Australasian Spartacist No. 204
ALP Rules for Racist Australian Imperialism
U.S./Australia/NATO Out of Afghanistan Now!
Cops/Military Out of Iraq, East Timor, South Pacific!
After more than seven years of imperialist military terror, leading to the loss of tens of thousands of Afghan lives, the U.S.-led occupying forces in Afghanistan are preparing to ramp up their murderous campaign. In mid-February, the new U.S. Democratic Party president, Barack Obama, ordered 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan, part of his promise to increase forces there while withdrawing troops from the Iraq quagmire. As Washington beefs up its occupation forces, U.S. military leaders are pushing for Australia to take the lead role in NATO-led coalition operations in the province of Oruzgan. This would mean at least doubling the 1,100 Australian forces, including SAS, already stationed in southern Afghanistan. While polls show that more than half the Australian population are opposed to the Afghan operation, Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd remains an enthusiast for the slaughter declaring it to be in Australia’s “national interest.”
Addressing an audience at the Australian war memorial last October, Rudd spoke darkly of “a global terrorism movement that roamed the world and reached into South East Asia.” He went on to declare that Australia is “preventing the spread of terrorism” and “helping Afghanistan to rebuild itself into a more peaceful and stable state.” This Orwellian doublespeak came amidst reports that Australian troops had locked Afghan soldiers in dog pens without food or water, and that almost 600 Afghan civilians had been killed at the hands of occupation forces in the first eight months of 2008. On 12 February five Afghan children were slaughtered in an attack involving Australian forces.
Following the January inauguration of Obama as the new Commander in Chief of U.S. imperialism, Rudd pompously declared, “As allies we share great challenges in Afghanistan and beyond. But in President Obama I say this: Australia will have a friend and ally to shoulder these challenges together.” Mirroring Obama’s so-called “smart” power projection and “multilateralism,” Rudd has argued for a beefed-up Australian navy and air force, projecting an Australian military force capable of backing its U.S. big brother across the globe as well as enforcing Australian imperialist plunder of resources and superexploitation of the working masses in the region.
The White Australia ruling class has always existed in Asia as the lackey ally of a more powerful white-Anglo Christian imperialism. Australian capitalism was founded on the massacre and dispossession of the Aboriginal population and exclusion of the Asian masses. The slavish loyalty of the Australian capitalist rulers to first the British and later the U.S. has meant joining bloody imperial adventures on far-flung battlefields for more than a century. In return, the Australian capitalist rulers have expected protection as they pursue their own predatory regional interests.
The imperialist occupation of Afghanistan has resulted in bloody warfare among tribal warlords, famine and the ongoing brutal oppression of women. The country has the highest infant mortality rate in the world, while life expectancy is just 44 years. Imperialist overseers in Afghanistan have brokered a constitution that enshrines anti-woman Islamic fundamentalist sharia law. Iraq also remains a hell-hole of all-sided bloodshed. Well in excess of 100,000 Iraqis have died since the imperialist blitzkrieg of Baghdad in March 2003 signalled the beginning of the ongoing neocolonial occupation. This has come on top of the tens of thousands who were slaughtered in the first 1991 Gulf War and the more than 1.5 million killed as a result of United Nations sanctions between 1990 and 2003.
Meanwhile U.S. air strikes bombarding border areas between Afghanistan and western Pakistan have led to many civilian deaths, as the imperialists threaten to extend their assault deeper into Pakistan. While there are mixed signals emanating from Washington, the U.S. also continues to threaten Iran over its purported nuclear weapons program. U.S./Australian imperialists keep your bloody hands off Pakistan and Iran!
In forthright opposition to our own ruling class, the Spartacist League of Australia, section of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) (ICL) stood for the military defence of Afghanistan and Iraq in the lead-up to the imperialist invasions, without giving an iota of political support to the reactionary woman-hating Taliban or the capitalist dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. We underlined that every military victory for the imperialists encourages more predatory wars; every setback serves to assist the struggles of the working people and oppressed around the world. We are for the defeat of the imperialists. As proletarian internationalist opponents of imperialism we demand the immediate unconditional withdrawal of all Australian military from Afghanistan, the Middle East, East Timor and the South Pacific!
When insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan aim their blows against the U.S. and their Australian and other lackeys, such acts coincide with the interests of the international working class. But we do not imbue the forces presently organising guerrilla attacks on U.S.-led occupation forces with “anti-imperialist” credentials. The ICL has warned that in the absence of working-class struggle in Iraq and internationally against the occupations, the victory of one or another of the reactionary clerical forces is likely to come about through an alliance with U.S. imperialism and its lackeys. We are intransigent opponents of the murderous communal violence against other ethnic, religious and national populations oftentimes carried out by the very same forces fighting the occupation armies. And we have condemned the kidnappings and executions of foreign civilian workers.
In the epoch of imperialism, national liberation of the oppressed peoples of the neocolonial world cannot be achieved under capitalism. It requires the overthrow of bourgeois rule. In places like Iraq this means combining opposition to the occupation with a proletarian-centred fight against all manner of bourgeois nationalism and religious fundamentalism. It poses the urgent need to build Leninist-Trotskyist parties to lead the struggles of the working people in a fight for a socialist federation of the Near East. If such revolutions are not to be strangled by imperialist military intervention and/or economic blockade or by their own inherited material backwardness, these revolutions will necessarily have to extend to the imperialist centres. This is the perspective of permanent revolution outlined by Russian revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky, and which was confirmed by the victory of the 1917 Russian Revolution. In countries like Afghanistan, where the working class is very weak or non-existent, there is no purely internal solution. The destiny of these countries is tied to the international class struggle, in the first instance in those countries in the region, such as Iran or Egypt, which do have significant proletarian concentrations.
As we have made clear from the outset of the imperialist attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, the key means of defending these neocolonial countries against imperialism is through international working-class struggle. The imperialist devastation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Australian imperialist jackbooting in tiny East Timor and the Solomons, have gone hand-in-hand with increased attacks at home against workers and the oppressed. As the international capitalist economic crisis snowballs these attacks will only increase.
“War on Terror”—Racist War on Workers and Oppressed
Rudd is an ardent supporter of the “war on terror,” aggressively pushing Afghanistan as its “frontline.” This “war” has served as a pretext for Australian imperialist intrigues and depredations from Indonesia to Iraq to Afghanistan. The previous Howard federal government, like capitalist governments around the world, seized on criminal acts such as the 2001 World Trade Center attack and the 2002 Bali bombings as an opportunity to also shred democratic rights and increase state repression at home. This was done with bi-partisan support from the ALP. Now in the government saddle, Rudd’s ALP maintains the “anti-terror” legislation, which is in the service of suppressing potential opposition to bloody colonial occupations and stymieing class and social struggles against the exploitative capitalist system of poverty, racism, unemployment and war.
The frenzy accompanying the “war on terror” has also sought to demonise the Muslim minority and whip up xenophobia and nationalism thus serving to divide the working class and regiment the population into accepting gross violations of civil rights. In early February, Melbourne-based Muslim cleric, Abdul Nacer Benbrika, already imprisoned three years, was sentenced to a minimum of twelve years jail after being found guilty of “forming an Australian terror cell.” Six others also received jail sentences. Committing no terrorist act or even laying down plans for one, in truth, these men have been imprisoned for expressing opinions, for alleged thought crimes. Several more men arrested in Sydney in the same police operation are now facing trial.
Such state-sponsored witchhunts, combined with continued anti-immigrant measures, including the Rudd government’s ongoing mandatory detention of refugees and the establishment of a new deportation centre on remote Christmas Island, have emboldened racist and fascist scum. This was graphically illustrated in the northern Sydney beachside suburb of Manly on “Australia Day” this year. Reminiscent of the pogromist riots in Cronulla three years ago, mobs of white male youth, chanting sexist and racist epithets, rampaged against Asian and non-white people, assaulting some and smashing shop and car windows.
At the time of the arrest of Benbrika and the others in November 2005, we noted that the sinister raids were carefully orchestrated to occur on the eve of the vote on the then-Howard government’s “anti-terror” legislation. They also occurred in the lead-up to mass union demonstrations against draconian anti-union laws. It is no accident that aspects of the subsequent legislation targeting building workers for state persecution, including the establishment of the hated Australian Building and Construction Commission, were modelled on the “anti-terror” laws. We say: Down with racist “war on terror” government repression! All those arrested should be released from prison immediately. From Melbourne to Iraq and Afghanistan: free all the detainees now! It is necessary to organise a proletarian-centred fight against all the reactionary “anti-terror” and anti-union laws.
