Category Archives: Anti-Imperialism

Israeli Terror Machine Supercharged by Trump’s Jerusalem Statement

Israeli Terror Machine Supercharged by Trump’s Jerusalem Statement

Oppose the U.S. and Australian Regimes that Support the Subjugation of Palestinian People

9 December 2017 – Israeli Air Force jets pounded Gaza overnight. They killed two Palestinian people and injured dozens of others. Several children were among those hurt. Hours earlier, Israeli troops shot dead two other people as they unleashed live fire ammunition on Palestinian protesters. The Israeli terror machine has been supercharged by Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Trump’s statement openly legitimized Israel’s seizure of East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank (and Gaza) in 1967. Within America, Trump has been busy inciting a wave of violent fascist and redneck attacks against Muslims, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, gays, Jews and Hispanics. That’s what his racist, ultra-right wing rants against Muslims, Mexicans and other oppressed minorities have served to do. Now this capitalist billionaire has charged up the Israeli terror machine to churn out yet more savage crimes against the oppressed Palestinian people.

Palestinian people have responded with typically brave resistance. There have also been large protests across the Arab world as well as in Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan. Meanwhile, opponents of racist oppression have joined Palestinian and other Arab migrants in protests in Western cities too.

Fake Criticism of Trump’s Decision by Enemies of Palestinian Liberation

Netanyahu meets Turnbull in Australia
Netanyahu meets Turnbull in Australia

U.S.-allied governments in Australia, Britain, France and elsewhere have, rather cynically, made some criticisms of Trump’s decision.  But what the ruling class of Australia and co. really only object to is that Trump has so openly shown the Western imperial powers’ contempt for Palestinian people. Successive Australian governments – whether Liberal or ALP – have joined their Washington senior partner in steadfastly supporting Israel no matter how ghastly that regime’s crimes. They have proven their true stance on the Jerusalem issue by giving Israel the nod and the wink to implant hundreds of thousands of right-wing “settlers” in East Jerusalem and to divide up the West Bank with heavily fortified highways that Palestinians are not allowed to use.  Six weeks ago, prime minister Turnbull went to Israel to sign an agreement for still greater Australia-Israel defence co-operation. Today, all that he and other Western rulers have to worry about in Trump’s statement is that by being so brazen he will stir up Palestinian resistance, reduce Western influence in the region and trigger rebellions against Western-subordinated Arab governments.

Similarly, most capitalist governments in Arab countries have criticized Trump’s decision only in order to avoid ending up being targets of the anger of “their own” people. However, much of the masses of those countries can see right through this. They know that these governments have no intention of taking any real action in solidarity with Palestinian people. These governments are firmly tied to the imperialist bullies who they depend on not only for access to markets and technology but in order to help protect them from their own restive masses. The main, U.S.-backed Arab power, Saudi Arabia has been secretly co-operating on intelligence matters with Israel for years. Last month its aggressive, young leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dropped a bombshell. Acting for the Trump regime, he secretly sought to pressure Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas to accept an insulting “deal” which would see Palestinians get a “state” with only limited sovereignty, which would be geographically divided by the Israeli settlements in the West Bank – nearly all of which would remain – and where there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/world/middleeast/palestinian-saudi-peace-plan.html).

Yet, the PA leadership itself is under the grip of the Western imperialist powers. When Abbas met Trump in May, long after Trump had declared support to Israeli PM Netanyahu’s moves to further subjugate Palestinians, Abbas gushed to Trump that: “I believe we are capable under your leadership, courageous stewardship, and wisdom … to be true partners to bring about a historic peace treaty”! Today, Abbas is doing his best to hold back Palestinian resistance and restrict protest to formal statements of condemnation. However, the overwhelming calls from the Palestinian masses for a new Intifada may be too much for PA leaders to resist.

Cutting off Supply to the Israeli Killing Machine and Jamming It Up from Within

The bitter reality is that despite the courage of their resistance, the Palestinian people are heavily outgunned. They face an Israeli military that has been armed to the hilt by its imperialist backers. And they have been repeatedly stabbed in the back by the Arab capitalist governments that claim to support them. The force that can potentially decisively tip the balance in favour of the Palestinian people is the international workers movement – including the working class movements in the Arab countries. As a force that stands against its own exploitation, the working class naturally has an interest in supporting all those – like the Palestinian people – who are downtrodden by the same capitalist world order that oppresses them. The working class around the world must demand: No moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem! No theft of Jerusalem by the Zionist occupiers! All Israeli troops and settlers out of all of the West Bank and Gaza! Working class protest action must ramp up to industrial action targeting the imperialist ruling classes in the U.S., Britain, Australia and elsewhere that are fueling the Israeli terrorist machine.

2011 Israeli Leftists Protest
Over 300,000 in Israel back in 2011 protested against social inequality and high costs of living.

The working class within Israel itself could act to undermine the fanatical Zionist agenda. Although the Zionist ruling class claims to stand for all Jewish people, it like every other capitalist class exploits its own workers. To be sure, the massive subsidies that the U.S. and other Western governments have provided to Israel have allowed the Israeli working class to obtain a significantly higher standard of living than their neighbors. This is of course a conservatizing force and makes it harder to win significant sections of the Israeli working class to take the side of the Palestinian resistance. Yet the Jewish masses in Israel still suffer most of the hardships of capitalism. Israel has one of the highest levels of inequality. Even excluding the subjugated Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, Israel has more than 1.7 million people officially living in poverty (see: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/More-than-1-in-5-Israelis-live-in-poverty-highest-in-developed-world-475444). Three in every ten Israeli children live in poverty as do nearly half of all Ultra-Orthodox Jews – almost the same rate of poverty as Palestinian Arabs living in Israel’s pre-1967 borders.  Meanwhile, dark-skinned Jewish people suffer terrible racism. Resentment at all these forms of oppression can potentially be harnessed to break a section of the Jewish working class from loyalty to the Zionist capitalist order.

Orthodox Jews protest against conscription
Orthodox Jews protest against Israeli army conscription, in Jerusalem, on March 28, 2017

There is another reason why Israeli working class people’s interests lie with junking their current allegiance to the racist order. The Zionist rulers’ selling card has always been that they would provide security to the Jewish people. Israel was sold as a sanctuary where Jewish people would be free from ever again having to suffer the daily discrimination that they had endured in Western Europe, the pogroms that they faced in Tsarist Russia and the genocide meted out to their people by the Nazis. Yet the history of Israel has proven that building a state based on driving another people out of their land with Nazi-like terror – no matter how much religious quackery it is justified by – does not bring security at all. Instead the racial-supremacist Zionist project has brought great hostility towards the Jewish people of Israel from their neighbors.

The rise of the fascist-supported Trump has highlighted an additional aspect of this question. Trump is a fervent supporter of Israel but his hard right-wing agenda has simultaneously emboldened anti-Semitic, fascist forces within America and around the world. This was evident in the far right rallies in Charlottesville four months ago, which Trump legitimized. There, Nazi and KKK filth not only marched with slogans against blacks, Muslims and other people of color but also had anti-Semitic slogans like, “Jews will not replace us” and “Jews are Satan’s children.” In Australia too, decaying capitalism is spawning the growth of violent far-right outfits. A few of these fascist groups like the Party For Freedom are actually avowedly pro-Israel. Mind you, some of these fascists are pro-Israel only because they want to “purify” White Australia of Jews by having them go off to Israel – in the same way that Hitler’s Nazis collaborated with some Zionist leaders. Most Australian fascist groups, however, basing themselves on the vile tradition of Nazism, are openly and fanatically anti-Semitic. And although their main targets have been Muslims, Aboriginal people and Chinese people and other Asians, Jewish people and synagogues have been among the secondary targets of their violence. The American imperialist-dominated order that props up Israel, far from keeping the Jewish people secure, is actually creating the conditions for far-right terror attacks on Jewish people.

The fact that a small number of Israeli citizens have bravely refused to serve in the military as a matter of conscience shows that some Israelis can see past the false promises of Zionism and the extreme racial supremacist propaganda that they are fed. When the Middle East region is radicalized by a revolutionary working class upsurge, it will be possible to break a section of the Jewish working class from Zionism and unite them with the brave Palestinian masses in a movement that can smash the genocidal, Israeli capitalist order from within. Together, they will establish a multi-ethnic workers state that will necessarily be secular and anti-racist and which will provide all Palestinian refugees the right of return to the pre-1948 lands that they resided on. A socialist Palestine will finally both free the Palestinian people from barbaric Zionist oppression and provide the Jewish people with the real security that they have longed for.

International Balance of Forces Shapes the Fate of Palestine

Trump’s kick in the guts of the Palestinian people has been made possible by prior aggressive imperialist intervention in the Middle East. The savage U.S., British and Australian war against the much hated ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria has given these imperialist powers a renewed military presence in the region, greater political influence and the allegiance of key local military forces. Further south, with the backing of these Western powers, the Saudi military – and its allies in the UAE, Egyptian and Sudanese regimes – have unleashed a brutal war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. This intervention has enhanced the power of the U.S.-Saudi-Israeli axis in the region. Meanwhile, Trump’s directing of this Axis towards war with Iran has drawn the two most reactionary local powers in the region – Saudi Arabia and Israel – closer together.

This Axis, alongside Britain, France, Australia, Turkey and Qatar have been waging a years-long war – via FSA and openly religious fundamentalist “Rebel” proxies – to impose regime change on Syria. As well as causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Syrian people, this proxy war has greatly weakened Syria. That has, in turn, hurt the Palestinian resistance. For, although the capitalist Syrian government’s support to the Palestinian cause has been inconsistent and limited, they did provide sanctuary and bases for key Palestinian resistance groups. Today, through the heroism of the Syrian masses and soldiers – and with the support of their external allies – the original crop of imperialist proxies have been close to defeated in Syria. Yet the U.S., Australian and other allied imperialists now have a new proxy force in the form of the Kurdish YPG. Allied with the PKK in Turkey, the YPG had been waging a just struggle for the national rights of the oppressed Kurdish people of Syria. However, they have now subordinated themselves to the most powerful force for social oppression in the world – the Western imperialists. They are set to be used as a force or bargaining chip to increase imperialist influence in Syria – and, thus, in the whole region.  It is an urgent task for all genuine supporters of Palestinian liberation to oppose all the Middle East interventions that boost the power of the Western imperialist and Israeli enemies of Palestinian liberation! Let’s fight for: All U.S./Australian/British/French forces to get out of all of the Middle East! Defend Syria against all the imperialist-allied “Rebels” – from the FSA to the religious fundamentalists to the YPG! Saudi, UAE, Egyptian and Sudanese forces get out of Yemen! U.S./Australia, Israel and Saudi Arabia: Hands Off Iran!

Although driven by its own capitalist agenda, Russia’s military might in Syria has been crucial to holding back the imperialist regime change drive there. Today, president Putin is using the increased stature this has brought Russia and the loss of U.S. prestige following Trump’s Jerusalem announcement to engage in energetic diplomatic interventions. Given the horror that the American-dominated order has brought to the people of the Middle East it is tempting to think that any other power trying to nudge them aside can hardly be any worse. However, it would be very naive for supporters of Palestinian liberation to put their faith in yet another capitalist power. The fact that Putin has called Netanyahu one of his favorite world leaders and is rapidly improving ties with crucial Israel ally, Saudi Arabia, should be reason enough to make us wary (http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/strange-love-affair-putin-and-netanyahu-1736252238).

In addition to the brave resistance of Palestinian activists and the Syrian people, there are, however, other genuine forces that are opposing – or can potentially oppose – the imperialist world order that has brought such suffering to the Palestinian people. Most crucial is the working class within the imperialist centers like the U.S. and Australia, whose interests lie with opposing the rulers that oversee their exploitation. Then there are the people of North Korea. Today, they are defending their socialistic system and desperately trying to avoid meeting the same fate as the people of Iraq and Libya by defiantly building a nuclear deterrence in the face of U.S. and Australian war threats. All opponents of this brutal imperialist world order must stand by the people of North Korea.

