define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true); International – Chris White Online Blogging from a life-long unionist Sun, 07 Jan 2018 00:32:37 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 Oppose Nuclear War and North Korea Fri, 11 Aug 2017 07:43:30 +0000 NorthKorea

Update: December 17 The costs of war are too great. Time to pressure Turnbull against nuclear war

Nuclear disarmament is realistic

Update September:Pilger on war with North Korea
Trump threatens North Korea
From Putin: negotiate

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

Imagine if North Korea decided to conduct massive “live fire” military drills, accompanied by a Chinese naval flotilla, just three miles off the coast of California. And, let’s say, they decided to send formations of strategic high-altitude aircraft loaded with nuclear bombs to fly along the Canada and Mexico borders while tens of thousands of combat troops accompanied by hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles rehearsed a “shock and awe” type blitz onto US territory where they would immediately crush the defending army, level cities and critical civilian infrastructure, and topple the regime in Washington.

Do you think Trump would dismiss the North’s provocative war games as merely “defensive maneuvers” or would they see them as a danger to US national security warranting a muscular response from the military?

What kind of civilization have we developed when two mentally unstable national leaders, in an escalating confrontation with each other, threaten one another―and the world―with nuclear war? And Turnbull supports this nuclear chicken madness.

On China “The rise of China and the escalating conflict in the South China Seas means that Australia is now caught between the US, our greatest military ally and China, our greatest economic ally
“All Australians want to be safe. However the reality is we are currently acting as a giant US military base in the Pacific.”
peace trust

I post articles on Trump and North Korea. I support the campaign against nuclear war, for an independent and peaceful foreign policy and pressure on Turnbull to agree to the UN Nuclear Disarmament treaty.
Please sign CIDC and Greenpeace petitions to Turnbull/Bishop:sign the Nuclear Disarmament treaty
Peace movement building
International Day for Nuclear Disarmament 26 september
Scroll down to read ‘Boys And Their Toys: The Growing Movement Against Nuclear Nations’ By Sue Warham Medical Association for the Prevention of War

As Tensions Explode on Korean Peninsula, US Peace Delegation Calls for Immediate Response to North Korea’s Offer to Freeze Its Nuclear Program” read here from US Labor against War

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

Further report from peace delegation to South Korea

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

Rudd condemns Turnbull joined at hip with Trump over war with North Korea Note that Richard Marles, ALP, fails to condemn Turnbull.

North Korea could negotiate
Peace Convergence banner
The North Korean’s want peace. They want a formal end to the war and they want guarantees that the United States won’t preemptively attack them. Is that too much to ask?



Independent and Peaceful Australia Network NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2017 MELBOURNE
8,9 & 10 September 2017 Conference Theme: War, Peace & Independence: Keep Australia out of US Wars. Media release 22 August 2017

ANZUS alliance “highly problematic” in the face of current global affairs

● South China Sea conflict a nuclear threat, Australia must distance itself from US military alliance says barrister and academic James O’Neil
● O’Neil to set out a path for Australia’s role in the future at the upcoming IPAN conference in September, Melbourne

O’Neil states “For near a century, the US have been the virtually unchallenged dominant global power. Our military alliance with the US made sense during that time, but things are different now.
“The rise of China and the escalating conflict in the South China Seas means that Australia is now caught between the US, our greatest military ally and China, our greatest economic ally.
“Australia is a strong regional leader and we can benefit from China’s rise. However we must have an independent foreign policy in order to do so.
“All Australians want to be safe. However the reality is we are currently acting as a giant US military base in the Pacific.
“Continuing this pattern amidst escalating conflict in our region between the US and China is highly problematic, and not at all in our strategic interests.
“It’s time for Australia to let go of our military attachment to the US and stand on our own two feet.”

James O’Neill has been a lecturer at the University of Bergen, Norway, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, a Visiting Professor at the University of Louvain la Neuve, Belgium, and a visiting Professorial Fellow at NIDI in The Hague. He was also a consultant at the UN Economic commission for Europe in Geneva. James O’Neill has practised as a barrister since 1984. His particular area of interest is international law. He writes on matters of geopolitics, especially at the interface of law and international policy.
For Interviews: James O’Neill, contact 0405 819 980
IPAN Media Liaison: Kathryn Kelly, contact 0417 269 984
Playing Nuclear “Chicken” With Our Lives
by Lawrence Wittner
A foreign policy that requires tens of millions of people to simply keep their fingers crossed is simply unacceptable.
What kind of civilization have we developed when two mentally unstable national leaders, in an escalating confrontation with each other, threaten one another―and the world―with nuclear war?

That question arises as a potentially violent showdown emerges between Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Donald Trump of the United States. In recent years, the North Korean government has produced about 10 nuclear weapons and has been making them increasingly operational through improvements in its missile technology. The U.S. government first developed nuclear weapons in 1945, when it employed them to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and currently possesses 6,800 of them, mostly deployed on missiles, submarines, and bombers.

According to the North Korean government, its nuclear weapons are necessary to defend itself against the United States. Similarity, the U.S. government argues that its nuclear weapons are necessary to defend itself against countries like North Korea….

But are the two governments headed by reasonable men? Both Kim and Trump appear psychologically disturbed, erratic, and startlingly immature―much like the juvenile delinquents once associated with the game of “Chicken.” Let us hope, though, that with enough public resistance and some residual sanity, they will back away from the brink and begin to resolve their differences peacefully. That’s certainly possible.

Even if the current confrontation eases, though, we are left with a world in which some 15,000 nuclear weapons exist and with numerous people who, in the future, might not scruple about using them. And so the fundamental problem continues: As long as nuclear weapons exist, we teeter on the edge of catastrophe

Fortunately, this past July, in an historic development, the vast majority of the world’s nations voted at a UN conference to approve a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Nations will begin the process of signing onto the treaty this September. Although, sadly, all of the nuclear powers (including the United States and North Korea) oppose the treaty, it’s long past time for nuclear weapons to be prohibited and eliminated.

Until they are, government officials will remain free to play nuclear “Chicken” with their lives . . . and with ours.
Read here

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

IPAN press release Richard Tanter

Pine Gap hardwires Australia into a Korean war
“Whether we like it or not, Australia would be dragged into a conflict on the Korean Peninsula because of the critical role of Pine Gap in US military operations against North Korea”, says Professor Richard Tanter, senior research associate at the Nautilus Institute and honorary professor in the School of Political and Social Sciences at Melbourne University.
peace trust
“Given the geography of Korea and the decades of military preparations of both sides,” said Tanter, “we could become a participant in a war likely to result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Koreans, with a high likelihood of uncontrollable escalation to involve regional conflict.”
peace trust
“Informed commentators recognize that there is no military solution to this conflict, and talking is the only option to avoid unimaginable horror,” said Professor Tanter. “Difficult though it is to negotiate with North Korea, there is good reason to believe that its leaders are not bent on suicide. There are indications that negotiations could be possible, but they need to be genuine to have any chance of avoiding war.”
“The Australian government’s strategic response has for a long time been compliance with whatever constitutes United States policy of the day. In the hands of President Trump, this places the future of both the Korean Peninsula and Australia in the hands of a deeply delusional narcissist who is incapable of comprehending the consequences of his actions.”

“The Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap will play a critical role in both conventional and nuclear-armed U.S. attacks on North Korea”, said Professor Tanter. “Pine Gap hardwires Australia into US combat operations in Northeast Asia. Pine Gap’s tasking will now be very actively focussed on North Korea.”

“The logic of nuclear weapons, epitomized by the United States’ nuclear posture, and fully supported by compliant Australian governments, has led to North Korea’s
successful path to nuclear weapons state status. Its goal has clearly been to deter U.S. from attempting regime change, rather than suicidal nuclear aggression.”

“It is time for Australia to take an independent stance urging the utmost caution on its nuclear-armed ally as well as on North Korea, and actively oppose any action leading to what would be a catastrophic outbreak of war.”



“But equally, the present crisis makes clear that doctrines of nuclear deterrence – by any country – hold the whole world to ransom, with deterrence failure inevitable in the long run. It is clear that only the abolition of nuclear weapons will offer any chance of planetary safety. The Australian government’s craven acceptance of US demands that its allies boycott the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons adopted at the United Nations indicates that we have no independent foreign policy.”

Professor Tanter will address the issue ‘What would an independent Australian foreign policy look like?’ during the upcoming Independent and Peaceful Australia Network National Conference in Melbourne over the weekend of 8-10th September.

For Media Interviews: Richard Tanter, 0407 824 336
IPAN Media Liaison: Kathryn Kelly, 0417 269 984
Important listening from ABC on Pine Gap

Subscribe to IPAN Voice here from no 8
An IPAN Response:

To the leaders of North Korea and the United States:
“Negotiate and de-escalate”

To the North Korean Leadership:
“Cease your threats to fire missiles around Guam”

To the US Leadership:
“Reduce the military threat perceived by North Korea, by ceasing US Bomber flights over the Korean peninsula, cease the US/Sth Korean large scale military exercises and reduce the heavy military concentrations near North Korea by commencing the dismantling of US bases and reduction in the heavy naval presence in the region.”

To the international community including the US:
“Remove the economic sanctions on North Korea, accept its legitimacy as a nation and its right to develop its own self defence and seek to integrate North Korea into the international economic community”.

To Malcom Turnbull;
“Supporting the US to the hilt – reflects an appalling lack of judgement about the risks of nuclear war and potentially endangers millions of lives including Australian’s. Australia should adopt a non-aligned policy at this stage and not use an invalid reading of the ANZUS Treaty to automatically assure the US of Australia’s support in a war with North Korea.
Furthermore, the US military bases on our soil including Pine Gap integrate Australia into the US war machine and lock us into wars that are prosecuted by the US. These bases deny Australia our sovereignty and our freedom to make foreign policy decisions independently of the US; they must be addressed urgently if Australia is to be able to pursue independent and peaceful relations with our neighbours and the international community.”

History of the Korean dispute
Further history and likelihood of war
Earlier Tanter against war with China
Boys And Their Toys: The Growing Movement Against Nuclear Nations
By Sue Warham MAPW in New Matilda
July 12, 2017 International Affairs
The case against nuclear weapons has always been strong. What’s changing is a growing global resolve to eliminate them, writes Dr Sue Wareham*.

Nuclear weapons – the only man made threat that could virtually destroy our planet in an afternoon – have hit the news again, in two ways that represent polar opposites of the struggle to banish them forever.
In New York at the United Nations we have just witnessed historic progress towards realising the goal of a nuclear weapons free world. Late last week, the UN adopted the new ‘Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’, to prohibit states from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, transferring, deploying, stationing, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, under any circumstances. Read here

Pine Gap: Australia to be prosecuted?
Why There’s No Reason to Worry About War With North Korea

I think it best to assume that the sanctions against North Korea imposed by the UN with PRC and Russian support will not deter Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear weapons program. The North Korean economy has been growing in recent years; even if it’s hit by declining coal exports it will muddle on.

The people are long-suffering, and religiously conditioned to revere the Kim dynasty that Washington loathes and insults. Having survived the economic impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the effects of the famine years from 1994 to 1998. They are probably able to accept more economic hardship if it’s imposed by foreigners who seem to oppose the DPRK’s right to self-defense. The fact is, the U.S. has long sought regime change. (What did Dick Cheney say about North Korea, as he derailed talks in 2002? “We don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat it.”)
Peace Convergence banner
But now the State Department is denying that it seeks regime change, and that it is willing to talk with Pyongyang—meaning it’s willing to return to a practice abandoned fifteen years ago, with the repercussions we’ve seen. Trump even made that unusual statement in May that, “If it would be appropriate for me to meet with [Kim Jong Un] I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it, if it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.” It will be necessary for somebody to do that, the alternative being a military strike condemned by China, Russia, and the world in general, followed immediately by the destruction of Seoul. (Pyongyang has threatened to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.”)

Logic would suggest ruling out a military response to North Korean nuclear tests and missile launches. But Sen. Lindsey Graham has told NBC that Trump has “told me to my face” that reports that “there is no military option” are “just false.”
“There is a military option: to destroy North Korea’s nuclear program and North Korea itself. He’s not going to allow — President Trump — the ability of this madman [Kim Jong Un] to have a missile that could hit America. If there’s going to be a war to stop him, it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die over here — and he’s told me that to my face.”
Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence
He doesn’t mention how many thousands. But North Korea has a (conventional weapons) arsenal on its side of the DMZ that could rain 300,000 rounds on the south during the first hour of a counterattack. We’re talking tens of thousands of Korean civilians, dying over there, supposedly to protect America.

Nah. Won’t happen. Can’t happen. Read more here



Ditch bipartisanship and debate Australia’s defence and security, politicians urged
Exclusive: Trump’s election threatens longstanding assumptions and turbulent times require return to an ‘adversarial’ democratic approach, new report argues
“Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, has, since taking the shadow portfolio, also attempted to create a subtle point of difference concerning Australia’s alliance with the US post-Trump.

Wong has argued Australia needs to define a more independent foreign policy within the established alliance framework, and needs “a better road map in Asia”.

The former Labor prime minister Paul Keating has also argued Australia needs to develop a “more independent, balanced foreign policy”, particularly towards China and Indonesia, after Trump’s election.” Katherine Murphy see above

Japan and North Korea
Peace is union business – time to campaign against war. And come to
IPAN National Conference: Theme – War, Peace & Independence: Keep Australia out of US Wars. 8,9,10 September 2017 Melbourne. Book now. See you there.

Richard Tanter on Trump, Australia and war with China Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:46:40 +0000 Richard Tanter, ‘Trump chaos to our north? Where do we stand at the end of US hegemony in Asia?’, Arena Magazine, 146, March/April 2017, pp. 7-9,

IPAN Peace conference

IPAN Peace conference

Download here
“Through a chaotic mélange of intent, incompetence and cultural prejudice, the new Trump administration will overturn the post-war system of US hegemony in Asia. Of course, that hegemonic regime has been creaking for decades, most obviously in the case of the rise of China, and in light of China’s clear determination to have a say in making the rules of the global order. Whatever else Trump does or does not do, his incumbency will dramatically accelerate those geopolitical and system-structural processes.
Peace Convergence banner
Never before has this kind of geopolitical transformation taken place in a conjuncture characterised by a violent globalised economic and class framework, an anachronistic state system of often dysfunctional, nominally sovereign nation states, high levels of global militarisation, widespread possession of nuclear weapons, and, above all, the climate-change impact of the Anthropocene unfolding in what will increasingly be abrupt non-linear form.” …

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

During his Senate confirmation hearing on 12 January, Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, called for a US blockade of China’s facilities on the islands/reefs it occupies in the South China Sea. It is best to be clear on these matters:
a naval blockade is one step away from the outbreak of war, in this case between two nuclear-armed powers.

