By no means do prominent issues like uranium and Omega exhaust the subject of U.S. imperialist and Soviet social-imperialist interference in Australia.
People’s struggle arises on every issue of oppression, invasion of rights, interference with democratic liberty.
Imperialism strives to subordinate every aspect of life to itself.
The subject of freeways for motor vehicles has assumed great prominence in Australia. Freeways have been built throughout Australia. They carry the motor vehicles produced by the multinationals, the commercial transport of those multinationals and of course private motor vehicles. Instead of a rational, efficient and cheap public transport system the multinationals ruin that system and substitute for it their motor vehicles. The freeways serve them and in the end serve a military purpose.
Freeways mean invasion of the people’s homes, noise, pollution by fumes, congestion at terminals.
Their construction leads to widespread protest action. That protest action develops in scope and depth. It assumes more organised form. It becomes increasingly obvious that freeways serve the oil, motor vehicle, rubber interests. They are revealed as public enemies. Those interests are U.S. imperialist interests. They straddle Australia physically. An anti-imperialist Australia, independent of the imperialist powers, would make rational use of motor vehicles, plan traffic and develop an efficient public transport system. So long as there is lack of complete independence the interests of the imperialist powers will assert themselves. The more they assert themselves the greater will be the people’s opposition generated.
Freeways are but one facet of general environmental struggle. The great mining interests tear up Australia, even more ruthlessly than hitherto seize the land of the black people. In doing so they engender resistance. The resistance embraces ever-wider sections of people. The Clutha project threatened vast areas of New South Wales south coast land. People’s opposition embraced workers and small capitalists and even larger capitalists and, in between, vast numbers of intermediate sections of the people. The picture is similar throughout Australia.
In the fields of education and health, endless damage is done. In the first place, education and health basically serve the needs of imperialist interests in Australia. Education proceeds on the assumptions of Australia’s dependence. The “benefits” of imperialist investment are taken as read. The assumptions of the status quo of Australia are instilled into people from the cradle to the grave without the reality ever being pointed out. The education system is geared to serve the great industries of Australia owned as they are by the multinational and local monopoly capitalists. Thus the bulk of education services in the primary and early secondary levels are starved. All that the factories require is a labour force sufficiently literate to perform the routine tasks that advanced mass production requires. Tertiary education is reserved for the specialists necessary in that production, the “theoreticians” of capitalism and subordination.
Health services are subordinated to the interests of the multinational drug-houses. Medicine is distorted by the need at all costs to get the workers back to work if they are ill. It is distorted by the need to devote immense effort to the treatment of the victims of motor vehicle and industrial accidents caused by the monopoly capitalists whose production is geared only to profit at the expense of Australia’s independence.
Again all this causes the people to rise up in struggle. The education and medical fields have been conspicuous in mass struggle. Struggle raises the demand for adequate education facilities, a universal free medical service. In turn each demand carries within it the ultimate demand for an anti-imperialist independent Australia.
Hence children, teachers, parents, patients, nurses, doctors and other medical personnel are involved in struggle the ultimate goal of which can only be an anti-imperialist independent Australia, for the main enemies are the multinationals and their rival Soviet social-imperialism.
A special word needs to be said about democratic liberties. Democratic liberties do not exist as things in themselves. They have come into existence as the result of people’s struggles. The bourgeoisie in the struggle against feudalism raised the banner of democratic liberty – freedom of organisation, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly. The bourgeoisie was the leader of the struggle. The main force was the feudal serfs, the incipient working class. But having won and consolidated its power and secured “democratic liberty” for itself against the feudal overlords the bourgeoisie resisted democratic liberty for the working class and working people. The basis of effective democratic liberty is economic. Freedom of the press is very restricted unless along with it goes ownership of presses, paper etc.; freedom of speech is very restricted unless along with it goes ownership of halls, radio and television stations. Certainly these freedoms even in their largely formal existence are important for the people as indicated above.
The people have struggled to extend democratic liberty. They have had certain victories, but what democratic liberties they have are truncated, conditional and always under pressure. Democratic liberty, the liberty to struggle, the very liberty to struggle for independence, is an integral part of the struggle for independence.
On the great issues in Australia just commented upon (Vietnam, uranium, Omega, education, health services), imperialist and local monopoly capitalism move to restrict still further the democratic liberties won in struggle. The coercion of the state apparatus asserts itself on this front. In turn, increasing numbers of people take up the cause of democratic liberty. The cause of democratic liberty intertwines with the cause of anti-imperialist independence. Conditions of democratic liberty are the best conditions in which to organise and fight for independence. They provide the opportunity to organise the united action of the people, to propagate the cause of independence even though freedom of speech and the press and assembly is limited.
The struggle in defence of democratic liberty is at once a product of the oppression of the state apparatus and at the same time a weapon in the people’s fight for anti-imperialist independence. The cause of democratic liberty and the cause of anti-imperialist independence are inseparable.
The banners of independence and democratic liberty will undoubtedly be upheld to the end.