Similarly, we must defend the rise of socialistic China that is challenging the capitalist-imperialist dominated world order. To be sure, the compromising Chinese leadership pursues a selfish foreign policy of “non-interference” in the affairs of other countries. It also accommodates a degree of capitalism within China. Nevertheless, the workers state created by China’s 1949 anti-capitalist revolution remains in place and the backbone of China’s economy remains the public sector of socialistic state-owned enterprises. This has laid the basis for China’s stunning economic development and poverty alleviation successes. This strengthening of socialistic China is already providing a support point for ex-colonial countries to start to lift themselves up from under Western neocolonial subjugation. Meanwhile, regardless of the intentions of China’s leaders, the emergence of a large, successful socialistic society provides inspiration to rebel to those masses of the world still suffering under the capitalist order. The imperialist powers know this all too well. That is why, from sending menacing naval forces to the South China Sea, to threatening China’s socialistic neighbour and ally North Korea to backing pro-capitalist, “dissidents” within China, the imperialists are doing everything in their power to undermine socialistic rule in China. The Turnbull government’s scare-mongering about “Chinese interference” in Australian politics is meant to justify to the population this anti-China, anti-communist drive. So, too, the right wing’s successful Cold War style witch-hunt of, now former, ALP Senator Sam Dastyari for merely stating the patently obvious fact that the South China Sea is China’s internal matter (for more on this issue see: https://www.facebook.com/TrotskyistPlatform/posts/1515409871846563 ). However, if these efforts to destroy socialistic rule in China are beaten back, if capitalist forces within China are decisively defeated and if China more proudly advocates on the world stage its socialist course then the U.S.-dominated world order would really be threatened. And that can only be good news for the Palestinian people and all the downtrodden of the planet.

Unfortunately, many of the Australian left wing groups that state solidarity with the Palestinian cause (including the Socialist Alternative, Solidarity and Socialist Alliance groups), simultaneously join the imperialist crusade against China by supporting the various Western-backed “pro-democracy activists” seeking to overthrow socialistic rule there. Similarly bowing to imperialist propaganda campaigns, these groups also support the pro-imperialist “Rebels” in Syria. A small number of leftists, of which we in Trotskyist Platform are amongst, did have the fortitude to oppose the imperialist drive to impose regime change on Syria. However, many of those involved in the Hands Off Syria groups then became badly disoriented and lapsed into becoming apologists for Trump or worse.

Mobilise Working Class Opposition to the U.S. and Australian Capitalist Regimes That Support Israel

The Trump regime and the U.S. ruling class it serves is more rabidly supporting its deputy sheriffs in the Middle East – primarily, Israel and Saudi Arabia – because it needs them to be more aggressive. It needs more from its regional enforcers because the more that the capitalist economic system is mired in crisis, the more that it must make up for it by more ruthlessly plundering the resource-rich Middle East and seizing control of markets and sources of labour to exploit everywhere.

Similarly, Australian governments – whether Liberal or ALP or ALP/Greens – have always, ultimately, supported Israel’s subjugation of Palestinian people because that conforms to the interests of the Australian capitalist class whom these governments all serve. It is a mistake to think that you can lobby the Australian government to change its position on Palestine by appealing to it to take a more independent policy from the U.S.A. For the Australian government supports U.S. power only because that is what is in the interests of Australia’s capitalist rulers. In particular, the Australian rulers need U.S. power to guarantee Australian imperialist plunder of South Pacific countries from PNG to East Timor to Fiji; and to have the back of Australian corporations participating in the neo-colonial exploitation of workers in Indonesia, the Philippines and beyond. These imperialist looters of the South Pacific, genocidal oppressors of Aboriginal people and brutal imprisoners of refugees can never be friends of the Palestinian people – or any other oppressed people!

However, while supporting the subjugation of Palestinian people is in the interests of Australia’s rich capitalist class, opposing U.S. and Israeli tyranny against the Palestinian people is very much in the interests of the working class and all oppressed of this country.  For one, it is in the interests of movements fighting for the downtrodden to stand by others facing oppression. Moreover, it is in our interests to weaken the ruling class that attacks our trade unions, consigns us to perpetual job insecurity, drives up our rents by selling off public housing, punishes us when we get retrenched from work,  murders Aboriginal people in state custody and vilifies Muslim, Chinese and other non-white ethnic communities.  So, while we cannot appeal to the Australian rulers to change their position on the Palestine issue we can through powerful action force it to back off from its support for Israel. To do this we must build actions that are strong enough to harm the interests of the Australian ruling class – in particular its economic interests. That means workers industrial action against the Australian capitalist rulers. Let’s build up towards such action! Let’s shake the imperialist branches that are holding up the Zionist’s nest!

 

 

Free The Refugees & Bring Them Here Now!

Above: 3 November 2017 – Delegates to an Australian Services Union delegates conference in WA proudly show their support for the embattled Manus refugees. The growing number of statements of solidarity for refugees from sections of the union movement needs to be turned into protest industrial action. [Photo credit: WA from Unionists for Refugees – WA Facebook page]

Turn Our Union Movement’s Stated Solidarity with Manus Refugees Into Industrial Action That Can Force the Australian Government to: Free The Refugees & Bring Them Here Now!

Enough is enough. End their suffering. Evacuate these men now.
These men are people like us. They deserve to be working people. They are engineers, journalists, artists and former United Nations workers. They are fathers, brothers, uncles and sons.
We have taken their dreams of a better life, and replaced them with an unrelenting nightmare.

ACTU Statement, 10 November 2017

18 November 2017: Refugees on Manus Island are in a desperate struggle. After Australian governments and their henchmen in PNG imprisoned them for years in the island’s hellhole detention camp, Australian and PNG authorities now want them to move to yet another prison in a location where they will be even more unsafe. The refugees have good reason to be fearful. Just seven months ago, navy personnel living on the island attacked them with rocks and knives. The navy staff reportedly even unleashed gunfire against the centre.

So it is completely understandable that some four hundred of the refugees have refused to re-locate. They don’t want to be attacked or even killed. They don’t want another prison! They just want to be free to live like human beings should. The refugees are courageously resisting even after police cut food, water and electricity to the camp. Five days ago, the Australian-puppet PNG authorities once again entered the camp to destroy the water wells and bins that they had used to collect water to drink. These human beings are being starved and forced to live in filthy conditions. They are being tortured!

The Liberal and ALP politicians’ racist savagery against refugees and their fear-mongering against Muslims is emboldening extreme race-hate groups within Australia. A week ago, one such outfit threateningly ambushed Labor senator, Sam Dastyari. The bigots branded Iranian-born Dastyari a “monkey” and a “terrorist” as he sat down for a quiet pub meal. If this is what happens to a well-connected mainstream politician because he doesn’t happen to be white enough for the racist white supremacists, consider the threats that other people of colour face – whether from conscious fascists or from garden variety rednecks. Just two weeks ago, three Chinese high school students were bashed at a bus stop in South Canberra. This was part of a series of racist attacks in the area on the Chinese community.

The fact is that in the capitalist world, fascism is on the rise. Not only did a hard right racist become U.S. president and not only have far-right parties made big electoral gains in Austria, France and Germany but in all these countries as well as in the likes of Sweden, Greece, Ukraine and Russia fascist thugs are terrorising migrants. Far right forces are being emboldened because the more that capitalist rulers prevent working class people from having secure jobs and the more that they slash social services the more they have to scapegoat minority communities for the suffering caused by their own capitalist system of exploitation. Meanwhile the economic insecurity that this so-called system creates is pushing the most backward sections of the middle class into seeking salvation in extreme nationalism. If we do not resist, there is a danger that large parts of the world could end up being ravaged by the horror of Hitler-style fascism. The viciousness of the Australian regime’s treatment of refugees and the concomitant escalation in racist terror on the streets should both serve as warning signs!

Refugees imprisoned on Manus Island bravely protest for freedom and safety and condemn the condemn cruelty of Australian government.

Many people have, indeed, been fighting against the Liberal government’s abuse of Manus refugees. People have held spirited protests and there have been brief occupations of immigration department offices. Some activists have staged audacious media stunts like climbing a crane to hoist the banner “SOS: Evacuate Manus Now!” over Flemington racecourse on Melbourne Cup day. Last Friday, hundreds of us rightly gave a good serve to participants at a Sydney fundraiser for Tony Abbott which also acted as a speaking appointment for the much hated immigration minister, Peter Dutton.

However, what the refugee rights movement is up against was seen by the response of the ruling class to Friday’s protest. Firstly, police aggressively manhandled protesters. Even after we marched off far from the site of the right-wing fundraiser, riot police continued to assault demonstrators. They arrested four protesters – one of whom was charged. Today, another activist was charged, this time over the incident when Abbott’s sister and fellow Liberal party hack, Christine Forster, ran into spirited opposition when she entered Friday’s fundraiser. Meanwhile, mainstream media hysterically condemned the protests and greatly hyped up the trouble that the whingeing sook, Forster, ran into. And it was not just the conservative Murdoch media that was on the charge here. The “liberal” Fairfax media and the ABC joined in too. And the condemnation of our protests from politicians was not restricted to Abbott and his hard line mate, Dutton. Opposition frontbencher, Anthony Albanese, a member of Labor’s so-called “Left” faction, accused us of “intimidation.” This highlights the fact that this is a bi-partisan war on refugees. Indeed, behind the cruel torture of refugees stands the overwhelming majority of the capitalist ruling class as well as their henchmen – from their physical enforcers in the police force to the judges and magistrates providing legal cover for their crimes to their media propagandists and their political servants on both sides of parliament.

Against this overwhelming physical, political, judicial, media and financial power that the bosses wield we need our own power. Actually, we already have it! For our power lies in the organised workers movement and its ability to unleash industrial action to hurt the profits of the rich capitalist businessmen for whose interests the whole state machine has been set up over many years. It is possible to mobilise the working class in defence of refugees because it is in the very interests of the working class to oppose racism since such racism is poison to the workers unity essential to building any campaign for workers rights. Importantly, five days ago, the Australian Council of Trade Unions released a statement calling on “the Australian Government to immediately evacuate people seeking asylum on Manus Island, to end the appalling humanitarian crisis.” This statement now needs to be backed up by industrial action. The workers movement and all its allies must fight to demand that all the Manus and, indeed, Nauru-based refugees be brought here to Australia with the full rights of citizens. Freedom for all people imprisoned in Australia’s hell-hole detention centres from Manus to Nauru to Villawood to Christmas Island! Full rights of citizenship for all refugees, migrants, guest workers and students! Drop the charges against all pro-refugee protesters!

31 October 2017: On the day Manus Island refugees were set to be thrown into a yet more unsafe prison, Manus Island residents organised by the Manus Alliance Against Human Rights Abuse demand freedom for the refugees and their resettlement in Australia.

PNG and Australian Imperialism

The persecution of Manus refugees highlights just how much PNG is under the control of the Australian ruling class. For decades, PNG was an Australian colony. Australia’s rulers treated the PNG masses with the same racist arrogance that they continue to subject Aboriginal people to. After PNG gained independence in 1975, Australian-owned companies continued to loot her mineral wealth without paying much royalty to local people. Today, up to 500 people in the PNG capital are sleeping rough after two Australian-owned developers threw out 2,000 people living in the waterfront Paga Hill shantytown with no resettlement. With the PNG people so badly impoverished by Australian imperialist exploitation, some PNG locals have become resentful of those who, like refugees, are mistakenly seen as competing for scarce goods.

In a classic neo-colonial arrangement, Australian judges, bureaucrats and “advisers” have continued to impregnate PNG’s state organs after the so-called “independence” of PNG was officially declared in 1975. Thus, PNG’s Supreme Court – the same court that last week knocked back an application to restore basic services to the Manus camp – has not one but three Australian judges on its panel! As for the PNG police force, it is advised – i.e. directed – by a contingent of over 70 Australian Federal Police officers stationed directly in PNG. Through a combination of the pressure of these Australian bureaucrats and police officers, through bribery of PNG officials by Australian businessmen and through the economic threats of all-powerful Australian corporations, the capitalist elites living in places like Point Piper, Mosman, Toorak, Vaucluse and Hunters Hill are able to ensure that the PNG state machine serves their interests. In June last year, PNG police opened fire on students protesting against the corrupt, Australian-backed prime minister, Peter O’Neill. Reports indicate that at least four students were shot dead. Earlier from 1989, the PNG military, acting in the interests of Australian-owned miner CRA (which later merged with British RTZ to form Rio Tinto), brutally attacked a brave rebellion by people on the island of Bougainville. The Bougainville people rose up against CRA’s refusal to grant proper compensation – and its arrogant destruction of the surrounding land – from its hugely profitable Panguna copper mine. But, backed up by Australian arms, military advisers and Australian pilots strafing the Bougainville people from helicopter gunships, the PNG military and its Australian godfathers killed over 15,000 Bougainville people through either gunfire or the starvation and lack of medicine that resulted from the blockade that they imposed on the island’s people. Today these same forces are doing a mini-version of that blockade against the Manus refugees – and if they are not stopped the same tragic consequences will ensue!

