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Take the fight beyond parliament

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by Louisa L.  (June 2014)

People hate Abbott. He's the face of a brutal capitalist onslaught. 

Post budget, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, freely distributed in every cafe, sensed the temperature and briefly divested itself of its most pro-Abbott clothing. But by late June it was selectively attacking again.

Getting rid of Abbott's crew would strike a blow against imperialist plans. The ACTU and Labor Councils' targeted seats campaign is a part of the strategy, because people don't yet see an alternative to parliament and elections to cement gains. But re-electing the ALP isn't the answer. And people sense that too, based on bitter experience. 

Straight after the defeat of Howard, Your Rights at Work community groups were disbanded. Union leaderships now call that a mistake, while organising to re-elect the ALP. 

Yet capitalism has never been under threat from Labor governments, and the real mistake is having illusions about the ALP.

Underpinning it lays either a preparedness to discipline the workers for imperialist overlords or a lack of faith in the ability of people to fight back in a mass way. Both steer dangerously clear of the people's strongest weapon, industrial action.

Labor leaders were never fair dinkum
The ALP is a capitalist party, which consistently obeys foreign corporate masters. Under Labor, capitalism thrived and successive leaders used our money to stabilise capitalism and build infrastructure to support its needs. 

Labor leaders were never fair dinkum. On Rudd and Gillard's watch, to use an apt U.S. military metaphor since complete subservience to US military dictates is part of their agenda, 33 CFMEU workers in WA copped big fines. The rebooted Australian Building and Construction Commission has now frozen their assets until those fines are paid.

As Education Minister, Gillard did exactly as PM Abbott did, and visited Rupert Murdoch to get her orders on education. She invited Joel Klein, now head of News Education, to Australia to sell the message.

When teachers round the country banned NAPLAN and refused to cop Rupert's dictates, she threatened those in Victoria, ACT and Northern Territory with individual fines. While breaking the back of the moratorium, she wasn't able to kill off the issues raised, due to teacher unions' leadership in struggle.

Time to cooperate
There's been a qualitative shift in capitalism since the 1970s. In part this is due to a systematic ideological reorganisation emanating from US imperialist think-tanks. In part it's over 30 years of coordinated dismantling of unions' abilities to fight effectively, something the ALP has been up to its neck in organising here. 

But underlying it all is the economic compulsion of a more concentrated imperialist class to make an historically obsolete system function, by indebting and impoverishing ordinary people.

This gives Labor governments less ability to maintain the deception that they serve the people. Yet in opposition, deception grows more easily. 

March Australia has steered clear of the ALP machine, and unleashed marchers' creative energy. Its speakers expose the ruling class standing behind Abbott. Yet its spontaneity is also a weakness. The Australian people would be well served by cooperation between the organised working class and the broader community. Unions should be supporting its events.

Vast numbers of Australians want Abbott's government to be defeated. But defeating the forces behind it requires more than targeted seats campaigns. It requires not just activists, but the mass of our people, to understand just what we are up against and to organise to fight back. The anger is there. It can be channelled into united action.


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