Several years ago Des Ball and Rob Ayson pointed out that the assumption of most that a potential conflict between China and Japan could be prevented from escalating into major armed conflict is implausible. Their argument, which originally focused on East China Sea issues, carries even more weight in the even more complex setting of the South China Sea, where time for ambiguity in Australian policy is running out.

The Tillerson stream of Trump thinking has plans for Australia. Confirming Tillerson’s intent, a senior Trump transition adviser

told Reuters about specifics under consideration, such as basing a second aircraft carrier in the region, deploying more destroyers, attack submarines and missile defense batteries and expanding or adding new bases in Japan and Australia.
Space for Peacejpg
This view sits well with those in the Pentagon who have been nudging Canberra into still closer alignment with US operational planning. On 23 January Republican Senator John McCain, often identified as irretrievably hostile to Trump, called for US$7.5 billion of new US military spending for an Asia-Pacific Stability Initiative. Reuters reported that

A US military official, who did not want to be identified, said the funds could go to construct new military runways in countries such as Australia and the Philippines.

“The South China Sea issue is the immediate expression of a general urgent need for an independent Australian foreign and defence policy, for which two primary requirements are a policy framework sufficiently disentangled from the American alliance that government can discern where Australian interests and American interests diverge, and the resolution to articulate that policy. The problem is general, but Trump’s China policy makes it urgent.”
“In defence policy, a starting point is to think deeply about the relevance today of three remarkable works from the 1980s and early 1990s. The first is David Martin’s Armed Neutrality for Australia (1984), perhaps the most original book on Australian defence policy. Our first task is to apply Martin’s thinking about neutrality in a bipolar Cold War world to the developing contemporary multipolar situation. What would neutrality mean in relation to China and the United States? If not neutrality, then what? ”

“Labelling Tillerson’s remark as ‘simply ludicrous’, Paul Keating sounded the tocsin:

When the US secretary of state-designate threatens to involve Australia in war with China, the Australian people need to take note. That is the only way Rex Tillerson’s testimony that a ‘signal’ should be sent to China that ‘access to these islands is not going to be allowed’, and that US allies in the region should be there ‘to show back-up’, can be read.
peace trust
Keating is right in saying that we need a firm line from Canberra that, ally or no, Australia wants no truck with this kind of high-risk bravado in a part of the world in which we, unlike the United States, have to live.

This is not just a matter of risk avoidance but of rethinking the deep settler-colonial mindset of Australian foreign-policy discourse, which, as Henry Reynolds’ Forgotten War reminds us, extends back to the Australia and the Boer War of a century ago.”

Whitlam in China
…”And, rather than contemplating acquiescing to suggestions for new US bases or homeporting an aircraft-carrier task group in Fremantle, we need to start setting limits on the activities the United States can conduct from Australian bases to which it has access, including requiring an end to the violations of international law in Pine Gap’s contribution to targeting of US drone strikes in countries with which neither Australia nor the U.S. are at war.” Read the whole article



Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence

earlier posts War with China

On Castro Sun, 04 Dec 2016 04:50:39 +0000 It is 1966. I am 18. We are first studying the politics of the Cuban revolution. With many others throughout the world inspired by Fidel and Che, we follow – all these years – the triumphs and failures of the Cuban revolutionary history – here sketched in articles on Fidel Castro’s life. Indeed, lessons on the challenges of trying to build socialism. But we are in new times.
The world to learn from Cuba
Charismatic leader of the revolution and president of Cuba who bestrode the world stage for half a century.
Richard Gott The Guardian

Thousands are in Santiago de Cuba to bid farewell to Fidel Castro, including many Latin American and international leaders. Fidel’s ashes have just traveled across the country. #HastaSiempreComandante
Black America and the Passing of Fidel Castro By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

It is impossible to discuss Fidel Castro outside of an examination of the Cuban Revolution. And, while I hear that there are many Cuban Americans dancing with glee upon news of the death of President Castro, I know that the emotions within Black America are and will continue to be quite different.

For any Black American who knows anything about the history of the Western Hemisphere, both Cuba and Haiti have a special significance. read thoughts here

I will not try to offer anything approaching an analysis of the man and his times. What I can say, however, is that there are certainly criticisms to be offered, and differences of opinion of the dynamics of the Cuban Revolution. That is all fair game. At the same time, it has been a rare moment when a leader, particularly of a small country, has been willing to thumb his or her nose at the capitalist juggernaut and seek a different path. Added to this has been, particularly in a Western Hemispheric context, the challenge of taking on racist oppression and approaching it as the cancer that it is, a disease to be removed.

The one and only time that I met Fidel Castro was in January 1999 when I was on a TransAfrica delegation led by the organization’s first president, Randall Robinson. At the last minute, the night before we were to leave Cuba, we were informed that we would have an opportunity to meet with President Castro.

It was close to midnight when we were informed that we needed to board the bus and head to his office. When we arrived we walked into a waiting room in anticipation of the meeting. Suddenly a door opened and out came an old man in an olive green uniform. Yes, it was Castro. I think, quite irrationally, I was expecting the young Castro of the 1960s. But here was someone about the same age as my father. He circulated around the room and was introduced to our delegation. We then retired to another room to begin our meeting.

It is hard to describe what happened next, and probably equally hard for anyone to believe it. We sat in the room with Castro until about 3:30am. He never lost a beat. He never seemed tired. In fact, as the minutes and hours went forward, he seemed to gain energy! Castro spoke with us about the Cuban Revolution, race, and many other issues. Yes, he spoke a lot, but we were transfixed. And, when we asked him questions, he would consider the matter and always offer a thoughtful response, rather than retreating into rhetoric. It was particularly illuminating when he informed us that the Cuban Revolution had underestimated the power of racism. As he said at the time, when the 26th of July Movement (the revolutionary organization that led the anti-Batista struggle) took power they thought that it was enough to render racist discrimination illegal and that should settle the matter. The entrenched power of racism, even in a society that was attempting to root it out, was more substantial than they had anticipated.

Hearing this from Castro represented a special moment. There has frequently been a defensiveness among Cuban officials about matters of race in Cuba, despite the tremendous advances that they have made, advances probably of greater significance than any other country in the Western Hemisphere. Yet, manifestations of racism remain and, to our surprise, Castro was prepared to address them.

My Life by Castro

Marta Harnecker: Fidel Castro today forever
You always understood that politics was not the art of the possible – a conservative vision of politics – but rather the art of making possible the impossible, not through voluntarist actions but by understanding that politics is the art of building a social, political and military correlation of forces that allows us to transform the existing conditions of struggle and make possible in the future that which seems impossible in the present.

Against the fatalism that reigned within the left at that time, you demonstrated it was possible to defeat a regular army despite the sophistication of its weapons. Using the guerrilla tactic of attacking the enemy by surprise at its weakest points, you carried out victorious actions that weakened both its military force and, above all, its morale.

But for you, the armed struggle was a means and not the objective . Like Marti, you believed that those who promoted a war in a country when it could be avoided were criminals; but so also were those who refused to fight in a war that had to be waged.

Your great historic merit is having being able to clearly define the decisive link that could break the chain and, by doing so, give victory to the revolution. In your case it was the struggle against the dictator Batista and the regime he ruled over.

You saw clearly the need to unite the broadest range of social forces to overthrow this tyranny. It was not enough to only consider working with revolutionary sectors, it was necessary to convoke reformist sectors and even those reactionary sectors that had minimal differences with the dictator.

Fidel Castro — Beyond Words by João Pedro Stédile
We lost Fidel. We gained a history of examples and wisdom.

The story of Fidel is beyond words — we cannot describe it with words alone. So I would like to just give a testimony.

He used all his wisdom, knowledge, leadership, and dedication to build, over 60 years, a united and organized people, who have become invincible, faced with the most powerful economic and military forces of the 20th century: the capital of the United States.

For all those years the people have learned how to face the worst adversities, be they natural, like their hurricanes, storms, and lost harvests. They have faced an intolerable economic blockade. They have faced a permanent war, including a military invasion — the Bay of Pigs in 1961. …
Our movement, the Movement of Rural Landless Workers (MST), has received permanent solidarity and support of the Cuban people, with their technical schools, at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), where hundreds of poor Brazilian youths have been trained. Our movement has acquired the experience and methods of adult literacy education (Yes, I Can!). Together we have built international links of movements: Vía Campesina; the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA); the World Meeting of Popular Movements with the Pope; the Cuban peasants of the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) and the agroecology experts of the Cuban Association of Agriculture and Forestry Experts (ACTAF); the Federation of Cuban Workers (CTC); the Martin Luther King Center; etc. But above all we have learned a great deal from their exemplary struggle and persistence….

I would just emphasize, for our activists, his example in two fundamental aspects of life. The love of study. Fidel was a permanent propagandist for the importance of study, scientific knowledge, and liberating education. He had constantly studied from youth till his last days. He used to always say, quoting his inspiration Jose Martí: “Only knowledge truly liberates people.”

He was always with his people, every moment, on the front line, in all difficult situations: in war, in the organization of production and knowledge. He spared no efforts and set an example of the spirit of sacrifice.

read the article here

Fidel Castro and the Question Of PowerVan Gosse says: “The U.S. had to be taught, over and over, that the strong do not always dictate. The legacy of the Cuban Revolution is their insistence on the independence and equality of peoples. Perhaps, in an era when neoliberal “globalization” carries all before it, that seems like an antique stance, left over from the era of anticolonial Third World revolution. I think not.”

Fidel Castro’s life, and the example of the Cuban Revolution, demonstrates the enduring relevance of state power. It is fundamentally irresponsible for anyone on the left to think one can avoid the question of power, and let someone else face its contradictions and deformations. Somebody will exercise it, for good or ill. Fidel Castro embraced this question, choosing to wield power in as many ways possible for what he deemed social goods, even on the global scale.
Fidel Castro was a towering champion of the oppressed, but we shouldn’t ignore the limits of the socialism he helped build.
by Mike Gonzalez
Again and again, Fidel Castro refused to surrender to threat or blackmail — it is that refusal that explains the blind fury and wrath of his enemies. Republican and Democrat administrations sustained the siege of Cuba for six decades, ranting in disbelief at their own ineffectiveness….After the Bay of Pigs invasion, Castro declared that the revolution was socialist. Though Fidel himself came from a radical nationalist background, his announcement was a recognition of both Cuba’s economic dependence on the Soviet Union and of the central role the soon-to-be-refounded Communist Party would play in its future.

In this context, socialism was understood to mean a strong centralized state along Soviet lines. This coincided with both Castro’s and Guevara’s views of how revolutions are won — by the actions of small and dedicated groups of cadre acting on behalf of the mass movement.

When the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, Castro supported the action, confirming once again Cuba’s dependence on the Soviet Union and the nature of the new state in the wake of Che’s death. But in Southern Africa, the country asserted its own, bolder, foreign policy.

During the seventies, the role of Cuban forces were key to defeating right-wing insurgencies and sustained Castro’s anti-imperialist reputation. There is little doubt their actions hastened the end of apartheid. Yet in the Horn of Africa, Cuban troops defended governments allied with Soviet regional interests that brutally repressed internal liberation movements.

Fidel was never a pliant subordinate. He used his extraordinary charisma and clout to fire occasional warning shots towards Moscow, on the one hand, and to reinforce his personal control of the state on the other. The survivors of the guerrilla force that landed from the “Granma” in 1956 and brought down the Batista dictatorship remained, for the most part, at the center of power for the five decades that followed.

The socialism that Castro espoused had little resemblance to Marx’s “self-emancipation of the working class.” It was a socialism with a command structure much like that of the guerrilla army in which Fidel was commander-in-chief. What held it together was both Fidel’s incontestable authority and the unrelenting hostility of the United States, which not only tried to murder him hundreds of times but was willing to starve the Cuban people into submission.

Under these tough conditions, the system that the revolutionaries built left real gains. Most celebrated of these were efficient and universal systems of health and education. Beyond that, daily life was hard, even before the withdrawal of Soviet aid and the “special period” that followed, which brought the island to the brink of disaster. Read more of the article.

A major feature of Fidel Castro’s 47-year-old rule was his manipulation of popular support and the creation of a political system that does not hesitate to use repression, and not only against class enemies, to cement its power.

“For the Left, Fidel always had another meaning. He was the principal designer of a revolutionary socialist project of Latin American emancipation. He put into practice the objective inaugurated by Lenin in 1917 and therefore occupied in Latin America a place equivalent to that of the promotor of the soviets.

But unlike his precursor, Fidel led for decades the process he initiated in 1960. He can be assessed as much for his triumph as for his management.

From a longer-lasting perspective, Castro’s achievement is comparable with the campaigns undertaken by Bolívar and San Martín. He led regional actions attempting to link a second independence for Latin America with the international advance of socialism.

Fidel tackled these tasks of Cyclopean proportions while maintaining a very close relationship with his followers.

He addressed his messages to millions of sympathizers who cheered him on various continents. He achieved a rational and passionate connection with the multitudes who heard him speak in countless meetings.” Read here

Castro survives many US assignation attempts is fascinating on our understanding of the “secret” state

Castro’s life in photos ABC
Wall Street Journal Counting Castro’s victims
LNL 2013 ABC Radio on Cuba and Fidel
The Secret History of How Cuba Helped End Apartheid in South Africa
DECEMBER 11, 2013
Green left Socialist reflection 2012 to promote the conference “Fidel in the 21st Century: His Contribution and Ideas for a Better World”, at the New South Wales Teachers Federation building.
By Marce Cameron
The hundreds of millions of the 99% for whom Fidel has been something of a political compass, and a spiritual compass in the secular sense, will want to reflect and recommit to our shared visions of a better world — a world without Fidel, but nourished by his presence in our struggles.
…on solidarity internationally; Fidel is daring to dream of such a revolutionary transformation
of our own society. And working patiently towards it in ways that are meaningful to each of us, respecting each other’s contributions and seeking the path of principled unity. Fidel is contributing our little grain of sand to the revolutionary hourglass, recalling that he began his struggle with a handful of idealistic youth with hardly a cent among them.

ALP Socialist left Tristan Ewins on Castro

Vanguard tribute

From Links Castro and the Cuban Revolution
From Diego Maradona

Died my friend, my confidant, the one who advised me, the one who called me at any time to discuss politics, football, baseball, the one who told me that when it was Clinton who came was worse, that was bush. As he was not wrong, never for me fidel is, was and will be eternal, the only, the greatest. My heart hurts because the world loses the wisest of all.
Not just anyone grave a dictatorship with 20 men challenging the American Empire.
Not just anyone removes illiteracy in a year.
Not just anyone low infant mortality of 42 % to 4 %.
Not any way more than 130 thousand doctors, ensuring 1 Doctor per 130 people, with the highest rate of doctors per capita in the world.
Not everyone believes the greatest faculty of medicine in the world, graduando1500 foreign doctors per year, with 25.000 doctors graduates of 84 nations.
Don’t anyone send more than 30 thousand doctors to work in over 68 countries of the world by adding nearly 600.000 missions.
Not everyone gets to be the only Latin American nation without child malnutrition.
Not everyone gets to be the only Latin American country without drug problem.
Not everyone gets 100 % of schooling.
Not everyone can move in their country without seeing a single child sleeping on the street.
Not everyone gets to be the only country in the world that fulfills the ecological sustainability.
Not everyone gets that its population has 79 years of life expectancy at birth.
Not everyone believes vaccines against cancer.
Not everyone gets to be the only country that eradicates the mother to child transmission of HIV.
Not everyone gets to have the largest number of Olympic medals of Latin America.
Not everyone survives over 600 attempts on his life and 11 Presidents Americans trying to overthrow him.
Not everyone survives 50 years of blockade and economic war.
Not everyone gets to be 90 years old, with so much prominence in world history.
Loved by millions. Misunderstood by many others. What you can’t make anyone, is to ignore it.
R.I.P Fidel #Castro!

