Saturday, February 26, 2022

While Morrison Government Rants About China, Workers' Struggles Are On The Increase


Written by: Ned K. on 26 February 2022

As inflation in Australia rises above the 3%, petrol prices hit $1.99 a litre and finding and/or keeping a roof over your head becomes more and more expensive, more workers are organizing to fight for wage increases just to survive. 

In Victoria for example security industry workers are demanding higher wages through collective bargaining where Hong Kong owned Wilson Security dominates the industry.

In the middle range of wage scales, nurses in NSW recently went on strike for a pay increase and defied the bosses’ courts in doing so.

At the high end of wage scales, MUA members have been defying attempts by stevedoring multinational companies to cut workers' wages by fiddling with rosters.

In SA, essential service workers in hospitals won wage increases and job security after two years protracted struggle against the Marshall Liberal Government.

Where workers are in weaker collective bargaining positions to win wage increases to keep their heads above water, turn-over of labour is high as workers move to places they hear about where there is a labour shortage and they can earn slightly more. This has led to employer association demands that international borders be relaxed so they can return to the good old pre-Covid days of having a plentiful supply of cheap migrant workers to exploit.

To make ends meet, migrant workers often work on Australian Business Number (ABNs) and get paid $10 per hour less than the Award for the industry they are in. Often their "employer" is another migrant worker in an equally precarious situation who is paid by the principal contractor to provide and pay workers needed on a particular site.

The principal contractor has a commercial contract to provide a service to a business or government department. The migrant workers do not even appear on the principal contractor's books. 

Sometimes these contracted migrant workers on ABNs pay a manager or labour hire operator an up-front amount of up to $1,000 for the "privilege" of being given a job!

However more of these workers are not putting up with this anymore and demanding the legal minimum wage at least or demanding employment directly with the business owner or at least with the principal contractor.

School cleaning and agricultural sector are renowned for this type of exploitation. However, the tide is turning as more migrant workers are speaking out and not putting up with it anymore.  In one case in school cleaning, the Catholic owned college was made aware by cleaners that the contract cleaning company at the school no longer employed most of the cleaners but had used cheap ABN labour with workers being paid just over half the Award rate. The cleaners settled with a significant wage increase.

The economic situation of any of these workers in Australia is nowhere on the Morrison Government's radar as the federal election gets nearer. 

All his beat-up about national security and threat of China mean little to most workers. It is likely that for those workers eligible to vote, that they will vote against the Morrison Government because they see it as unconcerned and/or disinterested in the issues for workers that confront them in the day-to-day struggle to survive.

The same can be said for the state governments in NSW and SA.

Potential new governments at federal and state levels this year will face a working class on the move and not satisfied with "more of the same" from in-coming governments.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

The right to live without the roar of imperialist shells in Ukraine - CPA (M-L) Statement

 Written by: Central Committee, CPA (M-L) on 25 February 2022

Imperialist rivalry, brinksmanship and now Russian invasion threatens death and suffering for the masses of ordinary people in and around Ukraine. Many are already dead and wounded. 

Our comrades in the Ukrainian Koordinazionnyj Sowjet Rabotschewo Dvizhenija (Coordination Council of the Workers Class Movement) said not long before the Russian invasion:

We Marxist-Leninists of Ukraine are firmly against all the forms of imperialist aggression in our country. We call on our comrades from all countries not to accept the thought that some imperialists can be `better` than others. Imperialism, capitalism is always war and pain. The aspirations of the Ukrainian workers are not to follow any kind of bourgeois propaganda, and to struggle for the real rights, for decent wages and adequate social protection, for higher standards of living. And, of course, they have the right to live without war, without the roar of shells under the lying words of the Kremlin or the Western bourgeoisie!

They call for struggle against imperialist invaders, for unity and for socialism.  

Our class demands peace

Imperialism is characteristic of the most powerful capitalist countries whose major corporations demand that “their” governments secure for them areas in which to invest, raw materials for them to extract, cheap labour to exploit and markets to saturate with their commodities. To the greatest extent possible, they seek to deny these things to competitors and control them as their own spheres of influence. 

Ukraine has become the plaything of the rival imperialist blocs of the US-NATO-EU and of the Russian Federation. A struggle over imperialist spheres of influence is at the heart of the crisis. It arises due to the uneven development of the strengths and weaknesses of the powers and of their abilities to protect their respective spheres of influence.

The US-led bloc wants to extend its military power to the borders of Russia, while Russia seeks to push back by incorporating the “republics”, and eventually, all of the Ukraine within its political and military sphere of influence.

