Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The death of the Australian car manufacturing industry

Ford, Holden, Toyota. 

In the space of the last year, all of these foreign owned car manufacturers have announced their intention to cease manufacturing on Australian soil. 

Blind Freddy could have seen this coming from a mile away, even if the subsidies that have supposedly been keeping these jobs in Australia for the last couple of decades were put on the table again, there is a fair chance all three companies could have decided to leave anyhow.

On that note, it is an opportune time to reflect on the massive amount of material support these companies have gleaned off the Australian people over the years. Massive amounts of taxpayer subsidies have been pumped into these foreign auto conglomerates over the years, reaching a critical mass over the last ten years. All three of these companies were given huge tracts of land to build their factories on. 

The key thing to note here is that ever since cars have been manufactured on a large scale in Australia, beginning with the Chifley/General Motors agreement of the late 1940s, a system has been developed in which the losses of the industry and a huge lump of the costs have been burdened by the Australian people, whilst the profits have flowed overseas. 

The demise of the car industry presents a fork in the road and also a glimmering opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and build a cornerstone for an independent future. Those massive tracts of land granted to Ford, GM and Toyota and the equipment within it? Let's nationalise it all. We paid for it, let's take it back. Let's retool them to manufacture the things we need, low emission cars, new trains and trams and the like.

The workers that currently look like they're going to tossed out on their arse by the foreign capitalists would retain their jobs, as well as thousands more being created. We'd be able to define the future of transport in this country, by building the things we need desperately, not simply building what some fat cat in Detroit thinks will stuff his back pocket. Most tellingly, any profit made would not only stay in the country, but be further re invested into creating a better Australia for us all.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The so called 'boat people'

Let us make no mistake about this, neither of the major parliamentary parties have an interest in a humane settlement to what is termed the 'asylum seeker crisis'. 

The so-called crisis is a crisis that the ruling class has invented. Post World War Two, Australia had no issues taking asylum seekers from places like Greece and Italy. Imagine our land without the great influence the Greek and Italian communities have had on our culture. Post the Vietnam War, we had no trouble whatsoever accepting a huge number of Vietnamese who arrived, shock horror, on what would now be termed boats run by people smugglers. Again, without Vietnamese influence, our society and culture would be a whole lot less rich.

So why, over the last twenty years, have refugees arriving by boat been generated as such a huge issue by the ruling class and their servile media? The issue has been identified by the imperialist ruling class as a key issue with which to both divide the working class and divert patriotic sentiment amongst the people into plain racism. There is a sense among the working class that their interests are placed firmly behind those of an overseas force, but the non-stop blanket coverage stating the 'boat people' are out to ruin our way of life has place a tiny number of disadvantaged people as a human shield in front of the real target, US imperialism.

The classic divide and conquer strategy used seeks to drive a wedge between sections of the working class based on factors such as ethnicity and religion. The current strategy centred around hatred of 'boat people' also seeks to sow divisions between those who are determined to have immigrated 'legitimately' and those who are determined to have arrived 'illegally'. There is no such thing as illegally seeking a better life. The proud Australian tradition begun at Eureka establishes the idea of Australia as a haven of the oppressed, from all parts of the world, of all different colours, speaking many different languages.

Our task as communists is to shatter the illusions spread by the imperialists amongst working class and seek to aid the establishment of working class unity against the real enemy; US imperialism.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Youth and Imperialism

It is clear that the young people of Australia have much to be mad about. The continual decimation of public education and TAFE, the fact that 'public' transport resides in private hands, private hands that charge ridiculous fees and the never ending steep incline of university fees to name a few.

But what can be done? Disillusionment with the two establishment bourgeois parties is through the roof. Young people know that these parties are nothing but puppets of interests that couldn't be further from their own. Unfortunately, however, these parties have succeeded in establishing a monopoly over the word and concept of 'politics'. The majority of young people have no interest in politics, as they see the talking shop of parliament as the be all and end all of politics. That there is no way out of their predicament, that it simply needs to be put up with. The small minority who do decide to tackle the issue either join the Greens, where they tend to find themselves railroaded in the same direction as the Libs and Labor, or alternatively join a Trotskyist party, where ineffectual sloganeering and rampant 'left blocism' lead to a quick burnout.

A bright start has been made in Melbourne by a campaign calling itself 'FightBack!', it is nominally led by the Trotskyist 'Socialist Party of Australia', which is attracting young people by offering simple explanations on aforementioned issues. For now, the SP isn't putting it's branding on 'FightBack' material and it will be interesting to see where that goes.

But such a campaign can only go so far, without the understanding and application of the mass line and mass work. The lack of linkage of issues to US imperialism is also a real barrier to understanding and providing solutions to these problems. Solutions to problems such as these that pit young students and workers in direct contradiction with imperialism and capitalism can only be found when a genuine people's front guided by young Marxist-Leninists applying the mass line and diligently engaging in mass work gets up running. Only then, when the realisation that the primary contradiction that affects the lives of young people is that between them and imperialism is reached, can solutions be found.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New blog for 'Vanguard'

Vanguard has launched a new blog, to provide another medium to circulate articles and ideas. Visit it at

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Good Speech

This is a great speech made by Dave Kerin from Enough! last month about offshoring, sham contracting and the detrimental effects privatization have had on jobs and services in Australia, all for the benefit of the bourgeois class and the imperialists.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

QLD Election

On the face of things, the results from the Queensland state election on Saturday were nothing short of remarkable. The previously ruling Labor party were decimated, left with 7 seats in an 89 seat parliament, down from a total of 51 at the previous election. The conservative Liberal National Party picked up an unprecedented 78 seats, catapulting Campbell Newman into the premiership.

