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Australasian Spartacist No. 190

Autumn 2005

Australian Military Get Out of Aceh Now!
Indonesian Troops Out!

Australian Imperialists Seize On Tsunami Catastrophe

Science in Service of Humanity Could Have Saved Thousands

The massive tsunami that crashed onto the shores of eleven South Asian and African countries on 26 December last year has left hundreds of thousands dead, and millions without housing, food, water and employment. The scope of the devastation and the terror delivered on the peoples affected is hard to comprehend. Now disease and starvation haunt the traumatised survivors seeking to reconstruct shattered lives, which overwhelmingly were already defined by poverty and oppression. As pointed out by our comrades in the U.S., in Workers Vanguard No. 839, 7 January 2005, “The mind numbing death toll, and the deaths yet to be counted, are the result of disaster magnified by class inequalities and the subordination of science to capitalist rule.” Indeed, in a society where science is wielded in the service of all humanity—instead of for the profits of a tiny class of exploiters—tens, if not hundreds, of thousands could have been saved.

Following the tsunami, there was an immediate and generous outpouring of monetary and other aid by trade unionists and individuals across Australia. Geelong oil refinery workers voted to increase their union’s initial proposal of ten thousand dollars for the victims of the disaster to one hundred thousand dollars. These are real expressions of solidarity by the working class for its sisters and brothers in South Asia and fly in the face of the deep-going white racism of this backward and insular society.

However, the various imperialist powers seized on the disaster to position their blood-soaked militaries in the affected regions under the pretext of providing “aid.” The U.S. despatched planes and helicopters and 20 U.S. warships, along with 13,000 military personnel to the Indian Ocean. The USS Abraham Lincoln and Seahawk helicopters were ostentatiously positioned off the coast of Aceh. Meanwhile Japan also rushed 1,000 troops to the area. The Australian imperialists, for their part, stationed the warship Kanimbla, C-130 Hercules aircraft, helicopters, landing craft and up to 900 military personnel in and off the coast of Aceh.

The capitalist media have been broadcasting images of Australian soldiers in Aceh doing some work apparently to provide clean water supplies. The “Aussie” military is being portrayed as saviours of the dark-skinned Asian masses. Don’t buy a word of this! This is the same military that three years ago was kidnapping Afghan, Near Eastern and South Asian asylum seekers on the high seas and dumping them on the remote Pacific island of Nauru. This is the military that has been used in the past to smash workers strikes (the coal miners in 1949, the airline pilots in 1989 who struck against the Labor government’s pro-business “Accord”) and which will be used in the future when struggles of workers and the oppressed threaten bourgeois class rule. This is the military whose white soldiers from the elite 1RAR Townsville regiment were photographed in 2000 dressed as fascist Ku Klux Klansmen humiliating non-white soldiers. This is also the military that is today taking part in the murderous U.S.-led colonial occupation of Iraq including, as described by Australian defence intelligence scientist, Dr. Rod Barton, directly carrying out brutal interrogations of Iraqis.

To fully comprehend the motives behind the military expedition to Indonesia one needs to understand imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism and how that plays out in this region. As explained by Russian revolutionary leader, V.I. Lenin, this system is one in which the ruling classes of the richest capitalist countries are compelled, through their very inner workings and thirst for profits, into an unrelenting drive for new markets, ever-greater natural resources and sources of cheap labour in the neocolonial countries. The various imperialist bourgeoisies enforce this neocolonial looting abroad and exploitation of the working class at home, and protect their own spheres of exploitation from rival powers, through the deadly coercive power of their state apparatus. The military, alongside the police, courts and prisons, is at the core of this capitalist state, which is constantly being strengthened.