Far-right nationalist passions have been aroused in both the “republican” and greater Ukrainian regions. The two imperialist blocs share responsibility for this.
In opposition to the clamour for war promoted by both imperialist blocs, the working class is demanding peace. 

“Peace” was the leading demand in the slogan “Peace, bread and land” that united the Russian and Ukrainian working classes behind Lenin’s revolutionary Bolshevik Party. 

Peace becomes a reactionary slogan only when used to disarm the masses who struggle for justice. 

Lecturing others about invasion from stolen lands

No corner of the world is safe from imperialist rivalry. 

Here the Coalition and ALP pledge total allegiance to the US imperialist regime. 

They and the media express outrage against invasion. Yet Australia is built on ongoing invasion and on dispossession of First Peoples. 

They lecture others about democratic values and democratic allies. Yet our jails are filled with First Peoples, the poor, the mentally ill and the illiterate. Exactly what democracy do these sermon makers mean?

The Prime Minister even uses the reckless threat of war to get himself re-elected.

We have to make it backfire on him!

Nature of class war, democracy and nationalism

Despite the propaganda, and rewriting of history, our peoples are not fools. 

We have a hundred years of imperialist wars into which Australia followed its colonial and corporate masters to mass slaughter. 

Our party connects with women workers from Russian and Ukrainian backgrounds, decades long friends in struggles for working class unity here in Ausralia, who call out as equally corrupt, Russia and Ukraine and the US.

Times like these, when people are thinking and worrying, compel us to raise questions about the nature of class war against imperialist war, about class dictatorship disguised as democracy, about bourgeois nationalism that divides us to conquer, and its opposite – revolutionary love of Country and place and peoples undivided.

As struggle for control of the Ukraine rises, we raise again the demand for Peace. We refuse follow US imperialism into another war!

Yes to peace. Russia get out! US and NATO stay out!
No to Australian involvement imperialist war. 
Remove all US bases and troops from Australia.
Struggle in unity for an independent, socialist Australia.

CPA (M-L) Central Committee, 25 February 2022




Written by: Duncan B. on 22 February 2022

The COVID pandemic exposed weaknesses in the capitalist system such as the use of casual labour, supply chain problems with overseas-made products, and the crisis in public hospitals and privately-run nursing homes.

Many of the problems can be traced back to the neo-liberal ideology of the 1980’s and 1990’s with its call for smaller governments and the privatisation of most government services. Since COVID struck, we have seen a number of commentators in the daily press exposing the situation and calling for a return to more government involvement.

A new book Big: The Role of the State In the Modern Economy (Monash University Publishing. $20) continues this trend. The author Richard Denniss is Chief Economist at the public policy think tank, the Australia Institute.

He exposes the neo-liberal claims that we need smaller government, less taxation and balanced government budgets. Obsession with these fallacies has meant Australia has suffered poor hospitals, schools and infrastructure and the limited response to climate change that contributed to the ferocity of the 2020 bushfires. This book is definitely worth reading for its exposure of the mess that this ideology has got Australia into. 

Under capitalism, the capitalist state acts as the “committee of management” for the capitalist class. The state provides the legal system, transport, electricity and other infrastructure that capitalism needs. The state controls the banking and finance system and arranges education for prospective workers. Most importantly for the capitalist class, the state controls the police and armed forces, to protect the capitalist system from the working class. 

The advocates of smaller government want the government to look after what benefits the capitalists (e.g. defence) and leave the rest (e.g. health, aged care, education etc.) for the capitalists to exploit. This thinking gave us the disastrous privatisations of utilities, transport, aged care, the Murray-Darling Basin irrigation water, council services and so many others. 

In his article The State, Lenin pointed out that the state, no matter what form it takes, is a machine for maintaining the rule of one class over another. We must always remember this in any consideration of the role of governments.

It is not enough to reform the government or get it more involved in operating services. It is not enough to do as Denniss suggests, “follow the lead of the Nordic countries in the provision of great public health, education, housing and infrastructure, and in doing so boost economic productivity and deliver higher standards of living at lower cost.”

What the Australian people need is not the reforms of the system that Denniss advocates. We need the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a state led by the working class, which will run Australia in the interests of the majority of Australians.


US to reopen Solomons Island embassy in fight for influence in South Pacific

 Written by: (Contributed) on 21 February 2022

The decision by the Biden administration to re-open its embassy in the Solomon Islands at Honiara is a move likely to further escalate already fraught diplomatic tensions with China in the South Pacific. Many of the diplomatic hostilities have already been played-out in the wider Pacific in recent years; many of the countries are small but with important voting rights in regional trade forums which raises issues of strategic significance.