Meanwhile, Australian governments have pressured PNG authorities to not only privatise PNG public services but even its land held by kinship groups too. This has, obviously, led to greater inequality and a replacement of the local people’s pre-colonial, community-minded outlook with the ruthless rivalries of unrestrained dog eat dog capitalism. Nevertheless, contrary to the Australian media’s attempt to brand all the Manus people as violent attackers of refugees – even as the media, itself, unsympathetically reports on the refugees’ plight – some on the island have been bravely defying the police and trying to pass food through to the refugees in the camp. Furthermore, over three hundred people on the island, organised by Manus Alliance Against Human Rights Abuse, have signed a petition asking for all the asylum seekers to be returned to Australia. Moreover, although in remote and navy-dominated Manus many people do imbibe the Australian government’s hostility to refugees, in urban parts of PNG – especially in the capital with its working class concentration – there have been many instances of brave resistance against the Australian-dictated social order. In 2001, PNG students along with others held mass protests and occupations against privatisation of state assets. Bearing slogans against the Australian government, the IMF and the World Bank that had dictated the privatisation program, they eventually forced the PNG government to back down. This heroic struggle came at great cost – PNG police shot dead four of the anti-privatisation protesters in June 2001.

PNG, June 2001, Left: Students and others courageously protest against the Australian government, IMF and World Bank for dictating a privatisation agenda on PNG. Acting in the interests of their Australian neo-colonial masters, the PNG police responded with fierce repression (Right), shooting dead four protesters. Today, in preventing food, water and medicine getting to the Manus refugees, the PNG police are once again proving to be the henchmen of the brutal Australian imperialist ruling class.

Typical Racist Brutality of the Australian Regime

The horror of what Australia’s rulers are doing to the Manus refugees has driven new layers of well-meaning people into the refugee rights movement. Some of them and others involved in the campaign for a long time have held slogans about the Manus issue like, “This is Un-Australian.” Such sentiments are encouraged by the speeches of Greens politicians at refugee rights rallies who often state that “Australia’s treatment of refugees puts a stain on our proud human rights record.” However, the truth is that the Australian government’s persecution of refugees is all too typical of the “human rights record” of this ruling class. Indeed, the way they are grinding down refugees at the Manus camp right now actually draws attention to the way they have subjected Aboriginal children in the NT and other Australian youth detention centres to unsanitary conditions as well as torture. The death last Christmas Eve of 27 year-old Manus refugee from Sudan, Faysal Ishak Ahmed, after authorities denied him proper medical treatment for his heart and breathing problems has eerie similarities to the August 2014 death of imprisoned 22 year-old Aboriginal woman, Julieka Dhu, who died of a severe bacterial infection after racist WA police murderously refused her medical treatment. And the way that Manus guards and cops bashed to death Kurdish asylum seeker, Reza Berati, in 2014, recalls the brutal bashing to death in Palm Island ten years earlier of the Aboriginal man, Mulrunji Doomadgee, by a racist Queensland cop. Indeed, capitalist rule in this country was founded on the genocidal dispossession of Aboriginal people. Nevertheless, Aboriginal people continue to resist racist state violence, famously during the Redfern resistance actions and Palm Island uprising, both in 2004. The latter brought to prominence the great Aboriginal hero from Palm Island, Lex Wotton. But the killings in and out of state custody of John Pat, Eddie Murray, TJ Hickey, Julieka Dhu, Wayne “Fella” Morrison, David Dungay, Tane Chatfield and hundreds of other people show that Aboriginal people continue to be murdered by racist Australian police and prison guards to this very day.

So the cruel mandatory detention of refugees does not come out of the blue. Indeed, it is an extension of the Australian White Australia Policy that lasted officially up to the mid-1970s. That policy effectively barred most non-white people from entering the country. Even the impunity that detention centre guards have for extreme acts of brutality against refugees is rooted in Australia’s past and present. We only have to note that not a single Australian prison guard or cop has ever been convicted over the death of an Aboriginal person in custody. Or to point to the way that the racist redneck who chased down and ran over 14 year-old Aboriginal youth, Elijah Doughty, in Kalgoorlie was only given a very light sentence for his deadly actions. Meanwhile, the spin of the Australian authorities and media over their atrocities on Manus is all too typical as well. It is like the way they black out the voice of Aboriginal people speaking out against murders of their family and friends in custody or the way they tried to cover up the racist character of the wave of violent attacks on Indian students in Australia in 2009.

The fact is that the filthy rich businessmen who run this country – and their henchmen in the state machine – will do whatever it takes to strengthen their rule and boost their profits. Today, as homelessness is on the rise, Australian governments drive more people into poverty by selling off low-rent public housing. They are also persecuting trade union activists in the construction industry. Indeed, their cruel repression of refugees is an indication of what they will seek to impose on the exploited working class should we mount a serious challenge to their rule. This is no joke, comrades.

Identifying the cruel oppression of refugees as one of the aspects of a profoundly unjust social order opens the door to a united front with Aboriginal people fighting against savage oppression, trade unions struggling against anti-union laws and cuts to working conditions, low income people suffering through the dire shortage of low-rent accommodation as well as ever more stringent restrictions on access to social welfare and the many communities in Australia who bear the full brunt of Islamophobia and other variants of the white supremacist, racist agenda.

The Burning Question:
What Strategy to Free the Refugees?

Over the last 25 years many people have sincerely put great effort into the struggle for refugee rights. But at this critical moment we must consider: is the movement basing itself on a strategy and program that can actually win? Well, certainly, the hard work of thousands of activists over the years has not gone to waste. As a result of all the protests for refugee rights many, many more people are aware of the issue and have become sympathetic to the plight of refugees. However, the movement has not been able to make Australian governments retreat from any of their cruel policies. When one considers how many hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in this country are sympathetic to the plight of refugees then one has to conclude that the strategy the refugee rights movement has pursued up till now has been a wrong one.

So what strategy has the movement been based on? It is true that people from diverse political backgrounds participating in the actions have different ideas about how best to achieve freedom for refugees. However, the prevailing strategy, which reflects the politics of the socialist group, Solidarity, that has control of the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) is one that’s based on the idea of change through parliament. So, the movement, even while criticising the ALP’s refugee policies, campaigns for the ALP and Greens to be elected to parliament and seeks to pressure the ALP to reverse its anti-refugee policy. Thus, the formation of a future ALP government with a pro-refugee policy or an ALP-Greens coalition is put forward as a means to free the refugees.

The problem with this strategy, however, is that it has not worked. Indeed, it was the Rudd Labor government which in July 2013 brought in the current “PNG solution.” Labor’s Rudd made John Howard’s racist refugee policy even more xenophobic by declaring that, “From now on, any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugees.” And let’s not forget it was the Keating ALP government that in 1992 introduced the policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers in the first place.

Unlike the ALP, the Greens have spoken out – sometimes strongly – against the Turnbull government’s brutal war on refugees. However, in 2010 they jumped into a de facto coalition with the Gillard ALP government without demanding even the slightest commitment from that government to ease its war on refugees. During the period of the Greens-ALP alliance government from August 2010 to February 2013, not only did the Greens prop up a government that was maintaining mandatory detention of refugees but that government also significantly intensified its anti-refugee policy. In August 2012, the Gillard government announced that it would resume the detention of refugees in Manus and Nauru that had been paused during the first Rudd government. Even though the Greens opposed the move, they still remained part of the de facto coalition government! That’s hardly a serious commitment to refugee rights!

The reason that all pro-capitalist parties are complicit in the oppression of refugees is that the vast majority of the capitalist bigwigs – whom all these current parliamentary parties ultimately serve – are committed to the war on refugees. To be sure, some in the capitalist class do worry that the brutality of their anti-refugee policies will damage the Australian state’s reputation in the world and thus impede their ability to use the claim of standing for “human rights” to justify their predatory imperialist interventions abroad. However, a bigger section of the corporate tycoons calculate that they need the diversionary and divisive effect of a harsh policy against refugees. And from their ruthlessly greedy point of view they are probably right! Without their governments making the masses think that refugees and migrants are some kind of threat to their wellbeing, how else are they going to make working class people wear the fact that workers’ real wages aren’t rising and workers’ penalty rates are being cut while the capitalists’ own fat profits are ballooning ever higher? How else are the big shareholders and executives of the NAB bank going to stop their own workforce from revolting at the fact that they are throwing 6,000 of these workers out of their jobs even after making a spectacular $5.3 billion annual profit?

Given that the Greens do claim to stand for refugee rights it is not wrong per se for RAC to invite them to speak at their rallies. Nor, given that the pro-capitalist ALP does have a working class base (unlike the openly pro-boss Liberals), is it unacceptable to have speakers from Labor for Refugees in order to encourage pro-refugee individuals within the ALP to take a more outspoken stand. However, what is harmful is for the Solidarity group leadership of RAC to then promote future ALP or ALP-Greens “lesser evil” governments as a means of salvation for refugees.

The left-social democratic Solidarity group’s parliamentarist strategy was especially evident during the federal elections last year when they openly handed out election material for the Greens and called to put the ALP second after the Greens. When pushing these parliamentary illusions, Solidarity are acting to dampen support for the truly militant actions that are needed to win refugee rights even while young Solidarity members, themselves, passionately promote and participate in staunch pro-refugee actions.

Of course, if the refugee rights movement could be re-directed into one that could start to threaten and harm the ruling class’ interests – in particular, their profits – then a section of the capitalist class would be forced to consider backing down. Their more “left” and small-l liberal representatives would then start seriously working towards an overhaul of refugee policy. But this would not be change driven by these pro-capitalist parliamentary parties themselves but, rather, a case of the resistance of the masses forcing a section of the capitalists and the parties that serve them to retreat. That is a huge difference!

What a Working Class Orientation Really Means

To be able to threaten the interests of the ruling class means unleashing the industrial muscle of the union movement. Encouragingly, contingents of unionists from the Nurses and Midwives Association, the MUA, NTEU, Teachers Federation and other unions have taken part in pro-refugee actions. RAC does make efforts to lobby unions to participate in the movement. And the Solidarity group does state that a working class orientation is needed. However, a working class orientation requires more than just motivating unions to support the refugee rights campaign. It means setting the line of the movement itself to a pro-working class direction. In particular, it means making open appeals to workers’ interests, not just in statements given out especially to unionists, but in the actual, official callouts for the entire action itself. That means, for example, featuring as headline slogans in the main action call outs, calls similar to, “Workers: Let’s Build the Unity We Need to Stand Up to the Greedy Bosses – Oppose Racism by Standing with Refugees!” Openly appealing to workers’ class interests in the action callouts is what could win broader layers of unionists to see the refugee struggle as their struggle. It is what will help more conscious union activists who are already involved in the movement to mobilise their co-workers to join in as well.

This could, of course, put off some liberal refugee rights supporters who may be anti-union or unwilling to align with an openly pro-working class movement – people like liberal small business bosses, mid-level managers and managerial level public service bureaucrats who may support the Greens. It is this prospect of a break with such small-l liberals that, no doubt, makes Solidarity – and the other groups prominent in directing RAC like Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance – baulk from setting the refugee rights movement on an openly pro-working class direction. But this choice must be made. One cannot effectively appeal to both the rival classes in this society. If one truly believes in a pro-working class orientation – and it is clear that it will take the mobilisation of the working class and its allies to repulse the war on refugees – one has to be prepared to break with pro-capitalist elements. We should add that given that there have been many militant pro-refugee actions over the last two weeks and given the depth of the media/politician witch hunt over the Christine Forster “incident,” those left social democratic groups who have been so careful not to scare off small-l liberal elements may find these types quietly retreating from the movement anyhow or otherwise distancing themselves from militant protests.

Of course, whether the workers movement can be mobilised in defence of refugees depends on not only the direction of the refugee rights movement but on the internal politics of the union movement itself. Currently, the anti-refugee ALP politically dominates the union movement. That’s why challenging this influence of the ALP is key to mobilising the workers movement in defence of refugees.

We need to purge from the union movement not only loyalty to the ALP but something that runs even deeper – support for Labor’s outlook. Unfortunately, most workers currently back the ALP’s economic nationalist agenda. ALP slogans like “Employ Australians First,” by setting up local citizens as job market rivals of foreigners, inevitably creates resentment towards guest workers, refugees and international students. Indeed, protectionism runs so deep that much of the Far Left acquiesces to it even while trying to present it in a “clean” way devoid of open racism. The Socialist Alliance group, Socialist Alternative and the Communist Party of Australia all backed Australia’s largest demonstration to keep out foreign workers: the July 2012 “Local Workers First” rally in Perth. Here we must, however, give credit where credit is due to the Solidarity group. Although, overall, of all the far-left groups, Solidarity panders most to the ALP and Greens, they do take a strong stand against economic nationalism.