While much weaker than their counterparts in the U.S., Japan or Germany, the Australian ruling class is a wealthy imperialist bourgeoisie in its own right. Alongside defending strategic geo-political interests, its post-tsunami intervention into Indonesia has much to do with protecting and expanding the vast profits that Australian companies such as BHP-Billiton, Leighton Holdings, Clough Engineering have gouged from the superexploited masses across the archipelago. Following the 1997 economic collapse and the criminal Bali bombing in October 2002 Australian companies have divested billions of dollars from the Southeast Asian region, particularly Indonesia. Now with a surge of aggressive militarism, the Australian capitalist rulers are intent on establishing a more “secure” and “stable” environment for revitalising and broadening economic plunder in the region under the pretext of the “war on terror.”

Capturing the true motivation behind the Australian rulers’ intervention in Aceh, a 3 January Australian editorial baldly stated, “A disaster recovery effort in Indonesia that runs for months and years to come will benefit our commercial cause and strengthen regional commitments to co-operate with us in the war on terror by demonstrating to all of Southeast Asia that Australia is not just a polite neighbour but a friend that sticks by its mates.” This is also the real purpose of the $1 billion in Australian government “aid” to Indonesia, which was announced with much self-congratulation in early January. The money will be controlled by Australia through a partnership with the blood-drenched Indonesian regime and the “lion’s share” devoted to assist Australian and New Zealand companies to gain a foothold in Aceh.

The entire Australian ruling class, and its Labor Party (ALP) lackeys, are ecstatic over the intervention into Indonesia. Australia’s increasing militarism in the region had been widely viewed in Asia with deep suspicion. In the months before the tsunami struck, even the pro-imperialist leaders of the semicolonial countries in ASEAN protested the Howard government’s repeated assertion of Australia’s “right” to military strikes into Asian countries without their permission. Now, however, Australian troops have been stationed in the most populous country in Southeast Asia without overt opposition and with the support of that country’s president. Even if this particular expedition ends up being temporary, it has set a precedent for future military adventures into Indonesia and other large Asian countries.

The expansion of Australian military and police in Southeast Asia is a deadly threat to the region’s toiling masses. It was the Australian Secret Intelligence Service stationed in Jakarta, that in collaboration with the CIA, helped orchestrate the 1965-66 anti-Communist bloodbath in Indonesia. This led to as many as one million workers, rural toilers and ethnic Chinese being killed by the Indonesian military and reactionary Islamic mobs. We say: Australian/all imperialist military/cops get out of Aceh now! Not one person, not one cent for the Australian imperialist military!

Today the various imperialist ruling classes are using the “war on terror” to impose their imperialist diktats on the region. The history of imperialist military adventures in Asia has been one of bloody campaigns to suppress struggles against neocolonial subjugation and capitalist rule. The U.S. and Australian imperialists killed millions of workers and peasants in their murderous counterrevolutionary wars in Korea and Vietnam. Today, they seek to use various combinations of military pressure and economic penetration to try and reverse the anti-capitalist revolutions that triumphed in China, North Korea and Vietnam. They have seized on the tsunami catastrophe to brandish their military hardware in a part of the world not too distant from these deformed workers states. Meanwhile, Japan and the U.S. have recently been working in tandem to provocatively restrict the Chinese navy’s access to the Pacific Ocean through the network of islands off China’s eastern seaboard. For the unconditional military defence of the Chinese, North Korean and Vietnamese deformed workers states against imperialist attack and internal counterrevolution! In the face of renewed imperialist hostility in response to North Korea’s announcement that they hold nuclear weapons, we assert again our stand for the right of North Korea and China to hold such weapons to defend themselves.

For Class-Struggle Opposition to Australian Imperialism!

Australia and the other imperialist powers have relished the chance to try out military techniques in Aceh. They are also gaining practice in establishing the kind of support infrastructure that would inevitably accompany future colonial expeditions. What this has meant is that while tsunami victims face death from hunger, lack of water and poor sanitation, purported disaster “relief” has often been inappropriate. The Indonesian minister coordinating the relief effort in Banda Aceh, Alwi Shihab, revealed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had asked Germany to turn around a hospital ship because it was not needed. “We don’t want them to come over from a far distance just to have a very limited number of patients … [but] they insisted on coming,” he said. “I said no, but they are tourists, too, they want to see, so I said ‘let them come.’” The exasperated coordinator of WHO in Aceh, Professor Ronald Waldman declared, “When I think medical, I think public health, I think food, water, sanitation—primary health-care services. The aid tends to come in an inverted fashion; hospital assets come in before what we really need….”

