Today, Thursday, 16.01.2020, an intervention was carried out with paint and leaflets outside the Australian Consulate on Fragon Street in Thessaloniki.
Australia has been experiencing a colossal environmental disaster for months. 26 people have lost their lives, thousands of burnt homes, entire species threatened with extinction, with dead animals seeming to exceed 1.25 billion! The burned area is estimated to be over half the size of Greece, while the health and survival problems it will leave to humans and animals are incalculable. This should not come as a surprise, of course, to anyone who has observed the practices of the Australian state in recent decades, with the rise of Scott Morrison’s Liberal National Party tolerating the looting of nature.
Australia is the largest exporter of coal and natural gas in the world. On the contrary, it has been ranked last among 57 countries on climate change action, demonstrating that industry profits are always inversely proportional to environmental protection. It has not imposed any taxes on the environmental burden of industries and last year made $12.9 million in cuts to Fire & Rescue NSW, the voluntary rural firefighting group that plays a key role in fighting fires. However, it spends $ 34.3 billion a year on military spending, ranking 11th worldwide, has hundreds of troops in Iraq and elsewhere as a US and NATO ally, while supporting Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua. It is, therefore, a model capitalist state that does not display the slightest humanitarian character, even refusing to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples as enshrined in the UN.
At the same time, it once again revealed that the agreements of the State are piecemeal and controls by various international organizations are non-existent when it comes to mining and exporting industries. They are after all, the largest sponsors of both the government and the opposition in Australia, implementing a shared policy in support of the unregulated domestic coal and mineral industry, delivering huge parts of Australia’s natural wealth for exploitation and complete destruction. A prominent example is the leader of the opposition Labor Party, who, who with the outbreak of the fires, began a tour of coal mining communities, expressing his full support for exports. He himself realized that their preelection commitments to “limited environmental protection” led to the defeat of the Labor Party, as coal mining oligarch Clive Palmer created a puppet party to keep the Labor Party out of government and direct votes to the charismatic Morrison. Palmer’s advertising budget for his election campaign was more than double that of the two major parties. Immediately afterwards, he announced plans to build the largest coal mine in Australia.
Scott Morrison’s development is certainly not accidental. It fully fits the profile of other conservative leaders around the world, like Bolsonaro in Brazil, a major culprit in the Amazon disaster. Morrison, as Minister of Immigration, perfected an inhumane policy of imprisoning refugees in nightmarish camps in the Pacific Islands, so it is to be expected that he is not particularly interested in the destruction of Australian flora and fauna, or in the quality of life now or in the future. Now, his government is repressing unions, political organizations and journalists. Under a bill tabled in Tasmania and expected to expand across Australia, environmental activists will face 21 years in prison if they demonstrate.
All this is, of course, done with the generous sponsorship of the Australian and international media, who once again play their role as pillars of state and capital. Expressing government and opposition party narratives, they refer to a tragic catastrophe that is probably due to accidental events, or most of all, to “sky-rocketing” – as they put it – climate change. Climate change plays an important role in spreading fire. But policies themselves, like those of the Australian state, are the ones that have led to climate change and enormous environmental disasters. Still, it is inexplicable how dozens of piles of horse manure ignited spontaneously in areas where new large-scale mining projects and a new high-speed rail line (CLARA project) are planned.
And all of this is happening to boost profits for big industries, such as BHP Billiton, which is the largest mining group in the world and earns the third largest revenue in Australia. It has more than tripled its revenue in the last eight years and is expected to extract an additional 7,738 tonnes of copper, gold and uranium from the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.
Like the French company Total that converts coal in the Queen Island areas of Australia into natural gas in a factory on the country’s east coast. Or like Link Energy, which found 20 trillion dollars worth of oil fields in South Australia.
So who are the culprits responsible for the catastrophe of the planet? All those who bring “growth” and “jobs” with starvation wages and health problems. All those who – directly or indirectly – do not hesitate to profit or cause enormous ecological disasters. The only ones who can stop them are us, those who are under daily attack from state and capital. It is time to prevent the destruction of our lives and the planet, to end the exploitation and plunder of nature.
END CAPITALISM BEFORE IT DESTROYS THE PLANET
AGAINST THE LOGIC OF PROFIT FIGHT FOR EARTH AND FREEDOM
Thessaloniki Freedom Initiative