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The following is the main document of the 2024 SL/A and B-L Fusion Conference. It has been edited and expanded for publication.

The years coming out of the pandemic have marked a turning point for the liberal world order. The world economy is straining and the American Empire’s decline has become increasingly pronounced. The U.S. ruling class is scrambling to maintain its hegemony, but in doing so has only further exposed its back. Today, in the face of emerging challengers from Russia to China, the world order is teetering. In turn, American imperialism holds ever tighter to its decaying position—escalating confrontation with its enemies while squeezing its allies for all they are worth.

The war in Ukraine represents the most open act of defiance to the U.S. thus far by Russia, which has been perennially frustrated by NATO’s eastward expansion. Defending its world order has led to increasing strain on the U.S. and even more so on its imperialist allies in Europe, who have disproportionately shouldered the cost. In the Middle East, the U.S. is backing Israel’s onslaught to the hilt as part of its strategy to maintain the little Zionist enclave which keeps the region under American auspices.

And then there is China, a significant non-capitalist counterweight increasingly brushing up against U.S. hegemony, in spite of the treacherous and conciliatory Communist Party of China (CPC) program. The imperialists’ belief that internal counterrevolution would closely follow economic liberalisation has long since eroded. While U.S.-China tensions are currently at an ebb, this merely reflects the U.S. being stretched too thin defending its hegemony from Ukraine to Israel—a short term pit stop in the drive to war.

This has put the Australian ruling class in an increasingly difficult position. By itself a pitiful power, Australia’s place in the sun has always relied on playing henchman to the dominant empire. This has been the defining feature of capitalist Australia since its days as a British penal colony. And in the post-Soviet period, this has paid off handsomely.

In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Australian ruling class worked hard to foster economic liberalisation throughout Asia under U.S. hegemony. The integration of China into the world economy, predicated on the false belief that it would soon collapse into the liberal fold, enabled the meteoric growth of Chinese industry demanding increasing mineral imports. This created a boom for the mining industry that it seemed would never stop, enabling Australia to weather the storm of the Global Financial Crisis. All this reinforced the illusion that Australia was somehow fundamentally more stable than the other deindustrialised western powers.

While liberal ideologues chalk this up to an innate ability to keep troubled seas away from Australian shores through “common sense” policy-making and the larrikin spirit, the truth is that they were simply lucky enough to have a massive state-driven economy next door hungry for resources. As long as their big brother remained ascendant and China continued to grow, the Australian ruling class could coast along with few economic or political troubles. But in this lies the fundamental contradiction behind Australia’s stability, the Achilles heel of the strategy of the Australian ruling class. The stronger China got, the more Australia benefited economically, the more China undermined the global political condition which allowed Australia’s ruling class to sail smoothly—U.S. hegemony.

The conditions that once promised stability now guarantee crisis. Today it is clear that the luck is running out, the U.S.-led world order is beginning to tear at the seams. As Washington has inflamed tensions against China, the Australian ruling class have been rabid in their support for such moves. Most notably this has been expressed through AUKUS, which will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Conflict with their biggest trading partner is nothing short of economic kamikaze.

Nevertheless, Australian capitalism recognises that it has no other options. Australia’s place in the world order depends on being a junior link in American imperialism’s chain of operations. The ruling class’s predicament is not its integration with the U.S. world order but that this order is increasingly threatened. This is why Australia has been so rabid in its auxiliary role to American machinations, not just in “our backyard” but anywhere that U.S. hegemony is under threat–from Ukraine to Israel. As the hegemony they’ve relied on crumbles beneath their feet there are few options other than to desperately clamour to prop it up, to fight until the bitter end.

While war against China would cost Australia their biggest trading partner, and much more, American victory is seen as the only hope for a new lease on life for world imperialism—viewed by imperialists as the deus ex machina for the U.S. hegemony which Australia is completely hitched to. All liberal whingeing for Australian capitalism to “change course” amounts to little more than pious wishes for the ruling class to cease defending its interests. Their strategy is not a bug, it is a feature.

