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Gatwick: militant workers know how to land a good deal - News from the Frontline

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 1:16am in

Counterfire’s weekly digest with the latest on strikes and workplace struggles

‘Let them go’: Dalston stands up to police immigration raid

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 16/05/2022 - 11:19pm in

Tassia Kobylinska, a resident of Hackney, describes how the scene on Saturday when the community quickly mobilised to resist a police immigration raid targeting food delivery workers

It’s Time To Talk About Capitalism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 16/05/2022 - 8:31pm in

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It’s Time To Talk About Capitalism

I was going to sit down and finish up some longer writing projects this weekend. But then the shooting in Buffalo happened, where it appears that a white supremacist 18-year-old drove 200 miles to kill Black people in one of the most African-American neighborhoods in New York state.

It’s a horrifying tragedy, immediately harkening back to the 2015 mass murder at Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s church in Charleston, South Carolina. Law enforcement officials say that the murderer had researched the mass murder of 51 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2018.

As a Black person, I have the biggest news-generated pit in my stomach since George Floyd’s murder. It feels as if American society is becoming unmoored from its foundations and we don’t have any coordinated approach — as people on the left, as workers, and as Black people and people of color — for how to respond.

The central problem with the social media age is its neverending cacophony. Silence and contemplation are never allowed. As a result, responses to mass murder almost immediately begin to conform to folks’ prior views — on gun regulation or on white supremacy, typically, but also a broader set of assumptions about how society is and should be organized. When tensions are so high, honest conversations are difficult.

And yet, those conversations must happen — and we cannot honestly talk about racist mass murder without talking about capital and the profit system.

We are not being honest about violence if we ignore the profit motive in weapons manufacturing.

We are not being honest about racism if we ignore the profit motive in the racism that makes non-rich white people identify their problems as Black people instead of the white people who control the global economy.

We are not being honest about the context of violence if we ignore economic inequality.

We are not being honest about media-fueled hate if we ignore the profit motive in news and social media companies that make money off outrage.

In short, we are not being honest about what’s happening if we ignore how hypercapitalism brought us to this moment.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said to his staff in 1966: “Something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.”

By making explicit the connection between racism and capitalism, we honor the legacy of Black thinkers who have explored this question — Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Assata Shakur, June Jordan, Lorraine Hansberry, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, bell hooks, and Claudia Jones, to Robin D.G. Kelley and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor today.

Papering over these links between racial and economic inequality, then, is also papering over Black American intellectual history.

By skirting around the solution to the problems that all of us in the global 99 percent face, we’re not honestly diagnosing the disease and taking steps to address it in the body politic.

Particularly in the U.S. — where the socialist branch of the labor movement that brought us the eight-hour workday, the weekend, and Social Security was crushed in the McCarthy era and never recovered — we must start explaining the virtues of worker control over production and worker power in politics, and how it addresses the problem we face: The rich make every economic decision in society, while treating workers as subhuman.

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children,” King said.

The one percent — like Rupert Murdoch, the misanthropic owner of Fox News, and TV host Tucker Carlson — uses racism to get a portion of the white 99 percent to act against their own economic interests.

We need to reduce that one percent’s power if we are going to successfully fight racism.

“At Least We’d End Up Eating Lunch Together”

To do that, we must also acknowledge painful truths beyond merely the Republican Party’s open embrace of fascism. We must also acknowledge the Democratic Party’s complementary role creating fertile ground for that fascism.

As shown in Meltdown, Democrats’ Wall Street fealty under President Barack Obama in 2009 and 2010 — via the foreclosure crisis, bonuses to bailed out Wall Street executives, and keeping the big banks intact — created ground for the growth of the extreme right, handing far-right Republicans a midterm election victory in 2010 that thrust white nationalist Steve King into the House majority.

In 2016, then, Obama insisted on campaigning for a hated trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Hillary Clinton failed to distance herself from as Trump made opposition to the agreement a centerpiece of his campaign.

Senate Democrats’ 2013 failure — thanks to conservative Democrats, including Biden allies Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) — to confirm Obama nominee Debo Adegbile to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights section left the agency without a Senate-confirmed head to lead a push on voting and civil rights for the rest of Obama’s presidency.

