FASCISM AND ITS CURE

This article first appeared in The Anvil Vol 8 No 4, published 31st August 2019.

Mass murders, and attempted mass murders, committed by Fascists worldwide appear to be occurring at an accelerating pace. Since the Christchurch massacre in March, there has been the Gilroy Garlic Festival massacre in the US in July, the El Paso massacre in early August and an attempted massacre at a mosque in Norway about a week later. This is a phenomenon of the utmost seriousness.

A Fascist group is a conspiracy to murder and deserves to be treated as such. It is now clear, though, that Fascists carry out their deadly program not only through formal groups. Recent massacres have been committed by individuals who engaged in on-line discussions with other Fascists, each of them praising massacres and calling, in general terms, for their replication.

Street mobilisations of Fascists must be confronted and, where possible, defeated. This is clear and the MACG has stated this repeatedly, but it is not enough. It doesn’t cut off Fascism at its roots and hasn’t prevented individuals rising from the sewers of 8chan to commit their unaffiliated massacres.

The paranoid nationalism of the Fascists who are spreading rapidly is a response to the inability of national governments to soften the impact of neo-liberalism on their citizens. Nationalism, the common and unquestioned assumption of all capitalist ideologies and also of social democracy, isn’t working well enough, so the reflex reaction is to double down on it. This environment is a boon to Fascists, since they take nationalism to its logical conclusion.

Since Fascism arises from the crisis of global capitalism, the only thing that can defeat it is a movement to resolve this crisis in the interests of the multi-racial, multicultural and gender diverse working class of the world. At the moment, we’re a long way from this. In every country, the mainstream unions have a nationalist political framework and even as a visible minority current, internationalists can only be found in a few countries.

There are impressive movements in support of refugees in many countries and internationalists are prominent in them, but the movements are trapped in a minority position and are tackling the State where it is strong and we are weak. These movements, necessary as they are, will not make the required breakthrough.

What can work? Only by harnessing the inherent power of workers in the workplace can we turn the tide. An internationalist workers’ movement can cut the appeal of Fascism off at the knees, through demonstrating that the one thing more powerful than global capitalism is the global working class. This, however, raises the problem of the appalling state of the existing unions. Around the world, recent victories have been few and far between. Instead, unions have suffered defeat after defeat, shrinking in size and retreating politically. The union officials are plainly not up to the task of defending the institutions over which they preside.

We need to face the hard knowledge that we have to go back to basics and rebuild workplace organisation from the ground up. We are not dogmatic about organisational tactics here. They will differ from country to country according to the state of the unions and the environment in which they operate. In some countries, workers will need to build new unions. In others, we will need an insurgency within the existing unions. And in others, it will be best, at least for the now, to operate informally and possibly underground. In Australia, the best course is likely to be a rank and file insurgency inside the unions. It will avoid taking the positions of the union officials until the existing legislative framework is rendered unenforceable. Any officials who want to co-operate with this program should be worked with, but not relied upon.

The growth of Fascism is ongoing. The massacres will continue and perhaps keep accelerating until we have a movement that can both confront it physically and address the political issues that give it life. This requires workers uniting across borders to win battles that cannot be won on the national terrain. Whether we are talking about cars, mining, garments or anything else, we confront global corporations and global supply chains. Our response must be global. And by building a truly global labour movement, we can not only defeat Fascism, but open the door to a workers’ revolution that will do away with capitalism forever.

WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

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THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES

This article first appeared in The Anvil Vol 8 No 4, published 31st August 2019.

The dust is settling in Australia after Labor lost the Federal election everybody expected it to win. The Liberals are triumphant and, for now, united behind Scott Morrison. Meanwhile, Labor is in shock and has retreated into its shell, after signalling that it will be dumping the policies that drew the most heat from the Liberals and the media. Meanwhile, the Greens, having improved their vote and retained all their seats, confounded their mainstream critics and have emerged with a restored reputation.

The immediate temptation for the political Left is to trim its sails and adapt to the new conventional wisdom. Fortunately, many have resisted this. Instead, they are angry at the ALP for running a complacent campaign and under-estimating the push-back there would be from vested interests. In a way, it is a small-scale equivalent of Labor’s mistake over bank nationalisation in 1949. Labor approached its policies as technocratic, mildly progressive reforms, but the political Right saw them as a fundamental assault on their power base. The visceral anger of millionaire retiree investors and the genuine fear of coal mining communities for their future swept Labor’s technocratic reforms out of the public arena. The media campaign waged by the Murdoch press, the Liberals and Clive Palmer took votes off a Labor Party that doesn’t know how to fight.