On Trumpism Fri, 11 Nov 2016 00:55:35 +0000 Update February 2017: A long informative frightening article with a detailed account of who’s who in the Trump administration.How the Trump regime was manufactured by a war inside the Deep State
A systemic crisis in the global Deep System has driven the violent radicalization of a Deep State faction By Nafeez Ahmed Read here

Updates January 21 Anti-union attacks coming from Trump
December 4: Sanders shows trump back sliding already on promises to workers and supporting the corporates. Read here

Under Trump, GOP to Give Space Weapons Close Look
Programs to account for a significant share of defense budget boost
Missile defense and military space programs are likely to get a substantial funding boost under the incoming Republican-dominated government, lawmakers and analysts say.

It Wasn’t the Russians: Hillary Lost Because She Blew Off Sanders and His Voters

The Roots of Trumpism by Charlie Post In 2016, a radical, right-wing, middle-class insurgency displaced the hegemonic capitalists in the Republican Party, at least temporarily.Read here

Back to Trump’s victory.
Trump won on this message – it was his last ad before the election. A similar voice would resonate here in Australia.

Pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will. Look ahead, get energized, read, build alternative public spheres, become guerrilla fighters. There are no guarantees in politics, but there is no politics that matters without hope, that is, educated hope.

President T. Rump revanchism can be defeated. I post some of the articles I am reading.

1. I listened to Bill Fletcher Jrn at an anti-war conference US Labor against War in Washington (photo above). He formerly worked for US unions and is now a left commentator and writer. It is worth getting his reflections – here on Trump.

Quick reflections on the November 2016 elections
By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

“Had it not been for the Electoral College, at this moment we would be discussing the plans for the incoming Hillary Clinton administration. That’s right. She actually won the popular vote. Thus, once again, that institution created by the founding slave owners has risen from the grave and prevented our exit from the cemetery.”

US labor against war

US labor against war

“I begin there to put the election into context and to suggest that commentary needs to be quite nuanced. No, I am not trying to make lemonade out of lemons. But I do think that it is important to recognize that the Trump victory was far from a slam-dunk; the election was very close. One might not get that impression, however, when one looks at news headlines as well as Electoral College maps.

What are some of the conclusions we can arrive at from this election?

The election was a referendum on globalization and demographics; it was not a referendum on neo-liberalism:
It is critical to appreciate that Trump’s appeal to whites was around their fear of the multiple implications of globalization. This included trade agreements AND migration. Trump focused on the symptoms inherent in neo-liberal globalization, such as job loss, but his was not a critique of neo-liberalism. He continues to advance deregulation, tax cuts, anti-unionism, etc. He was making no systemic critique at all, but the examples that he pointed to from wreckage resulting from economic and social dislocation, resonated for many whites who felt, for various reasons, that their world was collapsing.

It was the connection between globalization and migration that struck a chord, just as it did in Britain with the Brexit vote. In both cases, there was tremendous fear of the changing complexion of both societies brought on by migration and economic dislocation (or the threat of economic dislocation). Protectionism plus firm borders were presented as answers in a world that has altered dramatically with the reconfiguration of global capitalism.

The election represented the consolidation of a misogynistic white united front: There are a few issues that need to be ‘unpacked’ here. For all of the talk about the problems with Hillary Clinton-the-candidate and the failure to address matters of economics, too few commentators are addressing the fact that the alliance that Trump built was one that not only permitted but encouraged racism and misogyny. In point of fact, Trump voters were prepared to buy into various unsupported allegations against Clinton that would never have stuck had she not been a woman.

Additionally, Trump’s own baggage, e.g., married and divorced multiple times; allegations of sexual assault, would never have been tolerated had the candidate been a woman (or, for that matter, of color).

Trump was given a pass that would only be given to a white man in US society. All one has to do is to think about the various allegations, charges and history surrounding Donald Trump and then ask the question: had the candidate been a woman or of color, what would have happened? The answer is obvious.

Also in connection with this matter is that for all of the talk about economic fear, there is this recurring fact that many people seem to wish to avoid. Just as with the Tea Party, the mean income of the Trump base is higher than the national mean (and was higher than the mean for Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters).

Thus, we were not dealing with the poorest of the poor. Instead, this was a movement driven by those who are actually doing fairly well but are despairing because the American Dream that they embraced no longer seems to work for white people.

This is critical for us to get because had the Trump phenomenon been mainly about a rejection of economic injustice, then this base would have been nearly interchangeable with that of Senator Sanders. Yet that was not the case. What we can argue, instead, is that this segment of the white population was looking in terror at the erosion of the American Dream, but they were looking at it through the prism of race.
Against TPPjpg

Hillary Clinton, as candidate, was flawed but we should be careful in our analysis: Though Clinton had expected a coronation, the Sanders campaign pushed her to be more than she expected. The platform of the Democratic Party was shifted to the left in many important respects. Yet Clinton could not be champion of an anti-corporate populist movement. Yes, she correctly argued to tax the 1%. Yes, she articulated many progressive demands. But in the eyes of too many people, including many of her supporters, she was compromised by her relationship with Wall Street.

That said, what also needs to be considered is that Trump had so many negatives against him. Yes, he was an outsider, so to speak, and used that very skillfully to argue that he would bring another pair of eyes to the situation. Yet, this is the same person who is in the upper echelons of the economy; refused to share his tax returns; has numerous allegations against him for bad business with partners and workers; and engages in the same off-shoring of production as many of the companies he criticized! Yet, none of that haunted him in the way that various criticisms haunted Clinton. Fundamentally this was a matter of sexism, though it is certainly true that Clinton’s being perceived as an insider did not help.
We don’t know whether Bernie Sanders would have done any better but we do know that his message is the one that needs to be articulated: It is impossible to accurately predict whether Sanders would have done better in the final election. He certainly would have been subjected to an immense amount of red-baiting and suggestions of foreign policy softness. Yet his message did resonate among millions, especially younger voters. And it was younger voters who did not turn out in force to back Clinton.
In entering the Trump era it is the movement that Sanders was part of coalescing that becomes key in building a resistance that has a positive vision. One of the weaknesses of the Sanders message was its failure to unify matters of class with race and gender. This is not an academic exercise. This is about telling the right story about what has been happening in the USA. It is also a matter of taping into significant social movements, e.g., Occupy; immigrant rights; LGBT; environmental justice; movement for Black Lives. These are movements that are focused on the future and a future that is progressive. This, in fact, is where the hope lies.

I have argued for some time that right-wing populism—with the Trump campaign exemplifying an aspect of this—is a revolt against the future. It is a movement that is always focused on a mythical past to which a particular country must return. In the case of the USA, right-wing populism seeks a return to the era of the ‘white republic,’ and it is this that the Trump campaign was so successful in articulating. It did so through disparaging Mexicans, suggesting them as a source of crime, completely ignoring criminal syndicates that have historically arrived in the USA from Europe. It did so through demonizing Arabs and Muslims, suggesting them as sources of terror, completely ignoring that the greatest sources of political terror in the USA have been white supremacist formations.
Sanders anti-war
Right-wing populism has grown as a result of both the ravages brought on by neo-liberal globalization as well as the demographic and political changes within the USA. It is the latter—demographic and political changes—that have unfolded over the decades as previously disenfranchised groups have asserted themselves and articulated, to paraphrase the poet Langston Hughes, we, too, sing America.

Yes, let us lick our wounds and reflect on the future. This election result was one that more of us should have anticipated as a real possibility. In either case, that the results were so close and that we did not have the ideal candidate to represent the new majority emerging in the USA remains for me a source of immense hope.

The struggle certainly continues.

Photo: USLAW at DemocracySpring Rally Washington democracyspringrally

John Pilger ‘The truth is… there was no one to vote for’ (Going Underground US election special)

Kim Scipes, US sociologist, provides details of the devastating impact of US capitalism on the working class;

Chomsky warns on Trump win
Photo: At Labor for Bernie Chicago Union conference Labor for Bernie
Background post on my experience with Sanders campaign at the TroubleMakers Union conference Chicago

2.Sanders and Our Revolution continues in 2017…

Sanders may have won.

Voters under age 30 were the fuel behind Mr. Sanders’s campaign. He won more than 70 per cent of them at the convention —a bigger share than Barack Obama claimed in 2008 – but they were not enough for him to win the nomination….
“Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics, and the establishment media,” Mr Sanders said.
“People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes, and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer.

“To the degree that Mr Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic, and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”

Feel the Bern…earlier
Michael Moore’s “Morning After To-Do List” Facebook Post For Democrats Is Going Viral
1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.

2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn’t let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must “heal the divide” and “come together.” They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off.

3. Any Democratic member of Congress who didn’t wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that’s about to begin.

4. Everyone must stop saying they are “stunned” and “shocked.” What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all “You’re fired!” Trump’s victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that.

5. You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!

The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump.

The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don’t want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the “liberal” position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen (see: #1 above). Let’s try to get this all done by noon today. — Michael Moore

Big unions back Clinton not Sanders, so…
Michael Moore releases plan to immediately impeach Donald Trump

6. Begin a national push while it’s fresh in everyone’s mind for a constitutional amendment to fix our broken electoral system: 1. Eliminate the Electoral College — popular vote only. 2. Paper ballots only — no electronic voting. 3. Election Day must be made a holiday for all — or held on a weekend so more people vote. 4. All citizens, regardless of any run-ins with the criminal “justice” system, must have the right to vote. (In swing states like Florida and Virginia, 30-40% of all Black men are prohibited by law from voting.)

3. Trumpism
a.Hannah Arendt and Donald Trump: Origins of totalitarianism.
How a dead WWII-era philosopher understands Donald Trump better than anyone on CNN
Vince Emmanuelle, veteran, now broadcaster, writer on Veterans Day in Trumps America

b.Trump’s 7 Most Dangerous Campaign Promises
1. Build a “Great Wall” and Mass Deportations…
2. Ban on Muslims Entering the U.S….
Against money ruling
3. Repeal Obamacare and Replace it with a “Market-Based” Solution…
4. Cut Corporate Taxes…
5. Cancel Paris Climate Agreement…

6. Strengthen the U.S. Military
Trump said that he will make the U.S. military “so big and so strong and so great” that “nobody’s going to mess with us.” He has also promised to provoke China by increasing U.S. military presence in the East and China Seas, and has suggested that some non-nuclear countries might need to obtain their own nuclear arsenal. He denied reports that he repeatedly asked an international foreign policy expert why the U.S. couldn’t use nuclear weapons.

7. Cut Planned Parenthood Funding
Trump has promised to cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood which provides essential health services, including abortions, to millions of women in the U.S.
Donald Trump made hundreds of promises on the campaign trail, usually vague, often changing, but nonetheless terrifying. As the United States and the world wake up to the reality of a Trump presidency we review some of his most dangerous pledges.

c. From Guy Rundle in today’s Crikey
“So what happened? Well, exactly what Donald Trump promised to the RNC would happen. His campaign around economic nationalism, closed borders, non-“politically correct” US imperialism involving massive force, “draining the swamps” in Washington — conducted with the sort of hyper-aggressiveness that is common in pop culture, but hitherto kept out of politics — opened up states that the Republicans have been locked out of for decades. For a half-century the worker-progressive alliance has been the base of Democratic politics, and they have only lost when a slice of those workers have been snatched from them, in 1980 (2000 was a fix; 2004, a national security victory).

Now, Trump has sundered that alliance, perhaps forever. He did so with the connivance of the Democratic centre themselves. They looked at the voting patterns and preferences of the northern white working class, and decided that they were becoming increasingly hard to talk round — people left behind by economic change, increasingly given to displaced anger for their plight, from the “elites” to the “world not respecting us any more”. They still believed they would win those states, but to buttress they turned increasingly to the new west and the new south — Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia — and emphasise the social and cultural politics of race and gender.

The strategy was a double failure, though there were plenty of polls to suggest it wasn’t. Team Clinton reached for the new states and failed, with a campaign strong on identity politics, and Hillary as the personification of diverse populations’ desires, and weak on specific packages and proposals for the devastated north.

For the latter, she was judged initially by her involvement with NAFTA, and her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership; this was combined with stories about her private email server, her conduct during the Benghazi disaster, and the operation of the Clinton Foundation. For many however, bitter after 10 years of non-recovery after the crash, Hillary simply represented the shadowy establishment. There was a degree of misogyny in this, from both men and women — she was identified as the female professional boss or manager who had become an increasingly common figure in peoples lives — but Hillary gave plenty of raw material to the haters. Elizabeth Warren, had she run, would have stirred up nothing like the hatred Hillary attracted.

But central to Hillary’s failure with high school-educated whites in the northern states — a group she lost by 40% — was the change in the mode of public reasoning among these groups. Put simply, conspiracy thinking has ceased to be a fringe process; as far as I can tell it has become the dominant mode by which tens of millions think about social life. Everywhere, everywhere, people talk of shadowy forces that run their lives, that fix the vote, that work behind the scenes, that they often identify as “government”. It often isn’t that, of course: Americans live among monopoly capital, their lives run by giant corporations, by mega-health-insurance, by massive telecoms, by Amazon, by a hundred other things in which they have no control. Ceaselessly told that they live in a society of opportunity, when in fact they live in a society where there is little capacity to steer your own life, this contradiction is constructed as someone actively holding you back, running the show.