Trotskyist Platform is on a campaign to oppose all forms of economic nationalism. We understand that as long as this nationalism remains dominant in the union movement, efforts to mobilise the working class masses in defence of refugees will be greatly undermined. We seek to prove to workers how economic nationalism in all its forms undermines the unity and focus we need to fight for workers rights.

We can only defeat economic nationalist slogans if we provide an alternative program for secure jobs for all workers. Such a program is one of militant class struggle to prevent capitalist bosses from retrenching workers and forcing them to increase hiring at the expense of their fat profits. When the greedy capitalists scream that this will cause their economy to collapse, the workers movement must respond: if you big business owners cannot run the economy in a way that guarantees secure jobs for all workers then we working class people will take the economy out of your hands and place it in our own strong, able and collective hands. A true revolution that brings the working class into economic and state power is, ultimately, what we need. It will ensure secure jobs for all, truly free medical care, education and public housing and, by removing the rule of the exploiting class, it will liquidate the main driver of racist policies. Like the workers state created by the Russian Revolution 100 years ago declared, in its very first constitution, a workers state today would grant asylum to all refugees and give the rights of citizenship to all working class people residing on its soil. Crucially, the overturn of capitalist rule would save us from the real threat that we face, today, of a future triumph of the fascist, hard right form of capitalism.

Yet we do need to do far more than simply proclaim the need for socialist revolution. There are many struggles that we need to engage in right now. A workers revolution can only be built by first uniting the working class and training it to trust only in its own power when that mighty proletarian power is itself united with the power of all other oppressed groups.

History has entrusted our class – the working class – to bring justice to society. We need to mobilise the workers movement in defence of refugees, against racist state terror and as a force that can shut down far-right racist terror groups right in their tracks. The working class must unite across ethnic and national lines in a struggle against racism precisely because we need to train the working class to be the champion of all of the oppressed. So let’s be guided by this perspective during our participation in the campaign for the Manus refugees. Let’s oppose illusions in salvation through the ALP and Greens within the refugee rights movement! Let’s fight to ensure that refugee rights actions are built on openly pro-working class slogans! Let’s struggle to root out economic nationalism in all its forms from our unions! We must intensify the agitation to mobilise working class action in defence of the Manus refugees!

Stand with Socialistic North Korea Against U.S./Australian Capitalism’s War Threats

Stand with Socialistic North Korea

Against U.S./Australian Capitalism’s War Threats

15 August 2017 – Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has vowed to join with the U.S. should it wage war on North Korea. U.S. president Donald Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The people of North Korea– the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) – have responded with brave defiance. Yet they have reason to be worried. Trump really is the cruel madman that he sounds like. He has slandered Mexicans as “rapists”, implemented despicable laws restricting entry of people from Muslim majority countries and created such a racist climate that race-hate attacks in the U.S. have skyrocketed. But Trump is not just your typical, hard-right wing nut job – he also happens to have his finger on the fire button of the most terrifying nuclear arsenal in the world! But the Australian regime backing him all the way is hardly any better. The regime here has overseen racist killings of black people in custody and the torture of imprisoned Aboriginal youth. New revelations last month have detailed the extent to which Australian SAS forces in Afghanistan are killing children and murdering other innocent civilians and then planting guns on them to make them look like enemy combatants. It is these shock troops of the Australian ruling class who would spearhead Australian military involvement in any war on the DPRK.

A glimpse of the horror that the people of the DPRK are threatened with can be seen in Mosul. There, to further their predatory goals, the U.S. and Australian imperialists and other allied powers conducted air strikes in such an indiscriminate manner that in just a four month period between February and June they killed 5,805 civilians according to the respected liberal, monitoring group Airwars. They killed thousands more through excessive artillery barrages and in airstrikes in other parts of Iraq as well as in Syria.

Part of the reason for the U.S. and Australian rulers’ crazed obsession with crushing the DPRK is the fear that other countries currently targeted by imperialism – like Syria, Iran and Venezuela – will be inspired by North Korea’s defiant building of a nuclear deterrent and themselves seek to stand up more to the Western powers.

However, the factors behind Washington and Canberra’s war drive against the DPRK are somewhat different to what’s behind their proxy war against Syria and their repeated invasions of Iraq. Those adventures are mainly about gaining dominance over the Middle East in order to seize control of the world’s oil supplies. However, the source of the U.S., Australian, British, Japanese and South Korean rulers’ enmity to the DPRK runs even deeper than oil: it is a product of the hostility of capitalist rulers to socialism. The fact that the North Korean people have courageously dared to reject capitalism and to, instead, build a system based upon collective ownership of the factories, banks, mines and land provokes fanatical hatred from the capitalist ruling classes. To be sure, the socialistic system in the DPRK is bureaucratically deformed. The intense military pressure that capitalist powers assert against her plus the economic strangulation of sanctions is an immense deforming force upon her. Nevertheless, the imperialist ruling classes cannot stand having any part of the world where they do not have the “freedom” to control markets and exploit labour at will. Moreover, the capitalists are denied this “right” not only in the DPRK but in her neighbour and ally, the world’s most populous country, the Peoples Republic of China. Although the ruling bureaucracy in China has strengthened pro-capitalist forces by ushering in pro-market reforms from the 1980s onwards, the PRC economy continues to be dominated by socialistic state-owned enterprises. That is why, from provocatively sailing warships through her waters to financing anti-communist “dissidents” and NGOs to targeting next-door neighbour, North Korea,, the U.S. and Australian ruling classes are so determined to undermine the state power in China. Although the national-centred leaders of the PRC and DPRK do little to encourage revolutionary class struggle in the capitalist countries, the mere existence of these socialistic states where the working class, in however a deformed way, rules provokes horror among capitalists. The horror that one day the toiling masses in their own countries will overthrow them and take power. That is why the enmity of capitalist powers to North Korea and China is more enduring and more deep-going than their current hostility to those capitalist-run, ex-colonial countries like Syria that refuse to kowtow enough to them. During their 1950-53 war on the DPRK, the U.S., Australian and other allied capitalist powers completely burnt to the ground the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, several times with bombs and napalm. Later, U.S. war criminals boasted of their deeds:

Over a period of three years or so, we killed off — what — 20 percent of the population,’ Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, told the Office of Air Force History in 1984. Dean Rusk, a supporter of the war and later secretary of state, said the United States bombed

`everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.

The Washington Post, 24 March 2015

Lies, Distortions, Distractions and More Lies

In order to mobilise support for the war drive against North Korea, the mainstream Western media have been painting her as, on the one hand, an economic basket case and, simultaneously, as the “most dangerous threat to the world.” Yet it is not North Korea but the U.S. rulers, backed by Australia, who are the ones who have actually dropped atomic bombs on human beings. Meanwhile, the Australian big business or government-owned media have been deviously claiming that the DPRK has threatened to hit Guam with missiles. However, what the DPRK actually said was that if the U.S. and its allies continued to threaten North Korea, the DPRK would respond by launching missiles that would land in waters short of Guam. That’s very different to saying that they would land nuclear missiles on the people of Guam. Having the U.S. provocatively fly nuclear capable bombers from Guam past North Korea and having the U.S., Australian, South Korean and other capitalist militaries stage massive war games within kilometres of her border is an unbearable situation for the DPRK. By raising the possibility of landing missiles in waters just short of Guam, the North Korean people are giving the U.S. a taste of facing a threat within kilometres of their own territory. Moreover, the DPRK’s refusal to abandon its nuclear weapons program makes a great deal of sense. Gaddafi’s Libya gave up its nuclear weapons under a promise to be “rehabilitated” by the Western powers – and look what happened to them! Iraq never had any weapons of mass destruction which made it easier for the U.S. and Australia to invade and kill over a million of her people.

That North Korea – when strangled by such severe sanctions and military encirclement – has been able to advance its nuclear deterrence so quickly has stunned the imperialist rulers. It is a testament to the superiority of the socialist system. As a Trotskyist Platform comrade of Chinese origin put it:

“To master great weaponry is not an advantage of capitalist countries. Our socialist DPRK can master such powerful means in such difficult domestic conditions, which is really inspiring, encouraging and empowering our working classes around the world.”

Indeed, contrary to the media’s portrayal of North Korea’s economy, the DPRK’s socialistic system allowed it to recover from the devastation of the Korean War and, within a couple of decades, build up the second most advanced industrial economy in Asia (after imperialist Japan). However, following the collapse of the Soviet Union which had been the DPRK’s military protector, the embattled North Korea was hit hard as it then had no choice but to greatly increase the proportion of its income spent on defence. A period of serious privation in the country followed in the mid-1990s.

However, since then, partly helped by trade with Red China, the DPRK economy has steadily advanced. Media claims that North Korea is still impoverished (although made less frequently now since it is so ridiculous) are simply lies. This is proven by estimates of the proportion of children who are underweight due to malnourishment given by a noted imperialist agency, the CIA (hardly an organisation sympathetic to North Korea!). The CIA’s figures do not put North Korea within even the forty most impoverished countries in the world. Indeed, strong Western allies like India, PNG, Indonesia and the Philippines have much higher rates of child malnourishment than does North Korea.

Socialistic North Korea, despite the threats she is facing, has produced a warm and friendly society with a relaxed work environment and a rich musical, artistic, cultural, entertainment and sporting life. In contrast, capitalist rule in South Korea has not only led to a large amount of homelessness and poverty amongst the elderly there but also to one of the highest suicide rates in the world. This does not stop the Australian media from making much of the higher per capita income in South Korea. That is a product of, on the one hand, the sanctions and draining military encirclement of the North and, on the other, the fact that from the late 1960s onwards the U.S. provided massive aid to the South when they realised that dissatisfaction with capitalist rule and sympathy for the North amongst the South Korean masses was “threatening” the country with socialist revolution. Yet, today, most South Korean workers lack permanency in their jobs and many are forced to work terribly long hours. This and the cut-throat, dog eat dog nature of the society there has meant that hundreds of North Koreans who defected to the South in search of higher incomes have ended up defecting back to the North!

Not Opposition to Both Sides But Solidarity with the Socialistic DPRK

Turnbull has claimed that he would send Australia to war with North Korea because of the ANZUS treaty with the U.S. However, what is really driving the Australian capitalist regime is that they share the same reasons for wanting to destroy socialistic rule in North Korea – and ultimately China – as their U.S. allies. Indeed, as a capitalist ruling class located in Asia, the Australian rulers’ obsession with crushing Asian socialistic states is if anything more intense than their U.S. counterparts’. It was the Australian Menzies regime that pushed for the U.S. to escalate its anti-communist war in Vietnam in 1965. Indeed, the Australian government even pressured the then U.S.-puppet South Vietnamese government “to request” Australian troops to support it!

Just as it is not only the right-wing Republican Party in the U.S. but also the liberal American capitalists who are charging towards war on North Korea – and ultimately China – it is not only the right-wing Liberal Party that is beating the war drums here. ALP Opposition leader Bill Shorten ranted that it was the “bellicose and provocative actions” of North Korea, and not Trump’s rhetoric, which was of “big concern” adding that:

“I and the government share the same concerns and the same views, and Australians should be reassured that on this matter of North Korea and our national security, the politics of Labor and Liberal are working absolutely together.”

– The Australian, 11 August 2017

The Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, has for his part at least criticised the war drive of the Australian government. However, he has very wrongly put socialistic North Korea in the same category as the Western imperialist rulers:

“Malcolm Turnbull by backing Donald Trump has just put a target on our back.”

“What we’ve got is two dangerous, paranoid and unhinged world leaders goading each other into a conflict which puts the very survival of each and every person on the planet at risk.

Such equating of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with Donald Trump or Turnbull on the part of supposed opponents of war is very harmful. For, regardless of personalities, these leaders are not the same at all because the systems that they preside over are not at all the same. Today, Trump covered for his fascist backers when he made excuses for these white supremacists after they unleashed racist “fire and fury” in Charlottesville culminating in a murderous terror attack that killed an antiracist protester, Heather Heyer. Meanwhile, like the previous ALP government, the Turnbull regime locks up asylum seekers in hell-hole offshore camps. Turnbull has also re-instituted the union-busting ABCC system against construction workers and attacked the rights of unemployed workers while giving tax cuts to millionaires. Trump, for his part, wants to deny millions more poor people in America access to medical care while giving huge tax cuts to the rich. Both he and Turnbull administer a system that has left large numbers of people homeless. In contrast, while Kim Jong Un may be a “dictator” who rides on a personality cult that is almost as gross as the establishment’s glorification of the British Royal Family, he administers a system that not only ensures zero homelessness in North Korea but also guarantees employment and virtually free housing for all of its people. Furthermore, North Korea’s leaders have never made a predatory intervention into another country. In contrast, the capitalist regimes in the U.S. and Australia have, between themselves over the last thirty years, invaded or otherwise intervened in – and often largely destroyed – Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Serbia, East Timor, Bougainville, Yemen, Somalia, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Panama, Haiti and more! Therefore, what the working class and all opponents of imperialism and capitalism in Australia and the U.S. must do is to stand in solidarity with the DPRK against all the war threats from the imperialist powers.

