plan, and a plan that we took to the Australian people, a plan that we put in our Budget, a plan that foresaw the challenges that Australia was going to face, and a Government that’s just steadfastly getting on with implementing the plan.”

Has anyone reading this come across economic certainty, stability, or a plan? If so, please return to Parliament House as its owner misses it greatly.

Such phrases have been trumpeted since Malcolm Turnbull’s first election campaign (and decades prior). To continue this narrative whilst the country is in economic free-fall is the height of arrogance.

Support for drought affected farmers is the usual roll-out of current governmental “accomplishments” and committees, bureaucratic head nodding at its finest. Nowhere in the list of fainthearted measures is the climate crisis mentioned.

Water infrastructure is accompanied by a similar list of good intentions and funding announcements. The Murray River and the state of South Australia is not mentioned at all.

King sycophant Josh Frydenberg has pounded the table and demanded an ACCC enquiry into the banks not passing on the full interest rates. No matter what the outcome of this show investigation, do they really think that we believe that it will make any difference to the average worker? Debt is going nowhere as the reserve labour army continues to grow, wages remain stagnant, and the cost of living increases by the day. It would be fair to assume that a good majority of the population is aware that the banks and the government are connected at the hip, even if they are unable to articulate the reasons for this. Very few will buy this nonsense.

The topic of welfare doesn’t break with tradition either, fudged numbers, stereotypes and lies fill out this section of the document. Every sleight of hand trick is used to make it look like they’ve built up a bold new workforce that will take the country into a new era of prosperity whilst ignoring the damning figures that show the opposite to be true. The cashless welfare card and drug testing are given the thumbs up in order to curb welfare spending and to “get people into a job” (the cost of these policies somehow didn’t make it onto the list). They also forgot to mention the yawning chasm between the amount of unemployed and available jobs. But it’s OK, they've got some television hack on board to sell their feeble propaganda.

Expatriate Julian Assange is mentioned with the solemn words: “it is important to remember that Australia cannot intervene in the legal processes of another country.” Hypocrisy at its highest level.

If anything, it’s been the Australian government’s policy to insert itself into workings of other countries as much as possible, whether the country in question is aware of it or not. Especially when natural resources are involved, and if the U.S war machine asks us to jump, we reply “how high?” That is, if the lives of our children had not already been offered in a pre-emptive act of Imperial brown-nosing.

Of course, this would not be a bourgeois document without a splash of opportunistic populism. Here it’s seen in the topic of child sexual abuse. This is nothing more than a chance to say what Labor, (who have not been in government since 2013) haven’t done. Essentially, they are using the horrific issue of child sexual abuse to score points against their political and ideological stable mates.

Turkey’s invasion of Kurdish held territory in Syria is mentioned in vague phrasing where the reader would quite easily see that what should have been said could be saved to one line: “we’re waiting to be told what to do and how to do it from the boss”.

What we can deduct from all of this is that the government is either fresh out of spin, fresh out of ideas, or morally bankrupt. My money is on a mixture of all three.

With revolutionary spot fires breaking out all over the globe and people taking to the streets at home, the Australian government couldn’t be more disconnected from the people it pretends to represent. It seems that it’s answer to the society’s woes is to close its eyes and hum ‘God Save The Queen’ whilst it’s people are expected to lie back and think of England.


This is a government with no opposition and no one to take it to task. Those eyeing them off from across the parliamentary floor are only different when it comes to tie colour. Albanese has proven to be more lacklustre than Shorten, quite an achievement in itself. Labor’s answer is to talk about free trade deals, vacillate between various actions on Newstart and generally to keep working on the disenfranchising of its former supporter base. Labor is only being kept alive by the “rusted ons” who cheer for them as if they were running onto the sporting field, regardless of the line-up.

The contradictions in Parliament House are becoming more apparent with each tick of the clock. Now is the time to immerse ourselves into the community, talk to people about what’s going on and the associated causes.

The people don’t need a new party running Coward’s Castle, they need a new system, and that system must have its base in the working class and fellow exploited classes.



Monday, October 14, 2019

Class oppression and human rights

We reproduce a talk by Shirley Winton given at a forum on Human and Democratic Rights on 28 September

“Human rights do not stand above classes and class struggle.  The violation of human and democratic rights arise from the exploitative system of capitalism”

Thank you for inviting me to speak.

We meet on the stolen lands of the First Nations people, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation who had never ceded their sovereignty.  We pay our respects to their elders and warriors, past, present and emerging, and the long rich culture of the Aboriginal people.   We support their struggles for self-determination and sovereignty.

