Friday, June 28, 2024

Kenya - Too Little, Too Late: Ruto Must Resign

 Written by: Communist Party of Kenya on 29 June 2024


Too Little, Too Late: Ruto Must Resign

Statement by the Central Organizing Committee of the Communist Party of Kenya
27 June 2924

In the wake of intense demonstrations against the Finance Bill 2024 and the consistent, resolute demand for the resignation of President William Ruto, the President has made a belated and insincere about-face, declaring that he shall not consent to the bill and ostensibly acceding to the people's demands. This disingenuous capitulation comes only after Ruto ordered the brutal murder of more than 10 confirmed protesters and unleashed death squads to massacre more innocent lives in Githurai.

We must not allow Ruto to escape accountability for the innocent blood he has shed in the streets. These demonstrations have clear and simple demands that we insist the President comply with. During the post-election protests, Ruto was responsible for the murder of l many innocent souls. It is imperative that the police bosses, all of Ruto’s henchmen, and Ruto himself be held legally accountable for these crimes. 

We also demand restorative justice for the survivors of the avoidable massacres orchestrated by the corrupt Ruto regime. 

Let’s tell Ruto we are aware that the President is legally unable to withdraw a bill that has already matured for assent. His options are limited to returning it to Parliament with a memorandum for the inclusion of his proposed amendments, which, if rejected by a two-thirds majority, would become law. 

Why dupe Kenyans into imagining he can withdraw it in totality? This is a legal conundrum, a deceitful ploy to buy time and distract Kenyans from their urgent demands.

Moreover, this morning Parliament went on recess until June, so how will the bill that has been referred to a Parliament on recess be amended?

We, today, put forth the following ten collective demands to sum up the temporary pause of protests:

1. A total cessation of taxation on basic commodities such as food, healthcare, and education, and the complete rejection of the Finance Bill 2024. We totally reject window dressing paltry amendments that may happen with the bought crowd in parliament 

2. An immediate end to the interference with our national sovereignty by foreign institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, NATO, and their financiers.

3. The provision of decent jobs, sustainable livelihoods, and the implementation of Article 43 within six months.

4. Quality housing and compensation for all those illegally evicted.

5. Free and quality education for all.

6. Free and quality healthcare for all.

7. An immediate end to state violence in the form of abductions, excessive use of force by police during demonstrations, and extrajudicial killings.

8. The return of all stolen public land and a clear plan for food sovereignty.

9. Fair compensation for all workers providing essential services to the country.

10. An immediate end to the privatization of public institutions and state-owned enterprises.

President Ruto, your time is up! The people of Kenya reject your bloodstained hands and your corrupt administration.  


No IMF ! No World Bank! 


The Central Organizing Committee of the Communist Party of Kenya

Thailand: Looming political crisis

 Written by: (Contributed) on 29 June 2024


(Above: The Royal Thai Army suppreesed 2010 "Red Shirt" rallies.  Photo: Flickr Commons)

A brief political assessment about Thailand in the Australian business press has revealed widespread concern about a likely resurgence of opposition forces in one of the most important US-led centres for regional defence and security and trade. Thailand, historically, was and remains a major diplomatic player in South-east Asian affairs, including the ASEAN trade bloc. Any return to previous widespread opposition to the traditional centres of Thai power are likely to cause serious issues for the US and their allies across the wider region.

In mid-June, limited media coverage about Thailand carried an unambiguous warning that 'in reality, the South-east Asian constitutional monarchy is on the brink of another round of convulsive protests by young Thais who have had enough of the cheating and distorting of an ageing establishment that refuses to acknowledge its time may be coming to an end'. (1)

Thailand has maintained a shaky democratic facade for decades under the nominal control of a monarchy although it has also experienced thirteen military coups in the past ninety years.

Previous widespread opposition to the monarchy and political establishment took the form of supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra who wore red-shirts and demonstrated in their millions against perceived corruption and political chicanery. The supporters of the status quo wore yellow-shirts to identify their allegiance to the monarchy. There were violent clashes.

While the political divisions between the red and yellow shirts have officially been regarded as a problem of yesteryear, bitter divisions still exist beneath the surface of Thai political culture. Following the coup of 19 September 2006, which deposed Thaksin Shinawatra, he fled into exile, his political party was outlawed and he was banned from political activity in the country. Remnants of his supporters, nevertheless, re-grouped and continued to operate behind numerous front organisations.