The Solomon Islands has, furthermore, been pushed to the forefront of the rivalries by switching diplomatic links from Taiwan to China in 2019; subsequent ethnic unrest caused widespread concern about the ability of government institutions to contain the problem.

In mid-February, during a high-level diplomatic visit to Australia and the Pacific, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, stated the US intention of re-opening their embassy in the Solomon Islands. Their previous embassy in Honiara closed nearly thirty years ago, and since that time the US has relied upon their diplomatic facilities in neighbouring PNG to conduct diplomatic business. The recent move indicates an upgrade of the Solomon Islands with US regional intelligence assessments.

Behind the scenes it is not particularly difficult to establish the reasoning behind the US diplomatic and military thinking: recent US intelligence assessments have included the increased ability of China to develop long-range strike capacity with weaponry. It was noted, for example, 'much of our northern base infrastructure is highly vulnerable to attack … the challenge facing Australia's military is how to counter China's long-range strike and power projection'. (1) Countries neighbouring Australia's northern approaches have, therefore, been assessed as highly strategic and important allies.

The Solomon Islands, historically, has been regarded by western powers as a backwater, inhabited by a population which largely exists on subsistence agriculture. Political unrest, throughout the previous twenty years has, however, caused Australia considerable concern. The most recent problems arising included further tensions between Malaitian ethnic groupings and those in Guadacanal, with Honiara as the capital city.

In between 24-27 November last year, groups of rebel Malaitians laid siege to Honiara and attempted to storm Parliament House, torched a police station and ransacked Chinatown causing damage estimated at US$67 million. (2) The rioters aimed to topple the government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who later rebuffed an attempted vote of no confidence. The stated cause of the unrest was the switching of diplomatic links from Taiwan to China in 2019: residents of Malaita, historically, had strong links with Taiwan for decades and have benefited financially from their aid programs.

While the ethnic unrest was soon contained by military personnel from Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, simmering tensions continue to cloud political life and have revealed how fragile and vulnerable institutions of state and government are in the Solomon Islands.

The re-opening of the US embassy is, therefore, part of a concerted plan to stabilise the country for 'US interests'; it was said that 'Washington seeks to beef up its presence in the region where China is rapidly expanding its influence'. (3) Diplomatic missions and embassies, however, are also synonymous with espionage; it has been noted 'countries spy and most … send spies overseas disguised as diplomats'. (4) They invariable organise strings of agents, operating both legally and illegally to gain advantage over others. It is, therefore, no surprise to find the re-opening of the US diplomatic facilities in the Solomon Islands was accompanied by an announcement they were already planning to re-start their Peace Corps program, which ceased in the country in 2002. (5)   

The US Peace Corps has always been closely associated with a 'hearts and minds' strategy to boost 'US interests'. In fact, their official website has provided clear guidelines for their 'motivated change-makers … and … working side by side with local leaders'. (6) The organisation has three stated goals: training, promotion of the US and a better understanding of other peoples. (7) Since its establishment in 1961, the US Peace Corps has placed over 240,000 'volunteers' in 142 countries; the Solomon Islands will soon be re-added to the list. (8)

The Peace Corps, however, has been closely associated with the US diplomatic services and are renowned for using their facilities for supposed aid programs. In reality, the Peace Corps exists in a shadowy world of spooks and 'ground human'; while increased technological capacity and satellite systems have enhanced the ability of the US intelligence services to spy on remote regions and countries, they nevertheless require localised and specialist knowledge of terrain to make accurate assessments. The Peace Corps, by their very nature, are used to fulfil the requirement. Declassified US intelligence material from the previous Cold War reveal the close working relationship between diplomatic officials, aid programs and personnel from the military and intelligence services. (9)

While the Solomon Islands have been pushed into the forefront of US-led regional diplomatic struggles in recent times, Blinken also used his visit to Australia to hold a video conference with seventeen other Pacific Island nations. He used the cyber forum to push 'US interests' stressing greater regional involvement, 'pledging more support from Washington'. (10)

US diplomatic influence was also brought to bear elsewhere in the Pacific: the move also accompanied by an official announcement from five Micronesian countries to suspend their plans to withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). The regional trade body has important representation opportunities for its eighteen members, including Australia. The announcement was particularly important for the US as the small sub-region of the Pacific is centred upon Guam which hosts US regional military facilities linked on an arc which swings from the Pine Gap US intelligence facilities to the US base on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and across sensitive parts of Asia.

The Micronesian delegation to the PIF has, however, claimed in recent times they were side-lined by more dominant Melanesian and Polynesian countries which also had strong links with China. They announced their intention to leave the PIF last year, effectively weakening US diplomacy in the wider region. It was, therefore, noted by Malaysian media that the forum formed part of the 'diplomatic and security game in the region', for 'US interests'. (11)

Blinken also used his working visit to the Pacific to visit Fiji, which has the largest deep-water harbour facilities in the Pacific. The country has enormous strategic significance for naval considerations and the US clearly aim to strengthen their ties with Suva.

