Saturday, December 31, 2022

Make greater efforts in 2023 to build the revolutionary movement

Written by: Central Committee, CPA (M-L) on 1 January 2023

We greet 2023 with mixed expectations.

On the one hand, our Party has grown, has developed in struggle, and has a higher profile and a greater influence in significant areas of the mass movement for anti-imperialist independence and socialism.

This is a tribute to our members’ mass work, to their capacity to listen to the people and to learn how to absorb their views and take them as a starting point for raising their consciousness to higher levels.

Yet there are difficulties, and some of these have grown in recent times.

The fragmentation of the working class, the disappearance of large concentrations of workers and its replacement with the gig economy, casualisation and out-sourcing reduces opportunities for some of the traditional forms of organising around the class struggle.

Many young people in particular feel powerless, apathetic, cynical, and disengaged with the world.  Even on the environment issue many young people feel powerless.  The healthy momentum of the school students’ strikes over climate change has dissipated to some extent through the disruptions of Covid restrictions, and now, the election of a federal Labor government which pays lip service to the need to act on climate change. 

However, young workers whose unions draw them into struggle (eg. during EBA campaigns), are more optimistic and positive, having experienced the power of the collective solidarity.   We have carried some reports from younger members along these lines and they display real commitment and enthusiasm for practical tasks around the issues of the day.

Climate change activism in any case, will revive as more and more people are forced by extreme weather events to join the dots between declining standards of living and climate change, for example, in the devastating impact of bushfires and floods and the inability of the system to solve these problems.

First Peoples, likewise, have an ongoing momentum around demands for self-determination. On various fronts they struggle to win rights long denied them and to overcome persecution and harassment.

Good work was done in 2022 to alert the people to the danger of growing tensions in our region between the growing social-imperialist presence of China, and the reaction against that by a worried, but aggressive, US imperialism. Although our ruling class lines up with the latter, no-one wants to be dragged into yet another unwinnable US war, and there is growing concern, even among supporters of the “US-Australia Alliance” and of “AUKUS”, of the loss of sovereignty and the lack of an independent capacity for decision-making in matters of foreign policy and warfare. There is bound to be growing resentment, too, at the rising cost of living at the same time as billions are splurged on unnecessary “defence” acquisitions from foreign arms manufacturers.

We are a Party that seeks to end capitalism. It cannot be reformed into a fairer and more equitable system and requires the massive gaps that we see between a rich handful and the overwhelming majority, a growing proportion of whom are caught in poverty and homelessness. Even the comfortable middle class is becoming less comfortable as the cost of living continues to rise.

We cannot artificially create a revolutionary situation to bring about the changes we desire; however, we can build a revolutionary movement that will know how to respond and provide leadership when a revolutionary situation does arise.

Our politics, our ideology and our organisational principles are those of a revolutionary Party. 

Young people wanting a purpose in life, wanting an outlet for their ideals, hopes and aspirations, will find these alongside those already committed to building the revolutionary movement in Australia.

The absence of a revolutionary situation and the presence of a revolutionary movement are two sides of the same coin.

We invite others to join us in making greater efforts in 2023 to build the revolutionary movement.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

New Ambassador To The USA Kevin Rudd Supports Taiwan Military Build-Up

(Photo: Kevin Rudd on Flickr Creative Commons)

 Written by: Ned K. on 29 December 2022

Kevin Rudd has recently been appointed Australian Ambassador to the USA. He is already based in the USA in his role as President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. Prime Minister Albanese was a Rudd supporter during the Rudd/Gillard battle for the position of Prime Minister in Labor's previous period as federal government.

Rudd was called upon by the mass media for his views on world events, particularly events involving China, after he left the parliamentary scene. 

What can we expect from Kevin Rudd in his new role regarding advice he may provide to Prime Minister Albanese on the rivalry between the USA and China?

A recent Letter to The Editor from Kevin Rudd that appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser on Wednesday 28 December may give us an indication of what lies ahead.

In August this year Rudd had commented on Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan which he described as "unwise" at the time. A Murdoch Press-owned Advertiser Editorial on 12 August 2022 labelled Rudd's position as "appeasement" of China.

Rudd replied in the form of a Letter to The Editor, but the Letter only appeared on 28 December following a complaint lodged with the Australian Press Council!

The Letter sets out Rudd's view on how best to assist Taiwan. The Letter says "Taiwan doesn't need more political grandstanding by foreign politicians for its defence.  It needs military upgrades that will make Beijing's generals nervous about the pitfalls of invading. And for Washington and its allies to narrow the military gap as a regional deterrent.  This is not appeasement (towards China), it is deterrence."

Rudd continues, "As someone who has actually lived in Taiwan, that has always been my policy...Was Taiwanese national security better or worse as a result of the Pelosi visit?"

Rudd's words will be music to the ears of the US military industrial complex as his words fit in nicely with the continued weapons build-up in Taiwan and supply of weapons by the USA.

Rudd's Letter to The Editor was written prior to the announcement of his appointment as Australia's Ambassador to the USA.

His position on how to "handle the Taiwan issue" complements AUKUS and the general military build-up in Australia geared for a US war against China rather than for self-defence of Australia.

Kevin Rudd is no friend of the Chinese Government, especially on the issue of Taiwan. For Rudd to refer in his Letter to The Editor to Taiwan's security as "national" in nature will be seen by the Chinese as implying that Taiwan is a nation, rather than a province of China.