Indeed, it is clear that the scale of the loss of life on 26 December itself was largely a product of capitalist neglect and contempt for the subjugated masses of the neocolonial countries. So, while wealthy countries like Japan and the U.S. along the Pacific “ring of fire” can get early warnings from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) headquartered in Hawaii, and utilise other advanced technologies to alert seashore populations, no such systems were in place for the poor and oppressed countries of South Asia.

Even though the Indian Ocean is officially outside the domain of the PTWC, scientists there recognised the threat and reportedly sent an early alert to 26 countries, including Thailand and Indonesia. Yet as scientists scrambled to alert the world, government officials, including in Australia did next to nothing. Scientists on the Cocos Islands, 600 kilometres from Sumatra, alerted Australian emergency planners of the tsunami but, it is claimed, “key officials within Indian Ocean nations could not be reached” (Belfast Telegraph, 28 December 2004). This is simply not believable. Rather, the way in which the relative value of human life and property is calculated by the American and Australian imperialists is seen by the fact that the huge U.S. military base on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, which prior to the imperialist occupation of Iraq was the main U.S. launching pad for death and destruction in both Iraq and Afghanistan, was given plenty of warning! (See article on page 3.) And while the U.S., supported by Australia, spends U.S.$228 million every day bombing Iraq and terrorising its population, the installation of a basic tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean could be had for a paltry U.S.$20 million.

Once the tsunami did strike without warning, the scale of the ensuing disaster was magnified by the immense poverty of South Asia where in order to eke out an existence supplemented by the sea, millions subsist in ramshackle housing bereft of the most basic necessities let alone technologies. Rudimentary social infrastructure, inadequate access to medical care, poor transport facilities and often sparse supplies of running water all compounded the catastrophe for those who initially survived the wave’s impact. This poverty is the direct product of the imperialist looting of South Asia—from the brutal exploitation of labour, to the plunder of raw materials, to blood-sucking debt peonage. In 2003 alone, the eleven countries hit by the tsunami repaid a total of 68 billion dollars to foreign creditors in debt repayments, more than eleven times what they had been promised in aid as of 18 January!

It is then truly nauseating to now see the racist Australian prime minister (John Howard), government and capitalist state—fresh from vindictively deporting the Bakhtiyaris, a family of Afghan refugees—portray themselves as the oh-so-generous friends of the South Asian tsunami victims. Meanwhile, a blitz by the capitalist media has sought to channel the outpouring of generosity by working people into chauvinist ideas of moral superiority over other nations.

This celebration of the Australian nation and state seeks to obscure the truth that capitalist Australia was founded on the bloody wars of dispossession against the Aboriginal people, which resulted in some 20,000 Aborigines being massacred by white settlers and the early colonial military; that capitalist Australia was founded on an official policy of White Australia anti-Asian racism. Instead, the masses are to be proud of the “spirit” and “values” of capitalist White Australia and its military, all the better to be lined up by the ruling class to support its future colonial expeditions. Meanwhile, workers are meant to accept the government’s concerted union-busting attacks, including the draconian legislation planned to be introduced in July, because that is in the “great” country’s “national interests.”

Against such poisonous nationalism, we revolutionaries fight to advance the understanding that proletarian solidarity with the South Asian masses requires opposition to the imperialist depredations conducted by the Australian ruling class. Imperialist exploitation not only causes terrible suffering in the neocolonial countries, it also strengthens the capitalist ruling class against the working class at home. So while the Leighton Holdings bosses are today salivating at the prospect of expanding their profits in Indonesia, Leighton subsidiaries Thiess and John Holland have tried to weaken workers’ conditions at Melbourne’s Mitcham-Frankston tollway construction project. On 16 February, Victorian members of the Construction, Foresty, Mining and Energy Union struck a range of Leighton’s Thiess and John Holland sites. What is needed is to combine the fight against the escalating union-busting at home with a struggle against imperialist subjugation abroad.

