Saturday, June 27, 2020

Neither the U.S. nor China - Independence for Australia!

Written by: Danny O. on 28 June 2020

Australia is trapped between two conflicting imperialist powers. On one side, subservience to the United States politically, militarily and economically in our role as regional representative of the interests of US imperialism. On the other, reliance on China as our biggest trading partner, a major export market for raw commodities, and the main supplier of manufactured goods in the global supply chain.

The global capitalist crisis intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic has sharply revealed this fault line between the two economic giants on which Australia sits.

Flamed by right-wing talking heads and mouth pieces for US imperialism in the Australian main stream media like the Murdoch press, anti-China sentiment and racism has sky rocketed since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Spewing from the mouths of the majority section of the ruling class aligned with the US in its inter-imperialist rivalry with the newly rising power, regrettably, this sentiment has seeped into sections of the working class.

Taking over?

Talk is rife with claims of China “taking over” the country by buying up large swaths of farm land and buying out Australian businesses. The finger is incorrectly pointed at China for the gutting of Australia’s own manufacturing industry, rather than the multinational corporations which moved production there following the logic of capitalism which seeks to maximise its profit and exploit workers as cheaply as possible.

A look at the statistics and the bigger picture tells a different story. While it is true Chinese investment in Australia has increased significantly in recent years, it still only accounts for 2 percent (5.7 percent if Hong Kong is included) of the total level of foreign investment in the country. On the other hand, US investment accounts for 26 percent of the total, and the UK 18 percent.

It is not Chinese troops and bases that sit on Australian soil, but American ones with a permanent rotation of US Marines through Darwin. US military installations dot the country, the most significant being Pine Gap near Alice Springs. Billions of dollars of tax-payer money is being spent on upgrading military facilities to further support the US’s drive to war against China.

The influence of the US lobby on Australia’s politicians means there are only ever very few voices in the halls of parliament that dare to question the subservience of Australia and its foreign policy to the geopolitical and economic interests of US imperialism.

It is not China that is taking over. Australia has long been taken over – by the US.

For revolutionary anti-imperialist independence, not racist nationalism

The current crisis is highlighting in multiple ways the vulnerability of the Australian economy with its high foreign reliance, lack of significant local manufacturing industry, and subservience to the whims of multinational corporations and the governments they control. 

Although it often comes across in racist and ignorant language that only benefits the bosses in dividing us, underlying the anti-China sentiment that some working class people are expressing is the desire for Australia to be independent and self-reliant. They want to see local industry and permanent jobs. They want a country in which they can see a bright future for themselves and their children.  

There has long been a strong opposition to foreign investment among the people that feeds into the stream of struggle for Australian independence. But we cannot allow this opposition and struggle to be based on racism and xenophobia or narrow reactionary nationalism. We shouldn’t oppose foreign investment just because it comes from a country whose people speak a different language or aren’t white.

Communists must listen to the people, even if we don’t agree with everything they say. We mustn’t write them off and dismiss them out of hand because they haven’t yet fully understood the whole situation. We must patiently and consistently explain the facts and show them the bigger picture.

The current crisis of capitalism is intensifying the rivalry and the drive to war between the imperialist powers. Australia’s subservience to US imperialism limits our independence and will inevitably draw us into imperialist war.

The Australian ruling class has no desire to break from US imperialism and cannot lead us to the independent Australia we need to avoid such a disaster. It will require the masses led by the working class to take power into their own hands and run the country to serve the interests of the people. It requires a struggle for revolutionary anti-imperialist independence from all big power domination of Australia, laying the foundations for socialism.

In the struggle between the US and China, we do not choose one over the other, but oppose both. However, we recognise it is against US imperialism that the main blow must be struck if working people are ever to take power into their own hands in this country.

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