Unfortunately, much of the Left in Australia is instead tailing the Greens’ line of “neutrality” in the current crisis. Thus, the Hiroshima Day Sydney Committee and the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, with the support of the Sydney Stop the War Coalition (coalitions which include among them prominent activists within the Communist Party of Australia as well as the Socialist Alliance, Solidarity and Socialist Alternative groups) have announced a rally for this Saturday in Sydney “to call for negotiations to resolve the crisis on the Korean peninsula.” Such a call steers anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists away from strongly politically opposing the U.S. and Australian military forces arrayed against the DPRK and also pushes them into supporting demands on the DPRK to wind back its nuclear deterrence development and acquiesce to imperialist diktats. It is acting like those small-l liberals who call for “reconciliation” between the Australian rulers and Aboriginal people – as if Aboriginal people should have to compromise with the racist, genocidal ruling class. It is of a piece with a nominal supporter of workers’ rights who, during a conflict between unions and a capitalist boss, argues that “both sides should negotiate not escalate.”

In contrast, Trotskyist Platform is fighting to convince other leftists and supporters of working class interests to not be neutral in the current crisis but to stand resolutely with the socialistic state against the capitalist powers! That means we must stand unconditionally with the socialistic DPRK – and ultimately socialistic China – against the capitalist war threats. We should also welcome the DPRK’s development of a nuclear deterrence capability. What sincere anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists must do is to build actions that demand: End all U.S.-Australian- South Korean war games threatening the DPRK! U.S. troops out of South Korea, Japan and Guam! Close the joint U.S.-Australian military facilities and bases in Pine Gap, Darwin and elsewhere – Down with ANZUS! End all sanctions against the DPRK! Get rid of the U.S.’s THAAD missile defence system in South Korea that targets not only the DPRK but also the PRC!

Australian Working Class: Let Us Defend the DPRK

Like We Should Defend Our Unions!

The fate of the DPRK will be affected much by its much larger and powerful socialistic neighbour, the PRC. The PRC is the DPRK’s only significant ally and over 90% of North Korea’s trade is with China. To a significant degree, the PRC provides protection for the DPRK and certainly its presence has acted as a major deterrent against imperialist attack on the DPRK. However, at the same time the vacillating rulers of Red China, who pursue a futile policy of seeking “co-existence” with capitalist powers, bend to imperialist diktats by publicly condemning DPRK missile and nuclear tests. Nine days ago, China’s leaders treacherously joined the Western imperialists and capitalist Russia in voting for a new round of even more crippling economic sanctions against North Korea. Although it is true that the PRC does try to somewhat limit the damage done by these sanctions and does more to stand by the DPRK militarily than it admits publicly, its public position does matter as it serves to increase diplomatic and political pressure on the DPRK. Any acquiescence to imperialist demands against the DPRK is suicidal for the PRC as it is the PRC itself which is the ultimate target of capitalist moves against its socialistic little sister, North Korea.

The question of what attitude to take towards the DPRK is the subject of intense debate within China. Those pushing for China to move away from solidarity with its socialistic neighbour tend to be the most right-wing elements within China who are simultaneously pushing for greater “rights” for the capitalist private sector and more political “freedom” for pro-capitalist forces. In contrast, those advocating greater PRC solidarity with the socialistic DPRK are also those fighting to preserve and strengthen China’s own socialist foundations. The debate within China over its position on North Korea is a fight over the very soul and direction of China itself. That makes it triply important that politically aware workers and leftists the world over must call for the PRC to stand resolutely behind her socialistic sister, the DPRK. China: Abandon all participation in sanctions against North Korea! Support the DPRK’s nuclear deterrence development instead! Strengthen solidarity between workers states to strengthen China’s own commitment toward socialism! Recall the spirit of the PRC’s heroic support for the DPRK during the 1950-53 Korean War!

Trotskyist Platform is proud that we have been at the forefront of organising every single action in Sydney defending the DPRK workers state over the last seven years. We want to help cohere a layer of activists both inside and outside our group who are both firmly committed to defending the DPRK workers state and who are striving to become very knowledgeable about the question. These activists would then be the core of building actions in solidarity with the DPRK – and also the PRC – in the near future.

We understand that durable solidarity with socialistic states can only be built by appealing to the interests that the working class and its allies have in supporting workers states. To those workers in Australia who currently buy the anti-North Korea propaganda we say: Do you believe the media and politicians when they say that the CFMEU construction workers union are a bunch of thugs who threaten “innocent” people for no reason? Of course not! So why do you then believe these same people when they say that the DPRK is the biggest threat to world peace? Indeed, the attacks on the DPRK and China have much in parallel with the bosses’ attacks on our unions. Except that the capitalist hostility to socialistic states is a lot more fanatical because in those countries the masses have not just organised workers to resist how much the bosses can exploit them… they have actually taken over the whole country. Let us trade unionists and all opponents of capitalist exploitation mobilise in action to oppose both the bosses’ attacks on our unions at home and their attacks on workers states abroad. For unconditional solidarity with the socialistic DPRK!

“Australians First” Economic Nationalism Fuels Racist Hostility to Refugees and People of Colour

“Australians First” Economic Nationalism Fuels Racist Hostility to Refugees and People of Colour

It was a video so openly racist that even right-wing senator Derryn Hinch said it “could be an ad for the Ku Klux Klan.” This ALP video saying that it would “Employ Australians First” had visuals where nearly all the Australians shown were white Anglos. The ad which was released two months ago had an unmistakeable racist message: white people had to be supposedly protected from having their jobs taken away by non-white people. Like the Turnbull government’s moves to make citizenship harder to get based on the racist premise that a migrant’s allegiance to values such as respect for women is more doubtful than an existing citizen’s – even though the horrific level of violence against women here is actually much higher than that of many countries like China where migrants are coming from – Bill Shorten’s video can only engender antagonism to refugees and people of colour. Meanwhile, that the ALP chose not to even include Aboriginal people in its image of “Australians” highlights not only the despicable nature of the ad but also the deep oppression that this country’s first peoples suffer under.

No doubt aware that the Labor Party retains support from working class people from various “ethnic” backgrounds, ALP frontbencher Anthony Albanese called the ad a “shocker.” However, even if the ALP’s “Australians First” video had several people of colour in it, the ad would still be a shocker. For one, given that this country is still majority white in composition and that the majority of visa workers are people of colour, any counterposing of local peoples’ interests against those of foreign workers necessarily incites racist hostility to non-white people from Asian, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, African and Latin American backgrounds – whether those people are foreigners or Australians. Moreover, setting up local citizens as job market rivals of foreigners inevitably creates resentment towards guest workers, refugees and international students. Such xenophobic hostility then flows on towards Australians from coloured “ethnic” backgrounds. Economic-based prejudice is, indeed, the main stem of the noxious weed of racism that is currently overrunning Australia. It is the completely unfounded fear that refugees, migrants and guest workers will take up scarce jobs and affordable housing and use up dwindling public services which is at the root of the racist problem. Such resentment is consciously promoted by the capitalist bigwigs, the media that they own and the mainstream political parties that do their bidding. This exploiting class seeks to divert the masses from identifying them, the filthy rich big business owners, as the real cause of the people’s economic difficulties.

After his video was attacked, it was easy for Shorten to shrug it off by saying “the lack of diversity” in it was “a bad oversight.” However, for many coloured people, such nationalist ravings translate into being vilified and physically attacked on the streets. A report released today by Charles Sturt University detailed 243 verified cases of racist attacks on Muslims in just a 14 month period. Those reported incidents form just a tiny fraction of actual cases. Showing the link between racism and misogyny, the study found that more than two-thirds of those attacked were women.

Although Australia is especially racist, hostility towards minorities and refugees is growing in all capitalist countries. The more their economies falter, the more the rulers promote racist and protectionist “solutions.” Meanwhile, increasing rivalries between the capitalist powers – seen, for example, in heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and the German-led European imperialists – further stoke reactionary nationalism. Yet, even in “Third World” capitalist countries like India racist incidents are on the rise – in the case of India involving Hindu-chauvinist attacks. Indeed, our planet’s one large country not plagued by rampant racist attacks is a socialistic one: China.

Down With Economic Nationalism!

Fight for Jobs For All By Standing Up to the Job-Slashing Capitalists!

The notions behind “Australians First” agendas simply don’t stack up. Refugees and guest workers all spend money here and pay taxes. They, hence, create as many jobs as they occupy. As long as the current social order prevails, no matter how few people there are in the country there will always be a significant rate of unemployment. This is because the rich business owners will – if they are allowed to – only hire as few people as maximises their profits. Whenever unemployment falls these bosses are less able to keep wages down and less able to threaten workers with the sack, making them reluctant to hire any more which in turn pushes unemployment back up. Moreover, the notion that guest workers are the cause of joblessness is ludicrous given that they make up much less than 1% of the workforce! It is true that bosses seek to use severe exploitation of foreign visa workers – as they do with vulnerable local workers like apprentices and casual workers – to undercut overall working conditions. However, that only underscores the need for the union movement to fight to ensure the highest wages, union coverage and, crucially, full rights of citizenship for all guest workers, refugees and overseas students.

As well as calling to “Employ Australians First,” the Donald Trump-like ALP ad also promised to “Build Australian First and Buy Australian First.” Such measures won’t save local jobs! For just as politicians can push such schemes here, their counterparts abroad can respond with similar measures which would then hurt Australia’s exports. Indeed, all agendas that counterpose the interests of Australian workers to guest workers or to goods produced by workers abroad actually harm the fight for workers’ jobs. For by dividing workers and by diverting them from struggle against the capitalist bosses they undercut the one fight that can immediately win more jobs – a trade union struggle to force bosses to increase hiring. Yet, such a struggle that impinges on the fundamental “rights” of the capitalists is alien to the ALP and most of our current, pro- ALP union leaders. The ALP seeks to satisfy its working class base by merely extracting modest concessions from the capitalists while seeking acceptance from the latter. That is why it is left with little to offer on jobs except divisive protectionism. When the Turnbull government, with much fanfare, announced a slashing of the guest worker program, sadly many of our union leaders demanded the measures go further rather than mobilising actions to win equal rights for these workers.

Nationalism from the Labor Party and pro-ALP union leaders is especially harmful since it is they who currently lead the working class – the one class which has a consistent interest in opposing both racism and nationalism since both undermine the unity so crucial to any successful struggle for workers rights. Yet, national chauvinism is far from the preserve of the social democracy. The right-wing Turnbull regime – pushed ever further by Tony Abbott’s hardliners – fiercely oppresses refugees. Then there is the extreme racism of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, the anti-Muslim tirades of Jacqui Lambie and the fervent protectionism of the Nick Xenophon team.

Now the Greens have at least correctly called out some of Labor’s economic nationalist appeals as dog whistling to racism. However, the Greens push their own fervent protectionist schemes including calling for crackdowns on the guest worker program and restrictions on overseas-made steel. Even much of the Far Left acquiesces to economic nationalism. Both the Socialist Alliance group and Socialist Alternative– who have both been active in the refugee rights campaign – and the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) backed Australia’s largest demonstration to keep out foreign workers: the July 2012 “Local Workers First” rally in Perth. The CPA also parrots the “local content” demands of pro-ALP union leaders. Of course, these socialist groups and the Greens advocate a “clean” protectionism which rejects conscious dog whistling to racism. However, there is no “clean” protectionism! Any policy that calls for putting the interests of (mainly white) Australian workers over (overwhelmingly coloured) lower paid workers from “Third World” countries will inevitably appeal to and reinforce White Australia xenophobic attitudes as well as “First World” arrogance. And all protectionist demands divert workers away from the struggle that is actually needed – the one against the job-slashing capitalist exploiters – while pitting local workers against their natural allies: the working class people of the world.

That is why Trotskyist Platform is on a campaign to oppose all forms of economic nationalism. We are seeking to win those involved in the refugee rights movement and the anti-fascist movement to also take up this struggle. Until economic nationalist ideas are purged from the union movement and the Left, anti-racist movements will face serious obstacles. And so will the struggle for workers rights.

