Reposted from Red Fire Online.
2020: the start of the Great Reset
March 2020 signaled the beginning of the “Great Reset”. Ostensibly in response to a new and potentially deadly virus, Australian federal and state governments led a gigantic assault on working people, aided by saturation level propaganda from all wings of the corporate media. Lockdowns – previously never known outside of prisons, were announced and enforced by the police and the army. Facemask mandates were imposed and often overseen by all kinds of state operatives. Whole sections of the economy were shut down, throwing hundreds of thousands out of work. State and international borders were closed, in clear violation of the Australian Constitution. Vaccine mandates were to follow, forcing millions of workers into a horrific “choice” of taking an untested and potentially deadly injection, or losing their employment. Restaurants, gyms, cinemas, theatres and more were ordered to cease trading. Attendance at weddings and funerals was restricted or banned. Public assemblies were banned, effectively removing the right to free speech. Big Tech censored social media platforms. Those questioning the crackdown were stifled or removed.
The Great Reset led to the Great Capitulation
We could go on, but many now do not wish to relive these horrendous times. The gravity of state repression was immense, and millions felt that something was wrong. Yet what was the response of the political left – those who supposedly stood against the power of finance capital, against the minority rule of billionaires, for democratic and human rights, for civil liberties and for pluralism? With a few exceptions, virtually the entire “Left” capitulated heavily to the pressure of imperialism. All of their declamations against capitalism vanished overnight. All class differences, the gap between rich and poor, between the powerful and the powerless, between labour and capital – became obsolete at the drop of a hat, according to this “Left”. Everyone was now “all in this together”, politicians and voters, scientists engaged by Big Pharma, state governors, school children, corporate magnates and wharf labourers, the captains of industry and hospitality workers and on and on.
This “left”, the lockdown left which became the Covid left, from “socialist” groups to Union officials to “progressive” intellectuals, were essentially making the fantastic claim that Labor, Liberal and Green politicians tell lies about everything else, but they were telling the truth about “Covid”. Likewise with the corporate media, Big Media inculcates false narratives about everything else, except “public health”. What was perhaps most astonishing was that these “Marxists” were effectively saying that when it comes to health care, the capitalist state is neutral. They implied that the state represents everyone. More than this, they intimated that the primary function of this state is to care for people’s health, and that all measures it took to counter an alleged virus, were attempts to save people’s lives!
If the state is primarily, or in any way, trying to “save the lives” of the working class, then there is no reason to politically oppose it. If what the Covid left was saying was true – that labour and capital have the same interests when it comes to health, then all other issues must be subordinated to this fact. The state may be driving up the cost of living, enriching the elite, desecrating the environment, stripping funding from schools and hospitals – but it is most concerned with the well being of the masses! Yet not only is no class struggle possible if your class adversaries are trying to save your life (!), then there can be no politics at all. If “we are all in this together” then society is not divided into classes, and in fact there are no divisions in society whatsoever. Whatever this is, it is obviously not left-wing.
The Covid left not only rejected the Marxist theory of the state, they rejected the very basis for political and ideological struggle in toto. Shockingly, many of them practically merged with the state. What was most apparent during what could be termed lockdown fascism, was that Covid was the class line. The bitter invective levelled at those who refused to get vaccinated, and the millions who formed the freedom movement, was unmistakably class hatred even if whole sections of this movement had political views which were anything but left-wing. Questioning, much less opposing, lockdowns and the litany of hardly legal rules which beggar belief (the banning of singing and dancing..??) was seen as an unpardonable deviation from the totalitarian ideology of the “pandemic”. Those who were skeptical of an “emergency” were assumed to be “anti-vaxxers” and “conspiracy theorists”. This was a knee-jerk dehumanization of anyone who retained their own views. The base betrayal and treachery of the Covid left which impelled others to comply to this maniacal terror should be obvious.
The Real Left
This monumental capitulation by the Covid left immediately posed the need for a new left to emerge. In the United Kingdom (UK), a group of left-wing dissidents formed the Left Lockdown Skeptics. Recently, after lockdowns and other “pandemic” measures have finally faded away, the group was renamed the Real Left. This was bold, but in our view, most apt. It is not only a new left that must be built, but a real left, with real left-wing positions. The left-wing/right-wing dichotomy does still exist, despite many in the freedom/anti-lockdown/anti-mandate movement having their doubts. Such doubts are understandable, given what has occurred during three years of horror for the vast majority. Of course the billionaires made stupendous amounts of money from the lockdown and Covid mania – which indicates one of the real reasons for it all. Patently, a real left must stand against the immense gap between rich and poor, and not help it along! A real left must retain some traditional left-wing values, while adapting to the post-Covid situation. This period is arguably just the next phase of capitalist crisis.
