Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Global climate change hits dangerous new milestones in 2023


Written by: Leo A. on 28 December 2023

For decades, we have been warning about the consequences of careless greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s environment. Now the pace at which the global climate is changing is speeding up. 

On November 17, the global average temperature hit 2.07 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average (specifically above the average global temperature across the 1850-1900 period, before artificial greenhouse gas emissions began to have a noticeable effect). This is the first time the “two-degree threshold” has been crossed since prehistoric times. While the exact threshold was just crossed temporarily, it seems likely that this will become the new “normal” in a matter of years. 

The impact of artificial warming is already being felt across Australia. Earlier this month much of the country experienced severe heatwaves. For example, on December 9 the outside temperature in some parts of Sydney got as high as 46 degrees Celsius. If the big fossil fuel corporations have things their way, that’s going to become a regular occurrence. And not just in Australia – this year heat waves have hit every continent, with hundreds of confirmed deaths so far. 

It is not just temperature that has hit dangerous new records this year. Back in July, the Antarctic sea ice “deficit” (that is, the difference between how much of the Southern Ocean was covered by sea ice and how much is normally covered by sea ice at that time of the year) grew to 2.5 million square kilometres. In other words, an area equal to that of the state of Western Australia that should’ve been ice-covered wasn’t. 

What will the world look like if this becomes an everyday occurrence, if the two-degree mark is crossed as a year-round average rather than as a temporary event? Over the past ten years several research studies and reports have attempted to answer this question. Their conclusions? In a two-degree “new normal”, severe heatwaves will last much longer and expose much more of the global population on a regular basis. Heavy rainfall will be more intense and across much of the world’s land, the risk of river flooding will increase substantially. Either most or all coral reefs will be at risk of annual bleaching. Crop yields such as those of wheat and maize will plummet, which may cause the largest mass famines in history. Global sea levels will rise significantly, washing countless islands and coastal communities off the map. Extreme weather, famine, and sea level rise could result in a refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale, conflicts over food and clean water, and the extinction of a significant fraction of the world’s plant and animal species. And this is not even a worst-case scenario. 

Earlier this month, the United Nation’s COP28 Climate Conference was held in Dubai. Despite how much this year has demonstrated the severity of the crisis, the draft agreement published on December 11 was described as a “death certificate” for the most vulnerable countries. Later “compromise” agreements essentially amounted to “we promise we will achieve net zero emissions by the time we’ve used up almost all the fossil fuels on the planet”. That's not very helpful.

It is obvious who’s interests are being represented here and who’s aren’t. As Irish communist leader James Connoly excellently summarized back in 1915, governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class. This is just as true in the present day. The bourgeoisie are not the ones at risk of starvation, dehydration, hyperthermia, or drowning. And they already view those who are at risk as expendable. In particular, the decision to continue a business-as-usual approach is most beneficial for multinational fossil fuel corporations and the politicians affiliated with them. It is no secret that these corporations have a significant amount of leverage in Australia, and as a result are, for example, permitted to mine and drill on Indigenous peoples’ lands without their consent. 

The military-industrial complex also benefits from this policy approach. When we think of the devastation caused by the war industry, it is natural to immediately remember the mass suffering this causes directly, in countries such as Ukraine and Palestine. But what is often overlooked is the contribution warfare makes to greenhouse gas emissions. Here in Australia, the ADF is responsible for 66% of the Australian government’s emissions. Elsewhere the portion is similar – the UK armed forces account for 50% of the British government’s emissions, and the US military accounts for 56% of American government emissions. 
There is hope. As the effects of the climate crisis continue to grab headlines and catch the world’s attention, more people will take the crisis seriously, and this may lead more people to question the mode of production that’s driving us into this catastrophe. In the short-term, we’re likely to see more activism placing pressure on the bourgeoisie to take some measures to at least slow down the crisis. In the long run, increasing awareness of the climate crisis and it’s driving causes could lead to an increase in class consciousness, which may become an important step toward the establishment of socialism in Australia and elsewhere, leading to more serious measures being taken. The technology to solve the climate crisis already exists, all we need are leaders willing to solve it, to prioritise the interests of the Earth over the interests of capital. 
As we all enter the new year, we should keep in mind that despite the severity of the crisis, a better world is still possible. 


Doctor On the Frontline Gaza Praises Palestinian Resistance


Written by: Ned K. on 28 December 2023

Recently a YouTube video was circulated by supporters of the Palestinian people called "Wounds of War: The Gaza Experience Through the Eyes of Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta",

Dr Ghassan is speaking to other health workers in a forum organized by the Global Health Institute (GHI).