That being said, Australia is not yet in crisis. While the economy is gloomy, it has not yet begun to spiral towards the levels of de facto recession seen in countries such as Germany and Britain. The increasingly explosive social polarisations gripping much of the world still remain, for the most part, in powder-keg form. Internationally, the wars in Ukraine and Israel are incurring an increasing cost for America and their allies though they are still without signs of immediate escalation. This has stretched the U.S. imperialists thin, putting the anti-China war drive on the backburner and enabling the Australian ruling class to temporarily warm up relations and keep the good times going just a bit longer.

While the world is increasingly unstable, the ruling class still sees Australia as an oasis exempt from world crises. This is aptly personified by Prime Minister Albanese, who presents himself as a banal, business as usual “consensus-based” statesman. Elected in the aftermath of the pandemic, Albanese and his Labor government reflect the futile attempt of the ruling class to keep “the lucky country” lucky—pathetically clinging to any semblance of “normal” post-Soviet stability as this “normality” breaks down across the world; attempting to keep the deep polarisations seen in other countries bubbling away beneath the surface; maintaining the delusion that Australia’ll be right in the coming war with China. But as time goes on, this sham will become increasingly untenable. The period we are now in is little more than a calm before the inevitable storm.

The fault lines of liberal Australia have already begun to show. Fallout from lockdowns and support to the genocide in Gaza has fostered deep discontent amongst young people at the liberal order. With unionised industrial jobs devastated, chronic casualisation and spiralling cost of living pressures, there is less and less hope of any palatable future under the status quo. That is without even mentioning prospects of war with China, which promises nothing but misery and suffering. As conditions worsen, liberal moralising over how grateful everyone should be to live in this multicultural paradise rings ever hollow. There is increasing distrust and dissatisfaction fuelling the already percolating opposition to liberalism. Eventually, the discontent of the past three decades will explode from beneath the surface.

Ruptures against the liberal order have already begun to materialise. Insofar as they have outward expression, they have been in large part seized by rightist forces. Otherwise, outbursts of resistance, such as in reaction to the Labor government’s support of AUKUS and Israel, have been kept within Labor’s orbit or likewise within the framework of liberalism.

For their part the left have remained radlib critics of the Labor Party, refusing the necessary task to combat head-on and break the working class from the social-chauvinists and their conciliators. Pursuing the same path that has damned them to their contemporary small and motley state. None pose a way forward. As the American Empire sinks, the Australian ruling class is desperately trying to drag the proletariat down with it. The situation is untenable and the question is posed yet again, will it be solved in the interests of the capitalist class or the working class?

Lockdowns in Australia—Totalitarian return to penal colony

COVID posed point-blank the first serious threat to Australia’s liberal order in the post-Soviet period. The slowing down of international trade, especially from China, caused massive strain on the Australian economy—contributing to the first recession in almost three decades. The virus spreading en masse would have crashed the decrepit and slashed healthcare system. If things were not put under control, working-class frustrations, accumulated over decades, could explode. Whether the ruling class liked it or not, trouble was fast approaching Australian capitalism, posing a serious threat to their interests.

Then came the lockdowns, a measure that best corresponded to the defence of bourgeois interests. By keeping everyone locked indoors, the ruling class could kill two birds with one stone. On one hand it was the easiest and cheapest way to lower viral spread without any serious renovation of the healthcare system and unsafe COVID death-trap workplaces—which would have demanded serious inroads upon capitalist property relations. On the other hand tying the working class to capitalist interests through ideological blackmail and strict lockdown laws would represent a massive barrier to class struggle. “Breaking the rules” meant you were a threat to the entire nation, you were to blame for not only the lockdowns but for thousands if not millions of lives being lost. This blackmail was to be the most effective measure for the ruling class, the ideological groundwork of which was laid in preceding decades of liberal stability.

