Thursday, August 30, 2007

Free Jose Maria Sison!

Free Prof. Jose Maria Sison!

Incredible as it may appear Professor Jose Maria Sison, the Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) was arrested in Utrecht, the Netherlands on August 28, 2007 by the Dutch police.

The arrest comes in the week prior to the meeting in Sydney of APEC leaders and has been timed provocatively to show the world that US imperialism is determined to maintain its hold over the peoples of the world.

Prof. Sison was arrested by Dutch authorities under the false charges that he ordered the murder of three individuals in the Philippines. These are fabricated charges concocted by the regime of Mrs. Arroyo and its counter insurgency police in the Philippines. These are the same charges that were categorically dismissed by the Philippines High Court on July 11, 2007 for lack of any evidence.

Simultaneous with the arrest of Prof. Sison the Dutch police raided his house, the international offices National Democratic Front of Philippines (NDFP) and the houses of other Filipino militants. In some of these raids the police violently broke down the doors to enter and search the premises. They confiscated computers CDs, DVDs and other files supposedly to help them with their investigations.

Following his arrest Professor Jose Maria Sison, was moved to The Hague and continues to be under interrogation by the Dutch Police. According to DEFEND he will be brought to court for a hearing on Friday August 31 in order to consider further possible detention by the Dutch authorities.

Clearly, the arrest of the Professor Sison by the Dutch authorities is politically motivated and is directly linked to the relentless attempts of the US backed puppet regime of Arroyo in the Philippines and its master, US imperialism to bring an end to the rising revolutionary struggle of the peoples of the Philippines and to force the NDFP, CPP and the New Peoples Army leading this protracted revolutionary struggle to submission.

This is a futile attempt to force the revolutionary movement of the peoples of the Philippines to abandon its just struggle for national and social liberation and submit itself to the will of the reactionary, bankrupt, corrupt and murderous regime in power in the Philippines. The regime of Mrs. Arroyo is a terrorist regime that has sponsored hooded gunmen to assassinate over 1000 progressives and people’s activists since it coming to power.

But they should know that not only Joma Sison’s arrest will not break the will of the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces but will intensify their resolve in bringing a rapid end to this crisis ridden puppet regime. The heroic struggle of the people of the Philippines has stood fast for decades and has outlived and in fact overthrown many of Mrs Arroyo’s predecessors, including the Marcos regime.

Joma Sison is being hounded for his staunch defence of the peoples struggle against imperialism and all reactionaries. He is hounded for his unyielding internationalism and belief that it is the masses that are the makers of history and that they will rise to liberate themselves establishing a society without war, injustice and exploitation - a society without imperialism and reaction. Hence an attack on Joma is an attack against the peoples everywhere from Europe and North America to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The ILPS condemns and abhors the blatant abuse of power by the Dutch authorities in this latest episode of the long-standing systematic intimidation, ill treatment and denial of basic human rights of Professor Jose Maria Sisson.

The ILPS condemns the collaboration and collusion of the Dutch government with the Arroyo’s criminal regime and demand immediate and unconditional release of Prof. Sison and full restoration of his rights.

The ILPS general secretariat calls on all democratic and anti-imperialist forces, anti-war organisations and fronts and in particular requests all ILPS member organisations to continue to rally to the support of the ILPS chairman, Professor Jose Maria Sison, to actively join the international campaign to secure his freedom and demand his immediate and unconditional release from custody.

In The Hague, the ILPS members will be joining protest actions in front of the court on Friday 31st August at 1.00 pm. We further call for immediate coordinated protest actions in front of Dutch embassies across the world.

Please send reports of actions and your statements to ILPS Information Bureau and distribution lists for wider distribution. Further information and updates will be issued through the ILPS Info Bureau distribution lists (

ILPS General Secretariat
See also this interview with Cde. Sison, dated August 26, 2007.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Canadian Aborigines Oppose Uranium Mining

In their struggles for land rights and native title, Australian and Canadian Indigenous peoples have often learnt from each other and supported each other. As one made advances and moved forward, so did the other. With both countries now languishing under reactionary national governments and as one country's Indigenous people get pushed backward, so does the other's.

But repression breeds resistance. On the same day, Wednesday August 29, that Prime Monster John Howard was telling NT traditional owners that they would have to accept a nuclear dump on their lands, so Canadian First Nations people were struggling to resist uranium mining on their lands.

(Above: Ardoch Algonquin First nations rallied against uranium mining and exploration on June 8, 2007)

The statement below is from Kahentinetha Horn, Mohawk Nation News, August 28, 20o7:

Judge Illegally Orders Algonquins to Be Invaded Wednesday August 29

Brothers, Sisters, Friends, Allies, Supporters, and Environmentalists Needed!

Judge Gordon Thompson has ordered the Algonquins who are blocking access to a proposed uranium mine north of Sharbot Lake to leave immediately. The people have been told to expect the police on Wednesday, August 29th. All supporters are asked to come to the site to help maintain the peace. This is only the beginning of things to come under the conservative regime with the help of the liberals at Queen's Park Toronto. The Bush administration in Washington, DC needs uranium for their military industrial schemes.

Justice Thomson has ordered the protesters to leave and allow Frontenac Ventures Corporation to start uranium mining, to contaminate the watershed of all of eastern Ontario and western Quebec, one of the most densely populated areas in Canada.

"Frontenac shall have immediate, unfettered and unobstructed access to the subject property including the field office, access road and all of the identified exploration property and the Clarendon site," Justice Thomson wrote. If the judge wanted to be truthful, he should have added, "and the right for Frontenac to contaminate, destroy the unborn, carry out genetic damage to the flora and fauna of the entire area."

The interim injunction stands until a full hearing can be heard, which includes a $77-million lawsuit and a full injunction against the Algonquins starting on September 20.

We are very concerned that a judge who is supposed to be impartial would not even consider the rights of the owners of the land. This is a blatant example how our lands are being illegally expropriated. We have been facing these "gold rushes" all over Turtle Island.

The mine gates are at highway 509 just north of Sharbot Lake, off highway 7, west of Perth and 42 miles north of Kingston.

The Algonquins know it's their land. Chris Reid, the lawyer for the Ardoch Algonquins said his clients are "not going to leave." Who oversees Judge Thompson? He doesn't appear to have read any Supreme Court decisions that provide that Indigenous people must be consulted and give their fully informed decision by a clear majority on a clear question, for any activity by foreigners like Frontenac or any corporate Canadian in any form.

If the Algonquins are attacked, it will be a one-sided battle. The Indigenous People vow to protect our land and jurisdiction. The world will see how vicious and corrupt the corporate regime of Canada is. We have no physical weapons. Our only weapon is the truth and doing what is right.

The Algonquins have already warned the colonial authorities and their agents to stop trespassing on unsurrendered land, breaching the peace and threatening violence. They point out that colonial courts represent only their adversaries and their corporate interests. A neutral third party at the international level is the proper forum. Frontenac Ventures Corporation is trespassing. Their intent is to exploit and kill creation. When the owners of the land say "no," it's "no"! There is nothing to negotiate.

A surrender of Indigenous land must be done under their own law, the constitution of Canada (Section 132) and international law. It must be done through negotiation and a vote on a clear question by the majority of the people.

Even Canadian law does now allow this kind of annexation without consultation, consensus and compensation. Algonquin law does not allow the land to be alienated.

The company must allow an archeologist to visit the site to "determine aboriginal burial sites" and other items of significance. They are even going after our ancestors to contaminate them! Living people isn't enough for them. It's half swamp. They want to create uranium contamination which turns things into a radio active soup.

The judge instructs the police to arrest anyone who stands in the way, and Frontenac cannot be stopped in its right to destroy people and the environment.

This is Ottawa's prototype for the "final solution" of the "Indian problem" elsewhere. When it's all done, they hope nobody will know about it.

The police, probably with the help of the army, under the guidance of the U.S. Military, may be standing nearby. They will attempt to bulldoze everybody, fully clad in riot gear, lethal lasers and guns. Sharpshooters, like psychotic Kenneth Deane who killed Dudley George at Ipperwash, will be using us as target practice. Remember the protest at Tiananmen Square in China in 1989. One lone tiny person stood in front of those tanks and stopped the military from killing demonstrators. Nobody wants to see women and children crushed by the might of present day neo-con totalitarianism.

The police have been instructed to "use their discretion." This is the same disease ridden blanket they used at Ipperwash to cover their butts. Aren't they supposed to use their discretion at all times? Who gives the final order? Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian "Little Mouselini" Fantino?

How many snipers have been assigned this time? No matter what, they do not have a right to kill us to appease the corporations who run Canada. This is the longtime strategy of a violent and brutal society built upon the memories of the blood that was shed by our ancestors for the last 500 years. All because we are protecting the ecosystem and our lives! Don't they know that our job is to protect the earth?

