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Issue #1591      May 1, 2013

Step up the fight back!

March on May Day!

Across the country, workers are confronted by bosses driving an increasingly hard bargain. Sackings, skimping on safety, restrictions to trade union right of entry, legal proceedings against community activists, abuse of Type 457 visas to drive down wages, and other anti-worker measures are becoming more and more common. It’s part of a worldwide drive by the capitalist class and it needs a response from the workers on a worldwide scale. The whips are well and truly cracking and it is time to step up the resistance to the onslaught, to turn the tide in favour of workers and other exploited people. What better occasion than International Workers’ Day to recommit to the fight back?

(Photo: Craig Greer)

In Australia, employers are salivating at the thought of exerting even more control with the election of a Coalition federal government in September. Abbott and shadow treasurer Joe Hockey have both spoken about the extension of the neo-liberal agenda should they get their backsides onto the government benches in parliament. Along with right-wing think tanks like the Institute of Public Affairs, they have made long lists of things they would like to see happen in the near future: more privatisation, no role for unions in the workplace, a fortress Australia dominated by monopoly interests.

Workers should take a leaf out of the bosses’ book. It’s about time workers drew up a list of things they need and set about getting them in a concerted and strategic manner. Such a list would include:

  • The right to strike, no restrictions on union right of entry
  • Scrap the re-branded ABCC, stop the harassment of community activists supporting workers’ struggles
  • Stop the abuse of Type 457 visas, train local workers to meet skill shortages
  • Create jobs, come clean about hidden unemployment, legislate against insecure work, implement equal pay now for women
  • Stop the victimisation of the unemployed, single parents and other benefit recipients
  • Lift pensions and benefits
  • Stop the theft of Aboriginal land and attacks on Aboriginal communities
  • Defend and extend Medicare – move to a nationalised health system
  • Defend public education – no more funding of elite schools
  • Defend TAFE, abolish tertiary education fees
  • Put a genuine super profits tax on the exploitation of mineral resources – nationalise the sector and plan for sustainability
  • Slash military spending, stop joining US military adventures and stop persecuting the victims – the refugees arriving on our shores
  • Take climate change seriously, regulate the big polluters
  • Stop using our superannuation for speculation at the whim of the transnationals – put superannuation in public hands for investment in social needs and create a people’s bank

The list is long and could be longer; such is the damage caused by recent decades of “grab back” by the monopolies. Their have been decades of casualisation and de-unionisation of the workplace and brainwashing in the destructive ideology of the capitalist class. Young workers have been raised in an atmosphere of individualism that does not respect working class values of solidarity and collectivism. Socialism has been made a dirty word but the current state of affairs can’t and won’t last.

People will struggle against injustice. History teaches this. Unfortunately, in recent times people struggling for a more just society have been facing increasingly unfavourable odds. Let this May Day be a turning point for a greater effort to resist the exploitation and disempowerment of working people, for the swelling of the ranks of fighters in the cause of socialism.   

Next article – Editorial – A pretext for attack on rights

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