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Fight the Business Council of Australia, Make the Rich Pay

Jamie C.

This article extends, with permission, Spirit of Eureka member Richard Buckdale’s Facebook commentary of the 31st July. The additional analysis however is entirely mine.

The poster on the left, published by the CFMEU on its Facebook page, exposes the reality today in the land of the “fair go”. This reality is an unfettered grab for super profits of the most powerful corporations in Australia, whilst the ordinary worker’s share in the GDP is rapidly diminishing.

Even the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is worried about the massive reduction in workers' real buying power. As Philip Lowe, RBA Governor, recently put it, “the crisis is really in real wage growth”. (1)

The Reserve Bank’s contradictory role
Philip Lowe’s principal job is to ensure that the Australian capitalist state functions as smoothly as possible. In this capacity, he is part of what G Arrighi refers to as the “territorial logic of power”.  In other words, power associated with geographically compact states such as nations. His worry, regarding the lack of real wage growth in Australia and overseas, is a fear of class conflict and a realisation that workers’ wages are relatively so low that they cannot afford the growing glut of products, with the rapidly growing prospect of a massive crisis of overproduction. When the RBA sides with workers in the hope of improving the economy, we can be sure that the likelihood of an impending crisis is very real indeed.

But it should also be noted that Lowe as head of the capitalist RBA also bears some responsibility for the wages and salaries of its employees. In this capacity, he is part of Arrighi’s “capitalist logic of power”, and it is to be noted that the RBA has not led the way in enabling real wage growth of its own workers! (2)

It might be said that Lowe shows unbelievable hypocrisy, which of course is true. But what it mainly shows is the very real contradiction between the two logics of power highlighted by Arrighi.  Whether one accepts the contradiction between these two logics of power as being defining of capitalist imperialism, and I do not, there is no doubt that in the twenty-first century, this contradiction plays an extremely important role.

The Business Council of Australia
The Business Council of Australia (BCA), the brains and voice of the most powerful corporations in Australia, is the centre of the “capitalist logic of power”. Its members are, in the main, either foreign-owned multinationals or inextricably financially linked to foreign-owned multinationals. Some of its most powerful members are construction companies. The BCA, in conjunction with other vested interests such as the Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry Association Limited, spearheaded the campaign to bring back and strengthen the ABCC, which their willing puppets in the Coalition administration, such as Malcolm Turnbull and Michaelia Cash, successfully fought to have implemented.

Through its ABCC, the BCA fights the CFMEU tooth and nail because the CFMEU struggles for decent safety conditions for its construction workers, creating extra expense for the BCA’s powerful construction company members thus threatening their obscene super profits.

Again, as the centre for the capitalist logic of power in Australia, BCA policy of massive tax reductions of over 20% for businesses is being implemented by the Coalition administration step-by-step. This represents even further inequality of wealth. 

What is the way forward?
We must unite with all who say, “stop the robbery” and are prepared, however tentatively, to fight for their rights, providing only that we can express our independent position. We need to explain, and not merely state, how only in an independent and socialist Australia will workers receive the true justice they are entitled to.

Only through a powerful united front movement, however contradictory its members’ views, can we hold the ALP administration to its promises when and if it achieves office. 

Only through a powerful united front movement can we bit-by-bit build proletarian bases of power independent of parliaments.

We will be seen to lead by our proven correct line, our diligence, reliability, political effectiveness, careful research, website and publications.

(1)   (Philip Lowe, “Remarks on a Panel at the Australian National University’s Crawford Australian Leadership Forum”, Canberra 19 June 2017, in answer to forum question 1.)

(2)   (G Arrighi, “The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origin of our Times”, (London: Verso, 1994) p 33-34)

In every way possible, the party needs to assist workers, unions, impoverished farmers & small business people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations’ peoples, elderly and disabled pensioners, the unemployed and homeless, women and LGBTI people, teachers and lecturers, progressives, disillusioned police and ADF personnel to unite and fight for justice and their rights wherever injustice rears its ugly head and especially around the five pillars of everyday life—work, housing, transport, health and education. We need to support the struggle for workers’ entitlements and decent safety conditions and help to expose and destroy the unfettered power of the BCA.

This is critical for building an Independent Working Class agenda and so is exposing the role of US imperialism. In all these cases, the important organisations of class rule such as the BCA and the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) need to be thoroughly exposed as do the anti-working class, pro-imperialist, far-right media spokes-puppets like Andrew Bolt, Rohan Dean and Miranda Devine.

If we do our work properly, we will be on the road to a bright, independent and socialist future.

 

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