The recent high-level diplomatic visit of Secretary State Blinken to Australia was undertaken in line with general regional war-mongering and the strengthening of intelligence capacities:

                                        We need an independent foreign policy!


1.     Can ADF fight hemispheric war? Sovereign Missiles Special Supplement, Australian, 10 February 2022.
2.     Solomon opposition figure, rfi., 14 December 2021.
3.     US to re-open Solomon Islands embassy after 29 years, The Straits Times, 12 February 2022.
4.     In the spying game, all sides parade spooks as diplomats, Australian, 28 March 2018.
5.     Solomon Islands welcomes US announcement, The Solomon Times, 14 February 2022.
6.     Web-site: The Peace Corps, Changing lives the world over, February 2022.
7.     Ibid.
8.     Wikipedia: the Peace Corps, February 2022.
9.     See: Counter Insurgency Operations, A Handbook for Suppression of Communist Guerillas and Terrorist Operations, US Military, early 1960s, reference: 19960709 – 052, with specific reference to Chapter Five, pp. 29-32, which contains information about the role of US diplomatic officials with military and civilian agencies.
10.   US in Solomons to counter China, Australian, 14 February 2022.
11.   Straits Times, op.cit., 12 February 2022.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Commemorating 80th Anniversary of Japan’s Bombing of Darwin

Written by: Nick G. on 19 February 2022

February 19, 2022 marks the 80th anniversary of Japan's attack on the Australian city of Darwin. Hundreds were killed (see Darwin Maritime Union memorial, below), and ships in the harbour sunk. A second raid the same day targeted the nearby Air Force airfield.

The Japanese had resorted to war to seize from the major European powers – England, France and Holland – Asian and South-east Asian sources of raw materials, colonial labour-power, and markets. They challenged US imperialism for control of the Pacific as a major sphere of influence.

At the time, Japanese imperialism was still engaged in an attempted war of conquest against China where resistance forces led by the Communist Party were tying down millions of Japanese troops who would otherwise have been freed to fight Australians on Australian soil.

Following the initial bombing of Darwin, raids increased and the Japanese sought other targets. Two weeks later, Japanese planes attacked Broome, killing more than 70 people among whom were Dutch refugees who had just been evacuated by flying boat from the Dutch East Indies (later Indonesia). 

On 31 May 1942, three Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour. Twenty-one sailors died when the Japanese torpedoed the HMAS Kuttabul. In June 1942 a submarine shelled the eastern suburbs in Sydney and then Newcastle. 

By the end of September 1943, Japanese pilots had flown 97 air raids against towns and bases in northern Australia, including a further 63 attacks on Darwin and three on Townsville. 

Eighty years later, the drums of war are again beating, as Home Affairs Department Secretary Mike Pezzullo said on April 27 last year.

The drums of war theme has been beaten ever since by then Home Affairs, and now Defence, Minister, Peter Dutton. Echoes of Dutton’s championing of the US military presence in Australia and the larger region are heard across the bourgeois political spectrum, from Albanese to Bolt.

Now, it is all directed at our former WW2 ally China.  China, now clearly a capitalist economy, having abandoned socialism through Deng’s “reforms”, is also trying to secure access to raw materials, cheap labour-power, and markets. The difference is that at this point in time, it is doing so by financial, economic and diplomatic offensives and not by military means. However, it is not ignorant of the need for the gun to follow the dollar – or the yuan.  According to its 2015 White Paper on Chinese military strategy, the Peoples Liberation Army now looks outside country and its mission and strategic tasks now include:  “To safeguard China's security and interests in new domains; To safeguard the security of China's overseas interests”.

US imperialism’s response to Chinese economic expansion is to gird its military loins and prepare for aggressive war to secure its continued domination of our region and the globe. 

Japan, its enemy in WW2, has a vital role to play in this. 

Defeated in WW2, Japan had a “pacifist” Constitution imposed on it by US imperialism so that any revival of its militarist ambitions could never again challenge the US.  The US then established military bases all over Japan directed at the liberation movements that were sweeping Asia. The Japanese island of Okinawa was subjected to full-scale US military occupation. The US still operates 13 military bases on Okinawa . They cover 25% of the island.

The post-war “pacifist” Constitution now restricts the plans that US imperialism has for containing China by threat of war.  The last three Japanese governments have all tried to amend or replace the Constitution to free the Japanese militarists for full “interoperability” within the imperialist bloc led by the US and including India and Australia - the so-called Quad.