Dr Ghassan is a Palestinian surgeon living in the UK. He went to work in hospitals in Gaza in October and November 2023 to perform surgery for the Palestinian victims of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

He found that the Israeli Defense Force were systematically targeting hospitals, universities, water supply, power stations. He witnessed the Israeli attempts to destroy the health system and all major needs of society. 

He said Israel's strategy was to create a "self-catastrophe."  Bombing the health system and medical supplies needed for surgeries in turn created disease and epidemics. Bombing bakeries created catastrophe of starvation and malnutrition while destroying water and sewerage works created the catastrophe of no sanitation.

Dr Ghassan explained that the bombings of Gaza by Israel were to create what he called "performative deaths" that everyone could see. Added to this were deaths caused by Israel's experimenting with the latest phosphorous bombs to kill people and then conduct research on the dead bodies so as to be able to see the impact of these bombs on humans. Then Israel would showcase the research results as part of their marketing strategy for sale of weapons to other countries.

This strategy by Israel was designed to create a mindset within the Palestinians that the only solution was to leave Gaza via Egypt and become a refugee as thousands of Palestinians had done in the past 70 years.

However, Dr Ghassan said this strategy was doomed to failure because the Israeli Zionist regime did not understand that for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, there was something worse than death for them. That was becoming a refugee without a home as they had seen the impact of that on previous generations of Palestinians.

This resistance by Palestinians in the face of Zionist barbarism was creating mixed messages from Netanyahu. On 27 December he boasted about "voluntary migration", a euphemism for mass forced expulsion of Palestinians to Egypt and he claimed he was talking to other countries to take refugees. His plan was then to extend Israeli settlements throughout Gaza. 

However, on the 28 December, the ABC news and Murdoch press reported that Netanyahu said the Israeli war on Gaza would go on for many more months.

At the end of the interview with Dr Ghassan, he was asked how he saw the future for the Palestinian people.

He said "Acts of steadfastness of ordinary people doing ordinary acts of living gives great hope. Despite Israel's acts of barbarism, people are still there."

The ordinary people of the world are supporting the Palestinian people in any way they can and there is no sign of that support declining. 

Israel and its imperialist and pro-imperialist backers, including the Australian Government are increasingly isolated and more desperate to hide the truth of what they are doing in their support for the Zionist regime. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Christmas: It’s all class…


(Source: favim)

Written by: Nick G. on 27 December 2023

The gorging on products that is celebrated in the commercialised “holy” day of Christmas has seen more families than ever disadvantaged as a result of the current cost of living crisis.

Charities had struggled to keep up with the distribution of toys to families that could not afford them. And a new demographic has appeared at food distribution centres.

There was a person interviewed on the radio from Foodbank who said that half of those seeking food were employed, and a third had mortgages. That is, it is no longer the homeless who are seeking assistance, but people in the ranks of the working class who are finding, in the current crisis, that they really can’t make ends meet. 

Foodbank’s 2023 Hunger Report is pretty self-explanatory and provides the data underlying the observations made in the radio interview.

Regional centres are experiencing the same problems as the big cities. Mount Gambier Foodbank reported that where it usually provided food to 30-40 families a day, in the week before Christmas the numbers had shot up to around 100 families a day.

Part of the problem has been rising interest rates. The CEOs of the big four banks told a parliamentary enquiry in July that the 4% increase in rates over 14 months had not pushed customers over the “mortgage cliff”. 

The changing face of those seeking help from charities gives the lie to the big banks. People may be making mortgage payments, but they are giving up a lot to do so: skipping meals, taking kids out of sport because the club fees and club uniforms cost so much, not purchasing household goods or toys for Christmas, etc.  

Capitalism is a terrible system. It impoverishes and drives into despair the most vulnerable sections of one class, while increasing the wealth and luxury of another. Four months ago, the Guardian reported that the typical CEO in Australia now earns 55 times that of the average wage worker. 

There is no justification for this growing gap between the rich and the poor. While it fluctuates somewhat over time, it never goes away, and never will, so long as we allow capitalism to survive.

And the Australian Tax Office has just reported that more than 800 of the biggest companies in Australia paid no tax.

This gives the lie to government claims that it is chasing the big multinationals and forcing them to pay the taxes owing on their Australian revenues.

Make 2024 a year of heightened struggle against imperialism, and for an independent and socialist Australia.

Closing loopholes or creating new ones?


Written by: Ned K. on 27 December 2023

The federal government's Closing Loopholes Act Part 1 was passed on 14 December 2023. This Act covers industrial issues raised by workers through their Unions as part of the latter's financial and voting support for the election of the Albanese led Labor Government in 2022. 

