Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

E. F. Hill

Australia’s Revolution: On the Struggle for a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party


The split from Communism of the Australian revisionists was a product of the class struggle as was the international split. The class struggle had developed to the stage where imperialism was heading for total collapse and socialism was heading for world-wide victory. Modern revisionism is a desperate attempt within the working class to save imperialism from collapse. Internally in Australia these factors operated. Capitalism’s general crisis had intensified. Australia’s subservience to U.S. imperialism had become more apparent. In World War II, the Australian ruling class on behalf of U.S. investors in Australia and on its own behalf had turned unashamedly to U.S. imperialism as its protector (a process with origins much earlier). In the post World War II period a vast U.S. imperialist investment in Australia occurred so that U.S. imperialism dominated the main sections of Australia’s economy both secondary and primary.

A picture of what happened is given in an article in the newspaper Vanguard (February 18, 1971):

The Australian traitor class has long encouraged overseas investment in Australia, with the result that between July 1947 and June 1969 a total of $7,577 million has been invested here. The main sources of private capital inflow up to June 1968 were U.K., 47%; U.S.A. and Canada, 39.2%; Other, 13.2%. However, it must be pointed out that U.S. imperialism at the moment controls the more decisive, important sectors of our economy (automobile, heavy industry, real estate, petrol, mines), and over the next ten years, the U.S. leaders intend to invest $7,000 million, while Britain’s investments will come nowhere near that figure.

All this investment – like the $358 million invested by U.S. companies in Australia in manufacturing plant and equipment in 1970 and the $141 million invested by U.S. bosses in the petroleum industry in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands – is not developing the so-called ’national interest’. It means in practice, higher prices for the workers and higher profits for the U.S. bosses.

Australia’s minerals are of special value to the imperialist powers involved in our territorial carve-up, but especially to the U.S. imperialists who explained quite openly in a 1952 Presidential Commission investigating the Raw Materials Situation that ’From now until the year 2000 the U.S. will require 100% of the known reserves of raw materials in the Free World’.

At the moment, the main foreign corporations extracting Australia’s natural mineral wealth include: Hammersley Holding (jointly owned by U.S. Kaiser Steel and British Rio Tinto Zinc), The American Metal Climax Inc., Aluminium Company of America, Swiss Aluminium, American Smelting and Refining Company, Texas Sulphur Company and others. Of interesting significance is the number of major U.S. corporation investors in Australia which also have leading contracts with the U.S. Defence Department. These include: General Electric (No. 2 in the U.S. list with $1620 million in military contracts), General Motors (No. 10 with $584 million), Martin Marietta (No. 25 with $264 million), Kaiser Industries (No. 45 with $142 million), Ford (No. 19 with $396 million), Honeywell (No. 18 with $405 million), Olin Mathieson (No. 20 with $354 million), Standard Oil (No. 24 with $291 million), R.C.A. Sperry-Rand (No. 12 with $467 million), General Dynamics (No. 3 with $1243 million), Westinghouse (No. 15 with $429 million),Chrysler (No. 53 with $121 million), Texaco (No. 52 with $123 million), Standard Oil (Calif.) (No. 42 with $148 million), Mobil (No. 41 with $151 million), Pan Am (No. 39 with $167 million), Lockheed (No. 1 with $2000 million), and others giving a total value in terms of dollars for all these military contracts, from 1968-69 of $36,888 million.

U.S. imperialism’s growing dominance over Australia’s economic, political and cultural life has produced a situation in which ups and downs in the U.S. economy have an impact on Australia.

A pre-Moratorium broadsheet written by a group of young workers, entitled ’Vietnam is a Bosses’ War’, published a graph of movements in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (a measure of U.S. economic trends) and 50 leading companies on the Melbourne Stock Exchange, which highlights the close connection between the U.S. and Australian economies.

One reason for this is the great plunder of our mining industries which currently earn about 20% of Australia’s annual export income by U.S. and other imperialists. In 1968-69 almost 50% of Australia’s mineral exports went to Japan, and this will also increase rapidly in the future. At the same time, however, Japan depends on the U.S. for about one-third of its export trade. Hence an economic setback in the U.S. economy soon has its repercussions in Australia via reductions in Japanese steel and heavy industrial production and consequent reduction of the import of Australian minerals.

