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Issue #1914      May 11, 2020

WHAT SORT OF WORLD DO WE WANT WHEN THE PANDEMIC IS OVER?

Comrades from the Port Jackson branch invited me to address a great question at their “Tuesday’s Talks” initiative: What sort of world do we want after the pandemic is over?

This is an extremely relevant question that has generated a lot of discussion among comrades and other people in Australia and around the world.

Some believe that we are currently in a revolutionary situation, that we’ll end up with socialism in twelve or twenty-four months after the pandemic. I think those are very nice and optimistic thoughts and we must continue to be positive that a better world is possible.

However, when I look at what governments around the world are doing to save the capitalist system at the expense of workers and the people in general, I see that the struggle for socialism has to be invigorated.

After the pandemic is over in twelve or twenty-four months, the new normal will be fewer rights for workers to organise. The Morrison government has already introduced regulations further undermining the right to organise, the participation of workers in their workplaces, wages, and conditions.

Far from socialism, we, unfortunately, will return to a world of the old normal of homelessness, 200 million of them children — also, millions of them dying of famine and curable diseases before they reach five years of age.

I’m reminded of the words of Cuban leader Fidel Castro when he said that none of those children are Cuban. Furthermore, the words of Fidel and the work that Cuba has done in building a socialist society gives hope that a better world is possible and necessary.

It gives me hope, though, to see how socialist countries have been able to work cooperatively putting people first not just in their own countries but globally where the help is needed. This is happening despite the crushing economic pressures from criminal, inhumane blockades that imperialism has chosen to strengthen at this time.

In the Capitalist countries, we will go back to the old normal of an asphyxiating foreign debt that has stolen the future of generations of people living in third world countries.

In Australia, the Business Council of Australia and the Morrison government are already planning to return to “normal.” What they mean is that they need the creators of wealth to go back to work. What they are perhaps really saying is that they will return to a “new normal” but not one the people, especially workers, would want. They have chosen to use this time to form legislation and regulations that support their draconian agenda. The only way they can continue to make profits is by having workers returning to work under legislation that makes it easier for bosses to reduce wages and conditions.

Even more workers will go into the precarious employment of casualisation, labour-hire, and the gig economy. Many workers who lost their employment will have difficulty finding jobs again.

Many small and medium-sized businesses have gone under, and workers left at the mercy of the market.

Unions have done a great job during the pandemic fighting for workers’ wages in the way of subsidies such as Jobkeeper, increases to Newstart (now called Jobseeker), free access to childcare including other measures to keep people at home and somehow employed by the billions invested in bailouts to save the system.

The government estimates that every week of shut down has cost the economy $4 billion per week, adding up to $50 billion since the pandemic started. This could be easily recovered by targeted public sector investment, for example, in green energy and cuts to the bloated military war budget.

The pandemic has really exposed the failures of capitalism. The Party has issued a number of statements of what was needed putting people first rather than profits.

The CPA demanded no worker should be left behind and a guaranteed income for all workers, including the protection of those 2 million workers on temporary visa programs, and the wellbeing of the community as a whole.

The Party leadership issued statements about Party activity during the time of the COVID-19 and urged every member to be active. A plan has been developed for campaigns over the next twelve months. Branches must ensure the collective discussion of the plan and its practical implementation.

If we really want social change, we must build a strong Communist Party, and that starts with educating our existing members and giving them the tools to strengthen their political and ideological understanding of capitalism and the necessity for socialism.

WHAT SORT OF WORLD SHOULD WE FIGHT FOR?

There are two tasks that the Party leadership want us to develop during this time. One is the practical implementation of activating the party membership through the Health, Workers’ Rights, and Socialism campaign, the May Day selfie campaign, and other activities are for comrades to get involved in on the ground raising much-needed awareness of the problems and the solution with the people.

The other is to use the conditions the pandemic has created to call for a strong public sector and the need to nationalise the health and education systems and other strategic sectors such as transport, banks and insurance, mines and energy. Public housing programs would provide affordable housing for the many homeless and jobs for the unemployed.

Finally, the Party leadership calls on the membership and supporters now to also help register “The Communists” as an electoral expression to be able to stand Communists in Federal elections. I take this opportunity to ask readers to help us in this effort and add their names by registering online here: cpaforms.wufoo.com/forms/join-the-communists

We need to find ways to build support for a new type of government with more left, progressive and democratic forces capable of implementing electoral and other reforms that could allow the working class to play a protagonist role in social change.

The struggle for socialism and communism in our country must not only continue but must be ramped up. This needs to be accompanied by a strong mass movement with the demand that workers will not pay for the crisis.

We envisage socialism as a real alternative against rapacious capitalism.

Australia must nationalise key sectors of the economy such as the resource sector, energy, build infrastructure and bring back the manufacture and industrial sectors. Transport, including shipping and airlines, must be in public hands.

The wealth to deliver nationalisation has always been there, and the billions in bailouts used to save the capitalist system have shown this. Billions more can be saved by cutting the military budget to one per cent of GDP or about fifty per cent of the current spending. Fighting for peace is also a fight for a new world free of exploitation and for socialism.

I urge comrades to double their efforts in this challenge. We all must work harder to build a strong working-class Party capable of leading the struggle for social change and eventually socialism.

Let’s not get distracted with the government propaganda that we are all together in this. We are together in this only when we come together as a class: the class that has the historical task of destroying the capitalist state and the enormous challenge of building a better society for all.

Finally, I recommend comrades to read and collectively discuss the recent articles that have been published in the Guardian. Those articles are food for thought and more ideas and initiatives can be developed with the wisdom of the collective assisting the Party leadership in the practical implementation of the recent plans for Party activity.

Long live socialism!

Workers won’t pay for the crisis!

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