Imperialist exploitation creates refugees
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Statement issued by the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
Asylum seekers and refugees hoping to settle in Australia are mainly escaping wars of aggression and occupation, poverty and oppression created by the brutality of imperialism. They should be treated humanely and decently. No asylum seeker should be locked up in prison camp conditions, off-shore or in Australia, but instead be provided with proper housing and support in Australia while their position is being considered. That’s what most of the Australian people want.
The mass dislocation and movement of refugees is nothing new in a world torn by capitalism and imperialism. Mass migrations of refugees fleeing wars, poverty, oppression and dispossession have been a constant feature across the world for tens of hundreds of years.
Early human society split into two main classes; the dominant minority exploiting ruling class that took possession of land and the means of production, and the exploited and oppressed class of the majority, the creators of all the wealth and profits in society.
The exploitative economic and social class systems of slavery, feudalism, capitalism and now imperialism, the most developed form of capitalism, have inflicted great suffering on the people of the world, forcing many to cross borders fleeing colonial and imperialist wars of aggression, dire poverty, hunger and repression.
In today’s world, the number of refugees is rising as a direct result of the imperialist powers’ intensified competition for world resources and the exploitation of labour power for profit maximisation for the ruling class of monopoly capitalists.
You don’t have to look far to find the vestiges of old colonialism and the newer hand of imperialism, directly or by proxy through its local puppet regimes, where there’s poverty, deprivation, displacement and unending wars of imperialist aggression, such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt, India, Pakistan.
Today, more than one billion people worldwide live in abject poverty, while the majority of the world’s wealth is in the hands of just a few obscenely rich global corporations and a tiny handful of individuals. And now, the people of the poorest developing countries also face the devastation of climate warming that’s wreaking havoc on their lives and their countries’ survival.
The catastrophe of climate warming is created by capitalist and imperialist exploitation of the natural environment and great masses of people for private profit. Crises in global food security and biological diversity, in the availability and quality of fresh water (being grabbed everywhere by multinational corporations as a private tradeable commodity), and accompanied now by the threat of rising sea water levels, will add to pressure on the world’s poor to relocate or to perish.
Migrants and refugees are part of Australia’s working class history and culture
In Australia, from the time of the British colonial invasion and violent occupation of Aboriginal lands in 1788, the uninterrupted flow of capital into Australia brought with it waves of immigrants and refugees as a primary source of labour power. To this day the dominant interests of foreign and local monopoly capital in Australia continue to brutally dispossess and oppress Australia’s Indigenous people.
The Australian government’s immigration policies have always been primarily driven by the economic needs of capital’s labour markets. In the aftermath of the devastation resulting from World War Two and the ensuing post-war reconstruction, there was a shortage of labour worldwide. In Australia, the small population could not meet the labour needs of the post war rapid economic growth and development. New immigration policies designed to meet capital’s demand for labour opened Australia to cheap labour from Europe. Immigrants from Britain and East Europe were largely given preference. However, people from Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain also came in their thousands; many were communists and militant workers fresh from struggles against fascism in Europe.
Presently, in the world wide capitalist economic crisis there is a massive over-supply of cheap labour with hundreds of thousands of workers criss-crossing the globe in search of work. It is far cheaper for capital and the capitalist class state to utilise this mobile, cheap labour on temporary work visas (guest workers) without having the obligation to provide economic and social entitlements that are bestowed on citizens and permanent residents.
The material wealth and rich cultural traditions of this country were created by migrants and refugees from every corner of the globe settling in Australia. Migrants and refugees have always been an important part of Australia’s working class. To this day migrants and refugees toil in factories, mines, on building sites, abattoirs and in the agricultural industry. Today, as jobs in Australia’s manufacturing industry disappear, many immigrants and refugees work in the largely unskilled jobs in the services industries as cleaners, taxi drivers, in hospitality, meat processing, storage and warehousing and call centres. Intense exploitation of immigrant workers and refugees is on the increase, particularly of workers on temporary migration visas and guest workers. Full credit is due to unions in areas such as manufacturing, meat processing and construction, who have fought employer abuse of workers on temporary work visas and built unity between Australian and overseas workers at the point of production.
Today many recently arrived refugees and migrants are actively involved in their workplace and union struggles for better wages and conditions, workers’ and union rights and a better world for the people. They stand shoulder to shoulder with their workmates from all corners of the world; Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe. Many lead the struggles against some of the most rapacious and oppressive bosses.
Migrants and refugees have always stood at the centre of Australia’s working class struggles and union activism, often in the forefront of many struggles in the mines, sugarcane fields, on the waterfront, on building sites, and in many factories. Struggles against fascism and imperialist wars have often been led by migrant workers and refugees who fled political repression in their own countries.
Australia’s multiculturalism was born at the Eureka Stockade rebellion in 1854, where people from twenty one countries took part in Australia’s popular uprising against British colonial oppression. Many Eureka rebels were political and union activists in their own countries. Raffaello Carboni, an Italian political revolutionary who fled repression, was one of the main leaders of the Eureka rebellion.
A smokescreen of racism and chauvinism
Australia’s ruling capitalist class has always sought to foment and incite racism, deliberately equating patriotic working class nationalism with the chauvinism of capitalism and imperialism. It does this to sow divisions amongst the people, and spread the backward ideology of capitalism, when it suits its economic and political purpose.
The ruling class scapegoats refugees to divert attention from capitalism and imperialism as the root cause of many problems. Every new wave of refugees and immigrants is demonised and subjected to unfair treatment as capitalism tries to undermine hard won workers’ wages and conditions.
It is imperialist globalisation and the capitalist economic crisis that is wiping out Australian jobs and job security, decimating Australia’s manufacturing industry and wrecking the environment, not the refugees. Monopoly corporations, hell bent on extracting maximum profits at minimum cost, are the reason that no action is taken to quickly reduce carbon emissions and stop climate warming. The real problems for Australia’s people and the environment are not the refugees, but the imperialist multinational corporations who lead the attacks on Australian working people’s rights and conditions, and who are syphoning out of the country mega-profits made from the labour power of Australia’s workers, many of whom are migrants and refugees.
Unite the people; Target imperialist domination of Australia
Just imagine what Australia’s working people can do with the massive profits they create for the multinationals and the banks. Building an independent and self-reliant economy that develops local agricultural, minerals processing, manufacturing and renewable energy industries will create many new jobs and help reduce global climate warming. Funds will be put into welfare and services for the people.
The blame for climate warming lies solely with the profiteering multinational corporations who tear up the environment, refuse to cut back on emissions of greenhouse gases and pollute the world’s waters.
There is no real solution to the global plight of refugees whilst the world and its people continue to be plundered and exploited by capitalism and imperialism. The only solution is to work towards getting rid of this barbaric system.
For us in Australia today, it means working to unite the great majority of Australian people from all cultural and national backgrounds in the many struggles for a truly democratic, independent and socialist Australia.
Class Struggle and Socialism
Independence from Imperialism
People's Rights & Liberties
Community and Environment
Independence from Imperialism
People's Rights & Liberties
Community and Environment
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