In this we look to the better traditions of the workers movement in this country when it engaged in powerful acts of struggle on behalf of the oppressed peoples. For instance at the end of World War II Australian waterfront workers, many of them pro-Communist, refused to load or service Dutch ships in aid of Indonesian Seamen’s Union actions against Dutch attempts to reconquer their former colony. These actions spread from one country to the next leading to an international working-class campaign that paralysed Dutch shipping and ultimately helped secure political independence for Indonesia from colonial rule.

In the current political climate of all-sided social reaction, many workers and youth are furious at the increasingly racist, militarist and repressive nature of this society. Two years ago there were enormous protests on the streets, including significant union contingents, in opposition to the war on Iraq. In recent anti-war rallies, protesters have carried slogans and worn badges and T-shirts protesting Australia’s theft of East Timor’s oil. We say: U.S./Australia out of Iraq! Down with Australian imperialism’s plunder of East Timor’s oil/gas! Australian military/cops out of Aceh, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands!

But the fight for class-struggle opposition to Australian imperialism runs smack up against the pro-capitalist Laborite parliamentary and union misleaders of the workers movement. Prostrate in the face of the bosses’ renewed union-busting offensive, the nationalist union bureaucrats preach the lie that workers will benefit from the success of Australian companies and promote loyalty to the murderous Australian military. Two years ago when the bombs began to rain on Baghdad, the union tops reneged on their earlier promises of significant industrial action in the event of a military attack on Iraq, arguing they would not want to disadvantage “our troops.” Today the bureaucracy’s ALP mates in parliament have responded to Howard’s announcement of 450 extra troops to Iraq by calling for the troops to be used in this region instead! Indeed, in late 1999, it was the Laborite union tops that were at the forefront of the pro-imperialist rallies calling for Australian “Troops In Now!” to “Save East Timor,” which led to Australia’s neocolonial occupation and theft of oil and gas.

What is needed is a political struggle to break the working-class base of the Labor Party from its pro-imperialist tops in the fight to build a revolutionary workers party. Such a party would infuse the working class with a staunch internationalism and with hatred for bourgeois militarism. It would be committed to the greatest act of solidarity possible with the toiling masses of this region: the sweeping from power of the rapacious White Australia imperialists through socialist revolution.

Neocolonialism and Imperialist Economic “Aid”

The resource-rich Aceh province has today particular importance for the competing imperialist powers. Aceh flanks the strategically important Malacca Strait through which much of Japan’s oil from the Near East is shipped, and through which much of Asia’s exports to Europe must move. Aceh has seen a decades-long struggle by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) for independence from the Javanese-centred Indonesian ruling class. The Indonesian government’s brutal war against the oppressed Acehnese people has been accompanied by systematic torture and rape and led to up to 10,000 deaths there since 1998 alone. Australia has backed the Indonesian military’s (TNI) renewed offensive against the GAM from the time it began almost two years ago. Today the U.S. and Australian rulers hope that the ostentatious presence of imperialist troops, their control of basic supplies to the desperate Acehnese people and the enormous disruption caused by the tsunami will enable them to oversee the end of the GAM insurgency. They want a “stable” Indonesia to maintain a smooth flow of profits such as those extracted from the huge Exxon-Mobil oil and gas operation in Aceh itself. They believe this goal is best served by maintaining a unified Indonesia.

But the imperialists can potentially countenance a range of tactical options to ensure their interests. For example, for 24 years Australia strongly backed, both militarily and politically, Indonesia’s blood-soaked occupation of East Timor. Then, in 1999, concerned that Indonesia’s apparent inability to maintain its grip on East Timor would destabilise Indonesia itself and with an eye on the massive oil wealth at stake, Australia, with the backing of the U.S. and the UN, staged a direct colonial takeover of East Timor. Since its formal independence, they have brutally enforced a neocolonial order in which the East Timorese people remain the poorest in Asia, many literally starving, while the Australian government and Australian mining giants, BHP and Woodside Petroleum, steal billions from East Timor’s Laminaria-Corallina oil and gas field.

