by Alice M.
This year marks 100 year anniversary of the outbreak and carnage of the 1914-1918 imperialist World War 1.
WW1 was a fierce battle between the major European imperialist powers (and the Ottoman empire) and their ruling class masters, the corporate conglomerates and big banks at that time, in a grab for more resources, markets and the economic and territorial spoils of Europe, the Middle East and their colonies.
Hundreds of thousands of working class soldiers were slaughtered on the battlefields, with many more suffering horrific injuries, fighting in their ruling class masters’ wars.
In 1914 Australia was a semi-colony of the British Empire. Thousands of Australian soldiers were sent to the slaughter on the other side of the world to fight for British colonialism and imperialism.
One hundred years on and imperialist wars are more sophisticated, but no less brutal. The world is in a constant state, or threat, of imperialist wars, in many regions of the world.
The imperialist drive for economic and political domination has not changed, but intensified.
US imperialism is the main instigator of wars either through direct military invasions and occupations or through their local proxy puppets. The hand of US imperialism can be found behind most wars today; Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Ukraine/Crimea.
Australia – a pawn of imperialism
Australian workers have always been used as dispensable pawns in imperialist wars of Australia’s economic, political and imperial masters – fighting first for the British empire, and now US imperialism.
The US-Australia alliance has deeply integrated Australia into US imperialist plans. Australia’s foreign policies, military forces, defence facilities and industries are an inter-operable part of the US imperialist war machine.
Like ventriloquists and hand puppets, successive Australian politicians mimic every US imperialist threat, intimidation and pronouncement on international affairs. Australian governments enthusiastically click their heels and salute the US masters.
The US imperialist Pivot into Asia is seeing the build up and expansion of US military in the region to protect and expand its economic interests and ambitions. US troops and bases are reinforced or being built up in the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Guam, South Korea and Australia.
Pine Gap in central Australia has expanded to become the most important intelligence gathering and surveillance centre for the US military, and a base for launching its drones into Asia. For the first time in our history Australia will be a permanent military base for thousands of US marines, warships and planes.
The Trans Pacific Partnership is the economic side of US imperialism’s Pivot into Asia. It goes hand in glove with the military expansion of the US and the threat of war in the region.
But many in the community are not accepting US imperialist plans for Australia as a military base and important launching pad for imperialist wars. A new people’s movement is emerging calling for a foreign policy that is independent of US and big powers, builds peace not wars, and demands the closing down of US bases and an end to US-Australia military alliance.
On the eve of ANZAC anniversary, people from across Australia are gathering in Canberra from 21-25 April, in a week of protests and activities calling for end to wars, for an independent and peaceful Australia. A national peace conference on 22 April in Canberra will bring together peace groups, religious organisations, indigenous communities, young activists, unions and many others seeking an end to the devastation of imperialist wars.
For the working class and all ordinary people striving for peace, the legacy of the imperialist WW1 is the inspirational struggle against conscription and today’s struggle to end the inhumane and predatory system of capitalism that spawns imperialism and its wars.