The OPP infiltrated into the chieftainship of the Algonquins to show other Indigenous People how far they will go to take away our lands and rights. Algonquin Chief Randy Cota, an OPP officer, will make sure the tanks can come in. He will open the gates for them.

We have a suggestion on how the OPP and all colonial corporate governments and their agencies can relieve themselves of their pent up urges to steal and destroy everything in sight. They can start today and prepare for the global synchronized "Orgasm for Peace" that is taking place on Winter Solstice Day, Saturday, December 22nd, 2007. This is when everybody comes together to change the energy field of the Earth through their input. It won't work if you don't close your eyes. Make it easy on yourself and don't resist, guys.

Indigenous People, supporters, do not fall for traps. The OPP will have someone as an "agent provocateur" just like the Surete du Quebec did at Montebello. Watch out for die hard trademarks like shiny ears.

This is part of an attempt at martial law for all of Turtle Island. Let us make sure that the OPP or anyone does not provoke a violent confrontation. They need a reason to impose "a police state." In our experience with these kinds of sieges, the police will stop communication, food and freedom of movement. The corporate media will mislead the public. The "attack will not be televised."

Only the retaliation that is staged for the public to be turned against us. Cameras and video tapes need to be there with extra batteries and chargers. Also international observers need to be inside to be the eyes and ears of the world with an outlet for their reports.

Supporters are asked to join us as soon as possible. The Ardoch and Sharbot Lake Algonquins will remain peaceful. Police road blocks are usually set up around a perimeter of anywhere from six to 10 miles or closer. Needed are medical supplies, fresh water, food, tents, camping equipment, gas for the generators, vehicles, boats and computers. Media should be inside and outside.

This has been in the works for sometime. There has been much traffic during the night and day which is unusual. On Sunday police were parked up there doing radar which is a first.
Canada and Ontario should keep their invading foreign forces off Algonquin land. It is not a policing issue. It's an international issue.

The unarmed and peaceful Algonquins and their supporters have been at the barricade two months. They have held strong and continue to do so.


See further reports here.

Howard's Return to Assimilation

Howard's relentless attack on indigenous rights continues unabated.

Having killed off the permit system, which allowed a number of Aboriginal communties to determine who came onto their land or accessed their sacred sites, and having effectively killed off community leases (land rights) and thrown thousands onto the dole by phasing out CDEP programs, the latest move is to seize any NT indigenous organisations' assets above the value of $400,000.

In a bizarre twist, these assets are to be transferred to a new body, the Indigenous Economic Development Trust, and then rented back at prime commercial rates to the same organisations from which they had been seized!

It seems that this is yet another part of the plan to implement the goal of making Aboriginal people "engage in the market economy without hindrance" that was outlined in last year's Discussion Paper on changes to the NT Land Rights legislation.

It's just that Indigenous communties and persons cannot be trusted to manage that "engagement" by themselves - they have to be guided and shepherded along the capitalist path by an overlord of a Trust. How ironic the name "Trust" is under these circumstances!

Howard was quoted as telling the community at Ntaria (Hermannsburg) on Tuesday that "We have a simple aim and that is whilst respecting a special place of Indigenous people in the history and the life of this country, their future can only be as part of the mainstream of the Australian community."

This is simple alright - simple "assimilationism" of the kind that destroyed Aboriginal Australia in the middle years of the last century. After refusing to be shot and poisoned out of existence during the frontier war years, and then ungraciously refusing to lay down on the "dying pillow", a new way had to be found to obliterate the blackfellas - and it was to turn them into darker-skinned white fellows.

In 1961, all Australian governments adopted a common definition of "assimilation": "The policy of assimilation emans that all Aborigines and part-Aborigines are expected eventually to attain the same manner of living as other Australians and to live as members of a single Australian community enjoying the same rights and privileges, accepting the same responsibilities, observing the same customs and influenced by the same beliefs, as other Australians."

This policy was rejected by communists and other progressive non-indigenous Australians, but it was not until the great walk-offs began, and in particular, the walf-off from Vestey's Wave Hill, combined with agitation by young blacks setting themselves up as the Black Panther Party of Australia, that assimilation was forced to give way to "integration" and the extension of multi-culturalism to indigenous communities.

From this flowed the begrudging acceptance by non-Indigenous Australia of land rights and native title.

However, racism has been clung to tenaciously by the Australian ruling class and it has surfaced time and again under Howard's government, most noticeably in the Tampa Affair and the treatment of asylum-seekers, and in all things to do with Muslims and the Middle East, up to and including the despiable treatment of Dr Haneef. We won't even go near the ridiculous new "citizenship" test - for the moment.

Howard succeeds in some of this because racism also infects a portion of the non-indigenous working class and petty-bourgeoisie. As GaryFoley, one of the original Black Panthers, wrote in 1993: "The Americanisation of Australia's youth is viewed with increasing concern by many non-Koori (non-Indigenous) Australian parents, and yet these same good people who see the evil of cultural imperialism clearly when it relates to the USA and their own white middle-class Aussie kids, claim not to comprehend the same principle when we apply it to our own situation as Kooris".

It is imperative that we reject the old paternalism and assimilationism that Howard has allowed, like policy scum, to rise to the surface of his mischievous "intervention" in the NT.

A capitalist Australia is now showing the world that it cannot reconcile itself to the existence of Aboriginal land rights and native title.

A socialist people's republic must have the opportunity to solve this problem.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

They Can't Ban Our Flag!

(This is the text of the leaflet I handed out last Friday - see also post below).

I’m taking an hour off work this morning to fly the Eureka flag.

This is because the blokes on the Built Environs job (the old Tivoli Hotel) have been told that they can’t have it on site, either as a flag, as a poster, or as a sticker on a hard hat!

This is an outrageous attack on freedom of expression in this country.

This attack has come from the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), set up by Howard with tax payers’ money to cripple the unions in the building industry.

They have been tough unions, but it’s a tough industry. I worked in it for a while going through uni back in the seventies.

There are bosses prepared to cut corners, to sacrifice workers’ safety, to save money and meet deadlines.

It’s an industry in which, on average, one worker is killed each week in this country.

And that’s not to mention the maimed and the injured - with smashed bones, spinal injuries, injuries requiring amputation.

Howard is an anti-union zealot.

He sent thugs in balaclavas, with Doberman dogs, onto the wharves in an attempt to replace the whole workforce with non-union labour.

There was a huge outcry, so he changed his tactics with the building industry.

He’s taken away the unions’ right of entry, making workers more vulnerable to unreasonable employer demands, and given the ABCC the power to “force people to answer questions and provide documents, under threat of a six-month jail term, and jail them if they tell anybody about the questioning. It can seek $28,600 fines against individual workers for taking illegal industrial action. (The Age, 19 August 2007)

In other words, the workforce can stay, but their unions can’t fight for them.

These powers have been used around the country.

In one notorious case, 107 workers in WA who voted despite a union recommendation to strike in support of a sacked shop steward are facing fines of up to $28,600 each. Their cases will be heard in late October.

How can powers like this exist outside of a fascist dictatorship?

Henry Lawson wrote, during the Great Strikes of the 1890’s: “When they jail a man for striking, it’s a rich man’s country yet!”

He also commended the flying of the Eureka flag during those disputes, writing:

So we must fly a rebel flag
Like others did before us,
And we must sing a rebel song
And join in rebel chorus.
We’ll make the tyrants fell the sting
Of those that they would throttle;
They needn’t say the fault is ours,
If blood should stain the wattle.

Now they are the words of our national poet.

And they express why the Eureka flag is dear to many of us.

It’s the flag of our “aspirant nationalism”, John Howard, and it was referred to by The Age in 1854 as “the flag of Australian independence”.

It’s the flag of our yearning for democratic rights, and for protection from arbitrary authority.

It’s the flag of the ordinary Australian, not of the rich or the powerful.

It’s the flag of rebellion against injustice.

It’s the flag building workers have chosen to identify with, and through which to express their commitment to a progressive, democratic Australian culture and to proclaim their desire to be treated with respect, and with a voice, in their tough industry.

I feel proud to be an Australian when I see the Eureka flag flying on building sites, at the cricket, on car bumper stickers - anywhere!

And I’m making this statement in solidarity with the blokes on the Built Environs site.

(Name and address added).

Constructing Fear

Last Thursday more than one hundred members and friends of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) attended the Adelaide premiere of the film Constructing Fear.

This film details the activities of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), a group set up by the Howard government to smash unions in the building industry.

Under the powers given to this bunch of bastards, building workers can be forcibly interrogated and forced to hand over documents, under threat of a six-month jail term. They can even be jailed if they tell anyone about having been interrogated.