Trump’s easily preventable 2016 victory is inseparable from the growth of the extreme right in America. A man who launched his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists” and demanding a Muslim ban, before praising an apocryphal story about genocidal General Pershing, calling violent Nazi protesters “very fine people,” and retweeting white nationalist Twitter accounts as president is sure to massively embolden extreme white nationalists, and that’s exactly what has happened.

Joe Biden is not some innocent bystander. The author of the racist 1994 crime bill, who made common cause with segregationists, won his party’s presidential nomination against a civil rights protester.

As recently as 2015, Biden bragged about his relationship with white nationalist Sen. Jesse Helms, who was a fierce defender of vicious white minority rule in Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe), sending two aides to a conference in 1979 to urge Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith to “stiffen his spine” against the guerilla movement leading the independence struggle.

Dylann Roof, who killed 9 people in a Black church in South Carolina in 2015, titled his blog “The Last Rhodesian.”

Lest you think Biden’s behavior is ancient history, the president earlier this month pined for the old days when he and his party got along with virulent racists.

“We always used to fight like hell — and even back in the old days when we had real segregationists, like Eastland and Thurmond and all those guys — but at least we’d end up eating lunch together,” Biden said.

For reference: Sen. James Eastland of Mississippi often spoke of Black people as “an inferior race,” according to his obituary in the New York Times.

Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina ran as an independent third party candidate in 1948 on an unabashedly pro-segregation platform and led the longest filibuster in history against the Civil Rights of 1957.

Biden’s history of downplaying the dangers of white nationalism in favor of an elite collegiality might explain why his administration has been so reticent to take action on policies that would take some of the wind out of the sails of a rising extreme right, frothing at “critical race theory” and Great Replacement delirium.

Actually Doing Something Might Help

As Andre Perry at the Brookings Institution wrote last year, Biden canceling all student loan debt would go a long way towards addressing the racial wealth gap and economic inequality.

It has been sixteen months since Biden took office, and there’s still no action. Biden won’t even release an unredacted version of the legal memo on his authority to cancel student debt.

It’s a time-proven axiom that rising economic inequality creates political openings for the extreme right. This is apparent in the rise of Trump, Marine le Pen, and far right parties in Spain, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Reflecting this reality, the polling organization Data for Progress noted at the beginning of April that, 56 percent of young voters from ages 18 to 35 in the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin “say they would be more likely to vote should all student loan debt be canceled.”

Extremist Republican candidates are set to be nominated in all of those states. As just one example, all of the top Republicans in Arizona have embraced Great Replacement language echoed by the Buffalo shooter, with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich saying recently that migration is the “constitutional definition of an invasion.”

Defeating them should be a high priority. Given Biden’s abysmal current approval ratings, that only seems possible if Biden cancels student debt. Yet again, economic inequality and the extreme right are inseparably intertwined. We can’t solve one without the other — and yet there is still inaction.

That intransigence is reflected throughout Biden’s party.

Take New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who is from Buffalo. On Sunday at a church service in the city, she said: ​​“Lord, forgive the anger in my heart but channel that into my passion to continue to fight to protect people, get the guns off the streets and silence the voices of hatred and racism and white supremacy all over the internet.”

Meanwhile, Hochul is advancing white supremacist policy every day by failing to endorse Good Cause Eviction legislation, which would disproportionately help Black and brown households that are facing eviction.

And both Hochul and Biden are failing to lift a finger to help Amazon Labor Union, the Black-led movement that nonetheless built majority support for the union from workers of all races — the most effective antidote to white nationalism. The generous tax breaks for Amazon in New York are still in place, despite the retail giant’s alleged labor law violations. Biden just gave Amazon a $10 billion contract, after pledging to deny contracts to companies that fail to remain neutral in union elections.

Hope should still spring eternal. I often reflect on the not-so-prophetic words of white abolitionist Wendell Phillips around 1856.

“The government has fallen into the hands of the Slave Power completely. So far as national politics are concerned we are beaten — there’s no hope,” he wrote. “We shall have Cuba in a year or two, Mexico in five. … The future seems to unfold a vast slave empire united with Brazil. I hope I may be a false prophet but the sky never was so dark.”

Less than ten years later, America’s second and much further-reaching revolution — in Emancipation, the general strike of people formerly in coerced bondage, and Reconstruction — was in place, the Slave Power crushed, and hundreds of Black people and their allies were elected on land reform and anti-Wall Street platforms.

