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Australia

22 Mar

By

A socialist program to fight war, austerity and dictatorship!

March 22, 2016 | By |

By the IYSSE (Australia)
22 February 2016

As 2016 begins, young people in Australia and around the world confront the mounting threat of war, an increasingly desperate social crisis, another financial collapse with even greater repercussions than that of 2007–8, and the erosion of fundamental democratic rights. Governments around the world are responding to the deepest crisis of the world capitalist system since the 1930s with criminal military interventions that have created flashpoints for a global conflict in every part of the globe.

The Middle East, having been decimated by 15 years of US-led invasions and occupations is the scene of a new predatory military operation in Syria and Iraq involving virtually all of the major powers. Millions of refugees fleeing the carnage are being met by barbed-wire fences and police-state violence, reminiscent of the horrors of World War Two. In Eastern Europe, the US is spearheading a confrontation with the Russian regime of Vladimir Putin, which has already led to a bloody civil war in Ukraine and poses the threat of nuclear war.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Obama administration is carrying out a massive military build-up directed against China.

Behind the backs of the population, the entire political establishment—Labor, the Liberals, the Greens and their pseudo-left adjuncts in groups such as Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance—has signed-up to Washington’s preparations for war against China, in defiance of the anti-war sentiment among the vast majority of workers and young people.

In 2011, Julia Gillard’s Labor government struck a military deal with the Obama administration, aligning Australia with the so-called “pivot to Asia”, boosting ties between the two country’s military forces and establishing a new US marine base in Darwin. Every government since then—under Rudd, Abbott and Turnbull—has placed military expansion at the very centre of its agenda.

Washington now insists that Canberra participate in its provocative challenges to Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea—provocations that could trigger armed conflict. In preparation for war, the Australian establishment is devoting ever greater resources to acquiring new submarines, warships and aircraft. A report published last month by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, commissioned by the US Department of Defense, declared that the US and its allies in Asia, particularly Australia, needed to be ready to “fight tonight.” It stated: “As Australia’s own influence expands and Australia’s geopolitical position becomes more central to US strategy, Washington’s expectations of Canberra are growing.”

Young people must be clear: our generation confronts the stark alternative outlined by the great revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg following the outbreak of World War One—either socialism or barbarism. The same inherent contradictions of the capitalist system—above all, between a globally integrated economy and the division of the world into antagonistic nation-states—that led to two world wars last century, have created the conditions for a Third World War, which would inevitably involve nuclear weapons.

The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), and its youth movement, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), are fighting to build a socialist anti-war movement of the international working class aimed at averting such a catastrophe. As students and youth, we are being placed on the frontlines of a new global conflict and have definite historic responsibilities in this struggle. To halt the relapse into imperialist barbarism we must be at the forefront of the fight to politically educate and mobilise the great social power of the working class to overthrow the source of war, the capitalist profit system itself.

The ruling elites are well aware that masses of workers and young people are deeply opposed to war. That is why the entire political establishment has been whipping-up an atmosphere of nationalist patriotism, promoting militarism, the demonisation of refugees and the vilification of Muslims.

At the same time, state and federal governments are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to “celebrate” the centenary of World War I. Everything is being done to obscure the predatory character of these wars, which were aimed at securing resources, markets and profits for the imperialist powers, including Australia. Instead, in a flagrant campaign of historical falsification that extends into primary and secondary schools, Australian participation in the two world wars of the last century, and a host of other military adventures, is being whitewashed as the defence of “democracy,” and the celebration of “mateship” and the “Australian spirit.” Nationalist myths are being promoted through the publication of pro-war “history” books and biographies and the regular staging of public “commemorations.”

That the ICFI, the Socialist Equality Party and IYSSE alone oppose this militarist campaign was underscored by the extraordinary attempts of the Burwood Labor council and the University of Sydney (USYD) last year to prevent us from holding a meeting on the Anzac Day weekend, exposing the glorification of militarism and the preparations for new wars. This political censorship—replicated in attacks on the IYSSE at a number of other campuses since then—is the sharpest expression of broader attempts to suppress opposition to war and prevent young people from understanding the situation they confront.

