Photo Above: Tens of thousands of people again marched in Sydney on 3 December 2023 to protest Israel’s genocidal attack on the Palestinian people of Gaza.
Photo credit: Dean Sewell
Long Live the Palestinian Resistance! Don’t Be Fooled by the Powerless UN Vote! The Australian Regime is Still Participating in Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza.
Down, Down Israeli, U.S. and Australian Regimes!
Resist Imperialism through Workers Struggle and
Supporting the Rise of Socialistic China!
13 December 2023: Israeli forces are continuing to massacre children and other Palestinian civilians. They have already seized large parts of Gaza. Yet the far-right Israeli regime and their Washington senior partners want to subdue through terror Palestinian people even further. That is why the U.S. vetoed last week’s UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire. Now, the UN General Assembly has just voted overwhelmingly for a ceasefire in a non-binding resolution. The only governments to oppose or abstain on the vote were those of the U.S. and some of its most obsequious allies, like Britain, Lithuania and the Ukrainian regime that is waging the U.S.’s proxy war to subdue Russia. Also refusing to back a ceasefire are a majority of those regimes that are so servile to imperialism that they recognise the rogue, Western-propped up Taiwanese regime rather than the Peoples Republic of China as the legitimate rulers of China. These include the regimes ruling Paraguay, Guatemala and Nauru as well as those running Palau and Marshall Islands, both of which are Pacific countries where the U.S. has control of their defense arrangements under a colonial-style “Compact of Free Association”, as they do with Micronesia, which also failed to vote for a ceasefire. Also refusing to support a ceasefire are most of the openly far-right governments, like those running Italy, Hungary and Argentina.
Among those that voted for last night’s ceasefire resolution were not only governments known to have a pro-Palestine position – like those of Russia and socialistic China – but even some of Israel’s staunchest backers. This includes the liberal government of Canada, the right-wing government of New Zealand and the Labor government of Australia. With much of the world horrified by Israel’s heinous cruelty, these governments knew that maintaining public opposition to a ceasefire would expose their own brutality and the hypocrisy of their claims to be guardians of “human rights.” With Australia’s capitalist rulers (and “like-minded” ruling elites) only too aware that dishonestly wielding the club of “human rights” is a vital component of their strategy to achieve their main foreign policy goal – to crush socialistic rule in China – they felt compelled to gloss up their soiled “human rights” credentials by voting for a ceasefire. However, although the Australian government had previously opposed a ceasefire, their recent vote should not be seen as a weakening of their support for Israel’s occupation. Indeed, the Australian regime also voted for a failed U.S. amendment that put the blame for the suffering on Hamas. After the vote, Australian regime representatives decried that the U.S. amendment – that aimed at whitewashing the brutality of Israel’s 75 year-long occupation – was not included in the resolution.
What most makes the Australian government’s UN vote such a cynical, window-dressing ploy is the fact that the Australian ruling class continues to militarily back Israel. Not only does the Australian regime maintain military ties with Israel, the Pine Gap U.S.-Australia joint spy base is playing a MASSIVE role in Israel’s assault on Gaza. Operated by U.S. and Australian military personnel, the base near Alice Springs downloads information from U.S. spy satellites about targets in Gaza which are analysed and passed on to Israel. This enables the Israeli military to pinpoint its missiles and artillery so that they strike actual human targets rather than empty land or structures. In other words, the Albanese Labor government is doing more than supporting genocide. Through hosting and jointly operating Pine Gap, they are actually committing genocide! And they continue to do so! No symbolic vote for a non-enforceable UN resolution will change that! Just like Netanyahu and Biden, Anthony Albanese and foreign minister Penny Wong are war criminals.
Stand with the Palestinian Resistance!