Returning to Thailand on 22 August last year, Thaksin Shinawatra was able to prove he still retained huge popularity with ordinary Thai people. (2) He is now set on a collision course with the Monarchy and political establishment after being 'formally indicted for defaming the Monarchy while the failure of the current Prime Minister and main opposition hang in the balance'. (3)

While the legal status of Thailand's political opposition forces remains under legal consideration following months of court hearings, fears have been raised that a further round of banning opposition 'will not only mark the end of the country's shaky democracy, but trigger more political uncertainty'. (4) The centres of traditional Thai class and state power now appear increasingly vulnerable, being out-manoeuvred by opposition forces.

It has already raised serious concerns for Washington and the Pentagon's Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) whereby Japan has been elevated to the US-led diplomatic position of a global alliance, while other countries including Thailand, are linked as lower-level partners for 'US interests'. (5) Political upheaval in Thailand is, therefore, likely to have far-reaching implications for the IPS; effective intelligence-gathering rests upon political stability.

The US intelligence services regarded Thailand as an asset during the previous Cold War, and there is every reason to believe it continues to be so during the present Cold War; its close proximity with Cambodia and their close diplomatic relations with China is considered by the US as problematic. (6) Thailand also has a large Russian diaspora, most of whom settled in the country after the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

The political crisis in Thailand has also come at an unfortunate time for the US and their allies; moves by the US to attract support for their trade war with China have been seen to not be particularly well supported. In fact, while the US seeks to 'isolate Beijing on the global stage', numerous allies have been noticeably reluctant to follow suit. (7)

Meanwhile, China's foreign trade has increasingly focussed upon South-east Asia and elsewhere in the emerging economies, as exports to the US have dropped. (8)

Thailand, historically, has been a major player in traditional US-led hegemonic positions in South-east Asia. A founder member of the ASEAN trade bloc during the previous Cold War,
Thailand hosted one of the largest US diplomatic missions of anywhere in the world in Bangkok. As with other countries in the near region, however, its rapid economic expansion followed the emergence of China as a major diplomatic player. China's GDP, likewise, rose from $397 billion in 1990, to an estimated near $15 trillion by 2020. (9)

During the 2007 to 2014 period, for example, ASEAN nearly doubled its GDP ratings, as a result of closer links with China. (10)

Thailand, however, has entered into a period of economic uncertainty and decline in recent years; in 1960 it had a GDP rate of a little over five per cent, falling to slightly above two per cent during the early 2020's. (11) While its high-spot was the late 1980s, when Thai growth rates rose to over thirteen per cent, massive fluctuations followed together with a general decline to only 1.9 per cent last year, possibly rising to an optimistic projection of 2.2/3.2 for this year. (12) The optimism may sour with a political crisis.

Thailand, nevertheless, has remained a central player inside ASEAN, which collectively has continued to regard little benefit from siding totally with either the US or China. They gain benefits from both, using skilful diplomacy.

The Thai big bourgeoise has also positioned itself to make a killing from neighbouring Burma/Myanmar’s bloody suppression of anti-regime and ethnic liberation struggles. Thai banks have become the main supplier of cross-border financial services for Myanmar’s military government, enabling its purchases of arms and equipment despite sanctions against the regime. (13)

ASEAN, in which Thailand has a major influence also presents the US with a major problem: its status has grown to be a central player in regional diplomacy. Studies have noted the 'ASEAN and Chinese economies are becoming inseparably inter-twined'. (14) And, while ASEAN is navigating an increasingly challenging regional environment … China's surging influence raises concerns, as do US responses, which increase strategic tension and gives short shrift to economics and regional prosperity'. (15)

The extremely limited nature of coverage in pro-US media outlets would tend to indicate the sensitive nature of recent developments in Thailand! More, nevertheless, may follow in due course if the political tensions beneath the surface rise to the fore.