Workers can be individually fined up to $28,600 for taking part in "illegal" industrial activity.

In one notorious case, 107 workers in WA who voted despite a union recommendation to strike in support of a sacked shop steward are facing fines of up to $28,600 each. Their cases will be heard in late October, in the run up to the federal election, which is likely to be in November.

This film can be ordered from, or downloaded at no cost, from .

The day after, the film's showing, I had a one man demo on the footpath of the Built Environs job at the Tivoli in Pirie Street. This is the job on which the ABCC has declared the presence of the Eureka flag to be illegal.

I took an hour off work and walked the footpath with a Eureka flag and a bunch of leaflets explaining why I was there.

The blokes on the job appreciated it, and came out to talk to me.

Mechanics from a workshop on the other side of the road took leaflets, and came out several times to talk, and said they wanted to join the protest, that the ban was outrageous.

I also had some good conversations with sympathetic passersby - only two or three people declined the offer of a leaflet.

When an organiser from the CFMEU turned up and spoke with a site manager, I overheard the manager saying that the ABCC had said that unless management removed any sign of the Eureka flag, the company would be prevented from tendering for any Federally-funded projects.

So the Howard regime is not just threatening workers, it's also blackmailing companies.

I'll put the text of my leaflet up in the next post, but in the meantime, here's a catchy little promo piece for union membership from Britain. Enjoy:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Democratic Socialism is Capitalism Pt 4

OK, it's out of sequence, but I had trouble tracking down some references cited by the author in the part of Wu Bin's reply to Xie Tao. I've added some comments to the translation where appropriate.

4. The main difference between socialism and capitalism is public ownership and private ownership.

Public ownership is the major characteristic of socialism; private ownership is the major characteristic of capitalism: without public ownership there is no socialism, whereas to implement private ownership is capitalism through and through. Marx and Engels pointed out: “The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and expropriating products, that is based on class antagonism, on the exploitation of the many by the few. In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in a single sentence: Abolition of private property.” (Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, p 27-8). This question was originally, with the birth of the Marxist classics, and in the more than 100 years’ practice of the socialist movement, and particularly in the practice of the victory of socialism after the October Revolution, scientifically clearly and explicitly answered. In other words, the question of how to practise socialism and the basic tasks of socialism, and on the main characteristics and basic problems, with the approval of the world’s proletariat and the world’s people, is not a “question”.

However, starting with the founder of democratic socialism, Bernstein, distortions of this already clear scientific definition and connotation have been increasingly and repeatedly put forward. Not only is Bernstein the founder of democratic socialism, he is also the originator of revisionism who, before the passing away of Engels, still dressed himself up as a devoted Marxist, a loyal student of Marx and Engels; however, just after the second year of Engels’ passing, he rapidly changed his face. In 1896, in the magazine New Times, taking “Problems of Socialism” as his general topic, he published a series distorting the theory of scientific socialism and opposed the views of Marxism. In 1889 he published his representative work of revisionism, "The Prerequisites for Socialism and the Tasks of Social Democracy". Lenin said this is a “treacherous, turncoat” book. In this book, Bernstein systematically summarised all the fallacies he had been spreading since 1896. Next, those revisionist gentlemen Kautsky, Plekhanov, Bogdanov, Trotsky, Krushchov, Gorbachev, Yeltsin and so on who all once called themselves Marxists, went around asking “What is socialism?”, “Do we need socialism?”, “How do we realise socialism?”, “How do we construct and develop socialism?” etc., twisting, attacking and denying the basic theories and practice of Marxist scientific socialism. These opportunist and revisionist renegades all revealed their true colours in front of the magic mirror of Marxism and the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, and all deserted to the camp of capitalism. Since the founding of the Communist Party of China these questions have arisen many times in the course of the struggle between the two lines and some opportunists and revisionists have gone over to the capitalist camp. Since the Reform and Opening policy, certain “outstanding” reformers have also brought out the broken flag of old and new revisionism, blatantly seeking publicity. Mr Xie Tao promotes these fallacies of democratic socialism, playing the same old revisionist tune. Mr Xie Tao’s “Preface” adopts the technique of sophistry and the perpetration of fraud to misrepresent and tamper with Marxism, and attempts to confuse the essential differences between socialism and capitalism, and in particular, makes a fuss of the distinction between the systems of public and private ownership. His many opinions are laughable.

(1) On the question of ownership, Marxism and revisionism, socialism and capitalism, there exist diametrically opposed points of view. It’s either one or the other, there’s basically no “third road” that can be taken at all. Mr Xie Tao is like all other democratic socialists with an obvious advocacy of the system of private ownership and opposition to the system of public ownership. However, he does not dare do this straightforwardly, but can only sell his ideas and his “reformist” stand by beating about the bush.

He says: “We are familiar with the developed capitalism of the Western countries which have all become the new capitalism, to varying degrees, by socialist democratization. After the twenties of the 20th Century, a nationwide coordination of labour and capital emerged, one after the other, in England, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway and the U.S., together with a substitution of class compromise for the original pledge against coexistence of the antagonistic labour and capital…leading U.S. President Roosevelt to boldly introduce democratic socialist policies after the economic crisis of 1929.

“We can take the British Labour Party Prime Minister Blair and the former US President Clinton as representing the advocacy of the ‘third road’, as a revised edition of democratic socialism…The views of the U.S. Democratic Party on the economy are rooted in the ideas of Marx and Keynes, and advocate government guidance of the market economy…nor when the Republican Party comes to power does it change the social policy of the Democrats. Democratic socialism has ‘communised’ the U.S.” “Democratic socialism is inscribed on the flag of contemporary Marxism.” “In countries where small-scale production predominates, the industrially underdeveloped former capitalist countries, building socialism by using the method of changing the relations of production to nationalise the means of production has been a basic mistake and a departure from Marxism of Communists since Lenin.”

These words of Mr Xie Tao’s are “enlightening” the people: at present the main capitalist countries are already in different degrees undergoing democratic socialisation, and democratic socialism is “legitimate” Marxism, “legitimate” socialism. According to the reasoning of this “scientific law” of his, the U.S. and the majority of the Western countries have already been “painted red” by socialism, and even the heads of British and U.S. imperialism are socialists. Talking all over the place like this, Mr Xie Tao actually turns what is called private in to what is called public, turns what is called capital into what is called social, and turns what is called revisionism into what is called Marxism! Such distortions of the facts, such deliberate misrepresentation really is extremely absurd.

We should recognise that Mr Xie Tao disseminates false logic and heresy like an “evil-minded monk”, and that in present-day China he is nothing out of the ordinary, and that there are plenty of others as well. They have already formed a political influence. For example, in the second issue of the 2007 edition of “Yan Huang Chun Qiu” magazine there was simultaneously published the transcript of an interview entitled “Li Rui Discusses Socialism in China” which is similar to Mr Xie Tao’s fallacious heresies. Mr Li Rui says: “All socialist countries have walked a twisted path, passing on problems for future generations, and there are also some problems in the theories of the classical writers, from economics and politics to ideology. For example, views on violent revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the elimination of private ownership and so on have been proven to have problems by subsequent history and are not scientific enough.” The so-called “theories of classical writers” refers, naturally, to Marxism. With Li Rui and Xie Tao we have one opposing “the elimination of private ownership” and one opposing “the nationalisation of the means of production”, and their views are one and the same, openly opposing the system of public ownership, opposing violent revolution, and opposing the dictatorship of the proletariat. To boil it all down to one sentence, they oppose socialism. These gentlemen who advocate that China should walk the capitalist road on the one hand openly oppose socialism, and on the other hand, wrack their brains to distort socialism. In the transcript of this interview, when asking “What is socialism?” Mr Li Rui said “Socialism is everyone getting a bit better off”. We would like to ask, without the safeguard of public ownership, without the safeguard of a socialist economic base and superstructure, how can the working class and the working people “get a bit better off?”

