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Party Statements – 2017

Defeat Turnbull’s war on workers

CPA statement

November 2017

The Communist Party of Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalation of the Turnbull government’s war on workers demonstrated by the Australian Federal Police’s raid last week on the offices of the Australian Workers’ Union.

This provocative action has confirmed the concerns of those in the trade union movement and members of the wider community that police state powers are being used to try and destroy the trade union movement in this country.

The raid follows decades of attacks on the rights of trade unions and is consistent with other moves to strip the rights of workers gained through a history of hard struggle. The objective is to leave workers defenceless in the face of heightened exploitation and increasing job losses.

The dishonesty of the government in this instance in now plain for the public to see. Employment Minister Michaelia Cash’s denials of a tip-off to the media regarding the disturbing police operation and the baseless nature of the raid are clear. The minister must resign and the witch hunt against the trade union movement must cease.

Workers will continue to struggle to defeat this growing offensive which is using the judicial arm of the state apparatus towards the establishment of a police state directed in the first place against workers’ legitimate demands and interests: against their right to organise.

It should be recalled that the Coalition government went to a double dissolution election based on deceitful arguments regarding the trade union movement. The CPA also calls for the dysfunctional but very damaging Australian Building and Construction Commission to be scrapped.

The greatest unity and bold action is required to thwart this anti-people agenda that is being imposed on behalf of the employer class. In these endeavours the Communist Party of Australia pledges to play its part.


Trump’s declaration of war

CPA statement

September 2017

Last week, US president Donald Trump addressed the United Nations and made a declaration of war against a number of UN member-states. In a dictatorial diatribe that paid lip service in passing to the UN’s peace-keeping mission, the leader of the biggest nuclear weapons power presented a picture of the world where each country stands alone in pursuit of their own interests to the exclusion of all others.

The declared subjects of the declaration of war – grouped together as “rogue regimes” – are North Korea, Iran and Venezuela. Beating the drums of war, Trump announced to the 193 UN-member states that the US will be spending “$700 billion on our military ... our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been.”

“We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity”, he stated. “But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body (UN) not only support terrorists, but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.”

In reference to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Trump threatened to spark a nuclear conflagration: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Aside from this outrageous threat to annihilate an entire country, such an act would inevitably escalate a chain reaction leading to world-wide catastrophe: the destruction of life on earth.

There is no such thing as “limited nuclear war”.

Israel, the military arm of the US in the Middle East and itself a global pariah for its abuse of human rights, is playing a wider role beyond the Middle East in the strategy to escalate US hegemony. Thus in praise, following Trump’s diatribe, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had never heard “a bolder or more courageous speech” at the UN.

Throughout his speech Trump peddled successive versions of the Big Lie:

“In America we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone ...”

“In America the people govern, the people rule and the people are sovereign.”

“In foreign affairs, we are renewing the principle of sovereignty.”

And: “The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world and the greatest defender of sovereignty.”

Alluding to developments since the conclusion of WW2, the lie then became an insult to the intelligence of the international community: “It is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerged victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion ...”

On terrorism, without giving details, Trump stated ominously, “I have also totally changed the rules of our engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.” The US has launched airstrikes, two land invasions, and drone strikes around the world since the September 11, 2001 attack in New York City, after which – under cover of the “war on terror” – former George W Bush proclaimed “endless war”.

The most blatant hypocrisy from Trump was the constant reference to the sovereignty of nations. Even without recounting the US history of successive violations of the sovereignty and independence of nations around the world, the speech over and over again threatened the destruction of these two fundamental tenants of the UN, targeting North Korea, Iran, Syria, China, Russia, Venezuela and Cuba, the latter two demonised in the language of the cold war as “socialist dictatorship”.

Further, he continued, “From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever ... socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure”.

Australia has a central role in the strategy being played out in the power shift of global spheres of interest. US spy bases in Australia direct attacks to their targets in conflicts, with preparations for war in the region increasingly evident in the growing US military presence in Australia’s north, targeted not only at North Korea but also China.

The vision of self-interest and ultra-nationalism expounded in the Trump speech is the belligerence of an imperialist power looking to reconfigure power toward the New World Order pronounced by the US towards the end of last century. Globalisation, the term used to define this phase of imperialism, was to be the means by which this new order was to be delivered.

To achieve this new form of world slavery, the ruling class in the US and its sycophantic allies, such as Australia, will use all means available to them: military power, economic control and domination, political and ideological manipulation and terrorism.

Nonetheless, there are sharp contradictions and antagonisms between the main capitalist groupings. Each wants to dominate and strives to protect its interests while trying to expand their “spheres of interest” and take more of the markets.

The New World Order is about imposing the world-wide domination of capital by a system going deeper into crisis at every turn.

The CPA – in concert with the overwhelming response of the international community – calls for negotiations on an equal basis to resolve differences between nations and condemns any moves to increase tensions that could lead to conflict.


Reza Shahabi, Iranian trade unionist on hunger strike

CPA statement

September 2017

The Communist Party of Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms the treatment of trade unionist Reza Shahabi currently on hunger strike in the Rajai Shahr Prison in Iran.

Reza Shahabi is a member of the board of directors of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. He and other members of the union are persecuted and imprisoned for their vital work of creating an organisation independent of government and employers in order to serve its own members. For this reason Reza Shahabi and others have been fired, imprisoned and beaten.