1.     Thailand bonfire waiting for match, Australian, 13 June 2024.
2.     See: Thaksin Shinawatra, BBC News, 22 August 2023.
3.     Political crisis grips Thailand, BBC News, 19 June 2024.
4.     Australian, op.cit., 13 June 2024.
5.     See: The reasons behind Washington's push for GSOMIA., Hankyoreh, 12 November 2019.
6.     See: From the Shadows – The ultimate insider's story, Robert M. Gates, (New York, 1996), page 312.
7.     US seeks EU's support in trade war, Australian, 22 May 2024; and, Europe takes new strategy to China Shock 2.0, Australian, 25 June 2024.
8.     China's export machine moves on, Australian, 14 June 2024.
9.     AUKUS a strong hand in a region under threat, Australian, 26 June 2024.
10.   What is ASEAN? The World Economic Forum, 9 May 2017.
11.   GDP Growth (annual percentage) Thailand, World Bank Group.
12.   Ibid., and, Executive Summary, Perspectives, Global Inflation Cools, Deloitte.
13.  Thai banks are the top suppliers of financial services to Myanmar’s military, UN expert says, Washington Times, 26 June 2024
14.   Towards an equal partnership, East Asia Forum, Volume 15, Number 3, September 2023, pp. 3.5.
15.   Japan as a diplomatic asset to ASEAN, East Asia Forum, Volume 15, Number 3, September 2023, pp. 6-8.


Kanak independence struggle cannot be defeated

 Written by: Nick G. on 29 June 2024

(Above: "We are allTein Bichou"  Source; Suport Internacional Kanay on X)

Following French President Macron’s decision to withdraw the “thawing” of citizenship in New Caledonia, the vindictiveness of the French bourgeoisie has only heightened.

The French proposal was to include all French citizens with more than ten year’s residence in New Caledonia as citizens of the French territory, effectively bolstering the votes for opposition to independence.  

It was a clumsy manoeuvre to restrict the growing influence of Chinese and Russian imperialists within New Caledonia.

The Kanaks erupted in defiance and lives were lost.

But French imperialism was not reconciled to its defeat. 

On the morning of June 19 in Nouméa, a raid by the police took place on the premises of the Caledonian Union (UC) in Magenta and the main leaders of the CCAT (Coordination Cell for Field Actions) were arrested on their way to a press conference. A search took place and eleven members of the CCAT, most of whom are also political and trade union leaders, were placed in police custody on several very serious charges, relating to organized crime, for a period of 96 hours (4 days).

On Friday 21 June, Kanaks rallied throughout New Caledonia in support of arrested CCAT leaders, including General Commissioner Bichou Tein. The arrested leaders have been deported to France to stand trial depriving them of the right to defend themselves before a jury of their peers.

This is kidnapping, pure and simple.

Far from taking advantage of Macron’s withdrawal of the citizenship changes to de-escalate tensions in New Caledonia, the French imperialists have only lifted a heavy rock to drop on their own feet.

Already meetings in support of the deported Kanaks have been held in large towns in France.

(Above: Support arrested CCAT leaders, June 21, 2024)

And in New Caledonia Kanak activists have continued to rally and demand the return of their kidnapped comrades.

They will not be intimidated by French colonial troops or pro-French armed militias.

They want all charges dropped against the leaders of the CCAT, and the entire Kanak independence movement.  

Solidarity with the entire Kanak independence movement!


Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Class struggle at nuclear submarine site

 Written by: Ned K. on 26 June 2024


(Stopwork at Osborne, June 3, 2024.  Source: CEPU SA Facebook)

For the last few months union members of the AMWU and CEPU have been taking industrial action against the federal government owned Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) at Osborne Naval Base in South Australia.

Members of both unions have been taking short stoppages and work bans. Members are demanding wage parity with ASC workers in WA who are paid 17% higher rates than SA workers for performing same and similar work.

The workers actions are having an impact with ASC forced to make higher wage offers but so far, still short of wage parity.

Now the ASC reactionary management are in a bit of a bind. They need to dry dock a Collins Class submarine which is tied up at the Osborne wharf.

ASC want to proceed with dry dock maintenance of the submarine but the likelihood of work stoppages in the process of moving the submarine to dry dock is a thorn in their side.

AMWU and CEPU workers have a long, proud history of class struggle at the ASC and are sure to win a significant victory in their current struggle for wage parity with WA ASC workers.

How a Labor Government can justify such inequity in wages between workers performing the same work will not come as too much of a surprise to the thousands of privatised workers in both federal and state government services where contractors pay minimum Award rates and sometimes not even the Award minimums.

A win for ASC workers at Osborne will be a win for all workers providing government services

Monday, June 24, 2024

The wars the US are not winning with China: trade and diplomacy

Written by: (Contributed) on 25 June 2024


(Above: Ahmoot Iranian


The recent state visit by China's Prime Minister Li Qiang to Australia took place under intense media scrutiny. The media coverage, nevertheless, was highly misleading, as was intended. The US-led trade war with China, for example, was not openly discussed yet remained the main factor behind the high-level Australia-China diplomacy.

