Why “Red Ant”?
Red Ant Collective formed because we see the need for anti-imperialist, Marxist ideas to have an organised expression. We are called “Red Ant” because we are a small grouping. Though we don’t intend to stay that way. In fact, we have big ideas.
Twenty years ago an anti-imperialist, Marxist outlook was the dominant view on the Australian far-left. In just a few years (around 2001-2007) things completely reversed, creating the situation we have today where the largest socialist groups do not hold an anti-imperialist perspective. Rather, they view countries Australia exploits – especially China – as “imperialist” societies, hence badly misunderstanding the world situation. This necessarily confuses perspectives for struggle here.
By “anti-imperialist Marxism” we are not talking about a narrow range or political activities – essentially just supporting overseas struggles. Fundamentally we mean a struggle at home against the Australian capitalist class. Central to this is fighting the oppression and exploitation of working people in this country and environmental vandalism here.
However, it is not possible to wage an effective fight against our own ruling class unless we have an accurate understanding of how Australian capitalism works. That requires an understanding of Australia’s place in the world.
As Red Ant’s founding Statement of Principles and Perspectives points out, Australia is one of a small group of exploiter nations in a world of mostly exploited and oppressed nations. This highly significant fact completely alters not only the relationship between Australian capitalism and the rest of the world, but also the domestic class struggle including in the labour movement, environment movement, women’s liberation struggles, democratic rights and every other area.
Without a clear theoretical and practical appreciation of the changes that the imperialist system brings to the class struggle, the formation of a revolutionary party capable of effectively leading the Australian working class is not possible.
What is possible, and a necessary first step, is that the far-left is once again reversed, with anti-imperialism again becoming the dominant form of revolutionary socialism in Australia. But that first step won’t happen unless anti-imperialist Marxists are organised to fight for it.
We don’t view Red Ant as the vehicle for revolution in this country or as a vanguard party. Our perspective is to fight for our ideas, grow on that basis, regroup with others who agree with us and work together with similar minded people to forge, collectively, a far stronger and more serious revolutionary grouping in the not-too-distant future.
Such a grouping could offer serious assistance to revolutions that occur overseas, it could wage a struggle against aggression by our own government against revolutions that occur in our region, and it could fight for working people on the home front. Through these and other activities such a grouping could prepare the Australian working class to break with the politics of national chauvinism and racism that currently stifles social and political progress.
What is Red Ant?
Red Ant is a small group of activists who share a perspective of socialism and internationalist Marxism. We believe that capitalism is a failed system and must be overthrown by a revolutionary movement based on the power of the working class. A successful revolutionary movement in a rich country like Australia must be founded on an outlook and practice of anti-imperialism.
The world is starkly polarised between a small group of rich countries and the vast majority of societies that comprise the Global South, including many poorer former socialist countries.
The rich countries continuously struggle to maintain not only their own individual country’s capacity to exploit, but the existing structures of global divide and exploitation. It is these rich countries, that economically dominate the global capitalist economy, benefit from the exploitation of the poor countries and endeavour to maintain this global status quo, which are the true imperialist societies today.
In recent years, the United States, Australia, and other imperialist states have massively escalated their hostility towards China and Russia, both of which remain vastly poorer than the rich countries and which are systematically exploited by imperialist capital. This follows a long history of imperialist hostility to many Global South societies who either rejected capitalism for socialism, or simply tried to take an independent path.
The cold war atmosphere resulting from this new wave of hostilities has seen increased militarism as well as attacks on dissenting voices. The reasons for, and effects of this escalating imperialist aggression, are critical developments that we urgently seek to understand.
We fiercely defend the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutions against organised counter-revolutionary mobilisations and oppose Australia’s imperialist aggression and warmongering against China.
Red Ant sees the liberation of women not only as a question of rights, but as central to the fight to overthrow capitalism. This is because the oppression of women is inseparably linked to private ownership over the means of production, that is, to the core structure of capitalist social relations. For this reason, we stand for the view that complete women’s liberation cannot be achieved without socialism and no victory for socialism is possible without the liberation of women.
Red Ant stands in solidarity with the struggles of indigenous peoples in Australia. Indigenous people, as the original custodians of this land, cared for country and lived in harmony with the natural environment for tens of thousands of years. The success of socialism depends on rebuilding the connection of human development with the environment, and we believe this can only be done with respect to elders past and present. We also recognise the historical genocide of indigenous people in Australia and seek to further campaigns for indigenous social justice.
Red Ant is committed to building a mass-based climate justice movement. We do not think that the capitalist system can be made to stop its environmental destruction, nor resolve the environmental crises already unfolding. Our environment can only be safeguarded and restored in a socialist society.
At the same time, we strongly reject the defeatist and disorienting idea that it is impossible to win significant environmental reforms and concessions from capitalist governments, including in Australia. It is urgent that we continue putting pressure on the government to introduce a series of concrete, immediate measures that will reduce carbon emissions and mitigate other forms of environmental destruction, such as “no new fossil fuel projects!”
We would like to do much more than we are able to at the moment. That is only possible if there are more people who share these perspectives and want to get involved in the project.
Are you a Red Ant? Ants are collective organisers. Their cooperation achieves a strength far greater than the weight of any individual. They are also unforgiving fighters with a fearsome bite.
The Red Ant Structure
The highest decision-making body is the Red Ant Collective which takes decisions by simple majority vote. The conditions of membership for the collective are:
- Members agree with the Red Ant Statement of Principles and Perspectives
- Members endeavour to be involved in Red Ant activities
- Members pay monthly dues (the amount decided by the member)
The Red Ant Editorial Committee is empowered to make decisions between Red Ant Collective meetings in accordance with perspectives set by the Collective. The Red Ant Editorial Committee (EC) is elected by the Red Ant Collective and re-elected at each in-person National Conference of the Red Ant Collective or at any Red Ant Collective meeting. All elected EC members have voice, but only EC members residing in Australia have a vote on the EC.
People who are sympathetic and supportive of Red Ant’s politics but feel they cannot currently commit to the project of building a new group are encouraged to join Friends of Red Ant.
Friends of Red Ant:
- Are in general agreement with the spirit of Red Ant’s Statement of Principles and Perspectives
- Contribute regular dues in accordance with what they deem possible
- To the best of their ability and situation, support and attend Red Ant public events and activities
- Do not have the rights of members to participate in Red Ant’s decision-making processes
What does Red Ant do?
Being a small group at this time, we are mostly focused on holding education sessions on Marxism and contemporary issues, publishing pamphlets under the name Red Ant Publishing and writing for the Red Ant website (red-ant.org). Already we have published articles on Australia, the United States, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine, Indonesia, industrial struggles and other social issues.
Write for Red Ant
If you would like to send us an article, discuss writing something, or support in another way, get in touch with Red Ant now! Redant.firstname.lastname@example.org