Australia: Socialist Alliance's 'International Political Perspectives' resolution
"Despite repeated warnings from the majority of the world's scientists of the urgent need to slash greenhouse gas emission, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed over 400 parts per million for the first time in human history – signalling the globe’s dangerous race to catastrophic and irreversible global warming."
Adopted by the 10th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance, June 7-9, 2014.
1. The 10th national conference of Socialist Alliance is taking place at a time extreme inequality, intensified conflict and ecological crisis on a global scale. The 85 richest individuals in the world now hold as much wealth between them as the 3.5 billion poorest people in the world. A world divided by such extreme inequality will never be at peace and this is fundamentally why wars and uprisings continue to break out in numerous countries. This unprecedented concentration of wealth and power also is an absolute block to the urgently needed transition to an ecologically sustainable future.
2. The multinational corporations are imposing more “trade liberalisation” agreements to further entrench their power and privilege. One of these is the secretive Trans-Pacific partnership Agreement (TPPA) which would limit the ability of participating governments to regulate foreign investment; impose strict intellectual property regulations; hamper production of cheap generic medicines; create incentives for multinational corporations to send jobs offshore; and make signatory countries accountable to international trade tribunals. The TPPA would also give foreign corporations the ability to demand compensation for any expected future profits that may be lost or hindered by national laws. The Socialist Alliance totally opposes the TPPA and will continue for campaign against it.
3. Despite repeated warnings from the majority of the world's scientists of the urgent need to slash greenhouse gas emission, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed over 400 parts per million for the first time in human history – signalling the globe’s dangerous race to catastrophic and irreversible global warming. Without radical changes, the world is on track for a 4 Celsius degree rise in temperature. That means a planet without coral reefs and, probably, a world with oceans too warm and too acidic to sustain marine life as we know it. It means the disappearance of all low-lying island nations this century and the permanent flooding of the homes of 200 to 400 million coastal dwelling people. It means extreme weather events like the Australian heat waves, the British mega-floods, the Californian drought and the recent Typhoon Haiyan (which devastated the Philippines) become the new normal.
4. While the IMF reported in April 2014 that GDP has begun growing again in the advanced capitalist countries, it conceded that “global recovery is still fragile despite improved prospects”. This recovery has been described as “jobless growth” and austerity is still being imposed across the advanced capitalist economies, driving millions into poverty, cutting welfare, slashing public spending on health and education, and slashing jobs and wages.
5. The IMF also warned of new risks in the “emerging economies” – the selected parts of the Third World where global capitalism has invested significantly in industrialisation over the last three decades in an attempt to cut its costs by exploiting lower wage levels. In particular, the capitalists are worried about the Chinese economy where growth rates have slowed over the last few years and there is a high risk of a serious financial crisis.
6. Despite these fears, China is typically held up as the capitalist success story of recent history. However, while China's development into a capitalist economy has secured rising living standards for some and immense wealth for a tiny few, the terrible social and ecological consequences of this development are rarely acknowledged. China now has the biggest proletariat in world history, yet labour’s share of this wealth has fallen sharply since the 1980s and strikes and workplaces disputes have rocketed. The ecological devastation is immense. The Socialist Alliance stands in solidarity with China's working masses in their struggle for social justice, democracy and environmental sustainability.
7. Following a relative withdrawal of military forces from the Middle East, the US is pivoting to Asia. This includes an increase in US military assets in Asia, new bases, more troops and the re-deployment of the US navy.
8. The fragile recovery from the GFC and the Great Recession that followed has been at the expense of the large majority of people who have been forced to shoulder the main burden. As a result a continuing political crisis of neo-liberalism continues to break out into political upheavals and what the IMF calls “geopolitical risks”. These include the continuing wars and uprisings in the Middle East, the conflict in Ukraine and the continuing popular mobilisations against austerity in southern Europe.
9. However, many of these mass uprisings also revealed the limits of spontaneous revolts as well as the challenges – and necessity – of developing the self-organisation and political consciousness of the oppressed and building a political force that represents the interests of the oppressed and is capable of leading a struggle for political power against the ruling classes. In the absence of such developments, right-wing populists, local elites and imperialist powers will exploit the situation. We can see this dynamic unfold in Egypt, Syria and the Ukraine.
10. The Socialist Alliance will continue to stand in solidarity with all struggles against oppression and exploitation even where we disagree with the political leadership of such struggles. For instance, we defend the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and other dissidents facing brutal repression under the Egyptian military regime, even though we disagreed with the politics of MB and the former Morsi government.
11. The Socialist Alliance will continue to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination and their right to a homeland. Socialist Alliances recognises that there can be no peace in the Middle East unless the question of Palestinian sovereignty is resolved. Socialist Alliance rejects the Abbott Australian Government’s position that East Jerusalem is not occupied. All Jewish settlements on the West Bank are illegal under international law and should be removed and the land returned to the original owners. Socialist Alliance rejects the ongoing blockade of the Gaza strip as a gross collective punishment of Palestinian people.
