Communist Party of Australia deeply saddened by the passing of Hugo Chávez
March 6, 2013
The Communist Party of Australia’s National President, Vinnie Molina, today expressed his Party’s sadness on the passing of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. “President Chávez was an inspirational figure to progressive people in Latin America and throughout the world,” Mr Molina said.
“As an Australian of Latin American background, I can appreciate just how much his efforts to unite the continent and to restore its sovereignty in the face of fierce opposition from the US meant to the people of the region. Hugo Chávez transformed Venezuela from a basket case victim of neo-liberal policy to one where the country’s resource income is spent on eradicating poverty and other social needs.”
“The example of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela spilled over that country’s borders and broke the grip of neo-liberalism on the governments of several nations,” Mr Molina continued. “Hugo Chávez’ leadership played a major role in unleashing the social forces now transforming Latin America. He helped enormously in putting socialism back on the agenda as the only alternative to capitalism, which is threatening the future of humanity through war and environmental disaster. Chávez’ name will forever be associated with the renewed advance of the peoples of the world towards socialism. Dangers lie ahead, but the commitment and achievements of Comrade Chávez should inspire us.”
Statement in support of the rights of Bob Carnegie
Vinnie Molina – CPA President
The Communist Party of Australia expresses its full support for the rights of community activist Bob Carnegie and pledges solidarity with efforts to maintain those rights in the face of an outrageous attack.
The actions of multinational corporation Lend Lease subsidiary AbiGroup, in bringing 54 counts of contempt of court against the veteran activist, are rightly viewed by the public as an act of spite arising out of the success of a campaign to defend appropriate conditions for workers at the Royal Children’s Hospital site in Brisbane.
The Newman government stands condemned for joining in this assault on people’s basic rights of association and free speech. The use of a private firm to spy on activists protesting in support of workers and other acts of intimidation underscore the sinister nature of the attack on concerned members of the community and their support of rights in the workplace.
The CPA condemns these attempts to criminalise dissent in Australia; they are part of the broader agenda of the most draconian parts of WorkChoices kept in the Fair Work Australia legislation that was introduced by the Rudd and Gillard governments.
Bob Carnegie’s case has already attracted nationwide and international attention. Support will continue to snowball. The CPA endorses the call for the immediate withdrawal of all legal proceedings against Mr Carnegie.
Asylum seekers and the legal excision of the Australian mainland
The intention of the Gillard government to excise the Australian mainland from the country’s migration zone deserves the strongest possible condemnation. This cruel act – a clear breach of the letter and the spirit of UN Convention on Refugees to which Australia is a signatory – was rejected by the Labor Party when it was in opposition to the Howard government. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen on August 10, 2006, speaking against the Howard government’s legislation, said:
“This is a bad bill (Excision of the Mainland) with no redeeming features. It is a hypocritical and illogical bill. If it is passed today, it will be a stain on our national character…. If it is passed, it will be repealed by an incoming Labor government. Decency and self-respect as a nation would demand nothing less.”
They still demand nothing less today.
The backflip has arisen from the opportunism of the parliamentary Labor Party on the question of boat arrivals and is the next “logical” step following the reintroduction of mandatory detention and the restoration of prison-like detention centres associated with the Howard government’s “Pacific Solution”.
The CPA rejects the cynical claim that these measures are motivated by concern for the safety of asylum seekers coming to Australia aboard boats from Indonesia. It is motivated by political opportunism and capitulation to the hysteria whipped up by xenophobes in the political sphere, in the media and on the margins of the community. The contrast between the treatment of very wealthy applicants for business migration and those desperately seeking peace and security could not be clearer.
The CPA supports the demands of the majority of the Australian people for an end to Australian involvement in US-led military engagement in wars such as Afghanistan. It calls for a new approach to relations between developed and developing countries based on respect and mutual benefit; not aggression and exploitation. Only measures of this nature will prevent a growing global refugee crisis. It is folly to think a “fortress Australia” can be built that can ignore the suffering of people caused by policies and intervention supported by Australia, the US and other imperialist states.
Australia and Venezuela
Joint Statement by Communist Party of Australia and Communist Party of Venezuela
On the occasion of the visit to Australia by Dr Carolus Wimmer, International Relations Secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela, the Communist Party of Venezuela (CPV) and the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) adopted the following joint statement.
Our two parties work in countries still living under the shadow of the United States empire and the threat that its aggressive policies and bloated military machine create for our countries and the world.
The United States aims to dominate the planet and its resources, to install compliant governments everywhere, to privatise and deregulate the economy of every nation, and to inflict “free market” corporate capitalism on the peoples of the world.
Plans for new military bases in Latin America, the Caribbean and elsewhere and US involvement in recent coups in Honduras and Paraguay expose once again how far imperialism will go to protect the profits of its transnational corporations.
The US sustains the right-wing paramilitary-based regime in Colombia and is stepping up its efforts to subvert democratic advances in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia and to isolate and cripple socialist Cuba.
The Communist Party of Australia stands in solidarity with the Communist Party of Venezuela as it works to defend Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution from US interference and to advance the struggle for economic and social justice in Venezuela.
