ANZAC Day; or: The Importance of Keeping Turkey British

“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” ~ Jay Gould, 19th century US robber baron

Above: Poster produced by Tom Barker, editor of IWW paper Direct Action, July 1915

Another ANZAC Day, another Three Trillion Dollar War. Perhaps even a security blanket.

Otherwise: Jeff Sparrow (representing Australia) has some thoughts on ‘Memory and the anti-politics of ANZAC’; Matt McCarten (representing New Zealand) reckons ‘Anzac story a sordid tale of world domination and death’; Peter Lach-Newinsky (representing Utopia) can has not one, not two, but three posts on ANZAC: Four ANZAC Day Myths, Bertolt Brecht, The Soldier of La Ciotat and Anzac Day and war-madness 1914. Of related interest is Neville Kirk, ‘Australians for Australia’: The Right, the Labor Party and Contested Loyalties to Nation and Empire in Australia, 1917 to the Early 1930s, Labour History, No.91, November 2006.

Above: 16yo Australian soldier

A blast from the recent past:

In 2007, the ‘Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group’ issued the following statement re ANZAC Day. I don’t think the Group’s had much luck with Ending the Patriotic Myth and/or the production of Militarist Propaganda, Rallying (Australian) Workers to Take Action to End War, or done much else to impede the progress of the War Pigs, but youse can’t blame Them for trying.



In April 1915, Australian and other troops of the British Empire attacked Turkey, in a doomed attempt to knock a minor ally of Germany out of World War I. Many soldiers on both sides died, but a myth was born. According to this myth, Australians are tough, honest, irreverent towards authority, fiercely loyal and possess courage of legendary proportions. Further, these virtues are embodied in the ordinary Australian “digger”. And, according to this myth, these qualities are uniquely Australian.

Imperialism Today, Australian Style

Today, Australian soldiers are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, minor players supporting the failing U.S. “Global War on Terror”. These actions are insurance premiums on the Australian alliance with its great and powerful U.S. friend, and are unrelated to the pretexts advanced for these imperialist wars. Australian troops also occupy East Timor and the Solomon Islands and have recently returned from occupying Tonga. These actions are about maintaining Australian control of its smaller neighbours and the Pacific islands.

Patriotism and Militarism

It’s hard to miss the patriotic and militarist propaganda these days. Both the Howard Government and the ALP are determined boosters of the military and the worst criticism they can make is to call someone “un-Australian”. By supporting militarist myths and patriotic propaganda, they are trying to make it impossible to criticise the military in any way and to compel support for imperialist wars.

Workers can end war

War is endemic in capitalism. Each national capitalist class employs its military to promote its interests at the expense of its own working class and that of other capitalist classes. Workers in Australia, however, have more in common with workers in other countries than with “our own” capitalist rulers. We have nothing to gain from supporting the Australian Government’s imperialist wars. As in every country, we do the fighting and the dying, while the bosses stay safe and reap the benefits. But we can end war by refusing to support governments that go to war. By refusing to supply military forces. By refusing to fight in their wars. And we can make a revolution to put an end to capitalism, to all governments and all armies worldwide. We can have a world of freedom, peace and equality.


Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group
25 April 2007

See also : ANZAC / ACNAZ / April Fools (March 31, 2008).

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in !nataS, Death, History, State / Politics, That's Capitalism!, War on Terror and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to ANZAC Day; or: The Importance of Keeping Turkey British

  1. dale says:

    Come on mate stop disrespecting the fierce mateship of the legendary battalion Larrikin, who left their shores to invade another country to protect YOUR FREEDOMness. Dont ask questions, ever, just submit to what youre told about their unrelenting courage in the face of a defending country.

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  4. Ryan Brown says:

    you docile pricks realise the AIF was a purely volunteer force, and half the reason it was the most incredible army of all time in deeds and just generally being the sickest and most ruthless of cunts was because it was mostly an army of trade unionists, who were heavily overrepresented compared to their actual numbers as a % of the australian male population

    go actually read a book about the anzacs like bad characters from peter stanley; you might actually learn something factual about your own nation’s history and you may be surprised by what you find


  5. @ndy says:

    G’day Ryan Brown,

    Yes, the Australian Imperial Force was, at the outbreak of WWI, composed of volunteers. I don’t know the proportion who were also unionists, or what union coverage was like in the period 1914–1918. I imagine it was fairly high. Thus if a majority of AIF volunteers were union members this would not be very surprising, given the pool from which the volunteers were drawn was predominantly young, male and working class. In any case, your comment doesn’t really appear to have much relevance to the post.

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