13th National Congress Resolution on the Australian Economy and Imperialism
The Australian economy is dominated by the clash (contradiction) between the people and the core of the capitalist class - US, British and European imperialisms. At the centre of this, is the clash between the working class and foreign imperialist interests.
The people under pressure while capital plunders
We see the clash in the constant pressure on household budgets, on mortgages, food and grocery prices, petrol prices, and growing costs of education and health. Just look at the cost of university education and pharmaceuticals, as examples.
At the same time, mining monopolies make billions upon billions, big banks announce multi-billion returns, and supermarket retail conglomerates drive small retailers out of business while making super-profits from the people’s basic needs for food, clothing and household goods.
The working class, with some working small business people, produce all the wealth realised in Australia. According to the Bureau of Statistics, the gross domestic product of Australia was $1,341 billion in 2010-11. Even according to an incomplete overstated official measure, just 52.8% of GDP went into wages and salaries and government services to people. That compares with 62% in 1975.
The profit portion of GDP grew from 17% in 1975 to a record 28% plus for the three years of the GFC (ABS Total Factor Income Ratios) – A straight swap from working people to private profit.
There’s plenty of money around Australia. It’s just that it is going to profits, not to the people.
The exploitation of the workers has grown remarkably. With automation and computerised production, the fixed portion of capital (input into production, machinery, materials, energy, and wear and tear) has risen particularly over the last 20 years. The other side of this is that the variable portion of total capital invested in production, fundamentally wages, has fallen.
The rate of profit on each dollar invested drops, as profit made from exploitation of workers becomes less when more money is put into machinery, energy and materials etc. Companies work to make the most profit possible by cutting workers’ share. Workers rightly struggle to keep their share up.
The clash of the titans haunts imperialism. The workers and patriotic people are many. The imperialists and their coterie are few.
The economic malaise, where big foreign monopolies are supported and the people lose out, will be resolved by the working people taking command of the means of production, initially the key industries and resources now in the hands of foreign monopolies and conglomerates. Struggle against imperialism is vital for the working class and the patriotic oppressed in small business. It puts the people first, and takes command of the future of the country. Some steps can be advocated now that reveal the intensity of imperialism’s exploitation and set out the possibilities of the alternative.
Australia a target for export of capital
Capitalism in its imperialist stage is marked by the export of capital. Australia is a major target of capital from the US, Britain and Europe. In the era of removal of barriers to the unrestricted flow of capital and commodities into dependent countries, and the opening of formerly government sectors to direct private ownership in the last 25 years, US and European operating companies and financiers have moved into formerly government sectors. They include areas like electricity and water, mining, rail, air and other transport, some defence industry, education and health services, communications and infrastructure.
These have been some of the most rapidly growing sectors of the economy. Capital has governments working as boards for the capitalist class as a whole, to deliver these plums for plunder. The overwhelming bulk of these plums have been grabbed by European and US capital, with some new Asian capital involved. Corporate brands like Veolia and Optus mark the new phase. Imperialists keep pressing for new advantages against the people. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is pursued by imperialism to further open the country to plunder, and the people to exploitation.
Mining resource monopolies confront the people
On top of that, mining and resource monopolies are taking over wide stretches of rural and urban land, along with Aboriginal lands. It builds on coal mining regional dominance in NSW and Queensland. They are led by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, with a coterie of Japanese conglomerates including Mitsui, Mitsubishi, followed by the oil and gas majors including Santos, Chevron, Woodside and others.
Major clashes have broken out over rich agricultural and environmental reserves, as well as urban land, for coal seam gas exploitation, open cut mines in the Hunter Valley and Liverpool plains, prime flood-plain cropping land, and the Pilbara clash over Aboriginal coastal land sought for a huge gas refinery. The dominance of resource monopolies over the people is exposed in the eastern states, through the coal seam gas struggle to” close the gate” against the coal and gas monopolies who are backed by government and the capitalist law. South Australia is being reoriented with the extraordinary Olympic Dam uranium development, and is moving into the overwhelming dominance of the state by resource monopolies, joining WA and the Northern Territory.
This dominance is reflected in the decline of manufacturing, as finance flows into mining ventures. Equipment and wages in manufacturing wallow, while mining booms. Governments provide endless advantages to mining monopolies and foreign car monopolies, while multiple local manufacturers are starved of work and support.
A section of capitalists in Australia, completely reliant on foreign funds to support their enterprises, Gina Rinehart, “Twiggy” Forrest, Clive Palmer and Nathan Tinkler among the highest profile, have become increasingly shrill and seek to impose themselves on public policy. They are quite reactionary, being completely subjugated to foreign finance to sustain their businesses and positions. They make dangerous tinder on which fascist tendencies may be inflamed.
The resources of this country are being torn from the ground for monopoly capitalist plunder, leaving tens of tens of thousands of despoiled mullock heaps in their wake. The people want protection for their communities, and for their lands and environmental treasures, and an end to exploration and mining rights overriding land and community rights.
Australian capitalist ride through global economic crisis hits turbulence
The rapid expansion of resource exploitation, the practice of a quasi- Keynesian government stimulus policy, and maintenance of credit in some sectors, has sustained the capitalist economy in Australia through the global economic crisis. The price has been growing dependence on foreign capitalist input, now in decline.
International capitalist crisis, followed by government austerity practices aimed at making the people pay, are causing stagnation and rebellion across Europe, Japan, and to a lesser extent, North America. The new wave of austerity is being taken up in Australia with the drive to “balance the budget” beginning a new phase of screwing the people.
The alliance of supermarket conglomerates with their petrol station partners, the banks, finance companies and mining monopolies, are draining the country and exploiting the people. Governments from Canberra to each state capital are attacking wages, jobs, education health and transport services in an austerity drive, rejecting peoples’ rights to security of their lands and areas from mining monopoly despoliation. Stagnation threatens.
The turn against austerity in Europe, on top of the Latin American outburst against imperialism, may provide a new wave of rebellion and resistance to imperialism. The “Close The Gate” protests, struggle against government destruction of government jobs and holding down wages, demands for clampdowns on supermarket and petrol monopolies, and condemnation of the banks, all feed into the broad struggle against imperialism for the people.
•The working class and other patriotic people in Australia stand against imperialist plunder of Australia
•The working class demands governments stop destroying jobs and services in new austerity “budget-balancing” exercises to support the bankers’ and mining companies’ economy, and instead make the monopolies pay
•Support rural, urban and Aboriginal people who ‘Close The Gate’ to mining monopolies encroaching on their land, environmental treasures and communities
•Clamp down on retail conglomerates’ market dominance, to relieve the squeeze on retailers, farmers, and local manufacturers of consumer commodities
•Support public transport, and oppose petrol monopolies’ price gouging
•Lift the wages and government services portion of GDP by 5%. Raise wages by 12 % with more for the lower paid. Increase pensions, and implement a disability support scheme.
•Lift Government funding to Education, Health and Public Transport by $30 billion p.a. for a start
•Really make mining and gas monopolies pay, to provide services for the people and support to manufacturing
•Re-nationalise public transport for systematic, people-centred transport operations