How should Anarchists react?

Firstly, we know there’s no Parliamentary road to libertarian communism, so we’re not going there. Secondly, we’re not in the business of giving advice to the Labor Party on how to run its campaigns better. And thirdly, we’re not going to say “Oh, goody, the Greens are on the way back.” Instead, we analyse the political landscape because we want to advance the argument for building an Anarchist Communist movement that can contribute to the working class struggle. We want to know what to do next.

And in deciding what to do next, we have to assess what’s coming next. To what events will we need to respond?

The most immediate thing is that the Liberals reckon they’re invincible. If they can spend three years consuming themselves in internal warfare while pursuing policies most people detest, and still win an election, their arrogance will know no bounds. They will go for the jugular on policy and ignore its unpopularity. Similarly, the Liberal Right and its noisy backers in the Murdoch press and on Sky after dark will decide that party discipline is for sissies. They will pursue their pet culture war issues and, if Morrison decides they need to tone it down, they’ll set out to nobble him like they nobbled Turnbull. If a good election campaign can get people to forget the previous three years of disaster, the next campaign can get the coming three years forgotten.

Beyond that, dark economic storm clouds are brewing. The Australian economy is slowing to a stall, while real wages haven’t grown in the last few years and don’t look like growing any time soon. Meanwhile, the trade war between the United States and China is deepening. This threatens to plunge the world into recession, one which would particularly hit Australia, given its great reliance on trade with China. It’s been nearly thirty years since Australia had a recession, so most people with jobs now didn’t have one then. A recession now would be a massive political shock as well as an economic one.

Next, and contrary to the fatuous Right wing commentator Andrew Bolt, climate change is an issue that won’t go away. In fact, as climate change accelerates, so will both the environmental disasters it brings and the movement of young people against the climate emergency. The next hot summer will definitely make climate change impossible to ignore and might possibly kill the Great Barrier Reef. Already, Morrison is copping unprecedented flak from leaders of South Pacific island countries. He has met a problem he wasn’t expecting. His bullying tactics in protecting the interests of coal mining companies are opening South Pacific doors to China and undermining Australia’s imperialist interests there.

Finally, Fascism is continuing to rise worldwide. Open Fascist parties have large delegations in a number of European Parliaments, while crypto-Fascist parties are even junior partners in some governments. Meanwhile, Fascists have come to power atop democratic governments in places like Brazil, India and the Philippines. And in the United States, Donald Trump seems to be doing his best to encourage its growth, even as Fascist groups on the ground suffer setbacks in the wake of the continuing fallout from the murderous Unite the Right mobilisation in Charlottesville in 2017. Here in Australia, while the wider Fascist milieu is broadening, Fascist groups have continued to have difficulties.

It is these things: Liberal arrogance, the danger of recession, accelerating climate change and the Fascist threat that, together, form significant elements of the political terrain in Australia today. And it is these things that will guide the MACG in the next few years.

IF YOU DON’T FIGHT, YOU LOSE

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DEFEND JULIAN ASSANGE

This article first appeared in the Anvil 8/3, published 11th May 2019.

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, was arrested on 11 April when the Ecuadorian Government invited British police into their London embassy for that purpose. Initially charged with breaching bail, he was quickly also hit with a US charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. He has since been sentenced to almost the maximum term for breaching bail and the process for extraditing him to the United States, which could be a long one, has begun.

The United States wants Assange because Wikileaks stands against the entire apparatus of national security in that country and has published much damaging information about its murderous and undemocratic activities – not least the Collateral Murder video that made Wikileaks famous. Wikileaks is so dangerous to the reputation of the CIA, the US military, State Department, the FBI, the major political parties and so many other components of the State in the US that the capitalist class want that organisation shut down for good and for Assange to be made an example of to deter potential successors. Accordingly, though the charge on which Assange has been arrested is one that has a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, it should be expected that other, heavier charges are in the works.