It is no accident that USYD banned our meeting. As one of the most prestigious universities in the country, it is being transformed into a key ideological centre for the promotion of militarism. Its “United States Studies Centre,” a think-tank founded in 2006 to churn out propaganda aimed at overcoming hostility to US-led wars, devotes considerable resources to promoting the US-Australia military alliance.

Global war preparations go hand in hand with an escalating assault on the social rights of the working class. While almost $2 trillion is dedicated to military spending world-wide every year, the financial elites are carrying out the destruction of public education and healthcare and the decimation of living conditions.

In Australia, the $50 billion being squandered on the construction of new submarines would pay for at least 25 new, state-of-the-art public hospitals. The $39 billion earmarked for frigates and destroyers could finance a desperately needed five-and-a-half million dollar upgrade to every public school in the country.

The militarisation of society is incompatible with universities as centres of genuine higher learning, cultural advance and freedom of speech. The tertiary education sector has faced decades of unrelenting funding cuts, with students confronting endless restructurings involving the abolition of entire courses and faculties, while graduates face the prospect of being unable to find work in their field of study. Many will never find a decent job. TAFEs are being dismantled through the rapid hiking of fees to the tune of thousands of dollars a year, forcing many students to abandon their studies altogether. Last year, in New South Wales alone, enrolments dropped by 80,000.

In working class suburbs around the country, official youth unemployment often surpasses 30 percent. Here, young workers confront a life without a future, constantly targeted by parasitic private colleges peddling sham-degrees along with military recruiters promising a lucrative army “gap year.”

This social crisis will inevitably create major upheavals. A new mood of social opposition is developing around the world, reflected in emerging strike and protest movements throughout Europe and the US, and seething hostility to the official political establishment in every country.

The decisive question, however, is political leadership. Pseudo-left organisations, including Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance, play a central role in seeking to channel mass disaffection back behind the existing political set-up—above all, behind Labor, the Greens and the thoroughly corporatised trade unions. The pseudo-left, which speaks for an affluent layer of the middle-class seeking to advance its own careers in academia, the unions and the public sector, promotes identity politics associated with race, gender, ethnicity and sexuality to suppress the fundamental class issues, including the fight against imperialist war.

We urge students and young people to oppose all forms of nationalism and militarism and turn to the internationalist perspective of the IYSSE. As the youth movement of the International Committee of the Fourth International, the world party of socialist revolution founded by Leon Trotsky, we will be holding regular meetings throughout the year, clarifying the fundamental theoretical and historical questions associated with the fight to develop a genuine revolutionary movement of the international working class. We encourage you to begin your political education in Marxist politics by reading the World Socialist Web Site, the most widely-read socialist publication on the internet, and contributing articles on the political, economic, cultural and social issues facing the working class and youth. Above all, we call on you to join the IYSSE and participate in the fight to build it as the new mass, socialist, anti-war movement among students and young people in Australia, throughout Asia, including in China, and the world.

16 Mar

By

A socialist program to fight the Coalition-Labor-Greens assault on education in Australia

March 16, 2016 | By |

By the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Australia)
16 March 2016

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) opposes the pro-business restructure at the University of Sydney. It is part of the latest round in a decades-long assault on education supported by the entire official political establishment—Labor, the Liberals and the Greens—aimed at transforming universities into entirely corporatized, for-profit entities.

The organizers of today’s rally, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Sydney University Education Action Group (EAG), are seeking to cover-up this basic fact. They have called this protest to channel the widespread hostility to the university’s cuts behind the very forces responsible for the gutting of higher education, above all Labor and the Greens, and to promote the illusion that such demonstrations can “pressure” the authorities to “back down.”

The NTEU is explicitly preparing to support Labor and the Greens in the forthcoming elections. A lying press release by NTEU national president Jeannie Rea last September declared that Labor’s education program stood in “stark contrast to the unprincipled, unfair and unsustainable higher education policies of the Coalition.”