So Rudd may, like Pelosi, have "poked the bear"!  Using the term "national" in reference to Taiwan is also muddying the stated Australian Government policy that there is only one nation of China whose government is in Beijing, not Taipei!

To safeguard the interests of the Australian people and indeed the people of Taiwan, both Rudd and the Albanese Government should declare that Australia opposes military build-up of the USA in Taiwan and that the Australian Government will not be involved in any war between the USA and China.


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Bound For South Australia In 1836 - Colonial Invasion With A Difference?

(Above: The 1836 Letters Patent...Promises not worth the paper....)

 Written by: Ned K. on 28 December 2022

Wednesday 28 December 2022 was the 186th anniversary of the proclamation of the British colony of South Australia at Pattawilya (Glenelg) in 1836. 

The then King William of England and the first Governor of the new colony, Governor Hindmarsh both made statements to the effect that the colony of South Australia was to be different from the other colonies of the British empire in that the Indigenous people were to be treated equally with colonial settlers in all respects.

In this matter, both were acting within the British Parliament's South Australia Act 1834 with respect to the founding and governance of South Australia as a British province. They were also constrained by the Letters Patent as a supplement to the Act.

The 1834 Act had stated that the colony of South Australia was “waste and “unoccupied”. The Letters Patent, under the influence of anti-slavery legislators in Britain, corrected that falsehood, and affirmed the colony’s creation “Provided Always that nothing in those our Letters Patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives.”

At the Proclamation assembly at Pattawilya an "Order in Council" was agreed upon 
"requiring all to obey laws and declaring the Aborigines to have equal rights and an equal claim to the white man upon the protection of the Government".

Governor Hindmarsh and those at that Proclamation event may have had the best intentions but for the Indigenous people of Kaurna land and beyond in other parts of South Australia, these noble words about equality and equal rights never eventuated. For a start the equality talked about by the colonial settler leaders was equality under British colonial law which assumed that the Indigenous people on whose land the colonialists were standing and living on, had no laws of their own. The Letters Patent were simply ignored and dispossession by violence or threat of violence was enforced on the First Peoples in South Australia, just as it had been in others parts of Australia.

At the Proclamation Day commemoration of Wednesday 28 December 2022, the speeches of the Governor of SA, the Mayor of Holdfast Bay Council (Holdfast Bay includes Glenelg) and the SA Premier all emphasized that no matter the good intentions of Governor Hindmarsh and his cohort, Indigenous people in SA had suffered exploitation and oppression and dispossession in the same way that occurred in other colonies in Australia.
All three spoke in favour of the Voice, Treaty, Truth arising from the Uluru Statement From The Heart.

Kaurna Elder Micky O'Brien gave a powerful Welcome to Country and said that the past should not be forgotten, despite good intentions of King William and Governor Hindmarsh.  Indigenous people had always welcomed others to their land to walk with them, not to be overtaken by them. He said that the time had come to walk together with non-Indigenous people for a better world.

Premier Peter Malinauskas announced that a "First Nations Voice" Bill would be presented in SA state parliament early in 2023, reflecting the federal government's intention to hold a Referendum on First Nations Voice in federal parliament in 2023.

No doubt all the words at this 28 December 2022 Proclamation Day event were spoken with the utmost sincerity, as were the words 186 years earlier at the same place.
That words are meaningless without being put into practice was given a reminder by a banner which appeared at the 2022 Proclamation Day event.

The banner read, "Aborigines were wrongfully deprived of their just dues. We must, as far as we can, right the wrongs done."  

These words on the banner were spoken by "Hon. D.A. Dunstan, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, 15 July 1966".

A smaller banner next to this said "No to an Elite Voice. Yes to Aboriginal Self-Determination"

Whether the path being taken by the federal government in implementing a Referendum on First Nations Voice as a first step towards a Treaty and Truth thereby (in Dunstan's words) "right the wrongs done" remains to be seen.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Vale Bruce MacFarlane

 Written by: Central Committee, CPA (M-L) on 24 December 2022

Australian Marxist economist Bruce Macfarlane (born 1936) passed away on Sunday December 11 in Christchurch, NZ, aged 86. 

Bruce was an outstanding example of an academic who used Marxist political economy to critique contemporary capitalist society.  

In his youth he was given his first Marxist text, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific by his father, a member of the Communist Party of Australia.  

Bruce opposed the US War of Aggression Against Vietnam and had his first arrest at a demonstration in Canberra against the visit by pro-Hitler dictator of South Vietnam Air Vice-Marshall Ky in January 1967. Protests against US imperialism saw Bruce arrested on several other occasions. He was an early supporter in Australia of the South Vietnamese National Liberation Front, arguing its case in the University of NSW student paper Tharunka in August 1965. He became organising secretary of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee in the ACT. 

Bruce graduated from the University of Sydney, and worked at Cambridge University with Joan Robinson and Maurice Dobb. He held a number of posts at various Australian universities. 

Despite his grounding in Marxist theory, MacFarlane turned his energies to advocacy of reform, rather than of revolution. In 1968, he published Economic Policy in Australia, The Case for Reform, directed against control of the economy by US corporations. It used Marxist economic theories, but not Marxist or Leninist political and ideological teachings.  Yet he targeted the main enemy of the working class and its allies, arming them with knowledge of its crimes here and overseas. His extraordinarily prolific writings on contemporary imperialism were always concise, useful and insightful.  

