RSP federal election campaign: No racism! No war! For a working people's government!
By Kathy Newnam
The Revolutionary Socialist Party will stand two candidates in the coming federal elections, expected to be held in the second half this year. In Brisbane, Hamish Chitts will stand in the seat of Griffith, currently held by Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. In Melbourne, Van Rudd will stand in the seat of Lalor, currently held by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
According to Rudd, a well-known radical artist, the RSP campaign will aim to challenge “the increasing tide of racism in Australia and the continued disempowerment of Australia’s working people caused by a system that favours the rich”. Chitts, an anti-war activist and co-founder of Stand Fast (a group of veterans and service people opposed to the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), says that the RSP campaign will “seek to build the campaigns against the imperialist wars which are being fought for oil and political power. The ‘war on terror’ is yet another scare campaign designed to divide working people and submit to the aims of the warmongers.” He added: “The fact is that a working person is far less likely to be killed by a terrorist attack than they are to be killed at work through the bloody-minded profiteering of the bosses that continually cuts corners or ignore workers’ safety.”
Rudd points out that racist scapegoating is being used by the governments of the rich countries as the capitalist system continues to face economic crisis as a means of dividing working people. “Better-situated Australian workers who lose their jobs, their houses, and have a credit debts up to their ears are encouraged to regard asylum seekers, Aboriginal people, Indian students, African youths (among many other minorities) as a threat to their living standards, rather than the capitalist profit system. They’re encouraged to despise working and impoverished people who flee overseas war zones that the Australian government helps create. Now a new lie campaign is being waged to convince them that Australia cannot ecologically sustain an increasing population of immigrants.”
Chitts explained that the RSP campaign will seek to challenge the nationalism that underpins the racism and warmongering of the Labor government. “All the time we hear that we are all supposed to be concerned about the ‘national interest’. But the only interests that the bosses and their governments are interested in is business profits. The capitalist class like us to think they don’t exist, so we are constantly told that there are no classes in Australia. But there is a small minority in Australia that own and control the economy and profit from the exploitation of the rest of us. It is their interests that governments are protecting when they talk about the ‘national interest’. The fact is that the working people of Australia have more in common with the workers of other countries than we do with those whose interests are being protected by the capitalist governments.
“In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote ‘workers of the world unite – you have nothing to lose but your chains’. This remains true today. According to the World Bank, in 2008 almost half the world’s population — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. In Australia, according to the Salvation Army, if poverty was measured by the same criteria as is used by the European Union, 19% of Australians live below the poverty line.
“In an imperialist country like Australia there is an illusion that everyone is prosperous, perpetuated by the corporate media and popular culture. The government and media often talk about the ‘aspirational class’ — those who just want to work hard and ‘get ahead’ (of everyone else!). At the same time, the ruling class does try to buy social peace by affording a higher standard of living to some workers — but they do so at the expense of workers in the Third World, who are super-exploited.”
Chitts, who is a bus driver and unionist, pointed out that nationalism is also perpetuated by the pro-Labor bureaucrats in the trade union movement. “Too often we are told by these the ‘leaders’ in the trade unions that we have to accept some dodgy deal or rollback of our rights because we need a ‘balanced approach’ or we can’t be seen to go ‘too far’ in our demands because we have to take into consideration the ‘national interests’. Underscoring this is the idea that the interests of workers can be reconciled with the profit-making interests of the capitalist employers. But every day the bosses are working out how to screw more out of us — there is never any ‘balance’ from them — only the never ending quest for greater business profits.”
The RSP campaign will strive to encourage workers’ solidarity, including at the international level, as a challenge to the growing tide of racist nationalism fostered by the Labor government and the corporate media. “We have to stand up and resist racism on the streets, at home, in the workplace, and above all, unite to show that we are all working people with a common class enemy and a common cause — social equality and justice”, said Rudd.
Both Chitts and Rudd emphasised that the undemocratic nature of the parliamentary system. Rudd said: “The small minority of Australia’s wealthy owning class, in order to maintain their political control and increase profits, are still sowing the illusion that we can influence their governments via casting a ballot as isolated voters every three years. We are then told to then ‘leave it to the experts’ to decide government policy. That’s the opposite of the real meaning of democracy, rule by the majority of people.
Working people’s government
“Our campaign hopes to raise the issues and encourage working people to take collective action in combating the problems we face. It will aim to educate and inform working people about the real nature of capitalist political and economic system and the super-rich minority whose interests it serves. Our campaign will hopefully inspire working people to see that this system is not set in stone.”
Chitts added that the campaign is “not about asking people to vote for us as a solution to their problems. Our campaign is about encouraging working-class people to organise and take collective political action in the streets, in their workplaces and places of study. We are always told that the only legitimate political action is through the electoral arena — through voting or joining a mainstream party — political action that poses no threat to the status quo, to the capitalist system.
“Once every few years we are told we should think about politics, but remain essentially passive and isolated ‘consumers’ of the policies that pro-capitalist politicians try to sell us. Outside of election times, we are supposed to sit back and let someone else take care of things. At most, we are told that we can lobby the politicians. Capitalist governments don’t rule for the working people, they rule for the capitalists — that’s who they take care of. Lobbying works for the rich, because the government works in their interest.”
Rudd stated that working people need to “form our own government, and our own economy — only then can we guide our ecologically sustainable future without inequality, sexism, racism and war”. Chitts added “no matter who you vote for, it will be capitalist power that rules the government, economy and society. You can’t vote out capitalism — it has to be overthrown through mass action.
“Working people need to organise politically. We are the majority and we keep the capitalist economy running through our labour — when did you ever see any boss doing productive work? They don’t. They simply reap the profits from the work that we do. That’s precisely why there is so much effort put by the bosses into trying to disempower us, misinform us and divide us. Because if we unite and organise, our collective strength through political action we can put an end to their rule over us.”
To support the election campaign or to find out more information about the Revolutionary Socialist Party, visit the RSP website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Phone Hamish Chitts on 0401 586 923, Van Rudd on 0430 397 074.