An artillery weapon is mounted on a balcony on the first floor of the RSL in Darwin.  It points directly to the North, originally as a reminder of Japan’s attacks on Australia, but now pointing to China as the enemy selected for us by US imperialism.

All imperialism is evil. We reject the rival imperialisms of Beijing and Washington. We reject the subservience of the Government and the “Opposition” to one of those imperialisms.

On the 80th anniversary of Japan’s bombing of Darwin, we resolve to intensify the fight for anti-imperialist independence and socialism. 


On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the two Japanese bombing raids on Darwin, the Maritime Union erected this commemorative monument. The words inside the circle of the wheel read: "Annually the families of the deceased, as well as wharfies and seafarers, meet here to pay their respects and to remember the workers who were killed when the wharf was bombed on 19 February 1942. We will never forget the sacrifice waterside workers and their families have made for Australia. We will never forget the hundreds of merchant seamen who lost their lives working on the ships destroyed by mines, torpedoes, shelling and bombing while carrying cargo and troops for our country."

In the plaque at the bottom are listed the names of the 23 known Waterside Workers who lost their lives as a consequence of the two bombing raids.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

US set to review and expand its bases here


Written by: Nick G. on 17 February 2022

 Following on the heels of the recent Quad meeting in Melbourne, a senior US military overlord is set to review US bases in Australia.

Led by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Director for Logistics and Engineering, Brigadier General Jered Helwig, a United States delegation will visit bases and facilities in Australia to progress the Australian-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2021 commitments. Indo-Pacific Command’s senior logistician will meet with key Australian Defence counterparts to discuss the establishment of cooperative logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprises.

Helwig’s agenda is clearly to expand the number, nature and scope of US bases on Australian soil.

Australian Brigadier Jason Walk, Acting Commander Joint Logistics Command, is sponsoring the delegation. He said, “Aligning Australian and US understanding of the Northern Australian environment and the Defence logistics enterprise capabilities is central to achieving an effective AUSMIN outcome. The visit will focus on logistics opportunities and challenges in our Northern Region, our networks and infrastructure, and interoperability enhancement.”

With the enthusiastic support of Defence Minister Dutton, a cheerleader for the US military presence in Australia and the region, and an undoubted agent of US interference in Australia, Helwig’s imperial tour of observation will no doubt feed into the 2022 AUSMIN meeting with new measures to strengthen the US military presence here.

This is completely unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Commander of US Army Pacific General Charles Flynn has flown to Canberra to lay out his plans for greater influence (“interoperability”) over his Australian counterparts.

Meeting with Australia's Army Chief, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, he strongly supported the Australian purchase, for $3.5 billion, of more than 120 tanks and other armoured vehicles from the US.

Australian defence experts have questioned the need for the tanks, noting that the current generation of Abrams tanks bought in 2007, had never been used in conflict, and that no Australian tanks had been used in fighting since the Vietnam War half a century ago.

Purchase ambulances, not tanks!

On social media, many Australians have asked why we need tanks at a time when the Government cannot supply rapid antigen tests, and we don’t have enough ambulances and paramedics to prevent crisis-level ramping outside hospitals.

Flynn defended the purchase of the tanks (whenever has a seller criticised the sale?), saying “particularly in dense urban areas, you're gonna want armour forces, you're gonna need tanks”.  So, whose “dense urban areas” are we talking about?

US imperialism is desperately trying to keep its options open for control of the Indo-Pacific region, anticipating not only nation-to-nation fighting, but suppression of civilian uprisings in dense urban areas. 

US imperialism cannot define our “enemies” for us, it cannot lead us into yet more unwinnable wars of aggression, as a result of which those of our armed services personnel not killed or wounded on the battlefield become scarred for life mentally and psychologically, with suicide and self-harm as an enduring legacy.

This is not where our interests lie.

We must widen the fight for anti-imperialist independence and socialism, kick out all US bases, and use diplomacy and negotiation to build positive relations based on mutual respect and understanding with our neighbours and the international community. 

Resist imperialist war plans!

 Written by: Alice M. on 15 February 2022

There’s a saying; "Lifting a rock only to drop it on one’s feet". This is exactly what the US-created AUKUS (Australia, UK and US) and the QUAD (US, JAPAN, India, Australia) are unleashing in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region - reigniting the people’s anti-war movement. Still in its early stages, the people’s movement opposing war preparations, is gathering momentum across the country.

The capitalist economic crisis and intensified economic rivalries and competition between imperialist powers are pushing the world towards an imperialist war.  But war will only deepen the economic, political and social crises of capitalism and imperialism.  Imperialist war will galvanise people’s movements and unleash struggles that can only deepen anti-imperialist and socialist consciousness. 