In general, the imperialists prefer to have the bourgeoisie of the neocolonial country enforce their imperialist plunder. A major goal of Australia’s intervention in Aceh is to cement closer ties with the TNI and other Indonesian state forces. A recent example of how these forces function to protect imperialist profit making is seen in the Indonesian operations of Melbourne-based Newcrest mining giant. Part of the $122.9 million in profits raked in by Newcrest in 2003-2004 was extracted from the Toguraci mine on the remote Indonesian island of Halmahera in North Maluku. There, Newcrest have employed TNI and the notorious Indonesian Mobile Brigade (Brimob) paramilitary thugs against indigenous people protesting the rape of their land. In early January 2004, Brimob forces gunned down at least two protesters.

Having the blood-drenched neocolonial regimes in Southeast Asia do their dirty work is cheaper for the imperialists and ties up less of their own troops than direct imperialist occupation. Most importantly, they hope it will provoke less opposition from peoples who remember with hatred the horrors of colonialism. And this is where the whole question of imperialist government “aid” comes in. Foreign aid is specifically directed by the rich countries to prop up the local colonial regimes (including by arming and training its military forces), to buy off military and civilian officials and politicians, and to open up markets to its own companies at the expense of rival powers.

This is borne out by even a cursory review of Australian government aid disbursements. Even the government’s own “Summary of Australia’s International Development Cooperation 2004-05” states that the aid is aimed at “advancing Australia’s national interest,” which in this class-divided society always means the interest of the capitalist ruling class. The $500 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA) assigned by the Australian government to East Asia is aimed at assisting in “promoting stability and security” in Indonesia, including improving “Australia’s counter-terrorism capacity building initiative for Indonesian police,” and strengthening the capacity to “combat terrorism” in the Philippines! What the latter means is murderous repression of workers, peasants and the Moro minority in the south. Last November, the Philippine police and army strafed striking Hacienda Luisita sugar workers and their families, leaving seven dead and hundreds wounded.

So while whatever potable water, food, housing and other material aid that the suffering victims of the tsunami can get is welcome, we warn that any economic aid program from the racist Australian government must be treated with deep suspicion. This includes the much ballyhooed $1 billion package for Indonesia, which in any case is a pittance compared with the massive profits Australian companies have extracted from the Indonesian archipelago.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) provides a good example of how imperialist “aid” works. The Australian ruling class is well aware that its plunder of mineral-rich PNG has bred much resentment against it and its puppet regime. Fully one third of the ODA budget for 2004-2005 is directed to “increased support for basic policing, including in PNG, the Pacific and East Timor” (Australian Government AusAID website). The PNG police have been more than repaying these aid “investments.” In late June 2001, they murdered at least six people participating in protests by students and workers in opposition to Australian imperialist interests in PNG, and IMF and World Bank-directed privatisations and cutbacks. Now alongside their cops and military in the Solomons, Australia has more than 200 police on the ground in Papua New Guinea to more directly aid in enforcing “stability” in their main historic neocolony.

Historically, a big aspect of imperialist foreign aid programs has been to “roll back” communism. The most famous economic aid package in history was the U.S. Marshall Plan at the end of World War II. This aimed to prop up the tottering West European bourgeoisies, who were tainted with fascism and facing a working class inspired by the Soviet Red Army’s heroic smashing of the Nazi Third Reich. Today, Australian ODA in Vietnam includes support to the “development of the private sector,” that is, to undermining the collectivised property forms. The imperialists’ goal there is to destroy the deformed workers state issuing out of the 1975 victory of the Vietnamese social revolution, which triumphed through a stunning defeat on the battlefield of the U.S. and Australian imperialists and their local puppets.