The Closing Loopholes Act main inclusions are -
Same Job, Same Pay labor hire provisions
Wage theft laws which criminalize wage theft
Recognition and rights of workers’ elected or appointed Union Delegates 
Industrial manslaughter penalties against employers
The time frame for actual operation of the new laws provides plenty of time for the capitalist class to organize themselves to minimize the impact of the laws.
The new Wage Theft laws which criminalize the swindling of workers, by paying them less than minimum entitlements in an Award or an Enterprise Agreement, operates from 1 January 2025.
The Same Job Same Pay labour hire arrangement orders operate from 1 November 2024.
The Delegate Rights clauses in Awards operate on or after 1 July 2024.
The main part of the Closing Loopholes Act is the Same Job, Same Pay labour hire provisions.
In a nutshell the new labour hire provision will enable a Union to apply for a " regulated labour hire arrangement order" which will require a labour hire employer to pay its employees the "protected rate of pay" regarding work done for the host employer.
The protected rate of pay is the full rate of pay including penalty rates, any bonuses, allowances and overtime rates that would be paid to a direct employee of the host employer.
For decades mining companies have increased their profits by using labour hire workers with disregard for what the labour hire company paid its workers. Competition between labour hire companies ensured a race to the bottom on labour hire worker wages and a race to the top for the mining companies for their profits.
Labour hire use spread across most industries in blue- and white-collar jobs.
With rising cost of living in the last few years in particular, the demand by workers to eliminate wage swindles through labour hire usage has grown.
The problem with the new labour hire provisions of the Closing Loopholes Act is that it creates new loopholes!
The new labour hire provisions do not apply to "specialist or expert services". Nobody knows what a "specialized service" or "expert service" is? 
Nor is it clear to what extent the work performed by labour hire workers is controlled by the host employer in determining whether Same Job, Same Pay will apply.
The operation date of 1 November 2024 will give host employers who currently use labour hire plenty of time to "restructure" their directly employed workforce, creating more "specialized services" being outsourced completely.
The Same Job, Same Pay provisions only apply when a Union successfully applies for a "regulated labour hire arrangement order "
Employers will be able to oppose such an Order to delay or defeat attempts by a Union to win the same pay for labour hire workers it represented.
Where workers are organized and take action, they will be able to make use of the new provisions to protect and extend their interests.
At the moment only about 10% of the private sector workers are members of a Union and among labour hire firms, the percentage of workers in a Union is even less.
The new laws may see more workers deciding to get organized and the new laws may also see a spurt in the "de-unionization" industry within the capitalist class. 
Class struggle will intensify as a result and more workers will join the working class movement for fundamental social change.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

RIghts Of Indigenous Peoples’ Struggles Continue As Governments Side With The Big End Of Town


(Above: Image ironically sourced from )

Written by: Ned K. on 23 December 2023

The National Indigenous Times December edition reported on the front page that both Labor and Liberal Parties voted in the Senate to defeat the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Bill 2022. The Bill was tabled by Indigenous Senator Lidia Thorpe. 

The Bill, if it became law, would require Commonwealth law in Australia to be consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. If the Bill became law in Australia, the federal government would have to prepare an action plan to enhance the objectives of the Declaration. The Bill if it became law would also require the Prime Minister to present annual reports to Parliament.

Reading the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is not hard to see why the 
two major parliamentary political parties voted against it.

The Declaration comprises 42 Articles. 

For example, Articles 3 and 4 state:

"Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development"

"Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions".

Article 10 would send alarm bells to the mining companies and their obedient politicians.

"Indigenous people shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories."

The Rights expressed in the Declaration are far in advance of the Voice and the promise by the federal Government that the Voice would have required governments to "consult" with Indigenous Peoples on some issues.

The UN Declaration when first passed by a majority in the General Assembly in 2007 was a "non-binding" Resolution. Even so, four settler society governments -USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia voted against it. 

Lidia Thorpe rightly expressed her anger at the federal government voting against the Bill in Parliament on 6 December 2023. The federal government voting against the Bill showed that they now have no problem supporting a non-binding UN Resolution. Enshrining the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Articles into Commonwealth law would be binding on the government, a far cry from the requirement to "consult" with Indigenous Peoples' representatives but not being bound by their demands.

When it comes to the crunch, the major political parties in parliaments at both state and federal levels since the Voice was defeated are acting in a manner that shows they are more interested in protecting the interests of capitalism and the policiesof the imperialists than the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Another example of this was the recent banning of the words "From the River to The Sea" on a mural by an Indigenous artist at a local Adelaide suburban community public school.

