The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) is pleased to announce that its public meetings, “Anzac Day, the glorification of militarism and the drive to World War III,” will proceed, as planned, in Sydney and Melbourne, and in Wellington, New Zealand on April 26. The concerted attempt to politically censor the SEP by denying it access to meeting facilities in Sydney has failed. The meeting will take place in the Civic Theatre at the Hurstville Entertainment Centre, starting at 2.00 p.m. Please note the earlier starting time.
In both Melbourne and Wellington, the meetings will be held at the venues initially booked and announced. The Arts House at the Meat Market in North Melbourne has informed the SEP that it rejected calls for the booking to be cancelled. The Wellington meeting is at Russell Keown House in Lower Hutt.
On April 10, the SEP was confronted with the sudden cancellation of its booking of the Burwood Library Auditorium by the Labor Party-controlled Burwood City Council, on the spurious pretext of complaints by two residents—actually made by supporters of the extreme right-wing Reclaim Australia movement—about the “nature” of the meeting.
A week later, the University of Sydney joined Burwood Council in banning the public anti-war meeting. After stalling for days on the SEP’s request to hire a lecture theatre, the university refused the party’s application on April 17. It admitted that its management had held wide-ranging discussions on the issue, at “all the appropriate levels,” and has since stated in writing that “an internal security assessment” had determined that the meeting would “pose a significant risk of disruption to other University-related activities.”
Sydney university’s statement makes clear that its refusal to provide a venue was made on political grounds. As the only organisation publicly challenging the Anzac Day glorification of war and militarism, the SEP’s meeting cut across the university’s political agenda and its integration into the World War I centenary commemorations.
Every level of government, public institution and media outlet is involved in the Anzac Day “celebration.” Burwood Council, like local governments around the country, is consumed by preparations for dawn services, parades and nationalist festivities on April 25. The University of Sydney is hosting an array of Anzac-linked ceremonies and events, including an Anzac-themed concert on April 26, the day of the SEP’s public meeting.
The purpose of these events is to promote nationalism and patriotism, in order to intimidate and suppress the widespread opposition to war that exists among broad layers of workers and youth, as the Australian ruling elite accelerates its preparations for new wars (see: “The political censorship of the SEP (Australia) and the fight against war”).
The failure of the efforts to block the SEP’s meetings is a product of the party’s intransigent campaign against the assault on its democratic rights, and on the democratic rights of the working class in Australia and around the world. This has been, above all, an international campaign. The SEP has turned for support to the international working class, especially to its most politically conscious layers—the readership of the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) and the members and supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).
Scores of letters of protest have been sent to Burwood City Council and to Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor of University of Sydney, demanding that their flagrant acts of political censorship be reversed. These letters have been written by workers, students, academics, professional people, retired military personnel and youth, including branches of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), throughout Australia, and the United States, Britain, Germany, Sri Lanka, France, New Zealand and elsewhere. SEP members have campaigned in working class suburbs and campuses across Australia, winning support from thousands of workers and students.
The SEP’s campaign has revealed the extent and political depth of anti-war sentiment. Large sections of the population are repulsed by the deluge of militarist propaganda being churned out in the name of Anzac Day by the government, mass media and corporate establishment. The most thoughtful workers and youth have responded to the SEP’s warnings that, behind their backs, preparations are being made for an imperialist World War III and to the necessity to build an international anti-war movement.
At the same time, the campaign has revealed the complicity of the entire media and political establishment in the drive to war. With the exception of two small articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and Honi Soit, the student newspaper at University of Sydney, a conspiracy of silence has prevailed in the press and electronic media over the political censorship of the SEP.
All the self-styled “progressive” organisations, including the Greens, civil liberties groups and the pseudo-left groups, Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity have remained silent. Not one has responded to the SEP’s press releases and publicly condemned Burwood Council or the University of Sydney.
The working class must take the sharpest warning from the abandonment, by this privileged middle-class milieu, of any commitment to democratic principles. Its primary source lies not in political cowardice but in support for and complicity in the imperialist war preparations, along with deep-going hostility to the SEP’s struggle to independently mobilise the working class, on the basis of a socialist and internationalist program, against war.
We call on all WSWS readers and SEP supporters in Sydney, Melbourne and Wellington to attend the April 26 meetings (details listed below) as a conscious stand against political censorship and as part of the struggle being waged by the International Committee of the Fourth International to build an international anti-war movement.
The highest expression of this fight, the ICFI’s international celebration of May Day, will take place the following week. It will bring together workers and youth from around the world to participate in an international Online May Day Rally in opposition to capitalism and imperialist war. To register for this powerful political demonstration of the international unity of the working class, click here.
Anzac Day, the glorification of militarism and the drive to World War III
Sunday, April 26, 2:00 p.m.
Hurstville Entertainment Centre
16 MacMahon St, Hurstville
Six minutes from Hurstville Railway Station
Tickets: $3/$2 concession
Sunday, April 26, 2:30 p.m.
Arts House, Meat Market
5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Tickets: $3/$2 concession
Sunday April 26, 2.30 p.m.
Room 4, First Floor, Russell Keown House,
Cnr. Laings Road and Queens Drive,
Tickets: $3/$2 concession