In publishing the crimes of Uncle Sam, Julian Assange performed a great service for the working class and the oppressed peoples of the world and on that basis he must be defended against US attempts to seek retribution against him. He is, however, no saint. Firstly, he is accused of sexual assault in Sweden. While it is clear from published facts that Assange’s sexual ethics are poor, the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group is unsure whether his actions amount to a breach of Swedish law. Accordingly, we believe that he should go to Sweden to deal with the accusations and clear his name or face the consequences.

Secondly, Assange’s tactics during the US election campaign of 2016 and his political statements since are quite unsavoury, while some of the political associates he has been cultivating during his time as a fugitive in the Ecuadorian Embassy have been extremely dangerous. We therefore believe that, once he is out of the clutches of the United States, his future activities should be watched with great care until he can explain himself as a free agent.

The MACG thus defends Julian Assange, not because of his politics, which have curdled and are now quite suspect, nor because we consider him innocent of the Swedish accusations. The US ruling class has no objection to his politics, because they are riddled with the sort of people with whom he has been collaborating. And neither do they have any objection to sexual assault – if they did, Donald Trump would not be President. The United States wants to punish him, not for any crimes he might have committed, but for his good deeds. The MACG defend Assange for those same good deeds.

ASSANGE SHOULD GO TO SWEDEN
NOT TO THE US

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Final declaration of the founding congress of the Union Communiste Libertaire (UCL)

The Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group is pleased to publish the following announcement, which we reproduce as received.

Final declaration of the founding congress of the Union Communiste Libertaire (UCL)

Union Communiste Libertaire

As we – activists from Alternative Libertaire and the Coordination des Groupes Anarchistes – gathered in a common congress, we decided to create a new revolutionary organisation : the Union Communiste Libertaire (French for Libertarian Communist Union).

In times of an intensifying capitalist crisis, one would like to make us choose between the liberal bourgeoisie in power and far-right partys in embush.

We cannot accept it. As a contrary, we affirm that another project of society is needed, based on direct democracy, self-management/self-government and federalism.

We want neither a world that has been tailored for those who possess, nor a militarized and locked society under digital surveillance.

Here as well as all over the world, we stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees, and alongside those who wish to knock borders down and break imperialism, neo-colonialism, and more specifically “Françafrique”.

In France, the anger of “Gilets Jaunes” (Yellow Jackets movement) vividly remind the state power that class struggle is just as topical as ever. In fact, state power quickly realized it as it uses particularly brutal a repression against this movement.

We took part in the “Gilets Jaunes” movement the same way we actively commit to the class struggle through building struggles, strikes and unions. Each day we tirelessly resist the capitalist exploitation in our workplaces. And we keep general strike as our horizon.
Where we study, we fight against social selection that become everyday harder.

The Union Communiste Libertaire will struggle alongside those who fight to destroy patriarchy. From our own ranks as well as in society in general, we will fight against sex and gender oppressions, sexism and oppression against GLBTI people.
Against the mechanics of racism, we will be rising up and in support of struggles against police violence.

We will keep on marching with all the demonstrators who take to the streets to oppose climate change and the collapsing of biodiversity, what capitalists are responsible for.

The Union Communiste Libertaire is willing to welcome all those who want to build another society. In cities, surburbs and in the country, everywhere we live, we will build this organisation to materialize a future free from all exploitation and dominations.

This future in which we place our hopes has a name: libertarian communism.

10th of June, 2019

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DON’T MENTION THE EMERGENCY

This article first appeared in the Anvil 8/3, published 11th May 2019.

On 18 May, enrolled voters in Australia will decide which members of the capitalist class will represent us in Parliament and crush us in government for the next three years. This election occurs at a time when the world has been informed that it has, at most, until 2030 to take effective action to stop and begin reversing climate change, or risk crossing tipping points into runaway temperature rises that would kill billions and endanger industrial civilisation. So you’d think the major players would be presenting plans to fix it. But no, this is Australian capitalist democracy and we get something different.

The incumbent government is a coalition of the Liberal Party, the open representatives of Big Business, and the National Party, which pretends to represent farmers but actually represents mining companies. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, two years ago infamously thought it would be a jolly jape to bring a lump of coal into Parliament and taunt his political opponents with it. He is only PM because climate change deniers in his own party nobbled some ineffective attempts to do something about the issue and eventually brought down Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal Prime Minister they detested for being too liberal.