In 1970, he co-authored The Chinese Road to Socialism with colleague Ted Wheelwright, a sympathetic account of the developing struggle against the capitalist roaders at the start of the Great Proletarian Socialist Revolution. 

Bruce contributed to a number of progressive journals including that of the Society for the Study of Labour History, the Journal of Contemporary Asia, and the Journal of Australian Political Economy. 

We have said that Bruce did not embrace our understanding of Marxism-Leninism. But neither was he disdainful of the work done by Communist activists.  He did not stand in their way, was never sectarian in his dealings with others and continued to explain and oppose capitalism, giving ammunition to the revolutionary movement until his final days. As a socialist, he supported Australian anti-imperialist independence and sovereignty. 

There are intellectuals who have a pretend commitment to the cause of the working class, and intellectuals who remain attached to it throughout their lifetime. Bruce belonged to the latter category.

Bruce MacFarlane hated capitalism and opposed US imperialism all his life. In doing so he always served the working class and its allies.

US Imperialism Still Calls The Shots Despite Australia - China Dialogue


Written by: Ned K. on 23 December 2022

The recent short meeting in Beijing between Foreign Affairs Ministers of Australia and China was the first for over three years. Just before she jetted off to Beijing, the Murdoch-owned Adelaide Advertiser named the Foreign Minister the most powerful person in SA!

Why would the Murdoch press say this of an ALP Foreign Minister?

Perhaps this was a reward for the federal ALP Government's subservience to US imperialism through its loyalty to the US - Australia Alliance and to AUKUS?

Perhaps it was recognition that significant sections of the capitalist class in Australia (many US-owned) will benefit economically if Chinese imposed trade restrictions on some Australian exports are relaxed or lifted altogether?

Perhaps a combination of both?

Penny Wong and the ALP federal Government may think that they can steer a path of playing one big but declining world power off against another big, rising world power, but still remain loyal to the Alliance and AUKUS? 

It was reported in the Murdoch press following Wong's quick visit to Beijing that the federal Government's aim was to play a greater role in this part of the world in preventing conflict between China and the USA reaching the point where it turned in to all-out war between them.
US imperialism will put enormous pressure on any Australian Government to tow the line and follow US strategic interests.

The history of the Whitlam Government dismissal shows what the US can "engineer" in Australia if the government "oversteps the US mark".

The US has other ways of pressuring the government of the day,

One of the US tactics when their overseas interests are threatened is to freeze a country's foreign reserves by seizing their assets, including both government and private sector assets belonging to another country.

The US President's ability to seize the assets of foreign corporations goes back to 1917 under "The Trading With the Enemy Act". This Act was supplemented in 1977 by the "International Emergency Economic Powers Act".

These Acts give the US President the power to seize assets and impose sanctions when faced with an "unusual or extraordinary threat to national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States".

The USA has used this power many times since the Second World War, including against Germany, Japan, Hungary, Rumania, Lithuania, China, North Korea , Panama, Libya to name a few.

No doubt the Australian Government inner circle are aware of this type of behaviour by the US but have no intention of challenging this stranglehold that the US has on Australia economically, not to mention the US military hold over Australia.

Only a mass movement of the majority of the people of Australia will provide the people with economic security from the US's stranglehold over the country.


Sunday, December 18, 2022

PNG wants to assert greater independence

(Above: PNG Prime Minister James Marape    Photo from Flickr)

 Written by: (Contributed) on 19 December 2022

High-level diplomatic talks in December between Australia and Papua New Guinea have revealed the transient nature of the important relationship. PNG has moved from being a 'client-state' of Canberra in recent decades to having a more assertive role when governing its own affairs.

PNG is still, nevertheless, a strategic component part of Australia's military and security presence in the South Pacific although the neo-colonial relationship of yesteryear is now being successfully challenged by a rising generation of younger politicians and decision-makers. PNG-Australia diplomacy is no longer clear-cut, with the latter informing the former of their wishes: the relationship is now based more in shades of grey, where present-day PNG decision-makers are more astute than their fore-fathers and less inclined to follow the dictat of US-led initiatives channelled through compliant governments in Canberra.    

In early December PNG prime minister James Marape travelled to Australia with what was referred to as a 'heavyweight delegation of ministers' to finance a number of major development projects aimed at 'economic independence' for PNG. (1) The country won its independence from the Australian colonial administration during the mid-1970s, although political independence was accompanied by neo-colonial relations largely through Canberra
in the name of 'US interests'. The Marape administration is now challenging the status quo.

During the one-to-one talks with business leaders Marape drew attention to the problem of Bougainville, which he attributed to the failings of Australian-based business interests which did not assist local people. (2) Disputes, between local landowners, mining companies and the people of Bougainville erupted into a full-scale war in the late 1980s and resulted in the largest open cut-mine in the world being closed; the hostilities have recently been played-out with the people of Bougainville voting for independence from Port Moresby in a referendum. The matter has yet to be finally resolved.

During the early years of independence political leaders in Parliament House, Port Moresby, were keen to attract foreign expertise and investment to exploit the country's vast natural resources. The development plan was to use the returns from the joint ventures to finance the state and co-operative sectors for the benefit of local people. It never happened. To the contrary, Australian-based mining companies merely siphoned off huge returns which were paid to shareholders elsewhere.

Round after round of economic rationalism imposed on the country by international financial institutions largely controlled by the US were, furthermore, subsequently responsible for reducing PNG to a poverty-stricken country dependent upon foreign aid. Since 2019, for example, Australia has provided PNG with $1.2 billion in support.