This was a diabolical public culture for Hillary to walk into, and worse still as her leaked emails showed a culture of influence peddling and image manipulation behind the scenes. When the FBI and the bizarre sexual scandal-prone Anthony Weiner was drawn in, in the final weeks, Clinton’s milieu was exposed as a cynical, decadent, elitist group who fit exactly with the suspicions of the culture. She ran in an era of the Hunger Games and Twilight, both mega-franchises that depict a bejewelled and self-flattering, knowing elite, lording it over hapless and doomed masses. These franchises work because people do believe that the elites are, literally, trying to kill them, and, metaphorically, trying to suck their life blood away.”


d. What Just Happened — National Socialism Wins When Socialism is Abandoned
Michael Roberts: Donald Trump and the poisoned chalice of the US economy

e. Read some insights here e.g. Trump as Caligula How Did We Get Here? What Lies Ahead?
Second, we need to understand the reasons why Trump won. This requires recognizing the uniqueness of this election on multiple fronts. Trump’s victory was just as much about the Democratic Party’s implosion as it was about the triumph of Trump’s “outsider” political campaign….
Trump’s economic message caught on among mass segments of the public who had been harmed greatly by the neoliberal, pro-business, corporate globalization agenda.
His populism didn’t speak much to Republican primary voters, who instead embraced his reactionary social and cultural agenda. But Trump’s economic populism did catch on among the masses by election day. This part of his campaign was clearly captured in the New York Times’ exit polling data. Staring Americans in the face were the following findings:

* 79 percent of voters who agreed that the condition of the nation’s economy is “poor” voted for Trump, while 55 percent of those feeling it was merely “fair” did the same.

* 78 percent of those saying their “family financial situation” is “worse today” than in the past voted for Trump.

* 65 percent of those who said the “effects of trade with other countries” has been to “take away jobs” voted for Trump.
…many were middle to upper middle class types with above average incomes, little to no experience with being unemployed, and were largely well-to-do.
f. Many rich elites backed Trump. Here is one Trump millionaire backer
Trump may suffer from ADHD.Trump as a Reality TV Circus Clown It may be that Donald Trump has little interest in the arduous work of governing a nation of 325 million people…

Pence to govern, If the Pence-Trump presidency becomes a reality, none of Trump’s proposals for helping working class Americans will be allowed to pass through a Republican Congress – save those that serve the agenda of America’s plutocratic elites.
Trump as a Populist Pariah
Trump as a Modern-Day Caligula. Americans would be unwise to discount the possibility of a proto-fascist or fascist president.

g. Fight back. Jill Stein an excellent third party green Party candidate on resisting Trump
Against money ruling Donald Trump has won the presidency – not because of the “white working class”, but because millions of middle-class and educated US citizens reached into their soul and found there, after all its conceits were stripped away, a grinning white supremacist. Plus untapped reserves of misogyny.

h. On US being undemocratic. When in Washington, I attended a 5 hour DemocracySpring rally. Here is one report from the movement for democracy.Remember Clinton won the majority but lost the old state by state vote and millions of poor, Latino, African-American voters are disenfranchised by crooked rules.
Australia’s compulsory voting system is more democratic.
It was the Democrats’ embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump
Organizing in Trumpland By Vincent Emanuele November 14, 2016

i. Naomi Klein The rise of the Davos Class sealed US fate

They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.

But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview – fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine – is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?…

j. Three reasons for hope
1.The People Know The System Is Broken And Want Change

Trump’s election, like Brexit, shows the public’s loathing of the establishment and the hunger for change.

In many quarters, this fact is patently obvious. …

2. Trump Will Be Awful. Like Abbott, He’ll Quickly Galvanise The Left And The Public Against Him…

3. The only viable strategy for the left to regain power and influence across Western democracies is to embrace left populism. The well-rehearsed successes of Podemos, Syriza, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders in rapidly gaining support are evidence for that….

i AJ*: ex-Marine Iraq war veteran,anti-war. Solidarity brother. and Please share widely!
Obama and nuclear disarmament
Shirley Winton: Struggle and turbulent times ahead for working class in the US –
Chris Hedges: Trump Will Crush Dissent With Even Greater Violence and Savagery “Let’s not pretend democracy died on November 8 with the election of Trump”. Trump is the iron fist of repression by US corporate capital (elite). There are the hard and soft tactics of controlling the people. The Clintons/Obamas of the US corporate “elite” ruled through deception and hid the truth about the hardships, anger and alienation of the working class poor – otherwise why are so many Americans, and others, in shock at Trump’s victory and didn’t see it coming. The image of fat, wealthy “middle class” projected by US media fooled many. And the so-called “left intelligentsia” and too many unions abandoned the working poor to the most reactionary forces.

k. “The US ‘Presidential cretinism’ (to adapt a phrase from Marx and Engels) is just that but again the Left is suckered into the media’s obsession with personalaties.

A Trump win will have two outcomes of import beyond the hoop-la. First, if he threatens the Empire, the Daleks will take him out. Secondly, his win would be a tiny plus for the forces of progress globally because the burst-arsehole face of imperialism and its reality would come closer.

Bush was hated but seen as an amiable drip. Obama did blackface for the Wall-street Warlords – as Billary is doing now by pretending to be a woman – like Thatcher. The disjunct between the anti-social media’s version of Trump and picturing the US as the world’s last best hope is oceanic. Trump’s bad look won’t bring the Empire down but it gives a tad more space to those of us who know that that demolition job is what has to be done, and that it will take more than 100 years – look at the clapped-out British one still in its death throes. A French comrade said to us in Paris in 1983: for the Yanks there is no ‘other’. To them, we are all latent US consumers. That mentality is only the surface of what we are up against.” Humphrey McQueen

Marx on profit

Marx on profit

Pine Gap ‘THE POISONED HEART OF AUSTRALIA’ Tue, 11 Oct 2016 01:08:27 +0000 Trump as President. Read on…14485128_1306893405989876_1547199165578073804_nOn Peace protests and IPAN Conference 2016 by Chris White October 11
With the revanchist Trump, and Obama and Clinton daily fanning war drums against Russia and China, and continuous US drone assassinations, Australia has to move to an independent and peaceful foreign and defence policy.
See the IPAN resolutions below and my arguments focus on :
Close Pine Gap and give notice of closure of all US joint-facilities. OK the US moves our bases. The aim is a limiting of US first strike capacity; a limit on US drone assassinations (see below); a limit on space warfare with the closure of the most frightening of all the bases, North West Cape that is at the cutting edge of warfare — in space; and all this will boost nuclear disarmament.

Professor Des Ball “A senior strategic analyst has called for the Federal Government to rethink the Pine Gap communications facility, saying some of its work now is “ethically unacceptable”.
Des Ball played a key role warning against limited nuclear war and against US bases

Professor Tanter warns Australia could become enmeshed in anti-satellite warfare. If there was a war between US and China over the South China Sea and US could not bring a fleet near the coast any more, “the first thing they want to do is blind other side’s satellites”.
We are providing the US with extra capacity to make that happen, says Prof Tanter.
“Do we really want to be implicated in that?”
More from Richard Tanter 2017

Paul Keating slams ALP Richard Marles on South-China Paul Keating has slammed Labor defence spokesman Richard Marles for saying that the government must authorise the military to ­determine freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea to defend Australia’s interest and send a clear message to China. The former prime minister has also expressed concern that Labor is too compliant in its attitude ­towards US naval interests in the Pacific rather than adopting a more independent outlook that better balanced strategic and economic priorities.
“We always need to be ready to tell the Chinese, or the Americans, that a particular approach or action is not in Australia’s interests and that we won’t go along. That is, the assertion of our own interests.” Mr Keating said a “dangerous view seems to be coalescing that somehow a confrontation with China is looming and our problems all revolve around the South China Sea. They simply don’t”.

Stop Australian action in the South China Sea: See Philippines’ President and Defence chief tells US military to put on hold joint patrols, naval exercises IPAN comment:

Here is a report on the arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea that prepares the way for war. Making a mockery of international law. Read here


Move Australia to “Armed Neutrality”

Establish a Peace Department;

Civil Defence infrastructure investment e.g. underground bunkers for Australian cities and areas that are nuclear targets; Pine Gap ‘spy base’ makes Australia a target.
and funding for emergency war hospital care;
Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence
Phase out US Marines “On the Rotation of 2,500 US marines”
US Pacific Fleet and US air-force in Darwin and NT and war exercises scaled back and phased out;

Defund expensive overseas war purchases like the F35 and boost Australian-made Defence capabilities;

…as the US Empire declines

Campaigns are being developed from workshops of strong networks of peace groups – a few are referenced below.
IPAN logo light outline

1. References:

New Pics of CIA Spy Base at Pine Gap, Australia
February 28, 2016 Rare glimpse at the secrets of Australia’s Pine Gap spy base

a. Professor Richard Tanter interviewed on Radio 3CR

More Radioactive reporting on Radio 3CR on Pine Gap

Radio 3CR recorded and interviewed: earlier
‘Today we will present part three of a recorded program from the IPAN Public Forum held at the Trades Hall Chambers on Wednesday 14 September 2016.
The Forum was organised by a coalition of several peace, anti-war and community groups. CICD is an affiliate of IPAN.’
‪react-text: 664‬‬‬

Please search through ClosePineGap website for reports

Here is the IPAN website

Background from Richard Tanter on ABC radio LNL on Pine Gap
On Pine Gap: Nautilus Institute explores Alice Springs joint defence facility read here

Denis Doherty Keep Space for Peace:at Pine Gap

b. What Really Happens at Pine Gap
“First, though, Pine Gap. It’s still run by the CIA, with 25-year agency veteran Tim Howell the current station chief. Every bit of information it collects is shared with the Australians there under deputy director Gary Thorpe, an IT specialist from the Australian Signals Directorate.”…

Pine Gap 2006 was “fundamentally transformed” into a “regional gateway” that blends information collected by ground-based electronic systems, satellites, aircraft and drones, interrogation reports, and human intelligence into product “accessible to war-fighters in real-time”.

Deeper integration with US operations in the Middle East is matched by closer involvement in the Western Pacific than at any time since pulling out of Vietnam, White told me. In the past five years we have planned for conflict in Korea, assigned an Australian general as deputy commander of US land forces in the Pacific, attached a frigate to US naval forces in Japan during a flare-up in the Senkaku islands dispute, and hosted a US marine task force in Darwin.
“These are terribly significant strategic steps that have been taken with very little strategic analysis, certainly with no public discussion, but I strongly suspect with very little serious analysis within government either,” White said. “We’re sliding into situations where we are sending to the United States through these activities a message that we are willing to support them in military operations in Asia against China, and I don’t think we are.
“My worry is not that we’ll end up accidentally finding ourselves sliding into a commitment to go to war with China.


Ian Curr: In defence of Australia?

Drone attack ethically unacceptable
Here is a report from RedFlag, an activist on the Bus to Pine Gap

c. Here is a good report from CPA M-L
A brief presentation was made on behalf of IPAN’s national co-ordinating committee outlining a broad vision for an Independent and Peaceful Australia:(Extracts )
“We believe a people’s vision for an independent and peaceful Australia is the only viable and practical alternative to the present subservience and integration into US militarism.
“What would an independent and peaceful Australian foreign policy look like? We hope some of these points will inspire positive and unifying discussion and broadening the campaign for peace and independence.
1. Treaty with Australia’s First Nation People

2. Establish independent working relationships with countries, especially in our region, based on mutual respect, equality and national sovereignty.

Promote peaceful resolutions of conflict between countries through negotiations and diplomacy, see IPAN’s Statement on the South China Sea Territorial Dispute.

3. Extend aid programs in the region, including countries affected by devastations of climate change and military conflicts.

4. Assert our independence and sovreignty in our relationship with the US, and any other big power. The US is presently the most aggressive war-driven armed to the teeth power in the world and the main instigator of wars around the world.

5. Ensure the military and economic interests of big powers and multinational corporations do not override the welfare, safety and security of the Australian people and the environment;

6. Bring home Australian military forces from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and other parts of the world immediately (eg Philippines, Japan);

7. Remove foreign military bases and troops from Australia and withdraw from the US-Australia Alliance to secure genuine and lasting independence from big power dominance and our involvement in foreign wars;

8. Internationally, vigorously promote the banning and destruction of all nuclear weapons and stop the arms race;

9. The savings made from current expenditure on foreign wars and interoperability with the US global war machine will be re-directed to social and community services – more hospitals, doctors, nurses, teachers, schools, support for struggling farmers, people on disability, single parents and unemployment pensions, protection for the environment, and more;

10. Develop Australia’s self-reliant, self-defence industries and assert our independence from the US military apparatus. End military interoperability and integration into the US war machine. The technology presently used for offensive and aggressive warfare should be re-directed towards Australia’s self-defence and improving and securing people’s lives and the environment. Re-tooled, re-engineered and re-designed local manufacturing industries will provide jobs for workers in industries that build security and peace, not the profits of war.

11. Restructure armed forces for self-defence of Australia and civil emergencies;
Darwin No US Bases
12. Declare Australia an independent and peaceful country;

13. Close all refugee detention camps and implement efficient and speedy processing of asylum seekers;



14. Internationally, campaign to end wars and poverty and uphold self-determination and sovreignty of countries;

15. An independent foreign policy of Australia would embrace economic sovereignty, and fair and equal policies and trade between countries rather than the neo-liberal corporate policies”;

Each session was followed by brief questions to the panel members before the conference broke up into four workshops to pinpoint suggested actions and demands for the year ahead. The workshops considered four key areas;
• Nuclear weapons and Australia
• Foreign troops off Australian land – Close US bases
Armed Neutrality – strategy for independence and peace?
• Building a broad movement for peace, justice and independence
At least a dozen or more suggestions were put forward from the workshops and these will be prioritised by the IPAN National Committee and circulated to the various affiliates for comment.

Greens Senator Ludlam and Senator Lee Rhiannon, the Federal Greens Senator for NSW made interesting speeches at the IPAN conference and here outside of Pine Gap
Scott Ludlam

From Green Left Weekly peace activists at Pine Gap:

d. Ian Curr’s good story on ‘Pine Gap 50 Years War’ telling of 3 peace protesters lamenting war at Pine Gap arrested but with the magistrate dismissing charges on a process point – did not get Senator Brandis AG authorization and we wait for this.

See as well ABC report on the protesters freed :
Tales of 2016 Pine Gap and songs of peace actions ‘swords into ploughshares.’ See here
Andy plays Ryan Harvey’s Its Bigger than a War:

It’s bigger than a war it’s the day to day
Capitalism’s price to pay
It’s a system based on murder and the packaging of fear
The swallowing of lies and the cranking of the gears

Andy Paine’s Insider Interview with the Pilgrims
Peace Pilgrims

Peace Pilgrim Margaret Pistorius
Posted by Cairns Peace by Peace | Sep 29, 2016 |

Margaret Pestorius with her viola. Image: Adam Ginger. Longtime Catholic, social worker and peace advocate Margaret Pestorius says ‘I am taking my viola to Pine Gap to play a song of lament for the dead of war. The viola is the perfect instrument for lamentation because it sings in the range of the human voice. I’ll play a lament with a young musician, guitarist Franz Dowling, who holds hope for the future.’
Please note that the dismissal of the charges is likely to be appealed in the Supreme Court in Darwin. Further support can be offered at
Money donated at this point will go to the Pilgrims for legal costs.
Please join peace actions
e. An Alice Springs News report of one interesting IPAN Conference speech on Pine Gap Peace protests by lawyer RUSSELL GOLDFLAM. It is good that the politics of defending peace protesters is discussed, as here in “The Pine Gap 4 won a spectacular but incomplete legal victory”.

