The Guardian December 12, 2001


Let's unite against tyranny

"Even before September 11 and the horrendous terrorist attack, our 
freedoms and our political power were imperiled by the rise of the moneyed 
aristocracy within our nation and a global moneyed elite that is striving 
for empire." So said Jim Hightower, a former Agriculture Commissioner of 
the state of Texas, the state once governed by George W Bush.

Hightower's statement is significant in part for its content and for who he 
is: someone very much a part of the system who was reflecting the concern 
of a growing mass of people worldwide from many different walks of life who 
are recognising the danger posed by the brutal US drive for global 

He continued, "Now, in the name of a war against terrorism, this same elite 
is going after the very liberties and ideals that we count on if we're 
truly going to have a democracy.

"We're told that we must surrender our freedoms in order to have security, 
and they come forth with new methods of invasion of privacy, Internet 
surveillance, [racial] profiling of our citizens." It is the recognition 
that the apparatus of the state is being fitted out with the oppressive 
machinery of fascism.

This attack on democratic rights is mirrored in all the developed Western 
countries, including Australia. It involves a wholesale destruction of 
democratic rights and civil liberties (see article page 6). War, the 
crushing of democracy, the enslavement of whole peoples  these vile weeds 
have grown and thrived in the hothouse of the crisis of capitalism.

The integrated nature of the global economy means that any apparently 
insignificant occurrence in the economy of one region of the world can 
shake the entire global structure. So too, the integrated nature of the 
growing actions against corporate rule means there is a coordinated global 

The whole system has been reeling under successive blows, beginning in 1997 
when the Asian tiger collapsed under the weight of Japan's economic crisis 
and speculative currency manipulations, through Russia's hiccup in 1998 to 
Brazil's calamity in 1999 and on to the current panic in Argentina 

The crisis in the world's biggest economic power, the USA, started in 2000 
and by the beginning of 2001 those with their hands on levers  the IMF, 
World Bank, OECD and European Commission  were forced to drastically 
adjust their growth forecasts.

Unemployment in the US rose from 3.9 per cent at the end of 2000 to 5.4 per 
cent in November this year. Since last March 2.2 million people lost their 
jobs in the US (see page 8).

Poverty and unemployment are on the rise in all the developed nations and 
here again Australia is no exception. And just as in the US, where the 
first money the Congress appropriated after September 11 was US$8.3 billion 
for the National Missile Defence ("Star Wars") program (not relief funds 
for New York), the Howard Government is also cutting essential services 
while pouring billions into the military.

The need for a broad united front in Australia is no less pressing.

Already there have been statements and formal public protests from church 
groups, politicians and former MPs  including from both the Liberal and 
Labor Parties, as well as some trade union involvement  against the 
Government's inhumane refugee policies and its support for the war on 

Historically all progressive and democratic sections of society take up 
campaigns against the effects of social and economic crisis, the drive to 
war and the attacks on democratic rights and living standards. A range of 
progressive movements already exists which involve workers, intellectuals, 
professional workers and other social groups.

While there are overlapping memberships and organisational links, these 
movements, in the main, remain unstructured, but provide a realistic form 
by which to build a broad and active people's unity in support of left and 
progressive issues and demands.

In fighting together for a common program, a cohesive democratic unity 
could develop and be directed against the most reactionary big business 
circles. Opposition to emerging forms of tyranny at home is a necessary 
part of the world movement against corporate tyranny everywhere. The one 
gains momentum from the other.

Dictatorship and war are the grotesque death throws of a doomed system. Let 
us work even harder in 2002 to unite together and put it out of its misery 
 and our misery.
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