Indeed, twisting the original definition of socialism has already become a fashionable pretext and technique of the old and new revisionists and certain people with political influence who oppose and deny socialism. They take “renewing socialism” as a pretext to try to package up the black goods of revisionism and reformism, to pretend that false socialism is real socialism, to deceive the masses. In order to realise this hidden political objective, they have concocted many “favourable” and “reasonable” theories for the implementation of private ownership, for example, the so-called “the property rights of public ownership are undefined, it’s everybody has nothing”, the so-called “public ownership is not as efficient as private ownership”, “socialism is just efficiency + fairness”, “the state economy can only strive for quality but not quantity”, “we need to establish a complete market economy”, “the private economy is the main basis of the market economy”, therefore we need “the state to retreat and the people to advance”, “don’t seek to have it all, just seek to have a place” (this is a literal translation. It could also mean “be happy with what you’ve got”, but I’m not clear on exactly what sentiment is meant to be expressed here – Trans.), “withdraw the public economy from all areas of competition”, realise the “system of enterprise transfer” and “social transformation”. In order to speed up this type of “transfer system”, they also put forward the so-called “icicle theory” (that state-owned enterprises will inevitably melt away like an icicle, so why not sell them off now - Trans.), the “apple theory” (that the market increases the value of the commodity – Trans.), the “pretty girl marrying first theory” (to find a “husband” for the most beautiful daughter first, as she will get ugly later on anyway, i.e. to first sell off the best state-owned enterprises to multinational corporations before they lose their value - Trans.) etc. In brief, they change ten thousand times yet always remain the same; they just want socialist China to speedily change, to thoroughly head in the direction of the capitalist abyss. The last couple of years are known for Cao Siyuan or “Bankruptcy Cao” who publicly put forward “the universal correct path to privatisation” (Cao Siyuan is a former scholar of the Central Party School and the Research Centre of the State Council who drafted China’s first Bankruptcy Law, directed primarily at state-owned enterprises. He is now the Director of the Beijing Siyuan Merger and Bankruptcy Consultancy and the Centre for International Private Enterprise - Trans.); also for the famous writer Zhang Xianliang’s declaration that we need to “’rehabilitate’ capitalism” and shouting out “Long Live Privatisation” (Zhang Xianliang is famous for his account of labour camp life in the novel “Half of Man is Woman”; he is the son of a Guomindang official and industrialist. Most recently he criticised the size and performance of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, saying both that its numbers should be reduced, and that there should be greater representation of people who could put the views of other social classes - Trans.); for Li Shenzhi being praised by the “cream” of the reformers as the “commander of liberalism”, shouting out that “China must speed-up its privatisation” and take the capitalist road of “Americanization” (Li Shenzhi 1929-2003. A CCP member who became Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and who accompanied Deng Xiaoping on his visit to the United States as an advisor - Trans.). There are a great many people like this clamouring loudly for taking the path of capitalist privatisation, for example Zhang Wuchang, Yu Jie, Jiao Guobiao, Li Zhisui, Liu Zaifu, Ma Licheng, Qian Liqun, Wang Ruoshui, Liu Xiaobo, Ren Zhongyi, Zhang Weiying and so on. All over the world, and in all walks of life, there are people like these. As for those traitors, running dogs and propagandists who go running overseas to the bosom of imperialism, there’s even less need to bring them up. These people all belong to families with the surname “Private” or “Capital”. Xie Tao however, is nothing but a newly laid bare member of the special detachment of imperialism.

(2) “The Preface” peddles the joint-stock system of capitalism and the nonsense that Western joint-stock companies have changed the nature of capitalism and “completed the transition to socialism”. Mr Xie Tao has quite a long passage on this. An excerpt follows:

“In the concluding remarks of “Mao Zedong: A Century of Merits and Faults”, Xin Ziling points out that ‘A world economic crisis erupted in 1868. After the crisis had passed, there was an amazing development in the concentration of capital. The appearance of large-scale investment banks and joint-stock companies changed the social structure of capitalist society. Along with the appearance of a new banking system, the accumulation of capital no longer depended on the thrift of the individual entrepreneur saving from his own accumulated funds, but relied on the savings of the whole society. Absorbing social funds to manage enterprises, the joint-stock company arose at an historic moment. On the continent of Europe, firstly in the iron and steel industry, then the chemical industry, the machine manufacturing industry and the textile industry, one department after another turned into joint-stock companies. Marx regarded this change as extremely important and believed that stock companies will abolish ‘capital as private property within the framework of capitalist production itself.’ ‘This is the abolition of the capitalist mode of production within the capitalist mode of production itself, and hence a self-dissolving contradiction, which prima facie represents a mere phase of transition to a new form of production.’ (Capital, Vol 3, Peoples Publishing House, 2nd ed., p 504 Chinese ed.) The capitalist is no longer in possession of a private enterprise but only possesses private property, and this private property is a part of enterprise capital that is quantified through money; the capitalists are no longer enterprise owners, but are only enterprise shareholders with a legitimate creditor’s right to part of the company profits. The stock company has created the layer of factory directors who manage the organisation and direct production, separating all the enterprise rights and the rights of management. The management level takes hold of the right to be in charge of enterprises, making the rule of the bourgeoisie illusory. This separation is a peaceful ‘revolution’, creating the possibility for a peaceful transition to a new kind of system. Marx had already pointed out in the third volume of Capital that “In stock companies the function (of management – Trans.) is divorced from capital ownership; hence also labour is also entirely divorced from ownership of means of production and surplus-labour. This result of the ultimate development is a necessary transitional phase towards the reconversion of capital into the property of producers, although no longer as the private property of the individual producers, but rather as the property of the associated producers, as outright social property” (“Capital” 3rd Volume, Peoples Publishing Agency, p. 502 Chinese ed.). Following on from this passage of Marx, Mr Xie Tao says in an extremely positive tone that “In this way, capitalism has completed the transition to socialism. The third volume of Capital has overthrown the conclusions of the first volume of Capital, and there is no longer any need to ‘blow up’ the ‘shell’ of capitalism. In Marx’s mind, Manchester capitalism (primitive capitalism) had been destroyed.”

Actually, the help that Mr Xie Tao begged from these two passages of Marx is no help at all. We open Chapter 27 of “Capital”, “The Role of Credit in Capitalist Production”. Both sections of Mr Xie Tao’s two passages stem from here. In this chapter, Marx is very explicit about determining the nature of the joint-stock system of capitalism and the stock companies. This author has also extracted three passages (Mr Xie Tao, in his, uses two passages, but leaves out the beginning and the end, so the meaning is incomplete.) (1) Marx said that in the formation of stock companies, the “capital, which in itself rests upon a social mode of production and presupposes a social concentration of means of production and labour-power, is here directly endowed with the form of social capital (capital of directly associated individuals) as distinct from private capital, and its undertakings assume the form of social undertakings as distinct from private undertakings. It is the abolition of capital as private property within the framework of capitalist production itself.” (2) Marx said that “Aside from the stock-company business, which represents the abolition of capitalist private industry on the basis of the capitalist system itself and destroys private industry as it expands and invades new spheres of production, credit offers to the individual capitalist, or to one who is regarded as a capitalist, absolute control within certain limits over the capital and property of others. The control over social capital, not the individual capital of its own, gives him control of social labour.” Marx said that “Success and failure both lead here to a centralisation of capital, and thus to expropriation on the most enormous scale. Expropriation extends here from the direct producers to the smaller and the medium-sized capitalists themselves. It is the point of departure for the capitalist mode of production; its accomplishment is the goal of this production.” (3) Marx said “this expropriation appears within the capitalist system in a contradictory form, as appropriation of social property by as few…” (“Capital” Vol 3, pp 501, 502, 504, 505 Chinese ed.)

(Above: China's biggest state-owned bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, changes into a joint stock company, Beijing, October 28, 2005.)

In here, Marx has already pointed out very clearly, that the appearance of joint-stock companies, this kind of “appropriation of social property by a few”, was still an establishment on “the basis of the capitalist system itself”, an “abolition of capital as private property within the framework of capitalist production itself.” That is to say, this is an “abolition” of a form of capitalist private property “on the basis” and “within the limits” of the capitalist system; this kind of “abolition”, however, is the appearance of a corporate capitalist form of capitalist private ownership, and it has certainly not changed the basic nature of the capitalist system of exploitation. The profit from share capital, namely the income obtained by the shareholder in the form of dividends, still stems from the surplus value created by the hired worker. Moreover, owing to the establishment and development of capitalist production’s share capital, strengthening big capital’s annexation of and rule over small and medium-sized capital, and to a certain extent at the same time giving impetus to the development of the social productive forces, leading to the “largest-scale expropriation” of capital, is just one step further in aggravating the oppression and exploitation of the hired worker, as well as impelling the further sharpening of the inherent internal contradictions of capitalism.

It should be said that in this part of Capital, in relation to the nature, the special characteristics, the function, the consequences and so on of the capitalist joint-stock system, Marx was perfectly clear. As for that which Marx said in here, “a mere phase of transition to a new form of production”, this author understands that sentence to refer to the expropriation of private property by the whole of society in the future, and to the “expropriation of the expropriators” through violent revolution as the only thorough preparation for crossing over to socialism, or “drawing near” to socialism. Under capitalism, with the appearance of joint-stock companies, there is basically no possibility for the existence of an already completed “transition from capitalism to socialism” or for “peaceful evolution to socialism” at all. The above passages from Marx, fundamentally do not have the meaning given by Mr Xie Tao’s annotations. This desire of Mr Xie Tao’s to secretly change the concept and twist the meaning of Marxism will simply get nowhere. As for Mr Xie Tao having said “The third volume of Capital has overthrown the conclusions of the first volume of Capital, and there is no longer any need to ‘blow up’ the ‘shell’ of capitalism” etc, this is just utter nonsense and rubbish. This author will refer to this question later.

