Archive for 'Resistance'
I have a suggestion for Australian Education Union Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos and Federal Secretary Susan Hopgood.
Organise a general strike to defend public education. Threaten to shut down all the public schools from the first day of term 1 in 2014. You have 2 months to build the campaign and win the support of teachers across Australia to strike if the Abbott government doesn’t back down. Get cracking.
I have a suggestion for teachers. Irrespective of what your leaders do, organise a general strike to defend public education.
For 30 years the left has been incrementally lowering its sights, conceding ideological terrain and hiding what radicalism it retains under a cloak of moderation write the editors of Red Flag. It has gotten us nowhere. If we are going to build a challenge to the status quo, it will be done only by being bold and unapologetic about our critique of the existing system, and the radical transformation that is necessary if humanity is going to have a future worth living.
The radical historian Howard Zinn once said: “What matters is not who’s sitting in the White House. What matters is who’s sitting in!” If we want progressive change, we should take Zinn’s words to heart. Our side needs to get organised and rebuild a rank and file socialist current in the unions and an activist tradition on the campuses.
It has been our side’s lack of preparedness to use our industrial strength at key points that has been our downfall. That is, it has been the conservatism of the union leadership, and the lack of any significant organised left in the unions to challenge this, that remains our side’s key weakness.
If we want to fight Abbott, we need to build a fight back beyond parliament – on the streets, on campuses and, most centrally, in our workplaces, where in our millions workers have real power. Already there are protests in defence of refugee rights and for same-sex marriage planned in the first few weeks of the Abbott government. We can guarantee there will be strikes. The new round of attacks, while profits are sacrosanct, will see to that.That means we need to build a political alternative, a new socialist movement that doesn’t think it can win change through parliament, but instead looks to the struggles outside of parliament as the basis of a working class mass movement to overturn the whole rotten system. We are a long way from that yet, but we have to and can make a start now.
The spin from Labor is that disunity cost them the election. This is fantasy land stuff. If only they had all united behind rabid neoliberalism then Labor would still be in power. Yeah, right. I have a bridge in Sydney to sell you too.
The disunity theme means that the real reasons – Labor’s massive shift to the right economically and socially over the last 3 decades and the collapse of class struggle over that period – can be and will be ignored by the neoliberals who are the ALP.
There is an alternative. Its name is struggle.
With the notion that Labor is any better than the Liberals on refugees now dispensed with, what else are we left with? A contest between two parties beholden to big business, both equally committed to confronting the end of the mining boom with cutbacks and austerity. Two parties who refuse to take any meaningful action on climate change. Two parties willing to spend whatever it takes on militarism and border protection, but who refuse to provide decent health, education and social welfare
Australian Prime Minister Rudd thought that support for refugees was so weak that he could get away with implementing this murderous new policy with no opposition. The passionate response by thousands of people, not just in Melbourne but across the country, indicates that it doesn’t have to be this way. The road ahead, under Abbott or Rudd, will be long and bitter. But the uplifting protests of the last few weeks should galvanise every supporter of refugees to get onto the streets and join the struggle.
I am proud of banners that say F**k Labor. This expresses the justified anger many have with Labor over its plans to deport asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea. It is part of the Left relating to that section of society disgusted with the ALP’s actions and which is an audience for ideas of not just anger and rage against Labor but understanding why Labor does this. The real hope is in the ten thousand people who demonstrated last weekend against Labor’s disgraceful action and who will continue to fight for refugees.
Panos Petrou in Socialist Worker US writes that the resistance to austerity and social crisis in Greece has united behind a workers’ occupation of the state TV and radio station ERT after the government – for the first time since Greece was ruled by a military junta – tried to shut down the broadcaster.