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Letter to ICOR Main Coordinator on bushfire catastrophe

Nick G., General Secretary of CPA(ML) Australia, 12 January 2020


Dear Comrade Monika,

Thank you very much for the expression of concern over the bushfire catastrophe in Australia. These bushfires are unprecedented in their scope and intensity. To date, 28 lives have been lost, over 2500 homes completely destroyed and possibly over a billion animals, including livestock and wildlife, killed. 10 billion hectares and a number of small rural towns have been burnt out.

The fires are generally in country locations and have not posed a threat to major city suburbs where most of our members live. Nevertheless, several of our members have been in close proximity to fires and had to leave or be evacuated.

We will continue to offer analyses of this climate catastrophe on our website. You may have seen on our website a Party leaflet on the bushfires that we distributed at major city rallies yesterday (Friday).

Generally speaking, the masses are turning out in big numbers to these rallies. Their overall political and ideological level is uneven, so our approach and presentation have to take account of different levels of class consciousness. The majority are directing their anger at the arrogance and incompetency of the Prime Minister and the government in ignoring and denying the scientists’ and fire experts’ earlier warnings of changing climatic conditions fueling immense and uncontrollable bushfires. They are angry with the governments’ incompetence and disregard in not urgently and immediately providing assistance to firefighters and affected communities. Some are calling for the PM’s and government’s sacking or resignation. Smaller numbers are directing their anger at fossil fuel corporations. They are growing. An even smaller number point to capitalism as the root cause of climate crisis which capitalism is not capable of solving. We must start from the concerns that are evident on placards and banners and conversations we are having with the people and try to raise their spontaneous concerns to a higher level. Bourgeois media monopolies and puppets of fossil fuel monopolies in parliament try to divert attention from fossil fuel mining corporations and channel mass anger at individuals, e.g., the inefficiencies of a useless PM and a few politicians who are expendable to the ruling class any time they become ineffective in continuing the illusions and controlling the people, as long as capitalism and imperialist domination of this country remains untouched. The ruling class blames arsonists and environmentalists to divert attention from themselves.

Some of our members use social media to reach wider audiences to point out that whilst PM Morrison and the government need to be fiercely condemned and call for their sackings, we should not forget who is hiding behind them, as they are only puppets of the fossil fuel corporations (mainly multinationals) who are pulling their strings.

Investigative journalist Michael West exposes how multinational fossil fuel corporations dictate this country’s fossil fuel and energy export policies here:

We call for nationalising multinational fossil fuel corporations, to be run by workers and working people, and use the profits to transition from fossil fuel to renewables, develop sustainable industries and secure jobs, and meet the needs of working people. This is our immediate demand that lays the revolutionary anti-imperialist ground for a socialist revolution.

You may have seen the Australian Navy deployed to evacuate some coastal towns. This is the first time that army and navy personnel have been deployed in this way. Some of the Reserve Army (civilians undertaking military training) have also been called into duty and put to work in bushfire-ravaged areas – also a first for our country.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is deeply unpopular, firstly for holidaying in Hawaii at the height of the crisis, and secondly for his climate change denials. He once took a lump of coal into Parliament to show his skepticism about global warming and his support for fossil fuels. One young woman received national media coverage when she refused to shake his hand in a bushfire-devastated area.

The following poem captures something of that moment:

The hand that carried the coal

She refused to

Shake the hand

That carried the coal

That obscenely fondled the coal

That brandished the coal

Taunting the nation

Embracing fossil fuel

In our blackest hole –


She laid down conditions

For shaking the hand

Of the mirthmaker

Of the smirker

Of the loyal servant

Of the big corporations

Whose home still stands

Unlike her own charcoaled decay…

And he turned and walked away.

Nero fiddled for six days

And seven nights while

Rome burned

We’ve been burning for months

So whose crime is greater?

History’s harsh judgement

In flames he has earned.


He is still in denial mode, telling radio host Kim Landers yesterday that “The suggestion that Australia … increasing its emission reduction targets would somehow not have resulted in these fires I think is an absurd proposition….We need make sure our policies are balanced and sensible and don’t pursue reckless job-destroying and economy-destroying targets which won’t reduce bushfire risk, but will take people’s jobs….The suggestion that somehow Australia’s emission reductions are directly linked to fire events in Australia…well, that’s just not true.”

This is the same line he pushed back in November, when he said “the suggestion that any way shape or form that Australia, accountable for 1.3% of the world’s emissions, that the individual actions of Australia are impacting directly on specific fire events, whether it’s here or anywhere else in the world, that doesn’t bear up to credible scientific evidence either”.

It is true that a small reduction in our emissions would have a minimal effect on global emissions, but that is not the point. Leadership consists in setting examples. A voluntary reduction specifically as a response to our burning nation would serve as a challenge to other nations to do more. We were once alone, internationally, in giving votes, and the right to stand for election to parliament, to women – and the world followed.

Not only do we need leadership on revising our emissions target downwards, we also need to reduce and phase out our exports of fossil fuels. Australia accounts for 30% of the world’s exports and is therefore making a major contribution to global warming and to the unprecedented bushfire disasters we are witnessing.

We won’t be deceived by crocodile tears from the PM about our jobs. As the last dot point in our bushfire leaflet says, we need a just transition to a sustainable economy. Morrison has no idea what that means. He is just not interested. The Labor Opposition is just as bad. After their heavy shock loss in last year’s election, they have moved even closer to the government’s pro-coal policies.

Anyway, that’s where things are at the moment. The fires still rage and we are not even at the hottest part of summer yet.


Thanks again for you well wishes. They are much appreciated.


Nick G, for the Executive Committee of the CC, CPA (M-L)


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