Category Archives: socialist forum

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When Joh went to Uni

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In 1980 or 1981, Bjelke-Petersen went to University of Queensland guarded by Qld Special Branch. Joh’s visit was controversial as the questions from the news media suggest. We have secured historic footage of the event. Standing behind Joh during the … Continue reading

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Feminism and the crisis in the British Socialist Workers Party

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Feminism and the crisis in the British Socialist Workers Party Feminism and the crisis in the British Socialist Workers Party Freedom Socialist Party Statement Toward the end of 2012, two members of the British Socialist Workers Party charged a national … Continue reading

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May Day Forum: What’s Working? Organising collectively for lives of dignity and justice.

The May Day Group is hoping to contribute to the celebration of May Day by organising two events. A Foco Nuevo gig on Friday 3rd May and a forum on Saturday the 4th. We hope the forum will provide an … Continue reading

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Marxism 2013: African American civil rights campaigner and Black Panther

African American civil rights campaigner and Black Panther BILLY X JENINNGS Speaks at Marxism 2013 conference Saturday 30th March, 2pm University of Melbourne, Student Union Building TICKETS ARE SELLING FAST! http://www.marxismconference.org Read below about the interconnection between the American Black … Continue reading

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Antonio Gramsci: Marxist ideas for difficult times

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Sound recording of ‘Antonio Gramsci – marxist ideas for difficult times’ Antonio Gramsci: Marxist ideas for difficult times. Antonio Gramsci: Marxist ideas for difficult times Meeting with Martin Thomas, editor of the book “Antonio Gramsci: working-class revolutionary” 2.30pm, Saturday 23 … Continue reading

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May Day 2013

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May Day has long been an important day for the workers’ movement. A day to celebrate and commemorate the struggles for the eight hour day and it serves as a time for all of us to gather together to strength … Continue reading

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Potential Social Implications of Recent Developments in Evolutionary Theory

The last meeting of the 17 Group and the breakup for 2012 will take place on Wednesday the 5th of December at 7 pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St West End. It will be addressed by David Biggins … Continue reading

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Hawks and Sparrows …

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I once told a friend that ‘if you wait, eventually the world will come to you.’ She replied that ‘if everyone took that view, no-one would come.’ True, but this article is made possible because I am lucky enough to … Continue reading

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Interesting speakers about the 1972 recognition of China

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Hi friends, Next Saturday 24th November the Australia China Friendship Society is running a seminar and reception (free) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Whitlam Government recognition of China. Speakers include Graham Freudenberg (Gough’s speech writer), Manfred Cross (ex-MLA) … Continue reading

Driven by competition with China, US escalates military presence in Australia

by Alison Thorne

U.S. President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Gillard shake hands and cement an alliance to boost the U.S. military presence in Asia. Plans include a new military base in Darwin, and joint military exercises in Australian waters. Photo: HWT Image Library

Last November, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Australia to promote U.S. plans for a heightened presence in the region. In the northern city of Darwin, he teamed up with Prime Minister Julia Gillard to unveil details of the deal. Starting this year, the U.S. will station troops in northern Australia with numbers rising to 2,500 by 2016. More U.S. military ships and submarines will visit Australian ports, and more U.S.-Australian joint military exercises will take place off its shores. This is a major escalation of the 60-year-old ANZUS treaty — the military alliance between Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. It will transform Darwin into a major staging base for U.S intervention in Asia and the Pacific.

Obama made clear that undercutting China’s growing influence is of vital importance to the U.S. While the U.S. economy sputters, China’s economy booms, growing 10 percent a year. In her recent essay, “America’s Pacific Century,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserts that the future of politics will be decided in Asia, and that the U.S. “will be right at the centre of the action.” And she tells her critics, who want U.S. troops brought home, that the U.S. “cannot afford to do so.”

Controlling the seas. A key U.S. strategic goal is to dominate the critical sea-lanes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, through which a large portion of world trade passes. This includes the majority of China’s exports and imports, and the Middle Eastern oil supplies that are so essential to the functioning of its economy.

Currently, China spends more on domestic security to suppress dissent than on defence. It is now shifting resources from its army to create a naval presence. But the U.S., relative to the size of its economy, still spends twice as much as China on weapons and troops.

Even with China responding to U.S. manoeuvres, the U.S. far outpaces China in military might. It has 737 military bases with a presence on every continent. China has no foreign bases. The U.S. has 11 nuclear-armed aircraft carriers, carrying 85 aircraft each. The Chinese are still planning the launch of their first aircraft carrier.