For its part, the EAG’s promotional material for the event says nothing about how the cuts can be opposed, instead blandly stating that, “Staff and students should have a say in the future of our University,” and that it is necessary to “fight back.”

Their real perspective was summed up by Socialist Alternative, which plays a prominent role in the amorphous collective composed of various pseudo-left groups, along with representatives of the Greens and the Labor Party on campus. An article on Socialist Alternative’s publication, Red Flag last month concluded by declaring, “Like the Liberals’ attempts to deregulate higher education in 2014-15, this restructure can be stopped by mass action on the part of students and staff.”

This is an utter fraud!

The Liberal-National government of Malcolm Turnbull has not abandoned the plans to deregulate university fees. It has merely repackaged them. At the “Universities Australia” meeting held last week, Turnbull’s Education Minister, Simon Birmingham made clear that the government is preparing to boost the “student contribution” to university funding, i.e. by massively raising fees. He also insisted that universities would have to become ever-more reliant on corporate funding.

Summing up the significance of his remarks, an editorial in the Australian declared, “a new model is emerging where universities will achieve their expressed desire for autonomy from government by funding it through industry partnerships.” It went on to state that the “era of excessive state patronage of universities is coming to a close,” i.e. any conception of universities as government-funded centers of learning and inquiry will become a thing of the past. Central to this program is the development of a two-tier system—with the elite sandstone universities increasingly accessible only to a wealthy minority, and working class youth forced into sub-par second-rate institutions.

Socialist Alternative’s invocation of the “victory” of 2014-15 is a warning of the role the EAG is seeking to play. The Abbott Liberal-National government’s budget of 2014, which included “fee deregulation,” a move that would have hiked fees by tens of thousands of dollars, was met by widespread opposition from workers and young people, including students, staff and academics.

The EAG and Socialist Alternative, working hand in hand with the NTEU and the National Union of Students did everything they could to subordinate the emerging movement to the existing political set-up. At a series of rallies throughout the year, they invited prominent Labor and Green politicians to posture as opponents of the Abbott government’s cuts to education.

Organisers repeatedly prevented members of the IYSSE from speaking at the rallies, in order to block students from hearing a socialist perspective and to suppress any discussion of the fact that the Gillard Labor government, supported by the Greens, had introduced the largest-ever single-cut to university funding in 2013—a massive $2.3 billion. Nor did they want mention made of the role of the Hawke and Keating Labor governments in the late 1980s and early 1990s in abolishing free university education and initiating the downward spiral in its funding ever since.

To divert attention from their rotten political perspective, these groups directed students to engage in protest “stunts”—including “sit-ins” at the offices of various university vice-chancellors, and noisy confrontations with Liberal Party politicians. These were aimed at presenting the assault on education as a product of the predilections of individual vice-chancellors and politicians and preventing any serious political discussion of the real causes.

The suppression of the movement that emerged in 2014, by Socialist Alternative, the EAG and other groups, cleared the way for the sweeping attacks now on the table, including the merger of the university’s 10 faculties and 6 schools into 6 faculties and 3 schools and the reduction in the number of undergraduate degrees from 120 to as few as 20. The restructuring at USYD is modelled on measures carried out at the University of Melbourne in 2008, which saw 96 undergraduate degrees reduced to just six, and were followed by hundreds of job cuts. Similar measures are being prepared at the University of Western Australia, which is sacking 300 staff, and at universities across the country.

The government, along with the university authorities, is well aware that the NTEU and its pseudo-left backers will enforce the cuts. In 2013, University of Sydney management announced plans to sack 340 staff and academics. The union struck a deal which destroyed 55 jobs, introduced a host of voluntary redundancies and forced 100 academics into teaching-only positions. The NTEU, the EAG and a host of other groups proclaimed this betrayal a victory. The union has carried out similar sordid maneuvers at every campus.