Recent developments have also been accompanied by revelations that the population of PNG is larger than officially estimated. While official government statistics put the population at about 9.4 million, a UN study, using satellite modelling, housing data and household surveys, has found it might be as high as seventeen million. (3) The findings therefore reduce PNG's per capita income from $3230 per year, to about $1770 a year, which has been noted as 'putting Australia's closest neighbour on par with African states such as Sudan and Senegal'. (4) If the UN estimates are proved correct, PNG will be entitled to concessional loans from international financial institutions.

The effect of the economic crisis in PNG, in human terms, is not difficult to establish.

Despite PNG continuing to accommodate western mining interests, classroom sizes of 120 students in education and one medical doctor to about 10,000 people with one nurse or mid-wife for every 2,000 people, show basic services do not exist for many local people. (5) The failure to accurately calculate population totals has also created difficulties for any realistic economic modelling and forward planning.

PNG's Institute of National Affairs, furthermore, has acknowledged 'the UN population estimate reflects the situation on the ground in PNG, where unemployment and a weak state were feeding community unrest. Vast areas of the country were effectively ungoverned'. (6)
The problem is exacerbated by the country's population being divided into five main ethnic groups, which are then sub-divided into about eight hundred localised groupings. Inter-ethnic problems and violence remain commonplace. Effective governance is difficult.

The present political leaders and decision-makers in PNG have, nevertheless, used previous experiences, when dealing with Australia, as an autodidactic experience.

The Marape administration in Port Moresby used their diplomatic visit to Australia, for example, to table an ambitious economic development plan for PNG: they are seeking to replace 2.2 billion kina worth of imported foodstuffs with locally grown produce, grown in tax-free havens and 'new special economic zones' to encourage as wide a participation as possible. And if Canberra is not willing to co-operate the administration has already stated it will approach Beijing for assistance. (7)

While the US continues to focus its attention on the wider Pacific region with Partners in the Blue Pacific initiatives in June and the US-Pacific Island National Summit in September,
aimed primarily at countering China's role in the region, countries like PNG have had favourable relations with Beijing since the earliest days. PNG-China diplomacy has remained particularly strong for decades. The present Chinese ambassador in Port Moresby, sworn in last year, is the fifteenth since official diplomatic relations began in 1976!
Australia, however, has tended to use the South Pacific countries, including PNG, as buffer-type zones to protect northern approaches and so-called threats to Australia's sovereignty; the defence and security relationship is regarded as particularly sensitive for Canberra with a continuous stream of intelligence assessments about perceived threats. As the US continues to escalate diplomatic tensions with China, countries such as PNG have become more strategic for Australia's military planners, drawing both countries ever closer to real-war scenarios: it has resulted in dramas being acted out against a backcloth of shades of grey.

An announcement that PM Anthony Albanese will visit PNG in mid-January and will use it to visit Wewak 'to pay his respects at the grave of PNG's first PM Michael Somare', is a useful indication, however, of renewed favourable diplomacy; a lot of water has already passed under the bridge, nevertheless, since the time of Somare's leadership, which was marked by open optimism and a belief in Australia as the 'Mother Country'. Somare, as the Father of the PNG Nation, has remained a revered figure of a country ruthlessly exploited by the forces of international finance capital.

An official announcement from Canberra noted the high-level diplomatic meeting early next year would be to specifically 'discuss increased security co-operation'. (8)

Elsewhere, coverage of the diplomatic initiatives noted that while PNG regarded Australia as its main provider of 'security support', the country is now 'the beneficiary of significant Chinese investment for new roads and infrastructure in recent years', which are aimed, primarily, at longer-term economic development. (9)

Those long-serving Australian diplomatic officials responsible for the economic crisis now facing PNG might like to take the opportunity to ponder on some of their past initiatives and assess how they failed, and the outcome: the balance of forces, for example, is now turning. And they may also ponder on how they might rectify the chaos, some of which is of their own making from neo-colonial political expedience.

A major provincial newspaper in Australia has already reluctantly acknowledged these developments and the accompanying silent diplomacy and stated 'Australia's unchallenged  dominance in the Indo-Pacific is over forever, and Labor knows it – even if it won't say it aloud'. (10) It follows a US congressional commission's findings in 2018/19 where similar assessments found the US were no longer the dominant power in the Pacific and 'the implications for American interests and American security are severe'. (11)
These are important developments for the people of PNG, as they challenge traditional US-led hegemonic positions foisted on their country through Australia with independence and the accompanying neo-colonial diplomatic relations!

1.     PM's Pacific 'weak spot' warning, Australian, 5 December 2022.
2.     Ibid.
3.     Population shock puts PNG in peril, Australian, 5 December 2022; and, Editorial, PNG must put is house in order, Australian, 7 December 2022.
4.     Australian, ibid., 5 December 2022.
5.     Ibid.
6.     Australian, ibid., 7 December 2022.
7.     PNG hunts for funds from wherever it can, Australian, 6 December 2022.
8.     Albo's on a mission, The Advertiser (Adelaide), 12 December 2022.
9.     PM's PNG visit another step in our Pacific journey, The Advertiser (Adelaide), 12 December 2022.
10.   Ibid.
11.   Study: US no longer dominant power in the Pacific, Paul D. Shinkman, Information Clearing House, 22 August 2019.