The huge pro-Palestinian rallies have had some impact in making even Israel’s staunchest backers want to appear like they are concerned for Palestinian civilians. In Sydney, the weekly protests have had some powerful Palestinian and progressive Jewish speakers. The highlight has been many of the speeches given by Aboriginal activists. At last Sunday’s (December 10) Sydney protest, the Aboriginal speaker was especially impressive as he insightfully connected the oppressions of Aboriginal and Palestinian people and attacked capitalist rule in Australia and its window-dressing schemes. We in Trotskyist Platform encourage people to join in these weekly Sydney pro-Palestine marches organised by the hard-working Palestine Action Group (in which the Socialist Alternative group plays a prominent role). We also condemn those nominal defenders of Palestinians who are discouraging participation in the protests. After all, those seeking to demoralise activists by saying that their participation is “meaningless” are only playing into the hands of the likes of Albanese, Peter Dutton and premier Chris Minns, who have all sought to sabotage the PAG-organised actions.
At the same time, the longer that this Israeli onslaught goes, the more that the current flaws in the political strategy of the PAG limits the impact that the protests can have. Thus, while many of the slogans that rally organisers have promoted correctly take an unambiguous stance in support of the Palestinian resistance – like “Intifada, Intifada” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free!” – some take an “even-handed” position. Chief among the latter is the call for “Ceasefire Now!” To be sure, many defenders of the Palestinian people call for a “ceasefire” because what they are seeing now is a one-sided slaughter. When they demand “ceasefire”, they mean that Israel should stop firing. However, as last night’s UN vote by the likes of Australia and France shows, when Western imperialist regimes call for a “ceasefire” they mean something very different. This was made clear after the vote. Foreign minister, Penny Wong, reiterated Australia’s support for “Israel’s right to defend itself” and Australia’s UN representative, James Larsen, ranted that “Hamas must be defeated and dismantled.” In plain speak that means that they are calling for supporting the Israeli military, which is precisely what the Australian ruling class are doing! Australia’s capitalist rulers want a “ceasefire” on Israel’s terms and are working to strengthen Israel’s military campaign so that any “ceasefire” will end up as favourable to Israel as possible. They, however, worry that further Israeli murder of civilians could provoke such broad resistance that Israel and its occupation ends up weakened. Indeed, a big part of why the Australian – and several other imperialist – regimes are now calling for a ceasefire is because they believe that Israel has already sufficiently strengthened its occupation over these last two months: by landing blows against the Palestinian resistance and by annihilating Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. We must not shout slogans that can accommodate such anti-Palestine agendas! And we certainly must not pressure the Palestinian resistance to “ceasefire”! Instead, we must give 100% support to the Palestinian resistance. Hail the courage of Palestinian resistance forces and their Yemini Houthi allies! Socialistic North Korea and other countries providing arms to the resistance: increase your supply of arms! Other non-Western countries: start sending arms to Palestinian fighters – especially to those secular and leftist groups that are taking part in the Hamas-led resistance! Let us demand: Israel out of Gaza! All Israeli troops and racist settlers out of all of the West Bank. For the complete right of return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants!
Take Mass Action against the Australian Ruling Class
that is Participating in Israel’s Onslaught!
Another problem with the “Ceasefire” chant is that it makes pro-Palestinian rallies come off as half-neutral. That makes the actions less offensive to the Israeli regime and its backers and thus far less likely to compel them to retreat. It will actually take an enormous amount to compel the regimes that facilitate Israel’s terror to back off. The U.S. imperialists prop us Israel in order to have a reliable enforcer of their predatory interests in the strategically-located and oil rich Middle East. Australia’s capitalist rulers in turn back the Israeli attack dog of the USA, because they want U.S. power to be upheld. For it is U.S. power that underwrites Australian capitalists’ plunder of South Pacific and southeast Asian countries. And it is U.S. might that Australia’s rulers hope will squeeze socialistic China so tightly that she will no longer be able to obstruct imperialist exploitation of poorer countries through mutually beneficial cooperation with them. Against such over-riding self interest, we can only compel Australia’s ruling class to retreat from their participation in the Gaza slaughter if we can seriously threaten their class interests. The PAG-organised rallies are not yet doing this. For the overall line of the actions – some particular excellent speeches excluded – while rightly very critical of the Australian government, do not brand the Australian ruling class as an enemy. Thus, when the Australian ruling class see rallies mainly opposing their Israeli and U.S. allies they are angered but not politically frightened. However, if they were to instead hear tens of thousands of people saying not just “Down, Down Israel, Down, Down USA” but shouting, “Down, Down Israeli, U.S. and Australian Regimes!”, they would be truly alarmed. And, thus, far more likely to back off!