12. We oppose – and seek to expose – any imperialist intervention and manipulation of these conflicts but we reject the approach of those leftists who in the name of opposing imperialism whitewash bloody dictatorships like that the Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad. We also condemn the persistent, heavily-funded intervention by the US and EU in the political life of Ukraine. This intervention aims to expand NATO into Ukraine, multiplying tensions with Russia, and to turn Ukraine into an economic dependency of the EU. The planned association agreement between Ukraine and the EU, together with the accompanying IMF-dictated austerity program, can be expected to destroy large sections of Ukrainian industry and further impoverish the country's working population. We stand in solidarity with the popular struggle against austerity and ethno-linguistic oppression that is now unfolding in Ukraine, especially in the country's south-eastern provinces.
13. The increasingly cruel scapegoating of refugees by the Coalition and the ALP has created a close and dependant relationship between the Australian and the Sri Lankan governments, demonstrated by Australia's opposition to the investigation into human rights abuses and war crimes adopted by the UNHRC; and by its donation of navy patrol boats to help prevent refugees from escaping. Socialist Alliance reaffirms its support for the right of the Eelam Tamils to self-determination and the struggle of all people on the island of Sri Lanka against the violent Rajapaksa regime.
14. The US and its other rich country allies show no sign of scaling down their dirty imperial wars, based especially on drone operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. Closer to home, the Abbott Liberal-National government has adopted an aggressive imperialist stance towards its closest neighbours, particularly Timor Leste. Australia has spied on the Timorese government on behalf of the oil and gas companies and imposed a grossly unfair maritime boundary and division of offshore resources on Timor Leste, and sought to intimidate Timor Leste's lawyer with police raids and document seizures. Australia's criminal refugee policy is also an imperialist policy – outsourcing responsibility for dealing with and imprisoning asylum seekers to poor Pacific nations. The Socialist Alliance will continue to expose and campaign against all imperialist wars and interventions.
15. The leftist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador demonstrate the potential of popular rebellions against capitalist neoliberalism when anti-capitalist political forces based on the oppressed are able to help lead these rebellions into struggles for power. The struggle for power between the oppressed and the old ruling classes has not been decisively won in these countries, but the power wrested from the imperialist-backed ruling classes has already opened the way to impressive social gains. This is why Socialist Alliance prioritises solidarity with these revolutions and campaigns actively against escalating intervention by the US and its right-wing allies in the Latin America. The US is collaborating with right-wing opposition groups to destabilise the revolutions in Latin America and continues its illegal blockade of Cuba. Socialist Alliance strongly condemns the moves by the US congress to impose sanctions on Venezuela over trumped up charges of human rights violations, and pledges to do its upmost to build solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution under imperialist attack.
16. The Socialist Alliance welcomes and congratulates the FMLN on its recent election victory in El Salvador.
17. We congratulate the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela for its election victory following the passing of the revolution's historic leader Hugo Chavez in March 2013. The violent right-wing protests have escalated as the Maduro government implements a radical and popular new law that punishes capitalists who fix prices or hoard goods and sets an upper limit of 30% to profit margins (soon every industry will have their own particular maximum profit level). The law is a response to the economic warfare waged by business sectors opposed to the government, who stall production and speculate on prices to provoke discontent. Maduro pledged on February 4to take “the most radical measures to protect our people's economy” and to “expropriate whatever needs to be expropriated.”
18. The Socialist Alliance welcomes the growth of several substantial progressive political movements in Europe in response to the austerity measures. We applaud the recent mass anti-austerity "Dignity" protests in Spain which have already forced back some attacks. We note SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras's candidacy for European presidency on the European Left Party as an attempt to cohere a continent-wide political alternative to austerity. SYRIZA is now the biggest and most popular radical left party seen in Europe for decades and has taken the lead in recent opinion polls. SYRIZA’s rejection of the austerity measures imposed on the Greek people and its call to renegotiate the debt has won it increasing support while the two, much reduced, establishment parties govern in a grand coalition. If SYRIZA was to weaken, the fascist Golden Dawn is lying in wait to channel discontent at capitalism’s injustices into racism and nationalism. To varying degrees the left in austerity-blighted Europe faces a similar challenge from the far right.
Other international resolutions adopted by the 10th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance, June 7-9, 2014
Palestine solidarity vs Australian government
The Socialist Alliance National Conference condemns the Australian government’s declaration of ceasing to consider the Palestinian territories taken in the 1967 war. This is in spite of the UN resolution, supported by the majority of the countries, to consider East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza as Palestinian land.
This decision will reinforce the illegal occupation. The Socialist Alliance restates its support for the right of the Palestinians to reclaim all their lands that belong to them and have been taken by force.
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strikes
The Socialist Alliance National Conference supports the Palestinian administrative prisoners who have launched an open-ended hunger strike, now in the 45th day, demanding the end of the administrative detention applied without charge or trial.
Socialist Alliance denounces this incarceration as part of the plan of apartheid Israel to quash the Palestinian resistance that has lasted for 66 years, and we trust will only finish when Palestine is free.
Condemn the miltiary coup in Thailand
Socialist Alliance strongly condemns the latest coup d’état staged by the Thai military under the leadership of Prayuth Chan-ocha and joins other progressive parties in the Asia-Pacific in demanding:
The immediate repeal of martial law in Thailand.
The restoration of the election process to let the people of Thailand choose their future government democratically.
An immediate halt to the crackdown and arrest of political dissidents in Thailand and release of all the political prisoners.
That the Australian government withdraw its ambassadors from Thailand as a demonstration that they do not recognise the military junta and end all ties with the regime.