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Issue #1915      May 18, 2020



MP Andrew Hastie’s criticism of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and specifically the Communist Party of China (CCP), are long documented. Last year, in the Sydney Morning Herald, Hastie compared the CCP to Nazi Germany, stating: “The West once believed that economic liberalisation would naturally lead to democratisation in China. This was our Maginot Line. It would keep us safe, just as the French believed their series of steel and concrete forts would guard them against the German advance in 1940.” This juvenile equivocation of fascism and communism aside, China fought against Japanese Imperialism (a member of the Axis) making Hastie’s comment particularly revolting. The PRC responded by stating that Hastie had a “Cold War mentality and ideological bias.” Indeed, the extremity of the comments even seemed to make Morrison blush at the time who distanced himself from the remarks stating that Hastie was “not a minister in the government.” Hastie has since continued his attacks on China, making him persona non grata, which resulted in being denied entry into the country for a government study tour.

Jump forward to this year, and the COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone’s minds, with Hastie being no exception. The crisis has provided Hastie with the perfect opportunity to lob shots about our largest trading partner. Just a few weeks ago, Hastie published a petition on his website, stating that the virus has “exposed” how reliant we are “an authoritarian regime like China for our economic security and prosperity.” Hastie’s McCarthyism went further stating that the CCP “seeks to reshape the global order and Australia’s position in it through foreign interference, ownership of strategic assets and influence operations.”

Interestingly, the prosperity that our trade relations with China have afforded us has created divisions with the Australian ruling class. While on one end of the spectrum we have reactionary nationalists like Hastie calling on Australian’s to “take action on Australian sovereignty,” others like Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan have denounced such remarks as damaging to our economy. “I think keeping good relationships with China and our trading partners is very important for our economic survival,” said McGowan adding, “I just think we need to [...] get on with having great relationships with countries around the world.” McGowan also noted that trade with China made up twenty-five per cent of WA’s economic activity and that it was this relationship that WA was able to “keep the national economy alive.” McGowan qualified the antagonistic attitudes towards China as “cutting off your nose to spite your face,” and Australia isn’t the only place where this phenomenon is happening. Across the West, neoliberalism is engaged with a tug-of-war with reactionaries attempting to enforce Western hegemony and capitalists whose only concern is making a profit.

The rhetoric Hastie expounds about Australian independence from China showcases dazzling heights of irony. A former SAS captain during the disastrous “War on Terror,” Hastie was in command of Troops that invaded Afghanistan. Did he care about the sovereignty of Afghanistan? Did he care about the “foreign interference” in Iraq that subsequently came from the US? Or how the US was seeking to maintain its global dominance with “ownership of strategic assets” in the region?

It would be fair to say that Hastie does not share the same concerns about US interference as he does about the “interference” he perceives China is having on Australia. It is important to call out the irresponsible rhetoric that Hastie spews but not only because of its impact on our economy. China’s socialist governance and the advances it has made in the seventy years of its existence are a shining star in the communist movement that the world should look up to. Reactionaries like Hastie use nationalist rhetoric to divide the working-class on racist lines. We cannot allow this to happen; we must always expose fascistic sentiment wherever it lies.

Next article – DIG DEEP FOR CUBA

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