CPA (M-L) contribution to ICOR webinar on united front against imperialism
Written by: CPA (M-L) on 1 August 2023
On Sunday 30 July, a comrade from the CPA (M-L) made a short contribution to the discussion. As there were many participants from countries around the world, each person was limited to a 3-minute presentation. The comrade spoke without notes but has made the following written recollection of his comments.
Firstly, let me begin by acknowledging the more than 300 people, many of them young, who confronted Nazis at a Nazi recruitment event in Melbourne yesterday. Their defiance of these right-wing street thugs is a very good thing.
Secondly, I can report that in common with workers in other advanced capitalist countries, Australian workers are facing declining living standards as the ruling class seeks to control inflation by using the levers of unemployment and interest rates. As a result, more and more are finding it difficult to meet mortgage repayments and rent increases, adding to the crisis of homelessness. They are yet to find the path to organised resistance, partly due to the repressive industrial relations laws that make all but “protected” industrial activity illegal. Even so, outbreaks of struggle are taking place.
Thirdly, on the international situation. In our region we are acutely conscious of the danger of war as the competition develops between Chinese social-imperialism and US imperialism. Even those who are friendly towards the US are increasingly worried by the government’s surrender of sovereignty to the US. Mass organisations with broad popular appeal are organising resistance to the US stranglehold over Australia. The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is one in which we work with former diplomats and politicians, with peace activists and others across a range of differing viewpoints, all wanting the Australian government to possess greater capacity for independent decision-making in matters of foreign policy. Alliances are being built across our region. An IPAN conference on the theme of a peaceful Pacific was held on July 29 with speakers from Australia, Okinawa, Guaham (Guam), Samoa and New Zealand.
Australia has recently joined the US and UK in the AUKUS alliance. This saw the cancellation of a contract for France to build conventional submarines in Australia in favour of a $368 billion contract with the US and the UK for eight nuclear-powered submarines. Even within the “defence” establishment there are criticisms of this arrangement. The submarines will not be based in Australian coastal waters, but will be “seamlessly interoperable” with US submarines off the coast of China. A new organisation, the Australian Anti-AUKUS Coalition is bringing together the rank-and-file of the governing Labor Party, unions and peace activists. A common demand is for the scrapping of AUKUS and the direction of the $368 billion towards the social problems of the working people.
A further consequence of AUKUS is that Australia must take responsibility for the disposal of nuclear waste from these submarines once they are decommissioned. For sixty years, the government has tried to impose a nuclear waste dump for intermediate and low-level waste on communities that have successfully resisted these proposals. Inevitably, they are proposed for “remote” locations on the lands of the First Peoples. We campaigned with the Barngarla people of South Australia, and the local farming community, to successfully block the latest dump proposal. The prospect of a future high-level nuclear waste dump will further boost the anti-nuclear movement.
Finally, let me acknowledge that many comrades at this ICOR meeting face far greater difficulties than those of us in countries like Australia. We pledge to do what we can to assist them in our joint struggle against imperialism.
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