What are they offering? Firstly, they have promised a vast number of mostly small infrastructure and spending projects in seats they need to hold and a handful they hope to take. It is a grab bag with no coherent vision. Second, they promise a substantial tax cut in five years for people on upper middle incomes. Apart from that, they offer nothing. Nothing but a relentless scare campaign against the Labor Party and its leader, Bill Shorten.

And what of the Labor Party? This party fundamentally represents the desire of the union bureaucracy to reach a compromise with capital about permissible reforms that might better the lot of working people while preserving existing capitalist relations. Its leader, Bill Shorten, comes from the Australian Workers Union, which has a deserved reputation of decades of undemocratic sellouts of its members. Naturally, the capitalists don’t criticise him for that, since it’s the one thing they are in favour of union officials doing.

Surprisingly, Labor is presenting its strongest contrast with the Liberals for a generation. This is because Shorten and other senior Labor figures have seen the death spiral into which most European social democratic parties have entered and declined to join them. They’re not departing from neo-liberalism, but they’re having a serious go at a range of costly tax loopholes used by the richest 10%. They’re also promising to do something effective about climate change, though their concrete proposals are only about half of what is needed.

Who else is running? Firstly, we’ll take the Right. There’s One Nation, as nasty a bunch of racists and bigots as you’re ever likely to find, and then there’s a collection of Right wing nut jobs (mostly running only for the Senate) who for reasons known only to themselves aren’t in One Nation. Clive Palmer, a mining magnate, is trying to buy his way into Parliament with a Trump-esque slogan and a policy free zone onto which people can project their wishes. And a dishonourable mention has to go to Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party, who are actual capital-F Fascists, but have an accidental Senator to give them publicity.

On the Left, we have the Greens. As a capitalist party, they shame Labor by campaigning to their Left, proposing a range of supportable reforms and some climate change policies that start to approach what is necessary. They are fundamentally handicapped, though, by their delusion that a just and sustainable capitalism is possible. Whatever the virtues of their individual policies, the working class would end up bearing the cost.

The final party worth mentioning are the Victorian Socialists, who are running in three lower house seats in Victoria. The MACG oppose running for elections because, although it’s possible to enter a capitalist Parliament on a principled basis, we think it’s a waste of time and effort to do so. The energy required for the election campaign can be far more usefully directed towards building grassroots struggles. Nevertheless, the question arises of how to respond if a State Socialist group decides to waste its resources that way.

Because the Victorian Socialists have no chance of being elected, they only have to pass two very simple tests. They have to be standing clearly for Socialism and against capitalism. Secondly, the party mustn’t have disgraced itself in front of the whole working class like the British SWP has with its rape apologism (put “Comrade Delta” into your favourite search engine). They pass both these. We make no detailed demands of their policy, because we understand that no Parliamentary program, however “correct”, can get us to Socialism. And the Victorian Socialists’ program is indeed quite weak. For more details, you can consult your friendly local Spartacist, who will be only too happy to brief you on their shortcomings.

On this basis, we believe it is possible for Anarchists to lodge a principled vote for the Victorian Socialists. We must emphasise, though, the very limited meaning of such a vote. It is simply to say “I’m against capitalism and for Socialism” and it is only because the Vic Socialists have no chance of winning. If they stood a chance, no matter how remote, we would have to judge them on a much stricter test. A crucial element would be whether a Victorian Socialists MP would explain to the working class that Socialism is only possible through the revolutionary actions of the workers themselves and not through Parliament. This is a test they would not pass.

Finally, it is necessary to point out that the Victorian Socialists have already demonstrated our thesis that Leftists should put their energies into grassroots struggles rather than election campaigns. On 4 May, the Fascist party Yellow Vests Australia held a small demonstration in Melbourne. Normally, the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism would have mobilised in opposition. Most of its members, however, are in Socialist Alternative, the main force behind the Victorian Socialists, and the SAlties were out busy doorknocking for the Vic Socialists instead. Other groups, being smaller, didn’t want to risk mobilising on their own. So the Fascists went unopposed. Fail.

BUILD MOVEMENTS NOT ELECTIONS

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MAY DAY 2019

Chicago 1886

May Day arose in the late 19th Century from a campaign to free the Haymarket Martyrs. Police had moved to break up a peaceful workers’ demonstration in Chicago in the US on 4 May 1886 and an unknown person threw a bomb. As a result of the explosion and ensuing gunfire, which came largely if not entirely from the police, seven police and at least four workers died. Eight Anarchist union organisers were convicted in a rigged trial. Seven were sentenced to death, of whom four were executed and one committed suicide. The labour movement mobilised in their defence and a tradition was born, International Workers’ Day.