The CPA supports Venezuela’s democratic elections, in which Hugo Chavez is the candidate of the majority of the people as well as the Communist Party of Venezuela. The Communist Party of Australia rejects all attempts by foreign forces to intervene in and destabilise the election to be held on 7 October this year and demands that the election results be recognised and respected as the will of the Venezuelan people
The Communist Party of Venezuela stands in solidarity with the Communist Party of Australia in its struggle against US plans to use Australia as a base from which to threaten and “contain” China. The CPV supports the campaigns against the stationing of US marines in the country, for the closure of the more than 30 US military bases in Australia, to stop joint military exercises, and ban more US ships and planes coming to the fifth continent. Both parties condemn the attempts by imperialism to provoke conflicts between China and other countries in the South China Sea.
These policies raise the danger of aggression and war to a new level. Combined with US imperialismʼs willingness to use its massive arsenal of nuclear weapons, planetary destruction is a possibility.
The Communist Party of Venezuela and the Communist Party of Australia condemn any intervention in Syria by the US, NATO and reactionary Middle East countries. We demand that the conflict be ended and the Syrian people given the opportunity to decide themselves what their future will be.
Imperialist states continue to control immense economic, military and political resources and are the main threat to the peace of the world.
Our parties agree that it is this imperialist control that stands in the way of social and economic progress, peace and security. It also fuels the environmental crisis. Both parties emphasise that we cannot build socialism on a dead planet.
The successes already achieved in the anti-imperialist struggle and the improvements in the living conditions for masses of the poor in developing countries such as Venezuela are inspiring others to set out on the same path.
The Communist Party of Venezuela and the Communist Party of Australia will continue to work together and strengthen their fraternal relations, sharing the confidence that the future holds greater possibilities for resistance and social progress, for just and democratic economic development, for environmental protection and sustainability, and for socialism.
Standing with CFMEU Melbourne workers
“The CPA applauds the courage of building workers in Melbourne in standing up for the right to have union safety officials on building sites. We stand in solidarity with the workers and the CFMEU in this struggle,” Dr Hannah Middleton, CPA General Secretary said.
At its peak about 500 construction workers were at the Grocon site on the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Streets in Melbourne’s CBD on Tuesday morning, facing off against police in riot gear and on horseback.
There are concerns about safety and the workers want to control the appointment of safety stewards on the construction site. Quite reasonably, they want their own OH&S people they can trust on site.
The construction giant Grocon got orders last week that prohibited CFMEU organisers going within 50 metres of the site and returned to the Supreme Court last Friday to try to get contempt orders against union officials and members who, the company argued, had breached the orders.
The union has taken action at sites in Brisbane and Melbourne, including setting up a blockade since Wednesday of last week of the $1.3 billion Grocon development site.
The CFMEU has accused Grocon CEO, Daniel Grollo, of trying to de-unionise the company’s sites.
“Grocon is using the court system to try to smash the union and the workers,” Hannah Middleton said.
“Not surprisingly, Daniel Grollo is furious that the workers are fighting back. He has been spluttering about illegal blockades, intimidation, defiance of the Victorian Supreme Court and police.
“And in a shameful statement, Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has backed this position, condemning ‘violence’ and ‘illegal blockades’.
“But when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty,” she said.
Ecuador defends Assange’s human rights
The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) welcomes and congratulates the government of Ecuador on its principled decision to grant political asylum to Julian Assange.
We acknowledge the courage of the Ecuadorian government in facing down immense pressure and the bully-boy tactics from Britain and the United States.
We support wholeheartedly Ecuadorian government statements that Assange’s human rights may be violated if he is sent to Sweden to be questioned over sex assault claims and that his fears of political persecution are legitimate.
Julian Assange has championed people’s right to know and has challenged governments that try to keep the public in a state of ignorance. He has provided a massive public service by, among other things, revealing truths about murders by US military.
His challenge to government secrecy explains their desire for revenge.
The CPA believes that everyone who supports freedom of the press, freedom of speech and the values associated with diplomatic immunity should publicly insist that the Ecuadorian decision to give asylum to Assange should override any other consideration.
The Australian government should stand up for the rights of an Australian citizen and make clear its commitment to freedom of political communication, to democratic principles and the rule of law.
The CPA demands respect for international law and the sanctity of diplomatic missions.
While calling for protection for Julian Assange’s rights, the CPA also demands justice for Bradley Manning, the former US soldier accused of leaking government material to WikiLeaks, who has been detained without trial for well over two years.
CPA condemns shooting of South African miners
The Communist Party of Australia condemns the shooting of striking miners by police in South Africa. The CPA mourns the loss of life and expresses its sympathy to the families of the miners. The Party supports calls by progressive forces for a commission of inquiry to get to the bottom of the matter and bring those responsible for the deaths to justice. While the circumstances of the tragic incident are complex and unclear at the time of publication of this week’s Guardian, there can be no justification for the use of deadly force against workers. The Guardian will carry a full report in an upcoming issue.
Secretary – CPA International Department
Communist Party flourishing
Dr Hannah Middleton – CPA General Secretary
Contrary to an article on May 31 in The Australian, the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) is alive and working for the interests of all those members of our community hit so hard by corporate globalisation and the capitalist crisis.
Joe Kelly writing in The Australian confuses – accidentally or deliberately – the CPA with the Communists. The Communists (originally called the Communist Alliance) was an electoral alliance of which the CPA was one part, together with migrant Communist parties and progressive individuals from around Australia.
