- by Marcus Browning
- The Guardian
- Issue #2068
Photo: Alpha – flickr.com (CC BY-NC 2.0)
A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of Communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals, and German police-spies.
Manifesto of the Communist Party
Last week the Albanese government announced the list of economic burdens that it intends will accompany the Intergenerational Report into the future – the NDIS, Medicare, excessive corporate taxes, an ageing generation, and the need to foist the planned austerity program onto the working people.
In this plan, the working people are to bear the weight of lower real wages, of falling living standards and lost services to fund the all-consuming cost of the AUKUS war machine.
It is in this global context that the words quoted above from the Communist Manifesto highlight today’s developments. Published in 1848, one hundred and seventy-five years ago, they could have been written today to describe the ultra-conservative and neo-fascist forces making gains in the likes of Ukraine and countries in the EU. The names are different but the political forces are the same as those of the 19th century.
In 1848 the ‘holy alliance’ of the European reactionaries proved to be futile and the Communist Manifesto ushered in 100 revolutionary years in which communism became a world force, not only emblazoned on the flags of millions of people but inscribed in the minds of working people across the world as they fought for their place in the sun. For peace, education, a home, a job, medical services, for their real liberation and independence from colonialism for their countries. No one can stop this march of history!
Now, more than ever before, people know who is standing in the way of human progress – the conservatives, the neo-Nazis, those still aspiring for world domination, those who have had no hesitation in invading Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq to name but three – those mercilessly imposing the barbarity of their weapons of mass destruction to terrorise civilian populations, to make the world safe for the corporations and their ceaselessly burgeoning profits.
Was it not also the Soviet Union that “tore the guts out of the Nazi armies” and saved the world from a life under the heel of fascism?
As the world is battered by a cost-of-living crisis, still recovering from the worst pandemic in a century, and struggling to cope with the effects of disastrous climate change, the profits of the biggest 500 firms on the planet nearly doubled, exceeding $3 trillion in 2021.
Their combined income amounted to an almost unimaginable $38 trillion – equivalent to nearly 40 per cent of the entire world economy. That’s more than the GDP of all but the very richest countries in the world combined.
The combined income of just the five biggest corporations in the world was more than the income of the poorest two billion people put together – one-quarter of the world’s population. One single corporation – Walmart – earned more than half-a-trillion dollars. That’s more than $1.5 billion every day, exceeding the GDP of even wealthy countries like Austria or Norway. Meanwhile, Apple, the most profitable private corporation in the world, saw its profits rocket by 65 per cent to $95 billion.
This is what motivates those who attempt to turn back the tide of history and look to a ‘new’ spectre. It is why the Albanese government has handed Australia’s independence and sovereignty over to the biggest and most aggressive military power in history, converting the nation into a foreign military base – a launch pad for war in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
In contrast, in Asia, strong communist parties lead the governments of China, Vietnam, Laos and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. They also hold strong positions in the Mongolian parliament and in Cambodia. Two state governments of India are led by an alliance of communist and left parties, and they have been repeatedly re-elected.
In the face of counter-revolution, changes in a left direction continue in South America. Cuba has defied all the attempts of successive US governments using a blockade of trade sanctions, sabotage, propaganda and assassination attempts to overthrow the communist government of that small island state.
There is a similar story on the African continent despite the huge economic, social, and national problems that have been created by colonialism in the Congo, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, and other African countries. Communists are represented in the South African parliament and in the ANC-led government. There is the emergence of the BRICS group of countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – which is in the process of expanding.
As the capitalist world slips more and more into instability and has no solution to its problems but to resort to war, their governments reach for the anti-communist weapon just as they did in the days of the Cold War. Their focal point is China and its Communist government.
The Communist Manifesto stated that “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”
Just as the first communists made the old rulers of Europe tremble, so today we see in the actions of the authors the same attempt to turn back the clock of history. To quote the Manifesto again: “Let ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”
There’s the real intergenerational report.