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The Context of Government's Response to The Coronavirus

Written by: Ned K. on 5 April 2020


The Morrison Government response to the Coronavirus has elements in it that have stolen the ALP's election policy territory, such as the Job Keeper wages package for stood down workers and the revamp of child care funding to the tune of billions of dollars.

There are probably multiple reasons for the Morrison Government's response.

Fear of a collapse of the capitalist system in Australia and fear of mass rebellion by the working people being two of them.

At the moment I have been reading the excellent book, "Island Off the Coast of Asia - Instruments of Statecraft in Australian Foreign Policy" by a former Australian Army Officer, Clinton Fernandes.

Fernandes' argument is that throughout White Australia's history since 1788, successive "Australian Governments' enduring first-order objective is to stay on the winning side of the global confrontation between imperialism and anti-colonialism, North versus South, and developed versus developing countries".

For the Morrison Government, the Coronavirus crisis has the capacity to plunge the Australian economy from "developed" status to "developing" in a context marked by two dominant trends:

1. Growing rivalry between the declining but still dominant US imperialism and the rising state-capitalism of China. The Coronavirus is adding to this rivalry with Trump on behalf of US imperialism blaming China for the virus outbreak and China appearing to weather the Coronavirus storm much better than the USA

2. The continuing economic crisis of imperialism. Fernandes documents the extent and depth of the economic crisis in his excellent, well worth reading book.

He says in a chapter on "Financial Instruments":

"According to a calculation by Vijay Prassad based on data from the IMF and the International Labour Organisation, 'Between 1970 and 2008, the capitalist economies suffered a series of torrential crises: 124 systemic banking crises, 208 currency crises, 63 sovereign debt crises, 42 twin crises, 10 triple crises, a global economic downturn every decade, and several prices shocks book-ended by the two oil shocks of the 1970s and the food and energy price shock of 2008".

The driver for the Morrison Government and no doubt the Labor "Opposition" in the current situation is to prevent Australia from slipping out of the "developed" countries status while maintaining subservience to US imperialism without risking its economic dependence on the rising China social-imperialist power.

The internal problem for both Morrison and Labor Party in "Opposition" is that workers can see in this crisis ever more clearly the need for an Australia standing on its own two feet with sufficient economic military and political control of the country.

Fernandes' excellent demonstration of how successive governments through history have been unwilling to take the independence road is becoming clearer to millions of Australians through their own experience in the current crisis.  


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