Read here “ What have we learnt from past campaigns? Well, the biggest lesson, the hardest lesson, the elephant in the room really, is that we are now much further from closing Pine Gap than we were, or at least we thought we were, 30 years ago. Pine Gap is more entrenched, more embedded, more entangled, more powerful than ever. Our campaigns, colourful, imaginative, bold and passionate though they have been, have not yet succeeded. They have not galvanised public opinion, like the Save the Franklin campaign did in 1983, or like the asylum seekers and refugee support campaigns are doing now.

A second lesson is that the strength of the Australian anti-bases movement rises and falls on the fickle and capricious currents of global events: in 1988, the movement was riding high: 700 people had flocked to Alice Springs for the protests the previous year. Back then the Alice Springs Peace Group regularly attracted a crowd of 300 or 400 locals to a demo. Palm Sunday peace rallies in the big cities drew tens, even hundreds of thousands. A year later, the movement had virtually collapsed, along with the Berlin Wall and the fizzling out of the Cold War. Problem solved, many progressive Australians believed. Let’s move on.
The first Gulf War saw a mild revival, but then, in the aftermath of September 11, a flurry of radical anti-terrorism legislation was passed, the authorities sent us all fridge magnets with the alert but not alarmed number to call, and the peace movement was again pushed to the edges.

During the mass protests in the ’80s when there were over a hundred of us at a time on the wrong side of the fence, we must have posed a real threat to the security of the base, but we were all only ever charged with the minor offence of trespass. Things changed after September 11 2001.

In 2005, Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie, Bryan Law and Donna Mulhearn, with their conspicuous white overalls, conducted their ‘Citizens Inspection’ of Pine Gap. Although they didn’t pose a threat to the security of the base, they got charged with far more serious offences, the very first time the Defence (Special Undertakings ) Act had been used in the 53 years since its enactment to thwart any spies who might be lurking near the Monte Bello Islands, where the Brits were conducting top-secret nuclear tests at the time.

So the peace movement ebbs and flows. Which brings us to a third lesson: keep a weather eye out for those global currents and tides, and trim your sails accordingly. Be opportunistic and catch any lucky puffs of wind you encounter. But also, be strategic: be alert to the deeper shifting patterns.”

f. Raytheon operationally runs Pine Gap and
“Chief Executive Tom Kennedy said that he is seeing “a significant uptick” for “defense solutions across the board in multiple countries in the Middle East.” Noting that he had met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Kennedy said, “It’s all the turmoil they have going on, whether the turmoil’s occurring in Yemen, whether it’s with the Houthis, whether it’s occurring in Syria or Iraq, with ISIS.”


g. Conversion of arms manufacture to more socially useful products did not really make the debate. I remembered peace activists arguing the Lucas plan and we can put forward a modern manufacturing policy and strategy for conversion.…read here

h. International solidarity with peace activists from Guam and Okinawa at the IPAN conference and Pine Gap:
“Professor Kosuzu Abe, who addressed both the public forum in Alice Springs and the Conference, knows all too well the consequences of a nuclear war affecting the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the ongoing military presence in Japan.

Military power is not the best provider of security for ordinary people. This is what the people of Okinawa have learned through the battle for their island. The installation of foreign military facilities on Okinawa has gone way too far. It is simply a form of colonisation and, as such, is unacceptable.” said Professor Abe.

“The US Military’s recent policy of the ‘Asia-Pacific Pivot’ does not ensure security at all. All it does is provide justification for the ‘other side’, in this case China, to increase its military readiness and intensify the conflict.” she said.

Professor Kosuzu Abe from the University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, told the forum about the many years of struggle and resistance of the people of Okinawa against the US military occupation of Japan’s southern island. This struggle had forced the US government to reduce the number of its troops stationed in Okinawa, with some transferred to Guam and others being shifted to new bases in the north of the island. Several organisations were active in opposing US war preparations and were cooperating for large mobilisations. As with Guam, the people of Okinawa were paying a high price for the US occupation, with stolen land and crimes of violence and abuse never brought to justice.

Professor Lisa Natividad from the University of Guam spoke of the continuing struggle of her people against the US military occupation of their island. More than 30% of the land area is taken over for US military storage and training purposes, with constant aircraft and helicopter movements day and night. Guam is a US colonial possession, but its citizens have limited voting and civil rights, and lesser government services than other holders of a US passport.
To make way for the recent transfer of troops from Okinawa onto Guam, more areas became restricted, denying people access to their lands, and whole villages were disrupted. This was in addition to the ‘normal’ level of harassment and abuse of continued US military occupation.

In spite of this, the people of Guam are not intimidated and are an important voice in the growth and development of anti-war and anti-imperialist unity in the Asia-Pacific region.



Dr Lisa Natividad: “We in Guam are opposing the militarisation and colonisation of our region. The U.S. military empire continues to stretch its tentacles across the globe to destroy our aboriginal sacred places. Pine Gap plays a significant role as a US surveillance base with drones for air strikes and a missile defence system functioning to militarize the world,” she said.

Report here

Learn about Guam. Here a news report America has since expanded its military presence in Guam, which is seen as key to protecting the superpower’s interests in Asia-Pacific.

The island is a vital part of the US “Pivot” to the region, forming a strategic triangle in conjunction with bases in Japan, Australia and Hawaii.
It’s known as “the tip of the spear” because of its proximity to potential conflict hot spots in Asia, including North Korea and the South China Sea. It has also been dubbed “America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier” and “Fortress Pacific”.

Guam’s picturesque north is home to the less picturesque Andersen Airforce Base. In the south is a naval base.

Steven Wolborsky, director of plans, told US military publication Stars and Stripes the island was home to around 19 million pounds (8.6 million kilograms) of explosives and continuous rotations of Global Hawk surveillance drones, B-52 bombers, fighter jets and 300 airmen.
“We have two 11,000-foot (3400-metre) concrete runways, both rebuilt within the last 10 years,” he said. “We have enough parking for more than 155 aircraft, with a robust in-ground refuelling infrastructure. And more

Quakers for Peace block Pine Gap road

Please link into World Beyond War

i. On drone strikes
1. A Alice Springs News US Predator Drone.

2. Sanctioned Murder: Australia’s Role In Drone Strikes On Innocent Civilians Is Growing
By Michael Brull on October 8, 2016
“The Australian government takes part in the murder of people overseas. They help to murder people who are not engaged in hostilities, in countries we are not at war with, who have not been convicted of a crime.

Even worse, our leaders intend to expand our involvement, so that Australia takes part in its own extra-judicial executions.
We are presently involved in extra-judicial executions through Pine Gap. As reported at the ABC, the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap is “jointly run by the Australian and United States governments”.

According to Professor Richard Tanter, it contributes targeting data to American drone operations, including assassinations. American drone operations are known to take place in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, and presumably also in Iraq, Syria and Libya.”

“According to the chief of our defence force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, we hope to bomb those who aren’t “taking a direct and active part in hostilities”. Turnbull intends for the new laws, supported in principle by the ALP, to see us “joining with our coalition partners to target and kill a broader range of Daesh combatants – which is consistent with international law”.
That is, we can kill that strange breed of “combatant” who isn’t actually involved in combat.”
Read more here

11. I support US peace actions. Here, not mentioned, Australian operational and intelligence officers are involved at Pine Gap.

Alternative News – 23/10//2016 part two of an interview with the NSW Green Senator Lee Rhiannon at the IPAN Conference held in Alice Springs on 1 October 2016. You will also hear an interview Romina Beitseen had with Pat Ansell Dodds a native title holder of Alice Springs.

i. Melbourne University Students are protesting against Lockheed Martin
Many activists are upset that Kim Beazley is now on the Australian Board of Lockheed Martin

2. My story at Pine Gap is somewhat muted as I was recovering from shingles on my right head, fore-head. I did not travel on the Bus from Melbourne and my dear Kathryn paid for me to travel and stay. I did not camp in the Peace camps outside of Pine Gap but stayed in Alice Springs. I was well enough on two occaisons on Friday and Sunday to go to the Pine Gap gates and listen and participate and I have posted photos.
Here is the letter we delivered to the CIA:
Call on Pine Gap to cease involvement in the deadly US drone assassination program and for the facility to be terminated as soon as possible. Following a well attended and successful anti-war conference held at Alice Springs on 1st October, 2016 the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) organised a peaceful protest involving a cavalcade of cars to the gates of the Joint Defence Facility –Pine Gap on Sunday 2nd October.
At the gates of the Joint Defence Facility-Pine Gap, the following letter was presented to a senior police officer for relay to the Chief of Station, Ms Amy Chaput. Previously, a request by letter to the Chief of the Station (an American) and to the Deputy Chief of the Station, (an Australian), to meet at an IPAN delegation at the gate for presentation of the letter, had been ignored. The protesters were met at the gate and heavily fenced entrance to Pine Gap, by 30 uniformed police plus two police on horses. The protesters had already been “frisked” by police some hundred metres down the road from the entrance.
PineGap aap
In the absence of being able to meet an official for the Pine Gap facility, an IPAN representative and a representative of the local indigenous community, jointly presented the following letter to a senior policeman at the gate for relaying to the Pine Gap station.

Ms Amy Chaput,
Following the well-attended and successful conference organised by the Independent and Peaceful Australian Network (IPAN) at Alice Springs this weekend, it was determined that:

1. The Pine Gap facility is a threat to the peace and security of the people of Australia and Alice Springs, in particular

2. The illegal drone assassination program perpetrated by the United States with the assistance of Pine Gap makes the Australian people complicit in this illegal activity

For these reasons, IPAN, on behalf of all concerned people of Australia, calls for the immediate cessation of this illegal drone program and the termination of the Pine Gap facilities as soon as possible.
Australia will then be a safer place for all of us.
Yours in peace, IPAN Co-ordinating Committee
PO Box 573, Coorparoo, Qld, 4151 For further details:Annette Brownlie: 0431 597 256 Nick Deane: 0420 526 929
After the IPAN conference, on the fine Saturday evening, we walked to the War Memorial at the top of the hill and here a wonderful lamentation against all wars, lead by the legendary Peace Bus protester Graeme Dunstan.
After carrying the banners down, we walked to the bank of the dry River Todd, and we all ate heartily very good food by cook Eli.

Please scroll through this PeaceBus website
I was able to meet old friends in this post and meet new Peace activists. I was most pleased at a packed room of 200 for the Public IPAN meeting and for very good presentations at the IPAN Conference and workshops – never enough time!.

Here I add from PeaceBus Graeme Dustan his reflections and thanks to the organisers.
“I have been rolling down the desert highways with my mind also rolling, rolling with reflections on the Alice Springs Peace Convergence, acknowledging how well we did well.
How in this time of secret government, lies and endless war, we stood truly together and showed courage in the face of tyranny, initiative and determination too, and we got noticed and came away a stronger peace movement because of it.
No central committee. Lots of coordinated independent actions. No centralised media. Lots of independent social media.
Most astonishing was the success of police liaison. A big success summed up by the observation that the cops were not afraid of us, nor were we of them.
Hear my gratitude to both the AFP and the NT Police for taking pride in protecting our right to protest.
So much gratitude to be said.
Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence
First up gratitude to Arrernte activist elder and recent Greens candidate, Vince Forrester, for welcoming us to his country with story telling and blessings and for standing among us.
Likewise gratitude to Chris Tomlins who stood tall and made the original call on behalf of the Arrernte for help to rid their land of the murder making at Pine Gap.
For this Chris was accused of breaching Arrernte protocol and acting without authority. But his warrior spirit proved strong. He endured the bad mouthing and he stood with us at the Pine Gap gate, more widely respected for his clear voice of dissent by Arrernte young and old.
Hear my gratitude for the Quaker Grannies – Helen Bayes, Dawn Joyce, Peri Coleman and Jo Valentine – for bearing witness for peace with such faith, grace and artfulness.

Hear my gratitude to Margie Pestorius and her team of Peace Pilgrims, who at the risk of jail and with great faith and determination, valiantly penetrated the Pine Gap security perimeter so that they might lament the war making at Pine Gap and pray for peace within sight of those murderous radomes.

Hear my gratitude to Jacob Grech and Eli, two protest camp elders, for giving the Disarm Camp grounded leadership and no-fuss amenity. From there came blockades and lock-ons galore, smart actions and smart media too.
Thanks to Annette Brownlie and the IPAN folk who laboured long to produce the IPAN conference and forum. It proved to be a peak peace movement event – it got information about the evil role of Pine Gap updated and spread far and wide.
Thanks to Jason Freddi and the assembled tribe at the Tribal Healing and Unity Camp on the Claypans. What magic camp fire nights and days we shared there.
Thanks to all the folk whom Bec and i met while preparing the way in Alice Springs for the Peace Convergence in the weeks before.
Photo from Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence copy
These include David and Sue Woods at Campfire of the Heart, Jason Quinn at the Sandbox, Jonathan Pillbrow, Alice’s peace organiser extraordinaire, and also the Council staff and the NT Police i dealt with negotiating the Lamentation on Anzac Hill and other events.
What a beautiful and deeply moving ceremony of lamentation for the sorrows of war was created there.
Blessings of the ancestors were surely upon us that night. Auspiciousness too.
Without the ancestors how could we have imagined that occupying war memorials with lamentations might become a path to peace.
For so many of the young people who participated, the Alice Springs Peace Convergence, what a life changing event it must have been. Regeneration.
May it be so.
May there be many more peace convergences and protest camps of such cohesion and bonding.
Avalon in February? Peacebus will be there.
Salute to the Big Spirit moving us!

Shirley Winton’s presentation of past union actions for peace.
“To various degrees unions have always campaigned against Australia’s involvement in imperialist wars. This is because it’s the ordinary people, workers and working people who are the cannon fodder in the imperial profiteers’ wars to capture resources and global spheres of dominance. It’s the ordinary people who in tens of thousands die or are left injured, homeless, living in poverty and hunger in devastated countries.

They are the so-called collateral damage, the new sanitized description of mass slaughter. And as we meet here today we are reminded of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the growing tensions in Asia-Pacific and East Europe.
“Unions also oppose wars because it’s the working people who pay a high price for these wars with peoples’ taxes diverted from social and community services, welfare, health and education and building a peaceful and sustainable world.

“Australia was colonised in 1788 by the British imperial invasion which violently dispossessed Australia’s First Nations people who have been the custodians and carers of this land for more than 40,000 years. The Indigenous people never relinquished their custody of this land and culture and their struggle continues today.

“The colonial authority enforced Britain’s own foreign and domestic policies on its new colony, Australia. The legacy of that colonial past continues today. The difference being the British have been replaced by the US, and the control over our foreign and defence policies is more subtle. The vestiges of this long dependency are still with us today in the form of the US-Australia alliance. The British flag has been replaced by the American flag.
“Australia’s national defence and foreign policies have echoed and unquestioningly supported these imperial powers’ global military interests and their wars. Successive Australian governments’ foreign and defence policies have been an extension of first the British and now US policies. We fought, and continue to fight, against countries that pose no threat to Australia’s security, peace and safety, and with whom Australia had never been in conflict or dispute – the British war in Sudan, the Boer War 1895, 1st WW, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria. Only in WW2 did Australian military forces serve the Australian people.