We fight to replace the ALP’s nationalist, co-operate-with-the-capitalist program currently ascendant in our unions with a militant class struggle perspective that relies on and values workers’ unity. That means a union movement that would fight for freedom and asylum for imprisoned asylum seekers, full rights of citizenship for all refugees and guest workers and liberation for brutally oppressed Aboriginal people. Rejecting bogus protectionist “solutions,” the union movement that we fight for would mobilise its industrial muscle to stop job slashing by bosses and force profitable companies to increase hiring at the expense of their fat profits. When the greedy capitalist bosses scream that this will cause their economy to collapse, the revolutionary, internationalist party of the working class that we need will respond: if you big business owners cannot run the economy in a way that guarantees secure jobs for all workers then we working class people will rip the economy out of your hands and place it into our own able collective hands. Such a socialist economy based on working class rule is what we need! In such a system, the material basis for racism will wither away as there will be no more exploiting class trying to divide exploited masses and no more scarcity and unemployment fueling rivalries between workers of different colours and ethnic backgrounds. Workers of all countries unite!

Issue 19

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  1. As Capitalist Rulers Beat on the Unions and Poor: Opposing Racism & “Aussie First” Economic Nationalism Key to Defending Working Class People’s Rights
  2. Tens of Thousands Protest in Australia on the Day of Land Theft & Genocide Rally Attacked by Ruthless Police
  3. A Hard Right, Racist Bigot Enters the White House Capitalist “Democracy” is a Sham Unleash Industrial Action to Demand Jobs for All Only Workers United with All of the Oppressed Can Bring about Real Change
  4. Expand the Union Action in Defence of Public Housing in Sirius: Fight for a Massive Increase in Public Housing throughout the Country! Still a Chance to Prevent the Destruction of Public Housing in Millers Point and The Rocks
  5. Trotskyist Platform May Day (International Workers Day Statement We Need Militant Class Struggle to Win Secure Jobs for All Workers
  6. Workplace Safety Now Better in China Than in Australia Australian Rulers Union Busting Drive against the CFMEU Union
    Threatens Construction Workers Lives
  7. Good News: China’s Arrest of Crown Executives Endangers Packer’s Barangaroo Project James Packer’s Crown Versus Millers Point Public Housing
  8. Free All the Victims of Australia’s Racist Torture! Jail the Cops and Prison Guards Who Killed David Dungay, Ms Dhu, Rebecca Maher, Wayne Morrison, TJ Hickey, Mulrunji & the Many Other Victims of the Racist, Rich People’s State!
  9. Long Live China’s 1949 Anticapitalist Revolution! Protect the Great Benefits for Workers & the Rural Masses Won through the Revolution: Stop Imperialist Funding for Those NGOs that Seek to Overthrow Socialistic Rule in China
  10. Defend the Dominance of Socialistic, State-Ownership in China’s Economy! China: Pro-Worker and Pro-Private Sector Forces Lock Horns
  11. Racist Atrocities in Kalgoorlie
  12. Force Profitable Companies to Increase Hiring – Make Them Wear the Resulting Lower Profits Stop Billionaire Bosses from Retrenching Workers! No to Slave Wage Internships and Work for the Dole! For Fully Paid, Permanent Jobs for All!

Russian Intervention and Syria

No to Imperialist-Imposed Regime Change in Syria

12 April 2017 – For the last several years, the U.S., Australian, French, British and other allied Western imperialists have sought to impose regime change on the people of Syria.  The former U.S. Obama regime intervened by providing arms, ammunition, training, special forces back-up and diplomatic support for the Syrian “Rebel” forces who had been subordinated to the imperialist agenda. In 2014, this former U.S. Democratic Party administration upped the ante of its intervention by using the pretext of fighting ISIS to directly conduct military operations in both Syria and Iraq. This enabled the U.S. and its allies, like Australia, to move forces into the region, grab control of territory and build-up proxies in order to – among other goals – further its regime change agenda. Five days ago, the extreme racist Trump regime qualitatively cranked up this U.S. intervention. It openly unleashed a missile barrage on Syrian government positions.

The struggle of the Syrian people against this intervention and against imperialism’s “Rebel” proxies is a struggle of the people of a former colony, which to this day remains economically subjugated by richer capitalist countries, to prevent itself being once again completely trodden over by colonial powers. Thus, as Leninists, we in Trotskyist Platform stand for the defence of “Third World” Syria against the predatory U.S., Australian and other Western imperialists and their “Rebel” proxies. We do so without giving any political support to Syria’s Assad government. Although we defend the just war that Assad is currently waging against a neo-colonial takeover of the country, he nevertheless leads an oppressor government that oversees the exploitation of the Syrian masses by Syria’s rich capitalists.

We have maintained a position of military defence of Syria despite intervention on the side of the Syrian government by a capitalist great power – Russia. Russian intervention began fairly early in the conflict. It began initially with arms and ammunition support to the Syrian military, then included intelligence and special forces support and finally from September 2015 it included airstrikes. While it was primarily the heroism of the anti-colonial and secular-minded sections of the Syrian masses that have enabled the Syrian people to achieve victory over the imperialist-backed “Rebels” in Aleppo late last year, Russia’s military might no doubt also played a major part in this victory. This years-long Russian intervention does not change the stance that Leninists should take on the Syria question because although Russia has intervened in order to promote its great power capitalist ambitions it has not, up to the present, threatened to become the – or one of the – direct neo-colonial overlords of Syria. Furthermore, unlike the U.S.A and its allies, Russia is not using its Syrian intervention as a means to secure overall domination of the oil-rich Middle East. Russia’s capitalist rulers primarily seek in Syria to maintain and deepen the benefits Russia had in the pre-war status quo. In this pre-war set up, Russia had political and military influence – including access to strategic military bases on the Mediterranean coast – but was not the biggest player in the Syrian economy. It was Western powers that were the main predators in the Syrian economy – indeed, in Syria’s oil sector, the biggest foreign players are not Russian corporations but the British/Dutch Shell, France’s Total and Britain’s Gulfsands. The Russian ruling class’ overall intentions are to assert itself on the global stage as a big-time world power that must be taken seriously, to protect and broaden its military bases in Syria, to form a forward obstruction to further grubby NATO meddling in ex-Soviet countries where Russia believes it has a Tsarist times-derived historical “right” to call the shots in, to incite nationalism at home and to advertise itself to more economically endowed capitalist powers that collaborating with Russia’s awesome military might in future ventures is a strategy that can guarantee their investments (out of which Russia would then be handed a share of the predatory spoils).

At the same time we should not be naive. If the Russian-backed Syrian forces triumph, the Russian establishment will naturally use their presence and increased influence in Syria to pressure Syria into accommodating Russian capitalist interests. For one, Russia would push to be granted a greater continued military presence than Syria would wish – even after the threat to Syria has been quashed. Already, this January, with Syria dependent on Russian backing, the Syrian government agreed to let Russia take 49-year leases over the strategically located Khmeimim Air Base and Tartus naval facility and even give Russia sovereignty over the latter’s territory. This loss of sovereignty of Syria over strategically located bases is for a far greater period than she would hope would be needed to secure and stabilise victory in the current war. One can bet that Syrian officials were quietly unenthusiastic about signing away sovereignty over their territory for so long in advance. Additionally, one can expect the Russian capitalists to, for example, consider preventing natural gas pipelines from rival gas suppliers to Russia passing through Syria into Europe even if that supplier were to offer to pay a level of royalties that the Syrians would be happy to accept.

In terms of the current conflict itself, the fact that capitalist Russia is, currently, inadvertently playing a positive role does not change the fact that its racist state forces who so brutally oppress non-European minorities and immigrants within Russia cannot in any way be trusted to take proper care to avoid hitting civilians in their air-strikes on enemy forces in Syria. Thus, we can expect the numbers of civilians killed by Russian air-strikes to be of the same order of magnitude as the thousands killed by the murderous U.S., Australian and other imperialists in their air strikes on Syria and Iraq. Furthermore, the fact that the Syrian anti-imperialist struggle is getting direct help from a major capitalist power makes it less inspiring to the anti-colonial sentiments of “Third World” peoples around the world when compared with, say, the Algerian independence struggle against France in the late 1950s and early 1960s and certainly in comparison with the Vietnamese revolutionary struggle against U.S. and Australian imperialism which was, after all, conducted by a workers state and a communist-led, toiling peoples’ armed movement. That is part of the reason why the level of solidarity with the Syrian anti-colonial resistance from the masses of other “Third World” countries has up to this point been so limited. Up to now, other than for protests in other Middle Eastern countries, most of the major rallies opposing the imperialist intervention in Syria have come from people living in Western countries or in capitalist countries whose governments are themselves backing the Russian intervention. Moreover, the success of the Russian intervention will further inflame reactionary nationalism within Russia which will dampen the class struggle there and incite even more racist terror against Russia’s racial and religious minority populations. This is at a time when Putin’s massive privatisation plans announced in February last year (see for example: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35473198) which five months ago saw a huge $A15.5 billion stake in oil giant Rosneft sold off to Qatari interests and Swiss multinational Glencore  have the potential to spark mass working class resistance. Already the Russian masses’ hatred of the anti-working class privatisation agenda was reflected in the intense campaign to stop the privatisation of a dairy plant in the town of Vologda. Yet the upsurge in patriotism that will accompany any Russian war victories will undermine the Russian working class organising to fight as a class against their main enemy – the Russian capitalist exploiters. Furthermore, when the working class of Russia does rise up against its capitalist rulers it will now have to face a state whose armed forces capability has been boosted by the testing and experience of its military activities in Syria.

Nevertheless, the Russian intervention in Syria, as long as it continues to obstruct the drive for Western imperialist-imposed regime change and as long as it does not morph into a Russian experiment at re-entry into the club of neo-colonial overlords, is on balance having a positive effect. That means even while leftists within Russia must oppose the racist, capitalist rulers of Russia with the same vigour that we oppose the capitalist rulers of this country, they – and we – must not do anything which directly obstructs Russia’s Syrian intervention. Opponents of imperialism must not call for Russia to get out of Syria at this time. More importantly, the years long Russian intervention must not in any way change the obligation that leftists have to stand for the defence of Syria against the Western imperialists and their “Rebels”.

What the Leaders of the October Socialist Revolution Said about Similar Scenarios

To understand the question of the Russian intervention in Syria more deeply we refer here to 1917 Russian Revolution co-leader, Leon Trotsky’s 1938 article, Learn To Think. This article addresses two particular scenarios: in one scenario one capitalist power for its own geo-political purposes – in particular to weaken a rival – renders material assistance to an anti-colonial struggle of a subjugated country against another capitalist power. This is in a case where the power rendering assistance is not in a position to immediately replace the existing capitalist power as a new overlord of the subjugated country. In the second scenario, a capitalist power similarly, for its own machinations against rivals, finds it useful to pass arms to a workers state in conflict with another capitalist power. The first of these above scenarios is, up to the time of writing, similar to the scenario with the Russian assistance to Syria in its conflict with Western imperialism’s “Rebel” proxies. Thus we should study what Trotsky outlined should be communist policy in such a scenario. Trotsky explained that in such a scenario, we should not in any way obstruct the capitalist power that is giving military assistance to the anti-colonial struggle against a rival capitalist power – provided, of course, that the power rendering assistance is not currently seeking to itself become or is currently capable of becoming the colonial/neo-colonial overlord of the country waging the anti-imperialist struggle. At the same time, Trotsky insisted that this does not in any way, at all, make the capitalist power giving the assistance any more progressive. Indeed, Trotsky postulated an example where the capitalist power rendering anti-colonial assistance is a fascist one and the power fighting against the anti-colonial forces is a “democratic”-ruled capitalist power. Trotsky insisted that communists in the capitalist country rendering assistance to an anti-colonial struggle – in our case this is Russia – should “not in the slightest” moderate “their own irreconcilable struggle” against this regime which is the “the main enemy in their own country.” And they should call upon the people standing against the imperialist forces “not to trust their treacherous ally” even while ensuring that the assistance from this “ally” gets through.

In summary, the lesson from Trotsky’s Learn To Think article (which itself is a re-statement of the line of Lenin’s Bolsheviks) in regards to the Syria conflict is that we should not in any way oppose the Russian intervention at this time while at the same time we should avoid any prettifying of the purposes of the Russian intervention and should explain that Russia’s capitalist rulers remain the main enemy of Russia’s working class people. On the latter, we should additionally note that a workers’ revolution in Russia that topples the racist, capitalist ruling class there would not only be immensely beneficial for working class people and ethnic minorities in Russia but would also boost the Syrian people’s struggle against neo-colonialism. A future Russian workers state, led by an internationalist party like Lenin’s Bolsheviks, would more consistently support the Syrian people’s struggle against imperialism and its proxies, would not – unlike the present Russian government – use its influence to seek unfair concessions from the Syrians and could not be tempted to betray the Syrian anti-colonial struggle by any U.S. promises to boost her great power status. Moreover, a Syrian struggle against imperialism backed by a state where the multi-racial working class rules is far more inspirational to the toiling masses of the “Third World” than the current situation where the Syrian government is backed by a Russian regime that, at home, oversees the exploitation of its working class while brutally oppressing non-white ethnic minorities and immigrants. Thus, a Syrian anti-imperialist struggle backed by a workers state would win far more solidarity from the masses living in the ex-colonial countries than in the present case.