The ideological core of the past three decades of lucky country liberalism has been that, with the right amount of tinkering and “sensible policy making,” Australia would keep all trouble an ocean or two away. For all the bickering between the Liberal/National Coalition and Labor, this was a bipartisan venture—which junior parties such as the Greens critiqued from the perspective that they were not being sufficiently liberal in their tinkering. And in the post-Soviet period, this ideological framework was quite effective. Opposition to liberalism was completely cordoned off to the fringes, while the ruling class presented Australia as unperturbed and isolated from the political and economic outbreaks overseas. Australia was the liberal city on the hill, and all who lived here ought to be grateful to be shielded from international worries.

COVID represented a rude awakening for anyone caught in the “Australian Dream.” The liberal self-lauding of isolation from international crisis took on a hysterical and defensive character. Liberalism exerted itself to the furthest reaches thus seen in Australia, having to exert immense pressure on the working class to morally blackmail them into accepting the suspension of any semblance of civil liberties. It effectively did its job of smoothing over class contradictions, championing the interests of the ruling class as the interests of the nation.

These measures at the expense of the working class were purported to be for the sake of “public health” and a “lesser evil” to what was happening throughout the rest of the world—whose (often still horrible) conditions were exaggerated to doomsday proportions in order to justify dystopian measures. This “national unity” campaign turned into national hysteria, with the ruling class stoking a cabin fever-induced Stockholm syndrome. “Unity” served the purpose of one thing only—keeping the working class subservient before the capitalist state in a time of crisis.

Lockdowns had consensus all the way down the political pipeline. For one they had bipartisan support, with then-prime minister, Scott Morrison, leaving state premiers of both major parties, from the Coalition’s Gladys Berejiklian to Labor’s infamous Daniel Andrews, to run lockdowns as they saw fit. The trade-union leadership, loyal to the Labor tops doling out many of the lockdown measures, cheered them on as necessary, tying the proletariat to the draconian dictates of the ruling class. The organised working class, already disarmed and disorientated, were completely pacified.

As for the Greens, they criticised major parties for both not making lockdowns palatable enough for the working class as well as criticising them for failing to “lockdown to zero.” The left scarcely differed. Criticism varied between either complaining about the lockdowns’ worst excesses, that they were inconsistently applied between classes (duh!) or that they were not severe enough to suppress the virus. Socialist Alternative (SAlt) called for even stricter and longer lockdowns. Meanwhile Bolshevik-Leninist wavered between advocating for more humane lockdowns and dreaming of a far-off imaginary “workers lockdown” which in practice did little but offer a fig leaf to the liberal moral blackmail campaign. No one dared to actually challenge the sacrosanct lockdowns. At every link in the chain, from the major parties to their armchair critics on the left, the workers were rallied behind COVID national hysteria.

All these factors contributed to why lockdowns in Australia were expressed in some of the most severe of measures in the world—unrivalled in the West and comparable only to Stalinist China. The capitalists needed an out, and they had the backing of the entire political mainstream and left, as well as a completely subdued working class. They had every reason to “lockdown to zero” and no roadblocks to this goal. Australia was to be a liberal oasis in the desert at any cost.

Like a castle under siege, Australia pulled up its drawbridge, closing its borders so tightly that even Australian citizens abroad were restricted from returning home. Even states within Australia returned to penal colony formation, with interstate travel almost as difficult as the almost non-existent international travel. Single-digit outbreaks of COVID would be declared a “cluster,” putting entire cities at risk of endless weeks of further lockdowns.

Australian lockdowns became a demented, everlasting game of whack-a-mole. Many cities had strict radiuses drawn up limiting how far you could leave your home, which you could only do in the first place within strict curfews and for the government-approved reasons of “shopping, exercise or outdoors recreation.” Under Dictator Dan’s regime in Melbourne, the most locked-down city in the world, restrictions were even tighter as exercise was only permitted for up to an hour a day while police were directed to patrol children’s playgrounds to make sure they weren’t being used! The heavily immigrant and working-class suburbs of western Sydney were put under army occupation. For residents living in Sydney tower blocks this even involved police rummaging through deliveries and confiscating alcohol and tobacco. It wasn’t long before initial COVID welfare payments dried up; workers became increasingly financially strained. The working class was being squeezed with no end in sight.

