Anzac Day 2024

A Legend is Born

One hundred and nine years ago today, Australian and New Zealand troops stormed a Turkish beach at Gallipoli. Intense battles were fought between them and the Ottoman troops for almost nine months, before the Imperial forces evacuated under cover of darkness. It was a misconceived fiasco, in which 56,000 were killed on each side due to Winston Churchill launching a campaign which was doomed from the outset. Disasters like that were par for the course in World War I, which was fought between two great imperial alliances over colonies, territory and markets. The Anzac troops fought heroically in a cause that was both futile and ignoble. Their sacrifice is the subject of compulsory national remembrance. The crime that was WWI – not so much.


The legend of the Anzacs, a selectively edited history, is deployed to bolster whatever militaristic campaign or adventure the Australian ruling class is concerned with at the time. Now, they beat the drums of war over China. Sober assessments about growing conflict between United States imperialism and China mix in the media with lurid fantasies about China’s aggressive intentions. Australia has ordered eight nuclear submarines to participate in the US containment of China. In conjunction with the US navy, these will hang about in straits and channels in the first island chain that separates the South China Sea and the East China Sea from the Pacific Ocean. The Chinese navy will be bottled up whenever the US wants to, so the Pacific can remain an American lake.

Meanwhile, in Palestine

Israel’s genocide of Gaza, in response to the attack by Hamas and other Palestinian groups last October, continues apace. The US arms and finances Israel in this, sharing full responsibility for the genocide. Despite denials from the Foreign Minister, Australia is assisting. Australia supplies military parts and equipment to Israel. Crucially, Australia is the only place in the world which makes a vital part for the bomb bay doors of the F35s which are bombing Gaza at this moment.

Stop the War before it Starts

Both the current genocide of Gaza and the threatening war with China need to be resisted. Labor’s loyalty to capitalism is rock solid, so we can’t expect action from there. Rather, workers in Australia have to take matters into their own hands. Military exports to Israel have to be stopped by union black bans. AUKUS must be spiked by the refusal to build nuclear submarines. Pine Gap, which supplies information to Israel and is also key to US war planning, must be closed by unions cutting off power, water and telecommunications. To achieve these feats, we need to build rank and file power that can roll over the bureaucrats of the ACTU and individual unions. And in the process, we can discard the militaristic myths that assist in building support for capital’s wars.


25 April 2024