Reza Shahabi was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to five years in prison. While serving his five-year sentence, Shahabi was again called to court and sentenced to an additional year in jail.

Due to the physical harm caused by violent treatment in prison, he had to undertake two surgical interventions to his neck and waist. While his medical leave from jail was ordered by his doctors, the security forces and judicial authorities who oversaw the illegal proceedings against him considered the entire period of medical leave for Reza Shahabi to be an absence from jail and that he should now remain in prison for another 968 days.

Reza has been on hunger strike to protest against this unlawful and unfair ruling. This brave trade unionist, who is a bus driver and a board member of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, has been on hunger strike since August 9, 2017.

The Communist Party of Australia adds its voice to the many others across the world demanding the immediate release from prison of Reza Shahabi and an end to the persecution of trade unionists in Iran.


May Day Greetings – The people united will win

CPA statement

May 2017

The Communist Party of Australia sends greetings of solidarity to the workers of Australia and the world as they celebrate May Day – International Workers’ Day. The occasion this year is overshadowed by extremely worrying events that demand action on the part of the working class at the head of a mighty movement in support of peace with social justice. The immense suffering infl icted on Syria and Yemen, the destabilisation of Venezuela and other progressive governments in Latin America and the threats of a nuclear showdown against the DPRK are to the fore in our consciousness and planning as we observe May Day 2017.

We also face an environmental disaster if we cannot change the policy direction of governments, including that of Australia, which are hell-bent on a monopoly, profi ts fi rst agenda. As the Guardian pointed out last week, “This May Day the world is on the brink of two irreversible catastrophes – nuclear war and destruction of human life on our planet as a result of human induced climate change. Both catastrophes are being driven by capitalism and its rapacious and blinkered pursuit of profi ts. In Australia, we can play our part by joining the anti-imperialist movement to end the US alliance, close all foreign bases and adopt and assert Australia’s sovereignty and independence.”

Australian workers are coming under sustained attack on their rights, their incomes and conditions. Their unions are enduring a crippling legal assault to exclude them from the workplace and to bankrupt them. Precarious work is on the rise pointing to a grim future of powerlessness and indignity in the workplace. But we should also celebrate the resistance and the victories being achieved in this battle. The fi ght-back in the war on workers will be long but the workers and people united in this struggle will win. There is widespread support for the ideas of a return to organisation on the job and defi ance of bad laws. These laws, such as the one re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission, must be repealed and the laws restricting legitimate and absolutely necessary trade union activity broken in a united display of working class solidarity.

The CPA supports the call from the ACTU to all workers to join their unions and fi ght!

Happy May Day!

Bob Briton – CPA General Secretary
Vinnie Molina – CPA National President


Hands off Syria

CPA statement on the US bombing of Syria

April 2017

The Communist Party of Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms the bombing of Syria by the US military. The attack on a sovereign country is a violation of international law and gives comfort and aid to the other enemies of peace in the region.

The decision to launch the attack was made without reference to the UN or even to US Congress. Trump has shown by this action that the same agenda for the Middle East, i.e. for the dismemberment and destruction of countries pursuing a policy independent of US imperialism, is still in force.

The initial Western news broadcasts reported the bombing of a plant in Idlib, which hit a facility where terrorists produced chemical fi lled shells for usage in Syria and Iraq. The story quickly evolved to become an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad government. The international community is right to question the unsubstantiated claims by the Trump administration of the Assad government’s responsibility for the supposed toxic gas attack on the civilian population of an area of Syria controlled by anti-government forces. The US has a history of creating such pretexts for aggression, such as the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, to cite just one example.

With this action, the US has heightened the risk of a major confl ict between nuclear–armed powers and sets back efforts to fi nd a peaceful resolution to the confl ict. The US attack on Syria’s airbase serves to bolster the morale of terrorists who have suffered serious setbacks at the hands of the Syrian army over recent weeks.

The support given to the Trump administration by the Australian government and Labor Opposition, while predictable is deplorable and irresponsible. It is up to the peace-loving people of the world to show their opposition to this recklessness and to stop US imperialism’s drive to war.

The CPA calls on all its members and supporters to join forces on the ground with the anti-war movement for peace and social justice. Hands off Syria and the Middle East!


We must defend penalty rates

CPA CC Executive statement

March 2017

The Communist Party of Australia condemns the recent decision by the Fair Work Commission to slash Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in the retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy sectors.

The so-called “independent” Fair Work Commission has delivered exactly what the government and employers ordered – a massive wage-cut that hits the lowest paid and most vulnerable hardest.

The campaign in defence of penalty rates is not about what Bill Shorten said or didn’t say or what the representing unions did or didn’t do in the interests of their members. This struggle is about basic workers’ rights. It is a battle for living standards, for a living wage and workers’ rights. The attacks on workers and their unions must be defeated.

We welcome the decision and actions taken by the Greens and the ALP to protect penalty rates in Parliament but united action must be taken by unions and the community to overcome the setbacks imposed by Award Modernisation and the shortcomings of the Fair Work Act.

The CPA is committed to workers’ rights and will campaign alongside workers, trade unions and the community in defence of penalty rates and other crucial workers’ rights including for the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, ABCC.

The CPA calls on Party supporters to join us in the struggle for workers’ rights and for a people’s government in Australia.

 



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