Australasian Spartacist No. 198
Subscription Drive Success
Comrades of the Spartacist League/Australia (SL) and Spartacus Youth Club (SYC) spent six weeks from late February to early April participating in our annual subscription drive. This campaign is crucial to maintaining an ongoing readership and reaching new people with our revolutionary propaganda. We are pleased to report that we achieved 217 points, exceeding our modest quota by 20 percent. The points represent subscriptions to Australasian Spartacist (ASp) as well as the press of other sections of the International Communist League, especially Workers Vanguard, newspaper of the Spartacist League/U.S. The success of our campaign is a tribute to the hard work of our comrades and sympathisers. Congratulations go to comrade Glenn who sold the most subscriptions.
We welcome our new readers and welcome back those who resubscribed. During our campaign a number of long-time readers expressed how much they appreciate our press, which offers a Marxist compass in todays reactionary climate. For our part, we take this opportunity to thank those who made contributions toward the ongoing production of ASp.
The SL is a fighting Marxist propaganda group. Our new readers will find our newspaper to be hard-hitting and polemical against the liberal-reformist program of other groups claiming to be socialist. Our press is a vehicle for introducing youth and workers, along with immigrants and other oppressed layers, to a revolutionary Marxist program. The role of the communist press was outlined in the 1921 Organisational Guidelines adopted at the Third Congress of the Communist International, which codified the experience of Lenins Bolshevik Party that led the working class to power in October 1917.
Emphasising the importance of subscriptions, the Guidelines observed: Use must be made of every situation in which there is increased motion among the workers and where political or social life is further inflamed by any sort of political and economic events. During the sub drive, our newspaper served our interventions into expressions of social discontent and class struggle. Our comrades, in Melbourne and Sydney, and on a regional trip to Brisbane, intervened in rallies and meetings, at university campuses, and on street sales with our principled revolutionary line.
Break with Laborism: We Need a Revolutionary Party!
Today, workers and the oppressed face draconian anti-union laws, worsening education, health and social services, and increased racist and anti-working-class state repression under the ruling classs bogus war on terror. In this context, our press gained a hearing amongst those looking for an alternative to the Laborite reformists whose ultimate answer to the brutalities of White Australian capitalism is to return the union-busting, pro-capitalist ALP to the government benches as a supposed lesser evil to the Liberal/National coalition. As opposed to the Laborite left, we seek to build a revolutionary vanguard party on the Bolshevik model, forged in the struggle to win the working-class base of the ALP away from the pro-capitalist tops who promote nationalism and loyalty to the capitalist state. Such a party is necessary to lead the proletariat in the fight for international socialist revolution.
At the 10 March International Womens Day rally in Sydney, our slogans stood in marked contrast to the bourgeois-liberal rally demands. For example, while the organisers pleaded for non-biased pregnancy counseling for all women, we forthrightly called for Free Abortion on Demand! Similarly our call For Womens Liberation through Socialist Revolution! cut against the wretched pro-capitalist ALP politics that predominated at the rally on the eve of the NSW state elections. We especially drew attention to our powerful article on The Russian Revolution and the Emancipation of Women in the current issue of the ICLs international theoretical journal Spartacist. This article details the enormous impact this social revolution had for women and concretises the revolutionary program that working people need to fight for to end capitalist exploitation and oppression through victorious workers revolution.
Down With Australian Imperialism!
On 17 March, we attended rallies in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane opposing the imperialist occupation of Iraq. Our comrades fought for the understanding that opposition to imperialist war cannot be separated from the struggle to get rid of the capitalist system that breeds such wars. We highlighted our call for Australian imperialist troops to get out of not only Iraq, but also Afghanistan, East Timor and the South Pacific, and posed the need for independent working-class struggle against the capitalist rulers at home. In the tradition of our anti-militarist communist forebears, we declared not one person, not one cent for the Australian imperialist military!
This program is counterposed to the liberal pressure politics pushed by reformist left groups, many of whom inhabit the popular-frontist Stop the War Coalition. They serve to chain the working class to its capitalist exploiters at home. In raising the call to Bring the troops home at these and other rallies, the left echo the program of the ALP and bourgeois Greens, who want Australian troops deployed closer to home to enforce Australian imperialist exploitation in the region and to target the bureaucratically deformed workers states in Asia, particularly North Korea and China. Our ASp front-page article calling to Defend North Korea! Down with UN Sanctions! ruffled the feathers of many small l liberals and reformists at the 17 March demonstrations. At these rallies and throughout the sub drive comrades also built our successful April public forums defending the gains of the 1949 Chinese Revolution (see article page 1).
Our defence of the remaining deformed workers states, especially China and North Korea, and our unswerving opposition to the Australian imperialist state, drew a sharp political line wherever we intervened, including at an 18 March Brisbane meeting titled No Guantanamo in Australia. The meeting was called to oppose the new draconian high-tech detention facility being built at Christmas Island similar to the notorious U.S.-run concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Opposing Australian imperialism and increased state repression, our speaker also called to Free David Hicks and all the detainees, from Guantánamo to Iraq! U.S. out of Guantánamo Bay—it belongs to the Cuban deformed workers state!
Caged for more than five years at Guantánamo, Hicks was brought before a U.S. military tribunal in late March where he copped a plea of guilty to having provided material support to a terrorist organisation. The deal included having to repudiate his own accounts of being tortured and a year-long gag order. In exchange, he is to serve nine months in jail in Australia. Over the previous months the Hicks case had ignited an outpouring of opposition in Australia against the U.S. Bush government, with large sections of the population justly horrified by conditions at Guantánamo and outraged at Hicks ongoing detention.