A class-struggle fight against the capitalist rulers at home requires a political struggle against the trade-union tops, whose class treachery can be measured in the millions of dollars of workers’ union dues they spent mobilising to elect the union-hating capitalist Rudd government. The Laborite union misleaders are a pro-capitalist bureaucratic layer atop the unions, bought off by the crumbs from Australian imperialism’s exploitation abroad. While they can sometimes, under pressure from their worker base, be impelled to call strikes and other actions to defend workers against the capitalist rulers’ attacks such as strikes and rallies against Howard’s WorkChoices legislation, overall they act to police the working class for the bosses and are the chief means for transmitting bourgeois consciousness into the proletariat.
Potential class struggle against Australian imperialist militarism abroad has been repeatedly derailed by the social-democratic union misleaders who channelled working-class opposition to war into support to the United Nations, a tool for the imperialists, and into nationalist appeals for the Australian capitalist rulers to act more independent of the U.S. Anti-Americanism has long been a cheap cover for the union leadership’s subservience to their own bosses. Identifying with the “national interests” of the bourgeoisie and its state, they betray the interests of the working class at home and abroad.
Today, in the face of the economic crisis, the Laborite union misleaders bellow for greater protectionism to “defend” jobs rather than taking up the fight against the capitalist rulers. Preaching the lie that workers will benefit from protecting Australian industry from overseas competitors, these nationalist misleaders act to promote loyalty to the bloody imperialist military. When the bombs began raining on Baghdad in 2003, union leaders reneged on their earlier promises of protest strike action against an attack on Iraq, arguing they did not want to disadvantage “our troops.”
In 1999 it was the union tops (cheered on by the fake socialists) who were in the forefront of chauvinist mobilisations demanding Australian military intervention to “Save East Timor.” The Australian neocolonial occupation of that tiny state has resulted in gun-toting Australian troops terrorising the population and enforcing abject poverty while Australia plunders the oil and gas reserves. Today, under the Australian jackboot, hunger stalks the majority of East Timorese families while women are 300 times more likely to die during childbirth than in developed countries. While the pseudo-socialists—from the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), to Socialist Alternative (SAlt), to the Socialist Party—joined the chauvinist “troops in” marches, the SL held speakouts and forums opposing the Australian/UN intervention.
The historic role of the ALP parliamentary and trade-union misleaders is to subordinate the working class to the capitalist rulers by furnishing the lie that it is possible to have a government—particularly a Labor one—that will administer the bosses’ state in the interests of workers and the oppressed. The ALP is a bourgeois workers party: thoroughly pro-capitalist in its leadership, program and outlook, while having organic ties to the working class through the trade unions. To defeat imperialist terror abroad and capitalist oppression at home requires breaking the chains of Laborism and building a class-struggle leadership in the trade unions, linked to a revolutionary workers party. Such a party, a tribune of the people, would fight to lead the multiracial working class in socialist revolution to overthrow the racist Australian capitalist rulers.
Little Australia Reformists Plead: Bring the Troops Home
Our internationalist, proletarian, revolutionary perspective stands counterposed to any support to the various cross-class “anti-war” coalitions such as the Sydney-based “Stop the War” Coalition (StWC). Through such coalitions, reformist left groups such as the DSP and SAlt have spent years treacherously pushing working-class anti-war sentiment into forging alliances with mythical “peace-loving” sections of the bourgeoisie. In contrast, we Marxists have fought for class struggle against the capitalist rulers at home while demanding not one person, not one cent for the Australian imperialist military.
It should be axiomatic for anyone claiming to be a socialist that it is impossible to defeat imperialism in alliance with capitalist parties like the Greens. They in principle uphold the bourgeois state, which consists at its core of the cops, courts, prisons and military and exists to enforce the rule of the exploitative capitalist minority over the working class and oppressed. The pseudo-Marxists of StWC refuse to draw a class line against their own imperialist rulers and preach the lie that imperialist war can somehow be ended under capitalism, consistently pushing bourgeois pacifist and social patriotic demands “to end Australia’s involvement.”
Last November, following the deaths of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, the StWC sought to ingratiate themselves with everyone from peaceniks to returned soldiers, calling on “peace activists to dedicate Remembrance Day to victims of current U.S.-led wars.” Burying the crimes of Australian imperialism, they rallied outside the U.S. Consulate in Sydney on 11 November seeking to pressure the Rudd government by pleading that “Australia should take a stand against the US’s undeclared policy of spreading the ‘war on terror’ to neighbouring Syria and Pakistan” (Green Left Weekly, 19 November 2008).
