Thursday, August 05, 2010

2010 federal election; reject the sham, develop the capacity to fight!

Some bloody choice: the openly reactionary nightmare (above) or the lies and deception (below) in pursuit of the same agenda!

The Australian working class still maintains a social-democratic illusion that bourgeois parliamentarism is genuine democracy in action.

For this sin, candidates of the major parties are currently all over electors like a rash. Babies are being assaulted with kisses in shopping malls for the benefit of TV cameras. The neglected elderly have suddenly found their nursing homes infested by condescending candidates. Once there is enough footage for the evening news, the candidates are out quicker than a country cricketer at a Test match.

“As long as the elections are in progress,” said Stalin, the candidates will “flirt with the electors, fawn on them, swear fidelity and make heaps of promises of every kind. It would appear that the (candidates) are completely dependent on the electors.”

But once the elections are over, and a candidate has been confirmed as a Member of Parliament, “relations undergo a radical change”.

The elected politician now becomes “entirely independent” of the constituency.

For the next three years, as an MP, the politician feels quite free, quite independent of the electors. The electors have no right of recall before the expiration of the particular term of office and must put up in the meantime with whatever is done in their name, no matter how far that might deviate from the policies upon which the MP was elected.

For the next three years, the politician can turn somersaults with no accountability to electors.

It is just as Indian novelist Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things) says: in these allegedly democratic times, voters will get the governments they vote for, but not the governments they want (A. Roy, Public Power in the Age of Empire).

“In India this year,” she wrote in 2004, “we voted the Hindu nationalists out of office. But even as we celebrated, we knew that on nuclear bombs, neo-liberalism, privatisation, censorship, big dams – on every other issue than overt Hindu nationalism - the Congress and the BJP have no major ideological issues.”

Substitute for Congress and the BJP Australia’s Liberal and Labor parties and the same observation could be made.

Our celebration was for the defeat of Howard’s reactionary WorkChoices legislation that allowed employers to force workers into individually “negotiated” contracts called Australian Workplace Agreements.

But even was we celebrated the defeat of WorkChoices, we knew that on subservience to US imperialism, participation in its war in Afghanistan, continuation of the racist “intervention” into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory and a host of other matters, that Liberals and Labor have no major ideological issues.
Labor did make its historical and welcome apology to the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

But then the backsliding began.

No, they wouldn’t get rid of Howard’s Australian Building and Construction Commission which imposes the draconian regime of anti-terror laws on construction workers, and we still have Ark Tribe (below) facing six months jail under Labor for refusing to testify before an ABCC secret interrogation.

No, they would not get rid of fines and the threat of jail for workers who planned, let alone engaged in, industrial action outside of formally declared bargaining periods. This was the threat directed at teachers when they announced that they would place a moratorium on the holding of national tests of literacy and numeracy in protest against school league tables.

This is still the threat faced by 1500 FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) Woodside-Burmah workers in Western Australia who collectively face more than $40 million in fines for taking industrial action against Woodside's "motelling" plans, under which they would lose their individual private accommodation and have to stay in different rooms on each work trip.

Woodside has taken the action before the Australian Building and Construction Commission over the eight-day strike in January at the $12 billion Pilbara project.

Union and non-union workers are being prosecuted individually and could face fines of $28,000 each.

"We think it's atrocious in a democracy like Australia that workers are prosecuted to this extent for taking any form of industrial action,” said Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) WA construction division secretary Kevin Reynolds.

"But that's the nature of the governments we live under today, be it Labor or Liberal, they're all the same," he said.

So is there an alternative?

Some point to the Greens, but like Labor, the Greens are a party of capitalism. Their demands do not go beyond the economic system of capitalism, and their actions do not go beyond the political institution of capitalism – parliament. A vote for the Greens, however, is one way in the current situation, for Australian working people to say to Labor, “Enough is enough! You take us for granted, and don’t do anything for us when we vote you in!”

The Labor Party essentially serves the ruling class of local and foreign monopolies, but maintains the pretence of speaking for the working people and the pretence of maintaining a more progressive stance on a variety of social, environmental, legal and foreign policy matters.

The real alternative for workers and their allies seeking a better way of life is to set aside the illusions around the nature and role of parliamentarism and build an independent capacity for unions, community organisations and alternative political groupings to struggle around key demands, regardless of which capitalist party is elected to office.