Australia is a sub-imperial power with regional responsibilities thrust upon it by Washington and the Pentagon. The diplomatic relationship has proved problematic: and the US is clearly losing the trade war with China; their aggressive imperial foreign policy has seriously backfired.

In mid-June China's PM, Li Qiang, arrived in Australia, greeted by a nineteen-gun salute and full honour guard. The greeted was not out of place, taking into account the agendas of the high-level diplomacy scheduled to take place. While the contents of the agendas have remained confidential, it is not particularly difficult to establish what was going on behind the pomp and ceremony.

The legacy of the previous Trump presidential administration and its US-led Cold War trade war with China hangs like a millstone around the necks of western political leaders. Like most of the foreign policy of the Trump administration, it was established with an air of buffoonery and difficult to take seriously. And it has not worked; in fact, China's economy has continued to surge ahead, leaving the US and its allies behind and in a quandary.

Longer-term the US GDP growth rates, measured from 1960 to 2022 reveal a general decline, largely as a result of Washington and the Pentagon pursuing endless foreign policy adventures without costing the debacles accurately. Studies of US diplomatic involvement and their general intrusion into the sovereignty of numerous other areas of the world, reveal a general trend:

                                          US GDP GROWTH RATES, 1960-2022
                                                           1962     -     6.10 %
                                                           2019     -     2.29 %
                                                           2020     -    -2.77 %
                                                           2021     -     5.95 %
                                                           2022     -     1.94 %     (1)

Studies of US allies, including Australia, reveal similar trends due to accompanying US foreign and diplomatic policies elsewhere, across the globe:

                                                AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY, GDP
                                                          1963     -     6.22 %
                                                          2020     -   -.0.33% 

                                                          2021     -     2.11 %

                                                         2022     -     4.2 %     (2)                                                          

                                                          2023     -     1.9 %
                                                          2024     -     1.8 % (projection)     (3)
China's economy, however, has continued to surge ahead; in 2023 China had about 14 per cent of global exports, up 1.3 per cent from 2017, when the US-led trade war began. (4) China's trade surplus, likewise, is estimated at about $823 billion, nearly double the 2017 estimates; trade surplus is defined when exports exceed imports. (5)

In May, as an act of desperation, US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, requested the EU to follow the US-led line of imposing tariffs upon Chinese trade and goods. (6) It was accompanied by an official diplomatic statement from the Biden presidential administration noting, 'Washington … sees European support as a critical way to isolate Beijing on the global stage'. (7) And they have tried very hard to implement the policy.

China, however, in recent years has shifted attention away from advanced, industrial countries toward the Global South. It has become the 'crucial economic partner for many emerging economies' and has been accompanied by numerous diplomatic initiatives. (8)

China's trade with ASEAN, for example, grew 8.1 per cent in the first two months of 2024. (9)

The China-ASEAN economic data also rests upon earlier dynamic trade: using World Bank economic data it can be established that ASEAN member countries have a combined GDP of $3.6 trillion, and that their economies are 'inseparably intertwined' with China. (10) It has also been noted that 'China's surging influence raises concerns, as do US responses, which increase strategic tension and give short shrift to economics and regional prosperity'. (11)

Similar studies have revealed 'China has been selling less to the west and more to South-east Asia and Latin America'. (12) In fact, during the first five months of this year 'China exported seventeen per cent less to the US. In 2023 alone, China's exports to the US dropped fourteen per cent'. (13)

China has also developed trade hubs in recent times, by using countries including Vietnam and Mexico, to reroute trade to include third parties into regions of economic interest. (14)

While US coverage of these developments has been subject to diplomatic silence, due to the sensitivity of the whole matter, forthcoming policies will be interesting to monitor. Under the existing balance of forces, China has successfully challenged the neo-colonial relations between the US and its allies and the emerging economies. The diplomatic implications are far-reaching both in the short and longer-term.

As the US and its allies fail to win the present trade war, military options and real-war scenarios would appear to have become ever more likely.

The high-level diplomacy between Australia and China in June has to be assessed along these lines; the former is a major diplomatic player with the ASEAN and South pacific countries and has therefore been used by Washington to further 'US interests'. There is no reason to think the position allocated to Canberra by the US has changed in any way whatsoever in recent times; the present diplomatic line remains based in damage limitation, with business continuing to be conducted as 'normal'.