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) is fighting for the development of an independent, socialist movement of the working class in opposition to the assault on education, and the gutting of social spending. In response to the deepest crisis of the capitalist system since the 1930’s, governments around the world are implementing sweeping austerity measures aimed at abolishing all the social gains made by the working class in past struggles. Throughout Europe and the US, this program has seen the return of depression-era conditions with mass unemployment, widespread poverty and social misery.

As this agenda provokes mounting social struggles, the pseudo-left organisations, including Socialist Alternative, Solidarity and “left” sections of the Greens are seeking to emulate the “model” of Syriza in Greece, which came to power last year by falsely presenting itself as an opponent of austerity, only to carry out the deepest-ever cuts to social spending in Europe. The pseudo-left represents affluent sections of the upper middle-class in academia, the unions and the public sector whose interests are tied to the existing political set-up and the suppression of any struggles by the working class.

Hand in hand with the imposition of austerity, the major imperialist powers are carrying out an unprecedented program of militarism and war that threatens the outbreak of a new global conflict. In this region, Labor, the Liberals and the Greens have lined-up behind the advanced US preparations for war against China. Universities are playing a central role in ideologically justifying these criminal policies, with institutions such as the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney being established to suppress mounting anti-war sentiment and to promote a climate of nationalist militarism.

The IYSSE calls for students to turn to the working class, the only social force that can halt the drive to war and the assault on social conditions, and fight to mobilise it against the capitalist profit system, the real source of austerity and war. The working class has no interest in the private ownership of society’s resources. It is the target of the assault on basic social rights, including to tertiary education, being spearheaded by the corporate elite.

In order to defend the democratic right to a free, high quality public education, students and youth must turn to the program and perspective of socialist internationalism and the fight for a workers’ government, which would place the major banks and corporations under public ownership and democratic, workers’ control. A socialist program would end the current squandering of hundreds of billions of dollars on the military, and instead allocate the resources required to guarantee the social rights of the working class as a whole, including to a free, high-quality education from kindergarten to tertiary level.

05 Mar

By

Australian university students denounce the drive to war and austerity

March 5, 2016 | By |

During university Orientation Week events in Australia and New Zealand over the past two weeks, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality campaigned at seven campuses in opposition to the drive to war and the related assault on the social and democratic rights of the working class.

The IYSSE fought for students to join the fight to build an international anti-war movement of the working class, based on a revolutionary socialist perspective, as the only means of preventing the descent into World War III.

Several students at each campus gave serious consideration to the issues raised by the IYSSE, and made thoughtful comments, reflecting a developing political radicalisation among workers and young people more generally.

At the University of Melbourne, Nick, a first-year science student said, “A big issue facing young people is, either unemployment or, when in the workplace, you have no security. You can come into work one day and then be told that you’ve lost your job. Also, war has been around for a long time, but the issue of world war, a war that’s more global, that is an issue. You had two world wars in the 20th century, but before then, there were none.”

Nick

He spoke out about the US military build-up in the region, commenting, “These US bases in Asia are all the way on the other side of the world from the United States. They’re not worrying about protecting themselves. There’s tens of thousands of kilometres between here and the US over which they could shoot down missiles, if they really were trying to protect themselves from China. This is definitely about protecting their interests around the Straits of Malacca, controlling Chinese exports, and in the event of a war, being able to blockade.”

Nick noted that the US was backing Islamist forces in Syria, in a bid to oust the Syrian regime, and commented, “The US did the same thing in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The same groups, the “terrorists” that they arrest people for, they’re actually supporting. At first, I thought the “War On Terror” was about fighting the terrorists, from watching the news. But then I did some more background research, and found that Saudi Arabia was great friends with these groups, and is completely supported by the US. So I thought, ‘hang on, there’s something very fishy here’.”

Harsh, a civil engineering student, said, “The major issue for young people I think is trying to find jobs after they finish studying. A lot of people today are overqualified. That’s what I’m scared of too. I’m studying Civil Engineering. Since the mining boom’s gone down, a lot of investment in engineering has gone down too, and I’m concerned about what that’ll mean.