Saturday, December 17, 2022

Respected Proletarian Revolutionary Comrade Jose Maria Sison Dies.

 Written by: Central Committee, CPA (M-L) on 17 December 2022

The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) joins with the entire international proletarian revolutionary movement in expressing our sadness at the passing of Comrade Jose Maria Sison, founding Chairperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Comrade Sison died on Friday night at the age of 83 after a two-week confinement in a hospital in the Netherlands, where he had been living in forced exile from his own country.  His death came after a life of inspiring revolutionary service to the people.

On December 26, 1968, Joma and his comrades founded the Communist Party of the Philippines in opposition to the revisionist Lava clique which had thrown in its lot with the revisionist leadership of the Soviet Union.

The new Party, founded on the birthday of Comrade Mao Zedong, committed itself to applying the teachings of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought to the circumstances prevailing in the Philippines.

Using the pseudonym Amado Guerrero, in October 1969 Joma published the ground-breaking manifesto Philippine Society and Revolution on which the activities of the Party, the National Democratic Front and the New People’s Army were based. The NPA has led the longest-running and very successful People’s War under Comrade Sison’s ideological and political leadership.

In 2001, Joma established the International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) to coordinate and support the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the world’s peoples. In 2020 Comrade Sison resigned as Chairperson of the ILPS although he continued to provide great ideological leadership as immediate past Chairperson.

The CPA (M-L) has confidence that the people of the Philippines will turn grief into strength and score new victories guided by the enduring legacy and inspiration of Comrade Jose Maria Sison.

Central Committee
Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
17 December 2022


Friday, December 9, 2022

Frackers walk from ruined environment.

 Written by: Nick G. on 10 December 2022

For years the anti-fracking group Lock the Gate Alliance has warned the WA government that fracking companies could go bust and force the public to pay for the environmental damage in their wake.

Unfortunately, their warnings have come true, with an Australian-registered but Chinese majority-owned company, New Standard Energy declaring bankruptcy and inability to repatriate drilling holes in the Kimberley.

The company was incorporated on 19 April 2006 as Hawk Resources Limited but changed to New Standard Energy Limited on 7 August 2008.

The company undertook onshore hydrocarbon exploration in the Canning and Carnarvon basins.

Its largest shareholder was China International Economic Huizhou Energy Investment (Beijing) Co Ltd with 32.76 per cent, followed by Zhang Xiangqian with 7.5%.  The remainder of the top ten investors are a mix of Chinese investors and institutional investors (eg Citicorp Nominees), but their shares are of the one or two per cent variety and hardly count.

New Standard Energy’s Non-Executive Chairperson was Liu Kunfang, chairman of Beijing Geology & Petroleum Technology Co., Ltd.

Its Managing Director was Liu Xiaofeng, Chief Geologist of Huizhou Energy Investment (Beijing) Co., Ltd.

A Non-Executive Director until her death from a car crash in 2021 was Lin Xiaoning. Ms Lin was the Managing Director of Goldfields Oil and Gas Pty Ltd. She established her own business, Shenzhen Huai Ri Real Estate Agent and Evaluation Company. She was also a director of Ocean Sincere and Australia Trailcraft Boats.

New Standard Energy started out strongly, partnering with US giant ConocoPhillips to explore the onshore region for what it hoped was a 40-billion-barrel oil resource. 

In 2012 when two wells, Nicolay-1 and Gibb Maiitland-1, came up dry ConocoPhillips left the project handing decommissioning liabilities to New Standard.
From then on, the company new it was in trouble. Its Directors eventually worked for several years without payment as the company’s cash reserves disappeared into the Kimberley exploration holes.

Over recent years the company has been issued multiple orders by the WA government to rehabilitate its failed oil operation. It has been estimated that the cost of abandonment, for five wells, an airfield and other infrastructure, could reach in the region of tens of millions of dollars.

Those costs and environmental rehabilitation now fall to the WA government.

Lock the Gate Alliance WA spokesperson Simone Van Hattem said “Fracking is a high-cost operation, particularly in areas as remote as the Kimberley. It’s no surprise New Standard Energy has gone bust with little cash left to clean up its mess.”

Unlike the mining industry, there are no legislative requirements on oil and gas explorers to remediate country they have drilled. 

And a company set up and run by foreign capitalists, regardless of their nationality, is one step further removed from having to take responsibility for rehabilitating damaged country.

Australian governments have always proven to be reluctant to exercise sovereignty over multinational investors.  They run scared of their power and influence and, unwilling to develop a capacity within the Australian state for self-reliant use of our resources, they hand them over as fast as they can to foreign multinationals.

The answer, ultimately, has to be economic and political independence, and that can only be achieved and sustained in a socialist Australia.


Human Rights and the fight for Peace


(Above: original image by Diego Mir on Flickr Creative Commons)

Written by: Contributed

The right to live in peace is a fundamental human right. It is not merely the absence of war, but the opportunity for all people to live a full and fruitful life.

This means security of work, food, shelter, healthcare, education and access to factual information. It means genuine equality and opportunity regardless of race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, language, disability or occupation. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights carried by the General Assembly in 1948 enshrined these universal rights.

Standing in the way of this is the class system of modern capitalism, developed to its higher stage of imperialism especially in the USA, but also in Europe (Germany, France) and now the formally socialist countries of Russia and China, each with its sphere of influence or domination over other economies. They both collude and compete with each other, manipulating the global economy, global finances and world trade in the scramble for resources and markets on behalf of the giant corporations, multinationals and oligarchs.  