The mural expressed solidarity and connection between the Indigenous Peoples of Australia and Palestine.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap: political scandal in Japan


Written by: (Contributed) on 23 December 2023

An unfolding political scandal has placed the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in panic mode. It sacked four cabinet ministers in mid-December as the government struggled to cover the main scandal: long-time political corruption stretching back decades with connivance from far-right groups, spurious pseudo front organisations, organised crime and seemingly non-legitimate business practices as standard operations.  The relative silence accompanying the scandal from US-led mainstream media outlets is evidence, in itself, of US concerns about their main partner in their Indo-Pacific foreign policy.

In mid-December an announcement that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was planning to sack four of his cabinet ministers, who, within hours, tendered their resignations, escaped the attention of most mainstream media outlets despite being senior government members. The resignations were also accompanied by a special advisor to the PM and five deputy ministers also quietly leaving office. Diplomatic silence, on the part of the US, however, would appear to have been the order of the day; all the Australian newspaper, the mouthpiece of Canberra, could manage was 75 column centimetres over two days. They were also evasive about the main reasons for the political crisis.

While the stated explanation for the resignations was financial corruption of an estimated $5.26 million, the real reason was the ongoing investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last year; for example, 'media reports suggested prosecutors were about to begin raiding offices and start interviewing dozens of M.P.s'. (1)

The LDP is known to be bitterly divided into factions and the fact those allegedly receiving the corruption were from the largest faction which was formerly headed by Shinzo Abe has thrown light on the shadowy nature of the inner workings of the Japanese political system and culture. (2) The LDP has ruled Japan, effectively, for decades; political opposition is largely ignored.

In recent years the US has upgraded its diplomatic relations with Japan to that of a fully-fledged global alliance: the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) is now a central feature of US regional and global foreign policy. (3) Japan, together with the US, India and Australia, form the 'quad', effectively hemming in China on all sides, with other countries, including South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, China’s breakaway province of Taiwan, and others as lower-level partners. (4) Under such circumstances the US, clearly, does not want any unfavourable publicity about Japan.

Japan, however, has had a troubled history which continues to hang like a shackle: many countries in Asia have difficulty forgetting the period of Imperial Japan, militarism and its horrific human rights abuses. Soon after the Second World War, however, the US quickly developed Japan as a major player in their foreign policy. Those associated with Imperial Japan were allowed to slip away, as if unnoticed.

The far-right figures also quickly re-grouped.

It was noted that, 'just as they did with the Nazis in Europe, the American occupation authorities had a change of heart about Japan's war criminals. As the Cold War began, the enemy was no longer the fascists but the communists … war criminals were quietly released from prison in 1948 and became some of the prime movers, organisers, and funders of the LDP, a conservative pro-American party that has controlled the political life of Japan ever since'. (5) The LDP soon emerged as the 'respectable' party of the Japanese middle-classes.

The nature of the recent corruption investigation threw light upon the inner workings of the LPD and the prevailing long-engrained political culture of their supporters and associates: party members were required to sell tickets for fund-raising, if they exceeded their quota the extra money was retained as a personal 'kick-back'. (6) The method of operation revealed a compliant power-base of supporters who, 'had their M.P. to look after their interests', along the lines of the 'big man at the top'; an almost tribal political culture. Tax evasion would appear another side of the political corruption; it was noted in the inquiry, for example, even the faction of the LDP until recently headed by Fumio Kishida was suspected of failing to declare more than 20 million yen between 2017 and 2020. (7) No wonder Fumio Kishida became P.M.; those in the know wanted a compliant leader to serve their interests!   

Another organisation they used for more covert operations was the Asian People's Anti-Communist League (APACL), established in 1954, which later merged to become the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) in 1966. Studies of the organisation have concluded that it was, 'the most sinister of all the internationally active extreme right-wing organisations … and the … main conduit for funds for extreme right-wing organisations throughout the world'. (8) It later became a dominant player in the Iran-Contra scandal. (9)

The Japanese APACL/WACL league chapter was also controlled by the shadowy Unification Church or 'moonies' led by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon; a seemingly pseudo 'front-type' organisation based on devoted followers. (10) It 'has kept close to its Yakusa origins', that of organised crime. (11)

The fact that a recent parliamentary inquiry found that nearly half of the LDP's M.P.s, 'had some connection with the Moonies', has raised serious questions about their credibility. (12) Reference to the, 'deep, historical ties between Japan's ruling LDP and the Unification Church … and … the groups alleged predatory fund-raising practices', has serious implications for the ongoing corruption inquiry in Japan. (13)

Studies of the Yakusa have proved particularly revealing and throw light upon a turf-war type mentality where organised crime has been able to control large sections of the Japanese economy. During the 1980s, for example, the Yakusa moved into real estate to launder 'their ill-gotten profits from drug sales, prostitution, gambling and extortion. Yakusa's annual income is estimated at $10 billion'. (14) Japan is a centre of the global pornography industry.