Harsh

“I’m scared that WWIII is going to start, involving Russia and the United States of course. I believe it could start from the events in Syria at the moment.

“I’m worried about the refugee crisis right now. War is responsible for that crisis. The countries that are supporting ISIS, above all the United States, are supporting war and creating war. War has created refugees. They need a place to stay, somewhere to eat; they’re humans.

“I didn’t know about the military build-up by the United States in this region. The United States claims itself to be a “good country,” and everyone supports its crimes because it has so many allies. China doesn’t have those same allies. Actually it has a lot of tensions. It has a border dispute with India right now.”

Thomas, a science student from the University of Newcastle, said, “In Australia, but probably everywhere, young people feel disenfranchised, alienated from public institutions. They have no say.”

“Capitalism benefits from war. People don’t matter, money does. Capitalism requires war to flourish… There are geo-political conflicts—oil-capitalism unregulated inevitably leads to war and conflict among nation states.

“They are illegally invading smaller countries and never mind the consequences. For me it will be a great day when George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard are hauled before some international tribunal and brought to account.

“Australia as lapdog is going along with the US against China. We will suffer. The reasons are geo-political rivalry. They are trying to give people reasons to push for military intervention.

“There is a real problem with military worship, of the war times. They say Australia was built in war—that there was federation in 1901 but that the nation was not forged until 1915, in this noble event. In fact, the war was a product of geo-political rivalry including between the UK and Germany. People were told it was a noble cause but they died for nothing.”

At the University of New South Wales, Lisa, a mature-aged student in Fine Arts, spoke out about the assault on social spending that goes hand in hand with war. “The majority of the wealth in the world is owned by a very small percentage,” she said.

Lisa

“It seems to be that when we’re coming up to an election the government are always picking on the most vulnerable members of society. The other day they were talking about ‘the dole bludgers.’ I personally believe there’s not enough work for everyone to be employed.

“TAFE is now as expensive as university and apprenticeships aren’t the same as they used to be either. You used to be taken on and were guaranteed to achieve the apprenticeship with one employer. Now they can get rid of you and you have to try and find someone else to take you on to finish your apprenticeship.

“I have young nieces and nephews who live in the Central Coast and Newcastle and it’s so hard to find work. This is what makes me so angry, when the government says people are dole-bludgers.”

Tristan, a 22 year-old worker who participated in the IYSSE’s campaign at the University of Newcastle, commented, “War is the major issue. We have conflicts happening all over the globe and that is going to draw a lot of young people’s attention to that. Young people are predominantly the people that they send into war and there is a lot of media propaganda targeted towards setting the minds of young people to drag them into these wars.”

Tristan said that for the US and its allies, including Australia, “the end goal would be to beat China and Russia into submission, maybe funding some kind of coup to overthrow the Chinese government, funding some sort of resistance or revolution in their country, or by all-out war. At the moment, things seem to transpiring in the direction of all-out war.”

He noted that there is mass opposition to war among young people and workers. “You can’t have a war without soldiers, you can’t have military equipment unless you have factories. Without the support of masses of people it would be incredibly difficult to go into war; if not impossible. They could use nuclear weapons, which is perhaps the way that they are looking at going, which is as simple as pressing a button. But with the building of a world socialist movement of the working class, we could stop them and overthrow these psychopathic governments that are leading us towards total annihilation.”

16 Apr

By

Overturn the decision to block IYSSE affiliation on campus!

April 16, 2015 | By |

An open letter to the Clubs and Societies Committee at the University of Melbourne

By International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Australia)
16 April 2015

The following letter has been sent to the members of the Clubs & Societies Committee of the University of Melbourne, which voted at a meeting on March 29 to reject the application of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) to affiliate its club at the university. It is being distributed by members of the IYSSE among students on campus.