Between them, these imperialist blocs have virtually completed the territorial division of the world into their competing spheres of influence. They can only continue to expand by taking over a competitor’s sphere of influence and seizing access to new resources and markets, or by denying them to others. Hence the devastating war in Ukraine, caught between the eastward thrust of US-NATO and Russia's attempt to resist this and then to restore Ukraine under its own influence.

US imperialism has been the most dominant imperialist force. Since the Korean War and the war in Vietnam, it has fomented and led wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere, together with a history of coups, financial crises, sabotage, sanctions and ethnic divisions, leaving famine, chaos and repression in its wake. It is the number one enemy of peace, the main opponent of nuclear disarmament, the main sponsor of human rights abuses such as in Palestine and the Philippines. 

But its hegemony is now being challenged by China in particular, with its expansive Belt and Road penetration of other economies in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. China has been steadily increasing its financial and political influence. (Followed by other developing economies such as Brazil and India) 

Hence the rising tension and war preparations by US imperialism in the Pacific region, aimed at threatening nuclear war on China from regional military bases, (Guam, Japan, South Korea, Australia) and the potential to control China’s access to sea lanes and deeper waters. Provocative actions like military exercises and navy manoeuvres in the South China Sea, or using Taiwan as a proxy, may very well become triggers for war. 

This is the global context in which the working people of the world must struggle to assert their human rights, including the right to live in a peaceful world. They cannot rely on the imperialist/capitalist class to provide or respect their human rights to peace, to food, shelter, healthcare, education, and cultural and social development. They fight for these rights. They will fight to oppose imperialist war where the winners are the armament makers and fossil fuel monopolies and the losers are working people on all sides.

We stand on the side of struggles against military repression. We support the current fierce struggles for peace with justice in the Philippines, Palestine, the Kurdish lands, West Papua and Myanmar.   

The masses of workers, peasants and oppressed peoples learn that their rights are only as good as their struggle and have to be fought over again and again. In the course of struggles against exploitation, repression, devastation of their communities and the natural environment, they are coming to the awareness that the system of greed-based imperialism must be smashed and replaced by socialism which empowers and respects working people and can roll back the other threat of climate crisis.


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

AUSMIN 2022: Putting us further under the US thumb.


State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain

Written by: Nick G. on 7 December 2022

The annual meeting of US and Australian Ministers of Defence and Foreign Policy (AUSMIN) concluded with a Joint Statement on Australian-US Ministerial Consultations.

The document emphasises the continuing subordination of Australian sovereignty to US imperialism.

It also exposes Labor Ministers Penny Wong and Richard Marles as agents of influence of a foreign power, the US. It is not going too far to label them as traitors to the cause of an independent and peaceful Australia.

The document begins by saying that both sides want “a stable, rules-based international order where differences are resolved peacefully and without coercion, and where states cooperate transparently to address shared challenges.” 

That so-called order is one that is created by US imperialism to serve its own interests. It is certainly not an order that has been developed through the United Nations. The US continually flouts decisions of the UN and acts illegally, in defiance of UN decisions whenever it wants to. It does so whenever a nation or a people tries to elevate its differences with US imperialism to active struggle against it, and then it uses maximum coercion to crush them. It does not respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other nations. It does not observe the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. It is a rogue nation and a global hegemon.

The document says the US and Australia want “to ensure an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, stable, peaceful, prosperous, and respectful of sovereignty.” Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam might beg to differ. They have expressed concerns that Australia is adding to regional tensions, and ignoring or undermining ASEAN’s centrality to regional decision-making.

The document pledged to further expand US imperialism’s military presence in Australia. It said “Australia and the United States would continue the rotational presence of U.S. capabilities in Australia, across air, land, and maritime domains. This would include U.S. Bomber Task Force rotations, fighters, and future rotations of U.S. Navy and U.S. Army capabilities.” Further, they would “identify priority locations in Australia to support enhanced U.S. force posture with associated infrastructure, including runway improvements, parking aprons, fuel infrastructure, explosive ordnance storage infrastructure, and facilities to support the workforce.”

They decided to “preposition stores, munitions, and fuel in support of U.S. capabilities in Australia and to demonstrate logistics interoperability through joint exercises…(and) expand locations for U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps forces, to enable exercises, activities, and further opportunities for regional engagement.”

It is quite obvious that US imperialism thinks it can do whatever it likes here without the Australian people having any say in the matter.  

It is quite obvious that Wong and Marles will happily allow US imperialism to do whatever it likes here without the Australian people having any say in the matter.  

In reference to AUKUS, they said the they were “developing the optimal pathway for Australia to acquire a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability at the earliest date possible.”

That is, we are still on track to pay the US $171 billion for it to have eight more nuclear-powered submarines fully embedded within its Navy, completely interoperable with other US submarines and to have them patrolling the seas around China, US imperialism’s global rival.

This decision again highlights the Australian ruling class’s willing acquiescence in US war plans at great cost to the Australian people.

According to former submariner and senator, Rex Patrick, government is captured by the Defence Department which is in turn captured by the US. 

“If our objective is to be a deputy sheriff to the US, as the 51st state of the Union, then eight nuclear submarines is the answer.

“If our objective is ‘‘defence of Australia’’…then 20 AIP boats is the answer.”