Continuing their “little Aussie” nationalist appeals to the capitalist rulers, the upcoming 21 March demonstrations have been called under the demands to “Bring ALL the Troops Home” and “Prosecute the War Criminals,” the latter an appeal to the imperialist butchers to act against themselves. These opponents of revolutionary Marxism act to uphold the racist exploitative capitalist status quo by sowing illusions that the capitalist rulers can fundamentally clean up their system. As we stated in our 11 September 2007 leaflet protesting state repression against anti-APEC protesters:
“While the reformists demanded ‘Bring the troops home,’ our placard ‘Cops/Military Get Out of Aboriginal Communities Now!’ pointed to the fact that the Australian military is already at ‘home,’ carrying out a vicious racist occupation of Aboriginal communities while enforcing a naked land grab. They were also very much ‘at home’ in Sydney this month, mobilised to help enforce the suppression of anti-APEC protests!”
Reformist groups such as Socialist Alliance call for the bourgeoisie to reorder its priorities, for example calling for aid, not occupation. But the capitalist system cannot be pressured or reformed to work in the interest of human needs. The relentless drive for profits and spheres of influence by big capitalist powers inevitably leads to neocolonial exploitation, pillage and ultimately war between rival imperialist powers. As leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution, V.I. Lenin, explained, imperialist aggression and war are not “policies” that can be ended within the framework of capitalist rulethe entire system must be overturned. The imperialist rulers will not give up their military hardware for the benefit of people any more than a boss would abandon his profits in the interests of job security and a decent wage for workers. Only through the working class wresting the means of production from the hands of the capitalist imperialist rulers and organising an international collectivised and planned economy can the basic needs of the billions of toilers now enslaved by imperialist exploitation and oppression begin to be met and the threat of war be ended once and for all.
Down With Australian Imperialism! Defend China!
Reformist demands to “Bring the troops home” also reflect the appetites of the ALP and Greens, who the fake socialists (including the DSP, SAlt, Socialist Alliance and the International Socialists—now Solidarity) campaigned for in the November 2007 federal elections. For years the ALP and Greens have been in the forefront of pushing for a greater role for Australian imperialism in the region.
Seeking to capitalise on the euphoria surrounding Obama’s election in many parts of the world, and on Obama’s “promise” to the Muslim world of a new way forward based on “mutual interest and mutual respect,” the Rudd government has acted quickly to sign a new statement on defence cooperation with Indonesia in areas of counter-terrorism, intelligence and maritime security. This agreement is the latest expression of renewed ties between the Indonesian rulers and Australia following the criminal 2002 Bali bomb attack, which saw the then-Megawati regime enact sinister “anti-terror” decrees including detention without trial and the death penalty for those convicted of “terrorism.” Today anti-woman Islamic fundamentalism in Indonesia provides a further pretext for “war on terror” repression which will be used to crack down on dissent and target the restive Indonesian working class which faces the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs due to the world economic crisis.
While the Australian imperialists are mainly concerned to enforce an unhindered flow of imperialist profits for the likes of BHP-Billiton, Leightons Holdings and Santos, this latest defence cooperation doubtless ensures stronger Indonesian support to the Rudd government’s reactionary “border control” measures which are designed to prevent refugees, including from Afghanistan and Iraq, from reaching Australia’s shores. Opposing all anti-immigrant laws and regulations, we demand: No deportations! Full citizenship rights for all immigrants!
Australia’s role in the region—from strengthening ties with Indonesia, to policing in the southern Philippines, to the 2007 military pact with Japan—also supports the U.S.-led imperialist goal of tightening the military chain around the Chinese bureaucratically deformed workers state. With Obama in the White House, the targeting of China is likely to escalate. Obama represents that wing of the American ruling class who seek to extricate their troops from the Iraq quagmire in order to aim the U.S. military at more strategic and long-term targets such as China. Thus, Hillary Clinton’s first overseas visit as U.S. Secretary of State was to Asia, where she attacked North Korea over “human rights” and its nuclear programs. For its part, the Rudd government, while still maintaining almost 1,000 troops in Iraq, has long been anxious to free up Australian military forces to play a greater role in the region under the U.S. umbrella.
