Direct Action Fund Appeal: Schools not bombs!

There is much that could be said about the furore surrounding PM Julia Gillard’s proposal for a flood levy to assist with the reconstruction process. One thing patently clear is that most of the outcry – whether in support or against the levy – is that it is shrouded in political opportunism and manoeuvring. From the populist, puritanical rants of north Queensland MP Bob Katter to the craven appeals of the now almost saintly Queensland premier Anna Bligh, the jockeying to maximise political mileage out of the flood disaster is gathering pace.

Perhaps one of the most stunning acts of short-sighted stupidity in these shenanigans is the axing by the federal government of around $1.6 billion in climate change related environmental and energy efficiency programs as a means to redirect funds to the massive infrastructure reconstruction bill (conservatively quoted at just over $5 billion, with other estimates ranging to over $20 billion).

As piecemeal as some of these programs are, at least they were something. Climate change has become the pink elephant in the corner of the disaster relief control room, as governments and heads of industry work out what to do next to save their respective political and big-business skins. At the end of the day, it is working people and the environment that will foot the bill and suffer the consequences of the recent flood disaster.

Of course the funds and the resources are available to meet the rebuilding bill and tasks. A simple first step could be to redeploy the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to flood affected areas to do socially useful work. The $1.6 billion plus allotted for  the war in Afghanistan this year would be better spent on flood damaged regions across Australia, rather than killing Afghani civilians and propping up the corrupt Afghanistan government. Or even better, why not re-allocate the projected $50 billion defence budget to be spent over the next 20 years on the latest military murder machines towards long-term reconstruction and serious climate change initiatives?

This is a step the federal government, the major political parties and their big-business mates will never take – unless we force them. To do that will mean the conscious organising of working people to take power in their own hands and dismantle the barbarous and destructive capitalist system. Direct Action seeks to build such a movement and we need your help to keep the paper out on the street. Please consider making a donation to the 2011 Direct Action Fund Appeal. This year we have set the modest target of $15,000. You can send a cheque or money order to Direct Action, PO Box 69, Glebe NSW 2037.