It has not been difficult to find examples to support the position: within hours of Li Quiang and his entourage leaving Australia, a Canberra initiative saw an official government delegation including seven senior cabinet ministers conduct high-level diplomatic relations with PNG in Port Moresby. (15) The size and composition of the delegation has shown quite clearly how the US expects Australia to use diplomatic initiatives to serve 'US interests'.

It was accompanied by incoming Solomon Islands Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele being invited to Canberra for high-level diplomatic talks following a rushed meeting in Honiara two weeks after their change of government with Australian deputy PM Richard Marles. (16) Manele, however, is already on record publicising his government's 'Look North' policies whereby the economic future of the country 'depends on China, rather than its traditional partners like Australia'. (17) The policy is not ambiguous.  

Coverage of recent regional developments have concluded that 'Australia is at the cross-hairs of this big shift. It is frozen out by Beijing which is also making a power play in Australia's own backyard in the Pacific Islands – that's why the Solomon Islands matters … China has surpassed Australia in terms of two-way trade with Pacific Islands nations'. (18)

In fact, while the recent 'soft diplomacy' between Australia and China has been noted as standing in 'contrast to the deep suspicion in government, and the national security establishment … about China and its long-term threat to Australian interests', it was, in reality, little other than a theatre production designed specifically to serve other earlier agendas in line with 'US interests' in Australia's designated areas of the wider Indo-Pacific region. (19)

                                         We need an independent foreign policy!


1.     US GDP Growth Rates, 1960-2022, Macrotrends.
2.     Australian GDP Growth Rates, 1960-2024, Macrotrends.
3.     Wikipedia: Economy of Australia.
4.     Why the US can't win the trade war with China, The Japan Times, 5 June 2024.
5.     Ibid.
6.     US seeks EU's support in trade war, Australian, 23 May 2024.
7.     Ibid.
8.     Four key Take-ways emerging from China's trade data, The Diplomat, 26 March 2024.
9.     Ibid.
10.   Towards and equal partnership, The East Asia Forum, Volume 15, Number 3, September 2023, pp. 3-5.
11.   Japan as a diplomatic asset to ASEAN, ibid., pp. 6-8.
12.   China's export machine moves on, Australian, 14 June 2024.   
13.   Ibid.
14.   Ibid.
15.   Wong takes China fight to PNG, Australian, 20 June 2024.
16.   Solomons PM poised for first visit overseas, Australian, 21 June 2024; and, Marles' diplomatic dash to Solomons, Australian, 21 May 2024.
17.   PM hails new Solomon Islands leader, Australian, 3 May 2024.
18.   As the Solomon Islands heats up, SBS News, 28 November 2021.
19.   Beware the Beijing wolf in panda clothing, PM., Australian, 17 June 2024.   

Assange: Free at last!

Written by: Nick G. on 25 June 2024


(Above: Rally in London in February 2024 demands Assange's release)

Imprisoned Australian journalist Julian Assange is free - bar the formality of an appearance before a US court in the US Marianas Islands tomorrow.

In a plea deal struck with the US authorities, Assange has agreed to plead guilty to one charge under the US Espionage Act. His sentencing is likely to include a jail term which will be subsumed within the time he has already spent in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison.

Assange’s release is a victory for the many people here and abroad who have campaigned for his release and for the dropping of US charges against him.

Though some might see his release as a victory for Albanese and Wong’s “quiet diplomacy”, it rather reflects their abject failure to stand up to the US and secure Assange’s unconditional release.

Worse, by making it a condition of his release by pleading guilty to a crime of which he is innocent, the US imperialists have created a precedent for the citizen of any foreign country to be charged, tried and convicted under US laws. 

This is a threat to political activists and journalists of all countries who use US sources to expose US crimes.

This is not to criticise Assange. He has been held hostage by the British inside a jail designed to house murderers and terrorists, and subjected to inhuman conditions, pending a threatened extradition to the US.

Our Party has supported Assange since he first faced charges.  In 2012, we wrote:


Julian Assange and Wikileaks have performed a huge service to the people of the world by providing a platform for the publication of information that our rulers want kept from us.

Information released to date substantiates US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the existence of death squads and corruption in Kenya, of crony capitalism and speculative manipulation behind the financial collapse of Iceland and of unethical behaviour on the part of Sarah Palin.