While Obama opened his presidency promoting “Made in the U.S.A.” protectionism and with verbal attacks that China is manipulating its currency, Rudd has been more circumspect. With the resource-driven economy now spiralling into recession/depression, the Australian imperialist rulers continue a policy of “constructive engagement” towards China on whose imports they so critically depend. At the same time, a nationalist backlash is developing within this country against China as it seeks to invest in Australia’s flagging mining industry.
Whatever conjunctural diplomatic approach Australia’s rulers may take towards China, they deeply share in the U.S. imperialists’ strategic aim to restore capitalist rule in China. For this, the imperialists have a two-pronged strategy: military encirclement combined with capitalist economic penetration. Under the counterrevolutionary U.S./Australia alliance, Australia pursues its own exploitative interests in the region while acting as the southernmost military anchor for the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific. The network of U.S. spy bases, which collect intelligence from around the world, are key to pinpointing and preparing for imperialist military strikes from Iraq and Afghanistan to China and North Korea. As proletarian internationalists we demand: Down with all of Australia's regional military agreements! Down with the U.S./Australia alliance! U.S. bases out now!
We Trotskyists stand for the unconditional military defence of the Chinese, North Korean, Vietnamese and Cuban bureaucratically deformed workers states against imperialist attack and internal capitalist counterrevolution. We also fight for workers political revolution to oust the Stalinist bureaucrats whose appeasement of imperialism and bureaucratic mismanagement and corruption pave the way for capitalist counterrevolutionary forces that aim to return China to the imperialist exploitation and misery that existed prior to the 1949 Revolution, and which exists in many neocolonial countries today. Raising the banner of working-class internationalism, a genuinely communist government in China, based on workers and peasants councils, would spark a fight for revolutionary struggle by the workers and oppressed of Asia, from South Korea to Japan, to the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.
We Said: Hail Red Army in Afghanistan!
The U.S.-led imperialist terror around the world today is a direct outgrowth of the 1991-92 capitalist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union, the world’s first workers state, created by the 1917 October Revolution. Despite its subsequent degeneration under a parasitic nationalist Stalinist bureaucratic caste, the Soviet Union provided a military counterweight to U.S. imperialism. Despite the rather miserable circumstances of backward Russia, it offered living proof that the overturn of capitalism and the construction of a collectivised economy could provide everyone with a job, housing, healthcare and a decent education. This is something no capitalist society has, or ever will, achieve.
The Spartacist League in Australia, as part of our Trotskyist international, fought for the defence of the Soviet Union against capitalist counterrevolutionary threats from without and within, while fighting for proletarian political revolution to oust the nationalist Kremlin bureaucrats. Our unconditional military defence of the Soviet degenerated workers state was sharply posed in late 1979 when Soviet troops went into Afghanistan to help a left-nationalist Afghan government put down a CIA-bankrolled, Islamic fundamentalist insurgency, which aimed at jettisoning social progress and re-enslaving Afghan women.
The insurgents the U.S./NATO/Australian imperialist troops face in Afghanistan today are Frankenstein’s monsters turned on their former masters. Under the banner of U.S. president Jimmy Carter’s anti-Soviet “human rights” crusade imperialist aid to the Afghan mujahedin began in the late 1970s. This crusade was fully backed by the then-governing Liberal Party and the ALP. The Islamic fundamentalist mujahedin were in rebellion against the pro-Moscow People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), which took power in April 1978. The PDPA tried to implement some minimal reforms to bring Afghanistan closer to the 20th century: land distribution, freeing women from the burka (the head-to-toe “veil”), reducing the bride price to a nominal sum and providing education for girls.
These reforms sparked a vicious backlash by landlords, tribal chiefs and mullahs who launched a jihad (holy war), burning down schools and flaying teachers alive for the “crime” of teaching young girls to read. When the PDPA requested assistance from Moscow to quell this bloody rebellion, the Soviet Army intervened, acting to defend the USSR’s southern border against the CIA-backed insurgency. This was the first war fought in modern history where the status of women played the central role.
The 1979 Soviet intervention in Afghanistana country so backward that it lacked a proletariat to carry out a social revolutionwas unambiguously progressive. The liberating effects of the Soviet intervention were proven by hard facts. By 1988, women made up 40 percent of the doctors and 60 percent of the teachers at the University of Kabul; 440,000 female students were enrolled in educational institutions and 80,000 more in literacy programs. Women enjoyed some real measure of freedom from the suffocating veil and subjugation for the first time in Afghanistan’s history. Now this has all been drowned in blood.