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

“Since European colonisation, significant parts of Australia’s defence budget and public spending have been exclusively servicing British and US global military agendas and their foreign wars.

Today, the Australian government purchases most of the weaponry designed for offensive warfare from multinational arms manufacturers who stand to profit enormously from a world that’s in a perpetual state of conflict, mass slaughter, and preparations for more wars.

“Much of the recently acquired weaponry, hardware and arms procurement is from the US multinational arms manufacturers – Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Boeing, General Electric, etc. Australia is purchasing from the US, 75 F35 joint strike fighters war planes at a cost of $10 billion; and 12 Barracuda submarines from France (member of NATO), at a cost of $50 billion. This hardware is specifically designed and built for long range warfare, and is an important part of interoperability with US offensive military machine, not for the defence of Australia’s sovereignty. This is another price we pay for being in the US-Australia alliance.

“Instead of spending ordinary people’s taxes on services for the people – health, education, public infrastructure, welfare and community services, pensions for single parents, people with disabilities, the elderly, the unemployed, and protecting the environment – public funds are spent on servicing US foreign wars of aggression and the multinational arms manufacturers. This should be of great concern to unions and working people generally.
Peace activists Sydney Defencedept
“The US Pivot into Asia-Pacific publicly announced by Obama in the Australian parliament will see 60% of US global military moved into our region. And who will carry the costs for the Pivot?

“After Obama and Clinton publicly announced the Pivot, to the loud applause and acclamation by the 2 main parliamentary parties, the US told the Australian government it wanted Australia to spend $2.3 billion on upgrading and building military infrastructure for stationing US marines in Darwin.

“Another cost of US-Australia alliance and its even deeper integration and inoperability into US military is the destruction of Australia’s “defence” manufacturing industries.

Australia’s “defence” industries are now being increasingly forced to import more expensive offensive hardware from mainly US multinational arms corporations. This imported weaponry is designed for offensive aggression and of which Australia has no need for the defence of our sovereignty, but is increasing the “defence” budget and destroying hundreds of jobs and livelihood for hundreds of workers in Australia.

“Over the past 10-15 years tens of thousands of jobs in the manufacturing industries have been lost as corporations shift production to low wage countries. Jobs and permanent work is the only livelihood and security the great majority working people have. In contrast, a government run and an independent self-defence manufacturing industry that builds military hardware for Australia’s self-defence is a viable and plausible alternative that can provide security for workers and Australia’s self-defence capabilities.
Photo from Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence copy
“A genuinely independent and peaceful Australia would develop government-run local manufacturing industries that would include the production of self-defence equipment, and build socially useful infrastructure to advance the needs of the people and the environment – extensive public transport, medical, scientific and educational research and development. These industries would provide socially useful jobs for workers in clean, sustainable industries that build security and peace, not wars. To support local manufacturing industries and jobs a policy of local procurement in self-defence industries should be implemented. This would entail using local materials and building locally manufactured patrol boats and planes, submarines and ships for local sea lanes and coastal defence, locally made uniforms and equipment.
“The US Pivot into Asia-Pacific also has an economic side called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement which advances the interests of global corporations over the interests of people and national sovereignty. The TPP has been strongly opposed by the union movement.

“There are many other costs of the US-Australia alliance to Australia’s working people and our national interest. Just to mention a few:
– Political sovereignty and independence – 1975, Pine Gap and Whitlam government
– Australia’s complicity in US murderous wars, drones, assassinations
– The war on terror and erosion of civil liberties and democratic rights”

IPAN Peace conference

IPAN Peace conference

We hear of other past protests.
1983 Women’s camp:

“The main aim of the 1983 Australian women’s camp was to draw people’s attention to ‘the dangers of Pine Gap’ and to demand ‘termination of the lease in 1986’ by the Hawke Labor government.” … Read more‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
Lakers for Peace are most active
From Disarm Jacob Grech an organiser after chaining himself in protest to Raytheon gates but for hours not arrested: What do you do to get arrested in Alice Springs? Jacob on Radio 3CR here
Jacob again here
Activists are from WILPF Please explore their international activities

Basewatch Darwin is a key organiser
NO US Bases jpg
Hannah Middleton distributed a pamphlet “6 Reasons to Close Pine Gap” see reports and follow actions at IPAN NSW –

A major group in IPAN and at the Conference and protesting are doctors against war. Please follow on the Medical Association for the Prevention of War . The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) works for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and the prevention of armed conflict. We promote peace through research, advocacy, peace education and partnerships. Please use our many resources on nuclear weapons, power and waste, peace and conflicts.

Nick Deane is a key organiser from NSW,303
NICK DEANE. Reflecting on Troubled Waters. South China Sea
Posted on 06/09/2016 by John Menadue
Visit Marrickville Peace Group

I am a Founding Member of the Graham F Smith Arts Peace Foundation in Adelaide. Please support

peace trust

US labor against war

US labor against war

When having to say that Australia’s war-mongering with the US is as dangerous now as ever: one read is A Dangerous Diplomatic proposal:

As Middle East expert Patrick Cockburn points out, “The U.S. remains a superpower, but is no longer as powerful as it once was.” While it can overthrow regimes it doesn’t like, “It can’t replace what has been destroyed.”

Obama’s and Clinton’s and Power’s framework for diplomacy is a formula for a never- ending cycle of war and instability.

Pilger on war mongering Clinton:
Five decades later, Israel’s brutal occupation is stronger than ever Antony Loewenstein
September 15, 2016

Up there Australia
Stand up and fight
For our independence
From USA might
Out with their bases
No more of their wars
Peace with all nations
When we’re out of their claws

Up there Australia
In there and fight
For our independence
From USA might
A mixture of cultures
Let’s walk hand in hand
Respecting the people
Who first walked this land

Up there Australia
In there and fight
For our independence
From USA might
Peace for the future
That’s what we believe
And sharing our country
With all those in need
From ‪David Perkins A 1973 protest song from “The Balls of Bob Menzies” WE DON’T WANT NO YANKEE BASES‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪(Tune: We Don’t Want Your Millions Mister)‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪I was wandering way out back,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪On a bumpy old desert track‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And there in the sun was a bloke with a gun‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Who turned to me and said, ‘Hey Mack,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪You’d better turn around‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Or your body may never be found.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Uncle Sam owns this here land‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And there’s much more here than sand.‬‬‬‬‬‬


‪Oh no, we don’t want no Yankee bases,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪It’s outrageous to have these bases.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Oh no, we don’t want no Yankee bases,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪No Yankee bases – so send them home.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪I looked at him with scorn,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪In his American uniform,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And then I swore‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Till my throat was sore‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And cursed the day he had ever been born.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪‘Why don’t you go back home,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And leave our land alone,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Australia was a better place,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Before you showed your face!’‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪He said, ‘Now hang on mate,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Don’t underestimate,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪The good we do‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪By protecting you‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪From a very undesirable fate.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪We defend your land and seas‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪From the hordes of red Chinese.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Our military presence keeps you free‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪From a red catastrophe.’‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪But I said, ‘Now listen to me,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪You own our industry.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪You own our oil‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And live on our toil‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And legalise your robbery‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪By parliamentary talking-shops,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And gaols and courts and the cops,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪You’re only here to guard your gold‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And the profits that you stole!’‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪He looked with hate at me.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And waved his .303,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪So I shot through‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪But I’m telling you‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪It’s time we set Australia free.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Let’s organise our might‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Against the parasite,‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪And make the very first demand –‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪No bases on our land.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Anonymous song published in the ‘4 July Songsheet’ , 1973.‬‬‬‬‬‬

]]> 4
Socialism now Mon, 10 Oct 2016 20:36:07 +0000 What is Socialism for the Twenty First Century
by Michael A. Leibowitz
Posted from Monthly Review Press

Livelihoods and Liberation Struggles: 30 years of Australian worker solidarity For Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA Fri, 12 Feb 2016 04:07:28 +0000 Livelihoods and Liberation Struggles: 30 years of Australian worker solidarity For Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA by Dani Cooper (2015)

Book review by Chris White

$20 only $10 per book for orders over 5 see order form belowAPHEDA book

Unionists, labour historians, students, and the general public will find this a great read. Dani Cooper writes in an engaging style telling stories with 25 interviews covering 30 years’ of APHEDA (Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad). Website MEMBER-button-v3
I like the photos of APHEDA leaders and activists excited with success in projects.

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA is committed to social justice, solidarity and to self-reliance, not charity. 60 successful aid projects in 15 countries (some in this review) assist the struggle for liberation, against inequality, poverty, denial of labour and human rights, civil conflict and war.

Sharon Burrow, former ACTU President, now General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation: “The work of APHEDA can inspire new generations of activists, unionists and campaigners for global justice, in Australia and overseas.”

In Palestine

Video of Helen MCue

Helen McCue’s story of why she was motivated to set up APHEDA is an inspiring beginning. Helen McCue, a social justice and union nurse in late 1982 is with thousands of desperate refugees in the aftermath of Israeli PM Begin’s killing of 15,000 Palestinians. Experiencing extreme desperation to rebuild livelihoods and advance freedom, Helen McCue reacts with a vision to contribute more than rebuilding bombed hospitals and health care. She has a great desire to establish an on-going aid programme for nurse training.

“True solidarity meant support that endured and giving locals the skills to restore their own lives after the emergency has passed.”
Norwegian People’s Aid, the overseas aid arm of the Norwegian trade union movement is the model.

These stories follow APHEDA’s Middle-East projects throughout the next 30 years, developed in the most difficult of repressions and continuous war. In July and August 2006 Israel unleashes a furious bombardment on Lebanon. APHEDA partner Olfat Mahmoud recounts her extreme difficulties surviving and developing the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation working with the many refugees.


APHEDA Palestine projects then face the cruel twist with the Israel policy of building the Separation Wall as a land grab and further fragmenting Palestine. APHEDA’s partner is the MA’AN Development Centre with Sami Khader who is opposed to the Wall but deals with this reality with food security projects, training in fertilizers, land rehabilitation and vegetable planting and survives despite the Wall. Lee Rhiannon, now Greens NSW Senator, after an APHEDA tour, recounts the terrible story of the woman assisted by APHEDA to grow rabbits for income and then an Israel rocket kills her and her family. This injustice is one of many.

In late 1984 Helen McCue tours the Middle East and establishes training Red Crescent workers to staff a new ambulance station. In October 1984 APHEDA tours to Australia eight Palestinian and Lebanese nurses, a worthwhile cultural and political exchange with stories from the nurses and on returning they work for community nursing in the refugee camps.

In 1992, Helen McCue is now back in the field and her story is with Olaf Mahmoud establishing the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation run by women, with challenges from men and threats from Al Qaeda. They soon are providing childcare, elderly care for women and training women care workers in the refugee camps. This is decisive. While these projects do not turn around the causes, many families benefit. Next with Sam Khadir Anglican Church the MA’AN Development Centre is started with literacy course for women, an extraordinary story. It is still going with 500 staff with agricultural programmes. Sami and Mahoud tell how development aid is political in helping Palestinian resistance and they see only the right of return as the answer.

In the 30th year, from July 2014 the Gaza strip is bombarded for 51 days, 2160 killed, devastation, and amongst this APHEDA’s agricultural and hospital projects are destroyed. New CEO Kate Lee and President Angelo Gavrielatos tour the destruction. They advocate plans, for the rebuilding of Gaza projects (later APHEDA receives Government aid funding). They stress the political solution to change the current regimes.
APHEDA book with Kate Lee Chris White and Kate Lee at APHEDA book launch
In this review I first read the Middle-East stories. I now turn to each chapter.


ACTU Secretary Cliff Dolan’s decisive leadership is the key to Helen McCue’s work establishing APHEDA. Together they represent an historical illustration of what determined union leaders achieved. Cliff Dolan not only championed the idea but also ensures ACTU financing. APHEDA starts on 6 January 1984 in a small Sydney Trades Hall office with health training projects in Eritrea and with Palestinian nurses. Soon unions are financially supporting specific projects directly – projects workers relate to. After some concern from right-wing unions that the left unions are dominant,APHEDA’s key political strategy to develop humanitarian projects is supported by both left and right unions. In 3 years Helen McCue has 13 of the 16 projects sponsored by specific unions putting in practice her ‘worker to worker’ link.

Chapter 2 Fighting for freedom

Helen McCue argues the basics are solidarity with National Liberation struggles and partnerships with local grass-roots organisations. Her initial work with the Palestinians leads to more work in liberation struggles.

Eddie Funde, the ANC African National Congress newly arrived representative in Australia, meets APHEDA in February 1984 and the book relates wonderful solidarity stories and interesting valuable projects.

In August 1984 Cliff Dolan and Helen McCue, both earlier opposing the Vietnam war, meet the Vietnam Health Minister through Stan Sharkey BWIU and Tas Bull Seaman’s Union. Thus begins “laying the cornerstone of one of the agency’s most successful partnerships.” Then an APHEDA tour to Vietnam leads to developing training projects for remote health workers. Helen McCue lobbies the Australian government to restore aid to a milk farm.

APHEDA supports liberation activists in the Philippines, in Nicaragua, Jose Ramos Horta from East Timor (but no opportunity is available as the Australian Government supports the Indonesian occupation) and the Kanaks in New Caledonia.

Helen McCue goes to Cambodia witnessing the aftermath of the annihilation of civil society from the brutal fascist Pol Pot regime. APHEDA begins rebuilding health care services with assistance. Labor Foreign Minister Bill Hayden commits at the APHEDA fundraiser. Funding for a fulltime education officer Claire Aitchinson is negotiated. There is the story of Australian nurse Tess Godio working in the Philippines for APHEDA during the Marcos dictatorship and she starts by establishing traditional herbal gardens.

In 1985, APHEDA looks to funding for the longer term. At the ACTU Congress Cliff Dolan’s passion condemns apartheid and supports the ANC and secures financing for APHEDA. Audrey McDonald describes how APHEDA drives the new ANC Support Committee. The campaign becomes highly effective in educating the public, mobilising unionists, and joining alliances with community groups and Churches. Cliff Dolan introduces Eddie Funde to PM Hawke at an airport and argues for sanctions against apartheid and for assistance that is assured. There is the story of APHEDA and the Labor government’s touring of Oliver Tambo ANC representative in March 1987 with a stirring reception from unionists and wonderful singing from the Solidarity choir. Soon the Amandla Cultural Ensemble has a sell-out tour.

