[Marxism] Re: Gallipoli - Anzac ) - L üko

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Tue Apr 26 16:57:45 MDT 2005

Lüko wrote:
>I do not even see a material interest of the emerging capitalist ruling
class of Australia in that war against the Ottoman empire.<

Alan Bradley makes some good points in reply, but there is a bit more to
it. Australia's participation in the war was about securing great-power
backing for Australia’s own regional imperialism in Southeast Asia and the
Pacific, and for the White Australia policy – against the emerging threat
of Japan.  Here is a passage from my chapter in the new book “Class and
Struggle in Australia”. The reference is to Billy Hughes, who was
Australian Prime Minister at the time:

Hughes [had previously feared French rivalry in the Pacific, but now] spoke
of an "Australasian Monroe Doctrine", but said this was only viable with
help from powerful allies against the menace of Japan. Accordingly "we
rejoice that France has interests in the South Pacific".

The tactics shifted but the core objectives remained the same: to enlist
great power support for its ambitions in the Asia-Pacific. The emerging
threat to these interests was Japan.

The Japanese were allies [in World War I], but Australia didn't let that
obscure strategic interests; in fact Tokyo's entry into the war against
Germany created tensions, after Japan seized a number of German islands
north of the equator. Hughes remarked that "Australia greatly dreads
Japan's future aims," and apparently told a closed parliamentary session
that conscription was necessary because "Japan would challenge the White
Australia policy after the war ...A ustralia would need the help of the
rest of the Empire, and ... if she wishes to be sure of getting it she must
now throw her full strength into the war in Europe."

The diggers at far away Gallipoli died to bolster Australian imperialism
closer to home.

Having invested so many Australian lives in the European carnage, Hughes
arrived at the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference determined to extract the
maximum gains for Australia's rulers, demanding control of all the South
Pacific islands taken from Germany. This was about both territory and race.
Hughes fought to secure a special "C-class" League of Nations mandate to
cover what is now Namibia and certain Pacific islands. The occupying power
would be able to impose its own laws, most importantly "White Australia"
immigration controls.

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