The US/NATO and Russian military build-up around Ukraine has brought closer to home the reality of possible war in our own region. 

The US Pivot into Asia-Pacific announced in Australia jointly by the Obama administration and Julia Gillard’s Labor government in 2011 set a new high ground for expanding US imperialism in the region.  The announcement in September 2021 of the AUKUS military pact has given more impetus to the growing anti-war movement opposing the successive Australian governments’ servile compliance with US demands to protect the US sphere of influence in the Asia Pacific in its competition with China.  Australia is now deeply integrated into the military-industrial complex, buying and trading in weapons for monopoly weapons corporations.

Anti-war and peace organisations and groups are springing up. Many spontaneously initiated petitions are circulating around the country calling for peace, ending the US-Australia military alliance, removing Australia from AUKUS and the QUAD, calling on the government to direct people’s taxes to public health, education and the environment, not to wars of aggression.  Numerous on-line zoom meetings and webinars have been held over the past 2 years discussing Australia’s involvement in US-led wars, the US-Australia alliance, military spending and the global proliferation of weapons and militarism.  Recently, a national coalition of many organisations and individuals across the country, united in their opposition to AUKUS, has been formed and is in early stages of development.  

Blinken not welcome in Melbourne

A quickly organised protest rally was held on Thursday 10 February near the meeting venue of QUAD Foreign Ministers in Melbourne.  This was the first meeting of the revamped QUAD, led by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and joined by the Foreign Ministers of Japan, India and Australia. The QUAD is designed to strengthen the US economic control in Asia-Pacific and tie the other 3 countries closer to US political interests in the region.

As Blinken and other foreign ministers arrived in their bullet-proof car cavalcade they were met with boos and loud chants Money for Health not for War! Go home Warmongers!   Speakers included the MUA Assistant State Secretary, Victoria, Australian Conservation Council,  Spirit of Eureka, Independent and Peaceful Australia,  Solidarity and CICD.

A representative from IPAN and Spirit of Eureka told the gathering: “The Morrison-Dutton government takes its orders from Washington and the US military-industrial complex.  It shows the urgency with which the US is shoring up support for its economic and military dominance in the region.
Hasn’t our government learned lessons from the disastrous 20 year US-led war on the people of Afghanistan?  Less than 6 months after withdrawing from Afghanistan we are being prepared to plunge into another US-led war, this time with China.  As always, our obsequious government is in lock step with the US war mongers.

QUAD and AUKUS sends a warning to people of Australia and Asia-Pacific that preparations for war with China are well underway. The US economic hegemony in this region and the world is being challenged by China’s economic rise and its own economic ambitions.  

The twin of QUAD is AUKUS – Australia, UK, and US military pact – instigated and led also by the US.

The AUKUS military pact will syphon off hundreds of billions of dollars from needs of the people in health, education, social services, aged care, environment and urgent action to mitigate climate change.   This is at a time of serious Covid epidemic, of our overworked and exhausted health workers, understaffed and underequipped public hospitals, understaffed and underfunded aged care facilities, shortages of rapid antigen tests.  We are in a major health crisis and yet we’re spending billions on imperialist wars that benefit only the big corporations and the military industrial complex who reap huge profits from wars and military build ups in preparations for wars.

We hear the constant government and opposition’s mantra that AUKUS and QUAD are necessary for the security of this country.  Well, we say it is not security and health of people and the environment that these profiteers have in mind.  What they really mean is the security and increase of profits for US and European weapons corporations, and other corporations, and protecting the US global economic, political and military hegemony."

A representative from the Australian Conservation Foundation made a powerful speech: "We have a key role to remind us of and highlight the human, cultural, environmental and economic costs of war and preparations for war.

It is not five months since PM Morrison suddenly surfaced with the surprise announcement of AUKUS.

A massive spend - locked in military inter-operability and relations - a profound loss of national sovereignty and the ability for Australia to independently position - the environmental risk of nuclear subs and the Trojan Horse this provides for those pushing a domestic nuclear industry.

At the time of the AUKUS announcement the head of the Australian Navy - Vice Admiral Michael Noonan - described this as a decision that “will no doubt change the shape of our nation”.

Those are high stakes - and we want a say.

We are citizens. We are not clients, we are not customers or consumers. We are citizens. And we want a direct say in the future shape of our nation.

It will be of little surprise to see the military and political drivers and beneficiaries of these massive new defence spends.This is just one example of the push for ever expanded militarisation and we need to challenge this increasing military spending and posturing.

