Leaders of the International Committee of the Fourth International, and its sections around the world, sent greetings to the Socialist Equality Party’s meetings in Sydney, Melbourne, and Wellington last Sunday. Entitled “Anzac Day, the glorification of militarism, and the drive to World War III,” the meetings were the only events on the Anzac Day weekend opposing the deluge of militarist propaganda being promoted by the political establishment in Australia and New Zealand. The meeting in Sydney was held after an international campaign against attempts by the Labor-controlled Burwood Council, and the University of Sydney to block the event. The greetings, which were read during the course of the meetings, were fol lowed by considerable applause.
From the Socialist Equality Party (US)
The Socialist Equality Party in the United States sends its revolutionary greetings to these meetings organized by our sister parties in Australia and New Zealand on the glorification of Anzac Day and the drive toward World War III.
Not since 1939 or 1914 has the danger of world war been so imminent. The most incendiary force in the world today is American imperialism, which has engaged in nearly a quarter century of unending and expanding war, invading or targeting for regime change one state after the next.
In Asia and the Pacific, the American financial aristocracy has enlisted the services of its junior imperialist partners in Australia and New Zealand in the campaign to encircle and contain China, under the framework of the “pivot to Asia.” The workers and young people in your countries are being dragged into a catastrophe of unimaginable dimensions as part of the relentless drive for world domination and conquest.
The greatest danger facing the working class is that decisions are being taken entirely behind the scenes. Foreign policy is made by a corrupt and criminal ruling class, which deploys the political establishment and the mass media in the attempt to intimidate and silence opposition to its disastrous policies.
Nowhere is the shameless propaganda of the ruling class more evident than in the sickening efforts by the Australian and New Zealand ruling class to elevate the slaughter at Gallipoli 100 years ago into a day of national celebration. The imperialist crimes of the past are being glorified in preparation for new and even greater crimes in the future.
At the same time, organizations that once claimed to be "left" have been incorporated into the pro-capitalist, imperialist set-up. They have become the most fervent champions of war—exemplified in the statement of one Australian pseudo-socialist in 2012, who declared that the time of “knee-jerk anti-imperialism” had passed.
The unceasing campaign for war is a reflection not of strength, but of weakness. The ruling class is terrified of the deep opposition that exists, not only to war, but to its entire policy of repression and social counter-revolution. It is for this reason that it has sought to shut down all expression of the real interests and sentiments of the working class, including through the attempt to shut down your meeting in Sydney. Your determined resistance against these efforts is a model for the entire international working class.
Here in the United States, the unceasing war-mongering of the ruling class has been accompanied by a massive assault on the working class, which has raised social inequality to levels not seen since before the Great Depression. Military violence abroad has its counterpart in the relentless violence directed at the working class at home, expressed most horrifically in the daily acts of police killings.
As in Australia and New Zealand, the state as a whole is deeply discredited, populated by criminal spokesmen for the banks and military-intelligence apparatus. The United States is on the eve of enormous social upheavals.
As World War II approached, in the founding document of the Fourth International, Trotsky warned of the dangers confronting the international working class. “Without a socialist revolution, in the next historical period at that, a catastrophe threatens the whole culture of mankind.”
This warning must be issued with renewed force today. Yet the crisis of capitalism creates not only the danger of world war, but its opposite—the objective foundation for international socialist revolution. The deep anger and opposition that exists in the working class must be given conscious political expression and leadership, a task that can be carried out only by the Fourth International. Your meetings will give a powerful impulse to this movement, not only in Australia and New Zealand, but throughout the word.
National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (US)
From the Socialist Equality Party (UK)
We are immensely proud of the struggle being waged by our comrades against the warmongering of the Abbott government, with the collusion of the Labor opposition, trade unions and the media.
The exploitation of Anzac Day, of Gallipoli, for the preparation of new military crimes stands out as an obscene spectacle, even in a world that is not short of such political depravity.
But it is also dangerous for the bourgeoisie: Dangerous because it depends on their suppressing the truth about historic events that stand as testimony, written in the blood of millions, of the need for capitalism to be overthrown and replaced by world socialism.
Our comrades have refused to be silenced by the state-orchestrated campaign of censorship and intimidation that is the necessary accompaniment to the flag waving, jingoism and xenophobia presently befouling Australia. We never expected anything less of them. Our movement, the International Committee of the Fourth International and its cadre, is inheritor to the traditions of principled and fearless anti-imperialism of the international socialist movement.
However, permit me to say something about those who have taken the decision to attend today’s meetings.
You represent that same powerful and noble tradition in the Australian working class. The stand that you have taken is an initial indication of the mass opposition to imperialist militarism and war that must and will emerge in every country, which the ICFI alone seeks to give conscious expression. You are the first among many and you have found your political home.