To the members of the University of Melbourne Clubs & Societies (C&S) Committee:

Gulsara Kaplan (Secular Society)
Lauren Taylor (Cosmic Hitchhikers Appreciation Society)
Yasmine Luu (Science Students Society)
Ryan Davey (Arts Students Society)
Steven Connolly (Pirates)
Claire Pollock and Stephen Smith (C&S office bearers)

On behalf of the members and supporters of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), I am writing to oppose your anti-democratic decision of March 29 to block our application to affiliate an IYSSE club on campus, and demand that you overturn it.

On March 31, the IYSSE received an email from C&S coordinator Fiona Sanders, of the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU), stating that the club’s application had been rejected. Stephen Smith, a C&S office bearer of UMSU and member of the “More activities!” student election organisation, had moved that the IYSSE should not be affiliated because its aims “significantly overlap” with those of an already-existing club, Socialist Alternative (SA).

We understand that all of you voted for this motion without any attempt to contact the IYSSE beforehand, thus preventing us from clarifying that Smith’s unsubstantiated claim was completely false. In reality, none of the aims of the IYSSE overlaps with those of Socialist Alternative. Moreover, your decision rides roughshod over the democratic rights of the 54 students who signed an expression of interest form in support of establishing the IYSSE club on campus.

First and foremost, the notion that the C&S Committee, or any other organisation, should be able to determine which clubs can or cannot be formed undermines the fundamental rights of students to organise and exercise freedom of expression. All students should be permitted to establish whatever clubs they choose, whether their interests are cultural, spiritual, political, sporting or academic.

That said, your decision contains a glaring contradiction. While you cite “overlapping aims” to proscribe the IYSSE, no such objections have been raised to block other clubs on campus—something the IYSSE would most certainly publicly oppose.

Among the more than 200 affiliated student clubs are two separate clubs representing the same political party, the Australian Labor Party—under the names ALP Club and Labor Club. And, as far as tens of thousands of students are concerned, if ever there were two parties with “overlapping aims,” they are Labor and Liberal, whose big business programs are essentially indistinguishable.

Moreover, there are four different Christian societies, as well as at least three science fiction clubs. In addition to Socialist Alternative, the Solidarity Club, which also defines itself as “socialist,” is also affiliated.

What is to account for this double-standard? Why has the IYSSE been singled out for rejection? We can only conclude that your discriminatory decision is based, not on procedural, but on undisclosed political considerations.

Without producing a shred of evidence, either this year or last, the C&S Committee used precisely the same justification of “overlapping aims” in 2014 to block our affiliation. So absurd was the motion that the Socialist Alternative club representative on the committee voted against it!

The class character and orientation of any political organisation is determined, first and foremost, by its history and political program. From this standpoint, the IYSSE and Socialist Alternative represent diametrically opposed political tendencies.

The IYSSE is the global student and youth organisation of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), the world Trotskyist movement. The ICFI publishes the World Socialist Web Site, the most widely-read socialist publication in the world. The IYSSE is openly affiliated with the ICFI’s Australian section, the Socialist Equality Party, a registered political party.

The IYSSE’s aims, which were provided to the C&S Committee as part of our application, make this crystal clear. They state the IYSSE seeks to “educate students in the history and principles of the Trotskyist movement, the International Committee of the Fourth International,” and to “raise the level of intellectual discussion and debate on campus through the sponsoring of regular forums discussing the daily political analysis of the World Socialist Web Site, the Internet site of the ICFI, dealing with Marxist philosophy, economics, history and the arts.”

Socialist Alternative is not part of the ICFI and is not a Trotskyist organisation. It traces its origins to a petty bourgeois political trend known as “state capitalism,” which broke from the Fourth International in 1951, on the basis of an explicit rejection of its principles.

Socialist Alternative does not support either the World Socialist Web Site or the Socialist Equality Party. In elections, it calls on voters to give their support, not to the SEP, but to capitalist parties such as the Greens and the Labor Party.

In her letter to the IYSSE on April 1, C&S Coordinator Sanders wrote: “We recommend that you contact Socialist Alternative to discuss how your goals can be achieved through partnering with them.”