The Communist Party of Australia supported the Communist Alliance (CA) because it united a range of left political forces to fight for real change.
The Communist Alliance was registered as a party on March 16, 2009. A legal challenge from the Community Alliance, a conservative group in Canberra, forced the CA to change its name to the Communists. This group did not manage to meet the requirement that it update its membership list in time and was recently deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission.
A media release at the time of the CA’s 2009 launch stated:
We oppose both major parties because of their welfare for the rich approach and their ties to big business interests.
But we have a longer term vision for Australia too.
The global economic crisis has shown the people of the world and Australia that capitalism has failed.
We need radical change to protect our communities and create a world of peace and sustainable development. Ultimately we need socialism – a new system where people’s rights are paramount and the people decide their own future.
While the Communists has been deregistered, CPA members will continue to stand in some elections. CPA members will be involved in the NSW local government elections this September, for example.
The existing system, in which government is alternately shared between the Liberal-National Coalition and the Australian Labor Party, obscures and protects the dictatorship of capital over our economic and political life.
The two-party system, which has dominated Australia’s political life for more than 100 years, does not allow for significant streams of political thinking in Australia to be represented in Parliament, particularly in the important lower houses of our parliaments.
The CPA campaigns for the repeal of the present Electoral Act and its replacement by a more democratic method of election. We call for a compulsory, proportional-preferential voting system which gives the people a wider choice of candidates through multi-member electorates and a choice of local members to whom they can take their concerns.
The Communist Party of Australia continues to exist and work. We work for a society in which publicly owned enterprises play the major role in the economy, which encourages the participation of people in democratic decision making and management, a society where Indigenous Australians, women, and migrants are treated equally and with dignity. We work for a society where the environment is protected.
The CPA advances an alternative political agenda before the people that puts the people’s needs and interests first. In our vision of an alternative, the people’s voice and participation are paramount. The purpose of our economy must be to fulfill people’s needs, not to produce ever-increasing wealth for private corporations and the super-rich.
Importing workers driven by greed
The Communist Party has condemned the decision by the federal government to allow Gina Rinehart to import 1,700 foreign workers to develop the multi-billion dollar Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia.
“The decision is particularly offensive to working people given the recent spate of large scale layoffs from Australian workplaces,” CPA President Vinnie Molina said.
“Despite the fictitious government figures on unemployment, there is a growing alarm at the rate of joblessness in the country that is met with a lack of interest on the part of the government to ensure that Australians are trained to fill positions in the resource sector. TAFE is under attack and there is no obligation placed on profit-gorged mining corporations to train local workers.”
“These facts render worthless assurances from the Prime Minister that local workers should be taken on first. Everybody knows big mining companies are seeking to boost their profits to even greater heights by cutting their wages bill. If unions and the community don’t put their foot down the next phase in the evolution of these Enterprise Migration Agreements will be the employment of workforces at rates way below the established rate in Australia. This is the plan from the boardrooms - to divide and conquer workers and to drive their pay and conditions down. We therefore call on workers, their trade unions and the community to fight and overturn this reactionary decision.
“We don’t support jingoism. The CPA is taking a stand for workers to be able to defend their legitimate interests against massive attacks from reckless transnationals. Foreign workers should be welcomed to fill genuine skills shortages and their ongoing needs met. Their situation should not be exploited to further the ambitions of people whose wealth is a scandalous obscenity. Ultimately, the welfare of workers and the environment can only be ensured by putting the country’s resources into public ownership by a government with a much more enlightened agenda. After all, these resources belong to the people, not to certain privileged individuals,” Mr Molina said.
Bringing war to our doorstep – US “pivots” to Asia, Pacific and Indian Ocean
Central Committee Executive Statement
“The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” said US President Obama during his visit to Australia late last year as he announced the stationing of 2,500 US Marines in Darwin, more visits by US ships and aircraft to Australia, greater US access to Australian military bases, more joint military exercises, and storage of more US military equipment in Australia. Then on January 5 at the Pentagon, President Obama formally announced a new US policy which will bring war to Australia’s doorstep.
Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for the 21st Century Defence outlines a “historic shift” in which the US will maintain its military presence in the Middle East and Europe but will now give priority to Asia, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
As more US ships, aircraft and troops come to Australian military facilities, the level of Australian military integration with an aggressive and destabilising US government will rise, further undermining Australia’s independence and security.
Over 160 years ago, Karl Marx predicted that the Pacific Ocean – “the great waterway of commerce” – would serve as “the centre of gravity of world commerce’, playing the same role as the Atlantic did in his century and the Mediterranean in Roman times. Marx’s comments captured the essence of the significant shift in global political economy that we are witnessing today, with increased trade and investment across the Pacific basin.
The Bush administration recognised the growing economic, political and strategic significance of the Asia-Pacific region over two decades ago. However, following the 9/11 attacks it gave priority to its “war on terror” to control the resources and political direction of the Middle East.
Now the Obama administration has ramped up the US interest in the Pacific basin and Asia, but also added the Indian Ocean.
The central US goal is control of the planet, power to install governments subservient to its demands, power to privatise and deregulate the economies of every nation in the world, the power to inflict on peoples everywhere “free market” corporate capitalism. US supremacy will be ensured by preventing the emergence of any other potentially competing power or government independent of its control.
