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Issue #1945      14th December, 2020



It can hardly be argued that 2020 doesn’t rank among the top three most definitive years of this young millennium to date (2001 with 9/11, 2008 with the GFC, being notable inclusions).

2020 saw a global pandemic, the likes of which the world has not witnessed for a century. In the West, a response to COVID-19 was delayed, and resistance to an aggressive approach followed, due to potential economic repercussions. Ironically, this tactic resulted in creating a severe financial crisis not seen since the Great Depression.

In this regard, the Morrison government was even more irresponsible. Having seen the effect of the virus in our region, and the devastating impact it had in parts of Europe, the federal government initially failed to prepare the country for when the virus eventually arrived at our shores. The Morrison government, which was hoping to bring back a budget surplus, was forced to begrudgingly implement one of the largest subsidy and social insurance programs this country has seen (Jobkeeper, Jobseeker, etc.). Hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs, but Australia has so far been spared the fate of much of the rest of the world.

As a result of the economic instability, class struggle has only intensified. While the Ensuring Integrity Bill was “taken off the table,” the government’s war on trade unions continues. The raid on CFMMEU offices in Sydney and Attorney-General Christian Porter’s union “demerger bill” serve as two recent, notable examples. Not only the government, but major corporations have been exploiting and ramping up the fight against workers. We saw Qantas rob workers of overtime and penalty rates with Coles and Woolworths fighting back against pay increases and redundancy packages despite record-breaking profits.

COVID-19 wasn’t the only defining feature of 2020. Black Lives Matter (BLM) also played a prominent role, intensifying the struggle of Aboriginal people in Australia. Major rallies were held across the country at the beginning of the year, and many more followed. These actions touched a multitude of issues faced by the Aboriginal community since colonisation such as Bla(c)k deaths in custody and land rights. For many, it was their first exposure to this injustice.

Internationally, Australia has been put under the spotlight for its war crimes in Afghanistan, with the lack of response troubling many. The exposure of the war crimes also further concretises Australia’s reputation as a lapdog for US imperialism. On that front, during Trump’s presidency (which symbolically ended this year, marking one of 2020’s few good moments) Prime Minister Scott Morrison has acted as President Trump’s hatchet man in the Asia-Pacific region. Morrison’s rhetoric on China, calling for an international investigation into the source of COVID-19 and that country’s handling of it, is nothing but Morrison haphazardly following America’s lead in this new Cold War. With Trump out of the White House next January, Biden claims he will better handle relations with China and recommit to action (whatever that may be) on climate change, leaving Australia ideologically isolated on this front.

Relations between Australia and China haven’t been this cold in decades, and our government’s continued provocation of China is dooming our economy as China looks elsewhere for imports.

While 2020 may seem like a year with many dark moments, it has presented the Left with many opportunities to challenge and organise against capitalism. These strong tensions that have emerged have allowed the Party to grow, as more people have become conscious of the class struggle. The crises will undoubtedly become sharper into 2021, and the Party needs to take advantage of this so that it can be in the vanguard when revolution rings.

Next article – Australia's shameful deflection

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