(3) Mr Xie Tao declared that the capitalist countries have already put in place a planned economy and have solved the periodic economic crises. “The Preface” says: The capitalist countries have “drawn on the experience of the socialist planned economy and implemented a planned capitalism with state intervention”, “solving the crisis of malfunctions in the market economy by means of vigorous state intervention”, “President Roosevelt’s bold introduction of democratic socialist policies led the US to walk out of the 1929 world economic crisis”.

With nothing more than the desire to tell us, Mr Xie Tao offers explanations like this, that owing to the capitalist countries having “state intervention”, having “planning”, together with the introduction of “democratic socialist policies”, that the inherent contradictions between the socialisation of capitalist production and the private ownership of the means of production, has relaxed, so much so that they no longer exist. However, as shown by the historical development of capitalism and a host of facts, capitalism is not at all like the optimism of Mr Xie Tao.

Marxism tells us that so long as private ownership is practised, then it will be impossible to genuinely and thoroughly realise a planned economy and it will also be impossible to “solve” each of the periodic economic crises that occurs approximately every ten years.

In relation to the question of the so-called “planned capitalism” raised by Mr Xie Tao, Lenin, in the same year that he took aim at revisionism’s twisting of Marx and Engels on the question of the “planning” of capitalism, explained in this paragraph of The State and Revolution (right): “We shall note in passing that Engels makes an exceedingly valuable observation on questions of economics, which shows how attentively and thoughtfully he watched the various changes being undergone by modern capitalism, and how for this reason he was able to foresee to a certain extent the tasks of our present, the imperialist, epoch. Here is the passage: referring to the word “planlessness” (Planlosigkeit) used in the draft program, as characteristic of capitalism, Engels writes:
“…When we pass from joint-stock companies to trusts which assume control over, and monopolize, whole branches of industry, it is not only private production that ceases, but also planlessness.” (Neue Zeit, Vol XX, 1, 1901-02 p. 8)
Here we have what is most essential in the theoretical appraisal of the latest phase of capitalism, i.e. imperialism, viz., that capitalism becomes monopoly capitalism. The latter must be emphasized because the erroneous bourgeois reformist assertion that monopoly capitalism or state-monopoly capitalism is no longer capitalism, but can already be termed “state Socialism”, or something of that sort, is most widespread. The trusts, of course, never produced, do not now produce, and cannot produce complete planning. But however much they do plan, however much the capitalist magnates calculate in advance the volume of production on a national and even on an international scale, and however much they systematically regulate it, it will remain under capitalism – capitalism in its new stage, it is true, but still, undoubtedly, capitalism. The new “proximity” of such capitalism to Socialism should serve the genuine representatives of the proletariat as an argument proving the proximity, facility, feasibility and urgency of the socialist revolution, and not at all as an argument in favour of tolerating the repudiation of such a revolution and the efforts to make capitalism look more attractive, an occupation in which all reformists are engaged.”

Lenin had already quite clearly elaborated on this question. Under the capitalist system this type of single enterprise production planning is required by the capitalist; however, just like Lenin correctly said “The trusts, of course, never produced, do not now produce, and cannot produce complete planning.” In the whole productive activity of capitalism, it is absolutely impossible to genuinely put “planning” into practice, to overcome the “anarchy”. Engels pointed out: “only conscious organisation of social production, in which production and distribution are carried on in a planned way, can lift mankind above the rest of the animal world as regards the social aspect, in the same way that production in general has done this for mankind in the specifically biological aspect. Historical evolution makes such an organisation daily more indispensable, but also with every day more possible. From it will date a new epoch of history, in which mankind itself, and with mankind, all branches of its activity, and particularly natural science, will experience an advance that will put everything preceding it in the deepest shade.” (Engels, “Introduction to The Dialectics of Nature”, “Selected Woks of Marx and Engels”, Peoples Publishing House, 1961 ed, Vol 2 p.75 Chinese ed.) My understanding of this is that “the conscious organisation of social production” and the “From it will date a new epoch of history” raised by Engels, is socialism, and can only be socialism.

It is true, we also note, that after WW2, the various Western bourgeois governments took some measures to strengthen direct intervention in the economy and made certain adjustments to the capitalist relations of production. In the initial post-war period the major Western capitalist countries had already basically completed the pattern of change from private monopoly capitalism in general, to state monopoly capitalism combined with private monopoly capitalism. The pre-way expenditure of the major Western capitalist countries as a proportion of GDP was generally 10-20%, but after the War had already reached 25-40% or an even higher level. Without this type of adjustment, without the strength of the state, the costs of enormous atomic energy plants, of complex aeronautics technology, of widespread modernized public facilities, of investments in basic industries that are large and slow to produce results, of major organisations for scientific experiment etc that needed to be built would be extremely difficult if not impossible. But we also need to see that on the one hand, the capitalist countries used this kind of a repair job to carry out adjustments, and it is basically impossible to eliminate its inherent contradictions, impossible to end the periodic economic crises; on the other hand, this type of adjustment has not changed the essence of capitalist exploitation, and this state-dependent capitalism which carried out large-scale direct investment is in fact giving back money to the capitalist in the form of levies and direct taxation and so on from working people’s income.

On the question of the periodic economic crises of capitalism we know that, beginning in the 1930’s, the English bourgeois vulgar economist Keynes and his Keynesianism became popular, and the capitalist countries attempted to use Keynesianism in order to melt away their inherent contradictions and periodic crises, but, in the end, they failed to achieve their goals, and even the “Roosevelt New Deal” finally failed and came to an end.

After the War, each main capitalist government also adopted the issuing of bonds and running large-scale financial deficits, maintaining high inflation rates and other coercive methods, expanding social investment and stimulating economic growth. In the 1950’s, consumer prices in the major developed capitalist countries increased at an average rate of between 1.4 to 3.4 per cent, and in the sixties this rose to between 2.6 to 5.8 per cent and in the seventies the inflation rate actually rose to double digits. These methods in the short term also brought about a stimulation of economic growth, delaying the effects of impending crises. However, this is only turning an acute disease into a lingering illness, making every type of economic and social problem inherent in capitalism even more difficult to change. From the first economic crisis of overproduction in English capitalism in 1825, in two centuries, this type of periodic crisis has never been eliminated, but keeps coming around one after the other. During 1929-1933 in particular, there was an unprecedented major crisis causing industrial production throughout the entire capitalist world to drop by 44% and causing 40 million people to become unemployed. According to what the data in the 1978 edition of the “World Economics Statistical Yearbook” shows, since WW2 (1948-1974), the main Western capitalist countries have had periodic economic crises on these occasions:

Country No. of Crises Biggest % Decline Longest Period of Decline (Months)

U.S. 6 -13.8 17
Britain 6 -23.6 22
W. Germany 5 -11.4 15
France 4 -16.3 12
Japan 7 -20.8 15

We can see from the table that in 26 years these five countries have had approximately 6-7 years when a periodic crisis has occurred. According to other statistics, in the US from 1854 to 1951, a total of 31 economic cycles have appeared. Each cycle is, on average, 48 months. Regarding this, the US bourgeois economist Paul A. Samuels could not help but acknowledge that “the US economy throughout contemporary history has suffered continuous economic cycles.”