So it can be seen that U.S. imperialism is a major plunderer of Australia’s economy and also cracks the whip politically. Even though the British imperialists may have a greater percentage of capital invested here at the present time its investments in the next few years will be nowhere near the proportion of those of the U.S. overlords who are the number one imperialist concern in Australia. Furthermore, it is significant that the U.S. imperialists are carving up only the most ’juicy’ portions of Australia: the mineral and mining industry, the automobile and petrol racket, heavy industry in general, real estate, etc.

The U.S. has far greater sway over its parliamentary puppets than do the British in Australia. Through their local quislings, the U.S. imperialists have effectively orientated Australia’s economy towards aiding U.S. aggressive wars in Indo-China, as well as aiding U.S. exploitation of Australia itself.

With the world wide general trend towards armed revolutionary struggle against imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism a general world wide crack-down has been instigated by the U.S. ruling class. In their death throes, drowning in the rising tide of people’s armed struggle the world over, the imperialist chieftains in the U.S.A. have been forced, by the sheer necessity to survive for one split second longer, to resort to fascism: the open, terrorist dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie.

True to the role of an imperialist “protector”, U.S. imperialism carefully saw that Australian basic manufacturing processes were in its hands and no substantial independent machine tool industry was allowed to develop. At the same time, the Australian ruling class was forced to comply with every U.S. imperialist order. From being a colony and satellite of British imperialism, Australia became mainly a satellite of U.S. imperialism and its ruling circles became servile flunkeys of U.S. imperialism. Australia thus became involved in U.S. imperialist aggression against Korea, against Vietnam and it provided police troops to suppress the liberation struggle in Malaya. More directly it suppressed the peoples of Papua-New Guinea.

Along with U.S. imperialism is its protege Japanese militarism. It too has an aggressive economic expansionist programme which embraces Australia. It carries with it the menace of aggressive war, fascist suppression and subjugation of the Australian people.

U.S. imperialism has identified itself as the main enemy of Australian workers and working people. Australian workers and working people have struggled against it on many fronts. In the course of these developments, the part played by the Soviet revisionists as traitors to Communism and as collaborators with U.S. imperialism became clearer. The understanding between U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionist imperialism showed out, that they had agreed on mutual spheres of economic and political influence, but the struggle between them for world domination continued. In short, Soviet revisionist imperialism took on more openly its imperialist features and behaved like all other imperialisms. It too, stretches out its imperialist tentacles even to Australia. And the Japanese imperialists greatly intensified their investment in and exploitation of Australia. The picture was of U.S. imperialist penetration and domination of Australia assisted by Soviet revisionism which also now follows its own imperialist interest in Australia, Japanese penetration (originally promoted by U.S. imperialism) and decline of the British imperialist position in Australia.

The enemies of Australia crystallised into the remaining British imperialists, the now dominant U.S. imperialists, the rising Japanese imperialists and the handful of Australian monopolies who had turned themselves into “partners” and flunkeys of these imperialists. Nor should we lose sight of the Soviet revisionist imperialists with their interest in Australia. The Australian traitor class consists of a handful of monopoly exploiters of the Australian people.

Communists must always keep in mind the law of the uneven development of capitalism. This leads to changes in the respective strengths and positions of the imperialisms. Thus as we have shown, British imperialism was the first main suppressor of Australia, U.S. imperialism the second. Now U.S. imperialism as a world power is declining. New contenders have arisen particularly so far as Australia is concerned – Japanese imperialism and Soviet revisionist imperialism. This situation needs constant analysis to correctly identify enemies and friends and to exploit conflicts between Australia’s oppressors.

By 1973 Australia’s population had risen to over 13,000,000. Australia was now very much more advanced on the capitalist road than in the year of the Communist Party’s formation. Industrial production in money values was now greater than primary production. The numbers of the working class had grown greatly, the number of agricultural workers (the rural proletariat) had declined. But capitalism, big business, including U.S. big business in agriculture, had greatly expanded. Australian class divisions had become much more sharply defined into the two main classes of capitalists and workers. Amongst the capitalists, monopoly was now far more advanced, and particularly the domination of U.S. monopolies in critical spheres of the economy. And at the same time through its control of the International Monetary Fund, U.S. imperialism determined the direction of Australia’s capitalist development.

The forces opposed to these monopolies (exploited by them) consisted of broad strata of Australian people headed by the Australian workers.