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From: The Socialist issue 497, 26 July 2007: Flood crisis: New Labour ignored warnings

Search site for keywords: APEC - Australia


Mass protests planned at the APEC summit

THOUSANDS OF people will attend protests during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Sydney, Australia, on 7-8 September 2007. Amongst them will be trade unionists, students, socialists, community activists and others who oppose the neo-liberal policies of cuts, privatisation and workplace deregulation.

Anthony Main, Socialist Party, Melbourne

Despite the massive police operation, activists will be there in force to defend their democratic rights and voice their opposition to the APEC leaders such as George Bush and also their policies.

APEC is an economic body consisting of Pacific Rim countries including the US, Japan and Australia. According to the World Bank, these countries represent about 60% of the world economy. From its beginning in 1989, APEC was designed to assist the rich elite in boosting their already massive profits by forcing more 'Third World' countries to open their markets for 'First World' goods and services. Such economic 'liberalisation' not only undermines local industry, but it devastates agriculture on which their struggling populations depend.

APEC leaders from the world's most powerful economies, along with key regional leaders, will, once again, discuss 'trade liberalisation' with no consideration of human rights, labour rights and the environment. APEC has denied any formal engagement with the labour movement, or civil rights groups. Not one organisation from the labour movement has been invited to any of the APEC meetings!

However, APEC leaders are keen to have big business input through the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and the Energy Working Group, which welcomes contributions from the private sector. These forums receive substantial inputs from big companies such as, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Chevron Oil Company. The APEC Energy Working Group rejected the Kyoto Protocol Strategy and the proposed alternatives to 'clean' fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

The anti-APEC protests in Sydney, in September, present an opportunity for the Australian labour movement to mobilise against this anti-worker forum, including protesting against Howard's anti-worker Industrial Relations laws - some of the most draconian pieces of anti-union legislation in the industrialised countries.

Thousands of anti-globalisation and anti-capitalist youth will take part in mass protests. To strengthen the anti-APEC demonstrations means the active involvement of the organised working class. The working class has the potential to bring society to a halt and can lead the struggle against the APEC leaders and the bosses' system they represent.

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