The new US military policy is clearly designed less to cut US military spending than to reorder Pentagon priorities to ensure full spectrum dominance (dominating any nation, anywhere, at any time, at any level of force) for the first decades of the 21st Century. As President Obama himself said, after the near-doubling of military spending during the Bush era, the new doctrine will slow the growth of military spending but “it will still grow, in fact by four percent in the coming year.”
The new doctrine places China at the centre of US “security” concerns and prioritises expansion of US war making capacities in Asia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans, This means greater involvement of Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and now India as the US “pivots” from Iraq and Afghanistan to the heartland of the 21st Century global economy, Asia and the Pacific.
The US strategy is to first exaggerate the level of China’s present military build-up, to encircle China through the acquisition of military bases in the Asian-Pacific region, to establish anti-Chinese alliances, and to deploy Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) systems near China as a way to negate their existing force of 20 nuclear missiles.
The US is making an effort to woo India into the American orbit by offering them help with nuclear weapons and Star Wars technologies. Australia is assisting with the supply of uranium. US armaments companies are facilitating India’s military expansion, especially space development, through an aggressive move into South Asian markets to supplement reductions in their Pentagon contracts.
Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for the 21st Century Defence includes a focus on Iran, clearly intended to ensure that Tehran cannot jeopardise the West’s neo-colonial control of the Middle East and its oil which is so essential to their economies and militaries.
China’s military expansion is actually small compared to the US military. Australia’s intelligence community has stated that China’s current limited military build-up is not a threat to Australia. Rather it is China’s response to the huge US military expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.
China and Iran are the primary targets of: weapons systems to be developed; of expanded US military alliances, bases, access agreements and an increased tempo of military exercises; as well as advanced cyber and space war capabilities.
Despite the fact that China’s military budget is less than one tenth that of the US, China is providing the “enemy” the US military-industrial complex requires.
Preparing for war with China provides additional super profits for the US armaments corporations. It will be the primary justification for the acquisition of these costly new weapons systems.
Dennis Muilenburg, President of Boeing Defence, Space and Security (BDS), has estimated that countries such as Australia, South Korea, Japan, India, and Malaysia will be strong markets for its fighter jets, unmanned systems, helicopters, energy systems security and even cyber-warfare technology amid a slowdown in defence spending in its US home market.
The new US thinking on the region was foreshadowed in June 2005 when former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech in Singapore in which he criticised what he called China’s ongoing military build-up and claimed that it posed a threat to regional peace and stability.
US strategy was spelt out in the Pentagon’s 2006 Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR). This said the US will not allow the rise of a competing superpower. “Of the major and emerging powers,” the QDR says, “China has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional US military advantages.”
The expansion of “missile defence” systems in Australia, Japan, South Korea and on US military platforms near China is intended to assist with these plans. It will actually create more regional tension and instability, increasing the possibility of war.
The US is engaged in an extensive build-up of military forces as part of a strategy to strengthen and position US and allied forces to contain or even militarily defeat China. Victory from these efforts would give the US its major economic goal of securing the natural resources, cheap labour and increasing productive strength of the region for the US transnationals.
With breathtaking arrogance, Hilary Clinton wrote last November in Foreign Policy that the Asia-Pacific focus puts the US “in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values ...
“Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests ... . Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology. Our economic recovery at home will depend on exports and the ability of American firms to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia.”
Liberal and Labor governments have been obediently trotting after the US, with a bloated “defence” budget now costing taxpayers $80 million every single day.
Labor’s opposition to missile defence has been abandoned and Australia may acquire its own limited missile defence capabilities – an additional part of the noose being tightened round China.
North West Cape (the Harold E Holt military base at Exmouth in WA) is the expected site for the establishment of the US Space Surveillance Network sensors. The Australian government has recently signed an agreement for US forces to return to North West Cape.
It is madness for the Gillard government to risk escalating tension and even war in the region, instead of good relations with a major trading partner, for the sake of an alliance with the United States.
The Gillard government’s decision to escalate its military relationship with the US is intended to strengthen US efforts to contain China as well as to strengthen Australia’s role in the region. It is all about strategic, political and economic dominance, directed first and foremost against China.
The ANZUS treaty underpins Australia’s military relationship with the USA.
Despite the views of the Australian public, ANZUS does not contain specific commitments or any guarantees that the US will assist Australia in times of need, even though it speaks vaguely about “consultation” and “action in accordance with constitutional processes”.
The only times the treaty has been invoked in the 60 years since its signing, Australia has ended up paying in one way or another for US strategic interests and US aggression.
It is not a mutual pact. It is a treaty of Australian subservience and a cover for aggression.
A 21st century US-China cold war catastrophe must not be allowed to happen. Because Labor and the Coalition basically agree, there has been relatively little public scrutiny or debate about Australia’s military strategy and military spending. It’s time to begin one.
Reactionary turn of events in Libya
Triumphant reports in the media about the fall of a “dictator” in Libya and the victory of “rebel” forces mask a dramatically different reality. The US, Britain and NATO have notched up a major geo-strategic objective in the region through long-term planning, including the cultivation of opposition forces in Libya.
Military and political advisers were in the country guiding events even before the outbreak of protests in what was portrayed as the continuation of the “Arab Spring” that had previously broken out in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and elsewhere.
Then came the reckless NATO bombardment of the country under the deceitful guise of the imposition of a “no fly zone”. In a piece of cynical disinformation and perverted logic it was claimed this was to “protect civilian lives”.