Today on Planet earth we face a real crisis.
The Doomsday Clock - which measures humanity’s proximity to oblivion - is currently set at 100 seconds to midnight - as close at it has ever been.
This is because of the twin existential threats of unchecked climate change and nuclear weapons - and we urgently need to address, not worsen, both.

The economic cost of militarisation is enormous. Imagine the real human and environmental needs that could be met with even one such spend - the $100 billion nuclear subs plan.

Covid and the climate crisis have shown us how connected, precarious and dependent our world is. Today millions of Australians will buy Chinese goods in the supermarket and watch the Beijing Olympics. People do not want war with China. We need to build bridges, not arms.

Covid and the climate crisis also offer some clear lessons on the need for collective and shared responses in the global good - not in the isolated interest.
15 years ago here in Melbourne - in fact just up the road - ICAN was launched. It has gone on to grow global support for a ban on nuclear weapons.
This is the sort of role Australia can and should play - building a justice based peace, not preparing for a nuclear war.

It is not ok that the Prime Minister can chat with Minister Dutton and commit Australia to war - there needs to be real checks and balances and war powers reform.

Thanks for being here today and for all your efforts to push for debate, scrutiny, evidence and sanity. If our country is being shaped then we can and must do better shaping than the current ever increasing war fighting preparation and posturing. And - unlike war - peace won’t cost the Earth."

On February 15, the No Nuclear Subs SA held a rally outside the Adelaide Convention Centre where an AUKUS business lunch was being held. It was supported by IPAN, ICAN, Solidarity, Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative. As representatives of the masters of war, like Raytheon, arrived, they were greeted with chants of “Jobs Yes, Weapons No – AUKUS has got to go!”

Competing imperialist camps threaten imperialist war
Imperialism has divided the entire world between western imperialist powers, with the US the biggest and most powerful and belligerent imperialist power.  The economic rise of China is challenging US global hegemony.  A former socialist country, the Chinese government has embraced capitalism. To survive as a capitalist power China is compelled to expand and export its capital and invest in other countries for profit making.  The Belt and Road is one of China’s economic tools for the export of capital and expansion of its spheres of influence necessary for the creation of surplus value.  

The military build-up and tensions over Ukraine reveal the intensified geo-political competition between the US and Russia.  Russia as a capitalist power also has its own ambitions for defending and expanding its influence and power in the former Soviet Republics.  The rest of the capitalist world comprising smaller and economically less powerful nations are compelled to ally themselves with one or the other superpower.

AUKUS and the QUAD are revamped US military and economic pacts and alliances cobbled together to challenge China’s rising economic power and influence.  A NATO version in the Asia-Pacific. The US and UK chants for their “international rules based order” are simply to uphold the US-led western imperialists’ power and control of the world and their spheres of influence. China and Russia want to change this “international rules based order” for their own economic interests.   

War and imperialism are inseparable.  War is the heightened period of acute imperialist competition.  Capitalism is compelled to constantly expand; imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism with the redivision of the world’s resources, constant trade wars and ever present wars and preparation for wars.  Since the end of WW 2 a majority of the world’s resources and markets have been dominated by western imperialist powers.  Mainly the US, but also the remnants of the old colonial powers of Britain, Germany and France.  China is now challenging this global domination.  The Belt and Road is viewed by the western imperialist powers as threatening their hegemony.  

The US is desperate to protect and expand its global imperialist supremacy against China and Russia, its economic rivals. It is the US and other declining former imperialist powers (UK, Germany, France), dependent on US imperialism, who are ramping up military forces and threatening a world war.

Two distinct camps are forming. In the imperialist camp are divisions and competing interests and rivalries for spheres of influence and control of global resources and markets.  Divisions between the US and other European members of NATO have opened up over Ukraine.  As a QUAD member, India refused to be drawn into conflict over Ukraine.  Imperialist powers advance their own interests and ambitions for economic control. 

Independence from the superpowers!
Here in Australia, the monopoly ruling class is divided.  Imperialist war with China is vociferously supported by the monopoly ruling class puppets allied to US imperialism – Institute of Public Affairs, ASPI, Murdoch media.   Other sections of the monopoly ruling class are leaning towards China, recognising the decline of US economy and the more favourable economic opportunities China is offering for the creation of surplus value. Then there are sections of the ruling class who have planted their feet in both imperialist camps.   

On the other side are broad local and global people’s formations, alliances and popular opposition to war.  A united front resisting and pushing back imperialist war plans, demanding peace, economic security, justice for working people, climate action and independence from superpowers.  The basic things capitalism can never deliver.


A new year in Australian agriculture

 Written by: Duncan B. on 16 February 2022

It looks like being another busy year in Australian agriculture.