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Asda: fuming retail workers prepare to strike - News from the Frontline

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 14/05/2022 - 6:44am in

Counterfire’s weekly digest with the latest on strikes and workplace struggles

Strike shuts down Sydney Uni for 48 hours as staff and students fight together

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/05/2022 - 5:32pm in

A 48-hour strike saw Sydney University almost completely shut down on Wednesday and Thursday this week, after a meeting of over 300 members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) voted to strike.

“This is one of the best strikes we’ve had at the University of Sydney since I’ve been here,” NTEU NSW Secretary Damien Cahill, declared after the first day.

Hundreds of staff and students formed picket lines over the two days at over half a dozen entrances to the main campus – as well as, for the first time, at the separate Conservatorium of Music. Other unions also lent their support, including MUA members who joined picket lines and ran a BBQ on the second day of the strikie.

Despite the university’s claims that “most classes will proceed as normal”, the campus was deserted, as picket lines turned back staff, students, and cars from 7am each day. There were particularly strong contingents representing departments including Gender and Cultural Studies, Education, Philosophy, and Linguistics.

A “roaming picket” involving groups of students travelled across campus to the small number of classes that were still being held in person. The aim was to convince students that their tutors and lecturers were undermining efforts to improve the quality of their education, through a conscious decision to break the strike and cross picket lines. Some had forced their students to attend with threats of academic penalties.

Three classes were shut down with a number of staff abandoning them, and in another ten students decided to walk out.

Job cuts and wage theft

This success was the result of the tireless work of staff and students in the weeks leading up to the strike, with NTEU members leafleting at the gates every morning and over 80 motions passed in classes to support the strike.

The union’s ability to pull off a 48-hour strike as its first action in bargaining shows the depth of the anger among staff after two gruelling years since the pandemic began.

More than 40,000 university staff have been laid off nationwide as university administrations used COVID as an excuse to cut costs.

With many staff working from home and classes online, as well as the union leadership’s effort to agree to cuts to jobs and conditions through the Jobs Protection Framework, have all made organising resistance more difficult. It was only once the union at Sydney Uni began to take action through a protected action ballot that staff began to get more organised.

The strike also comes at an important time, just over a week out from the federal election.

As Damien Cahill told a rally during the strike, “The Coalition government has been waging war on universities ever since it was elected. In the latest budget, the government has projected an 8.5 per cent further cut to university funding over the forward estimates.”

University managements have drastically expanded casualisation and workloads and rely on massive wage theft through forcing staff to work unpaid hours.

Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott was appointed on an enormous $982,800 pay packet last year, the same year 80 casual staff lodged a claim for $2 million in stolen wages. If this is representative of casuals across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences wage theft could be as high as $64 million in this one faculty over six years.

“We are striking for job security, for an end to casualisation, for rights at work, for First Nations justice, for trans leave, for protection of the vital nexus between teaching and research so that teaching is done by knowledge creators,” NTEU Branch President Nick Riemer explained.

“We have a series of really ambitious claims about the creation of permanent jobs for long term casuals who have been working regular hours for years at this university who deserve respect for the essential work that they perform,” Finola Laughren, a casual staff member in Gender and Cultural Studies, said.

Casuals make up a shocking 52 per cent of the university’s staff. Including staff on fixed-term contracts, that percentage balloons to a total of 74 per cent of staff in insecure work.

The union is also demanding enforceable quotas for First Nations employment, and annual gender affirmation leave. This was the first strike in Australian history fighting for demands around transition leave.

Leading the way

This strike sets a very strong example for NTEU members at other universities across the country who are also entering bargaining.

Recent months have seen nurses and teachers, transport workers and aged care workers all take strike action. This is the kind of action that can help drive out Scott Morrison, win a real wage increase and turn back the university bosses’ casualisation agenda.

It will be strike action that can force any future Labor to actually deliver change and boost funding after 21 May. A fighting union movement is the key to tackling the rising cost of living.

Another strike at Sydney Uni is likely on 24 May, with the union meeting again next week to ratify the decision after a further report back from a bargaining meeting with the University. Riemer told strikers, “We will be back here, if we have to, on 24 May twice as strong, twice as loud, twice as determined”.

Key to the success of the next strike will be convincing more union members to engage in building activities such as daily leafleting sessions and recruiting their non-union colleagues to the NTEU. Reports are that ten new members are joining the union each week. This number can increase with active recruitment in the aftermath of the successful strike.