By 1986, 85 unions assist APHEDA. Greg Combet then at the Lidcombe Workers Health Centre starts his long-term involvement, strong in the WWF and as ACTU Secretary strengthening APHEDA’s union base. Support groups are established in the states and regions. OHS worker Cathy Bloch goes on an APHEDA East Timor tour and returns by establishing more local union support groups. “What makes us different from other aid agencies is where we come from, our union base and that 85 cents of every dollar raised goes on the ground…for Decent Work.”
Terri Daktyl SA Miscellaneous Workers Union (my former union) goes on a tour group to Vietnam and then supports HIV programmes. When she is tragically killed in a car accident, SA APHEDA activists now hold memorial dinners to raise funds and establish in Vietnam the Terri Daktyl Friendship Clubs for HIV sufferers.

Chapter 3 People Power

Father Brian Gore, a social justice priest in the Philippines jailed by President Marcos, addresses the 1986 APHEDA fundraiser and at first microscopes in Philippines health-training project are organised. Jenny Ashton, a Quaker, begins as the project officer in Phnom Penh as she is the only one who has been inside Cambodia. Donna Burns is posted to Tanzania to teach English to South African refugee children. Bill Leslie NSW Teachers Federation builds on his solidarity work with the Kanacks and with unionists John Halfpenny AMWU and ACTU Bill Richardson they develop awareness of the Kanack Independence Front against the French in New Caledonia. A key project is a new radio station. Training of Kanacks is in Australia in 1987 with the ABC, SBS, 3CR and the Alice Springs aboriginal media. The story tells of trained journalists speaking English returning to assist the Kanack struggle in 1989. The ABC’s journalists in BackGround Briefing become familiar with these Pacific stories.

The story moves on to successes with four nurses in Gaza and community training and health clinic, applauded by the UN. But in 1987, after Labor cuts the aid budget, APHEDA receives an increase to 3% of the ACTU budget and specific unions donate more to projects. Soon 100 unions support APHEDA (now less after amalgamations).

Phillip Hazelton recounts the challenges in devastated Cambodia. One is the struggle faced with the international embargo that means no aid and caught in geo-politics. Life is even more difficult to recover from the genocide. Ashton with the BWIU starts the building and staffing of the Health Worker Training School. In late 1987, under Philippines President Cory Aquino’s regime, AMWU and APHEDA support the National Federation of Sugar Workers with workshops to train for new farm tools and strengthening farmer co-operatives.

In 1988, Peter Jennings a Parish priest working in poor areas of the Philippines joins APHEDA as education and fundraising officer. Phillip Hazelton an activist with the Philippine Australia Union links starts as project officer for Asia Pacific. Their interesting stories are told. Both play a critical role in the next 20 years and both are leading APHEDA after Helen McCue retires. Peter Jennings’s experience leads to a deep understanding of the dynamics of poverty. He discusses with networks of Australian union activists on ways to deal with poverty that links union projects to skills development. By the end of 1988 with 31 projects APHEDA is ”punching above its weight.” Phillip Hazelton recounts beginning in Vietnam and in Cambodia where the Australian government does not have an Embassy. APHEDA assists in the long peace process.

Chapter 4 Safety first

APHEDA’s focus on OHS is illustrated in 1988 when Adelaide OHS trainer Mick Gallant is sent by APHEDA to Zimbabwe to deliver OHS seminars for the South African unions. Later training is in South Africa and appreciated by South African workers suffering high accident rates and health problems. Similar OHS programmes on workplace hazards and train the OHS trainer develop in Cambodia and the Philippines.

Slowly Phillip Hazelton introduces HIV training programmes as a workplace issue. This story is how to overcome social prejudices. These great challenges in South Africa take time. Over time, support is for HIV treatment from a new Treatment Access Campaign. The global union movement takes more action on HIV. APHEDA faces similar challenges in New Caledonia and the rest of the Pacific. HIV prevention training success gradually comes.

Chapter 5 Death and Freedom

In early 1989 the Kanack Liberation leader Jean Marie Tjibaou is assassinated, a devastating blow and independence is set back.

By contrast, the ANC steps up tours in Australia with great public support. The question of racist sport is on the agenda. Gareth Evans supports APHEDA’s strategy as professionalism and capacity to deliver good programmes is proven. He ensures $1 million through their International Development Assistance Bureau. The ALP government, although not able to directly support the ANC, does so through APHEDA without being accused of supporting armed struggle.

Just before Helen McCue retires she is with Eddie Funde in South Africa working on further aid programmes and putting successful arguments to the Government. Then the Nelson Mandela release news in February 1990 comes through. Soon Nelson Mandela meets Helen McCue warmly ‘good morning comrade’ in the ANC office lift. In May Gareth Evans meets Nelson Mandela and Government aid soars, with $5 million to APHEDA projects, $2 million for the repatriation of ANC refugees. Quickly projects are up and working well – training, literacy, radio, cooperatives, workers’ rights and OHS, HIV and capacity building. The projects build people’s capacities to improve their own communities. APHEDA is involved in the democratisation of sporting organisations. There is a lot of resistance, but Helen McCue attends the first ever multi-racial youth sports carnival and is elated.

A highlight recounted is Nelson Mandela speaking to 30,000 on the Opera House steps a wonderful celebration. Then Helen McCue at the crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral welcomes him with a wonderful speech.

Nelson Mandela, Letter to Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, 3rd February 1993 and meeting in Sydney:

“APHEDA’s development assistance programmes have made a very significant contribution. Assistance is not only material, or helping realise the ultimate goal of freedom in South Africa. Assistance is about people, about people in Australia caring enough about our people to contribute financially, to contribute their time, their skills and their emotions. This is what sustains us. This is what is irreplaceable in human endeavor. This is the true meaning of solidarity.”

In June 1990 the Board appoints Phillip Hazelton as CEO. Helen McCue leaves pleased with the health of the organization. She is warmly praised. Donna Burns is the new Asia-Pacific project officer.

Phillip Hazleton takes over when the Liberal opposition, Senators Kemp and Bishop, in Parliament launch ferocious political and unjust attacks on APHEDA, on the Middle-East and South African projects. Gareth Evans rejects them as ideological. While defending the organisation at home, the stories continue of the South African projects such as media training, breaking down racial divisions.

Chapter 6 The path to peace

Building on his Vietnam experience, Phillip Hazleton enlarges 5 training projects and with partners the Vietnam’s Women’s Union is training trainers first in tropical medicines. In Cambodia, unions support new vocational training and Peter Jennings stresses re-developing teaching skills of Cambodians. Later these teachers become like TAFE teachers and change teaching from a passive method. Rebuilding the curriculum for TAFE teaching is challenging and rewarding. Barbara Fitzgerald, an Australian teacher, tells this story as country coordinator. She teaches English and supports domestic fish farming, reforestation and by lobbying for grants skills training in hotels and restaurants. In provinces literacy courses and garment-making for poor women are started. Then is work for the development for elections. The story is told of peace keeping efforts with tensions due to the Khmer Rouge. Gareth Evans and Paul Keating supporting peace efforts come to Cambodia and praise APHEDA. Finally there is a new Cambodian Constitution with “no death penalty, respect for human rights and personal freedom, equal pay for equal work and the right to strike“ and a new Cambodian government.

Chapter 7 Friends in high places

Gareth Evans tours in 1991 South Africa townships and supports APHEDA projects seeing what was happening on the ground “very important and heart warming” and later accepts Helen McCue’s invite to visit Lebanese camps, and acknowledges the people to people aid.

Chapter 8 Solidarity on tour

Michelle Willsher in 1991 reports of changes in Vietnam as a market economy emerges and workers’ rights are to be won against European capitalist companies. APHEDA does training on workers compensation, enterprise bargaining and English classes. In collaboration with the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour VGCL training union trainers starts. The VGCL visits ACTU Congress and a long relationship is formed. After lobbying the ACTU, a tour goes to Vietnam, then Laos and the Thai-Burma border and this success leads to other study tours. Phillip Hazleton leads the first tour to Palestine in 1998. Tour success stories are most interesting and succeed in educating unionists about the politics and social reality. Sally McManus now at the ACTU says tours are important in building solidarity. John Cummins CFMEU Victoria in 1999 is on the first East Timor study tour “the best week of my life” and commits union resources to projects and supports a TL construction union. (See as well later, not in this book, my APHEDA tour See also other stories put in AHEDA).

After the Earth Summit of 1992, the environmental challenges are taken up by aid agencies. APHEDA says sustainability is now a key aim. Food security permaculture projects start adapting to global warming challenges. In the Middle East MA’AN permaculture develops but Israeli forces also destroy gains. Stories are of reforestation and saving mangroves in Cambodia and work in Pacific islands with rising oceans. But setbacks come with the Howard government cutting Aus-Aid money and closing environmental projects. APHEDA Chair Tas Bull expresses strong political criticism of Howard.

Chapter 9 A decade of achievement

APHEDA gains continuing support from the Hawke Labor government and from Gareth Evans – who still supports APHEDA by launching this book at the 2015 ACTU Congress (his speech OK, some of you like me protest against Gareth Evans for his role in stealing East Timor’s oil/gas, and indeed a story is recounted here where at an APHEDA’s 10th Anniversary fundraising dinner where unionists did so protest against the speaker Gareth Evans, but then still came into the APHEDA function.

Between 1996 and 2000, APHEDA’s AusAid grants for reputable projects are stable. But then PM Howard wrongly wipes them out. Peter Jennings says this is privatisation of the aid sector for private multi-nationals. Liberals again unjustly attack APHEDA in Parliament. APHEDA rethinks. Funding projects through individual unions and individual union members is to increase. WWF Tas Bull establishes an APHEDA levy $5 once a year from members and is soon supporting projects in Vietnam, South Africa and Cambodia. In 1998, APHEDA begins work in Timor Leste, with CFMEU committing $200,000 and building a vocational training centre. In 1996 Union-Aid Abroad is working in liberation areas in Burma, with health projects, mobile medical teams, midwives and developing primary care to 270,000 villagers. From 1989 the Mao Tao Clinic is established and is still going training thousands of health workers. Burma-Elections-400x250In the Pacific, APHEDA’s projects are in Bougainville and in the Solomons, and Chris Chevalier’s story is Community Learning Centres in 2009 focusing on skills development.

Phillip Hazleton tells how APHEDA compares with other international aid agencies that say they are political by changing the balance of resources, but in political conflicts is non-partisan. APHEDA is political against apartheid, for East Timor independence and for liberation movements taking the sides of unions and social justice social movements. AHEDA continues to actively lobby governments here and overseas on social and labour rights.

Chapter 10 East Timor erupts

Elisabeth de lino De Araujo, soon to be APHEDA-Dili coordinator, argues the Santa Cruz massacre on November 12, 1993 where her brother was wounded and the expose in the international media is a key factor in galvanizing solidarity and the fight for freedom. APHEDA wants to assist but has the problem that the Australian government supports the Indonesians. Then with new Indonesian President Habibe the Independence YES referendum change is coming. With APHEDA member Peter Murphy a project starts with the Mary MacKillop Institute.
imagesAlison Tate tours Australian unionists and dramatically they meet Xanana Gusmao in Indonesia under house arrest and discuss solidarity from the union movement.

Xanana Gusmao former Prime Minister and President of East Timor later says: “I commend the Australian union movement and its humanitarian aid agency Union Aid Abroad APHEDA for your solidarity and support to our independence struggle and your on-going commitment to supporting us in developing health, education, reconstruction and human rights programs.”

Elisabeth de Arujo recounts, after the massive YES vote for Independence, the horrific violence by the Indonesian militia. APHEDA supports Australian union protests, bans and strikes against Indonesia. This pressures PM Howard government not to pull out but to with the UN go into Timor Leste to stop the violence and restore peace with Independence. Peter Jennings recounts the widespread union industrial actions with bans pushed by rank and file anger ahead of the union leadership. With Independence celebrations in 2001 for Timor Leste, APHEDA organises relief monies. Projects are started, medical training, rebuilding houses and the vocational training centre, teacher training, starting a community radio station, office skills training, carpentry, sewing, bamboo growing and making of bamboo products and literacy classes – these continue.

The development follows union training projects in Cambodia and South Africa. In Timor Leste Jim Mellor from APHEDA raises the dangers of asbestos and trains on OHS prevention. He supports the first unions in disputes. As defending workers rights is central, with the TL Labour Advocacy Institute, APHEDA assists unions in negotiating a good Labour Code on ILO International Labour Organisation principles. Peter Jennings: “Timor Leste has the right to strike, that our Fair Work Australia does not.“ Unionist Didge McDonald from Darwin moves to Dili in 2002 and is “the father of the TL union movement”, helping workers to start unions and organize on OHS. With local leaders, APHEDA assists the formation of the KSTL Konfederasaun Sindikatu Timor-Leste. (later see my report
Australian unions assist their equivalents – building, teaching, nursing, maritime and transport, public service and general workers union start and become active. In 2006, APHEDA is engulfed by the Timor Leste riots and deaths, 150,000 are displaced, and Australian troops intervene again and the Fretilin PM Alkatari is forced to resign. Xanna Gusmao is then voted in as PM. An active APHEDA-Dili office restarts training projects in carpentry, radio programmes, a theatre group presenting work issues and participation in labour and civil society challenges. Later Australian Working Women’s Centres develop the Timor Leste Working Women’s Centre, now campaigning on better conditions for domestic workers.

(Later APHEDA campaigns with the Timor Sea Justice campaign against Australian foreign Minister Downer who in the 2004 TL negotiations illegally spies on the TL PM and unfairly forces Timor Sea arrangement on oil/gas revenues making it most difficult for development. See as well )TSJCProtest flyer A5 (1) (1)

By 2003 with Phillip Hazelton as leader in 12 months “28,769 people are in educational training programmes, literacy, trade union organizing, and HIV prevention and health” and is in 15 countries.

Workers organisejpg
Peter Jennings tells the dramatic story of APHEDA responding to the 2004 Christmas day tsunami in Ache Indonesia. ‘The sheer extent of the devastation, the sheer extent of the suffering, was just unbelievable.’ APHEDA starts rebuilding projects, water sanitation and cleaning water wells, health skills training, as well as financial appeals.

APHEDA joins with the international union body ITUC with Sharon Burrow, former ACTU President, campaigning for the ILO Decent Work theme. In Vietnam, work continues to train workers to be able to enforce on European companies worker rights and labour standards, OHS prevention and developing capacity in women workers.
With the Rudd government some merit is restored to supporting APHEDA projects. Food security works in the West Bank and Gaza and skills training in the Solomon’s. APHEDA is active supporting the UN 8 Millennium Development Goals for reducing global poverty and inequality by 2015. But the 2008 Capitalist Financial Crisis and its aftermath see governments bailing out banks etc. and not human development goals. By 2010 austerity is on the world corporate agenda to crush the social agenda, attack unions and more profits for the 1%.

Projects that stress decent work and safety and skills training for the disabled are given priority, such as in Vietnam with ‘agent orange’ sufferers. APHEDA starts HIV and mental health programmes. Bob McMullan Labor Parliamentary Secretary for International Development takes up the APHEDA disability strategy.

