Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Australian imperialism demanded by Obama

...administration’s “pivot” to Asia and its war preparations against China.
"In the 2013-14 Budget, the Government has provided $113.1 billion (including $1.4 billion for Operations) to Defence over the Forward Estimates, with the Budget growing from $25.3 billion in 2013-14 to $30.7 billion in 2016-17.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) last month submitted a so-called auto jobs rescue plan to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government. The trade union urged the government to seize on the closure of GM Holden’s Australian operations in 2017, on top of Ford’s exit in 2016, as an opportunity to channel billions of dollars in subsidies to military industries and other manufacturing companies.
The union’s “A Prosperous Australia” blueprint advocates the creation of a new manufacturing base to provide the support and skills needed to expand the defence industries—in other words, to meet the military requirements of Australian imperialism demanded by the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia and its war preparations against China. The document underscores the trade union movement’s commitment to the unconditional alignment behind Washington’s military and strategic drive against China, initiated by the former Labor government and continued under Abbott’s Liberal-National government.
The AMWU, which covers the car industry, cynically professes concern for the thousands of working people who will be affected by the auto closures. It declares that “very significant funding from the Federal Government” is needed to “minimise the dislocation Holden’s closure will cause to already disadvantaged communities.” At the same time, it demands that manufacturing employers be provided with “access to capital to invest … so that the manufacturing base can transition to a situation where it does not rely on automotive manufacturing.”
Thus, from the outset, the AMWU plan presents the GM and Ford closures, along with whole sections of the automotive parts industry, as a fait accompli. This dovetails with what is happening on the ground. The car unions are working overtime to block any opposition by auto industry workers and prevent any broader industrial and political campaign in defence of jobs.
To cover up its own role, the AMWU condemns the Abbott government—which took office in September—declaring it “has stood idly by and let automotive manufacturing in Australia cease due to ideological aversion to the global reality of industry support.” In reality, the union has worked closely with successive Labor and Coalition governments, backing the car companies’ restructuring and massive destruction of jobs over three decades.
Labor governments, along with the unions, previously justified continuous multi-million dollar subsidies to the auto industry by pointing to what they termed “the broader strategic considerations” for Australian capitalism.
In January 2012, Labor’s industry minister Kim Carr made more explicit the military content of such considerations. Backing a further round of auto industry handouts, Carr declared that maintaining a skills base in car production “was necessary for other industries, including instrument making, aluminium, glass and military production.”
Making clear that these “broader strategic considerations” are central to the AMWU plan, a recent article on the union’s web site insisted that “the skills at Holden are transferrable to defence.”
The AMWU’s plan calls on the government to “immediately order additional Air Warfare Destroyers and link these builds into the future frigate project so a continuous build program can be developed that supports our Navy and our manufacturing industry.”…