13th National Congress Resolution Nationalise Australia's Mining Industry
The mining industry is not being managed in the interests of the Australian people. Capitalism encourages the maximum extraction in the shortest possible time of non-renewable natural resources such as minerals, rare earths, oil and gas because the core motivation is capital accumulation and realisation of profits at the highest possible rate.
Capitalism prevents planned and sustainable mining. One consequence of the boom in mining is the lopsided development of the economy, pushing up the value of the Australian dollar and sabotaging the international market for Australian manufactured products. This has accelerated, to the decline of the manufacturing industry in Australia.
Mining provides opportunities for a handful of multinational and local capitalists to take massive super profits into private pockets, depriving the government and the community of funds for schools, health, community services, national infrastructure, and re-building an environmentally sustainable manufacturing industry.
Mining as a capitalist endeavour also conflicts with the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for preservation of culturally significant sites, and threatens agricultural and pastoral communities. Extraction of coal seam gas is in the hands of big monopolies and conflicts with farming communities and their use of land.
Much is made of the high wages on offer in the mining sector. The other side of this is the conditions under which miners in remote regions work: continuous 12-hour shifts for extended periods, FIFO arrangements that disrupt family life at home and prevent community solidarity at the work camp, and growing automation of all processes. High levels of anxiety and depression are common amongst FIFO workers. Mining monopolies return little to local mining communities. Importation of overseas workers is used to suppress local wages and conditions and to break down the solidarity and unity of the working class.
The big miners, both foreign and local, are such rabid plunderers of our natural resources that a corresponding extreme of aggressive political reaction is naturally embedded in their outlook. The complete reliance of mining capital on bank capital is the basis for their reactionary position. Bank capital has no connection with or loyalty to place or people.
Because of the political, economic and environmental importance of responding to unrestricted capitalist mining, some comrades will be tasked with assisting in the development of a scientific Marxist understanding of mining. Some areas for study and reflection are:
1. Marx’s theory of ground rent and its application to mining
2. The Australian context: the imposition of capitalism on pre-feudal ATSI systems of communal custodianship of land
3. Land rights and mining
4. Mining and other sectors of the economy
5. Mining and the environment
6. Foreign ownership and control of mining
7. The big back-down: from the RSPT to the MRRT
8. A Marxist formulation of demands on the mining monopolies
9. States rights and royalties: why the Australian Constitution is flawed
10. Independence and socialism for a rational basis for managing mining
The CPA (M-L) will work for the nationalisation of mining, and for the planned and sustainable extraction of natural resources used for accumulating funds to provide for the economic and social well-being of the Australian people.
The super-profits of the major mining corporations must be taxed to the hilt! They must be used to benefit the people and build sustainable national minerals processing, manufacturing and agricultural industries.
The CPA (M-L) reaffirms its opposition to the mining and sale of uranium.
The CPA (M-L) reaffirms its support for Aboriginal land rights.