This is where the suppression and violation of human rights began in Australia.  With the violent British colonial invasion, occupation and dispossession of Australia’s First People more than 230 years ago.  The trampling over the traditional custodians’ rights, their culture and country started 230 years ago and continues today, now under US imperialist domination, the core of monopoly capitalism in Australia.

Human rights do not stand above classes and class struggle.  The violation of human and democratic rights arise from the exploitative system of capitalism.  

An economic and political system in which a tiny minority of multinational corporations control the wealth and power to maximise their profiteering by intensifying the exploitation of workers and the environment, and suppressing resistance to that exploitation.  

It’s impossible to fight against the abuses of human and democratic rights without recognising the exploitative class system of capitalism and imperialism as the root cause. 

For tens of thousands of years, as long as classes existed and continue today, abuses of human rights by the exploiting class of oppressors inevitably occur and continue to day.  The economic and political class systems of slavery, feudalism, capitalism and imperialism are dependent for their survival on the exploitation of workers and abuses of human rights of the masses.  We still have what is called wage slavery under capitalism.  

Whose human rights are being abused and suppressed, who profits from these abuses and oppression; and whose rights and freedoms to exploit and oppress are being upheld and protected by the capitalist state? 

The most basic human rights
This brings us back to class and class struggle. The most basic human rights of guaranteeing all people security of decent and affordable housing, secure and safe work for all, a decent standard of living for all, free health and education, the right to organise in unions and protect and improve our wages and conditions, the right to strike, and real democracy for the people; and which class has the legal right, and the state behind it, to oppress, to exploit, cheat and steal from the masses, the majority. Which class’ human rights are being trampled and which class’ rights to exploit are being protected? 

Australia today is a capitalist country where the wealth and power is held by a few multinational corporations.  Australia is no different to any other country where the human rights of the majority of the population are suppressed and trampled on by capitalism.  In countries like the Philippines, West Papua, Indonesia and others there is open violent military oppression of the people.  

Australian people do not face this open military oppression… yet.  But the hard fought for democratic rights are being eroded, whilst the trend towards fascism is growing.  Presently, the suppression of human rights of the majority is not as obvious and brutal as in the Philippines, but still hidden under the fig leaf cover of what is called bourgeois parliamentary democracy.  Australia has outward appearances and illusions of being a democratic country that values and respects human rights.  But for the working class the illusion of democracy is a myth in our daily lives.

The violation and abuse of human rights is rooted in the capitalist class relations of the two main classes – the working class, the masses, who are the overwhelming majority of the people whose labour is exploited to produce profit, and the capitalist class of mainly big multinationals corporations and banks whose survival depends on the relentless exploitation of workers and the suppression of their rights.   Capitalism can only continue to survive by violating human and democratic rights. 

Crushing resistance, intensifying exploitation
In the past 20 years, the ruling class in Australia has been making preparations to crush people’s resistance to increased exploitation and oppression.  Both Liberal and Labor governments have brought in numerous anti-democratic oppressive laws (industrial, military and civil) to be used against the people during times of social unrest and resistance, to protect the exploitative and profiteering capitalist system.

It’s no coincidence that these laws have been brought in past 20 years at the same time as neo- liberalism or, more accurately described, imperialist globalisation, has been intensifying the exploitation of people and the environment globally.  That’s what all the free trade agreements are really about – TPP, RCEP, ChAFTA – the unrestricted exploitation and movement of the lowest paid workers around the globe, and unimpeded global movement of capital.

The Filipino workers know, better than most, from their first hand experiences about these abusive conditions inflicted on overseas workers.

Human rights abuses against Australia’s First People are the worst amongst the world’s Indigenous people.  Many First People are living in poverty and conditions worse than in most developing countries.  Government policies that enslave, impoverish and humiliate Australia’s First People, like the brutal punishment of the cashless credit card or the destruction of their sacred and long practised cultural system, like the fight to stop the removal of Djab Wurrung Trees, the women’s sacred birthing trees, near Ararat.  Aboriginal people have the highest rate of imprisonment and their children are still being taken away. The violation and suppression of human rights of the First People is connected directly to their struggles for land rights and sovereignty that threaten to halt the continuing plunder by profiteering multinational mining corporations.

