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Study contradictions for coming struggles

Written by: Nick G. on 10 December 2019


The domestic situation in Australia is characterised by growing distrust of the main parliamentary parties, and by increasing repression and secrecy on the part of the Morrison government.

The economy is sluggish at best and increasing numbers of workers are faced by no wage growth and by long-term precarious employment. People of all ages including young people unable to enter the workforce, and middle-aged and older cast-offs from the ranks of the employed, struggle to survive on the desperately low Newstart Allowance. The farmers are in the grip of a prolonged drought and are at the mercy of big mining and agribusiness companies who control upstream water resources.  A private market in water has been created and is controlled by finance capital.

In our region, the maneuvering by US imperialism and Chinese social-imperialism in the Indian and Pacific Oceans is intensifying.  The small island nations of the South-west Pacific are playing one off against the other, but this is a dangerous game.  US imperialism is demanding that Australia play a bigger role in securing US interests in the region, and a McCarthyist anti-China wind is being whipped up by its servants in our country with Chinese-Australians becoming increasingly apprehensive.

Growing numbers of young people are taking a stand against global warming, and identifying multinational fossil fuel companies as the target of their campaigns. Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane’s sepia-tinted skies are testimony to the scale and ferocity of bushfires. Indeed today, Sydney is so shrouded in smoke that fine particle pollutants have registered at 11 times the level deemed to be hazardous; bushfire smoke has triggered false fire alarms in Sydney buildings; visibility is low across the city and residents have been advised to stay indoors.

On Thursday November 14, Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrogantly refused to meet with the group called Emergency Leaders for Climate Change and dodged questions about the link between climate change and the devastating bushfires that broke out in NSW on the previous Friday.

The coalition of 23 fire and emergency services leaders from every state and territory wanted to present to Morrison a call for a climate emergency to be declared. They had previously sought a meeting with him last April, which was also refused. They accused the government of wanting to gag debate on climate change. Today, he rejected calls for additional support for volunteer firefighters struggling in 40°C temperatures, saying “they want to be there”.

Environmentalists and traditional land owners join forces across the nation to oppose fracking and other destructive practices, including proposals by Norwegian multinational Equinor to drill for oil in the whale-breeding waters of the Great Australian Bight.  Police violence is unleashed on protesters outside an international mining conference in Melbourne.

Restlessness and an expectation of the need for struggle is awakening in the working class.  Strikes and picket lines are enthusiastically supported by students, fellow unionists and community members.

Developing levels of struggle across many sectors can be expected to develop unevenly for the time being, but the general direction is for solidarity and broad mutual support.

As the year draws to an end, we must reflect on the contradictions embedded in our social circumstances and set the scene for better and bigger involvement in struggles in the future.


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