Literature and art are extremely important in the whole anti-imperialist independence cause.
Imperialism uses its own literature and art as weapons in enslaving its victims. Hence it floods Australia with imperialist literature, films, art, radio and television programmes. Amongst the Australian “partners” and servants of the imperialists a literature and art of national betrayal, subservience, is developed.
U.S. imperialism took over in Australia on the decline of British imperialism. It promoted U.S. films, songs, pictures, extolled the virtues of the American way of life. At the same time it decried and belittled the literature and art of Australia’s people. Preceded by British imperialism, it physically destroyed the art of Australia’s black people. What art of the black people survived, it treated with contempt or cynically exploited and prostituted.
Australian people however have responded by struggling to defend the art of the Australian black people and to develop further a people’s literature and art. All over Australia working people, intellectuals who have identified themselves with the cause of Australian independence, are developing people’s poetry, prose, pictures.
It is a process that is growing and is bound to grow further.
Widespread protest action has developed over the domination of television programmes and radio programmes by American-sponsored material. While all-round Australian art and literature are in comparative infancy, still Australian people raise the demand for greater Australian content. There is “Australian” and “Australian”. There is “Australian” that is of the workers, working and other patriotic people and there is “Australian” of people who are really traitors to Australia.
Amongst the common folk of Australia is immense all-round artistic talent. There are writers, artists, poets, musicians of the people. True, the avenues for catering for their writings, pictures, poetry, music are circumscribed. But they find a way. Their struggle is a component of independence struggle.
Their ideas expressed in artistic form serve the people, who have great enthusiasm for Australian literature and art.
The workers in particular develop newspapers, cartoons, pictures, poems, parodies, in their never-ceasing struggle. They show extraordinary ingenuity, initiative. Thus a treasure-house of original short stories, of poems and parodies, of cartoons, posters and positive pictures, of songs is built up. It all has a direction of anti-imperialist independence. The great tradition of the armed rebellion at Eureka in 1854 inspires a whole new independent literature and art.
The process extends far beyond the working class (the industrial workers). It embraces other working and patriotic people. Despite the U.S. flood of rubbish and the gathering flood of Soviet social-imperialist rubbish, in a sense because of them, the flow of literature and art of the Australian common folk grows.
On the other side is the literature and art of national betrayal, national denigration, the literature and art of the traitor class. This stuff – books, pictures, poetry, films – is full of filth, of degenerate and diversionary rubbish. People like Patrick White are acclaimed as the great men of Australian literature. But White’s writings reflect only the utter bankruptcy of capitalism, its chaos and disorder, the depravity of the ruling circles and the tortured writings of White himself in response to it. The fact that Patrick White is hailed as the great man of Australian literature is sufficient to show the monopoly capitalists’ view of literature and art. Its aim is to corrupt and disarm the working and other patriotic people.
Nor would the picture be complete without reference to the daily press. This press is utterly bankrupt, openly hostile to the working people. It serves the imperialist and social-imperialist enemies of Australia. Its aim too is to confuse, divide, divert and denigrate Australia’s common people. It is nothing but a vehicle of filth. Increasingly the people rebel against it. Increasingly it must try to adjust, “reform” itself so as to meet criticism and maintain a measure of credibility in order to deceive the people. This is testimony to the strength of people’s opposition to this traitor press.