 The Labor Party had blown itself into oblivion shortly after the last election, announcing the privatization of vital state assets, most notably Queensland Rail. This left them completely and utterly indistinguishable from the LNP, and waiting for the eventual beating at the election. It was an interesting election for more reasons than one, foremost being the demonstration of the absolute bankruptcy of the ALP as a working class party, and subsequent punishment. Secondly, the fact that the majority of metropolitan working-class voters punished the ALP by voting LNP, demonstrates the stark disenfranchisement of the Australian working class. By the virtue of the LNP machine now having total dominance over the resource rich Queensland state, and the ALP having done their privatising dirty work for them, Queensland is now primed for even further imperialist penetration and domination. It would be unreasonable to expect the ALP to oppose this, which brings us to the next point of interest from the election.

Bob Katter's Australian Party managed 11% of the vote and took 2 seats in the parliament. While Katter and his party may hold some reactionary social positions, it stands in stark opposition to the neo-liberal agenda promoted by the ALP and the LNP. Their two MPs stand to be the real opposition within the Queensland parliament. It stands to oppose further imperialist penetration of the Australian economy, seeks to halt privatization and renationalise privatised assets and develop jobs and a sustainable economy through the development of a state-owned biofuel producing area in the canefields of Queensland. Significantly, Katter was the only MP apart from Adam Bandt to support the complete removal of political police targeting building workers. It is hard to agree with them on some points, but their success represents a genuine anti-imperialist sentiment amongst the electorate, and we must aim to work with this, educate and take this sentiment to a whole new level.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


When Hawke and Keating began to tell us about the wonderful opportunities that globalisation and economic
liberalisation would give us, one of the main selling points was the promise that we would become ‘the clever
country’ or ‘the knowledge nation’.That their economic programme would provide future generations with plentiful educational and training opportunities that would lead to equally plentiful highly skilled jobs. The way that the last twenty five years have unfolded has proven this to be a lie. Not only have our manufacturing and other kindred industries been stripped bare and our farmers sold out, but the very jobs we and our children were promised, the ‘clever country’ jobs, are now being cut.

Telstra recently announced that it is axing 255 highly skilled ‘clever country’ jobs and outsourcing them
to India. Adding insult to injury, the last act of these workers as Telstra employees would be to train the
new workforce. These sackings were seen as emblematic of the lies that we have been told about economic
liberalisation. In response to the wave of outrageous sackings, a community campaign called Enough! has been launched in defence of workers’ jobs, against casualisation, and to halt the march of privatisation and off-shoring of jobs.

A rally was held outside the Telstra building on Collins Street on the 25th of January. The lobby of the building was occupied by 25 union members and supporters relaying their position to the public and handing out leaflets in order to gain publicity before a two week vigil in Collins Square starting on the 6th of February.
The vigil was an unprecedented success, with the Enough! message receiving a great response from workers
who would normally not be exposed to such explanations of our current crisis.

The causes of the job losses at Telstra were linked to the 1000 jobs being cut at ANZ (right next door), and the 600 jobs in danger at Alcoa, amongst many other dire forecasts. Significantly, the problems being discussed were presented as a matter of national sovereignty and the need for Australians to have a much greater say in the way the country is run, rather than the current sham democracy we have in which many of the critical decisions are made in overseas boardrooms.

The only opposition to the campaign, tellingly, came from a small group within the left itself. These ‘super-
revolutionary’ groups commented that this was a campaign built on petit-bourgeois nationalism, and playing
to xenophobic sentiments. Such ideas are completely detached from reality, and the experiences on the ground during this part of the campaign proved that. Gradually the working people of Australia are learning that the issues that Enough! is raising are due to a complete lack of national sovereignty, and that there is no way these decisions are in the interests of the people. This was something that came across in conversations with working people during the two week vigil.

A further rally was organised outside the Telstra shop in the city on the 17th of February with speakers from
the CEPU and Enough! as well as Greens MP, Adam Bandt. The most heartening thing about the rally was the amount of Telstra and ANZ workers who found out about the rally during the earlier vigil and came along to make a stand. Different proposals for action were presented at the rally. There was strong support for taking the campaign to work places and communities where working people face the attacks on jobs and their livelihoods by the multi-nationals and imperialism. It is a material fact that most parliamentarians are lackeys of the imperialists and their agents in Australia. Parliament is there to administer imperialist rule in Australia. That’s why it will not look after the true interests of the people. Building a mass campaign on the ground is primary.

It was stated by Enough! that they would continue to build a movement to achieve greater sovereignty, greater
rights and a fairer, more democratic society for Australian workers, thus attempting to channel the voices of the voiceless. In the face of ever growing attacks on the working class by imperialism, emboldened by every job they manage to slash, every condition they cut and every promise they are allowed to renege on, the need for initiatives like this and the building of a stronger people’s movement just continues to grow.