[Marxism] Gallipoli invasion - Anzac Day

Philip Ferguson philipferguson8 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 22 20:29:18 MDT 2013

In New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands, Niue, the Pitcairns and Tonga,
April 25 each year is Anzac Day.  (It's no longer commemorated in Samoa and
Papua-New Guinea).  It marks the anniversary of the British-led invasion of
what is now Turkey, at Gallipoli in the Dardenelles peninsula.  For many
years, Anzac Day in New Zealand (and Australia) was marked by militaristic,
right-wing nationalism.  The disastrous Gallipoli campaign was reinvented
after the war as some sort of 'rite of passage' to nationhood.

The anti-Vietnam War movement and wider social changes in the 1970s largely
killed off those kinds of commemorations, certainly in NZ, and Anzac Day
ceremonies were attended by fewer and fewer people.  In the past decade or
so, however, there has been quite a revival of Anzac Day in New Zealand, as
a liberal-nationalist day of commemoration.  The more overt militarism of
the old Anzac Days has been replaced by a liberal narrative more in line
with the role that NZ imperialism has carved out for itself as the 'good
imperialist', the 'peace-keeper' who troops help dig wells and build
schools.  This liberal narrative not only reflects the triumph of social
liberalism as the main ideology of the ruling class here, but also accords
with NZ capital's material interests, which are increasingly bound up with
China and other Asian economies, which have long since replaced Britain
(now a minor source of trade and investment, although Australia is still
NZ's largest trading partner).

For a look at what actually happened and the recasting of Anzac Day, see:


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