Australia spearheads US war plans against China in the Indo-Pacific

The following speech was given by Cheryl Crisp, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), at the International May Day 2024 Online Rally, held Saturday, May 4.

International May Day 2024 Online Rally

I join my comrades throughout the International Committee of the Fourth International in sending our revolutionary greetings from the Socialist Equality Party in Australia to all those listening worldwide.

The central task of this May Day meeting, which is the fight against imperialist war, acquires increased urgency as the world is closer to another global conflagration than at any point since the end of World War II. 

Multiple fronts are developing in what are the opening shots of World War III. In Ukraine, NATO and the US proceed undeterred to prosecute war against nuclear-armed Russia.

In the Middle East, the barbarism of Israel’s war of extermination against the Palestinian people in Gaza has now extended to its main target, Iran. Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Syria are also in the crosshairs of US imperialism.

As this reckless and bloodcurdling program of war extends, the preparations for open conflict between the US and China accelerate at a frightening speed. The fact that this is being spearheaded in this region by the Albanese Labor government must be a dire warning to the working class in Australia and internationally.

The Australian Labor Party is the party of war.

It has transformed the northern regions of the country into a staging ground for imperialist conflict against China while supplying arms to Ukraine and Israel for their wars. There have been 322 munition shipments from Australia to Israel in the last six years. Based on Freedom of Information, the number of shipments per year has increased since Labor came to power, particularly in the 2022-23 year, despite denials by government ministers.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, right, meets with US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese at Point Loma naval base in San Diego, US, on March 13, 2023. [AP Photo/Stefan Rousseau]

The signing of the AUKUS coalition between the US, UK and Australian governments in 2021, targeting China, has been ratcheted up under Labor. The government has hailed the enhanced security treaty signed between Japan and the US to ensure a more seamless command structure for war against China.

With the agreement of the Biden administration, the UK and Australian governments have signed new military and intelligence pacts committing both to respond jointly if either is threatened militarily. This is in addition to the QUAD pact between Japan, Australia, India and the US, and the top-level Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, including Canada and New Zealand, all targeting China. Already, permanent bases in north and west Australia for UK and US military personnel and weaponry have been established.

Every announcement by the Defence Department is accompanied by increased military expenditure that is being extracted by cuts to government spending on social services, including health, education, housing and infrastructure. The working class is being forced to pay the price for the imperialist wars.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors in Australia who fought against government policy to allow the virus to spread and for health and public measures to ensure the safety of the population were persecuted and vilified. More than 20,000 people who died of COVID-19 after 2021, when restrictions were dispensed with, paid the ultimate price for those decisions.

Dr David Berger (Image: Supplied) [Photo: Imagen suministrada/WSWS]

Today, in the face of the onslaught against health workers in Gaza, where hundreds of doctors and health workers have been murdered and hospitals destroyed, doctors here who have opposed Israel and the Australian government’s defense of these actions have also been persecuted, doxxed and investigated by health authorities.

As Labor develops its war plans that place the Australian population on the front line of what would inevitably be a nuclear conflict between the US and China, it has tried to ram through the most dictatorial laws against immigrants in Australia. The aim is clear—to deflect the anger and opposition of ordinary people onto immigrants. This is in line with the most right-wing and fascistic regimes internationally.

Laws being enacted mean immigrants, including refugees, who are slated for deportation by the government must either sign their own deportation orders or face anything from one to five years jail. If they still refuse to sign, they can be jailed again. Countries that will not accept their deported citizens will have their entire population banned from entering Australia. The countries already mooted are Russia, China, Iran and South Sudan.

It is undeniable that millions have been shocked and horrified at the genocidal slaughter being carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people, with support, funding and arming by the US and other imperialist countries, including Australia. Protests have taken place globally and in Australia have been sustained weekly since October 13. The protests are driven by a burning sense that one cannot sit by any longer and do nothing.

It is an entirely justifiable reaction to the imperialist catastrophe inflicted on Gaza and one which members of my own generation felt when confronted with the crimes of the Vietnam War. But protests did not prevent the imperialist war then, and they won’t now.

The source of the descent into global war is the contradictions of capitalism itself, not the individual politicians who represent it. They cannot be appealed to because this is a system that cannot be reformed. The experience of the protests testifies to this reality.

As the protests continue, so too does the bombardment by Israel with bombs on Gaza supplied by the US, UK, Germany and Australia. The F-35 bombers used to reduce Gaza to rubble would not get off the ground without the components produced only in Australia.

Organisations of the pseudo-left, such as the Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity in this country, promote the fraud that the governments prosecuting and aiding the war can be appealed to and pressured, and will respond to petitions and delegations. This lie only serves to tie the opposition to war to the coattails of Labor, the trade unions and parliament.

Only a unified, independent socialist and internationalist movement of the working class against war, which means the overthrow of capitalism, can halt the descent into barbarism and provide a future for mankind.

It is that perspective that is being fought for by the IC and all its sections. I urge you to join our party.