Aussie/NZ Imperialism

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Wed Oct 6 20:34:26 MDT 1999

>>were also in struggle against their masters' crimes.
>Well, this is the crux.  How to turn stuff against *our own* ruling class.
>It's dead easy in Australia and NZ to whip up some hostility to the French
>or the US.  The real challenge is finding ways of exposing the imperialist
>nature of our own ruling classes and their states.  Unbtil the blinkers are
>removed from the eyes of the masses on that score, we won't get very far in
>developing any genuinely *revolutionary* politics.

The NZ ban on nuclear warships was important, but sometimes it is hard to
see it if one is up close.  Here in Oz we were very excited and tried to
pressure the Hawke Labor Govt to follow NZ's example.  In the Brisbane
peace committee I suggested we invite a NZ Labor parliamentarian to explain
the ban and one duly came over. I do not remember the name of the speaker.
But she was terrible.  She spent her whole speech to a crowded enthusiastic
audience assuring people that the ban had no significance, that people
should not be making a fuss about it.  It was more like the kind of speech
one would make to an audience of American  generals than to a group of
peaceniks desperate for a victory.

I do know though that we in Oz soon got the distinct impression that the
ban was a sop thrown to the Left by the Lange Labor govt.  While Lange
swanned around the world promoting himself as a potential Nobel Prize
winner, his finance minister Roger Douglas was dismantling the Keynesian
state and putting the union movement to the sword. This was called
'economic rationalism and Douglas made NZ the laboratory which we in
Australia were supposed to follow.

That is not to say that the ban did not have significance. Lou is correct
here. It certainly gave the peace movent in Australia a focus to campaign
around and for a time a feeling that we could be winning. But it is a
complex matter.  I can readily understand Phil's rather jaundiced appraisal
of something which turned out to be left cover for the worst assault on the
NZ working class since the Great Depression.

There is a not dissimilar analogy around the question of whether Australia
should become a republic in the coming referendum . I am totally scornful
of the Australian republican movement.  It is dominated by Tories. The
model of the republic that is being put forward is as close to the original
monarchist model as they could get.

I even contemplated voting against the republicans because I figured that
being stuck with the British Royal family would be the most damaging thing
that could happen to Australia. But an English comrade point out to me that
a vote for a  republic in Australia would be a big boost for the republican
movement in England and a real blow to British conservatism.  So for that I
am putting my ultra-left instincts on hold and I am going to vote for the
republic here.



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