A Red Army victory posed the extension of the gains of the October Revolution to Afghanistan through the country’s integration into the Soviet system. The Soviet intervention cut against the grain of the Stalinist dogma of “socialism in one country” and offered the prospect of reanimating the Bolshevik program of proletarian revolutionary internationalism in the Soviet Union. Highlighting the bureaucracy’s capacity to betray, we stressed at the time that a genuinely internationalist perspective in Afghanistan would take a workers political revolution in the Soviet Union to throw out the Stalinist bureaucracy and return the USSR to the road of Lenin and Trotsky.
Joining the imperialists’ anti-Soviet war drive, the bulk of the international left condemned what they called the Soviet “invasion” of Afghanistan. In Australia the International Socialists (IS)forebears of today’s Solidarity group and Socialist Alternativecriminally stood with their own imperialist rulers and the anti-woman Islamic fundamentalists. Such was their anti-Communist fervour, the IS in Australia initially lined up behind union-busting Liberal prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, to call for a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Indeed much of the reformist left called for trade bans and joined with the ALP to attack Fraser’s Liberals from the right with the slogan “Malcolm’s wool keeps the Russians warm.” Today’s leaders of SAlt and Solidarity who shamelessly supported the anti-Soviet Islamic fundamentalist mujahedin cutthroats have the blood of Afghan leftists, school teachers and women on their hands.
When the then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, seeking to appease imperialism, withdrew forces from Afghanistan in 1989, we denounced this as a cold-blooded crime against both the Afghan and Soviet peoples. We warned it was far better to fight the forces of counterrevolution in Afghanistan than within the borders of the Soviet Union. In stark contrast the reformists celebrated the Soviet withdrawal, with the Democratic Socialist Perspective (then Socialist Workers Party) cheering on Gorbachev’s sellout. For their part the IS unambiguously took a side with reaction declaring the Soviet withdrawal “a tremendous victory for the rebels [mujahedin]” (The Socialist, March 1989). Gorbachev’s betrayal paved the way for Taliban rule and opened the road for the 1991-92 counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet degenerated workers state, a historic defeat for the proletariat and oppressed around the world.
While the bulk of the left internationally, including in Australia, stood on the side of capitalist counterrevolution in the USSR, we of the International Communist League fought to the bitter end in defence of the Soviet Union and the bureaucratically deformed workers states of Eastern and Central Europe. In East Germany (DDR) in 1989-90 we uniquely opposed the capitalist reunification. We called for a red Germany of workers councils (soviets) through political revolution in the East and socialist revolution in West Germany. We initiated the call for a 3 January 1990 united-front workers mobilisation against Nazi provocations at the Treptow Park Soviet war memorial in East Berlin, which was taken up by the ruling Stalinist regime. A quarter million people came out to protest this fascist desecration and in defence of the DDR and the Soviet Union.
In the Soviet Union we distributed more than 100,000 of our 1991 statement in Russian calling on Soviet workers to “Defeat Yeltsin-Bush Counterrevolution” and urging the proletariat to form soviets under the program of Bolshevik internationalism. Genuine opposition to imperialism begins with defending those gains that the international working class has already won. Anti-imperialism abroad also demands a class-struggle program at home. A revolutionary fight against imperialist war must be based on the independent mobilisation of the working class which, with its hands on the levers of production, has the potential social power to challenge and in the last analysis overturn capitalist rule.
The horrors being played out in Afghanistan and Iraq are among the starkest expressions of the choice that has been posed since the advent of the imperialist epoch in the latter part of the 19th century: socialism or barbarism. It is the same capitalist imperialist rulers who are engaged in bloody war and imperialist plunder from Iraq to Afghanistan to East Timor who are now throwing millions out of work around the world, while whipping up racist reaction and enforcing strong state repression. In the course of sharp class struggle, the proletariat must become conscious of themselves as a class fighting for their own independent interests and those of all the oppressed against the brutal capitalist system. This requires the building of a revolutionary party to educate the working class in their objective and historic interests. In political opposition to Laborite nationalism and reliance on the state, the aim of the Spartacist League of Australia, section of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is to build such a Leninist-Trotskyist vanguard party dedicated to lead the overthrow of this barbaric system and to the establishment of workers rule.