This article was a May Day leaflet distributed by Spirit of Eureka in a number of capital cities
On May Day 2016 the Australian working class reflects on its achievements, won by its own hard struggle. But while giant corporations dominate Australian economic, political and ideological life, no victory for workers is ever permanent.
Both Coalition and Labor governments implement corporate control, and attack the rights of the Australian people. The organised working class is particularly targeted because it spearheads the struggle for a better future.
No wonder so many people are disillusioned with parliamentary politics when they are constantly used, lied to and attacked.
The ACTU recognises that dismantling the Your Rights at Work movement after Rudd’s election was a huge mistake. While multinationals ramped up their organised demands through the Business Council of Australia, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Murdoch press and their like, the Australian people were disarmed and disorganised. The Labor leadership did as they were told by their corporate masters.
Unions cannot allow themselves to be used during elections and abandoned afterwards by whoever wins. The working class has to fight for its own interests, and mobilise the Australian people behind it. Targeted seats’ campaigns may have their place, but much more is required to keep politicians to their immediate promises, and eventually wrest Australia from the control of its corporate masters.
What does an Independent Working Class Agenda look like?
Housing, transport, health, education and employment are the five pillars of people’s livelihood.
An independent working class agenda also requires:
- rights to job security, to strike, for a safe workplace, to organise collective action, to representation, and to full entitlements when companies fail;
- no reinstatement of the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Abolition of the Fair Work Building & Construction Inspectorate;
- nationalisation of financial organisations that act against Australia’s interests, plus regulation of foreign investment;
- tax to be paid where profits are made by giant corporations;
- increased renewable energy production and workers retrained for local sustainable manufacturing jobs;
- polluters to pay, “market solutions” abandoned, carbon emissions cut;
- recognition of the leading role of indigenous workers, a treaty admitting the British invasion, and commemoration of Australia’s longest strikes—the 1966 to 1973 Gurindji walk-off over pay, conditions & land rights against the British-owned Vesteys pastoral company in Wave Hill, NT and the 1946 to 1949 strike in Pilbara, WA;
- withdrawal from Free “Trade” Agreements like the TPP that protect corporate power, but undermine national sovereignty;
- no involvement in US led wars, ‘Asian Pivot’, foreign military bases;
- no discrimination based on gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, disability, religion or atheism.
A people’s movement built through communities and unions will give this independent working class agenda real teeth. Let’s start building it today!