Australasia

Australasia

East Timor 1975: How Britain hid a massacre

When independence was declared by East Timor in 1975 it was recognised by Portugal. However the neighbouring Indonesian state had other ideas and invaded the island. In a war that lasted until 1999 up to 250,000 East Timorese died. The 1980 census figure was only 550,000. People died in the conflict, through atrocities committed by Indonesian troops, and as a result of famine, just one of the results of the destruction of 70% of the economic infrastructure.

Asian tsunami: capitalism is the real disaster!

As with every disaster of this kind, we are told that human beings are impotent in the face of “Mother Nature”, bad luck, fate, or the poverty of the affected countries which are unable to acquire the techniques to prevent such disasters. But how and why has a well-known natural disaster like the tsunami been transformed in just a few hours into such a massive social disaster?

Our reply on the Bali Bombing

Thank-you for your critical comments on the ICC article 'How Australian imperialism benefits from the Bali massacre', from World Revolution. This letter responds to your criticisms, point-by-point. Please pardon the length of this letter; the questions you ask actually touch on matters of immense importance to the working class. For this reason, it was necessary to respond in some length - and to therefore take some time responding to you.

How Australian imperialism benefits from the Bali massacre

When horrific terrorist outrages occur, it's useful to ask who benefits from them. The answer usually sheds light on who could be responsible for these deeds. The Bali bombing on 12 October is no exception to this rule. The accused Indonesian Islamists certainly do not benefit from the Bali bombing. Abu Bakar Bashir, spiritual leader of one of the country's principal Islamist organisation, has been arrested and faces a possible death penalty for alleged complicity. New 'anti-terrorist' laws have been announced in Indonesia, after these were demanded by Australia in the wake of the bombing. Some 400 Australian Federal Police and some FBI agents have rushed to Bali and are working in 'partnership' with Indonesian police investigating the bombing. Australia has also donated A$10 million in 'counter-terrorism aid' - allegedly to assist Indonesia to build an effective 'counter-terrorism' capacity, but really to institutionalise an Australian security presence there and to bring Indonesia closer to Australia's expanding sphere of influence.

Australia: Chef Cookers factory struggle sabotaged

Late last year, the 520 workers at the Chef Cookers (domestic stoves) factory in Brunswick, in Melbourne, Australia, were told that the factory would be closed soon. Only one month before, the union covering these workers had "negotiated" a limitation in provisions for redundancy packages. This right wing union, the Australian Workers' Union, is notorious for its reactionary role. It has long been militantly pro-capitalist and, for at least a century, been a major source of racism and virulent Australian nationalism in the "labour movement". The State Government, currently run by the Australian Labor Party, parades as a sort of Aussie version of Tony Blair's "Third Way". In November last year, in fact, this government invoked draconian Essential Services legislation that the previous Liberal/National Party Coalition Government had not dared use, to help bludgeon power workers to end their wildcat strike (see World Revolution 240). Neither of these forces - neither the AWU nor the State ALP - was therefore able to pose as a militant opponent of the planned factory closure, when it was announced.

East Timor: New expression of chaos and barbarity

But these events are also the product of the collapse of the eastern bloc ten years ago, which ended the period of the two imperialist blocs around the USA and the USSR. They are a new manifestation of the tendency towards chaos and 'every man for himself' which has grown more and more marked since then, and has given rise to an explosion of nationalism across the globe. 

Leaflet: Australia, Jakarta and the East Timor

Rwanda, the Congo, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kashmir, Kosovo and now East Timor. As the world watches, yet another carefully pre-planned mass slaughter is enacted, even before the blood is dry at the site of the last one. Thousands -perhaps tens of thousands- have been butchered. This time, however, it is not happening 'far away', but right on Australia's doorstep, and in a place where Australian capitalism has long, intimate connections.

Melbourne Discussion Circle: Reforms, refugees and the revolutionary perspective

Last October the Melbourne discussion circle held a meeting on 'Reforms, refugees and a revolutionary perspective'. This circle is part of the effort of a minority within the working class to understand the reality of the world situation today, characterised by economic crisis, attacks on the working class and wars endlessly breaking out around the globe. This is an international effort with the development of similar discussion circles in many parts of the world.

Capitalism, synonymous with chaos and barbarism

After Kosovo, East Timor; after East Timor, Chechnya. Barely has the blood from one massacre dried than it is flowing again somewhere else on the planet. At the same time, the African continent is in agony: the endemic wars in Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Congo, and other countries, have been joined by new massacres in Burundi and a confrontation between Rwanda and its Ugandan "allies", just as the war gets under way again in Angola. We are far indeed from the prophecies of President Bush, exactly ten years ago after the collapse of the Eastern bloc, predicting "a new world order of peace and prosperity". The only peace that has made any progress is the peace of the grave.

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