The people of the world should harbour no illusions about the reactionary turn of events in Libya.
Unless the favoured forces now claiming government of Libya shift allegiances and assert their country’s sovereignty against the wishes of their imperialist backers – a very unlikely scenario – Libya, its resources and strategic assets will be handed over to the former colonial and neo-colonial powers that once held them.
Syria and Iran are now squarely in the imperialists’ sights. Another extremely negative precedent has been set with this exercise that carries grave implications for anti-imperialist governments elsewhere, including Latin America.
The government of Muammar Gaddafi unquestionably had a chequered record. The protests that were hijacked and used as a pretext for a NATO-sponsored and supported military uprising had legitimate demands.
The government of President Assad is also flawed, as is that of the repressive theocracy holding power in Iran. Nobody, however, should entertain the idea that NATO forces will foster a democratic flowering in Libya or any other country that becomes subjected to its military might. The opposite is the case.
The peace movement internationally was well aware of this reality before the US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003. But it appears, even though events have proven the movement right in the case of post-Saddam Iraq, that many have been deceived by the imperialists’ spin doctors concerning events in Libya. The peace movement must not repeat this error as the US and NATO move onto their next military objective.
There are many lessons to be learnt from events in Libya. An important one is that the people of the world must demand more of the United Nations in protecting the sovereignty of nations.
This may not happen until the UN’s structures are democratised to stop the globe’s military and economic giants calling the shots in international affairs.
Countries who reject the self-interested intervention of imperialist powers must not sit on the sidelines. An abstention on these issues is not enough.
They must join the peace movement throughout the world in rejecting the increasingly aggressive behaviour of imperialism.
Secretary – CPA International Department
Solidarity with Chile’s students and teachers
The Communist Party of Australia denounces in the strongest possible terms the campaign of intimidation being waged by the government, police and extreme right-wing elements against the youth, students and teachers of Chile. The wave of repression has included attacks on the offices of the Communist Party of Chile and its youth organisation. Death threats and other forms of cowardly abuse have been directed at student leaders. Protests have been broken up by police.
The youth, students and teachers of Chile have every right to protest the lamentable conditions existing in the education system in that country. The inadequate, exclusive and privatised system left by the Pinochet dictatorship and devised by the Chicago boys under the late Professor Milton Friedman is a shameful legacy of a shameful time. The government of President Piñera and the Interior Minister should heed the calls of the students, their teachers and broad sections of the community for progressive social change and put an end to the ugly and unworthy attacks.
Secretary – CPA International Department
Greeting to workers organised in the – All Workers Militant Front (PAME) in Greece
Dr Hannah Middleton – CPA General Secretary
On behalf of the Communist Party of Australia I wish to convey the strongest greetings of solidarity to the workers organised in the All Workers Militant Front (PAME) as they prepare for their great strike on June 28 and 29. We wish you every success and we are ready to lend whatever assistance we can because it is our internationalist duty as Communists and because your fight is our fight.
All over the world, in response to the economic crisis of capitalism, the ruling class is seeking to take back the gains made through decades of struggle by the working class. This is true in Australia as it is in Greece. Exploited people did not cause the crisis besetting the world capitalist economy but the demand from neo-liberal governments is that they must pay, that their public assets must be taken from them.
We are inspired by your example to the people of the world and your reiteration of the message that the working class holds tremendous power to reverse the current attacks and to move forward to a more just society – a socialist society. A breakthrough by the popular front led by workers in Greece will be an advance for all the exploited of the world. We will win, because no gear turns without us!
Dr Hannah Middleton
CPA General Secretary
This meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Australia, held on March 12 - 13, 2011, reaffirms the CPA’s commitment to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Our Party will actively back the BDS campaign and work to win support for it by other organisations because we believe it can be a valuable tool in the fight to win the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
We cannot tolerate the brutality, illegality and racism of the Zionist government of Israel. We believe ways must be found to pressure Israel to lift the siege of Gaza, implement the right of Palestinian refugees to their homes, to recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, to restore the 1967 borders, and to dismantle the Wall and the illegal settlements.
The BDS is one form of putting political and economic pressure on the Zionist regime in Israel.
We call on all our Party organisations to find ways to become involved in the BDS campaign at a local level. This is not a one-off campaign but a call for on-going activities that Party organisations can undertake over time, either as a CPA Branch or in co-operation with other organisations by any of the following actions:
- Target your local Council with the aim of getting them to adopt a BDS resolution (as Marrickville Council in Sydney has done).
- Organise small boycott activities as regularly as possible at appropriate local sites (eg Motorola, Seacrest cosmetics, Max Bremmer chocolates, etc) and/or support BDS activities in your local area.
- Remember that April 30 is a global BDS day.
- Raise the issue of endorsing the BDS campaign in other organisations where you work and/or have contacts (eg unions [21 have already signed up], student, environmental, etc)
- Contact and build good relations with Palestinian support groups if they exist in your local area.
In all these activities, comrades can contact the CPA International Department at email@example.com for assistance with resources go to Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
“No” to invasion, interference in Libya
While supporting the democratic demands of the Libyan people, the Communist Party of Australia opposes imperialist interference in Libya. The national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Libyan people are threatened by the possibility of an invasion by the US, Britain and NATO.
