After nine years of ruling for the rich, the Coalition government’s primary vote dropped by more than 6 percent and it lost a slew of seats—and government—in yesterday’s federal election. This was a public judgement of its agenda of tax cuts for the well-off, wage cuts for workers, inaction on housing, cold-hearted neglect of the elderly, and indifference to climate change.
“Attention, MOVE. This is America. You have to abide by the laws of the United States.” This was the ultimatum given through a Philadelphia police megaphone to a group of Black activists trapped in their home in the early morning of 13 May 1985. The house on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia was surrounded by hundreds of police. Thirteen MOVE members, including five children, were inside.
Striking workers and supportive students at the University of Sydney shut down the campus with a 48-hour strike, called by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), on 11 and 12 May.
World military spending has passed US$2 trillion for the first time, according to new data published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Last year was the seventh consecutive year that world military spending increased; total expenditure has almost doubled this century.
The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) student council has passed a historic motion in support of Palestine. The motion, “UMSU stands with Palestine—BDS and Solidarity Policy”, was moved by people of colour officer Hiba Adam and seconded by POC council representative Mohamed Hadi.
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Amjad Ayman Yaghi, a journalist based in Gaza, in a moving piece first published at the Electronic Intifada, pays tribute to his grandfather and commemorates ‘the catastrophe’ of 1948.
Moreland Council librarians, home care workers, gardeners and waste collection workers—members of the Australian Services Union and the Municipal and Utilities Workers Union—are taking industrial action.
In 1915, Rosa Luxemburg wrote The Crisis of Social Democracy while in jail for her anti-war activism. In it, she criticised the leaders of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) for betraying working-class internationalism with their support for the First World War. The pamphlet was smuggled out in April that year and published a year later. Distributed illegally under the pseudonym Junius, it’s commonly known as the Junius pamphlet.
“You know, I hope nevertheless to die at my post, in a street-battle or in a hard-labour prison”, wrote Rosa Luxemburg to a comrade in 1917. This was not rhetorical flourish or hyperbole: Luxemburg gave everything she had to the fight for socialism. Including, in the end, her life.
“Fighting the System, Rebuilding the Left” was the theme of Socialist Alternative’s 2022 Marxism Festival. The event is usually held in Melbourne, but this year was spread across Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Around 1,000 people attended across the five cities.
The day after the federal election was called, I met Pushpanayaki, a Tamil mother with two children, in Sunshine in Melbourne’s western suburbs. She witnessed the Sri Lankan army murder tens of thousands of people in 2009, during the final days of its war against our people. Pushpanayaki fled the genocide with her husband; they came to Australia as refugees.
There are many things that make Victorian Socialists stand out: our unique anti-capitalist politics; our army of dedicated volunteers; our refusal to do dodgy preference deals; our rejection of the limits of parliamentary politics; and our focus on grassroots movements as a means of changing the world. But one policy in particular makes other candidates recoil in horror—the pledge our candidates take to accept only an average wage if elected.
In October 1917, revolutionary Russian workers, supported by millions of peasants and soldiers, succeeded in overthrowing capitalist rule and replacing it with their own democratic structures of power. Exploited masses have risen up in rebellion throughout history. But in Russia, for the first time, they actually took control of society, created a government based on democratic workers’ soviets (councils) and, at least temporarily, routed the capitalist state.
With so little difference between what’s on offer from Liberal and Labor, it’s not surprising that independents can seem like a progressive alternative. This is reinforced by the common-sense illusion that voting is the only way to change things. But there is nothing progressive about the independents.
When all the bullshit about this election is cleared away, the contest comes down to a choice between two parties committed to cutting workers’ wages.