We need to stress here that Trotsky’s Learn To Think article which outlines when it may be necessary to not oppose the intervention of one capitalist power in a conflict abroad was specific to two particular scenarios. We emphasise this because this article has been one of the Marxist works that has been most twisted and most used out of context by opportunist leftists (even by some grandstanding as anti-Trotskyist “Stalinists”!) looking to justify collaboration with capitalist powers. We need to stress that only in the two very narrow and specific cases outlined in the Learn To Think article – cases related to a capitalist power driven by its necessity for geo-political positioning supporting either an anti-colonial struggle or a workers state against rival powers – is it permissible to not oppose the intervention abroad by a capitalist power. In absolutely all other cases, without exception, we must oppose intervention of any kind by such capitalist powers – whether diplomatic, material support to allies/proxies or direct military intervention – regardless of the particular circumstances leading up to the intervention and regardless of their stated “justification” for the intervention.

All Capitalist Powers Have Zero “Commitment” to Opposing Imperialism

Our attitude to the Russian intervention in Syria is summarised in an article written five years ago, at a time after Russia had already, very publicly, started intervening in the Syrian conflict:

Russia, unlike the PRC, is administered by a capitalist state. The Russian rulers are military powerful but not currently economically strong enough to as yet be a full-blown, independent imperialist power like any of the main NATO states. But they would like to be one – Russia certainly ain’t the socialistic Soviet Union! Russia objects to Western intervention in Syria because Syria is its ally and Russia takes offence at its power being challenged. Furthermore, the Russian bourgeoise would like to draw a line in nearby Syria to try and reduce NATO encroachment into the affairs of its ex-Soviet neighbours which Russia would like to be within its own sphere of influence. Nevertheless, despite Russia’s intentions, opponents of imperialism can only welcome any Russian arms going to the Syrian government at a time when it is battling a takeover by imperialist proxies.’

July 27, 2012, No to Neo-Colonialism: Defend Syria against the Pro-Imperialist “Rebels”

At the same time it is our duty to warn the Syrian masses of the possibility that Russia could stab them in the back in the future. After all, Russia’s capitalist rulers have zero commitment to opposing imperialism. Like all other capitalist powers their main concern is to further their ambitious economic and political interests. It is worth noting that while the Russian intervention in Syria is happening to, at this time, have a positive effect, the Russian intervention in Libya is playing a reactionary role. Today in Libya we see rival gangs of the pro-imperialists “Rebels” brought to power by NATO in 2011 engaged in blood feuds with each other. Russia is backing one of these cut-throats, Khalifa Haftar, and has sent financial, diplomatic and weapons support to back the forces that he leads as well as private military contractors.  Haftar’s “Libyan National Army” (LNA) backs one of Libya’s rival governments, the Tobruk-based “House of Representatives”. Russia, like the NATO powers, is also meddling diplomatically and has sought to be the broker of talks between the LNA-backed government and the U.N.-recognised and strongly Italian-backed Presidential Council government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj. The main goal of the LNA, like all the murderous rival, former “Rebel” militias, is to seize control of Libya’s oil ports and other oil facilities for themselves. This is hardly a case of Russia defending a country against imperialist takeover – not even inadvertently as is the case with its Syria intervention. Thus, also backing Haftar’s LNA are not only Egypt but the French imperialists who have conducted air strikes in support of Haftar’s Russian-backed forces. Indeed, the most open backers of Haftar’s army is the UAE which not only arms the LNA but has a joint airbase with France in Libya’s al-Sulaiyah region from where it conducts operations in support of Haftar’s forces. The strongly pro-Washington UAE regime is one of the regional players strongly backing the imperialist drive for regime change in Syria and is a key part of the reactionary U.S.-backed, Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. Meanwhile, the LNA, even while claiming to be secularist, receives some backing from that bulwark of religious extremism, the Saudi regime! Haftar himself was for over two decades a CIA asset who worked on plans for U.S.-imposed regime change in Libya. Indeed, he even lived close to the CIA’s Langley, Virginia base after going into exile in the U.S. in 1990! In 2011, Haftar was a key figure in the imperialist-backed “Rebels” that were brought to power on the backs of a NATO air and special forces operation against the former Gaddafi government. This NATO-“Rebel” imposed regime change has plainly destroyed Libya.

Russia’s backing of Haftar and its other diplomatic meddling in Libya is aimed – like all the other capitalist powers intervening in the squalid conflicts there – at securing prized access to Libya’s oil terminals, ports and airports. Additionally, Russia seeks to secure the renewal of the billions of dollars-worth of weapons and oil infrastructure contracts that it had signed with the pre-2011 Libyan government. All the capitalist powers involved in the mad scramble for privileged access to Libya’s oil resources and future infrastructure contracts are deepening the regional and tribal conflicts there.  Opponents of imperialism must demand that all the foreign capitalist states intervening in Libya – including the U.S., French, Italian, Russian, UAE, Egyptian and Saudi regimes – should get their grubby hands off this already devastated country.

Relations Between the Two Military Superpowers

A significant factor that will influence Russian – and U.S. – policy on Syria will be the state of future U.S.-Russia relations. After a deterioration in relations during the last term of the Obama regime, the billionaire Trump outlined a perspective of strengthened U.S. relations with the world’s only other military superpower. His outlook represented the views of a section of the U.S. capitalist class. The U.S. ruling class is highly divided about what attitude they should take to Russia to best further their own interests. A majority of the media and political representatives of the U.S. ruling class currently favour a harder line against Russia. However, among the actual capitalist business owners, opinion is more evenly divided. Those in the U.S. ruling class who favour an antagonistic line don’t believe the U.S. needs to share dominance of the globe with anyone – certainly not an upstart trying to enter the imperialist club. On the other hand, those U.S. capitalists who want to forge a partnership with Russia see its awesome military power as a useful tool to help suppress and isolate U.S. adversaries. Specifically, Trump and his co-thinkers had been hoping to build a U.S.-Russia capitalist super alliance that would, on the one hand, be used to isolate and pressure socialistic China and, on the other, weaken the U.S.A’s European NATO allies cum imperialist economic rivals.

The U.S. missile barrage against Syria and the angry diplomatic exchanges between the U.S. and Russia that followed have, for the short and medium term, scuttled any plans Trump had to forge a partnership with Russia. But what of the future? Relations between the military giants could continue to spiral downwards. Alternatively, there could be a strong rapprochement. Or something somewhere in between. Interestingly, the U.S. actually informed Russia of its missile strike on Syria before it took place indicating some effort to at least open the possibility for stronger ties with Russia in the future.

As we pointed out in our article written soon after Trump’s election, there were always going to major hurdles to stride over if Trump’s original strong proclivity for a U.S.-Russia capitalist superpower alliance was to be implemented. Trump’s administration is, in effect, an alliance of hard line right wingers who favour closer ties with Russia – like himself, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions – and more mainstream figures from the right wing of the Republican Party who support a more antagonistic line. So, the pro-Russia hard right wingers will not always get their way. In the end, the direction that the U.S. ruling class chooses will depend in good part on what the decisive sections of their class think of Russia’s capability to become a significant imperialist rival to the U.S. If they assess that Russia can at best play second fiddle to the imperialist powers they will be far more open to an alliance with Russia in order to use its military might for their own purposes. In other words, they would be quite prepared to accept and nurture a Russia that would play a role similar to what the Turkish ruling class has played up to now – as an ambitious regional power largely enforcing Western imperialist interests while angling to get its own pieces of the stolen pie for itself. According to this analysis, the U.S. would still expect to have some occasional sharp disagreements with Russia but overall relations would be kept strong – as has been the case with Turkey up until now. On the other hand, if they decide that Russia could in the future emerge as an independent, rival predatory power, they will be far more inclined to push for aggressive containment of Russia.

However, there is additionally an ideological aspect to the debate within the U.S. ruling class. Putin, because of his government’s hard line anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies, its brutal attacks on the LGBTI community and the fact that it, like the Trump regime, has outright fascists in it, is a hero to far right groups throughout the West. Prominent far right politicians from Pauline Hanson to France’s Marine Le Pen have sung Putin’s praises as have most of the outright fascist, white supremacist groups in the U.S., Australia and Europe. All these groups also see in the possibility of a U.S. and European alliance with Russia the possibility of a grand, “white peoples of the world,” racial supremacist alliance. All this is why it is the extreme right wing of the Trump administration that is most in favour of strong ties with Russia whom they see as a force for spreading right-wing, white European-centric “values.”

Other than for dissension within his own regime, there are other hurdles that Trump would have to overcome to implement his original perspective for a partnership with Russia. One key hurdle is the probe that has been launched into alleged links between his presidential campaign and Russia and allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election. It is no secret that Russia wanted Trump to win the election. Russian state television was pretty open about backing Trump just as they and Putin are pretty open about backing France’s Le Pen. However, all capitalist powers interfere with each others elections and the U.S. is by far the biggest culprit. Not only will the U.S. mainstream media bombard a country with propaganda supporting their favoured outcome but the U.S. has used funding of favoured political parties and NGOs, training of activists and plenty of really dirty tricks to swing elections. We cannot know if Russia used even the lowest level, dirty tricks to help Trump. However, if they did, in the context of things, while it means something … it does not mean much at all! For all elections in capitalist countries are profoundly unfair! They are shaped by the fact that it is the wealthy capitalists who own the media and disproportionately have the resources to fund political advertising, lobbyists, meeting venue hire and full-time activists. Forget Russian hacking, neither Trump nor Clinton would have even been in the running for president if they did not each have hundreds of millions in political funding from wealthy capitalists (in Trump’s case also including from his own fortune gained from cruelly exploiting workers) and the backing of Murdoch’s Fox media in Trump’s case and CNN, NBC, New York Times etc in Clinton’s case. That is why for us Marxist-Leninists: all elected presidents in capitalist America are not “legitimate”! The idea that some may be “legitimate” and others “illegitimate” is a whitewash of the fundamentally anti-working class nature of even the “cleanest” elections in any capitalist country.

What’s important to understand here in terms of U.S.-Russia ties is that the probe into the Trump campaign’s alleged links with Russia is not only about Democrats and mainstream conservatives trying to undermine their hard-right rivals but also, partly, about that faction of the U.S. exploiting class that wants an antagonistic line towards Russia trying to pressure the new Administration into bending to that line. And this tactic does work. For the moment, the Trump regime feels pressure to be seen to be not too close to Russia. Probably, a minor subsidiary reason for his air strike on Russia’s Syria ally is to be seen to be tough on Russia. Indeed, any ongoing plans that the Trump’s far-right co-thinkers have to forge an alliance with Russia will depend on the probe not showing any too serious links between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia and even then they will have to wait for the political impact of any probe revelations to fade away.  If the probe does “conclude” that there was significant collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government – whether that “conclusion” is actually true or not (!) – then this would likely kill off for a lengthy period any attempt by pro-Russia elements in the Trump regime to forge an alliance with Russia … if not kill off the Trump presidency itself!

In the event that the pro-Russia types can both win the day within the Trump regime and ride their way through the “Russian collusion” probe, they will have to find a way to mesh the interests of U.S. imperialism and those of the wanna-be-imperialist Russian ruling class. In Syria, the interests of the two powers clearly clash so a broader partnership between the two could only be made by one or the other side making concessions in other areas. However, even on the bigger picture Washington will have a problem in enlisting Moscow for the role it would want it to play: a force that joins in – or at least accepts – counterrevolutionary pressure against socialistic China and acts as a counterweight against America’s West European NATO allies cum economic rivals (especially Germany, the “ally” whom the U.S. was revealed to be spying on). The reason Russia’s capitalist ruling class will be reluctant to do both these things simultaneously boils down to one factor: oil/gas profits! The Russian capitalist class makes an absolute fortune from sending gas exports to both Europe and China. So it would be reluctant to enter an alliance that risks it losing these two sources of fabulous wealth simultaneously. Therefore, Moscow would find it hard to accept the whole of Washington’s program for what it wants Russia to do and would demand major concessions on one of several issues – such as Crimea, the Donbass or, indeed, Syria – for even partially accepting Washington’s broader international agenda.