AIP refers to air-independent propulsion, which enables a non-nuclear propelled submarine to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen (by surfacing or using a snorkel). They are quieter than nuclear-powered submarines and can be highly effective in coastal operations and pose a significant threat to less-stealthy and less-maneuverable nuclear submarines.

They have also been proposed by Sub-Imperial Australia author and former Australian military intelligence analyst Clinton Fernandes. 

He says “We could buy 20 ultra-quiet, air-independent propulsion submarines for $30 billion and they would be perfectly suited to our interests. Instead we are talking about buying eight – not twenty, but just eight – boats for $171 billion.”

By my maths, that’s $141 billion that is being gifted to US imperialism by Marles and Wong, who, like Morrison and Dutton before them, are happy to roll over and have their tummies tickled by the owners of Their Master’s Voice.

We should not be reluctant to call out grovellers like Marles and Wong. 

Liberal and Labor are national disgraces.

The Australian people will wake up to their treachery and reject being tied to the aggressive war chariot of US imperialism.

For an independent and socialist Australia!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Free Violet Coco!


(Above: Original photo"JMP_4925 XR" by Julian Meehan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

Written by: Nick G. on 6 December 2022

Extinction Rebellion activist Violet Coco has been jailed for 15 months, with a non-parole period of eight months, for stopping traffic in Sydney to protest against climate change.

Her sentence is so draconian that UN Human Rights Watch has found that authorities in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) are disproportionately punishing climate protesters in violation of their basic rights to peaceful protest. Their research has shown that magistrates in NSW have been imposing harsh penalties and bail conditions on climate protesters that violate basic rights.

NSW has some of the most draconian anti-protest laws in the country.  This is probably one of the reasons Sydney has been chosen to host the Quad meeting in late May early June next year which will be attended by Quad heads of states, including Biden with dozens of his security agents and vehicles.  Expect parts of Sydney to be off limits to the public and the police out in full force, - helicopters and drones over many parts of Sydney, police everywhere, etc.

Victoria is not far behind with anti-protest laws, particularly against environmentalists campaigning to protect old growth forests from logging in the state.  

Many of these anti-protest laws and increasing powers to police and army were brought in during Covid.  In spite of promising that these laws and increases in powers to police and the army were only temporary measures for the duration of Covid lock downs, they are still on the books, and now being used against environmentalists and others - as warned by many democratic rights and civil liberties campaigners and lawyers.

Violet’s sentence -for stopping a truck on Sydney Harbour bridge – is precisely the outcome demanded by current Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, when in 2019, as then Home Affairs Minister, he attacked Extinction Rebellion protestors in Brisbane. He called for indefinite prison sentences (“jailed until their behaviour changes”) and the cancellation of any welfare payments. He also urged people to “surveil the protesters and distribute their images.” Citizens should name and shame them, he said.

During the Howard years, coercive legislation became the norm under the guise of combatting terrorism.

Stuart Rees OAM, Professor Emeritus, at the University of Sydney warned in 2021: “In the six years after 9/11, the Howard government pushed through a new anti-terrorist statute almost every seven weeks. Constitutional lawyer George Williams reveals that 60 counter terrorism laws have included provision for warrantless searches, the banning of organisations, the secret detention and interrogation of non-suspected citizens by ASIO. Barrister Greg Barns has recorded the ACT Ombudsman’s judgement that between 2015 and 2019, the Australian Federal Police accessed location information about individuals 1700 times but on only nine occasions did they comply with the law.”

Extinction Rebellion activists may inconvenience people from time to time by their tactics, but they are not terrorists. Laws punishing them as severely as Violet Coco has been must be torn up. 

Extinction Rebellion is pursuing the same objective as those who participated in the great Moratorium demonstrations against the US war of aggression in Vietnam. The Moratoriums sought to “Stop the Country, to Stop the War”. Extinction Rebellion seeks to “Stop the City to Save the Planet”.

Coco has courageously thrown down the gauntlet to the powers that be, declaring:

"In light of the urgency of the situation, I feel I have to do the most effective thing in bringing about political change. 

History has shown that at times of great crisis, when regular political procedure has proven incapable of enacting justice, it falls to ordinary people taking a stand to bring about change through civil disobedience. 

Civil disobedience in the form of strikes, blockades, marches and occupations have played a crucial role in the development of democracy, and helped to secure precious rights here and around the world - including women’s suffrage, 8-hour working days, racial legal equality and environmental protections."

Remove oppressive laws!
Support the right to protest!
Free Violet Coco!

Monday, December 5, 2022

CPA (M-L) responds to misrepresentation by the CPA

 Written by: Central Committee, CPA (M-L) on 6 December 2022

We are making public here several pieces of correspondence sent by us to the General Secretary of the CPA, to its President, and to its general office.

The correspondence relates to misrepresentations of policies and practices adopted by our Party in a previous era. By implication, they are also directed at our current policies and practices.

We acknowledge ideological, political and organisational differences between ourselves and the CPA. We have sought to put those to one side, and to work cooperatively with both the CPA and the other party that has the word “Communist” in its name, the ACP.

We will continue to do so.  However, we cannot let misrepresentation of our policies and practices go unanswered.

What follows is the email sent to the CPA on November 18, and the outcome that their refusal to reply has made necessary, namely, our correction of the misrepresentation.


To the Communist Party of Australia,


You recently assisted us with our enquiry about copyright on images, for which we thank you. However, we were disappointed to see in your latest Australian Marxist Review references to our Party which are incorrect.