Following the lead of the Real Left UK, the Real Left Australia (RLA) has now begun. In time, we hope it grows towards something approaching the Real Left UK, and that other international sections of the Real Left begin in other countries. RLA is at one level an attempt to reach those who were a part of the freedom movement who see or saw themselves as left-wing. They may be former members of socialist organisations, or former or current Union members. We understand how flabbergasted they must have been with what formerly passed for the “left” in Australia, and elsewhere, given their behaviour from 2020 to 2023. In addition, such people probably did not come into contact with other current or former left-wingers who were scattered amongst a sustained mass freedom movement.
It is difficult to believe that every single member of what we term the Covid left were as gung-ho in enforcing Covid terror as the leaders of the Covid left parties and Trade Union officials were. We are sure that there were at least some members and supporters of these organisations that felt extreme unease at melding with Big Tech, Big Media, Big Pharma, the politicians and the liberal intelligentsia during an unprecedented period of conflict. We hope that there are some within these parties that knew something was very wrong, but for various reasons, were not able to speak out against their leadership during a time when the pressure of the capitalist state was intense. The Real Left Australia is an attempt to reach these individuals, to assure them that they are not alone. There is a left that survived the wave of political and ideological suppression, and that it is re-grouping. The Real Left Australia will hopefully be the first step towards nothing less than a redemption of the left.
The Workers League
The Workers League (WL) will seek to help build, organise and work within the RLA. We urge readers and supporters of Red Fire to join and aid us with this task. We still see our program and positions as vital, and will not abandon them in favour of a position of a larger and broader organisation. We may argue and attempt to convince RLA members and supporters of them but will not seek to disrupt the organisation of the RLA in the process. In fact, the process of working together on a common project tends to minimise finer ideological and political positions. While these specific positions remain important, they should not be barriers to working together on other issues.
There MAY be a tendency to adapt to the broader positions of the RLA. If this was to occur, the defined positions of the WL may be “watered down”. This is always a danger when entering a broad coalition. But we are confident that will not be an issue, and will soon become apparent if so. In any case, currently WL positions are welcome within the RLA, while not necessarily receiving universal agreement. RLA is a loose-knit organisation containing differing positions and political and ideological trends, but this is a positive at this stage. Further down the track, it may move towards more of a party type structure. For now, common positions may attempt to be determined for campaigning purposes – however, differing positions will still be welcome within the framework of a Covid critical left.
At this stage, the Real Left Australia will contain all those who are Covid critical and identify themselves as left-wing. That is to say that it will contain those who are pro-freedom but also anti-capitalist. This may include socialists, feminists, anarchists and others. This means the RLA may contain a variety of left-wing views, with the proviso of rejecting fraudulent “pandemics” and all other issues where all classes supposedly have the same interests! This leads on to other issues where there should be a left-wing position. Other international sections of the Real Left may emerge in the next period. We would view this positively. While we seek to work with the founding Real Left UK organisation, we seek to build a “local” Real Left – the RLA.
While the various classes exists objectively, classes are led by parties. Given left parties vie for the allegiance of the working class in its struggle to overthrow capitalism. In this struggle, we regard our interpretation of authentic Leninist-Trotskyism as crucial. We recognise that virtually all Covid left parties who claim to be Trotskyist embarked on an epic betrayal of the working class during the faux “pandemic”. Almost all Stalinist and Maoist parties capitulated to “health” tyranny without a breath of protest. While the Trotskyist vs Stalinist divide remains important for socialist workers to grapple with, even this fundamental dissection was put to one side during the contingencies of the handful of leftists who marched with the freedom movement for basic democratic and civil rights under Covid repression.
In Australia today, the cost of living is deliberately being driven up by the same elite who imprisoned us in lockdowns. Vaccine mandates were an attempt to both drive workers out of employment and a nefarious effort at a covert genocide. Australian politicians are dragging us into insane wars against Russia and China. The banks cannot remain stable as the economy lurches deeper into recession. What Australia desperately needs is a social revolution, where those who labour build their own state and their own administration, as the first step towards a socialist order on a worldwide basis. We hope that Real Left Australia may begin to collate the forces needed for this historic task.