What was necessary was to break the proletariat from this liberal bind. This could not be done by having the working class sacrifice its interests for the “greater good” of lockdown insanity, nor by pretending the virus didn’t exist and returning to COVID-hothouse workplaces. The question was: who would determine safety—the workers or the bosses? Workers needed to struggle for their own class interests, their own safety, at the expense of the capitalists.

The first step for workers fighting to implement their own measures, such as union control over safety in the workplace, was to struggle against the reactionary lockdowns which kept them penned indoors. Furthermore, to develop the necessary productive forces and infrastructure for a working-class response to the crisis required public works projects which would go up against the core interests of the ruling class and their property. It would require the occupation of unused luxury buildings and their conversion to socially beneficial purposes such as COVID-safe schools.

The capitalists were not going to give up these things without a fight. What was needed was to take the ruling class and their “national unity” campaign head-on, which the entire left failed to do. With the left and the trade-union bureaucracy joining the liberal howl, this guaranteed that legitimate hatred of the reactionary lockdowns was harnessed by rightists and conspiracy theorists. And so it was.

The backlash against the lockdowns and the massive protests that came as a result represented a turning point for liberalism in Australia. This is not because of the size of the demonstrations. They were significant but completely dwarfed by those who swallowed the lockdown blackmail. Neither was it because of their longevity—open opposition to liberalism soon dwindled away. It was significant because it represented the first serious rupture in Australia’s liberal order. Opposition to liberalism broke from the formerly irrelevant fringes, albeit in a fashion limited in scale and time.

Most notably, in no other country did the organised working class openly protest against their traitorous leadership in the way CFMEU construction workers did outside their union leader’s office. There are not many unions as loyal to their leadership as the construction workers, within or even outside this country. The fact that these protests broke out at all, let alone by members of the CFMEU, is a harbinger for what is to come from the percolating opposition to the liberal order. The left in large part followed the trade-union bureaucrats in denouncing rightly outraged workers as fascists and supporting state repression against them.

Pushed toward conspiratorial and rightist leadership, these protests ultimately came to naught, posing little threat to the ruling class and their interests. But as much as the liberal order and their left tail would like to forget the lockdowns ever happened, they will not disappear so easily. The national hysteria that once dominated the country is beginning to be a distant memory, but the lockdowns will not be so quickly forgotten. A new generation of workers who had years of their life taken away from them have tasted the bitter fruits of liberalism. Bitterness and distrust in the status quo and its left critics has only begun to set in.

The Voice referendum—tokenism backfires

The Aboriginal Voice to Parliament was pushed by Albanese since the time of his election campaign as a cheap way to give his milquetoast “business as usual” program a progressive varnish. Albanese calculated that this would be an inoffensive but visible reform which would garner little opposition, forcing the Coalition to support the referendum outright or risk political suicide. It was to serve as a unifying force boosting his government and ensuring Labor could keep their boot firmly on the neck of the working class. Or that was the plan. Why then did the Voice come to raise polarisation to fever pitch? And why did the supposed shoo-in referendum suffer such a humiliating defeat?

Initially, the referendum campaign went as planned. Albanese was able to tap into people’s positive aspirations to improve the paltry conditions of Aboriginal people. Early polls even indicated that upwards of 70 percent of the population supported the Voice. But initial eagerness quickly waned. The Labor government continued to oversee the plummeting of living conditions for the working class, while Albanese and his liberal reconciliation posse soapboxed about how the government was doing good for Australia’s downtrodden.

The referendum was thus set up as a vote of confidence and the message was clear: line up behind the Labor government or you don’t care about Aboriginal people. The backlash to this was definitive. Many working and Aboriginal people resented the Labor government and big corporations’ hypocritical tokenism and reactionary measures, which the Coalition was able to channel into their bid to defeat the referendum and bloody Labor.