The arrogance of this statement is breathtaking. What gives the C&S Committee the right to instruct students, who support the ICFI and the SEP, to join an anti-Marxist organisation that we explicitly oppose?

A review of just some of the public statements of the IYSSE and Socialist Alternative on major global issues should be sufficient to demonstrate to you that the two organisations do not have “overlapping aims.”

On Syriza, which formed a self-proclaimed “left-wing” government in Greece in January of this year :

World Socialist Web Site, supported by the IYSSE: “Syriza’s election does not express a political development, a step forward, progress or anything of the kind by or for the working class … In its origin, social composition and politics, Syriza is a bourgeois party—one of many, including the Democrats under US President Barack Obama—that come to power making promises of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ and then impose policies of austerity and war. It will inevitably betray, sooner rather than later, the aspirations for an end to social hardship and suffering that it has cynically exploited.”

Socialist Alternative: “A stunning victory for the left in Greece”: “These commitments [Syriza’s election promises to oppose austerity spending] combined with other polices—such as writing off much of Greece’s debt to the international banks, nationalisation of the local banks and an end to privatisations—are a direct challenge to the neoliberal agenda that has dominated Western capitalism over the last 30 years.”

On the United States-sponsored campaign to overthrow the Russian-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad, with the assistance of anti-Assad rebels financed by the US an d its supporters in the region:

World Socialist Web Site : “The Syrian war is the latest chapter in US imperialism’s efforts—with the support of its ultra-reactionary Gulf State clients—to violently carry out a restructuring of Middle Eastern and Central Asian politics…. In the Syrian war, as in the 2011 Libyan war before it, whatever initial protests occurred were overwhelmed and utilized as a pretext for large-scale military intervention by Washington against a regime with which it had long-standing grievances. In both wars, Washington’s key proxies were Sunni sectarian forces tied to Al Qaeda—veterans of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in Libya and the Al Nusra Front in Syria.”

Socialist Alternative: “Imperialism, in the sense of Western neo-colonialism, is not the main threat facing the masses of Syria, or of the Arab world as a whole … The time for ‘knee-jerk anti-imperialism’ has now passed …”

On the US pivot to Asia, and the preparations of both the US and Australian governments for war on China:

Socialist Equality Party: “The Obama administration initiated its ‘pivot to Asia’ in the wake of the 2008–09 global financial crisis … While the US military was bogged down in quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq, China had emerged as the chief nexus of globalised production … The US was intent on ensuring that it, not its imperialist rivals in Europe and Asia, would dominate this massive cheap labour platform and source of profit. This, not the fraudulent claim that China is seeking new territory in the Asian region, is the real aim of the ‘pivot.’”

Socialist Alternative: “[The] United States, Australia’s traditional military ally and still its most significant foreign investor, is engaged in an increasingly tense struggle with China for domination over the Asia-Pacific. The US wants its allies to stick close and help it contain China’s expansion.”

On the nature of the trade unions:

The Socialist Equality Party: “The unions are not workers’ organisations in any sense. Under the impact of globalisation, the unions, grounded on nationalist and pro-capitalist foundations, have been transformed from organisations that once advanced limited reforms in order to contain the class struggle within the framework of the profit system, into corporatist apparatuses committed to achieving ‘international competitiveness’ on behalf of big business.”

Socialist Alternative: “Socialists support trade unions as the basic defensive organisations of the working class.”

If you cared to investigate you would find such fundamental differences between the IYSSE and SA on every political question. And that is because the two organisations have fundamentally opposed aims. The IYSSE and the Socialist Equality Party are revolutionary Marxist organisations, representing the interests of the working class. Our aim is to build a unified international movement of the working class against imperialist war and austerity, and their source, the capitalist profit system. Socialist Alternative is a middle class pseudo-left organisation that has fully aligned itself with imperialist war and austerity, and is preoccupied with the politics of identity, aimed specifically at undermining and suppressing the independent interests of the working class.

We again insist that the C&S Committee overturns its decision and immediately grants affiliation to the IYSSE.

Yours sincerely,
University of Melbourne IYSSE