Hypocrisy all around. While the U.S. shifts its military might to dominate China and the Pacific region, it is also lecturing China about what the U.S. expects. Ideological sabre rattling was a prominent feature of Obama’s visit to Australia, including criticism of China’s disregard for human rights. But while China’s record is lousy, Obama’s posturing rings hollow given his country’s own reputation. Mass incarceration, use of the death penalty, and images of cops beating Occupiers and dismantling their encampments are a few examples of how the U.S. needs to clean up its own act.

Before flying to northern Australia, Obama addressed the Federal Parliament in Canberra. The last visit by a U.S. President in 2003 resulted in Greens politicians being removed for interjecting anti-war sentiments while George Bush spoke. In contrast, Obama received rapturous responses from all sides. His accolades were thoroughly undeserved because the purpose of both speeches was identical: to tell the Australian parliament that the U.S. ruling class expects its deputy sheriff in the Pacific to provide uncritical support for shifting U.S. military priorities, from the Middle East to Asia.

Capitalism divided. Most mainstream analysts emphasise the Australian government’s unconditional support for the U.S. alliance, which they see as a means for advancing Australian corporate and strategic interests.

However, the situation is more complex. Since Britain’s decline as an imperial power at the end of World War II, Australia has allied with the U.S. But Australia has developed its own distinct imperialist interests in the Pacific too.

The interests of the varied branches of capital are not monolithic. Some sectors of the Australian economy rely heavily on the sales of goods and services to China. These include mining, agriculture, education and tourism. China buys 70 percent of Australia’s wool. Australian bosses also rely heavily on China to fill skill gaps through migration.

Australia is now in a predicament where China is its major trading partner, and the U.S. is its major strategic military ally. This is creating a tension, where the economic and strategic interests of Australian capitalism are pulling in different directions.

There’s an uneasy concern among some layers of the ruling class that profits may be at risk if friction between the U.S. and China heats up.

Revitalize the anti-war movement! While the capitalists’ loyalties are divided, the common interests of the working class are not. War moves and imperial rivalry in the Pacific is real bad news. Working and poor people foot the bill for spiralling military expenditures through higher taxes and cuts to essential services. Australian public service jobs are being slashed under the so-called “efficiency dividend,” while $62 million gets spent every single day on the military.

Turning Australia’s north into a giant military base will also be a disaster for the people who live there. Almost one-third of the population is Indigenous. The threat posed to the health of Aboriginal communities — with their deep connection to the land — by the use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium, is stark.

Militarisation of this territory also threatens to lead to increased violence against women. The U.S. military has an appalling record on this score. In Japan, feminists have identified more than 50,000 crimes against women on Okinawa, the site of a large U.S. military base.

To nip this impending disaster in the bud, Australia needs a re-energised anti-war movement that will challenge interventions at the behest of the U.S. and those initiated by Australian capital.

What should such a movement be raising at this time? For starters:

• No new bases and close existing U.S. military bases! No Darwin troop deployment.

• End joint military exercises with U.S. forces. End the military alliance with the U.S.

• Withdraw all Australian troops from Afghanistan, East Timor, Solomon Islands and other imperialist deployments!

Melbourne FSP: Solidarity Salon, 580 Sydney Rd., Brunswick, VIC 3056. Tel 03-9388-0062. Email freedom.socialist.party@ozemail.com.au.

Reposted with permission from  Driven by competition with China, US escalates military presence in Australia | www.socialism.com.

DATELINE AUSTRALIA
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Evading the class struggle

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by Humphrey McQueen The Socialist Alternative is committed to the self-emancipation of the working class. Its 2012 Marxism conference shows why that will be necessary. On the basis of the topics to be discussed our class cannot expect much help … Continue reading

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17 Group: 7th of March Meeting

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The March 2012 Meeting of the 17 Group will take place on Wednesday the 7th of March at 7pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St in West End on the topic of energy policy in relation to the Queensland … Continue reading

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Review: We built this country

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Review: We Built this Country We Built This Country – Builders’ Labourers and their Unions, by Humphrey McQueen, Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide, 2011, 364pp, $30.00 Review by Howard Guille This is the second book of Humphrey McQueen’s research into builders’ … Continue reading

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Whose side are you on?

