In this video, our party vice-chair Joti Brar talks to RT News about an upcoming referendum in Australia. The question to be asked is this: should the constitution of Australia “be altered in order to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by creating an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice” (a permanent body that “may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”)?
During the (extremely heated) debate on this issue, former Australian prime minister John Howard said that the British colonisation of Australia was the “luckiest thing to ever happen to it”. Such a patently absurd statement coming out of the mouth of an imperialist lackey is, to the trained eye, anticipated – when we understand the nature of the imperialist system.
Over 140 years of the colonial period in Australia, the British carried out at least 270 ‘frontier massacres’ against undefended Aborigines.
Australian colonisation, like so many similar projects of the 18th and 19th centuries, was possible only via the mechanism of mass genocide. The monopoly on advanced weaponry laid the basis for these undertakings, and the ideological justification was provided by the comforting theory of racial supremacy. The European ruling classes told themselves that their development of the leading technologies of the world lay in their innate ‘civilisation’ (racial supremacy), rather than having been the consequence of geographical and historical conditions.
For a long time, there existed an outright apartheid system in Australia, whereby indigenous workers had to obtain passes to work in towns and cities. One precondition for being allowed such a pass was that the applying Aborigine could no longer celebrate his or her 60,000 year-old cultural traditions, whether those be in song, dance, painting, etc – for such ‘uncivilised’ activity risked undermining the cultural hegemony of the colonists.
The legacy of this time persists strongly today, with white Australian workers occupying a privileged position as compared to Aboriginal workers. Why else should it be seen (and actively promoted in bougeois media) as ‘controversial’ that First Nation peoples should be granted some systematic voice in Australia’s bourgeois parliament?
This is the mildest of reforms, after all, quite compatible with the status quo. No property relations will be affected. And yet the merest suggestion of official recognition of the rights of Aboriginal peoples has brought forth such a torrent of vitriolic racism as shows how close to the surface racist attitudes remain in Australian society.
The hideous racism of imperialism must be stamped out, and it is only with a Leninist understanding of the term that we can meaningfully work towards that goal.