The polarisation around the Voice was disastrous for working people and all the oppressed. The referendum pitted two forces with common interests against one another, both camps being shackled to the interests of the very ruling class doling out the reactionary measures. This not only crippled the struggle for greater gains for Aboriginal people but even for winning the Voice itself, which had become associated with the hated Albanese government. It was only by using the justly felt working-class outrage to whip up reaction that the Coalition’s No campaign was able to emerge out of the political wilderness, threatening to embarrass Labor by stamping out this minor gain for Aboriginal people and weakening the Aboriginal movement.

What was imperative was to break the progressive elements away from the pro-capitalist leadership of both sides of this polarisation, uniting working and Aboriginal people on the basis of opposition to the government and the ruling class it represented. It was only by smashing, not deepening, these polarisations that both the Aboriginal and the workers movement could advance. This is why Bolshevik-Leninist and the Spartacist League of Australia called to fight for an anti-Albanese Yes campaign.

To those behind the liberal Yes campaign who sought to advance the conditions of Aboriginal people, we said this movement is crippled by being in a bloc with the Labor government, which is an enemy of working and Aboriginal people alike. There could be no mobilising the broader sections of society for the Aboriginal movement under the banner of the very government kicking them in the teeth. We explained that it was this very reason that the referendum was heading to defeat.

To those who were backing the No campaign out of justified hatred of the Labor government, we said that supporting the defeat of the referendum would only embolden reactionary forces looking to make things even worse for Aboriginal people and the working class as a whole. Their hatred for the tokenism of the reactionary Labor government must be given a progressive direction to advance the position of Australia’s oppressed against the ruling class which Labor serves.

A strong anti-Albanese Yes campaign would have mobilised the progressive elements of both the Yes and No campaigns to push forward both the Aboriginal movement and the struggle against the Labor government. And a successful campaign was not out of the realm of possibility. While the state of the left is currently meagre and pathetic, even these limited forces working together for this goal could have been a serious factor in tipping the scales of the referendum. Doing so would have sent the rightists packing, exposed Albanese’s tokenism, humiliated the Labor government and its schemes, and given a serious impetus to the fight against the ruling class. Instead, the left could not wage an effective struggle against the pro-capitalist ALP leadership, only aiding the referendum’s defeat and emboldening reactionary forces.

One such example was SAlt. While they correctly saw the danger of the victory of the Coalition’s campaign, they lined up to play left critics to the liberal Yes campaign, accepting Albanese as a lesser evil. But it was that “lesser evil” which was driving the backlash against the Voice and fuelling the No campaign in the first place! SAlt did not pose any way to break the progressive elements away from their liberal leadership, nor did they have any way to break workers away from the No campaign, which was necessary to actually win the referendum.

In fact, their criticisms amounted to liberal bleatings that Labor did not call out “the racism of the Liberal Party and the broader No campaign.” That is, Labor did not moralise hard enough to guilt trip more working people into their fold. These criticisms, a degree apart from the Greens, could have only deepened the reactionary polarisation.

Some groups saw that rotten polarisation but did nothing to overcome it or advance the Aboriginal and workers movements, thus they stood aside incapable of being a revolutionary factor. Those that remained in the peanut gallery included the likes of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), who sneered at the struggle for Aboriginal liberation as a distraction from class struggle. Other groups such as the Revolutionary Communist Organisation (RCO) called to renew Aboriginal struggle but in practice did little but use Marxist sounding phrases to justify twiddling their thumbs, denouncing the Voice without even recommending any specific way to vote!

Groups such as the Blak Sovereign Movement (BSM) put forward a “Progressive No,” juxtaposing the Voice with a treaty. They correctly saw the liberal Yes campaign as a dead end, but in its place posed no way forward to actually struggle for a treaty or to advance the Aboriginal movement more broadly. In fact, a Progressive No could only aid the reactionaries who promise to make the struggle for a treaty even harder. Today, this is exactly what has happened. Conditions for the Aboriginal movement’s struggle have worsened. Albanese has already distanced himself from the referendum and has recently shot down any potential for even a tokenistic national treaty. Instead he has opted to pursue an even emptier “truth telling” process which may itself run into political roadblocks. To this, black nationalists have only responded with defeatism, denouncing the bulk of the country as hopelessly racist and privileged, making the struggle for the smallest gains a near impossibility.

