Fiji Coup

Alan Bradley alanb at
Tue Jun 6 08:33:01 MDT 2000

> From: Philip Ferguson
> However, I would take issue with one thing.  This is their call on the
> Australian government, an imperialist government with vested interests in
> Fiji, to impose trade sanctions.  I do not at all see what is progressive
> about getting an imperialist government to impose trade sanctions on one
> its own Third World victims.
> It would be better to try to influence workers to place their own bans on
> trade with Fiji, as a way of promoting working class unity in the

Well, you can see why I posted the article!  I'm not at all sure about the
sanctions demand myself.  (I intend to fudge it when I do my talk tomorrow
night, and encourage people to discuss it.)

One thing that is very striking about this is how Australia (and NZ)
governments are so very brave when they are dealing with tiny countries.
The word 'bullies' comes to mind.  The imperialist nature of Australian and
NZ capital is very obvious too.  The papers here are full of journalists
and columnists moaning about how the Aus government has been neglecting the
Pacific over the last decade.  This neglect, of course, never stopped
Australian capitalists mining gold in the Solomons, or engaging in a
billion dollars (AUS$: about $550 million US) worth of trade with Fiji.
Guess which country is Fiji's biggest trading partner...

It's an interesting situation for the Left, too.  The imperialist
governments are all notionally opposed to the coups, and are talking about
sanctions, all by themselves.  (Of course, the Howard government is showing
no particular interest in imposing sanctions that are more than cosmetic.)

Anyway, once again the Australian Left has found itself acting as the
hardliners urging the imperialist state on to decisive action.  This is a

The answer is not to look for positive qualities in the indigenous-Fijian
chauvinists, even though imperialism is telling them to sit down and
behave.  Their record is clear enough.  Union bans are part of the answer,
certainly, but they don't really deal with the question of the Australian
state, and, in any case, nearly anyone can support them - there is no
specific radical content to them.

One of our problems is that the Fijian Left is basically non-existent.
There are unions, and the Labour Party, and there are the anti-racist
rumblings in the west, but there isn't much in the way of Marxists.  This
doesn't give us much of a guide, and leaves us guessing from outside as to
what is the correct thing to do.

> I will hunt out the 'Press' article on Speight and Tame Iti and post it
> tomorrow.

Do, please.

> From: Gary MacLennan
> There was support expressed for Speight by a number of Aborigines at the
> Reconciliation rally on Sunday.  Though this was on an informal one to
> basis.  Rabuka's coup in the 80's got the explicit support of Oodgeroo
> Nunnuccal the Aborigall poet.  She talked in public about 4th Worldism -
> the seizure of power by indigenous groups.

The connection with the coup in the Solomons is interesting.

I guess it's not surprising that some people would see an indigenous
rebellion in Fiji as positive.  In different circumstances, so would I.

At least Speight, Rabuka and all that mob make no pretence to be anything
other than the reactionaries they are.  An authorised biography of Rabuka
came out this year.  It's in the bookshops downtown, but I didn't have the
cash to get it.  I had a look at it, though.  He hasn't changed - he's
still talking about encouraging the Indians to emigrate, to reduce their
population to manageable proportions, and all this kind of stuff.  An
earlier book had him rabbiting on about encouraging the Indians to convert
to Christianity.  This guy is (apparently) the "moderate" in the current

Alan Bradley
alanb at

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