By Nick D
On 27-29 August 2022, Red Ant Collective members and supporters met in Sydney, on the sovereign lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, for the group’s inaugural National Conference.
The Peace and Liberation Socialist Education Conference was the first of what is hoped to be many public meetings organised by Red Ant.
At this early stage, Red Ant can be understood as a ‘start-up’ socialist group dedicated to socialism, internationalism and anti-imperialism.
The first panel discussion, A Marxist Feminist Perspective for Today, kicked off with presentations by Brazilian-Australian revolutionary Ana Borges, trade union organiser Madeline F and Indonesian socialist Pipin Jamson.
The session looked at the historical origins of women’s oppression, the role of class struggle in the liberation of women, limitations of liberal feminism and the experiences of women’s liberation movements in Brazil and Indonesia.
All speakers are members of the Red Ant collective.
The second panel, The Need for Anti-Imperialism in Australia, involved long-term Asia-Pacific solidarity activists Max Lane, Sam King and anti-AUKUS campaign activist Nick D.
Discussion focused on the polarisation of the world into rich and poor societies, the imperialist basis of Australia’s foreign policy as well as the central tasks of an anti-imperialist left in Australia.
A Toast to the Cuban and Venezuelan Revolutions was held in Surry Hills on Saturday night. Speeches were given by Red Ant Collective member Andrew Martin and Australia Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS) Sydney Branch secretary Chela Weitzel.
Solidarity messages from the Institute for Friendship Among the Peoples (Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos – ICAP in Havana) and the Simon Bolivar Institute (Instituto Simón Bolívar – ISB in Caracas) were also read out.
Pipin Jamson performed the revolutionary Cuban song Hasta Siempre, Comandante (composed by Carlos Puebla) as well as Buruh Tani, Lagu Pembebasan – a song composed by Safi’i Kemaman during the period of mass resistance against the New Order dictatorship in Indonesia.
The Need for a New Generation of Marxists
The focus of the second day was education on Marxist theory and history relevant to establishing an anti-imperialist Marxist current in Australia in 2022.
Sessions explored the theory and contemporary reality of what Engels and Lenin called the “labour aristocracy”; changes in the Australian working class in the neoliberal period; a critical history of the current within socialism called the “International Socialist Tendency” (IST); escalating imperialist aggression in international politics; and the tasks of an anti-imperialist left movement in Australia today.
The full agenda and speaker biographies is available here.
Red Ant Publishing and red-ant.org will make a number of the talks and sessions available online and in pamphlet form over the next weeks and months.
A reflection of Red Ant’s dedication to internationalism was the number of solidarity messages sent to the conference from progressive groups around the world. Before each session, a solidarity message was read out. These included:
- Lalit in Mauritius
- The People’s Liberation Party (as well as their youth wing, Pembebasan), the Socialist Union (PS) and Popular Democratic Trade Union (F-Sedar) all in Indonesia
- Barry Sheppard in the United States
- The Socialist Party of Timor (Partido Socialista de Timor – PST) in Timor Leste
- The Labor Party (Partido Manggagawa – PM) in the Philippines
- The Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) in the United States
The Peace and Liberation Conference was a huge step forward for Red Ant and the first opportunity for Collective members based in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Indonesia, to meet together in person.
As a step towards building a revolutionary organisation, the group drafted a Statement of Principles and Perspectives, organisational structure – soon to be published on red-ant.org – and elected an Editorial Committee.
As anti-imperialist socialists, the Red Ant Collective is dedicated to liberation and democracy for all working and oppressed people. Defeat of capitalist-imperialism may seem like an impossible task, particularly in a period of relative downturn in working class struggle, however the imperialist system is highly unstable and the contradictions sharpen day after day.
Red Ant argues there will be openings for revolutionary organisations with a high level of education, training, dedication and focus. There can be no revolution without a revolutionary organisation.
Taking steps towards establishing a revolutionary organisation in this country is an exciting and highly rewarding way to be active against the daily abuses of capitalist society. If you are reading this and want to get involved in the project, get in touch with Red Ant today.