Member-led initiatives such as the Casuals Network, which meets weekly and attracts both professional and academic staff from across the university, must continue. In-person meetings such as these bring new people into activity, build confidence and create a sense of unity among the workforce while also strengthening member-led strike organisation.

Building on the success of this week and stepping up the strike action is the way to win.

By Angus Dermody

The post Strike shuts down Sydney Uni for 48 hours as staff and students fight together appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Barber authors give corporate universities a hair cut

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/05/2022 - 12:19pm in

For anyone interested in the writing of history, particularly in Australia’s universities, this book of essays is a welcome contribution.

In writing The Barber Who Read History, Rowan Cahill and Terry Irving provide an alternative radical philosophy and politics of writing history.

The book covers many topics and is divided into five parts: Shaping Times; Labour History and Radical History; Thinking, Writing and Engagement; Some Radical Historians; and Shaping Histories.

I’m going to comment on three main points that arise from the book: the problem for history-writing today, why these authors are worth listening to, and how we can learn from the past to change history and its recording today.

Starting with the current situation in neoliberal university life, the authors take us through why their “radical history” is more useful to humanity than to academia.

Their critique is spot-on explaining the transformation of universities from centres of learning, for all their faults, to multi-million dollar knowledge/research factories. Capitalism steals any control academics had over teaching and research and destroys the lives of those who labour for the benefit of students.

They damn the peer-review journal business, a supposedly objective but far from scientific practice, that excludes academics without financial resources but contributes nothing to the production of understanding.

… whether writing for other radical intellectuals, engaging with scholarship and theory, or seeking a wider audience, radical historians place a high value on clarity of expression, avoiding like the plague the over-theoretical language of academic in-groups, and their self-aggrandizing citation of trendy thinkers.

It is with disappointment that they report on the shifts in the Labour History journal toward academic styles. They also argue for a more expansive history broader than the traditional portrayal of the labour movement (which has often been defined as a white male working class) and more inclusive of issues of the oppressed including gender and “race”, and environment.

The authors discuss their own origins and reveal how people can become radicals; they are both veterans of the 1970s New Left with a wealth of experience. Challenging establishment education, both were founders of the Free University in Sydney, which ran a radical education program. Many of these essays were written during or after their previous collaboration on a history of radical spaces and events in Sydney.

Cahill and Irving argue for a partisan history that sides with the oppressed and exploited, as opposed to the traditional histories of those who would maintain capitalist order that dominate the mainstream.

Because of this experience living through a period of change which also changed the activists themselves, they know it can be done again and their message for would-be radical historians is: “… although writing about the past, they want to encourage people in the present to resist and rebel.”

The book refers us to many earlier and contemporary left wing and Marxist historians, arguing that history is not just about facts and events but also theory and engagement with political action.

Social futures are not pre-determined in human society; the present builds on the past and raises political questions.

One essay, “William Astley (Price Warung) and the Radical Invention of the Labor Party”, examines the origins of the Australian Labor Party, showing how 19th century activists dealt with the question of how the new colony that became Australia should be ruled.

While very few understood the need to side with the Aboriginal people, left wing workers argued for a democracy controlled by workers. An essay, “Rediscovering Radical History”, shows how these projects failed in their goals, disappointing radicals but providing important lessons for future socialists.

Undefined history

The authors do not, unfortunately, define radical democracy or key concepts like the working class. While arguing for an end to oppression and exploitation they don’t provide a clear vision of the radical democratic alternative.

I cannot help being reminded of the quandary of 19th century utopian socialists applauded by Marx and Engels for their recognition of the problems with exploitation and particularly women’s oppression but criticised for failing to provide a way forward.

In The Communist Manifesto, the working class is not only oppressed but, because of its exploitation by capital, capable of exercising enormous power in stopping profits, capital’s lifeblood.

While the conditions of working class existence are always changing as capitalism changes, the working class finds new ways to resist.

Today in the midst of a triple crisis of COVID, climate and economy, workers have potential power given their global reach and role not only as essential labour in care services but in strategical industries like “just-in-time” transport and Amazon warehouses, digitalised banking and education factories.

At one point in the book, the authors seem a bit pessimistic about the militancy of university workers. However, as I write this review, the workers at Sydney University are completing a very successful 48-hour strike backed with pickets.

This action is part of a new mood in some industrial sectors in the US and here, again showing the potential of the working class to renew itself and fight back with more power than the social movements.