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The mundane decline of labour history by Humphrey McQueen Fifty-one years ago, a grouping of communists and ex-communists in Canberra set up a Society for the Study of Labour History and prepared a journal, Labour History. One spur had been … Continue reading

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Vale Bob Gould

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Version in the Marxist Archive (Andy Blunden) In 1991 Bob Gould sold me his last copy of Ernie Lane’s Dawn to Dusk – Reminiscences of a Rebel. This was the one published by Clarrie Beckingham in 1939. Bob recommended that … Continue reading

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Humphrey McQueen on May Day

Speech by Humphrey McQueen – May Day Dinner, Adelaide, 2011 Although we are more than half way through our May Day dinner, it is never too late to say grace: ‘For the food and drinks that we are enjoying, we … Continue reading

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Public forum: Reorganising Cuba

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The Australia Cuba Friendship Society (Brisbane) invites you to a forum ‘Reorganising Cuba’ Ezequiel Morales, The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP)Cuba is embarking upon a massive reorganisation of its economy, following the Sixth Congress of the Communist … Continue reading

Port Adelaide Workers Memorial

(Speech by Humphrey McQueen (Order of Lenin), May Day, 2011)

One does good, neither from fear of punishment nor promise of reward, but because good is good to do. They were the sentiments of the nineteenth-century American Rationalist, Colonel Robert Ingersoll, whose writings would have been popular with some the people whose names went on to the Workers’ memorial. We can be certain that all of them had lived according to that point of view. None of them behaved as they did with any thought that they might be honoured in any way other than the respect of their friends, neighbours and workmates. Continue reading

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New Australia: Wed May 4th Meeting of 17 Group

The May meeting of the 17 Group will be on Wednesday the 4th of May at 7pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St, West End. As you probably know, after the failure of the great strikes of the early … Continue reading

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The Left on Labour Day 2011

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Labour Day, Brisbane, 2011 Socialist groups missed an opportunity this Labour Day. There has been a shift inside the Labour movement and the Left has not recognised it fully nor have they responded to it. Observe the Labour Day march … Continue reading

‘Reorganising Cuba’

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Time
10 May · 18:30 20:30
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17 Group discussion in May 2011

Race politics and reading practices: two as pects of the New Australia experiment. Wide eyed romantics and a heartbreak dream Your motives aren’t what they seem You’ve got your feet caked in Australian mud And you can’t deny what’s in … Continue reading

Celebrate May Day in Canberra

Sunday May 1st
3 p m
Garema Place

with Civil Libertarians Greens Teachers Scientists Socialists Unionists
Peace activists in a FESTIVAL OF RESISTANCE FESTIVAL OF THE OPPRESSED (An initiative of Workers Solidarity Network 0417283719 wsncampaigns@gmail.com )

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May Day 2011

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See below for the story about the Haymarket Martyrs and a certain Chinese Chicken dish by Lachlan Hurse. Featured photo in the masthead depicts the Workers Self Management Group at 1971 May Day march (Fortitude Valley Brisbane) Photo: Graham Garner … Continue reading

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A Letter to America

To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.— … Continue reading

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Railways and Capitalism

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PREFACE This pamphlet appeared in 1973 in Victoria, under the guidance of E F Hill, Chairman of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist). Some of its authors are preparing a contemporary version. Their efforts should encourage activists in every sector … Continue reading

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Qaddafi in Defeat

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The reality is we are all one humanity.  Barbarity or military society is not confined to low society or to tribal life. People of modern states may like to view indigenous peoples as backward. This is not true. No matter what society, whether it be economically developed or undeveloped, all are capable of repression, but only the most highly developed are capable of imperial blunders. The Romans did so when they laid waste to Carthage. The US likewise when they destroyed Iraq. Continue reading

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Alberto Granado es en el otro lado del río

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Alas, comrade, you have left us to go to the other side of the river. So many years after Che. You have inspired many of us to follow your path. I remember Che’s MotorCycle Diaries sent to me so long … Continue reading

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1967/1977 street marches in Queensland — reasons for revolt?

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“Here is a historically important film, recently rediscovered, that few people will ever have seen, and  that commemorates an event that a lot of you will remember. The bulk of it is about what happened in Roma Street on a … Continue reading

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Ernie Lane: The making of a Queensland Rebel

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OUT OF THE PORT NEW PERSPECTIVES ON QUEENSLAND HISTORY 12:30pm, slq Auditorium 2, level 2, 16 February 2011 free, no bookings required Ernie Lane: The Making of a Queensland Rebel see page page 4 of the State library of Qld … Continue reading