Those statements are in a public document of your Party.

We have written a reply which we hope clarifies what has been said.

We ask that our reply be made public by you in the issue of the Guardian on 5 December 2022. We will publish our letter to you on our website on 6 December thanking you for its publication and expressing our support for continued cooperation between our Parties.

Our letter is attached.

With thanks,

Nick G.

Chairperson, Central Committee

Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

18 November 2022


Dear Comrades, 

In the most recent copy of Australian Marxist Review, you republish a 1979 article by the late Alan Miller together with an introduction that refers to the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist).

The introduction alleges that “the CPA (M-L) mechanically applied ideas from the Chinese revolution” that led to support for Australian nationalism, class collaboration and “the subordination of the working class to capital during the accords in the 1980s”.

You also state that the CPA (M-L) adopted “more nationalist positions that led to them supporting the liberal Fraser government at the time.”

Comrades, it is true that we have a difference of opinion over whether the defining characteristic of monopoly capitalism in Australia is that, despite its formal independence, Australia is under the control of US imperialism, or whether it is an imperialist power in its own right.

Our view is the former, as a consequence of which we do seek to exploit contradictions between US imperialism and our rather small and insignificant national bourgeoisie. By national bourgeoisie we are not referring to Gina Rinehart or Twiggy Forrest’s monopolist corporations, which are largely funded by foreign banks. Nor BHP which has long been foreign controlled, like most of the Business Council of Australia member corporations that hold the commanding heights of our economy. 

And when Australian-owned businesses are in conflict with the working class, we support the latter as we did in the Dollar Sweets and Mudginberri disputes during those Accord years.

Our view on the national bourgeoisie is not the same as adopting a position of bourgeois nationalism. It expresses the anti-imperialism of the working class which in turn arises from our rejection of capitalism.

You do not offer any examples of our class collaboration and acceptance of the Accords. Or perhaps our class collaboration was on display when our comrades were leading magnificent struggles such as the Ford Broadmeadows strike and the Chrysler Rank and File struggle, or struggles in the construction and other industries. Comrade Norm Gallagher (Federal Secretary of the Builders Labourers Federation and ACTU Executive member) rejected the social democratic concept of “consensus” that underlay the Accords with his speech at the 1983 Economic Summit where he said “I must emphatically reject a consensus that is all one way against wages, and insists on a system that reduces real wages.” 

Or maybe our January 1989 denunciation of ACTU leaders Crean and Kelty as being “in bed with the bosses” was class collaboration. We denounced their Accord, Accord Mark II and the two-tier system and called for “independent, militant action on the job (to) force reluctant trade union officials to join the fight.” Denunciation of the Accords runs through all of our publications of that period.

CPA (M-L) members working in unions vigorously denounced and fought against the Accord and the sell-out union leaderships. For this they were threatened with expulsion from their unions by the CPA of that time and the union leaderships pushing the Accord on the working class.  Some of our member workers were black-listed and threatened by the CPA leadership of some unions (Carmichael and others) that they would never find work in their industries.  These threats would not have emanated if we were “subordinating the working class to capital during the accords in the 1980s”! 

We have referred to it as “the CPA of that time” because it was then the party of the Aarons, Taft, Carmichael revisionists who eventually took their anti-Communism to its logical conclusion and disbanded their own party. The forerunners of your present CPA had left in 1971 and set up the Socialist Party of Australia. As we remember it, the SPA was divided over the Accord: Pat Clancy, SPA President and head of the Building Workers Industrial Union supported the Accord. This was one of the reasons he was forced to step down from leadership of the SPA in 1983 and then left the SPA. Others in the SPA, and notably veteran Communist Jack McPhillips, were opposed to the Accord. In 1985, McPhillips published an excellent analysis of the Accord, criticising those like Clancy, who had supported it, and giving qualified support to others, like CPA (M-L) and BLF stalwart John Cummins, who had struggled against it.

You refer to our support of the Fraser government. This is incorrect. We openly acknowledged that Fraser was more opposed to Soviet social-imperialism than Whitlam had been, but we denounced US imperialism’s semi-fascist coup that had brought him to office as in our April 1976 booklet Defeat Fraser’s New Fascism: People’s Alternative. We wrote: “In his international policy, Fraser is opposed to Soviet social-imperialism. In that respect, he is correct. Internally he pursues a fascist policy, the logical continuation of the semi-fascist coup of October, November, December 1975. To this fascism, the people are implacably opposed.”

As for “mechanically applying ideas developed during the Chinese revolution”, our party’s first publication in 1965, E.F. Hill’s Looking Backward, Looking Forward: Revolutionary Socialist Politics against Trade Union and Parliamentary Politics, analysed in detail specifically Australian history and politics, using a Marxist-Leninist lens. Chinese politics are barely mentioned. It was all about what we face here in a totally different context to China or the Soviet Union. 
Comrades, it is disappointing to see such careless presentation of our position. Our Parties cooperated in 2017 to issue a joint celebration of the Great October Socialist Revolution, we have shared speakers’ platforms, and indeed, we have just recently sent you an invitation to make a joint Parties’ statement on May Day 2023. 

We have always held that so long as our differences are acknowledged, they can be put to one side when our cooperation and unity assist the development of the working class as its own independent political force.

Acknowledgement of differences should not allow for misrepresentation of each other’s views.

Yours in unity

Nick G.

Chairperson, Central Committee,

Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist).

18 November 2022