Capitalism Today

It has been over 130 years since the Haymarket Massacre. The world has seen booms, busts and two World Wars. The Russian Revolution, which started with such optimism, was perverted into the most disillusioning defeat. All the old feudal and colonial empires have fallen, the social productivity of labour has grown immensely and the new working class of China is now larger than the entire population of the United States. And all is not well. The world has not yet fully recovered from the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09 and economic growth is slowing to a stall. Another slump threatens and, at the worst possible time, the US has initiated a trade war with China, with the risk of escalation to a shooting war. And this is occurring at the very moment when the world stands on the brink of a slide into extremely dangerous climate change, possibly threatening the existence of industrial civilisation.

Australia Today

Here in Australia, the capitalists won a major victory over the labour movement in the 1980s, when the ALP, in alliance with the union officials, instituted a program of neo-liberal restructuring. The capitalists showed no gratitude, of course, and continued the program under Liberal governments, with the added objective of the elimination of the union movement. Now we see the fruits of this. The profit share of national income has skyrocketed and the wages share has plummeted. Wages are stagnating, despite what the media describe as low unemployment. Union density is low and falling, while strikes are so rare as to be newsworthy. The result is a surge of Right wing populism and the rebirth of Fascism.

The Solution

The only way out is struggle. We, the working class, must organise in the teeth of all obstructions. We must build the unions that the officials manifestly can’t build by themselves. We must use our vital weapon, the strike, and if the officials won’t help, we must act without them. And we must build solidarity across borders, because only international solidarity can beat the power of global capital. Standing together, in defiance of nationalism, we will have built a movement that embodies the values of a new and better world, a movement which also has the power to create that world. We can make a revolution to overthrow capitalism and create libertarian communism, worldwide.

WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group

PO Box 5108 Brunswick North 3056
1 May 2019
macg1984 @ yahoo . com . au

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IMPERIALISM MEANS ENDLESS WAR

World War I

On 25 April 1915, Australian soldiers, along with troops from New Zealand, Britain and France, stormed beaches on the Gallipoli Peninsula close to Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The campaign was badly planned and organised from the start and was a military disaster. It ended in defeat less than a year later, at the cost of over 300,000 dead and wounded. It was a minor episode of the larger disaster that was World War I, a clash between two great imperial alliances to see who could steal whose colonies, resources and markets.

War Today

A hundred years ago, war was mostly soldiers killing other soldiers while the civil societies behind them supplied guns and ammunition. Things don’t work like that any more. War is now waged directly on civilian societies themselves, so as to destroy their ability to put military forces in the field and supply them. Even when the opposing army is beaten, the war has hardly begun, because the victor intends to refashion the country in its own interests. Occupations drag on for years, generating opposition which is met by further violence. Drones wage a coward’s war, raining death from the skies while the pilots sit in safety far away. Some even go home to their families after “a day at the office”.

Australia’s Wars

Australia today wages war in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the Gulf of Aden and in the Philippines. All deployments are part of the US-led “War on Terror” and designed to defend a world order dominated by US imperialism. No longer strong enough economically to impose order through the market, the US needs to use its military to do a job that has no end. Australia’s junior imperialism helps out to ensure continued recognition of its own sphere of interest in East Timor and the South Pacific. On the battlefield the Australian military, armed to the teeth, deals out death to irregular forces and civilians, and only occasionally takes casualties in return. The “War on Terror” started in 2001 and governments no longer even talk about it ending. It is now permanent.

Peace

There will be no peace while imperialism dominates the globe. Imperialism, though, is not a policy but the set of international relationships under global capitalism. Powerful countries compete with each other for influence and markets and seek to impose a world order in their favour. To end imperialism and its endless wars, we need to end capitalism. The only road to peace is a revolution where the working class unites across national boundaries and overthrows the competing capitalist powers. We can then build a new society where we can be one humanity, sharing the earth and its fruit together. We can relegate war to the history books.

END AUSTRALIAN IMPERIALISM
END CAPITALISM

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group

macg1984 @ yahoo . com . au
PO Box 5108 Brunswick North 3056
25 April 2019

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