The Guardian • Issue #2085

Silencing dissent

Albanese. Biden, Sunak, at AUKUS meeting.

Albanese. Biden, Sunak, at AUKUS meeting. Photo: White House – commons.wikimedia.org (Public domain).

Such are the festering contradictions in capitalism’s deepening crisis that it is but a short reach to connect the recent actions by balaclava-wearing fascists thugs in Sydney and the current employer campaign against the Maritime Union of Australia. What the Albanese government has in mind to suppress dissent, recalls the 1998 waterfront dispute: locked-out workers, police, and balaclava-wearing thugs with guard dogs on the wharves.

Recall also that last year the Albanese government cut funding to the budgets of parliamentary crossbenchers, undermining their ability to scrutinise policies and decisions; tyranny hides behind a veil of secrecy. It is but a short reach from there to the increasing attacks on the national broadcaster, the ABC.

A blatant blackout of reportage on Israel’s ongoing crime in Gaza throughout the mass media demonstrates the commercial broadcasters’ lapdog role in service to its ruling class masters. The independence of the ABC has been targeted in order to gag it over coverage of Israel’s genocidal drive.

Most publicly, ABC radio broadcaster, Antoinette Lattouf, was sacked in December for a reference she made to Palestinians on social media. It raised a warning about self-censorship by journalists in fear of retribution. The sacking was as fast as it was ruthless, as Lattouf put it: “One minute I was taking talkback callers, the next I’m thrown under a bus.”

Lattouf warned, “This was a really orchestrated attack to not only target me and my reputation, but to send a bit of a warning shot to other journalists: criticise Israel, use your voice in a public domain, and there will be consequences.”

EXIT PACKER, ENTER MURDOCH

The week before last, Albanese installed former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd, Kim Williams, as ABC chairman. Murdoch had brought Williams into News Ltd as a hatchet man to cut jobs. Asked of his time at News Ltd, he declared that he should have cut “harder, faster, bolder.”

Williams replaces Ita Buttrose who was groomed into the mass media by Kerry Packer and his publishing empire. Packer and Murdoch are the propaganda spearheads in the war on working people the world over, now attached like the parasites they are to the national broadcaster.

WHOSE INTERESTS?

All this is done in the name of the ‘national interest.’

This despite the policies of Albanese and his government actually being in the interests of a tiny minority, the ruling class.

An ABC with its independence free of corporate diktat, is in the national interest, but it is under constant fire, a reflection of the intention of silencing voices and shutting down opposition on the streets against the government’s austerity program and drive to war.

We are told that wars of aggression are in the national interest. The violation of the human rights of asylum seekers is said to also be in the national interest.

The war-making AUKUS axis is also promoted making the same claim.

How will war against China or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea help the Australian people?

The real national interest of the Australian people is expressed in the growing opposition to AUKUS and the scandalous expenditure of $368 billion on nuclear submarines while Medicare, public education, and other vital public needs are starved of funds.

The real national interest is to be found in the policies of those who campaign for the strengthening of public education and public health.

Karl Marx in his monumental work Capital, described the reality of capitalist greed and immorality: “Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent, positive audacity; 100 per cent will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent, and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged.

“If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave-trade have amply proved all that is here stated.”

The cry about “national interests” coming from Albanese & Co is a fraud and the promotion of nationalism is a crime that divides the Australian people from the people of other countries. It breeds another crime – racism – that feeds on the idea of national superiority by one country over another.

The Communist Party of Australia stands for the interests of the working people of Australia – the overwhelming majority – and it is their interests that are truly national. Along with this goes a belief in the common interests of all working people of all countries.

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