Tony Iltis

The upsurge in class struggle on all continents that characterised 2011 began with uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that rapidly spread to other Arab countries, becoming collectively known in the West as the “Arab Spring”. The “Arab Spring” uprising has inspired movements across the world, including the indignados in Spain and Occupy Wall Street in the US, as well as the Occupy movements in Australia.

The Socialist Alliance condemns the increased US military presence in Australia, announced by PM Julia Gillard and US President Barack Obama during Obama’s visit to Australia in November 2011 as a setback for peace.

We think that Socialist Alliance should formally adopt the position we have been campaigning on: to demand the Rudd ALP government withdraw the troops from Afghanistan.*

Within hours of the Australian Border Force — Prime Minister Tony Abbott's paramilitary amalgamation of the Customs Service and immigration department — announcing on August 28 that they would be joining the Victorian police and privatised public transport operators in Operation Fortitude.

On the one hand there is a highly militarised state, with one of the best equipped armed forces in the world, generously subsidised by billions of dollars in Western military and non-military aid. On the other hand there are 1½ million people, subjects of this state, which has herded them into a walled ghetto on which it imposes a starvation siege.

The Australia-US alliance has led to Australian involvement in numerous wars, from Korea in the 1950s, and Vietnam in the ’60s and ’70s, to more recent conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

It is fast becoming a recognised fact — almost a truism — that the Newstart Allowance is too low.

On the weekend of July 18 and 19 there was another round of right-wing Reclaim Australia (RA) protests. The stated aim of RA and its offshoot, the United Patriots Front (UPF), was to defend what they call “Australian values” from the threat of “Islamicisation”.