The authors cut their political teeth during the 1970s when Australian workers did illustrate the power of labour to go beyond wages and conditions to the highly successful Green Bans and anti-uranium campaigns, to support Aboriginal Land Rights, abortion rights and to stop the Vietnam War.

Social movements when they unite can develop into socialist movements if the working class comes to the lead.

Those struggles were pregnant with the possibilities that Cahill and Irving speak of but failed to fully deliver.

That is why this book urges the reader to examine that past and take concrete steps from utopian visions to strategy. For that reason it’s a must-read.

It could be, but it’s not a manifesto—the authors have an alternative vision to the status quo and point to a strategy for change but stop short.

The Barber alludes to the Bertolt Brecht poem of 1935: Questions from a Worker Who Reads. It begins:

Who built Thebes of the 7 gates? 
In the books you will read the names of kings. 
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?

The social power encompassed in the creative power of labour can become a power that can stop capitalism and organise a new society.

Radical history can help us understand what we’re capable of today. Ruling class beware.

By Judy McVey

The Barber Who Read History: Essays in Radical History by Rowan Cahill and Terry Irving
Bull Ant Press, $30

The post Barber authors give corporate universities a hair cut appeared first on Solidarity Online.

CWU anger persists: Post Office workers strike across the country - News from the Frontline

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 07/05/2022 - 3:26am in

Counterfire’s weekly digest with the latest on strikes and workplace struggles

NSW teachers strike back against the Liberals—step up the strikes to win

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/05/2022 - 4:20pm in

Teachers across NSW took strike action today for the second time in five months, with more than 15,000 marching on parliament house.

The crowd was larger than at the previous strike on 7 December last year, following months of teacher shortages that have reached crisis point due to teachers isolating with COVID.

But staff shortages and overwork were already a major problem even before the pandemic.

“The biggest thing at our school is the increase in paperwork—I feel like I have no time left to teach!” a teacher at Endeavour Sports High School told Solidarity.

School principal Melissa Proctor of Greenacre Public School, told the rally that, “Amazing teachers are leaving our profession because they can’t cope with the ever increasing demands of the workload on their own families and their well-being.”

Teachers are working on average 60 hours a week, spending more time on administration and paperwork than actually preparing lessons.

Liberal Premier Dominic Perrottet has offered teachers a paltry 2.04 per cent pay rise per year, when inflation is now over 5 per cent. In light of rising inflation, the teachers’ pay claim of 5-7.5 per cent should be adjusted to at least 7.5 per cent for all teachers.

The NSW government’s pay rise cap for public sector workers is still just 2.5 per cent a year. Perrottet has signalled that he may change this in the state budget in June. But he is not saying by how much.

The government has postponed arbitration of the teachers’ pay and conditions in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) until after the budget. But we can’t afford to wait for Perrottet’s vague promises which can’t be relied on. By law, the IRC cannot award a pay increase above the Liberals’ pay cap. Without a 7.5 per cent increase now, teachers are facing a real pay cut.

Opposition leader Chris Minns says he’ll release the ALP’s wages policy closer to the March 2023 state election—that won’t help us win the pay rise we need now.

The government is also refusing our demand for an additional two-hour reduction in face-to-face teaching per week. Winning these hours would give us slightly more breathing space under our unmanageable workloads.

Collective

NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos told the crowd, “We won’t accept anything less than what we deserve.”

But instead of calling on teachers to come back for further strike action, as at the last strike on 7 December, he simply asked teachers to, “Take the collective energy of today back to your schools, back to your communities” and to “continue campaigning until we win”.

We need to step up our industrial campaign if we want to win. We should be planning for further strike action and joint action with other public sector workers—such as the nurses, transport workers, paramedics, and health professionals—who are also fighting for better pay and conditions.

The IRC, with its rulings against our strikes, its imposition of fines, and threats of fines, has been hampering our organising and campaigning. The first strike in December went ahead in defiance of an IRC order against it.

We need to continue to defy any IRC rulings, and should not be intimidated by the threat of fines. The fines are small and are far outstripped by the numbers of new members joining because of our industrial campaign.

The draconian industrial relations laws in this country contravene workers’ basic right to organise. Rather than keep details of our actions a secret until the last minute, our union should ensure that we are openly campaigning, discussing strategy, and involving the membership in decisions every step of the way, even if it means defying the IRC’s rulings and taking on the anti-strike laws.

