Jan 20, 2020
Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.
Australia is not a third world country. It has all the material, financial, technological, and human resources needed to effectively fight the fire disaster which could have been predicted. Australia is a quasi-continent and its government’s wealth is measured in billions.
Australia is one of the countries with the highest risk of fire in the world, but it is sorely lacking in modern means of detection and protocol to deal with fire hazards. It’s not for a lack of resources. The Australian Navy has no imminent danger of invasion to fight. Nonetheless, it bought billions of dollars of new equipment from France. How many hundreds of amphibious airplanes, how many thousands of mechanical firebreak monitors, and how much first responder equipment does that represent?
The country could have mobilized thousands of people to fight fire danger in under four months. Australian leaders already did as much. During World Wars I and II, tens of thousands of Australians sacrificed their lives tens of thousands of miles from home for the benefit of the world’s big capitalist conglomerates. During the Vietnam War, tens of thousands of Australian young people were forcibly drafted. But the country can’t mobilize the population and military resources when the country goes up in smoke!
So long as Sydney’s financial market is open, despite smoke darkening the sky, “business as usual” continues.
Australia is not an exceptional country, nor is it the worst of the industrialized nations. It is like the rest of the capitalist world. The rage inspired by the fires should be targeted against the whole system.