Closer to home, Kevin Rudd has been outed as a cheerleader for the use of force by the US against China. In his March 24, 2009 advice to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the then Prime Minister called for a readiness to “deploy force” unless China “integrated itself effectively into the international community”. This is tantamount to declaring that China’s diplomatic pursuit of its own national interests, particularly if they challenge US global leadership, is the action of a rogue state that must be dealt with militarily.

Agents of imperialism

Wikileaks has revealed the existence of senior Labor politicians who report to the US embassy on matters that they are not even prepared to share with the Australian public. It is a master-servant relationship that stinks to high Heaven.

Julia Gillard’s condemnation of Assange represents the sacrificing of yet another Australian civilian to the interests of the US imperialists. 

We remain of the view that Assange has performed a huge service to the people of the world, and that if anyone should be in the dock, then it should be the US imperialist warmongers and assassins and those who collaborate with them.  

It now remains for Albanese and Attorney-General Dreyfus to turn their attention to Dan Duggan, the US-born Australian citizen who has been locked in solitary confinement for 20 months in Australian jails despite facing no charges in Australia while the US attempts to have him extradited to face charges in the US.

Assange is out, now let us get Duggan out. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

India: Hands off Arundhati Roy!

Written by: Nick G. on 19 June 2024


Arundhati Roy was the youngest winner of the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997 for The God of Small Things. Then aged 36, she emerged as an activist campaigning on behalf of India’s poor and marginalised, the same people whose lives she had written about in her novel.

They are also the same people largely responsible for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s humiliating failure to win outright victory in a promised electoral landslide. 

The Indian parliament, the Lok Sabha has 543 seats. Modi, whose BJP party held 303 seats prior to the 2024 general election, boasted that the BJP would break through the 400-seat ceiling and sweep to victory. However, the BJP lost seats, winning only 240 and losing its ability to govern in its own right. It has entered a coalition, but lost face at home and abroad.

The main areas where the BJP lost votes were those populated by the Dalits (Untouchables) and adivasis (tribal peoples who have been the main support base for the people’s war led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist)). 

How better to punish these people than to criminalise their fiercest champion, Arundhati Roy.

So, last week, 14 years after complaints about her references to Kashmir, Delhi's most senior official granted permission for Roy to be prosecuted under India’s stringent anti-terror laws. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) is notorious for making it exceptionally challenging to get bail, often resulting in years of detention until the completion of trial.

Roy was hated by the far-right Hindu nationalists for whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks. She also made an enemy of the revisionist Communist Party of India (Marxist), whose hold on state power in West Bengal and Kerala saw it serving the bourgeoisie and landlords, when she criticised their behaviours and lifestyles in her novel.

She has written one other novel, but mainly she has published collections of political essays and an account of her travels in 2010 through Communist Party of India (Maoist) liberated zones in the forests of Chhattisgarh with fighters of the Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army.

In October, 2010, at a conference in Delhi, organised by the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners, she enraged the far right by declaring that Kashmir “has never been an integral part of India.” Her opponents demanded that she be tried for treason. But she remained defiant.

In 2019 she delivered a lecture to an audience in New York just months after Modi suspended Kashmir’s autonomy and imposed a lockdown on Kashmir that included the withdrawal of mobile phone and internet services, and a curfew that saw thousands imprisoned. She said:

The horror that Kashmiris have endured over the last few months comes on top of the trauma of a thirty-year old armed conflict that has already taken seventy thousand lives and covered their valley with graves. They have held out while everything was thrown at them – war, money, torture, mass disappearance, an army of more than half a million soldiers, and a smear campaign in which an entire population has been portrayed as murderous fundamentalists. 

India is not the model democracy so beloved of people like Albanese and Wong.

Assassinations of Sikh supporters of an independent Khalistan have reached as far as Canada and the United States. Pogroms by right-wing Hindu mobs have seen hundreds of Muslims beaten to death and lynched in the streets. The disgusting caste system remains firmly entrenched.

Indian novelist and journalist Siddhartha Deb, who has also championed India’s poor, place the prosecution of Roy in context. Interviewed on Democracy Now on June 17, he said:

But the point isn’t really about Kashmir. The point is really about the fact that the Hindu right don’t want anyone like Arundhati critiquing the government, critiquing its policies, not just on Kashmir, but that it is completely — it’s a fascist political party. It is against all minorities. It is against women. It is against the poor. And that is what Roy has been speaking up and writing about for over 30 years. And that’s what they’re against. And they want to shut down not just speech. They want to shut down thought. And that’s what this is about.

