Socialist Alliance campaign inspired by Venezuela's example

Speech by Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney, at Sydney Town Hall Sq emergency rally on April 19 Global Day of Solidarity with Venezuela.

* * *

Sadly, we have been witnessing over the last few days a course of events that has been all too familiar in our time, especially in Latin America.

The world's richest state, the one that has just 5% of the population but consumes 25% of the world's fossil fuels, produces 72% of the world's waste and accounts for nearly half of the world's military spending - yes that state! - conspires to destabilise a democratically elected progressive government through violent means.

Revolutionary Venezuela, which has been and inspiration to billions around the world, now faces a new wave of US-sponsored violence and destabilisation following the victory of Nicolas Maduro in the presdiential elections forced by the death of the immensely popular socialist President Hugo Chavez.

And the US government - and shamefully but predictably - its loyal junior imperialist lapdog the Australian government - encourage this destabilisation by refusing to recognise the result despite ample proof that Maduro won the elections fair and square.

They claim the margin of 1.8% is too close but it's bigger than the margin either Obama or Gillard got when they last went to the polls!

And the independent Venezuelan electoral commission is doing a full audit. They've audited 54% of the vote and now are going to do the rest - a 100% audit in one of the most modern and transparent voting system available.

International observer teams, including one from the regional body Mercusor, have said the election was free and fair.

But that hasn't stopped the right-wing Venezuelans sponsored by the US government from going on a violent spree. They've already killed more people than in the Boston bombing - but you wouldn't know that from our mainstream media would you?

I am here to show my solidarity for the people of Venezuela, who have embarked on an inspiring people-first revolution that I witnessed for myself in a visit in 2008.

I am here to show my respect and gratitude to the Venezuelan revolution for the inspiration it has given so many people around the world.

This September I will be standing as the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney and I want to make public the fact that the main theme of the Socialist Alliance election campaign is inspired by the Bolivarian Revolution led by the late Hugo Chavez.

In this campaign we are saying to the people of Australia: This is a country that is in the middle of its biggest mining boom yet! We've had non-stop GDP growth for over a decade. And in that decade, the profits of the mining companies in Australia have grown by more than 400%!

And yet in this very same period, the proportion these mining companies pay the public in tax and royalties has gone DOWN from about 40% to a mere 13.9%!

Can you believe this?

This is daylight robbery by these huge multinational corporations, like BHP Biliton and Rio Tinto.

No wonder the richest Australian (and richest woman in the world) is the mining heiress Gina Rinehart!

And in this time, while the rich have got fabulous richer nearly three million Australians are living below the poverty line, and recent cuts to the sole parents pension have bumped thousands more women into poverty.

We say this is outrageous.

It is outrage piled upon outrage. The whole world has witnessed the most blatant episode of corporate greed ever seen in human history. The corporate rich have shamelessly privatised everything they could lay their hands on and then, when the GFC - a direct product of their orgy of greed - came along, their loyal governments socialised their losses!

In the process the corporate rich have destroyed entire nations with endless and unjustifiable wars and put the planet as a habitable place under threat by refusing seriously address the climate change crisis.

We know we cannot go on like this. Not if we are to save our common future, for our children and for our children's children.

So in our election campaign we have proudly taken a leaf from the Bolivarian Revolution.

We are campaigning to bring the mining industry, the big banks and the energy companies under the ownership and control of the people, so that they can be run in a way that respects Aboriginal rights, the environment and social justice.

The urgent need to address climate change alone demands that these industries be immediately taken out of the hands of the billionaires and their global corporations and operated as not-for-profit public services under the democratic control of the majority.

The mining and energy industries need to be publicly owned not just to redistribute the huge profits being made from exploiting finite resources, but also to stop uranium mining and to phase out coal and other fossil fuels, while creating new jobs in radically boosted renewable energy, public transport and other social infrastructure.

The banks do not have to be run as a profit-gouging private operation. They can be run as a not-for-profit public service providing cheap credit to families, community groups and small businesses and a safe and ethical way for people to invest their savings.

Instead of allowing the richest 1% to gamble these savings on irresponsible and dangerous corporate schemes, our collective savings can be used to fund the public infrastructure we need for a just and sustainable future.

If nationalisation of mines and banks can be carried out for the public good in Venezuela and increasingly other Latin American countries, why not here in Australia?

This is why I am here in solidarity with the Venezuelan people and their revolution for 21st century socialism today, in this moment when global solidarity is most needed.

Solidarity, solidarity and more solidarity is what we need today.

United we stand, divided we fall!