Australian Imperialism and the Reformist Left

The attitude of much of the left to Australian capitalism’s aggressive interventions in this region since the tsunami is typified by the Socialist Alliance (SA) lash-up. SA has criticised the cynicism of the Australian government aid package and directed people to donate to SEGERA, an alliance of Indonesian non-government organisations. But at the same time they have demanded “that the Australian government massively increase its aid to all the countries affected…and give it without strings attached” [our emphasis] (Green Left Weekly, 19 January).

Leaders of the main grouping within SA, the Democratic Socialist Perspective, have in the past sought to excuse such demands for Canberra to carry out some “progressive” act abroad as an attempt to wrest a concession from the ruling class through struggle, similar to demands for improved social services at home. However, in reality these two types of demands are quite different. Demands on governments at home for increased public funding for schools, hospitals, childcare etc., can serve to mobilise working-class opposition to capitalist governments and, if achieved, improve the lives of working people. As such, communists generally support such demands. But foreign “aid” programs are not concessions to class struggle granted by the imperialists but are calculated choices they make according to their predatory goals. When enacted, Australian foreign aid programs—whatever short-term benefit a part of them may provide to a small number of oppressed people—are always aimed at reinforcing neocolonial subjugation of the Third World masses.

SA’s demand for increased foreign aid “without strings attached” promotes the fraud that Australian imperialism can be pressured to act in the interest of humanity and not its own predatory interests. The logic of these views was made explicit as early as 29 December when long-time leader of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) and Socialist Alliance, Max Lane, grotesquely argued that a detachment of Australian troops deployed to serve in the occupation of Iraq should be diverted to Aceh instead!

By contrast, the reformist Socialist Party of Australia (SP), part of the ostensibly Trotskyist Committee for a Workers International, correctly warned in a recent web posting against any “confidence in capitalist aid agencies or imperialist forces or local military.” However, while SP state that “the presence of foreign imperialist troops will generate big anti-imperialist movements in the future,” they fail to call for Australian troops to get out of Aceh. Instead, their main demand is for “Democratic control of aid by committees of local people, workers and poor farmers organisations....” This demand is at best utopian: is arch-union-buster John Howard about to hand out “aid” money, which is intended to boost the profits of Australian companies, if this money is to be put in the hands of Sri Lankan or Indonesian workers organisations?

When one examines the SP slogan more closely it turns out to be worse than fatuous. Genuine Trotskyists raise slogans seeking to mobilise class-struggle opposition to imperialist intervention. As such our key slogans over Aceh and Iraq, for example, are to demand the imperialist troops get out. But by positing the idea that imperialist aid can be controlled by the masses and put to a genuinely benevolent purpose, SP undercut demands for the imperialists to get out.

In September 1999, this perspective—that somehow the imperialists can be controlled to act on behalf of the oppressed—was applied by the Socialist Party and almost the whole gamut of the reformist and centrist left in the most disgusting way when they marched in demonstrations screaming for Australian and UN troops to enter East Timor as “peacekeepers.” The SP (then known as the Militant Socialist Organisation) hailed these mobilisations, even gushing that, “If it wasn’t for the pressure of the Australian people, Canberra and ‘our’ armed forces would be once again putting the ‘national interest’ (i.e. protecting the interests of Australian bosses in Indonesia) before the massacres of the people of East Timor” (Militant, October 1999).

Now, when it is widely recognised that Australia’s role in East Timor is one of brutal neocolonial domination and theft of East Timor’s oil and gas, SP, with a great deal of chutzpah, attempt a shabby cover-up of their actions in 1999. They falsely claim that they “stood almost alone against the flag-waving of the ruling class, its media, the ALP and union leaders, and the petit bourgeois left groups like the DSP who suppported [sic] the Australian military intervention into East Timor” (Socialist Party website, 27 October 2004). It was actually the Trotskyist Spartacist League that opposed the September 1999 “Troops in Now!” mobilisations and refused to participate in them. Instead we held speakouts and forums opposing the Australian/UN intervention.