We condemn western efforts to foment a civil war in Libya in order to pave the way for military intervention and the eventual control of Libya. The reported seizure of entire cities reflects a high degree of military sophistication and is unlikely to be just the result of “peaceful protests”.
The United States has positioned its warships off the coast of Libya. There is talk of imposing a ‘no fly zone’ over Libya. This would require extensive bombing raids with inevitable deaths, injury and destruction.
We have witnessed how blatant lies and cries of “democracy” were used by the US and its allies to fool the world before their attack on Iraq. That imperialist intervention has cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives and untold suffering. We must not allow the Libyan people to suffer the same fate.
Hundreds and even thousands are reported to have been killed on both sides in Libya but the human cost of a US-NATO invasion would be far higher.
The CPA stresses that only the people of Libya can decide what political system they require. The US and its allies have no right whatsoever to violate Libya’s sovereignty, especially since their claims of acting for democracy and humanitarian aid are a smokescreen for their determination to seize control Libya’s considerable oil and gas wealth.
There are also calls for the indictment of the Gaddafi family for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court. However, there are no calls for the US and NATO governments and corporations to be held accountable for arming the most brutal dictators in many parts of the world.
The CPA expresses its support for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s proposal to send a mission, including former US President Jimmy Carter, to mediate in Libya and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
The CPA welcomes this constructive approach and repeats our strong opposition to Western political and military intervention in Libya.
The CPA supports building an active solidarity movement strong enough to prevent the Australian government sending troops as part of any US-NATO intervention and to oppose any Australian political or military interference in Libya.
Secretary – CPA International Department
Regarding attacks on the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
The Communist Party of Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms the renewed efforts on the part of right-wing sections of the government of the Czech Republic to ban the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (CPBM). This manoeuvring is not an isolated or idiosyncratic development; it is the latest in a series of such threatening moves across Europe to try to neutralise the most clear-headed and consistent opposition to the austerity measures required by the planners of capitalism. Their intention is to make workers and other innocent victims pay for the current crisis of capitalism and to protect the wealthy culprits.
While it is a logical act by legislators loyal to the wealthy elites and the monopolies to seek to suspend the activities of the CPBM or to ban it, we are, nevertheless, disgusted that the government of the Czech Republic would attempt to limit or destroy a party with such an important role in the country’s political life on behalf of the working people. It is offensive to equate, as the Czech government has done, the activities of dissidents in the former socialist Czechoslovakia to those of the brave anti-fascist resistance carried on with great vigour by Communists and other progressive forces before and during WWII.
The CPA believes there is a warning for progressive people the world over in the events taking place in the Czech Republic. During periods of crisis of capitalism, subservient governments will take the most extreme measures in order to survive. This includes the banning of Communist parties, trade unions and other progressive forces in society as Hitler did in Germany before WWII. We should be alert and prepared to fight the rise of fascism in all its expressions.
We shall be urging all our members, supporters and other progressive and democratic forces to protest these actions of the Czech government to their representatives in Australia and to raise awareness of the issue in the Australian community.
Secretary – CPA International Department
Egypt: No to a military coup! – All power to the people
Central Committee Executive Statement
The Communist Party of Australia shares the elation of progressive people all over the world at the victory of the Egyptian people marked by the resignation of President Mubarak. The brave uprising suffered heavy blows of death and injury among the millions who took part but the achievement is magnificent. A break has been made with the regime that ruthlessly oppressed the poverty stricken people of Egypt. A space has been created for further advances of the movement seeking democracy and social justice.
US imperialism has been shaken by the dramatic course of events in the Middle East. Its strategists have been scrambling to deploy an alternative strategy of co-opting the leadership of the forces that struggled so valiantly for change. While the Obama administration has formally welcomed developments, the world has learned much about the duplicity and hypocrisy of US policy in the region in the course of the 18 days of determined protest in Egypt.
The Egyptian military remains a dominant force in Egyptian society. The solidarity of the peoples of the world – so well expressed in recent weeks – must be continued so that the victory of the national democratic revolution is not turned into an effective military coup. The demands of the movement – including for the freeing of all political prisoners, the bringing to trial of those responsible for the deaths, imprisonment, torture and expropriations suffered during the 30-year Mubarak dictatorship – must be supported.
The international trade union movement has played an invaluable role in supporting the progressive forces in Egypt and this assistance must be maintained. Egypt’s workers and their long-persecuted unions played an increasingly important role in the uprising as it unfolded. Their strengthening is key to the consolidation of recent gains and progress towards higher stages of democracy and national sovereignty.
There are many lessons to be learned from the recent experiences of the Egyptian people for the other oppressed and exploited peoples of the world. One is that, while the precise trigger for the explosion of the anger of affected people is difficult to predict, the global economic, environmental and social crisis of capitalism has left the global capitalist system vulnerable to change.
The movement for an end to dictatorship and the imposition of the neo-liberal agenda has spread, as has been noted in the media, from Tunisia to Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen and beyond. The harder hit economies of Europe are still seething with discontent and tensions arising from unemployment, cuts to services, living standards and democratic rights are growing worldwide – including in the US and Australia.
The victory in Egypt should give all of us the confidence that determined, united action will bring about the changes so urgently needed in our communities. It should inspire optimism in our youth whose future has been put in jeopardy by the reckless capitalist system. The role of youth in developments in Egypt demonstrates that the necessary response to unemployment and other expressions of social exclusion is not apathy but action. Events in Egypt have proven once more that the people make history. All power to the people of Egypt!