Some reports say that an economic crisis also happened in the US in the early 1990’s, and that for two years continuously the increase in private consumption was lower than the growth in investment, and overproduction had become a fact. However, owing to the pattern of major world changes including the disintegration of the Soviet Union and drastic changes in Eastern Europe, the implementation in China of the policies of reform and opening to the West etc, the US obtained favourable circumstances and its economy was sustained over the length of ten years. Whilst this author was writing this, he has just seen Comrade Li Shenming’s just published article, “Certain Questions on the Present Situation and Development of World Socialism”. The article states: In the 1990’s “one of the basic premises of the ten year prosperity of the US economy was the destruction of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The gross value of industrial output for the former Soviet Union added to the eight countries of Eastern Europe was once one third of the strength of the total industrial output of the world. In the antagonism of the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War you could never begin to take the US as the leader of the globalisation movement in the Soviet-led Warsaw Treaty bloc. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe brought about by the US-led Western countries, and the rapid decline of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, massive funds, skilled personnel and inexpensive raw materials, technology, markets etc fell mainly to the US. This was an extremely important factor in the impetus for the sustained 10 year economic prosperity in the US. Nowadays, the US does not have these strategic spaces. All of these possess the possibility of speeding up and aggravating US economic recession.” The article takes its analysis a step further, pointing out that “In 2000, the US dot com stock bubble burst and the US economy entered a crisis. From 2000 to 2003 the US stalled 13 times in a sign that its economy still had not recovered. The Bush Administration started the Afghan and Iraq wars in 2001 and 2003 respectively with the result that the industrial plant equipment utilisation ratio again reached over 80% and the unemployment rate fell from 6.1% in the second and third quarters of 2003 to 4.7% in the first quarter of 2006…The US economy concealed a serious crisis, that it had been following a 40-60 year “Kondratiev Wave” (“Social Sciences in China Digest” 2007, Vol 1 p. 15) (“Krondratiev Waves” or grand supercycles or surges in the Western capitalist economies were put forward by the Russian economist Nikolai Kondratiev, 1892-1938. He identified cycles of 40-60 years in length during which business fluctuated between high growth and a decline in growth. Based on the market crash of 1870, Kondratiev claimed to have been able to predict the 1929 Crash – Trans.) . In my view, this analysis of Comrade Li Shenming’s is completely correct and also quite profound. What I would like to add is that although the US no longer has the “strategic spaces” of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, this does not mean that it is not looking for new “strategic spaces”. Since the US was able to destroy the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, would it not also want to destroy our country? The answer is certain. No matter how our country may initiate “getting along harmoniously” with the US, how it constructs friendly relations of “strategic partnership” and “mutual benefit”, it kills my heart but I have not died, nor will I die in the future. We need to recognise that economic globalisation has brought China into contact with the great nations of the West, including the US, and that in truth, I am in you and you are in me. Foreign capital enterprises have already made good in China and at present foreign capital makes up half of our numerous competitive professions and industries. More than 60% of our foreign trade exports are created by foreign capital enterprises. Each of the first five cities of China that have already opened up industry is now controlled by foreign capital companies. Among China’s 28 main industries, foreign capital has the control rights in 21 of them. According to a number of announcements from China’s Commercial Affairs Department, among the worthwhile increases in contemporary Chinese industries, 37% have been brought about by foreign capital enterprises. If this type of thing continues to develop it will inevitably affect our country’s economic independence and national sovereignty. Some reports say that of our country’s current foreign exchange reserves of more than one trillion US dollars (a million millions – Trans.), two thirds, namely 6-7 billion (6-7 hundred thousand millions - Trans.) have been used to buy US dollar bonds, but the US is in fact insatiably avaricious and has time and again suppressed the revaluation of the Chinese RMB in order to seek greater advantages and benefit. In addition, the Taiwan region is under the control of the US, and the US has repeatedly secretly instigated Chen Shuibian’s clamour for “Taiwan independence”, and engaged in sales of arms and weapons to Taiwan. These are all bargaining chips used by the US to pressure China, to collapse our country’s new “strategic space”. The Chinese people, who have suffered the evils of imperialism and colonialism, must be vigilant.

As the facts above conclusively prove, the view held by Mr Xie Tao that the traditional periodic economic crises had already been solved, was superficial and shortsighted. Regardless of whether they adopt the method of state intervention, or resort to the method of war, the capitalist countries are unable to fundamentally solve the “crises of malfunctions in the market economy.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bob Dylan in Adelaide

Dylan performed here last night to mixed reviews.

I got my money’s worth.

A Murdoch journalist wrote a really glowing review, emphasising the blues-iness of the material; callers to morning talk-back radio criticised the quality of the sound and of Dylan’s singing, but generally conceded that the band was spot on.

Perhaps some people still expect to see a lone man and an acoustic guitar singing "Blowin' In The Wind" just like it is on the record. But Dylan's never been one to accept conventions, particularly those he creates himself.

The Entertainment Centre is a fairly hard and soulless place and music there can sound thin, like a CD does compared to vinyl, but I thought Dylan rose to the occasion really well.

The set selection was superb and included the first public performance of "Beyond the Horizon"; overall a great balance between old and recent material.

People say Dylan doesn't communicate with his audience, but it's all in the songs, in his phrasing and delivery. For an audience in a country still engaged in the US crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan, how appropriate was the singing of both "John Brown" and "Masters of War"! The growl that is Dylan’s voice now delivered these with a greater ferociousness and intensity than the originals.

Dylan started on electric guitar for the openers: “Cat’s in the Well”, “Lay, Lady, Lay”, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”.

In addition to “Beyond the Horizon”, performances from the most recent CD Modern Times included "The Levee’s Gonna Break", "Workingman’s Blues #2", "Ain’t Talkin’", and "Thunder on the Mountain".

Others from Dylan’s more recent work were "Things Have Changed", "Cry a While" and "Summer Days".

The groove that Dylan got into with his harmonica solo at the end of "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)" was just so cool that Tony Garnier, loyal lieutenant on bass for over a decade, broke out into an ear to ear grin, and he and Recile on drums had their own private smiles at the conspiracy to introduce "Blowin' In The Wind" in a way that caught everybody completely off guard.

Now I’ve just gotta start saving the pennies for the next time he’s out here – possibly when he cracks six score years and ten.

Monday, August 20, 2007

They Can't Ban Our Eureka Flag!!!

As part of his war on the Australian working class, Prime Monster John Howard created the so-called Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

This innocuous-sounding organization has run roughshod over the rights of workers in the building industry.

It has saddled individual workers with fines of tens of thousands of dollars for taking industrial activity, and secretly taped (audio and video) private proceedings of union members and union officials and then plastered these all over the capitalist press, as the Dean Mighell and Joe McDonald cases testify.

The ABCC has the power to coerce building workers to answer questions during interrogation, and to provide union documents, under threat of a six-month jail term. In powers frighteningly similar to those of the Federal anti-terror laws, building workers can be imprisoned for telling anyone about having been interrogated by the ABCC.

It is now demanding that workers on building sites take down the Eureka Flag, the Australian people’s symbol of workers’ unity and national independence.

The Melbourne Age, ironically the same paper that in 1854 coined the term “the flag of Australian independence”, yesterday revealed the contents of an email from an ABCC staffer in Melbourne, Carol Hage, to an Adelaide building company, telling them to remove the flag.

In her July 5 email, Hage wrote: “The flag represents the union and gives the impression that to work on the site you need to be a union member. This is therefore a breach of freedom of association.”

In Perth, the ABCC has ordered managers of construction company Multiplex to take down Eureka flags, presenting them with a booklet containing photos of their sites where flags were flying, and quotes linking it to the union.

South Australian President of the Construction, Mining, Forestry and Energy Union (CFMEU), Martin O’Malley, said that the site targeted by the ABCC was the old Tivoli Theatre site in Pirie Street and the builder Built Environs.

“We are finding we can’t produce enough posters and stickers with the Eureka flag,” he said. “And the bosses are finding they can’t get them off the bloke’s safety hats.”

Whilst the CFMEU has demanded that the ABCC be abolished if Labor wins the next Federal election, the Labor Party (a misnomer: it is a party of capitalism), has said that the ABCC can remain until at least 2010.

It is the role of the Labor Party in Australia to control the workforce through the union movement in the interests of the imperialists and local capitalists.

It is well-known that building workers adopted the Eureka flag in the early 1970s, when the dominant political influence in the leadership of the then Builders Laborers Federation was the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist).

The union was deregistered by a Labor Government, paving the way for even more furious attacks on building workers that came with the election eleven years ago of the reactionary Howard government.

Every decent Australian has an interest in upholding democratic rights, including the rights of building workers to express their identity through the flying of the Eureka flag.

Their freedom of association is expressed through the conscious choice to stand together beneath the blue and white Southern Cross, and to repeat the oath of 1854: “We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.”

They can’t ban the Eureka flag!

NB - The South Australian premiere of a new film, Constructing Fear, will be shown at the Mercury Cinema, Morphett Street, Adelaide, from 5-6.30pm on Thursday August 23.

This well-made film describes the situation that now confronts workers in the construction industry and how it impacts on their work, their families and the struggle for democratic rights in this country.

The director of the movie, Joe Loh, and the national secretary of the CFMEU, Dave Noonan, will be present to introduce the film and to take questions.

Democratic Socialism is Capitalism Pt 6.

(This is Part 6 of Wu Bing's refutation of Xie Tao's "Preface", a document advocating all-round resoration of capitalism in China. For earlier chapters, use the tags "anti-revisionism" or "Marxism-Leninism" opposite.)