Even if the U.S. and Russian ruling classes did manage to negotiate the mutual concessions needed for them to forge a partnership, would such an alliance actually last for any length of time or would it fly apart at the first test? This question simply cannot be answered in advance. Certainly, the long-term trend of capitalist powers is to thrash themselves into a frenzied rivalry. The fact that there are only a finite amount of markets, raw materials and sources of labour in the “Third World” that the different imperialist powers (and indeed would-be imperialist powers) are each trying to grab increasing shares for themselves of means that these capitalist powers are inevitably drawn into conflict with each other. This truth stands notwithstanding the efforts of modern day pseudo-socialists to resuscitate the dead, counterfeit “socialist” Karl Kautsky’s theory that capitalist powers could unite as one to amicably exploit the world together – a “theory” which Lenin so fiercely denounced. These latter-day continuators of Kautsky’s line posit that there is just one seamless, homogenous imperialist bloc in the world led by the USA. The truth, however, is that there are actually several discrete, often competing, capitalist powers who, after assessing their own separate predatory interests, have in many cases chosen to be, for the moment, in uneasy alliances with the strongest power, the U.S.A as well as with each other. As Lenin understood, even competing capitalists powers do seek alliances in order to better challenge other capitalist powers … and most significantly right now to more strongly threaten workers states (like, today, the Peoples Republic of China, Cuba and North Korea). So, although a U.S.-Russia alliance is rather unlikely right now it is not completely impossible.

In the, presently unlikely, event that such a U.S.-Russia alliance were to be forged it would have to be negotiated with a deal cut on Syria. Such a deal is then going to end up favouring the interests of one or the other capitalist military superpower or to involve some sort of mid-way compromise. It would be harder for Russia to back down since its intervention has been more direct in Syria and this is its one major area of prominent intervention whereas the U.S. has about half a dozen very high profile theatres where it is directly meddling. For Russia’s capitalist rulers to back down over Syria would, thus, be a big blow to its prestige as a major world power, the pursuit for which is a major motive for its intervention in the first place. However, it is possible that the U.S. and Russia could strike a deal whereby U.S. wishes are satisfied for a new regime that would allow greater economic exploitation of the country by U.S. corporations and a foreign policy more “synchronised” with U.S. “goals” for the region while, at the same time, guaranteeing Russia’s bases in the country, Russian influence in the choice of the new political set up and – most importantly for Moscow – recognising Russia’s role as a major world player that has been dominant in shaping the whole arrangement. A sign that such a deal is not completely impossible was indeed seen in February last year when Russia publicly rebuked Assad for saying that he wanted to re-capture the whole country from the pro-imperialist “Rebels”. Russia’s then UN envoy, the late Vitaly Churkin stated:

“Russia has invested very seriously in this crisis, politically, diplomatically and now also militarily.

“Therefore we would like Assad also to respond to this.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/12164658/Russia-warns-Assad-against-trying-to-achieve-total-victory.html

Russia’s envoy even openly insisted that Assad now had to “follow Russia’s leadership” in resolving the crisis.

Following Trump’s unilateral missile strike, a U.S.-Russia rapprochement over Syria is now considerably less likely than it even was previously. Nevertheless, however improbable the scenario of Russia cutting a deal with the U.S. against Syria’s interests, it is our duty to warn other opponents of the imperialist takeover of Syria of this possibility. For armed with a scientific understanding of the nature of capitalist ruling classes and imbued with Lenin’s understanding that capitalists of more powerful countries are compelled to seek out new spheres of exploitation in the “Third World” in order to stave off economic crises at home, Marxist-Leninists – in contrast to Syrian nationalists or nominally anti-imperialist, Western liberals – are uniquely able to foresee both the full range of possibilities and to know what is, indeed, impossible (like a capitalist power acting out of benevolence when it makes a major intervention abroad). And if no one does anti-imperialist activists a favour and patiently explains to them – however uncomfortable they might be to hear it – the possibility that Russia in the future could cut a deal with the U.S. that stabs Syrian independence in the back, then these activists will be taken by surprise, demoralised and hence paralysed if such a scenario did indeed play out.

The Potential Anti-Imperialist Force is the Working Class

Guided by our Marxist-Leninist class analysis, Trotskyist Platform, even while stating that we should not be, at this time, opposing the Russian intervention in Syria and should indeed be, at the moment, happy it is taking place, opposes any illusions that capitalist Russia – or indeed any other capitalist power – can be the champion of anti-imperialism. The one world power that opponents of imperialism should be appealing to is the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). This is because, unlike the U.S.A, Australia and Russia, the PRC has a socialistic system. Although the PRC workers state is bureaucratically deformed and although China’s leadership has allowed too large a capitalist private sector into her economy, it is state-owned enterprises – based on collective ownership by all the PRC population – that still dominate the key sectors of the PRC economy. That means that although there will be the odd private sector capitalist intruding with greedy, selfish motives, any PRC intervention in Syria – or any other country – has, on the whole, no decisive material basis for a predatory, thieving agenda. This is why at actions against imperialist intervention in Syria, Trotskyist Platform has raised, among other slogans, appeals like the following: “Peoples Republic of China: Do Your Socialistic Duty and Stand Still More Strongly Against Western Imperialist Diplomatic and Military Intervention in Syria!”

China has provided some economic and minor military supplies to Syria in the face of the imperialist assault on her. It has also joined Russia in vetoing some Western-sponsored UN resolutions aimed at greasing the skids for imperialist-imposed regime change. Yet, China failed to condemn Trump’s recent missile strikes on Syria. Instead, China only made a neutral-sounding call to solve problems through negotiation. This reflects the Chinese government’s national-centred, ultimately suicidal strategy of trying to appease imperialism – a policy which it, in vain, hopes will entice the capitalist powers to pull back from attacking China’s building of socialism in her own country. Those within the Chinese leadership who most want to appease imperialism are, in general, those that want to allow greater openings for capitalism within China. On the other hand, there are many within China, including activists within the ruling Communist Party of China, who want a firm anti-imperialist policy as part of their commitment to fighting for socialism. The struggle for socialistic China to adopt an internationalist – and thus anti-imperialist – policy on Syria and other questions is, therefore, part of the fight to build a PRC government that will campaign for the revolutionary victory of the working class over capitalism abroad and will oversee a decisive weakening of the insurgent capitalist private sector at home.

While appealing to Red China, the main work here of opponents of imperialist attacks on Syria must be to mobilise the working class in opposition to the U.S./Australian intervention in the Middle East. It is possible to win politicised sections of the working class to this perspective because the imperialist intervention in Syria and Iraq is bad for working class people and bad for other oppressed groups in Australia including Aboriginal people and embattled Muslim and other targeted coloured communities. This predatory intervention abroad is pumping up the capitalist rulers to, at home, even more viciously attack workers’ rights, Aboriginal people and embattled minorities. Thus, the Middle East intervention is only good for Australia’s capitalist exploiting class. So let’s fight for workers action to demand: U.S., Australian, French, British, German and all imperialists: Get out of Syria and Iraq! No to military intervention! No to funding of “Rebel” Proxies! No to diplomatic meddling! Defend Syria against imperialist-imposed regime change!

 

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Defend Syria against U.S./Australian Imperialism & Their “Rebel” Proxies!

On 7 April 2017, the world’s biggest killing machine went into overdrive. The U.S. unleashed a barrage of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against a Syrian airbase. The strike killed nine civilians – including four children. The right-wing Turnbull government could not wait to proclaim that it “strongly supports the swift and just response of the United States.” Meanwhile, the ALP Opposition was no better, calling the U.S. attack “appropriate and proportionate.”

The U.S. claims that its missile strike was retaliation for an alleged chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib Province which they have pinned on Syria’s Assad government. U.S. president Trump claims that he was motivated to attack Syria by concern for children killed in the alleged attack. What a load of rubbish! For the U.S., Australian and other imperialist rulers, the masses in the ex-colonies are completely expendable in their drive to secure control of natural resources, markets and spheres of exploitation.  Due to their barbaric willingness to disregard dangers to civilian lives in their war on ISIS, a March 17 airstrike by the U.S./French/British/Australian Coalition killed over 200 civilians in the residential Jadidah neighborhood of the western part of the Iraqi city of Mosul. Meanwhile, the racist Trump regime has shown how much concern they have for the people of the Arab and Muslim world by attempting to ban people from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. and by stopping all refugees from the war in Syria. Trump’s offensive diatribes against Muslims, Mexicans and other non-white people has incited a terrifying increase in white supremacist attacks throughout North America – including the 29 January massacre of six people at a Quebec City mosque by a fascist Trump supporter. Here in Australia, the Turnbull regime, with the support of the ALP, shows its “concern” for the well-being of children from the Middle East by imprisoning dozens of them in hell-hole detention centres in Australia and Nauru and hundreds more in community detention centres. Meanwhile, Australian regimes of various stripes oversee a racist “child protection” system that has cruelly ripped hundreds of Aboriginal children from their families in an ongoing stolen generations outrage. Continue reading Defend Syria against U.S./Australian Imperialism & Their “Rebel” Proxies!

Long Live China’s 1949 Anticapitalist Revolution!

PROTECT THE GREAT BENEFITS FOR WORKERS & THE RURAL MASSES WON THROUGH THE REVOLUTION:
STOP IMPERIALIST FUNDING FOR THOSE NGOs THAT SEEK TO OVERTHROW SOCIALISTIC RULE IN CHINA

6th September 2016: Determined supporters of socialistic rule in China rallied this evening on the steps at the entrance to Sydney Town Hall. In this demonstration called at short notice, participants hailed the gains of China’s 1949 anticapitalist revolution and opposed the U.S. and Australian-backed anti-communist Chinese exile groups seeking to promote capitalist restoration in China.

The 1949 Chinese Revolution was one of the most momentous events in humanity’s entire history. The long-suffering Chinese masses overthrew their exploiters and took power. Tens of millions of downtrodden people participated in this heroic struggle. They achieved victory after a bitter three year civil war. On one side of the war stood the oppressed tenant farmers, workers, working-class women and idealistic students. They were organized by the Communist Party of China (CPC) which was led by Mao Ze Dong. On the other side were the brutal landlords and capitalists. These oppressor classes were served by the Kuomintang (KMT) government of Chiang Kai-Shek. The KMT was heavily armed, trained and advised by the U.S. regime. But still they lost to the Communist-led revolutionaries.

The 1949 anti-capitalist revolution freed the peasants from the tyranny of the landlords, made headway in liberating workers from capitalist exploitation and freed the Chinese people from humiliating subjugation by imperial powers. The revolution greatly uplifted women’s status from the horrific reality they faced under the previous Kuomintang regime – when many women were subjected to forced marriage and the barbaric practice of Continue reading Long Live China’s 1949 Anticapitalist Revolution!

10 January 2015: Defenders of the Socialistic DPRK Support the DPRK Soccer Team at the Asia Cup

DPRK Asia Cup photo outside stadium
From the moment the DPRK soccer team arrived in Sydney for the January 2015 Asia Cup Finals, the capitalist-owned media went all out to demonise the team as highly secretive, repressed and without support. This is part of their general propaganda war against socialistic North Korea. The aim of this campaign is to justify to the Australian masses the Australian ruling class’ participation in the relentless imperialist drive to crush the DPRK workers state through military, economic and political pressure.
However, the media narrative took a blow when soccer fans coming to watch North Korea’s match against Uzbekhistan as well as Sydney public transport users came across a contingent of supporters of the socialistic DPRK coming to support the DPRK team. The contingent – including supporters of Trotskyist Platform, the Australia-DPRK Friendship Society and the Communist Party of Australia – chanted:
“D-P-R-K! Workers State is Here to Stay!”

Oppose All U.S. & Australian Military & Political Intervention in Syria & Iraq!

Above:  Trotskyist Platform banner (Above) at the ‘No Australian War on Syria’ rally in Sydney on 13 September 2015 (Below). The conflict in Syria has involved both internal rivals and several different capitalist powers intervening in a murky way – sometimes involving shifting alliances. Yet one thing is absolutely clear: all intervention by the U.S. and allied British, French and Australian imperialist rulers will only mean yet more suffering for the Syrian people. This is the case whether that intervention is through direct military participation, arming and financing of “Rebel” proxies or diplomatic manoeuvring. As we go to press in the days after the 13 November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, all the barbaric capitalist powers have seized on those gruesome attacks to justify not only heightened state repression and racist scapegoating at home but increased intervention in Syria and Iraq. The intensified air strikes by these powers will cause further civilian casualties that will dwarf in number the 129 people killed in the Paris attacks.

Syria rally CMYK