We were among frontline workers hailed as heroes only months ago. Now the government claims we are “dud teachers” and not deserving of a pay rise and better conditions. Morrison and Perrottet are on the back foot—let’s step up the fight.

By Solidarity teachers in NSW

The post NSW teachers strike back against the Liberals—step up the strikes to win appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Inflation at 9.9%: strike for better pay! - News from the Frontline

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/04/2022 - 9:02pm in

Counterfire’s weekly digest with the latest on strikes and workplace struggles

Billions wasted on weapons—Stop the march to war on China

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/04/2022 - 12:14pm in

The Morrison government remains stuck behind in the polls and is relentlessly trying to take us into a khaki election.

In their desperation, Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton have pulled out all stops to whip up anti-China militarism against the backdrop of the bloodbath in Ukraine and growing tensions over China’s security agreement with the Solomon Islands.

Dutton’s warmongering reached new heights in his ANZAC Day speech in Darwin. He compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler and likened China to Nazi Germany in the lead-up to the Second World War, warning that, “The only way you can preserve peace is to prepare for war.”

In Ukraine, the tensions between NATO and Russia have led to a disastrous and bloody conflict. The Morrison government’s push to militarise Australia and the region is adding to already existing imperialist tensions between US and China. The list of new military spending announcements is enormous and growing.

The centrepiece of the AUKUS military agreement with the US and UK announced last year is Australia’s acquisition of nuclear submarines, with some estimates putting the after-inflation cost at $171 billion. In addition, Morrison has now announced plans for a $10 billion East Coast base for the subs in either Port Kembla, Newcastle or Brisbane.

But the subs are just the beginning. Morrison plans to spend $38 billion expanding Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel numbers from 60,000 to 80,000, the biggest increase in the armed forces since the Vietnam War.

In early April, Peter Dutton declared, “There is potential of conflict in our area in a couple of years,” as he announced a $3.5 billion advanced weapons upgrade for the ADF, as part of government plans to establish a domestic missile manufacturing industry.

The plan, under the umbrella of the AUKUS agreement, will see the Australian government “partner” with US defence contractors Raytheon and Lockheed Martin to develop long-range hypersonic missiles that can travel five times the speed of sound.

Weapons for Ukraine

Not content with stoking the flames of war in Australia’s immediate region, Morrison has shamelessly used the conflict in Ukraine to push his militaristic agenda.

After a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Morrison agreed to send 20 Bushmaster armoured vehicles (costing around $500,000 each) to Ukraine in addition to the “lethal aid” already sent.

At the end of April, the Morrison government also joined the US in pledging heavy weapons for Ukraine for the first time. Australia will provide Ukraine with another $26.7 million worth of arms, including howitzers and ammunition.

In March, Dutton also announced the ADF’s first “space command”, saying some countries including Russia see “space as a territory for their taking”.

Defence Space Commander Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts said space gives Australia “unsurpassed advantage in surveillance and intelligence” and will be central to future wars that use hypersonic weapons, guided weapons and missiles.

While Morrison wildly boosts military spending, it is workers who are footing the bill for the Coalition’s disastrous drive to war. Hospitals, schools and aged care are in crisis with understaffed and overcrowded wards and classrooms. Many teachers, nurses and aged care workers are at breaking point thanks to brutal workloads, understaffing and low pay.

And Morrison has budgeted virtually nothing for renewable energy despite thousands continuing to suffer from unprecedented, climate change induced flooding in NSW and Queensland.

Albanese and Labor have pathetically backed every cent of Morrison’s military spending.

Albanese told the Lowy Institute he was “proud” of Labor’s decision taken in less than 24 hours to support Morrison’s AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine initiative. “I think that was an example of the maturity of the Australian Labor Party,” Albanese said.

Albanese has matched the Liberals in boosting military spending to over 2 per cent of GDP. Albanese’s criticism of the Coalition’s military spending is not the amount; just that it hasn’t resulted in enough armaments.

The urgent opposition that’s needed to fight imperialism and the dangerous drive to war with China won’t come from Labor.

It will have to come from the community, unions and anti-war campaigners. We need to fight for money for health, education and renewable energy, not missiles, nuclear submarines and other weapons of death and destruction.

By Adam Adelpour

The post Billions wasted on weapons—Stop the march to war on China appeared first on Solidarity Online.

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