We predict this will further reinforce their broader defeatist attitude rejecting to fight for gains through uniting with the proletariat in struggle against the ruling class. Instead of a fight against the very capitalist system that is the cause of Aboriginal oppression, they turn Aboriginal people’s strongest would-be ally into an enemy by denouncing non-Aboriginal workers as “settlers” who must “pay the rent.” Such a perspective closes off the prospect of struggle for not just small gains but Aboriginal liberation in general, damning Aboriginal people to immiseration without a way out.

Meanwhile, Reconciliation liberals are feeling guiltier than ever, reinforcing their writing off of workers as hopelessly stupid and backward. If they are not begging the Labor government to give the Voice and treaty another go they are eschewing tangible gains for Aboriginal people altogether and doubling down on empty liberal gestures like rescinding sales of Australia Day paraphernalia from the shelves of Woolies. Ultimately, the cause of the Voice’s defeat was the inability of the left to actually struggle for a break with liberalism. Without changing course this will only be the starting point for future defeats.

From AUKUS to Israel—
Break the American connection!

As pressures mount on the American Empire, Australia’s capitalists have faithfully played lackey, defending U.S. imperialism at every step. For its part, the Labor government has more than demonstrated its eagerness to assist in shoring up U.S. hegemony. Labor has backed Israel’s genocide to the hilt and doubled down on AUKUS, turning the Top End into a glorified U.S.-Australia military camp. This has generated intense backlash. In the lead-up to the ALP National Conference last August opposition to AUKUS ballooned in the unions and within the ALP itself—including left Laborites and even former prime minister, Paul Keating. This opposition was mirrored some months later following Israel’s assault on Gaza—with protests for Palestine in Australia drawing tens of thousands. But in both cases, not a single concrete thing has been done to advance the struggle against the Australian government’s pro-imperialist belligerency.

In fact, the opposite has been the case. The momentum of the movement against AUKUS has almost ground to a halt since the left Laborites manoeuvered themselves into defeat at the Labor National Conference. Meanwhile, in spite of ongoing popular support to Palestine, protests in opposition to the genocide have been left to dwindle with little to show. The question remains, why has this been the trajectory for both movements and how do we change course?

For the ruling class, support to the U.S.-led world order is a red line they are not going to cross. Disrupting their position as a junior link in the chain of American finance capital would be catastrophic for Australian capitalism. To consider defying American dictates the interests of the Australian ruling class would have to be seriously threatened. That is, they will only listen if their flow of capital was crippled, and property and rule was at risk.

The only force with the capacity to bring this pressure to bear is the organised working class. If workers were mobilised in opposition to the Labor government’s support to AUKUS and against Zionist terror, they would have the capability to cripple Australian capitalism and stop them right in their tracks. But none of this has happened. Why is that?

The answer is simple: opposition to AUKUS and Zionist terror has been kept firmly saddled to a union leadership ultimately beholden to Labor and their U.S. alliance. The pacifist and liberal opponents within the ALP, trade-union bureaucracy and the left refuse to split with the pro-imperialist leaders running the Labor government. Instead of the head-on confrontation needed, under their pro-capitalist leadership the strategy of the movement has amounted to begging and pleading for Labor and the ruling class to change course on something they are fully committed to. Maintaining and spreading the illusions that Australian capitalism could peacefully opt out of the U.S. alliance and transform into an independent peace-loving power.

To break from this course, what is needed is to expose this leadership as impotent. Demonstrating that despite left Laborites’ nice-sounding opposition to Labor’s belligerency they pose no threat and function as a safety valve for the status quo. There needs to be a struggle to break from the social-chauvinists and their left-talking conciliators. This is the context for the Bolshevik-Leninist and Spartacist League of Australia campaign to “Chuck the AUKUS hawks out of the ALP.”