Gina Rinehart has dropped from her position as Australia’s biggest landholder to number three on the list, following the sale of four stations totalling 3.26 billion hectares to an Australian-owned company Crown Point Pastoral. She has sold other stations totalling about 500,000 hectares to other Australian buyers, while other stations totalling another 555,000 hectares are still on the market.

There have been many other large property sales reported lately. Australian buyers have purchased many of them.  There has been a recent trend to bundle up large numbers of properties into massive “aggregations.” The price asked for these has been well above the resources of ordinary Australian buyers, apart from companies, very wealthy individuals or organisations such as the Macquarie Bank.

Australian buyers have found a way to get a slice of the action. They are coming together to form “syndicates”, raising enough money to be able to bid on the large properties and have been successful in buying some of them.

Chinese companies have been selling off properties, including one in WA purchased by Andrew Forrest for $40 million. The Canadian superannuation fund PSP has been both selling and buying rural properties in Australia.

Workers in agriculture and agribusiness are coming under attack in 2022. Canadian-owned dairy processor Saputo has announced that it plans to cut back operations at its plant at Maffra (Vic) with a loss of 18 jobs. Saputo also plan to cut back operations at its plant at Cobram (Vic) with the loss of a further 26 jobs. 

There has been a lot in the news lately about the plight of workers from Pacific Island countries brought to work on farms in Australia under the Seasonal Worker Programme. Some of the workers gave evidence at a Senate Select Committee on Job Security, alleging appalling living conditions, wage underpayments and health risks. Workers are employed by labour hire firms and hired out to horticultural farms. The hire firms and farms involved naturally deny the workers’ claims. The Samoan Government is considering suspending its participation in the scheme. They are seeking a full review of the programme and may suspend sending more workers to Australia. 

A Victorian labour hire company recently had its licence cancelled by the Labour Hire Authority when it discovered that a man convicted of drug and other criminal offences had become a director of that company. He had previously been refused a labour hire licence in Victoria.  

Agricultural workers, whatever country they are from, must unite to fight attacks on their jobs and rights whether the attacks come from multinational agribusiness, dodgy labour hire companies or unscrupulous farmers.


Friday, February 11, 2022

Message from the International Automotive Workers' Coordination on persecution of German Communists


Written by: ICOG on 12 February 2022

Today we received a message from ICOG, the coordinating group of the International Automotive Workers’ Coordination, about German secret police actions against three leading members of the Marxist-Leninist Part of Germany, the MLPD. 

Last year, we issued a statement in solidarity with one of the three who was facing trumped up police charges (see here ). These charges, as the message below points out, were deemed unlawful by the courts.

Nevertheless, the German secret police, who have reduced their surveillance of German Nazis and neo-Nazis despite the latter’s assassination of Kassel Regional Governor Walter Lubcke on June 2, have switched their attentions to the MLPD because of its support for and activities with, Kurdish and Turkish communist exiles in Germany, including sending an international brigade to Syria to build a medical centre for a Kurdish community.

The International Auto Workers’ message reads:

Dear colleagues and comrades,

We have just learned of a monstrosity in the actions of the German secret service. In 2019, three leading members of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD), Gabi Fechtner, Monika Gärtner-Engel and Stefan Engel, were placed on a wanted list. Some of you surely know them personally.  They were not informed that they were wanted all over Europe, but only found out now, after their lawyers had investigated. The highlight is that all kinds of state services, police, border guards, etc. were involved, and thus the separation of secret services and police apparatus as an important outcome from the time of Hitler's fascism was taken to the point of absurdity.

(Above: Gabi Fechner at the unveiling of a Lenin statue outside the MLPD's office)

The justifications for the listing are completely far-fetched, such as "unauthorized wielding of weapons" at a demonstration or leading a meeting in violation of Corona regulations.

It becomes clear: It is about a new quality of criminalisation of the MLPD in order to contain its growing influence among the masses and, if necessary, to create false accusations to jutify banning it. This concerns all revolutionaries worldwide.

For the rulers, especially the international cooperation in the struggle against imperialism is a nightmare. One justification or the listing is therefore also the "international networking on a leadership level" with Kurdish and Turkish alleged "terrorist organizations". This threatens prison sentences of up to 5 or even 10 years in Germany.

This mendacious criminalisation must be completely withdrawn and the comrades completely rehabilitated!

The MLPD has already been able to achieve important successes through the offensive attack against this anti-communism within the framework of the movement "Don't give anti-communism a chance!". On August 3, 2021, a court declared Stefan Engel's dangerous person classification unlawful. 

International protest declarations had also contributed to this success.