6. On how the question of the two systems of ownership and the two systems of distribution are compared

According to Mr Xie Tao, the public ownership system is not as good as the private ownership system, distribution according to work is not as good as distribution according to wealth, and he also cites several “typical cases” like Sweden and others to support his arguments. He says: “Although Sweden is a small country, and although the Swedish Social Democratic Party is a small party, it is however, a model of democratic socialism and its experience has universal worth, and is an outstanding contribution to human civilization. Within the framework of democratic constitutional government, the Swedish SDP relies on the correctness of its own policies, and, representing the interests of the vast majority, continues to be re-elected and has long experience of holding political power; in economic development it upholds efficiency and equality, and implements fairness and common prosperity; it correctly handles labour relations and mobilizes the enthusiasm of the workers and the entrepreneurs to achieve a win-win labour experience; it has effectively prevented the emergence of a privileged class and has stopped official abuses of power, bribery and corruption, has maintained honest government experience over the long term, adhered to the socialist direction in reform and opening up, and provided a successful model in taking the road of democratic socialism.”

Relatively speaking, whether it is the per capita GDP or the economy as a whole, a small minority of the western developed capitalist countries must all be higher than the Third World countries. However, this does not lead us to conclude that capitalism is superior to socialism.

Firsly, we should note that in the world today, there are more than 210 countries and regions (of which 192 are countries), and that apart from a few countries that are still within the socialist system of public ownership, more than 200 other countries and regions are engaged in private ownership and belong to the capitalist system. Within this huge number of capitalist countries, apart from some 20 that are developing or quite developed, the majority are still at a relatively backward stage of economic development. The American economist Sero (not sure how this surname translates –Trans.) in his book “21st Century Rivalry” quoted these statistics: During the 118 years from 1870-1988, taking the average per person income as the basis, there was little change in the ranking of the richest countries, with only the two small-population, oil-rich petroleum exporting countries of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait entering the ranks, whilst countries that are low export price resource-rich countries, like New Zealand, Argentina and Chile have disappeared from the ranks of the rich countries. From this he concludes: it is virtually impossible for poor countries to push their way into the ranks of the rich. That is to say, in this 118 year period, no economically backward capitalist country has been able to enter the “rich countries club”. Many of them are getting poorer and poorer, they have fiscal deficits, are debt-ridden, have capital outflow, inflation, unemployment, there is a grain panic, ecological deterioration, political instability and their people live in squalor, and some of these countries are on the verge of economic collapse. This phenomenon, in the final analysis, is the product of the system of capitalist private ownership and imperialist plunder. When we compare the merits of the two different systems, we should not overlook this point.

Secondly, we should note that the developed capitalist countries and the socialist countries have different foundations and starting points. When we compare them, we should not only look at the present, but also at their history; we should not just look at how wealthy they are, but at the differences in their foundation and their starting points; we should not only look at economics, but also at politics, society, culture and other aspects; only such an analysis can result in practical conclusions. Otherwise, we will move into errors.

For instance, take our country. Prior to the founding of New China, calculated from 1840, China had experienced over 100 years of invasion and plunder by imperialism, lost several hundred million square kilometres, paid the equivalent of 1300 million taels of silver, suffered the War of Aggression started by Japanese militarism in the 1930s causing the loss of more than 20 million Chinese lives and property damage of more than 100 billion US dollars. Long-term imperialist aggression and oppression not only caused and aggravated China’s poverty and backwardness, but also widened the gap between China and the Western powers. By the time of the founding of New China, the major countries in which capitalism originated had already built up a modern industrial system with a greater per capita GDP than that in China today, and had already started to take electronic technology as the symbol of the prologue to modernization at a time when China was still a poor agricultural country whose industry only accounted for about 10% of the gross output value of industry and agriculture. On such a backward foundation, our country rapidly achieved a high level of development, a fact acknowledged as a success for socialism in China by unbiased observers throughout the world. In addition, the process of capitalist industrialisation was accompanied internally by cruel exploitation and externally by barbaric aggression and plunder, together with intense social conflict and turbulence. In China the process of industrialisation has relied totally on China’s own strength, has relied on public ownership and the superiority of a planned economy, has depended on maintaining independence and self-reliance, has relied on the entrepreneurial spirit and on the whole nation in building socialism with tremendous enthusiasm and daring. Generally speaking, the economic development of our country has been accompanied by national unification, national unity, improvements in people’s living standards and socio-economic, political, cultural and moral progress.

Thirdly, as for Mr Xie Tao’s high praise in the “Preface” for the welfare system of the small country of Sweden and the little French town of Bordeaux, and his claims that the “working class has already been liberated” there, and that they have achieved a “win-win for labour and capital” and “common prosperity”, I beg to differ in relation to this. There are three important points that Mr Xie Tao cannot evade. (1) From his words, it is not hard to see that although the standard of living of the working class in these two places may be a bit better than elsewhere, the capitalist system is still carried out and so is capitalist exploitation. This type of situation is just like that talked about by Marx in Vol 1 of Capital on the general rule of capitalism: “But just as little as better clothing, food, and treatment, and a larger peculium, do away with the exploitation of the slave, so little do they set aside that of the wage-worker. A rise in the price of labour, as a consequence of accumulation of capital, only means, in fact, that the length and weight of the golden chain the wage-worker has already forged for himself, allows of a relaxation of the tension of it.” (“Complete Works of Marx and Engels” Chinese ed. Vol 23 p. 678; see Capital Vol 1. Ch. 25 – Trans.). (2) As a result of the existence of capitalist exploitation, there is in it still distribution according to capital rather than distribution according to work, and there is still the problem of the existence of a polarisation of unfair distribution. Data show that from 1980 to 1995, Swedish inequality grew at an annual rate of 1.5%, on a par with Denmark, Holland and Australia, and slightly lower than in the United States and the United Kingdom (“Social Sciences in China Digest” 2007, Vol 1. p. 53). (3) As for Mr Xie Tao’s extreme praise for the “typical” experience of “common prosperity” in the small French town of Bordeaux, Mr Xie Tao presumably does not know of the typical cases of more than 8000 villages in our country like Nanjie and Huaxi where there is genuine common prosperity? How many times better than the welfare systems of Sweden and France are these new socialist rural areas that persisted in the good of the public ownership system! In particular, these new socialist rural areas, unlike the City of Bordeaux, have no “manorial lords” or “major shareholders”, and as they don’t have these exploiters, naturally there is no exploitation and no oppression, nor is there any kind of decadent capitalist malpractice. Sweden and the French city of Bordeaux are unable to compare with any of this. Only these places have the qualifications to truly say that they have “common prosperity”!

Fourthly, in refuting these fallacies of the Preamble, we have no alternative but to carefully examine the situation we face. After the 11th Session of the Third Plenary Conference of the Chinese Communist Party, Mr Xie Tao said “Please bring back the capitalists”, “Please bring back the advanced productive forces”, “Please write the important articles protecting the system of private ownership into the Constitution”, “This symbolizes that China has embarked on the road of democratic socialism” and so on. These words of his are negative reminders of the need for vigilance on our part. Since the policy of reform and opening up, our country has undergone tremendous changes. A great many public enterprises have in fact already changed into private enterprises and the newspapers use the formulaic term of the “non-public economy”. According to a report in the “People’s Daily” of 28 February 2005, of 40 main industrial sectors, the non-public sector in 27 industries (or 67.5%) had surpassed 50%, and in some sectors accounted for 70%. Vice-Premier Wu Yi, in a conversation with foreign guests, revealed that foreign capital and the non-public sector already comprised 65% of our GDP whilst the public sector of the economy had fallen to 35%. There are also some other economists who believe that the publicly owned sector contributes less than 20% of GDP. That is to say, public ownership is no longer the mainstay of the economy, and the economy as a whole is already privatized. Owing to these massive changes in the system of ownership, the distribution system inevitably evolved along with it, and in many factories and enterprises distribution according to work has already become distribution according to capital. Arising from the strange phenomenon that since the founding of the PRC we have never had “income disparity” and “unfair distribution”, a new bourgeoisie (also referred to by some people as “a new stratum”, “the rich” or “middle class”) has been brought forth, and a millionaires, multi-millionaires, a even billionaires have emerged. Polarisation is developing without let-up and the Gini coefficient is getting higher and higher and moving towards the forefront of those countries with the largest gaps in the world! According to Qinghua University professor Sun Liping, China’s Gini coefficient is only measures the urban population, and is above 0.5, at around 0.54; it does not include farmers and would be much higher if rural inhabitants were included. The international community generally recognizes a Gini coefficient of 0.4 or more as an indication that the income gap is too wide; higher than 0.6 indicates that society is entering a crisis and that social turmoil could erupt at any time. Therefore the international community takes 0.6 as the cut-off point. Regardless of the above, both the common people and internationally, there is recognition that China’s Gini coefficient is extremely serious. Moreover, in contemporary China, the 20% of the community who are rich account for 60% or more of the nation’s wealth. For the other 80%, education, health and housing are the “three new mountains” that they cannot escape in everyday life.