National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (UK)
From the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka)
It is with great pride that we of the Sri Lankan SEP greet your rally held today, in defiance of the anti-democratic attempts by the Australian political authorities to prevent the voice of the international socialists, who have opposed the filthy jingoist Anzac war celebrations, from being heard.
We live in a period where all the fundamental contradictions of the world capitalist system, which exploded in the form of two world wars during the last century, are threatening to conflagrate the globe once again. In its pursuit of unrivaled control of world resources and markets, US imperialism’s declaration of its “pivot to Asia,” has intensified political tensions, in the South and South East Asian region, to an unprecedented level. Washington acts as the master de-stabilizer of political and social conditions in every country in the region, to line them up for a military offensive against China, which it considers a strategic competitor for world domination.
We in Sri Lanka recently experienced a US instigated regime change operation, during the presidential election held in January this year. Maithripala Sirisena was promoted as the rival presidential candidate to oust Mahinda Rajapakse because of the latter’s close relations with China. This followed the developments in Australia, where a parliamentary coup was launched to change the Labor leadership. These regime changes had nothing to do with democracy, but were aimed at mobilizing the ruling elites of Sri Lanka and Australia behind the war machine of US imperialism.
The Sri Lankan bourgeoisie, alongside their counterparts in India and other colonies, participated in the first and second imperialist world wars as slaves intervening in a conflict of their master. Australia, a weak imperialist country, played the role of an agent of the superior British power in the same way it tags on to the Washington administration today. The stark truth is that in all these countries, the working people stood and stand overwhelmingly opposed to imperialism and its wars.
During the Second World War, in Sri Lanka, this mass opposition to imperialist war was politically articulated and expressed by the Trotskyists of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, which was banned by the British colonial rulers as soon as the war began. The Trotskyists refused to be intimidated, and working in illegality, took the courageous decision to launch the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India (BLPI) as the all India section of the Fourth International, to mobilize the working class and the oppressed people throughout the subcontinent on a revolutionary program against the war, colonial rule and for socialism.
In today’s context, the International Committee of the Fourth International has taken the lead in mobilizing the world working class, youth and the oppressed against the ongoing preparations for a Third Imperialist War. Our international May Day celebration highlights this historic task.
In taking the bold step of defending the democratic right to freedom of speech and the right to organize on a socialist program, the SEP-Australia represents the proud traditions of Trotskyism. We stand with you and reiterate Trotsky’s pledge: “If our international be still weak in numbers, it is strong in doctrine, program, tradition, in the incomparable tempering of its cadres. Who does not perceive this today ... tomorrow it will become more evident.”
General Secretary, Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka)
From the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit in Germany
The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit, the German section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, sends its greetings and its full support to your meetings opposing the glorification of militarism and the drive to war.
The fact that the Australian and New Zealand elites glorify the slaughter of tens of thousands of young men on the altar of British and French imperialism seems indeed “bizarre” and hard to understand.
When we went to school, the First World War was seen as the embodiment of the senseless sacrifice of life for profit and power. Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front was compulsory reading. “War of attrition,” “trench warfare” and “gas warfare” were synonyms for the barbarism of the 20th century that, two decades later, was to culminate in the Nazi war of extermination and the Holocaust.
That this has changed—and Australia and New Zealand are by no means exceptions—can only be explained by the deep crisis of the global capitalist system and the advanced stage of the preparations for another world war – a danger that is vastly underestimated.
Amongst broad sections of the population all over the world there is overwhelming opposition to militarism and war. This is the reason why the ideological preparation of war plays such an important role. It takes the form of mass propaganda—as, at present, in Australia and New Zealand—as well as the form of the systematic falsification and rewriting of history.
In Germany, we find ourselves at the forefront of a struggle on this very issue. Responding to our consistent campaign against the revival of German militarism, the Berlin Humboldt University has issued an official statement accusing us of “character assassination” and “slander” of a professor who has publicly associated himself with Ernst Nolte, the foremost Hitler and Nazi apologist amongst German academics. By doing so, Humboldt University has allied itself with a well-known unrepentant Nazi apologist.
We are waging a counter-offensive that will greatly enhance the authority of our movement in Germany and internationally.
In September it will be one hundred years since Lenin, Trotsky, Rakovsky, Radek and three dozen more socialist internationalists met in the Swiss village of Zimmerwald to state their opposition to war. Two years later, they led an international, revolutionary mass movement that took power in Russia and founded the Communist International.
We are at a historical turning point. We are confident that your meetings are one further step in transforming the International Committee of the Fourth International and its sections into the revolutionary leadership recognized by masses all over the world.
We wish you success,
National Secretary of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit
Secretary of the International Committee of the Fourth International