The CPA (M-L) calls on the Indian government to cease the prosecution of Arundhati Roy.

The CPA (M-L) calls on Prime Minister Albanese and Foreign Minister Wong to convey to the Indian Government their support for the human rights of Arundhati Roy.

We encourage people to write to the Indian Embassy and to Albanese and Wong, in support of Arundhati Roy.


Monday, June 17, 2024

Save the nation’s natural resources for the people

Written by: John G. on 18 June 2024


The national anthem lies about our country. There’s golden soil in Australia but the natural wealth is not for toil.

It’s like there’s two Australias: a corporate wonderland for foreign investors and a labour camp of battling to make ends meet for hard working people in the one nation.

Exports of coal, iron ore, natural gas, and some other resources from Australia are the largest in the world. 

The mining, oil and gas industries produce more than half Australia’s goods exports. The industries’ exports of $455 bn are equivalent to 24% of the country’s economic output. Corporate monopolies plunder the country’s resources.

The mining, oil and gas corporations are making a bundle. Those corporations alone picked up a cool $241.9 bn operating profit before tax in 2022-23. 

Corporate thrive while people struggle

Citizens are told the country is on its knees, in debt and struggling. More and more people are battling with bills, rent or mortgages. The cost of living has gotten away from people. 

In 2022, over three million (3,319,000), of the nation’s 26 million people lived in poverty, including 761,000 children. That’s based on a measure of 50% of median household income, $489 per week for a single person, $1,027 per week for a couple with two children.

More than one in eight people (13.4%) and one in six children (16.6%) lived below the poverty line after taking account of their housing costs. 

That was before the inflation/ interest rate crisis took hold. Things got far worse in the first half of 2024. 

That’s built on top of the situation of the workforce being on the slide since the mid-1970s. Then the labour share of national income was just over 60%. Now its down near 50%. Capital income, the corporations, picked up what people lost and some more, jumping from 23% to 38% of national income. .

We’re told the government is doing what it can. There’s not great comfort in that sales pitch but it’s doing more than the miserable Libs would do. Still its paltry compared to what could be done if our natural resources were used to look after people, not load profits into billionaire corporates. 

There are two Australias. Our country is on its knees but the rich mining, oil and gas corporate monopolies’ country is rolling in billions. 

Aladdin’s Cave of Treasures for the Foreign Corporates

Our nation is the world’s sixth largest in area after Canada, Russia, China, the USA, and Brazil. The economy, at $1,702 billion, is the 13th largest in the world according to the IMF with just 0.33% of the world’s population. Australia ranks around 55th on national population counts internationally. The country is full of natural riches, a capable workforce and lots of modern infrastructure. 

Exports of coal, iron ore, other fossil fuels, gold, copper, aluminium and other minerals amounted to $406 billion in 2023. [Australia’s Top 25 Exports, Goods and Services, DFAT;]

Australia has been the world's largest exporter of iron ore, coal, unwrought lead, 2nd largest exporter of aluminium ores, beef, lentils and cotton, the 4th largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (2017) and 5th largest exporter of wine . 

Since then, Australia overtook Qatar to become the world’s largest exporter of LNG for the first time in November 2018 . Australia now vies with Qatar and the United States as the world's biggest LNG exporter, having boosted export capacity over the past decade, mainly by building three export terminals on the east coast, which use coal-seam gas as a feedstock.

Foreign owners are at the core of the plundering

Contrary to perceptions encouraged by big mining monopolies, major ‘Australian’ mining companies are not Australian owned. They don’t even have large minority Australian-owned shareholdings. An Australia Institute study in 2022 drew the curtain on that nonsense. 

The ‘Big Australian’ BHP Group Ltd with a market capitalisation of $252.81bn is 94.41% foreign-owned. Rio Tinto Ltd’s shares, valued at $182.08 bn, were 95.16% foreign-owned. That mightn’t surprise but even a corporation with a prominent local face, Fortescue Metals Group, much touted as owned by ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, was 89.16% foreign-owned in March 2022 [Foreign Investment in Australia, Australia Institute, revised 10/2023; ]

Across corporations generally, that study found an overall figure of around 30% identifiable Australian ownership of Australian companies, and in turn, around 70% foreign ownership of listed companies in Australia. Even often-touted household shareholdings amount to less than 10% of ownership and have little or no real say. Superfunds investments are only a smidgen more, according to the Australia Institute. And despite making huge profits, 1 in 3 big corporations still pays no tax. 