Elisabeth de Araujo APHEDA-Dili says close connections with partners means progress for the community can be seen. APHEDA partners with other NGOs a HIV/AIDS project in Cambodia. In Vietnam, HIV training the trainers in unions is beneficial. Work on issues with the VGCL changing from the old model into independent unions and enterprise bargaining with the private sector companies under a market capitalist economy.

Chapter 20 The silent killer


After union campaigning in 2003 Australia joins 40 countries banning asbestos. Earlier this ACTU campaign forced from producer Hardies a compensation scheme for thousands of Australians dying of asbestosis. Phillip Hazelton in Vietnam initiates the anti-asbestos campaign in Asia. Killer companies in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Timor Leste are profiting from asbestos and unbelievably are still claiming it is safe. Phillip Hazleton recounts the difficulties in Laos with first complete ignorance of the asbestos cancer dangers. He with local NGOs and unions through projects build up awareness for the ban on asbestos that is then debated nationally in Laos. Similarly, the campaign banning asbestos in Vietnam is slow, but making progress with Vietnamese health experts, unions and NGOs supportive and the establishment of a National Asbestos Resource Centre, that includes training. The campaign aim is similar in other countries. The International Ban Asbestos Network supports APHEDA’s efforts. Please support the ongoing campaign to End Asbestos in South East Asia go to

Chapter 21 The way forward
Ged Kearney
Kate Lee and ACTU Ged Kearney see a development for APHEDA to include organising strategies relevant to union campaigns, linking activities of Australian unionists to unionists in developing countries.

The drive is for more funding to be from individual union members educated as to the benefits of international work. Strengthening worker solidarity links through the Australian union movement and its activist membership and the struggle for global justice against global inequality has a healthy future.

Please buy this book $20 or only $10 per book for more than 5.

Chris and Zito clarify a point

Chris and Zito clarify a point

I am an active supporter of APHEDA for 30 years.
Almerio Villa Nova and Chris White

Almerio Villa Nova and Chris White

See my APHEDA reports and support for TL unions and the right to strike here
Please be a financial member with regular contributions. freecall 1800 888 674

APHEDA website


Timor Sea Justice campaign 2016 Protests 24 March Sun, 07 Feb 2016 05:10:55 +0000 The Timor Sea Justice Campaign in 2016 continues actions to highlight politically Turnbull’s hypocrisy on Timor Leste.
Earlier background


East Timor’s ambassador to Australia Abel Guterres, who announced the correspondence from Dr Araujo on Monday at a symposium at Monash University, said his country signed the treaties under duress.
The first treaty was signed when East Timor, freshly liberated from Indonesian rule, was still under UN administration and ravaged by war. Australia, Mr Guterres said, “left East Timor with no option but to agree to it”.
“The pressure from Australia was such that Foreign Minister Alexander Downer felt appropriate to remind the then Special Representative of the United Nations and Transitional Administrator of East Timor, the late Sergio Vieira de Mello, that ‘Australia could bring meltdown to East Timor if it so chose’,” he said.
“As you can draw from this mood, it was a situation where the United Nations and the Timorese leaders could not sustain their position under Australian pressure. Lawyers might call this out as unconscionable conduct.”
A second treaty negotiated between 2004 and 2007 was unfair because Australia eavesdropped on the Timorese negotiating team after a team of Australian Secret Intelligence Service officers posing as aid workers inserted listening devices into the government offices in Dili.
The latter treaty gave East Timor 50 per cent of revenue from the undeveloped but massive Greater Sunrise oil and gas deposit.
Mr Turnbull used his first major foreign policy address in Washington to laud a “rules-based” global order, urge the United States and other nations to ratify UNCLOS and state “differences should be resolved by international law”.

But Mr Guterres said Australia’s credibility was undermined by a contradictory position when it came to East TImor.
“[Australia] does not conform to the behaviour of a country that wants to also exert its international rules based leadership in our region and beyond,” he said, noting Australia was seeking a seat on the UN Human Rights Commission.

Read more:

2016 Election year campaigning

Please adopt or adapt in your network resolution for lobbying MPs. Please publicize these issues in your publications and website.

An initial day of protests in Australia and internationally is on March 24th 12.30pm Melbourne – 55 Collins Street (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
TSJCProtest flyer A5 (1) (1)
and Dili – Australian Embassy, Rua Mártires da Patria
Timor Leste
See media

We announce protests in other cities. Please send to us any international solidarity messages. Can you assist? Please contact Timor Sea Justice Campaign spokesperson, Tom Clarke, on 0422 545 763, Chris White 0418830297.
Timor Leste


The Turnbull Australian government is taking revenue from parts of the Timor Sea that, under international law, belong to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (Timor Leste). Two months before Timor Leste’s independence in 2004, then Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announced Australia’s withdrawal from the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

During the following negotiations with the newly independent government over the two countries’ maritime boundary and the exploitation of oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) secretly installed electronic listening devices in the Palace of Government in Dili to eavesdrop on the Timorese negotiators. Australian negotiators also threatened the withdrawal of foreign aid in order to bully the Timorese into accepting Australian claims on the Timorese side of the halfway (median) line.
The conduct of the Australian government and secret services is evidently creating hostility towards Australia inside East Timor. That can be seen from the Dec 2013 protest in Dili targeting the Australian embassy, by the recent statements on ABC’s Lateline by current and former prime ministers and former Timorese President and resistance leader Xanana Gusmao describing Australian spying as “a crime”, “a criminal act” etc, and by the upcoming further protest on Australia’s Embassy planned for March 24 this year. The Protest dates is the anniversary of Australian withdrawal from the International Court of Justice maritime jurisdiction.

Appropriation of Timor Sea resource revenues is depriving one of the world’s poorest nations of resources urgently needed for development.

As a sovereign nation East Timor has consistently argued for permanent maritime boundaries and is legally entitled to have them. Unfortunately, the Australian Government has persistently refused to establish permanent maritime boundaries with East Timor in accordance with current international law. The uneven negotiating positions have resulted in a series of temporary resource sharing agreements that short-change East Timor of billions of dollars worth of government royalties, at minimum $5billion.


Motions for discussion and lobbying MPs

We demand the Australian government
1. Rejoin the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

2. Recognise the principal of the median line, halfway between Timor and Australia.

3. Immediately respond to the calls by the government of Timor Leste to restart negotiations for permanent maritime boundaries between the two countries.
4. Transfer all past and ongoing revenue obtained from oil and gas fields on the Timorese side of the median line to the government of Timor Leste. An initial $5 billion of TL money can be returned.

We also

5. Strongly condemn the Australian government’s use of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) to carryout commercial espionage against the Government of Timor Leste (East Timor) in 2004 by placing electronic listening devices in the office of the Timorese Prime Minister and Cabinet Room support the call by Canberra Lawyer Bernard Collaery, Former NSW director of public prosecutions Nicholas Cowdry and Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon for a judicial enquiry into the intelligence scandal. That would include investigation of the former Minister Alexander Downer and the former director of ASIS David Irvine.

6. Support the international day of protest on March 24 (please assist protests elsewhere) organised by the Timor Sea Justice Campaign and Timorese Activists marking the anniversary of Australian withdrawal from the maritime jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in 2002.

East Timorese protest against Australian government
See FaceBook Hands off Timor’s Oil Balibo

Crocodiles in the Timor Sea: development and socio-economic implications of the maritime resources dispute
A Public seminar State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne Tuesday 16 February, 12 – 2pm

This forum will explore the development and socio-economic implications of the maritime resources dispute in the
Timor Sea. The negotiations that have occurred between Australia, Timor-Leste and Indonesia over the petroleum
reserves in the Timor Sea have ongoing impacts on relations between these three close neighbours, particularly
the development of the new nation of Timor-Leste.
Independent East Timorese NGO watchdog La’o Hamutuk, estimates that the total amount of oil revenue received by the Australian government between 1999 and 2014 which they believe should belong to Timor-Leste is just under five billion U.S. dollars.


Chris and Zito clarify a point

Chris and Zito clarify a point


Articles: Mark Aarons Oil and Water

earlier blog

Senator Nick Xenophon urges enquiry into bugging-of-timor-leste-oil-and-gas-treaty-talks
Xenophon appeared with the former NSW director of public prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery – who said he believed the operation may have breached Australian law – and said further inquiries into the Asis operation were needed.

“If in fact Asis was used solely for the purpose of getting a commercial advantage for Australian companies over East Timor and its oil resources that is undoubtedly scandalous,” Xenophon said. “The only way we can get to the truth of this is through a royal commission.”

Intelligence officers who had behaved appropriately “should not have their home raided”, Xenophon said, in reference to raids carried out in December 2013 to seize documents about the international dispute. The raids on witness K’s residence and the offices of East Timor’s lawyer, Bernard Collaery, were authorised by the Australian attorney general, George Brandis.

ABC LateLine most important East Timorese leaders accuse Australia of committing a crime by sending spies to bug Dili Cabinet office

Witness ‘K” must be free to speak
One of the most startling cases of a government using the fig leaf of “national security” to protect its own interests is happening right before our eyes — and it should have Australians up in arms.

Yesterday, the ABC revealed that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had intervened, on national security grounds, to prevent a former ASIS agent from having his passport returned. “Witness K”, as he is known, is the former intelligence agent who revealed that ASIS had bugged East Timor’s government in 2004. The then-Howard government ordered the bugging to gain advantage over East Timor in negotiations over resources in the Timor Sea.

Whatever the dubious morality of Australia cheating a struggling micro-state, the bugging was plainly illegal under Australian law. In contrast, Witness K’s revelation of the operation was entirely legal.

But while ASIS and its then director have entirely escaped scrutiny for this crime, Witness K has been raided by police and ASIO and had his passport taken, in order to prevent him from travelling overseas to give evidence in East Timor’s case against Australia in The Hague.

The current head of ASIO has said he has not taken any action on national security grounds against Witness K, making it clear that it’s the government — not ASIO — that wants Witness K confined to Australia.

This harassment and vilification of a man who has loyally served his country is plainly designed to try to cover up the crime perpetrated by ASIS and the Howard government’s extraordinary cynicism in seeking advantage over the East Timorese, to the benefit of Australian resources companies.
2. Melbourne events

Local councils can support

Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea: Perspectives in International Law
The School of Social Sciences at Monash University, the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, and Swinburne University of Technology present:

Date: 15 February 2016 10.00am to 5.00pm
Venue: Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street Melbourne Attendance is free Speakers include:
Professor Don Rothwell, Professor of International Law, Head of School ANU College of Law
Professor Don K. Anton, Professor of International Law, Griffith University Law School
Dr I Made Andi Arsana, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia.

This one-day public seminar will examine the ongoing dispute over maritime boundaries between Australia and Timor-Leste. Panelists will include invited experts in international law, and representatives of the governments of Australia and Timor-Leste. Topics will include the historical context of the dispute, comparative boundary determinations, perspectives in international law, and updates on the current court cases. Bringing together academic and legal experts and this seminar will provide balanced and objective academic commentary on this significant and long-running issue.
Please visit for further updates.

Crocodiles in the Timor Sea: development and socio-economic implications of the maritime resources dispute

A Public seminar

Where: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne

When: Tuesday 16 February, 12 – 2pm

Attendance is free

This forum will explore the development and socio-economic implications of the maritime resources dispute in the
Timor Sea. The negotiations that have occurred between Australia, Timor-Leste and Indonesia over the petroleum
reserves in the Timor Sea have ongoing impacts on relations between these three close neighbours, particularly
the development of the new nation of Timor-Leste.

The financial implications of current international negotiations and legal disputes are huge. Independent East Timorese
NGO watchdog La’o Hamutuk, estimates that the total amount of oil revenue received by the Australian government
between 1999 and 2014 which they believe should belong to Timor-Leste is just under five billion U.S. dollars.
Crocodiles in the Timor Sea: development and socio-economic implications of the maritime resources dispute

A Public seminar Where: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne

When: Tuesday 16 February, 12 – 2pm Attendance is free

This forum will explore the development and socio-economic implications of the maritime resources dispute in the
Timor Sea. The negotiations that have occurred between Australia, Timor-Leste and Indonesia over the petroleum
reserves in the Timor Sea have ongoing impacts on relations between these three close neighbours, particularly
the development of the new nation of Timor-Leste.

The financial implications of current international negotiations and legal disputes are huge. Independent East Timorese
NGO watchdog La’o Hamutuk, estimates that the total amount of oil revenue received by the Australian government
between 1999 and 2014 which they believe should belong to Timor-Leste is just under five billion U.S. dollars. The
national development implications and the socio-economic impact on the East Timorese will be discussed by three
speakers with long-term experience in Timor-Leste.

Speakers include:
Dr Kirsty Sword Gusmão AO
Professor Brett Inder, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University
Dr Sara Niner, School of Social Sciences, Monash University The
national development implications and the socio-economic impact on the East Timorese will be discussed by three
speakers with long-term experience in Timor-Leste.

Marxist scholar Ellen Meiksins Wood Thu, 04 Feb 2016 05:36:25 +0000 I post on the passing of Marxist scholar Ellen Meiksins Wood and recommend her analysis
Ellen Meiksins Wood: Some Personal Recollections by John Bellamy Foster
In my graduate class on Political Economy at the University of Oregon this term we are reading two books by Ellen Meiksins Wood: The Retreat from Class and Democracy Against Capitalism Renewing Historical Materialism.
Ellen Meiksins Wood argues that with the collapse of Communism the theoretical project of Marxism and its critique of capitalism is more timely and important than ever. Current intellectual fashions of the left which emphasise ‘post-modern’ fragmentation, ‘difference’, contingency and the ‘politics of identity’ can barely accommodate the idea of capitalism, let alone subject the capitalist system to critique. In this book she sets out to renew the critical programme of historical materialism by redefining its basic concepts and its theory of history in original and imaginative ways, using them to identify the specificity of capitalism as a system of social relations and political power. She goes on to explore the concept of democracy in both the ancient and modern world, examining the concept’s relation to capitalism, and raising questions about how democracy might go beyond the limits imposed on it by capitalism.
Democracy against capitalism talk

“The separation of the economic and the political in capitalism” – Ellen Meiskins Wood

The Retreat from Class (1986), she argued that, without an organic connection to the needs and aspirations of working people, socialism becomes rudderless, a dream without an agent that might realise it.

Democracy Against Capitalism (1995) dissected the conflict between capitalism and democracy. Ellen showed that by legally relegating issues of property, ownership and work to the private sector, capitalism confines public power to electoral politics. In so doing, it empties democracy of its original meaning as the power of the common people, leaving workers precariously exposed to market forces. In order to counter this, she advised that we need to reimagine democracy as containing freedom from the dictates of the market. This would require democratic control by those who produce the wealth over the conditions of its production and distribution.Read here

A towering intellect