Later studies, in 2020, revealed the Yakusa had increased their wealth to an estimated US$50-100 billion a year, with legislation passed in the Japanese parliament merely forcing the criminal organs underground, where they operated with relative impunity. (15) A further study conducted in 2023, likewise, revealed the organised crime body had increased its wealth still further with an annual income of an estimated $200 billion. (16)

The increased wealth amassed by the Yakusa has revealed they have been able to control their own turf very effectively; and they also evade detection. They form part of a relatively closed political system and a culture whereby questions are not asked and items pushed to the bottom of government agendas to avoid lifting the lid on non-legitimate business practices, in fear of creating widespread political turmoil. 'Yes, Minister', write large.

Japan, nevertheless, is a country in relative decline: only criminals appear in ascendency and prospering, the rest of Japan's population appear to be paying a high price for little.

Domestically Japan used to have a high standard of living: recent studies, however, have revealed many grievances with falling living standards and inflation; recent tax cuts appear to have fallen on deaf ears with 'real wages are still in decline'. (17) As a regional player for US foreign policy, Japan used to be the, 'biggest supporter of ASEAN's economic growth and industrialisation'. (18) In recent years its position has been eclipsed by China, which also pushed Japan into third place as an important part of the global economy.

In conclusion, the recent corruption inquiry in Japan has produced evidence of a political system under strain, although commentary about the forthcoming general election has already stated, that, 'there is no realistic proposition it … the LDP … could actually lose power', despite the fact the Kishida government has approval ratings of less than thirty per cent. (19)

The LDP has become a permanent feature of Japan's political culture, and is also Australia's partner in US-led regional military and security provision:

                                    We, therefore, need an independent foreign policy!

1.     Four Japanese ministers quit, Australian, 15 December 2023.
2.     Japanese PM tipped to sack four ministers, Australian, 14 December 2023.
3.     The reasons behind Washington's push for GSOMIA.,Hankyoreh, 12 November 2019.
4.     Ibid.
5.     Inside the League, Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, (New York, 1986), pp. 62-63.
6.     Australian, op.cit., 14 December 2023.
7.     Australian, op.cit., 15 December 2023.
8.     Website: In Latin America, - 38025
9.     See: The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History, Edited by Peter Kornbluh and Malcolm Byrne, (New York, 1993), reference – Retired Major-General and former Commander of US Forces in South Korea, John K. Singlaub, Chair of WACL., page xxx.
10.   See: Inside the League, Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, op.cit., pp. 124-25.
11.   Ibid., page 125.
12.   Fumio Kishida orders probe of Moonies, The Financial Times, 17 October 2022.
13.   Could former P.M.s assassination end the Moonies in Japan?, CBC News, 7 December 2022.
14.   The family that preys together, Jack Colhoun, Covert Action, Edited by Ellen Ray and William H Schaap, (Victoria, 2003), pp. 192-205.
15.   Yakusa alive, The Asia Times, 3 December 2020.
16.   How rich is the Yakusa?, NAVI / 33 Square, 28 October 2023.
17.   See: Kishida's popularity in free fall, The Japan Times, 16 October 2023; and,     Kishida is so unpopular, The Japan Times, 7 November 2023.
18.   Missile test 'threat to region's stability', Australian, 19 December 2023.
19.   Japan Times, op.cit., 7 November 2023.


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Support for Palestinians grows in Adelaide


Written by: Ned K. on 21 December 2023

On Sunday 17 December, thousands of people participated in a rally and demonstration in Adelaide in support of the Palestinian people's struggle in Gaza and the West Bank against the Zionist colonial occupation of Palestinian land.

Some might say "just another rally"!

How wrong they would be. This rally in support of the Palestinian people was not only another show of force of people power "on the ground". It included some new speakers who represented very important sections of the working people of South Australia.

A 16-year old public school student took to the microphone and proudly declared that she was of Jewish heritage and that her grandparents fled Europe from the Nazi terror against Jewish and other nationalities.

She said that the Zionist Israeli Government did not speak in her name in their genocidal attacks on the Palestinian people. She said that just as Hitler and the Nazis were condemned and fought against by western governments, including Australia's, so these western governments should be fighting against the Zionist genocidal attacks against the Palestinians in 2023.