In solidarity with heroic struggle of the Egyptian people
Central Committee Statement
Egypt is witnessing a popular uprising against the despotic regime of President Hosni Mubarak. For over a week, tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating in the streets demanding an end to Mubarak’s rule. They have braved police brutality and attacks by organised pro-Mubarak gangs. About 300 have given their lives, many more have been injured and an unknown number may still be in jails.
The Communist Party of Australia stands in solidarity with this heroic struggle in Egypt’s political and economic life to achieve democracy, jobs and bread.
We are witnessing a national democratic revolution, a determined attempt to overthrow a corrupt reactionary, pro-imperialist regime.
For decades the peoples of Egypt, Tunisia and the whole of North Africa and the Arab world have borne the brunt of dictatorship and brutal repression. These dictatorships have been backed and sustained by the United States.
Workers and their families have experienced super-exploitation, poverty and hunger while western governments turned a blind eye to these massive abuses and continued to arm and train the military machines that have been used to keep the people down. Workers’ organisations, from their trade unions to their political parties, have been savagely suppressed.
The 30-year period of the Mubarak regime has been marked by authoritarianism, suppression of democratic rights, corruption and merciless neo-liberal economic policies pushed by the World Bank and IMF since the 1990s. Nationalised industries and public services developed by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser with Soviet support in the 1950s are disappearing.
A devastating IMF program imposed in 1991 brought deregulation of food prices, sweeping privatisation and massive austerity measures which led to the impoverishment of the Egyptian population and the destabilisation of its economy. Almost half of all Egyptians live at or below the poverty line, and prices for basic items like bread have soared.
Neo-liberal policy, grinding poverty and repression are the backdrop to this strife. The uprising is rooted in the social and economic grievances of the working and middle classes.
It was organised initially by young Facebook and Twitter activists inspired by the success of Tunisians in overthrowing Ben Ali. They came from the Kifaya (Enough) movement – a coalition of government opponents – and the April 6 Youth Movement. Formed three years ago, this takes its name from a April 6, 2008 general strike that itself stemmed from a year-long strike by textile workers in Ghazi el-Mahalla. Key issues in the general strike were the soaring cost of bread and other basic necessities, and demands for increased wages.
However, what seemed initially to be a movement of Egyptian young people demanding change drew in workers, opposition political parties, civil society groups and other forces to become a popular uprising.
The popular mobilisation we are witnessing on the streets of Egypt also has its roots in the courage and persistence of the organisations representing the workers and other progressive forces – among them the Communist Party of Egypt – who have worked for many years under very difficult conditions to rebuild the workers’ movement, weakened by successive cycles of repression and political persecution.
The Communist Party of Egypt has experienced decades of repression. Its members have suffered imprisonment and death at the hands of this regime. They have shown great courage and have succeeded in mobilising tens of thousands of workers in recent years in waves of strikes that have contributed to weakening the regime.
Egypt occupies a highly strategic position, straddling Africa and Asia, and it controls the Suez Canal, the vital shipping link for oil and other products moving between Asia and Europe and beyond.
The US and its European and Israeli allies will fight to prevent the Egyptian people controlling their nation’s military and energy policies, and what passes through the Suez Canal. The threat of military intervention hangs over the nation. Imperialism has invaded Egypt once before to maintain control of the Suez Canal.
The US has given Mubarak military aid worth US$1.3 billion per year. This has funded the largest army in the Middle East and helped maintain Mubarak in power. In addition most of the millions have gone straight back into the coffers of US corporations. The biggest winners over the last decade have been Lockheed Martin ($3.8 billion); General Dynamics ($2.5 billion); Boeing ($1.7 billion); Raytheon ($750 million); and GE ($750 million).
The ultra-conservative Fox TV raised the spectre of Islamic fundamentalism, reporting: “If Mubarak falls, the United States and its other principal ally in the Middle East, Israel, could have to face a government of the Muslim Brothers in Cairo, and a turn towards anti-western sentiment in the North African country.” But this is not an Islamic-led movement.
The Obama administration has had to abandon Mubarak and find alternative ways of propping up its strategic interests.
While the US has supported Mubarak over the last 30 years, US foundations have quietly supported sections of the political opposition. This “political leveraging” or “manufacturing dissent” is an old tactic of imperialism.
Posing as defenders of “democracy” and the “right of peaceful dissent” and promoting an “orderly transition”, the US is trying to control the popular movement and achieve cosmetic changes to preserve the interests of monopoly capital and imperialism.
The national government is the target of the protest movement. The slogan is Mubarak must go. There have been no reports of anti-American chants or slogans.
However, to win its aims the people’s movement will have to deepen, targeting not only the puppet but also the US puppet master.
US imperialism and its allies are desperately concerned that the Egyptian national democratic and anti-imperialist revolution will succeed and spread to other parts of the Arab world, threatening other client regimes and undermining US-Israeli hegemony in the region.
What is happening in Egypt is already affecting Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco as well as other states. The balance of forces, the political map is changing in a process which may be diverted or delayed but cannot be stopped.
A new Egyptian government could break the blockade of Gaza.
