A few years ago now I was a part of a marching bloc on Labour Day in Brisbane that was positioned not far behind the ALP contingent. The bloc that I was a part of was largely made up of socialists, unemployed workers, sex workers, and members of unions not affiliated with the ALP, like RAFFWU (Retail and Fast Food Workers Union) and the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World).

The ALP's message that day was reiterated on placards and banners everywhere - we had to change the rules. Of course the way to do so was to replace the LNP with the ALP at the upcoming election. By the end of the march that day the ALP contingent was red-faced with fury at my little rag-tag bloc of socialists and our new favorite chant - Don't Change the Rules, Break the Rules, Who Made the Rules, LABOR.

Was our purposeful teasing of Labor throughout the day until they threw tantrums somewhat childish? Maybe, we certainly were immature at the time. But we were correct. The rules that are currently holding the workers movement back from any sort of gains or efficient struggle weren't imposed on the union movement by the LNP. They were cooked up by a collaboration between the Hawke government and an utterly class collaborationist union bureaucracy.

The working-class in Australia wasn't smashed by a right-wing party. We were utterly betrayed by our so-called party of 'labour'. But that shouldn't come as a surprise - the ALP has been selling out workers for the entirety of its existence. Hell I would go as far as to say that is its very purpose in existing.

The ALP has never been a party for the working-class and the newly elected Albanese government is no exception Albanese has consistently been upfront about appealing to small business owners (always the most vicious and petty of capitalist tyrants) and big businesses.

It's no surprise then that the ALP is currently trying to sell the recently announced minimum wage rise of 5.2% as a monumental victory for Australian workers. A shame then that this increase is still 0.5% below inflation. Meaning that in effect Australian workers are seeing their real wages decreasing rather than increasing.

This isn't a victory for the workers and the fact that the ALP are attempting to sell it to us as one shows how much they are in the bosses' pocket. Labor telling us this is a victory is sending us a very clear message:

No need to struggle for your class interests fellas - your old pal the Labor Party has you covered. No need for strikes, organising or real unionism. We can rely on Albanese and the fair work commission to see us through. Class collaboration - not class struggle. That is the answer.

There is no greater example of why the union movement in this country will continue to exist in a moribund zombie-state as long as it remains connected to the parasitic entity that is the ALP. While all the major ALP affiliated unions were celebrating this decrease in real wages, RAFFWU as an independent union was able to be honest with their members and supporters in saying that this is not a wage increase. If we want to see a real increase then we're going to have to fight for it. If only our largest and most powerful unions were independent enough to admit this fact.

Real wage increases aren't won in backrooms, commissions or parliament. Any real wage increases will have to be won on the picket-line.

We have to stop waiting for Labor to change the rules and we need to go back to our roots and be willing to break the rules.

So break the rules, break with Labor and break the bosses - then we'll see some real gains. Continued belief in Labor as our saviors is only going to see us continue being sold bullshit excuse after bullshit excuse, such as our wages decreasing before our eyes being something to celebrate.

Anarchist Communists Meanjin organise on the occupied lands of the Jagera, Yugara, Yugarapul, and Turrbal Nations. We pay our respects to elders past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded.