- The Guardian
- Issue #1998
RESOLUTION ON THE SITUATION IN UKRAINE
The war between Russia and Ukraine is part of a wider conflict between capitalist powers, between Russia on one side and Ukraine and the expansionist NATO powers on the other.
Neither side in this war stands for the real interests of the peoples of Russia and Ukraine which include living in peace determining the future of their own society free from outside domination.
The conditions for today’s war have been created by a number of factors including:
The eastwards expansion of NATO;
The US- and fascist-backed coup to replace Ukraine’s democratically elected president by pro-Western politicians in 2014;
The Ukrainian Communist Party and its MPs have been banned and the country thrown open to western capital;
The refusal of the Ukrainian government to implement the UN-backed Minsk II agreement including autonomy for the Donbass region; and
The escalating attacks on the “People’s Republics” in Donetsk and Lugansk
However this cannot justify the military offensive against Ukraine. This onslaught further destabilises Ukraine and will strengthen the hands of those who prefer militarism and war to the peaceful settlement of problems between and within states. Already the giant oil and armaments corporations are making enormous profits out of this conflict.
The Communist party of Australia calls for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, a halt to the all military operations, and negotiations to bring about a just settlement of the Ukraine question.
The CPA condemns the US-NATO-EU military build-up which will further destabilise the region.
The CPA demands the Australian government use diplomatic means to bring about a negotiated solution to the conflict rather than follow the US-NATO-EU allies.
THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN LOCKOUT MUST END
Delegates to the Communist Party of Australia’s 14th National Congress consider the following:
Australia has some of the most reactionary, anti-worker lockout laws in the OECD. Under the Fair Work Act enshrined in section 411 the ‘employer response action’, employers can take protected industrial action against employees in response to industrial action by employees. Reform is needed in Australian lockout law to bring Australian legal standards into the international mainstream.
Once rare and a relic belonging to the late 19th century history and during the crisis years of the Great Depression, lockouts where an employer temporarily withdraws paid work for its employees have resurfaced. Since 1996 there has been an ongoing upward trend in the use of lockouts that now sees employers responsible for most of the long-running disputes in Australia accounting for over half of the long disputes between 1999-2003. The working days lost to lockouts grew from just 3 per cent between 1994-98 to 26 per cent between 1999-2003. This trend has only continued.
Of real concern for current circumstances, along with the observed ongoing increases to their use, lockouts typically occur in depressed markets. Slow business conditions lower the losses sustained by the bosses. Adding further pressure, employees who are locked out cannot claim unemployment benefits.
The ability of workers to freely associate and bargain collectively to pursue their interests in disputes with their employers is hindered in Australia by legislation that limits access to take strike action. This coupled with the virtual absence of limitations on lockouts in Australian labour law defies the norm throughout the OECD.
The equal treatment of lockouts and strikes is inconsistent with other legal principles such as freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining and to strike. Effectively it renders the rights of employees meaningless.
Being able to withdraw our labour or at least the implied threat to do so underpins the bargaining power of employees and unions. Without this, employees are relegated to a state of dependence unable to bargain effectively.
Recently, we saw over 300 Coles distribution centre workers in NSW locked out of their workplace for over three months after taking twenty-four hours strike action demanding improved wages and conditions. The reasons for the strike included unequal pay rates with other warehouse workers, increasing pick rates (workers report that rates had increased to 230 cartons per hour, up from 160 just seven years ago) leading to potentially unsafe work practices and failure to supply PPE during the COVID crisis and increasing casualisation. In WA, Seven West media locked its production workers out for two weeks before xmas after a four-hour stoppage, another lockout is currently underway after workers again rejected an Enterprise Agreement proposal that will strip their conditions and make way for the casualisation of the workforce. When fighting back against lockouts, we saw the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and its members campaign heavily against the narrative, set by the NSW state government, that the lockout was a by-product of a lack of cooperation of the union and its workers providing a pathway forward for future lockout struggles.
There are many more examples.
It is only the implicit threat or explicit strike weapon which restores any sort of equilibrium between labour and capital. The CPA calls for the right to strike and for the prohibition of lockouts. We call on the Australian union movement to join us in taking up this call.
RESOLUTION ON AUKUS
The CPA condemns AUKUS, the Australian pact with the US and UK, aimed at confronting and containing China.