She said it was a step forward but a step too late by the Albanese Government to finally support the UN General Assembly Resolution for a Cease Fire but they needed to do much more! 

She also had strong words to say to the media barons and some politicians who said that school students should stick to their studies and not be out on the streets participating in rallies in support of "terrorists" like Hamas. She said she and thousands of 16-year olds like her were intelligent enough to realise that the struggle by Palestinians against the Zionist Israeli Government, backed by Britain and the USA in particular, had been going on for many decades before Hamas even existed!

She ended her speech with "Free, Free Palestine!" and received rousing applause.

The next speaker was also significant due to who he represented.

For the first time since the post-7 October rallies, the Secretary of SA Unions, Dale Beasely spoke in support of the Palestinian people.

SA Unions represents the voice of thousands of workers in SA from diverse cultural backgrounds, including Palestinians and Jewish people.

He pointed out that Unions in Australia had a proud history of opposing wars of aggression, going back to the anti-conscription struggle in the First World War and the struggle to end Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War.

He also said that the Australian Government needed to do much more to force a Cease Fire in Gaza. 

Unions are a diverse movement on social issues but he said a common point of agreement is that Unions stand for peace not war. He gave the example of the MUA members in Perth recently refusing to co-operate with the docking of an Israeli ship.

The third speaker who added to the breadth of support for Palestinians was a local Doctor who was born in Gaza and who gave the crowd examples of the tremendous courage of doctors and nurses in the hospitals in Gaza, despite the constant bombing by the Israeli Defence Force.

Despite the thousands of Palestinian deaths and even more wounded, he had no doubt that Palestinians would overcome the colonizer state of Israel.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Community school mural censored over First Nations artist's identity with Palestinians


(Above: Mali Isabel's beautiful mural)

Written by: Nick G. on 21 December 2023

The intimidation that the Australian Zionist lobby exercises over Australian politicians and public servants was seen on December 19 in Adelaide.

Martin Westwell, the Education Department Chief Executive directed the staff of the Bowden-Brompton Community School to remove the words “From the River to the Sea” from a mural on one of the school’s buildings.

For many decades the school has served students from predominantly working class families who have become disengaged from mainstream schooling and who have complex emotional and social needs. The mural artist had been working as an artist-in-residence at the school. She is Mali Isabel, an Arabana and Kokatha artist.

According to an Advertiser article, Westwell was responding to a complaint from Australian Jewish Association chief executive, Robert Gregory, who was quoted as saying that ‘From the River to the Sea' is “widely recognised as a genocidal call for the elimination of the state of Israel” as well as being antisemitic.

Both sides proclaim From the River to the Sea sovereignty.

In fact, the phrase has been used by Zionists and Palestinians alike, but for very different purposes.

The 1977 original platform of Israeli Prime Minister Netaniyahu’s Likud Party began with the heading The Right of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel (Eretz Israel) and continued with the two following points:

a. The right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is eternal and indisputable and is linked with the right to security and peace; therefore, Judea and Samaria will not be handed to any foreign administration; between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty.

b. A plan which relinquishes parts of western Eretz Israel, undermines our right to the country, unavoidably leads to the establishment of a "Palestinian State," jeopardizes the security of the Jewish population, endangers the existence of the State of Israel. and frustrates any prospect of peace…

The term “Eretz Israel” originated in the Torah and was adopted by Zionists to refer to the Mandated Territory of Palestine, that is, to the entire area from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Judea and Samaria specifically refer to the area designated today as the occupied West Bank.

In opposition to the Zionist claim to an exclusively Jewish/Israeli sovereignty over the area from the Sea to the River (Jordan), the Palestinians have promoted the slogan “From the River to the Sea” as a single secular state where Jews, Christians and Muslims will share equal rights of citizenship.

Does this mean, as Gregory alleges, that Palestinian use of From the River to the Sea is “widely recognised as a genocidal call for the elimination of the state of Israel” as well as being antisemitic? 

It does mean the elimination of the apartheid state of Zionist Israel, that is, of a state whose governing party the Likud, in its current Party Platform, states:

3. The Government of Israel will enable the Palestinians to manage their lives freely, within the framework of self-government.  However, foreign affairs and defense, and matters which require coordination, will remain the responsibility of the State of Israel.  The government will oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state…

5. Jewish settlement, security areas, water resources, state land and road intersections in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip shall remain under full Israeli control.

The so-called “two state solution” proposed by some is a dead duck. The Zionists have made it clear that they will never accept an independent Palestinian state. 