The CPA (M-L), a minority party but representative of the best interests of the workers and their allies, has put forward the following demands around which to build united struggle by wide sections of the people. The CPA (M-L) says “We urge all comrades and friends to promote and support these demands during and beyond the election period.”


Immediate Demands on current issues

Workers/union rights and democratic rights

Empower workers with the right to strike!
Scrap the ABCC – Stop criminalising workers demanding decent wages and conditions
Drop charges against Ark Tribe

Guarantee workplace rights!
Right to job security
Right to a safe workplace
Right to organise
Right to collective action
Right to union OH & S representatives
Right to full entitlements when companies fail


Make the polluters pay!
Cap and tax carbon emissions – no “market solutions”
No pollution reduction costs passed on to the people
Phase out coal!
Create clean power using renewable energy
Retrain workers for new clean, sustainable industries
Water belongs to all – it’s not for trade or sale!
No uranium mining – unsafe for workers, communities and humanity!

Manufacturing, jobs, resources tax

Stop nation-wrecking by multinationals – nationalise and build the nation for the people!
Regulate and control foreign investment - reject unequal “free trade” deals!
Tax the profits of the mining monopolies! Keep the wealth in Australia!
Develop renewable energy production!
Build clean, safe, sustainable manufacturing and value-adding industries
Improve services and amenities in mining communities and regional areas

Health, education, and livelihood

Serve the people – no privatisation!
More and better public schools
More and better public hospitals
More and better public housing – implement rent controls
More and better public transport
More and better affordable community-run childcare centres

Nationalise the banks!
Regulate interest rates
Cut bank fees
More affordable private housing!
Scrap Negative Gearing!
Increase pensions and entitlements!

Aboriginal sovereignty and the ‘intervention’

End the racist Intervention now - Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs!
Stop land grabbing by mining companies!
Unconditional restoration of the Racial Discrimination Act – scrap compulsory ‘Income Management’!
Leave Land Rights alone - recognise Aboriginal sovereignty!
A just Treaty with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples!

Foreign policy

For an independent and peaceful foreign policy!
No more support for American wars – get out of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Philippines!
No US Alliance – no foreign military bases on Australian soil!
Nuclear free Australia!

Social issues

Equal rights for women!
Equal pay for work of equal value
Make equal opportunity a reality

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“Immediate demands on current issues”
Most of these demands are good and practical in the interests of all Australians.
“Aboriginal sovereignty and the ‘intervention’.

”End the racist Intervention now - Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs!
Stop land grabbing by mining companies!
Unconditional restoration of the Racial Discrimination Act – scrap compulsory ‘Income Management’!
Leave Land Rights alone - recognize Aboriginal sovereignty!
A just Treaty with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples!”

More mealy mouthed ,liberal sorry stuff, continuing divide and rule, with little or no real practical teeth?

Where only minimal, short term , current ,immediate , pragmatic anti -socialist anti –nationalist demands can exist?

Is that the role of a small socialist party to simply trail along behind the liberals.Without stating clearly a long term working class socialist aim?

Communists should openly declare their own principled internationalist position on national and colonial questions..

Recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty as legal titles in a Treaty under white nation hegemony with existing land rights shams is meaningless without reparations.

“Leave land rights alone” …(What land rights? Just mostly colonialist “legal” shams).

. Or,other demands, besides pragmatic short term aims , might be based on Leninist/Stalinist Socialist principles on aims in colonialist settler states?

Demands for self determination , that the white settler colonialist based “internationalist” Communist parties of Australia have never ever had, even for in territories since Federation where Aboriginal peoples were the majority?

No support for the current , fake, land rights legal shams and white settler “charity handouts system!

Support a struggle for national unity and self determination of the native peoples with reparations.!

National Self determination for the native peoples with real land rights and full control over their own lives.

A just Treaty with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples with JUST REPERATIONS of debts for stolen land AND colonial labor super profits from the decades of old racist unequal wages system .

A treaty guaranteeing REAL land rights ,-that includes mineral resources land title rights!

The native peoples might then decide themselves on National Unity with a material basis , by ,agreeing that all future natural resources incomes and REPERATIONS be put in a national Aboriginal and Torres straight Islander Sovereign National development trust Fund ,democratically managed by the all the united peoples themselves in a socialist way ?

Comment by “B”. A non –aboriginal