Under AUKUS, Australia will acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, only the seventh country in the world to do so. AUKUS also includes an increase in the 2500 US troops that already rotate through Darwin, visits of US and UK warships and aircraft, and increased co-operation on artificial intelligence, space technology and cyber warfare.
The pact is aimed at countering China’s growth in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Brexit Watch in the UK stated that AUKUS “firmly places the UK at the forefront of the Western pushback against the growth of China.”
The Australian Government is helping boost the chance of war through belligerent rhetoric against China, alongside its largest military build-up since the Second World War.
Paying for the nuclear submarines will cost at least $100 billion and will mean that budgets for public services will be raided while arms manufacturers line their pockets.
We face a climate crisis, record low wage growth and an ongoing global pandemic. Public health, education and housing will be robbed of funding. Repairing and protecting our environment will not get the money it desperately needs.
The government claims building submarines in Australia will create jobs, but far more jobs would be created if the money was used to fund a transition to 100 per cent renewable energy. This would create at least 130,000 climate jobs over ten years.
Australia’s national security cannot be enhanced by exorbitant military spending, totalling more than a quarter of a trillion dollars over ten years. In reality this spending will make Australia poorer and less secure.
There has been next to no public discussion about the implications of AUKUS. Instead, we are subjected to a constant stream of messages about China’s evil intentions, which have little basis in reality.
AUKUS has already begun to disrupt relations in the Indo-Pacific. Indonesia and Malaysia have expressed opposition. Countries in the region do not want to have to choose sides, do not want an arms race in the region, and do not want to be involved in fighting proxy wars for the US.
Most countries support the trend towards a multi-polar world and against hegemony. China’s framework of win/win diplomacy and community for a shared future are much better suited for the increasingly multipolar world.
An anti-AUKUS movement is growing in Australia, drawing peace and environmental groups, trade unions, students and many more. The CPA calls on all its members and supporters to join and become active in this movement and to raise the issues in their workplaces, localities, and community organisations.
RESOLUTION ON CUBA
The Communist Party of Australia at its 14th Congress extends its full solidarity to the Cuban people, the Cuban government and the Communist Party of Cuba as they defend their independence, their sovereignty and their socialist revolution.
Since the victory of the Cuban revolution, the US has committed ceaseless acts of military intervention, subversion and sabotage as well as economic blockade against Cuba under its scheme to stifle the first socialist country in the Western hemisphere by all means.
This is a violation of the human rights of the Cuban people and a principal obstacle to the Cuban economy, which seeks responsible development, that is being built prioritising Social Development and sustainability
Before being elected Biden condemned the actions by Trump to strengthen the blockade even more. Biden said the Trumps changes, “have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights.” Despite these words, Biden has kept all Trump’s measures and started a communication war against the people of Cuba called SOS Cuba aiming for intervention. The US administration even uses the pandemic as a weapon to create an even greater crisis.
Biden has not removed Cuba from the US’ “state sponsor of terrorism” list, which has further economic impacts for Cuba. The imperialists are becoming more blatant and desperate in their attempts to topple the socialist system in Cuba.
As was seen by the response of the Cuban people to defend their revolution the US has very much underestimated the unyielding faith and will of the Communist Party and people of Cuba who stand strong and resolute despite the protracted blockade imposed by the imperialists, the underhanded campaign and funding of undercover “democracy promotion” that attempts to create internal unrest, and disregards international laws about foreign interference.
The Communist Party of Australia will continue to stand with the people of Cuba in defence of their revolution and their advance of the cause of socialism.
Despite all of the acts of aggression Cuba has been faced with, the island has maintained some of the highest human development indicators in the region in terms of health, education and life longevity. This is a testament to a united people and to Cuba’s socialist system.
Further the Communist Party of Australia fully supports Cuba’s demands for the end of the US occupation of Guantánamo Bay and its return to the Cuban people.
The CPA will continue to campaign in solidarity with Cuba until the criminal blockade is lifted.
Cuba became the first country in the world to fully vaccinate its entire population from the age of 2 with its own home developed vaccines. We congratulate Cuba for its tremendous campaign against the Covid pandemic. Under its principles of public health and internationalism Cuba is now set to vaccinate the world sharing its vaccine technology with developing countries. We recognise the huge contribution of Cuban medics providing medical assistance to 40 countries across 5 continents. Viva Cuba, down with the criminal blockade!