UoM IYSSE Inaugural General Meeting
13 October, 2016
International Students for Social Equality
The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) is establishing a club at the University of Melbourne and will be holding our Inaugural General Meeting (IGM) on Thursday, October 13. The IGM will be followed by a report and discussion on the urgent need to develop political opposition to the growing dangers of a US-led imperialist war against China in Asia, and against Russia in Europe. We appeal to every student who opposes militarism, nationalism and the related assault on the living standards and democratic rights of the working class to attend the IGM and join and fight to build the IYSSE at University of Melbourne.
For 25 years, the US and its allies have used military force to subordinate resource-rich and strategic territories to their interests. Those countries that have been bombed or invaded include Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria. Millions of men, women and children have lost their lives, and millions more turned into desperate refugees.
The sights of US imperialism are now firmly set on the nuclear-armed states of China and Russia. For nearly five years, Washington, with the full support of the Australian government, has been building up its military forces in Asia and engaging in ever more provocative actions against the Chinese regime. In both US and Australian strategic circles, the growth of China’s economic and geo-political weight over the past 20 years is viewed as an unacceptable challenge to American domination over the region. And as for Russia, the US and major European powers are determined to destroy its residual military power, seize the geographical expanse it inherited from the former Soviet Union, and transform it into a virtual US colony.
Successive Labor and Coalition governments have fully involved Australia in US war games and preparations in the South China Sea. So integrated is the Australian military with its US counterpart in Asia that it would be immediately involved in any clash with China.
Not since 1945 has the threat of world war been as great as it is today. The US-NATO military build-up against both Russia and China has created innumerable international flashpoints, any one of which could trigger a major war. The criminal US-Australian airstrike on Syrian government troops last week, which killed up to 90 people, points to the very real danger that Washington’s regime-change operation will escalate into an all-out war, pitting the US and NATO against Syria and its allies, including Russia. South Asia—where tensions between Pakistan and India have been dramatically intensified by the US “pivot” against China—stands on the precipice of nuclear war, following last Saturday’s terrorist attack in the disputed Kashmir region.
Behind the drive to war lies the historic crisis of capitalism. Eight years after the collapse of global financial markets in 2008, the world economy remains mired in slump and wracked by instability. As in the 1930s, every major power is seeking to protect the interests of its corporate elites at the expense of its rivals, through currency manipulation, trade war measures and, ultimately, military force. No less a factor is the staggering level of social inequality that pervades every country. The ruling classes are seeking to divert immense social tensions into nationalist hysteria over foreign threats and anti-immigrant xenophobia.
The Australian ruling class, terrified of opposition to its support for US warmongering and its agenda of cuts to public spending, welfare and social services, is at the very forefront of this campaign. After 15 years of demonising Muslims to justify their involvement in the criminal wars in the Middle East, the political and media establishments have now turned to anti-Chinese chauvinism, to justify a confrontation with Beijing.
The most vicious contribution, so far, has been authored by Peter Hartcher, international editor of the self-styled “liberal” Sydney Morning Herald. Casting aside all restraint, Hartcher branded all those who oppose a militarist stance toward China as “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows.” He identified politicians, former politicians, business figures, Australians of Chinese background and Chinese students studying in the country among the “pests” that should be “eradicated.”
This is the language of political intimidation, police-state dictatorship and internment camps for alleged “traitors” and “enemy aliens,” in the event of open conflict with China.
The IYSSE, the youth movement of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), opposes the drive to war and the assault on the living standards and democratic rights of the working class. We fight for the unity of the working class and young people around the world and for an international anti-war movement based on the socialist principles of the world Trotskyist movement, the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).
Since 2014, the efforts of the IYSSE to form a club at the University of Melbourne have been blocked four times by the Student Union Clubs and Societies Committee on various spurious grounds. Only a continuous campaign to win support among students for our club, on the basis of defending the democratic rights of all students to affiliate clubs of their choice, has led the C&S Committee to accept our right to affiliate.
We now urge you to ensure that the IYSSE is affiliated by attending our Inaugural General Meeting and guaranteeing that we reach the necessary quorum. If you oppose militarism and war, take a stand!
For decades, political life on campuses has been dominated by the reactionary nostrums of identity politics, which divide students from one another on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation and nationality. There is nothing progressive about identity politics and it has nothing to do with Marxism or socialism. On the contrary, it expresses the outlook of fake, pseudo-left groups such as Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance. These misnamed organisations represent affluent and complacent layers of the upper middle class, who exploit identity issues to gain greater privileges and positions for themselves within the profit system. They are indifferent to and contemptuous of the interests of ordinary workers, students and youth.
The IYSSE is based on the scientific Marxist understanding that social class is the primary division within capitalist society and social inequality its most defining characteristic. The only social force capable of overthrowing the capitalist system is the working class of all countries, unified in a common struggle against war, austerity and the ever-accelerating assault on democratic and social rights.
In every country, the future that capitalism offers the younger generation is one of mass poverty and unemployment, the destruction of core democratic rights and war. That is why millions of young people are becoming politicised and beginning to turn toward the struggle for socialism. This political shift has so far found expression in the widespread support for the self-avowed “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders, who called for a “political revolution” in the US against the “billionaire class.” But the real role of Sanders, as the IYSSE and World Socialist Web Site warned from the beginning, was to channel the political disaffection of millions of workers and youth into the dead-end of the Democratic Party. This experience underscores the necessity of building a revolutionary leadership of the working class that will differentiate genuine socialism from its various counterfeits.
As well as regular meetings and campaigns against war and austerity, the IYSSE will host major lectures and seminars to clarify the lessons of the historical experiences of the 20th century. In 2017, our club will organise a series of events marking the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution—the first socialist revolution, which was responsible for ending the carnage of World War I and changing the world. The IYSSE will expose the lies and falsifications that have for decades surrounded these events, and acquaint students with the struggle waged by Leon Trotsky and his supporters against Stalinism and its betrayal of the revolution.
Participate in the fight for socialism and against war by joining the University of Melbourne IYSSE!
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