The choice is either a continued genocidal repression of Palestinians by a state that is exclusively permitting rights for people of one religion only, or the dismantling of that state and its replacement by a single secular state that grants equal rights to people of all religions and ethnicities .

Both sides believe in the slogan “From the River to the Sea”, but the Zionists dishonestly attribute this exclusively to Palestinians and smear them as anti-Semitic.

First Peoples first Australians to support Jews facing Nazi genocide

The mural expresses First Peoples identity with the oppressed Palestinians.  What right have they to do this?  

The first political action by Australians against the Nazis and in open support of the oppressed Jews of Europe was undertaken by Aboriginal Australians.

Reading press reports of the Nazi Kristallnacht in November 1938, Yorta Yorta man William Cooper organised Aboriginal community activists to approach the German consulate in Melbourne to deliver a letter of protest against the violence meted out to the Jews. It is considered by many to be the only protest of its kind in the world at the time, according to the National Museum of Australia.

The identity of First Nations activists with the Jews then facing the genocidal rampages of the Nazis gives contemporary First Nations activists every right to today stand with the Palestinians between the River and the Sea who are suffering the genocidal rampages of Netanyahu and his allies.

Responding to the Education Department’s political censorship, Mali Isobel said:

The fact that someone can attempt to censor Aboriginal art and call it a “hateful stunt” is extremely offensive, not only to myself, but to my practice as an Aboriginal artist. As someone whose people and family have been victims of genocide, displaced from their land, and torn from their families through colonisation, I find this situation and the article published by the Advertiser personally insulting. 

I have been in communication with the beautiful staff at the school who have been instructed by the Department for Education to remove the words. I appreciate that they have no choice in this matter and want to make this process as stress free as I could for them. However, I could not stay silent. My people have already been without a voice for too long.

The Education Department must reverse the decision taken to censor the work by Mali Isabel.

It must ensure a balanced and informed discussion of the issues arising from the Israeli attacks on the West Bank and Gaza throughout the Department and its schools.  

Informed discussion seeks truth from facts. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Australia’s sub-imperial relations with PNG


(Above: US agent of influence Albanese with PNG Prime Minister James Marape on December 7.  Photo: Nick Haggarty, ABC News)

Written by: (Contributed) on 19 December 2023

The signing of a new security treaty between Canberra and Port Moresby on December 7 has carried all the hallmarks of Australia being a sub-imperial power for 'US interests' in the wider Indo-Pacific region.

The security treaty, aimed at side-lining China as an emerging regional power, has followed the US treating China as a competitor and thereby, threat to their traditional diplomatic and hegemonic position.

The security treaty, however, is especially fraught with controversy as PNG remains faced with a constitutional crisis over its strained relationship with Bougainville.

Australia's diplomatic relations with neighbouring PNG have been topical for over fifty years, since independence of the country during the mid-1970s. PNG, as part of the Melanesian South Pacific, has also included the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, as strategically-placed countries for the pro-imperialist exercise of Australian sovereignty. Diplomacy between Australia and the three countries has been historically based in neo-colonial type relations: the former has exploited the latter for cheap minerals and resources.

The present potential $80 billion merger between Australian-based Santos and Woodside, for example, is primarily focussed upon greater access to PNG's vast oil and gas reserves. (1) Similar moves are common across the South Pacific, as vast wealth has been systematically siphoned off and paid in massive dividends to shareholders in western countries. Ordinary residents and citizens of the South Pacific, rarely, if ever, see any benefit from the neo-colonial relations.

Australia, officially, has 41 billionaires, a number of whom own and control large-scale mining companies. (2) What proportion of their vast wealth was linked to the extraction of South Pacific minerals and resources has not been disclosed in documentation in the public domain. It is likely to be considerable, if not huge.

The three South Pacific countries, however, tend to be politically unstable and have a multitude of internal problems: effective and transparent governance, basic security considerations, ethnic and inter-ethnic rivalries and separatist movements. They have far-reaching implications: the PNG constitution and military regulations, for example, contain the right to conscientious objection when dealing with ethnic problems as a safeguard for preventing the escalation of ethnic tensions.

The fact that China has also courted the three countries in recent decades has, therefore, raised serious diplomatic considerations in Canberra and the US, as the dominant regional players. Large-scale Chinese investment has taken place in recent years, based, primarily, in economic programs and infra-structure projects, which have effectively been designed to open the countries for later development.

Regional diplomatic rivalry between the US and China has, therefore, been increasingly played out in the small South Pacific arena. The US fear competition: their regional development programs have historically, however, been barely effective; the mass of the population of the South Pacific continue to live in poverty with subsistence life-styles.