The events sweeping Egypt in recent days, as well as the heroic uprising of the Tunisian people show that the days of the oppressive Arab regimes are numbered and that the will of the people for democracy, freedom and a decent life cannot be denied.
The Egyptian uprising demonstrates the power and the potential of the people .to bring about real change. The masses make history.
Current events in Egypt and across the Arab world challenge the domination of the US dictatorship of capital, they challenge its murderous wars of economic, political and cultural domination, and they challenge the oppression and destruction of the Palestinian people.
Regardless of the immediate outcome, the mass uprising in Egypt marks a turning point not only for Egypt, but for the Middle East and surrounding countries, and for US foreign policy. Imperialism and the reactionary, Zionist state of Israel have a lot to lose.
In condemnation of the regime of torture and execution – Statement in solidarity with Iranian workers
Iranian people continue to protest against the Islamic Republic – a dictatorial and repressive regime, a regime, which in thirty two years of its rule has not respected the basic rights of the people of Iran while responding to any protest with bullets, torture, executions and imprisonment.
To cover up the massive financial pressure imposed on ordinary people by eliminating subsidies on a number of essential goods and services, the regime continues with arrests, torture, prolonged imprisonment and ever more executions of the young generation of this land either political or non-political. According to official statistics, more than 50 human lives have perished last month at the hands of death squads.
The Iranian people rejected the whole Islamic regime many years ago. Thirty two years of Islamic rule in Iran has proved that various factions of this regime are anti-people and undemocratic, and have the blood of freedom and justice seeking people on their hands. The Islamic Republic cannot and will not attempt to make any reform either.
Indeed, it continues with the exploitation of working people, and violation of human rights and repression of any demands for democratic freedom and social justice, a rejection justified under “national security”. This repressive and inhumane policy is taking place at the same time that the regime has ratified and is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. However, the year 2010 has seen numerous political prisoners executed on false charges without having access to a lawyer or a fair trail.
Five Kurdish political and human rights activists were executed on May 9, 2010 followed by further death penalties.
Tens of thousands of intellectuals, workers, student and women activists and even ethnic and religions minorities died in Iran during 1980 to 1988 as a result of mass execution and torture. The following years have seen continued human rights violations, discriminatory laws and daily arrest, detention, torture and execution including Afghan residents. The Iranian people want to build a new and better world, a decent life in which the people are not oppressed and humiliated on the basis of gender, ethnic and religious differences and preferences. It is impossible to achieve these under this medieval regime.
The workers, students, lawyers, journalists, teachers, women and all other freedom seeking people are systematically harassed, abused, arrested and jailed, or freed later on heavy bails. One recent example is the lawyer and activist Nasreen Sotoudeh who is detained and sentenced to an 11 years prison term and 20 years exclusion from her job for exercising her rights as a lawyer and campaigner for freedom of speech.
According to a recent statement released by the Amnesty International:
“Lawyers have been the latest victims of this ongoing clampdown on human rights defenders and activists. In addition to Nasrin Sotoudeh, Mohammad Olyaeifard, a lawyer and board member of the Committee for the Defence of Political Prisoners in Iran, a human rights organisation, is currently serving a one-year prison sentence for speaking out about the execution of one of his clients, a juvenile offender. The UN High Commissioner urged the Iranian authorities to review her case urgently and expedite her release.”
In Iran today, the ever more political and class polarizations reflect both the intensifying of the social and economic contradictions and crisis, and also the dilemma of the Islamic Republic regime and various factions of the capitalist class over economic and political power and influence at domestic and international level.
However, on the one side are the ruling powers, and on the other the masses of people who are coming together to fight for their democratic rights and fundamental changes in political and social conditions.
They have risen up and are challenging the armed Islamic regime and its reactionary policies and violation of human rights such as torture, capital punishment (including children), stoning of women and attacking independent unions and associations and more. Our people are determined to overthrow this regime and thus to bring about a bright future, freedom, democracy and socialism.
We call on the world’s progressive forces and working people to express their opposition and protest and to not let this murderous regime commit further crimes. The Solidarity Committee with Iranian Workers’ Movement-Australia condemns the death penalty and any form of torture, and demands the perpetrators of violent crimes committed against people including the 2009 post-election political protesters in Iran be brought to justice. All political prisoners and activists of labour movement must be released immediately and unconditionally. The Islamic regime must end repression, and abolish torture and execution.
Execution and torture must be abolished!
Political prisoners must be released!
Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran!
The CPA demands the release of political prisoners in Iran immediately and unconditionally.
Solidarity Committee with Iranian Workers’ Movement-Australia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement on the Queensland floods
On behalf of the Communist Party of Australia I wish to express our deepest sympathy for those who have lost family members and friends in the flood crisis in Queensland. We also feel for those made homeless and all those who must live with uncertainty about the future. Our own Party members have not been spared this hardship.
We have been inspired by the solidarity and collective spirit shown by the people of Queensland and the generosity of the rest of the country during this emergency.
Our Party believes that the severity of the weather events in Australia and around the world at present, which have left loss and destruction in Australia, Brazil, Colombia, and elsewhere are related to the neglect of the environment by the social and economic system that dominates the globe.
The floods in Queensland strengthen the need for a strong public sector, a health system capable of providing mental and health care to the people of Australia.
We must strengthen our efforts to bring about a society based on social justice and respect for the natural environment.
Yours in solidarity,