Tom Bramble is co-author, with Mick Armstrong, of the book 'The Fight for Workers’ Power: Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the 20th Century', published by Interventions.
While many of those who voted Labor on 21 May might have hoped the new Albanese government would direct its energies towards dealing with climate change, rising inflation, stagnant wages, unaffordable housing and soaring energy prices, it has other priorities. High on its list has been demonstrating its commitment to US imperialism.
The Liberal Party, since its formation in 1946, has been the political mouthpiece of the Australian ruling class. The federal election destroyed much of its electoral heartland and puts the future of the party as a united entity in doubt. In city after city, seats that the Liberals (and their conservative antecedents) had held for decades fell to their opponents.
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.
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.
The outbreak of World War I ushered in a new age of barbarism in Europe. It also triggered the collapse of the Second International, the international league of socialist parties that purported to be staunch opponents of war, but which lined up behind their own ruling classes when it broke out. Lenin’s pamphlet Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, published in the middle of the horror and brutality of the Great War, aimed to answer two questions: why this imperialist war, and why the collapse of the Second International?
The federal budget includes measures that the government says will ease the “cost of living squeeze”, but which will do nothing to offset years of stagnant wages. In response, the ALP is offering next to nothing and the unions are refusing to fight.