What will especially frighten the Australian ruling class is workers’ political strike action in support of the Palestinian people. With working class people suffering under falling real wages, soaring rents and unaffordable prices, there is a definite opportunity to combine opposition to capitalist profiteering by the ruling class with opposition to its participation in the massacre of Palestinian people. We support the attempted port blockades – with union approval – of Israeli Zim shipping. At the same time, we say that blockades and industrial action would be far more effective if they directly target the interests of the Australian capitalists and their regime. After all, Israel is far away. The amount that its ruling class would be frightened by action in Australia targeting Israeli companies is limited. In contrast, if actions hurt the profits of big-time Australian capitalists at home or caused their regime’s operations to be disrupted, Australia’s ruling class would be terrified. Let’s build workers industrial action – supported by pro-Palestine pickets – to target the Australian ruling class and demand: Stop Pine Gap’s participation in the Gaza massacre – Close Pine Gap! No Australian arms exports to Israel. End Australian military ties to Israel! The fact that huge numbers – including many compassionate, intelligent youth spurred into political activism for the first time – have joined the weekly rallies can provide a crucial stepping stone for building the type of actions needed. But the step up must be made! Through the placards that we carry and the leaflets that we distribute at the protests, Trotskyist Platform has been working hard to turn the rallies into a Palestine movement that is unequivocally opposed to the Australian ruling class – the type of movement that has the potential to compel the Australian capitalists to retreat from their role in the Gaza slaughter.
The reason that the PAG leadership has not sought to turn the movement in such a direction is because, no doubt with many misgivings, they are currently betting on an alternative strategy – one that seeks through pressure to win over the Australian regime. While rightly denouncing the Albanese government’s stance, PAG leaders promote the notion that that through pressure the ALP government can be partially won over; or that greater numbers for the Greens in parliament could change the regime’s stance. However, the reality is that the Australian regime’s support for Israel’s terror flows naturally from its own essence. Capitalist Australia was formed out of genocidal massacres of this country’s First Nations peoples. No amount of window dressing can cover up the fact that Australian regime forces continue to kill Aboriginal people in custody and continue to remove Aboriginal children from their families. Moreover, while today facilitating Israel’s crimes, the Australian military, earlier, directly committed war crimes during its participation in the occupation of Afghanistan. There, Australia’s elite SAS troops massacred onion farmers, executed civilians and slit the throats of children. The problem is that no matter which particular parties control parliament, the current Australian regime has been designed to serve the capitalist class. In wealthy Australia, this class – which consists of wealthy business owners of all ethnicities but in Australia is mostly made of white Christians with just a small percentage of Jewish capitalists – not only exploits workers in this country but exploits workers and plunders natural resources at an even greater rate in the South Pacific and beyond. This class has calculated that its interests lie very much with supporting its U.S. godfather’s Israeli henchman. Therefore, this Australian capitalist class, which is the ultimate power in this country that all governments must serve, will always support Israel as long as the capitalists rule this country.