Anti-worker, anti-union attacks
The Australian workers’ and unions’ hard won rights to organise and take industrial action in their workplaces for safe and secure jobs, wages and conditions are being shredded.  At the same time big business and multinational corporations have unfettered freedom and rights to exploit and violate human and democratic rights of working people.   

Inevitably, workers and working people resist intensified exploitation.  This resistance is met with many anti-worker and anti-union laws that have been rolled out for past 20 years, designed to suppress struggle by workers and crush fighting unions.  

Big business and their governments in Australia have rolled out many semi-fascist laws against workers and their unions – laws that impose gaoling of workers and unionists for simply taking industrial action;  laws that will bankrupt unions, ban strikes and any industrial action that does not comply with the bosses’ courts; laws that prevent unions organising and workers from joining unions.  

Australian workers have never had the legal right to strike, but we united in solidarity and went on strikes anyway and pushed back the attacks.  Now there are laws that prohibit and ban industrial action, including strikes, except for very brief periods tightly controlled by the bosses and the courts who instruct workers when we’re allowed to take industrial action very briefly to create minimum disruption to big business’ profit making.  Parliament and the courts protect corporations’ rights and freedoms to exploit and prevent workers from taking even so-called “legal” industrial action. 

The right to strike and take industrial action for social justice, against imperialist wars, for peace, in solidarity with communities and with workers around the world, has now been made officially illegal.  

Overseas and migrant workers in Australia are a super exploited group of workers whose human rights are not even given lip service or a pretence.  The super exploitation of migrant workers is necessary for capital’s profit-making, and as a lever to push down all workers’ wages and conditions. Racism is fuelled and promoted to divide and weaken the working class.

Imperialism and rivalries between imperialist powers has intensified the exploitation of people and the environment.  At the same time as privatised welfare and social services are getting huge government funding the private providers, who are mostly large corporations, are cutting back costs on essential services to the people to maximise their profits. 

Even the informal right to protest, to assemble, to speak out and expose injustices and war crimes is disappearing.   At the same time police and the army are given more powers and weaponry to use against the people in struggle and protests. In recent times governments are rolling out more laws that criminalise peoples’ protests and industrial action.  It’s the same story around the world, the threat of terrorist attacks and protection of national security are used as a pretext and intimidation to crush resistance and people’s fight for a better world.

In Australia, since 2001 more than 70 so-called anti-terror laws have been passed by the 2 main parliamentary parties. These laws are deliberately designed to be so broad as to be used against people in almost any circumstances and entrap almost anyone.

All to protect the exploitation and the capitalist system.

Anti-war struggles uphold human rights
Imperialist wars are some of the biggest threats to human rights.  Imperialist wars and fascism usually go hand in hand – suppression of facts, truth and information and the right to speak out and oppose imperialist wars.  This happened recently with the Federal Police and ASIO raids on journalists who exposed the war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.  US imperialist masters were outraged that highly secretive war crimes were being leaked and not only Australian war crimes, but US war crimes as well.  

Julian Assange is being hounded and persecuted by the US, and assisted by the Australian government, simply because he publicly revealed the truth about imperialist wars and the big business and government forces behind these wars.

Capitalism can never provide the safety and human rights for refugees fleeing wars, oppression.  During 2nd World War when the Jewish people were being persecuted in Europe no capitalist country, including that great pillar and bastion of freedom and democracy the USA, would give refuge to Jewish people fleeing the Nazis.  That is except for one country and that was the socialist Soviet Union.  Capitalism and imperialism create refugees.

The most fundamental human right of every human being to decent, affordable and secure housing, health, education, safe and secure work, Newstart Allowance, Disability Services, caring for the aged, secure standard of living for all, cannot be provided by a system that depends for its survival on the exploitation of workers and abuse of human rights.  

But no amount of fascist repression and violation of human rights will suppress people’s struggles for justice, democratic rights and a better world.  Capitalist austerity, imperialist wars, abuse of human rights and fascism only increases the rising tsunami of resistance and struggle by people across the world.

Looks very much like socialism
What is needed is a system that puts an end to the economic exploitation of people.  Only a system based on collective ownership and participatory democracy, where working people run the country, can guarantee genuine human rights.  And this to me looks very much like socialism where the human rights of working people are promoted, defended and guaranteed, and the rights to exploit, plunder and abuse are suppressed, and eventually abolished.

Australia’s working people stand in solidarity with people of the Philippines fighting against atrocious human rights violations.  We send our warmest greetings and solidarity.

For further reading, link to the CPA-ML submission made on human rights to the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2015.