In seeking to build on popular support for Hicks, the Laborite left, for example in the Stop the War Coalition, promoted the slogan Bring David Home! in order to appeal to bourgeois-liberal public opinion, that is, to those concerned first and foremost that Hicks receive due process in the capitalist, preferably Australian, judicial system. Uncritically raising this slogan, they not only show their social-democratic underbelly but criminally foster illusions within the working class that justice can be served under a benevolent Australian capitalism.
For Class Struggle Against Capitalist State Repression
Promoting illusions in the racist Australian capitalist state is nothing new for Socialist Alliance, who have demanded a Royal Commission into the 2005 cop killing of Palm Island Aborigine Mulrunji Doomadgee. This calls on the state to investigate its own crimes and can only be a whitewash cover-up. The repressive state apparatus, which at its core consists of the army, police, courts and prisons, exists to defend the profits, property and rule of the tiny capitalist class. The fact that the Australian capitalist rulers are building their own Guantánamo on Christmas Island and that Palm Island Aborigines now languish in Queensland dungeons for the crime of protesting the cop killing of Mulrunji, speaks loudly to the fact that there is no justice in the capitalist courts! There needs to be a fight to mobilise the power of the multiracial working class to come to the defence of Aboriginal people. We demand: Drop the charges! Free the Palm Island Aboriginal militants now!
We seek to build a party that stands as a tribune of the people, mobilising the working class in struggle to defend not only oppressed Aborigines but all those facing capitalist state repression, including vulnerable immigrants targeted by anti-terrorist witchhunts. Ramping up its security arsenal, the bourgeoisies sweeping anti-terror laws trample on the democratic rights of all and ultimately target working-class organisations, including the left, as the ruling class seeks to suppress opposition to its pursuit of unbridled capitalist exploitation. However, as our comrade emphasised at the 18 March Brisbane meeting, what the capitalist rulers can get away with is not a foregone conclusion but will be determined by the outcome of class and social struggle. We fight to mobilise the working class in an independent class-struggle fight against state Labor and federal Liberal war on terror state repression. It is in their immediate and direct interest to do so.
Armed with this understanding, our Melbourne comrades intervened early in the sub drive at a two-day Socialism confab held by the Taaffeite Socialist Party (SP). Here we exposed the SP and their British co-thinkers, who made common cause with the bourgeoisies war on terror following the criminal 2005 London Tube bombing by screaming No to Terrorism. No to war! Our speaker noted how this call mobilises workers behind the bosses anti-terror hysteria. He powerfully made the link between the British SP supporters abject service to the British capitalist rulers and their Australian counterparts joining and hailing the chauvinist 1999 Troops In marches that demanded the racist Australian imperialist military occupy tiny East Timor. Following the intervention, two subscriptions were sold.
Down With Anti-Communist Censorship!
Distributing our Marxist literature and participating in the political life of university campuses is an important component of any sub drive. However, our right to do so is not to be taken for granted. Often it has to be fought for and defended. Thus, at Sydney University, our youth comrades have confronted anti-communist political censorship with Security repeatedly acting to shut down distribution of our press. In response to these and other attempts to silence leftists on campus, the SYC produced a leaflet entitled Down with Campus Censorship! Hands Off the Left! (see page 11).
Insisting that an injury to one is an injury to all, the leaflet takes up defence of the SYC/SL and all the left, including four youth (three of them students at Sydney University) arrested in pre-dawn raids on 14 March for their alleged involvement in anti-G20 protests in Melbourne late last year. In the same spirit, Spartacist comrades joined a 5 April courthouse rally in Sydney in defence of those charged over protests against visiting U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in late February. At the courthouse, we raised a placard which demanded: Drop Charges Against Anti-G20, Anti-Cheney Protesters Now!
Defend China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam!
Our defence of all leftists against state repression does not disappear the deep dividing line between revolutionaries and reformists, sharply expressed, for example, over the question of defence of the deformed workers states. While revolutionaries understand that these states must be defended against capitalist counterrevolution, the reformists, in thrall to capitalist democracy, line up behind their bourgeoisie as hostile opponents. A prime example is the state-capitalist groups such as Socialist Alternative (SAlt).
At a 15 March Sydney University meeting organised by the SAlt-dominated Students Against War, the SAlt chair assiduously refused to call on our SYC speaker during the discussion. Only after non-aligned people began to challenge this censorship did she finally give in. This prompted another SAlt supporter to shriek an hysterical warning that the Spartacists defend North Koreas development of nuclear weapons! Pleased to get this free advertising, our comrade expanded on the point: The imperialists seek to return these countries [North Korea and China] to unbridled imperialist exploitation. Because these countries have seen an overturn of capitalist property relations, a gain for the international working class, we stand for their unconditional military defence and say that what is also needed is a workers political revolution to sweep away the Stalinist bureaucracies. He concluded, We Trotskyists seek the building of a revolutionary, internationalist party of the working class on the road to socialist revolution. We fight for a workers republic of Australia, part of a socialist Asia!
Once again we welcome our readers, both new and longstanding. We hope you will become active supporters and join in the struggle of the working people and oppressed. We encourage you to contact us to discuss the content of our press and to introduce our newspaper to friends and workmates. If you agree with our purpose and principles, join us in the fight for a communist future.