The mining, oil and gas industries including exploration and support services, employed 220,000 people in June 2023 of the total national workforce of 14,355,100 employed. That’s just 1 employee in each 67 who are employed by the resource plunderers. [Australian Industry, ABS, 31/5/2024; and Labour Force, Australia, ABS 13/6/2024]

There’s more people involved in the supply chains for the mining, oil and gas industries needed to build mines, etc, and get the resources out of the country.  The Minerals Council reckons that all adds up to 1.1 million people. But those numbers are a fair bit of smoke and mirrors. [Mining sustains Australia in uncertain times, Mineral Council of Australia Media release, 9/1/2023]

Mining, Oil and Gas corporates' best interests are to let most people starve

The resource corporates are 85% foreign-owned, and they need just 1 in 67 of us to get the stuff out of the ground and to ports. They make billions from the business. 

Mining, oil and gas corporates don’t have to give a damn about how hard the other 66 workers here are doing in a cost-of-living crisis. And they don’t. 

Look at what they paid in taxes and royalties last year. “The mining and minerals industries paid a record (sic) $74.0 billion to federal, state, and territory governments in taxes and royalties.” Talk about a pathetic record when compared to their exports of $406bn and profits before tax of $242 bn. [Australian Minerals Sector Achieves Record Tax and Royalty Payments, Mineral Council of Australia Media release, 26/5/2024]. The figure paid leaves out the $14 bn of government subsidies paid to the oil and gas monopoly corporates.

In fact, the resources corporates have interests in making sure nothing is done to make things better for people across the country. That would eat into profits the corporate monopolies make from their mining operations here. 

They can keep plundering Australia’s natural resources with the fraction of the local workforce they employ whatever is happening to the rest of us. It makes the mining monopolies among the most reactionary enemies of the working class in this country alongside their finance sector corporate connections. 

Make the rich mining, oil and gas corporates pay for our natural resources. 

For now, the foreign-owned corporate monopolies rule over the people, workers included. They made $242 bn before tax last year. 

Hit them up for half that, $120 bn. They pay out $60bn now. That would add an extra $60 bn to the Federal budget, a big addition to the $698 bn budget this year. It’s a lot of extra government services. 

If workers were in charge, just think about what those billions the corporate mining monopolies would be paying over to help out people in trouble could do; fix up Medicare and the NDIS, free public education, childcare and universities, open up free health clinics all over the country, free up public transport. With the workers supported and freed up from cost of living squeeze to an extent, small and medium consumer businesses could thrive, allying their interests with the workers. 

First Nations communities should have first call on funds for their communities, given their country being exploited was seized from them and never ceded. The harms are graphically revealed in numerous incidents like the Rio Tinto destruction of Juukan Gorge, let alone First Nations people’s conditions of life. 

The Queensland government recently increased coal royalties to 20% to 40% depending on the level of international prices. They promised to invest in hospitals and housing. We’ll see what comes of that but the increase is a first and an overdue change from the Liberal National Party 10-year freeze on coal royalties at piddling 7% to 15% rates.   

The taxes and royalty being paid by mining, oil and gas monopolies are pathetic next to countries like Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and even the UK. 
Saudi Arabia charges royalties on production values at international pricing of 20% of the value of production up to a base level ($70 per barrel for oil), stepped up to 40% for the next portion of higher prices ($30), stepped up to 50% for prices at the next level ($100/barrel). At a 20% rate, the mining, oil and gas exporters in Australia would pay $93 bn in royalties alone.

The UK charges a windfall oil and gas profits tax when prices spike above historic standard rates. The UK Energy Profits Levy is charged at an extra 25 percent on top of the UK headline tax rate of 40% Corporation Tax. The rate of corporate tax on oil and gas enterprises in the UK is 65%. Here its nominally 30% but the tax paid is a small fraction of that. 

Make the rich mining, oil and gas corporate monopolies pay up. 

These monopolies plunder the nation’s natural riches. 

Their interests are currently decisive in the running of the country. They have no interest aligned with the welfare of the country, let alone the people, working people, First Nations, professionals and many small and medium businesses. 

Foreign-owned corporate monopolies have no right of ownership over the natural resources of the nation. 

The call to make them pay and use the funds to benefit the people is the least we can raise.

It has very widespread support, and greater support at a time when many people are doing it so tough. People need these changes. 

The working class can stand together to build working class power here against foreign-corporate monopolies, and bring forward others to join the front against foreign corporates.