Thursday, February 11, 2010

Marathon despoilers want "safe haven" for investment.

All thinking is stamped with the brand of a class.

The owners of capital think according to the needs of capital. Their personal values, their morality, their interpretation of religious teachings, their political social and environmental outlooks are determined by what serves the interests of the capital they personally represent, and of the interests of the capital owning class in a more general sense.

Marathon Resources is a junior mining and exploration company heavily backed by Queensland Coal Mining magnate Ken Talbot and the Chinese sovereign fund China International Trade and Investment Corporation.

Talbot is currently facing charges of making $300,000 in corrupt payments to former Queensland Labor politician Gordon Nuttall. That is an indication of his class thinking and personal values. (Nuttall, 56, was jailed in July 2009 for seven years after he was found guilty of 36 charges of corruptly taking payments from businessmen Ken Talbot and Harold Shand.)

China correctly exhibits great sensitivity over any threats to its sovereignty and regularly criticises other countries for "harming the feelings of the Chinese people" when anti-China actions or statements are made.

Long aware of the controversy surrounding Marathon's despoliation of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, CITIC appears not to be bothering with the feelings of the Australian people who overwhelmingly reject exploration and mining at Arkaroola.

Arkaroola is famous for its unique flora, fauna and geological formations. It is internationally recognised as a unique museum of rare geological features, as well as being essential to the survival of creatures such as the yellow-footed rock wallaby and the short-tailed grasswren.

Its spectacular scenery and remote location have made it an Australian tourism icon.

So what view does Marathon Resources, which wants to get into Arkaroola and rip and tear the guts out of the place, have of sanctuaries and refuges?

To my great surprise, it is all in favour of them!

Providing, that is, that they exist as a sanctuary and refuge for capital.

In a strangely-worded response to a State government plan for management of the Arkaroola region (itself a cop-out and capitulation to mining interests), Marathon warns that the draft plan "could have a significant unintended consequence that would seriously damage South Australia's reputation as a safe haven for investment" (my emphasis).

So we can have safe havens for investment, but not for rare and endangered species.

The irony of the Marathon statement is entirely lost on company executives because their class outlook determines that they look at issues solely from the point of view of the capital which they possess and need to expand.

And they are panicking and making mistakes because they struggle to raise capital and their share prices drop below 40 cents most days before making a minor recovery to the 40 cent mark by the end of day's trade.

Let's hope it declines even further.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CFMEU assists Ampilatwatja walk-off

Last year Alyawarr leader Richard Downs led his Alyawarr people in a walk-off from their community town of Ampilatwatja, about 300 kilometres from Alice Springs in central Australia.

They were protesting about the terrible housing and the lack of action to assist them in the wake of the racist Federal Government "intervention" in the Northern Territory.

Richard Downs says the Alyawarr are becoming sick from living in tin houses which are ankle-deep in sewage.

Disgusted with the lack of action to redress housing problems, and determined to strike out independently of the Federal Government, Downs appealed to unions for support and went on a national tour addressing supporters around the country.

The CFMEU and other unions responded to the call for help.

With nary a house having been built in the three years of the intervention, the CFMEU organised tradespersons and transport workers and put the word on various companies, and has done in a couple of weeks what the feds have failed to do.

Despite the hardship of mixing concrete on site in temperatures over 40 degrees and hand pouring a huge slab out in the bush, and then getting prefabricated building supplies onto the site, the job is well on the way to being finished.

Downs has issued an invitation to interested persons to attend an offcial opening of the new building this Sunday, February 14.

While the CFMEU continues to be hounded by the thugs from the Government's "special cop on the beat", the ABCC, the working class has shown in practical terms the support it can offer to remote Aboriginal communities.

This is a great example of solidarity and a huge embarrassment for the Government.