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Newsletter (in English)


Startbox-iThesesGeorge Bush. He sucks, and we all know it. There are a multitude of reasons to take offense at George Bush and his visit to Australia’s shores this September: the Iraq war, global warming, the attacks on workers, students and indigenous Australians carried out by his friend John Howard… Thousands of people from across Australia will protest against the George Bush and the APEC summit in Sydney on September 8th.

APEC (The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) will be a summit for George Bush and John Howard, as well as the leaders of Russia, China, Indonesia and a host of capitalists and politicians from 21 countries of the Asia-Pacific region. The state will spend about 250 million Australian dollars (200 million US dollars or 150 million Euros) to protect this summit. The center of Sydney will be shut down for three or four days and the police will be given extraordinary powers, including the power to conduct random searches and declare “restricted security zones”.

APEC summits are famous for world leaders getting dressed up in local costumes for a group picture. But what’s the real point of the summit? Quickly summed up, it is yet another forum where the rulers of the world meet to carve up the spoils of past and future battles against the working class. Like with all of these forums – the G8, the G20, the WEF and so on – the APEC delegates make economic decisions that affect us all, behind the backs of those they claim to represent. Like with all these forums, we are spun a line about how our glorious leaders are meeting to solve the world’s problems.

At the G20, it was all about “solving world poverty” – certainly not about expanding capitalism into areas that are so far underexploited. This year, it will be about “stopping global warming” no doubt – certainly not about the exploitation of the nearby Pacific Islands and other sections of the Asia Pacific region. These poor countries are not represented in any significant way in these discussions. But simply evening up the numbers of delegates from poorer and richer countries wouldn’t help – these meetings of the capitalists and their politicians are inherently detrimental to our class, and not just in the way that they flaunt the facade of democracy they like to talk about come election time.

The very nature of APEC, from its foundation in 1989 to today, belies it as an attempt to compete with Europe’s EU. When Western countries including the USA and Australia were denied entry to the ASEAN (though they are now a part of the ASEAN regional forum), they took their bat and ball home and set up their own forum. APEC was born as a forum where Western powers could secure their dominance over the countries of Asia, so they can encourage and benefit from the superexploitation of workers. For example Nike has sweatshops in Indonesia that pay their workers as little as ten cents an hour.

The global expansion of corporate power shows who the true masters of our politicians are. They do not answer to us, the working class and youth – they answer to the likes of corporations such as Nike & Microsoft, Coke and McDonalds. These companies support them financially in return for favours that abuse not only labour laws and human rights at a global level, but also weaken the ability of our class, worldwide, to fight back. This is why we, as unionists, socialists, anticapitalists, youth activists and civil rights campaigners need to fight against these summits with demonstrations, blockades and strikes of students and especially workers.

While Bush, Howard, Putin and all the rest of them meet behind the closed doors of the Opera House, protected by thousands of cops, private security and government agencies like ASIO, we must stand in defiance of this intimidation and repression. We must continue to support the victims of past repression, for example the people arrested at the G20 protests last year. Continuous protests will remind these “leaders” (and inspire the people who watch these images from home) that these cities are our cities. These streets are our streets. Warmongers, both economic and military, are not welcome here.

Just as the rulers of the capitalist world meet up to coordinate oppression and exploitation, we need to unite our struggles against them. We need to bring together the struggles of Indonesian sweatshop workers and Australian students, of European anticapitalists and Iraqi resistance fighters. That’s why we fight for a revolutionary youth international and a workers’ international to unite the exploited in the struggle against capitalism.

REVOLUTION International Coordination, August 26, 2007

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