This demand begins with highlighting the simple fact that you cannot advance the struggle against AUKUS in an alliance with AUKUS lovers. In doing so, it put the left Laborites on the spot—do they actually oppose AUKUS or are these pretty words to cover for their alliance with open social-chauvinists? The left Laborites could either advance the workers movement by breaking with the AUKUS-hawk Labor leadership or be exposed as skin-deep opponents of AUKUS and bona fide class-collaborators. If political pressures did force such a split, communists would be in a much better position to give these left Laborites a platform to expose their toothless pro-capitalist program. In short, this call separates the wheat from the chaff, the genuine opponents of AUKUS from the slick phrasemongers.

The SL/A’s call on the Palestine solidarity movement to break the U.S. connection in the workers movement has similar aims. The key questions posed are: “are you willing to oppose the core reason Australia supports the genocide? And if you do, will you break from the bloc with those who support the U.S. alliance?”

The left have remained nothing more than liberal critics. SAlt for one has mirrored the left trade-union bureaucracy’s strategy of begging for a pacifist Australia that will peacefully drop out of the U.S. alliance and renege on AUKUS. Far from raising a revolutionary pole against imperialism, within the movement they can only look for the more consistently pacifist wing of left Laborism, lauding at one meeting the likes of Wollongong union top Arthur Rorris against Victorian AMWU leader Tony Mavromatis. In addition to their hairsplitting between left-talking trade-union bureaucrats, SAlt calls for a “broad movement to challenge the march to war.” Similarly, Solidarity promotes the “anti-AUKUS coalition” and their liberal pacifist program—integrating themselves well into left Laborism and their fruitless strategy. For all their bombast against the Labor Party, RCO concurred, describing this thoroughly pacifist coalition as akin to building a movement outside of Labor!

To be sure, we need a broad movement against AUKUS, absolutely! But a movement with a Laborite program will only end in defeat. Instead of struggling to break the working class from Laborism, they merge into their left flank amounting to little more than radical-sounding counterparts to their left bureaucrat brethren.

The same thing has been happening with the protests over Palestine. While the leadership of the Palestine protests proclaim hatred of Albanese and Penny Wong, they nonetheless praise the Laborite MUA bureaucracy as “friends of Palestine.” Groups from SEP to SAlt hail the ZIM blockades as effective struggle for Palestine while the bureaucracy continues to use these “community pickets” to eschew an actual struggle to black-ban war materiel to Israel or any actions to confront the capitalists where it hurts. For all their bombast and professed opposition to the Labor government’s pro-imperialist policies, there remains a conga line from the “socialist” left to the left Laborites to the very top of the Albanese Labor government. Without struggling for a break from the social-chauvinists and their conciliators in the fight to raise a revolutionary pole there can be no talk of a serious opposition to the ruling class’s war machinations.

The popular support for Palestine has remained but the lack of concrete action has caused the movement to shrink and become demoralised. It is clear that what is needed to defeat the Labor government’s belligerency requires a completely different strategy—breaking the bloc which subordinates the workers movement to the Labor Party which is completely devoted to Australian capitalism and their U.S. alliance.

The tasks ahead

After three decades, the post-Soviet stability that the ruling class has long enjoyed is coming to an abrupt end. While this trajectory pushes the working class towards revolution, by itself this promises nothing. The preceding period has seen the union bureaucracy and the left lead the workers movement to its current juncture. As the basis of the liberal order withers away they have only responded with further confusion, deepening this immiseration.

The coming period will present revolutionary opportunities, but it must be seized by a conscious vanguard. For this purpose, what is imperative is to plant a revolutionary pole in opposition to the liberal order and its left critics. The fusion of B-L and the SL/A represents a modest but significant programmatic step forward. In the context of a splintering and dwindling left, it is a much needed regroupment of forces. The program forged during the fusion arms the SL/A with the capacity to intervene as a revolutionary factor in Australia’s disintegrating liberal order. While the revolutionary forces in this country remain small, we march forward confident that this fusion of Bolshevik-Leninist and the Spartacist League of Australia represents the first step of many towards political consolidation in the struggle in the coming crises.