This serious social injustice has caused social instability. According to Outlook (Liaowang) Weekly, various places in China experienced 58,000 instances of public protest in 2004, six times the number ten years ago. (The quote above is from the July 13, 2006 China Economic Times article “On the validity of ‘China’s Gini coefficient is not serious’”). You cannot say that the emergence of these new situations and new problems has nothing to do with changes to the systems of ownership and distribution in our country. Realistically speaking, this runs completely counter to the original intention of the “reform is the self-improvement of the socialist system” put forward in the early stage of the reforms in our country. Remember in those years our leaders saying on many occasions to foreign guests things like: Our reform and opening up adheres to socialism, we will not take the capitalist road, and will avoid polarization. The wealth we create will firstly be returned to the country, and secondly to the people; it will not produce another capitalist class and will not produce millionaires. If it creates millionaires it will create polarization and produce a new capitalist class, and that will show that our reform and opening up has taken the capitalist road. (The main point) twenty years have passed and the leaders that spoke these words passed away years ago, so what is the result now? It is not just millionaires, but multi-millionaires and billionaires that have appeared. In particular, in recent years what the people reflect on most intensely is how, in the process of “transferring” the publicly-owned enterprises, collusion has occurred between bureaucrats and business people to create all sorts of excuses to incorporate the public property belonging to the people under their own names, massively draining state assets. Some business leaders do not use a cent of their own money to buy and sell, but use only bank loans, and put a price on the original value of the “purchase” that is several times, ten times and even a hundred times greater than the factory or the enterprise that they have grabbed for themselves. Oh! – this we know – this is the wealth that the Chinese workers, peasants and the people of the whole nation have sweated and shed blood to produce! In such a way has it been so easy for this minority to take (we should say “loot”) this wealth! Nowadays, these “overnight men of power and wealth” number in the thousands, tens of thousands, tens of millions and even more. So quietly, calmly and imperceptibly generated was the new Chinese bourgeoisie! Some media reports have stated that Communist Party members comprise more than 35% of this nascent bourgeoisie. Recently, a report of the National Association of Commerce and Industry stated that, amongst the owners of private enterprises, the proportion of those who had served as cadres at all levels of party and government organs and institutions was: 56.4% were general cadres, 30.7% were section level cadres, 11.6% were county level cadres, 1.4% were cadres above the county level, and that all four added together showed that state cadres comprised 99.1% of enterprise owners! (“Publication Digest” March 7, 2007). According to information released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the authorizing for capital reached an alarming level, where, of 3,220 people with wealth in excess of 100 million yuan, 2,932 were relatives of party and government officials at all levels. No wonder the foreign media commented that such a process of quick riches is the approach of “predatory capitalism” and “gangster capitalism”!

Why has such a result appeared under the policy of reform and opening to the West? It is necessary to sum up and reflect on this. Recently, however, the “finest specimens” of the reform, with the officials and businessmen who belong to the group of such people who collude together have all sprung up to unscrupulously publish articles and speeches. On the one hand, they deny that a serious polarization has appeared in China; on the other hand, they have shaped public opinion against probing into the “original sin” of the “first bucket of gold”, and have even guaranteed under law that the “first bucket of gold” is “sacred and inviolable”. Many academic legal experts pointedly noted: the real role of the “Property Law” is to protect private property. In May 1990, the Central Propaganda Department issued a “Summary of certain Questions on the Study of Socialism” that pointed out: “Although very few adhere to the standpoint of bourgeois liberalization or are strongly opposed to us exposing and resolving the problems of unfair social distribution, or even advocated increased social polarization, looking forward to the emergence of even more millionaires and billionaires, nurturing the new bourgeoisie, their so-called “middle class”, and think that this is where China’s hopes lie. They claim: ‘The establishment of a democratic system and a democratic society in China depends on the formation of a middle class. Without a middle class there will be no real democracy’. In fact, taking the so-called ‘middle class’ as the foundation of ‘democracy’ and a ‘democratic society’ is only possible in capitalism and a capitalist society. The purpose of the handful who adhere to the stand of bourgeois liberalization is the cultivation of the social infrastructure and the reliance on force for the subversion of the socialist system and the establishment of a capitalist republic.” How wonderful are these words! This is really profound; this really hits the nail on the head! However, this line of thought of the Central Propaganda Department (under then Minister Wang Renzhi) was not accepted by certain people and has not become the ideological mainstream of Chinese society, and those political forces conspiring to subvert the socialist system and to establish a bourgeois republic in China, are persisting in their old ways and getting stronger and fiercer! Against this background, is the splendid appearance of Mr Xie Tao’s “Preface” in a public national publication an isolated act? Is this not worthy of deep reflection?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Force Cochlear to listen to its workers!

The reactionary Howard Government in Australia has legislated to give employers the right to impose un-Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) on the workforce.

It dishonetly maintains that no worker can be forced to go onto an AWA - individual contracts between workers and employers that strip away most Award benefits. As the Cochlear dispute shows, the bosses have all sorts of ways to try and force workers onto AWAs.

Cochlear, the manufacturer of bionic ear implants that help hearing-impaired people around the world, is simply not listening. Twice its workers have voted to reject management offers -- and now management is saying it will impose individual contracts in a bid to smash the union.

A strike now looms and your support is needed more than ever. Thousands of you from all over the world have been flooding Cochlear with messages urging the company to negotiate with the union. The company is in the international forefront of production of bionic ear implants and is very conscious of its international image. We need thousands more messages to be sent from overseas, as well as from within Australia.

If you've not yet done so, please go right now to this page and send your message.At the bottom of this message there's a link to forward this email on -- please use it to tell others about this important campaign

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Let's fight these laws together

This statement comes from Muriel Bamblett who is chairwoman of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care. It comes at a time when the Howard Government and its loyal "Opposition" are rushing through parliament legislation that purports to respond to the Little Children Are Sacred, but which in reality is all about dismantling Land Rights in the Northern Territory on behalf of giant multinational mining interests. The statement challenges non-Aboriginal Australians to fight these laws with the indigenous peoples of this country.

ONE of the most telling facts about the rushed Northern Territory National Emergency Response Bill becomes clear when you look for how many times the word "children" or "child" appears. You would think that any legislation that is supposedly part of an emergency response to the issues raised by the Little Children Are Sacred report on child abuse in indigenous communities would have children mentioned throughout its scores of pages. Our legislators had these pages in front of them for only a day or so before they were passed by the House of Representatives with the support of both main parties.

Guess how many times the words "children" or "child" appear in the bill? One hundred? Twenty? Five? Wrong — the answer is zero.

There is no mention of children in the main bill, which supposedly addresses the emergency of child abuse. That is why the majority of indigenous leaders, academics and practitioners in social work and child protection are continuing to say that this bill has nothing to do with children. That is why the actual authors and advisers who delivered the report have condemned the Government for failing to pay due regard to their considered recommendations.

But it has everything to do with a government seeking re-election by blowing the dog whistle of racism in the guise of caring for indigenous children. It has everything to do with a Labor Party too fearful of another Tampa to act with principle and courage. It has everything to do with the assessment of the main parties that the Australian public are too racist and too uncaring of indigenous children to actually support governments doing something principled and evidence-based to tackle both the causes and the symptoms of disadvantage that lead to child abuse.

You should feel insulted. Insulted that you are seen as racist and uncaring. Insulted by the low regard in which your political leaders hold you. Insulted that the assessment of the politicians in the major parties is that you are too lazy to see past policy forming from media releases and political bluster.

But this is the way it seems always to have been for indigenous people.

The federal ALP government in 1995 commissioned the Secretariat for National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care to prepare a National Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in Aboriginal Communities. The Keating Government sat on the plan for months, only for the Howard Government to shelve it soon after its 1996 election victory.

At the 2003 Prime Minister's Indigenous Family Violence and Child Abuse Summit, the secretariat again developed comprehensive proposals for a national indigenous children's wellbeing and development taskforce that was to include representation from all governments, the secretariat and other indigenous organisations, report directly to the Council of Australian Governments and develop measures to address child abuse and the lack of services in prevention, early childhood support, health and education. And now we can add Little Children Are Sacred to the ignored reports.

This legislation does nothing for children, nothing for indigenous disadvantage, nothing to actually stop child abuse. So what does it do? It takes control away from indigenous communities. It allows government bureaucrats to force themselves into our boardrooms. It takes over our land. It takes away our ability to have a say on who can come onto our freehold title land. It places bureaucrats in charge of our lives. And it exempts these and other actions from the Racial Discrimination Act, which means it acknowledges that some of its measures may be racially discriminatory.

This legislation is an attack on our people. How would you feel if you had to allow a bureaucrat from Canberra into your community meetings, netball committee meetings and business meetings? How would you feel if there was a law which made it OK for you to be discriminated against, just because of your race?

Are the major parties right? Or will you stand with us and fight this abuse of our people and let your local MPs and senators know what you really think?