Once again as thousands – reportedly record numbers – attended various official events to mark the day, and clusters of men and women in military uniform roamed the CBD in search of somewhere to get a drink, a small – actually very small – group from the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (MACG) met outside the former headquarters of the Melbourne branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and handed out leaflets condemning Australian imperialism and militarism in general. Responses ranged from polite but uncomprehending, through positive engagement, and all the way to threatening, as can be seen in the accompanying short video…
The text of the leaflet is given below; see also last year’s report on this site: https://melbourneprotests.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/anzac-day-anti-militarist-action-25-april/
World War I had bogged down, and Britain was looking for a way to change the balance of forces. A landing at the Dardanelles in April 1915, followed by the taking of Istanbul, was planned to open the supply route to Russia and possibly knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war. The campaign was a fiasco. Tens of thousands of young men from both sides were sacrificed in a minor episode of the clash of two rival imperialist alliances. Rather than being “the war to end all wars”, WWI was a war for imperial domination, to be reprised on a larger scale twenty-one years later.
A Franchise Arrangement
Ever since the 1870s, Australian troops have been sent to help fight the imperialist wars of a great and powerful friend. Whether in a World War, a British colonial war, or one of Uncle Sam’s never-ending series of wars to defend his empire, the Australian military fights in far-flung places at the side of the larger power. Almost always, the objective is to cement the alliance, since the issues at stake are rarely of direct relevance. The pay-off is that Australian capitalism is granted the imperialist franchise for the South Pacific (and now East Timor as well), where it operates without the presence of its patron.
The current war in Afghanistan is a textbook case. The United States is in a bloody conflict with a band of religious fundamentalist cutthroats, in a country which has never been a nation and has never had more than a nominal central authority. It backs a corrupt government, mostly of competing fundamentalists. In this imperialist war of occupation, Australian troops commit blundering atrocities like the killing of five children in Uruzgan province last February. In a land where most people want the foreigners gone and a peasant by day can be a Taliban by night, crimes like this are inevitable. But to support the United States and to fortify the Australian alliance with Uncle Sam, the Labor Government thinks it’s all worth it.
The Way Out
Imperialism is part of modern capitalism. Its wars will last as long as capitalism does and the Australian military is purpose-built to fight them. Whether it is a pointless sacrifice on a Turkish beach, or bloody murder in an Afghan village, it will continue until capitalism itself is ended – and the only way to end capitalism is through workers’ revolution. Unlike the capitalists, the working class can unite across national boundaries. We can sweep away the capitalists and their State, with its armies, police and prisons. We can build libertarian communism, a world of peace and plenty, a world of both freedom and security. We can and we must.
HAVE GUNS – WILL TRAVEL
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group
PO Box 2120 Lygon St North
East Brunswick 3057 25 April 2010