Even if the Greens win office, the Australian regime will continue to support the subjugation of Palestinian and Aboriginal people and will continue to enforce the exploitation of workers. This is especially true given that the Greens include capitalists in their ranks and refuse to stand for class struggle against the capitalist class. To be sure, the Greens appear a lot better on Palestine than the ALP and the right-wing Coalition. They at least condemn Israel’s war crimes. But their support for Palestine is limited. Feeding into the imperialist narrative that downplays the impact of Israel’s brutal 75-year-long occupation of Palestine and denying the fact that Hamas’ October 7 attack included heroic blows against the Israeli military (alongside some wrong attacks on civilians that were, however, dwarfed by the Israeli military’s killing of its own civilians through carpet bombing of contested sites during the Hamas-led incursion), the Greens harmfully equate the October 7 attack with Israel’s war crimes. Thus, an October 16 Greens statement, stated that:
“We all watched in horror at the brutality and callousness of Hamas’ October 7th attacks on innocent civilians. The State of Israel’s siege and destruction of Gaza continues the cycle of violence. It is civilians in both places paying the price.
“The Greens reject and condemn all forms of violence, especially against civilians. We again call for an immediate ceasefire between the State of Israel and Hamas, an immediate halt to the forced removal and transfer of Palestinians in Gaza, a release of hostages, and an end to the military siege.”
Of course, as sly politicians looking for votes, Greens politicians make sure that they sound a lot more pro-Palestinian than their official position when they speak at pro-Palestine protests. But if one wants an idea of how the Greens in government would actually act, one should look at the governments that their overseas counterparts are part of. In Germany, Greens foreign minister Annalena Baerbock is a hardline supporter of Israel’s onslaught and is part of a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party that has banned pro-Palestine protests. In Austria, the Greens, in coalition with a conservative party, are part of a government that voted against last night’s UN ceasefire resolution from an extreme pro-Zionist standpoint. It is telling too that, reflecting the interests of Australia’s capitalist class, the Australian Greens, for their part, only call to “renegotiate” the U.S.-Australia alliance rather than to scrap it.
What we need to do to support Palestinian and Aboriginal peoples and all the downtrodden of this country is to wage mass struggle against Australia’s capitalist rulers with the aim of forcing them into retreats. Any illusions that the regime can be persuaded to take a more progressive stance or that it will fundamentally change if the Greens gain a greater stake in parliament obstruct such struggle. PAG leaders are hardly alone in having such illusions. False hopes in the potential future benevolence of the Australian regime and in the Greens in particular are also widespread amongst the ranks of those joining the protests. Given the weight of propaganda and nationalism, the hardest ruling class to oppose in any imperialist country is always the ruling class in one’s own country. It is far easier to brand only the Israeli and U.S. regimes as enemies, while referring to the Australian regime as a currently deviant entity that can, however, be won over. Yet such a strategy will not be effective in restraining the Australian regime’s participation in the Gaza bloodbath. The change in direction in the movement must be made! The leap in the political consciousness of the activists participating in the movement must be achieved. With the horror of Israel’s terror and the depth of Western imperialist support for it pushing many to rethink their political perspective, such a leap in consciousness is possible. Therefore, at this time, those that understand the need to turn the pro-Palestine movement into one that is unequivocally opposed to Australia’s imperialist rulers have an extra special duty to bring that understanding to their fellow activists.
“Threaten” the Global Tyranny of the
Imperialists who Prop Up Israel –
Support the Rise of Socialistic China!
Israel’s subjugation of Palestine is set to become even more brutal. That is why supporters of Palestine must learn key lessons from these last ten, intense weeks. One lesson arises from the reality that the capitalist rulers of various Arab and Muslim majority countries – like those of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – have at this crucial moment refused to do more than lip-service to stand by Palestinian people. Indeed, especially in the case of Egypt, with its restriction of supplies to the resistance, they have even been complicit in the Israeli onslaught. All this proves the Marxist doctrine that exploiting classes ultimately act in their own material interests rather than complying with notions of ethnic or religious solidarity; and, moreover, the political imperatives of these ruling classes are what shapes religious doctrines … and not the other way around. These countries will start standing by the Palestinian people only when their toiling classes take state power and totally free these countries from the grip of Western imperialism.
The most vital lesson for activists in Australia to learn from these last weeks is that Israel is only able to get away with its terror because it has the support of the U.S. and US imperialist allies like Australia. Therefore, truly standing with the Palestinian people means opposing the Western imperialists in every battle that they are engaged in. That means that we must stand for the defence of Russia – despite its reactionary, also-capitalist rulers – against the U.S., NATO and Australian imperialists and their Ukrainian proxies. Indeed, an indication of the, at-bottom, pro-imperialist nature of the Greens is that the Greens rabidly support the U.S.-led imperialists in their proxy war against Russia. These avowed “pacifists” even support Australian arms transfers to Ukraine! Harmfully, so do two left groups that far more sincerely support the Palestinian struggle than the Greens – Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance.
The biggest state challenge to imperialism comes from socialistic China. This is despite the currently unfinished and precarious nature of China’s transition to socialism. The U.S. and Australian imperialists know that if China continues to succeed in socialistic development, this will not only obstruct their subjugation of the Global South but could eventually encourage their own masses to fight for socialism and thereby topple them from power. If this were to happen, Israel’s tyranny over Palestine will collapse. That is why all supporters of Palestine and all anti-imperialists must defend socialistic rule in China. In doing so we must draw another crucial lesson from the events of the last ten weeks: that is that the Western capitalist rulers and their media are masters of deceit. And given that while protecting Israel is an important tactic that the U.S. and its allies have for buttressing their power, crushing socialistic China is their main strategic goal, it follows that the imperialist rulers and their media are even more biased against Red China than they are against Palestine! This is indeed the case! For example, their claim that China is persecuting her more European-looking, Muslim Uyghur population in China’s northwest is a lie cut out of whole cloth. This claim has been rejected by almost every Muslim-majority country and is largely only promoted by the regimes that today support Israel’s terror.
That imperialist propaganda against the Chinese workers state is even more intense than it is against Palestine makes it much harder to stand by socialistic China than it is to stand by Palestine. Indeed, several of the groups active in building solidarity with Palestine – including the Socialist Alternative, Socialist Alliance and Solidarity groups – ape Western propaganda against China, even while opposing some of the anti-China military build up. In 2019, these groups stood with Union Jack-carrying, pro-British colonial Hong Kong expatriates in anti-communist rallies encouraged by the Australian ruling class. A year ago, these same groups hailed the small, Western-backed, “A4 protests” in China over her COVID response that were incited by overt anti-communists. In contrast, we insist that to truly oppose the imperialists, one must have the fortitude to defy the propaganda vilifying the main “threat” to their global tyranny – socialistic China. Let us demand: U.S., British and Australian imperialists (and their lackeys in the far-right, Ferdinand Marcos Junior government in the Philippines), stop your provocations against China in the South and East China Seas! Down with Western support to the anti-communist Taiwanese regime! Down with all the Western-backed forces threatening socialistic rule in China – from anti-communist, Hong Kong rich kids to the “A4” COVID conspiracy-mongers.
When the working classes and all the downtrodden of the U.S., Germany, Australia, Britain, Japan and other imperialist countries seize state power and join China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos on a socialist path, brutal national and colonial oppression – like that of Palestinian, Aboriginal, Tamil, Kashmiri and Kanak peoples – will have no powerful backers. Indeed, it will have no reason for existence. We look forward to such a world. Let’s work tirelessly and unflinchingly towards its realisation. In doing so, we will never forget the horrific suffering that Palestinian people have borne over the last 75 years and especially over the last ten weeks. We look forward to the day when Netanyahu, Biden, Anthony Albanese, Penny Wong, Annalena Baerbock and Rishi Sunak will face war crimes tribunals and be given the appropriate decisive punishments. We look forward to the day when the Palestinian people will be truly free and living happily in a socialist Palestine together with their Jewish sisters and brothers.