The diplomatic rivalry has also had to take into account that Melanesian culture and sovereignty is based upon the notion of a 'friends to all, enemy to none' standpoint: domestic and foreign policy diplomatic positions tend to remain relatively independent and non-aligned. (3) A recent defence agreement with the US, for example, raised concerns in Port Moresby that 'it could compromise PNG's sovereignty'. (4)

The US, for example, recently re-opened an embassy in the Solomon Islands after decades of ignoring the small country and its significant strategic importance. Elsewhere, across the small region the US has now increased its presence. Australia, nevertheless, has remained the dominant player for 'US interests'; with all which that position entails.

China, diplomatically, remains quite popular in the South Pacific: local people rely upon cheap manufactured produce from China in their everyday lives.

Studies of the Solomon Islands, furthermore, have revealed China's aid 'is attractive to the Solomon Islands because it largely stays in Solomon Islands; Australian aid does not … this is a form of boomerang aid that simply returns to Australia … Australia was the largest recipient of its own aid funding '. (5) The studies concluded with Australia being assessed as a sub-imperial power.

Defined along the lines that 'Australia has a capable, technologically advanced military and a number of intelligence agencies that operate in the region and far afield to uphold the US-led order. Australia's trade and investment agreements are organised with a similar goal in mind', sub-imperialism is conducted by Australia remaining subservient to 'US interests'. (6)

Bougainville and PNG

The new security treaty between Australia and PNG, therefore, has to be evaluated and assessed in that light. The smaller print of the treaty is particularly revealing. A total of $200 million has been included for a new PNG police infra-structure and a new $110 million 'police investigations training centre in Port Moresby'. (7) While law and order is an important consideration for stability in PNG, the concern has to be seen in light of moves by the peoples of Bougainville for full independence from PNG.

The issue of Bougainville has been contentious for decades.

The former Australian colonial administration placed the island in PNG in the lead-up to independence in the mid-1970s. It was an uncomfortable fit. The inhabitants of Bougainville
had a strong independence movement and regarded themselves as ethnic Solomon Islanders.
During the late 1980s an insurgency led by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) began, which resulted in the largest open-cast mine in the world being closed due to hostilities. All attempts by the mine-owners and mercenaries to re-open it, failed.

The armed conflict saw human rights abuses on a wide scale: controversy over the use of Australian-issued helicopters for PNG Defence Force personnel to throw BRA personnel into the sea, some being still alive, remains a strong allegation from the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). (8)

While a lasting peace agreement was eventually established after a decade of hostilities, a referendum in 2019 saw 97.7 per cent of the population of Bougainville vote for full independence, as opposed to the present autonomous status.

The whole matter of the referendum still remains a matter for the PNG government to resolve. They have, to date, proved apprehensive to deal with issue on account of other
parts of PNG feared to follow suit leading to the fragmentation of the large country into smaller 'countries'. The issue, nevertheless, will continue to simmer as separatist groups continue to agitate for a more localised sovereignty.

Behind the scenes, however, the US fears China will establish stronger diplomatic relations with Bougainville, given the opportunity. It has already been noted that 'China looks to make inroads in Bougainville, with promises to fund major infra-structure upgrades in the autonomous region'. (9)

A statement issued by the ABG Attorney-General, Ezekiel Massat, about the new security agreement was unequivocal: it was noted, 'Australia was deliberately avoiding its obligations to hold PNG accountable, amid delays by the Marape government in tabling the referendum result in the nation's parliament … Australia is supposedly the Big Brother in the Pacific, but it is a coward when it comes to the Bougainville independence issue'. (10)

As a sub-imperialist power Australia has moved into a very murky diplomatic area by signing the new security treaty with PNG. It is also highly significant to note that the agreement document itself, has constitutional considerations with the small print possibly having serious implications at a later date: it is considered legally binding, not merely a military-based treaty. (11)

                                         We need an independent foreign policy!     

1.     See: PNG key in Santos-Woodside merger, Australian, 12 December 2023.
2.     See: Aussie rich-listers' wealth up as inheritances pay off, Australian, 1 December 2023.
3.     PM stokes Bougainville tension, Australian, 8 December 2023.
4.     Ibid.
5.     Sub-Imperial Power – Australia in the International Arena, Clinton Fernandez, (Melbourne, 2022), pp. 94-97.
6.     Ibid., page 3.
7.     Australian, op.cit., 12 December 2023.
8.     Australian, op.cit., 8 December 2023.
9.     Australian, op.cit., 12 December 2023.
10.   Ibid.
11.   Australian, op.cit., 8 December 2023.