Our Common Cause

Our Common Cause

These people have committed no crime. There is no excuse for locking up innocent people for one day, let alone seven years. Even worse, is to lock them up with no end date in sight.

Most of the mainstream media ran with that unsubtle lead and went berserk with another round of Trump-style China-bashing, even though the Chinese government had promptly denied the accusation.

“When you capture people, and put chains around their necks, and make them walk 300 kilometres and then set them to work on cattle stations, what’s that called?” asked the award-winning author Bruce Pascoe after Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that there had been no slavery in Australia.

Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney. Photo: Zebedee Parkes.

Protests have exploded across the world in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, which itself has exploded since the racist murder of George Floyd on May 25. Every country has its own experience of racism and police brutality.

The JobMaker plan, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on May 26 at the National Press Club, is an attempt to get us to accept a post-COVID-19 return to the neoliberal regime that made jobs precarious, ran down hospitals and other public services, and made housing and education unaffordable.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is using the COVID-19 pandemic to push through amendments to security laws that would further erode people’s rights and which are not proportionate to any particular threat.

While Victorian Socialists showed great potential when it was formed in early 2018 and ran two big and exciting socialist election campaigns, it has not lived up to its promise to build a more united left.

The slogan “There’s no going back to normal” has gained considerable popularity for good reason. As governments all around the world have struggled to deal with the health and economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been forced to take emergency steps they would not have countenanced just months ago, challenging the idea that greater public spending to address social needs is simply unaffordable.

Morrison has long made clear that he has no intention of trying to eliminate COVID-19 entirely. He justifies this by saying the economic cost — that is, the cost to corporate profits — is too high.

The fall in the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the last few days has been received by most people with cautious relief. The official advice of federal and state governments remains to maintain the social distancing and to stay at home.

But the capitalist class is looking at things very differently. It is growing impatient for capitalist exploitation to return to “normal” and they are preparing us to accept the cost in lives.