Warmongers exploit Anzac Day
"Now as you go forth to do your master's bloody business, in front of you the enemy guns, at your back the officer's pistol, remember, their defeat is not yours, and neither is their victory." Bertolt Brecht: A mother to her soldier son Re-writing history is no part-time hobby for the ruling class in Australia. It is an ongoing and continuous task of constantly trying to bring back into vogue their version of events. Since the declaration of endless war by George W Bush, the Murdoch press in particular has gone to the limits and beyond in their warmongering. Thus, Anzac Day is seen as a great opportunity to propagate and glorify war. In the lead up to this Anzac Day, Gerard Henderson, of the Sydney Institute, pushed a specific class history of the Anzacs and WW1 in his feature column in the Fairfax press. I take Henderson as a starting point because he is not so crude and blunt as Murdoch's propagandists, but more sly and underhand in his approach, dressing his invidious intent in the cloak of the reasoned observer. The Sydney Institute is a right wing-think tank and Henderson, as its main mouthpiece, has reinvented himself to a certain degree since the election of the Howard Government in 1996. He has become the "moderate" voice of the extreme right: a mealy-mouthed apologist for the Government's reactionary policies, whilst gently reproofing unfortunate excesses and indiscretions (unfortunate because they came to light in public). As a right-wing revivalist Henderson is a promoter, romanticiser and populariser of war. In his column on April 23 he set out to show how some writers, historians and entertainers who had been critical of Australia's involvement in WW1 had finally come to their senses, pulling back a little from their militant agitprop Nonetheless, he means all wars that Australia has been involved in — "...it was not always clear that most Australians would honour the fallen and the survivors of all Australia's military engagements in the 20th century." There are two approaches to war, based on class. For the working class, World War 1 meant disaster and death and ruin. It was an imperialist war between Germany on the one hand, and Britain, France and Czarist Russia on the other, for the redivision of the world. It was aimed at the seizure of the others' colonies, the plunder of competing countries and the weakening of the growing global workers' movement. Behind the drive to war were the monopoly corporations in the developed capitalist countries who were scrambling to extend their control over the resources of the whole word. Millions of workers were conscripted as cannon fodder for this purpose. As for WW2, the defeat of fascism led to new socialist revolutions in a number of countries and the ultimate demise of colonialism, something which the new world order now being pursued by the US and its supporters is intended to revive. (Henderson is not so enamoured of the great victory over fascism, the extreme right having problems with certain aspects of the outcome of WW2, mainly who won). Unlike WW2, a just war against German and Italian fascism and Japanese militarism, there followed dirty wars against Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, all with the aims of imposing various forms of colonial domination and defeating independence struggles and revolutionary forces. Here again cannon fodder was required, with entire civilian populations the targets of the invading forces. No one refutes the horror and waste of war, as Henderson suggests of anyone who has stood for peace and exposed the aims behind nationalistic rhetoric. The fact is, Henderson's message is not the true one of remembrance on Anzac Day, which may be summed up with the words "Never Again". The warmonger's clarion calls coming from the likes of the Sydney Institute are more along the lines of "Embrace Death" and "War Is Good Business".