SOLOMON ISLANDS: Australian Imperialists Deploy Military to Put Down the Just Struggle of the Solomon Islanders

We share this article from the Australian revolutionary Red Eureka Journal concerning the justified rebellion of the people of the Solomon Islands and the reactionary occupation of the Islands by Australian imperialism. Oceania, generally being part of the 3rd world, is often neglected in European news coverage. To support the struggle of the oppressed nations of Oceania is an important task for revolutionaries in all imperialist countries, not only Australia.


AUSTRALIAN IMPERIALISTS DEPLOY MILITARY TO PUT DOWN THE JUST STRUGGLE OF THE SOLOMON ISLANDERS

The Solomon Islands have long belonged to those who would claim its people and its resources as objects of plunder for a richer nation. First artifically established by the British colonialists the country is now subservient to Australian and Chinese imperialism.

At the end of last month, the capital of the Solomon Islands, Honiara, was rocked by rebellion from a people whose country is condemned to poverty by imperialism. At least 14 buildings went up in flames, including a police station, a hut directly located next to the National Parliament, along with various businesses, many owned by ethnic Chinese. Looting and property damage have been widespread. To protect their interests in the Solomon Islands the Australian imperialists have deployed over one hundred military and police personnel to forcibly put down the uprising. Joining them too are military forces from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

While Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted that the deployment will be short term, lasting weeks, the most reactionary of the bourgeoisie argue that the only way to „maintain the peace“ is a permanent military occupation in the Solomon Islands. This plan has been propagated by the former foreign minister Alexander Down in a recent piece for the Australian Fiancial Review. Down criticised the ending of the 15 year Australian military occupation of the Solomon Islands, which was iniated by the wretched Howard government and has been continued by all successive Labor and Liberal governments until it came to a close in 2017. This imperialist program was named the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and was established mainly for the purpose of putting down armed conflict which arose from the uneven distribution of land and economic opportunities among the different nations within the islands themselves. These problems of land and economics have arisen directly from colonialism which smashed the traditional borders separating the ethnic groups and displaced large sections of the population through slavery. They are today maintained by bureacrat capitalism which serves the demands of imperialism by subjugating the people to a rural economy with a focus on resource extraction for foreign powers. There is no solution without the expulsion of imperialism from the country and so it was the direct concern of the Australian imperialists to smash the arising conflict. The intervention hardly helped the Solomon Islanders; in fact, the national income of just 2500 AUD per person, situating it in the poorest 50 countries globally.

With the global pandemic and the coming crisis, their economy has suffered greatly. Many are out of work due to tourism shutting down, adding to the already high levels of unemployment, while the price of its main export, logs, has fallen considerably. The anti-imperialist conciousness of the Solomon Islanders is maturing. Even the former leader of RAMSI, James Batley observed that „The structural problems of the economy, the governance of the Solomons — the people feel they‘re not getting the benefits of the economy or they‘re being distributed unfairly or skimmed off […] There‘s a real cynicism among Solomon Islanders about politics — it‘s not delivering for them“. The majority of land is owned by Solomon Islanders, 80%, however almost all the resources are owned by foreign companies, with this imperialists bribing and funding politicans for their own indiviual interest, turning the Solomon Islands into a battleground for Australian, Chinese and U.S. imperialism.

The presence of of Chinese social imperialism is evident throughout the country. The main mine in the Solomon Islands, Gold Ridge, which was at the time of RAMSI owned by Australia, is now owned by a Chinese state company, while a large stadium for the Pacific Games- the regional version of the Olympic Games, is being built by Chinese workers,through Chinese companies, funded by the Chinese government.

Back in 2019, the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare formally switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China. Opposition to this has been led by the premier of Malaita, Suidani, who has extensive backing from the U.S. imperialists, recieving over 25,000,000 USD in funding on appearing on ruling class media outlets like the Murdoch owned Sky News to propagate his ideas. It has been this switch which has sparked the current protests but the bonfire has been building for a long time and its character is anti-imperialism.

As far as Australia‘s economic interests go, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, Australian merchandise exports to the islands in 2019-20 totalled 101,000,000 AUD. Australian and New Zealand Banking Corp. operates in the country, exporting finance capital. The Seasonal Worker Programme takes seasonal horticultural workets from Pacific islands like the Solomon Islands to Australia to work horticultural enterprises. The Pacific Labour scheme enables Solomon Islander to come to rural and regional Australia and do low and semi skilled work for three years, with the Solomon Islands treated as a reserve force of labour. Extensive direct aid is invested in the country, detailing 174,000,000 AUD in 2019-20, with the stated aim of „supporting stability, enabling economic growth and enhancing human development“. At the time of Australian ownership of Gold Ridge mine, it occurred for 1/3 of the Solomon Islands‘ entire GDP.

The Solomon Islanders are pushed to the edge by imperialist domination, fed up with being a battle ground between imperialist powers. The country has a rich history of struggle against imperialism and reaction, seen in the Maasina Ruru movement from the 1940s which was brutally repressed by the British imperialists, with 2000 arrested in Malaita alone during Operation Jericho. With the growing rebellion of the Solomon Islanders we will see them produce an anti-imperialist organisation to represent their interests and it will likely lead to armed struggle.

It is the duty of all progressive and good people in our country to raise conciousness and support the just struggle of the Solomon Islanders and to bring about the defeat of Australian imperialism by building up the revolutionary movement and mainly to finish the constitution of the Communist Party of Australia which was started a century ago.

FOR A NEW-DEMOCRACTIC REVOLUTION IN THE SOLOMON ISLANDS, FREE FROM IMPERIALISM!