For an Internationally Planned, Collectivised Economy!

The task of rebuilding following the massive destruction wrought by the tsunami and alleviation of the poverty that magnified its human cost demands a massive program of building hospitals, schools, housing and infrastructure. But undertaking such a program itself demands freeing the impoverished South Asian countries from the yoke of imperialist exploitation and cries out for the repudiation of their foreign debt.

Yet the thoroughly corrupt and brutal rulers of the neocolonial countries are tied by a thousand strings to the imperialists, whom they rely on to protect them from the oppressed masses in their own countries. The role of these agents of imperialism can be seen in the period following the tsunami. In Aceh, under the umbrella of the imperialist military presence, the TNI have continued their butchery. Since the 26 December catastrophe alone, the TNI have slaughtered more than one hundred Acehnese, many of them civilians while at the same time thieving, skimming off and selling goods and food donated for relief. Now there are ominous reports that Acehnese villagers are being forced into large relocation camps controlled by the TNI. This is designed to prevent any aid being passed on to GAM, further isolate the GAM fighters and strengthen the control of the TNI over a desperate population. We say: Indonesian troops out of Aceh! Down with Australia’s arming and training of the TNI butchers!

In Sri Lanka meanwhile, the Sinhala-chauvinist bourgeois government has stepped up its provocations against the oppressed Tamil minority. The military have been blocking aid to, and invading, welfare camps in areas controlled by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the island’s north and northeast. In southern India, low caste dalits were dragooned to do the dirty and dangerous cleanup after the tsunami, initially without gloves or masks.

In economically backward countries, and in particular those countries subjugated by imperialism, it is only the working class drawing on the support of the rural toilers that can, by seizing state power, throw off the imperialist yoke, give rights to oppressed minorities and lay the basis for ending social backwardness. In establishing its own class rule, the proletariat would inevitably make rapid inroads into capitalist property forms. If such future workers revolutions, in places like India and Indonesia, are not to be strangled by imperialist military intervention and/or economic blockade, or by their own inherited economic backwardness, they will necessarily have to extend to the major imperialist centres, appealing to the proletariat to throw out their own capitalist rulers. This is the perspective of permanent revolution outlined by Russian revolutionary leader, Leon Trotsky, and which was confirmed in the triumph of the 1917 October Revolution.

Speaking from the summit of Soviet power in 1925, Leon Trotsky noted that science has the “capacity to increase man’s power and arm him with the power to foresee and master nature” (Problems of Everyday Life). But the capitalist class largely constrains science to the narrow purpose of accumulating profits. The road of progress can be unblocked only by toppling rapacious capitalist rule through a series of socialist revolutions and establishing a worldwide planned socialist economy.

Australasian Spartacis No. 190

ASp No. 190

Autumn 2005


Australian Military Get Out of Aceh Now!
Indonesian Troops Out!

Australian Imperialists Seize On Tsunami Catastrophe

Science in Service of Humanity Could Have Saved Thousands


Heroic Aboriginal Militants Hit With Heavy Sentences

Free Redfern Political Prisoners Now!


Iraq: Sham Elections, Savage Occupation

Defend the Iraqi Peoples!
U.S./Australia Out Now!


British Imperialism and Diego Garcia

Removing a People From History

U.S./British Imperialism Out of Diego Garcia Now!


U.S. Bases Out!


Beslan Massacre and the Putin Regime

Independence for Chechnya!
Russian Troops Out Now!


The Founding of the Trotskyist Group of Greece

For a Leninist Party in Greece!
For a Socialist Federation of the Balkans!


Agreement for Common Work Between Greek Comrades and the ICL (FI)


Israel: Vanunu Arrested Again

Down With the Gag Order!

(Young Spartacus pages)


Chinese Workers Fight Privatisation of State-Owned Industry


Hands Off RAC Activists!
Drop the Charges Now!

(Partisan Defence Committee)