Why Anti-Imperialism Must Be Central for the Left in Imperialist Australia and Divided World
By Max Lane
I was born in 1951. I was in my early teens when the American war in Vietnam started to become news. I just missed out on being old enough or exposed directly enough to be fully caught up in the 60s radicalisation, but it was the 60s all the same that framed the picture of the world that I gazed upon and eventually engaged with. The 60s was a period of multiple, myriad, kaleidoscopic, even hallucinogenic angles of gaze and questioning. Engagement with social and political realities exploded with militant protest movements, subversive culture and the sharing of songs hitherto without voices. The three big movements were probably the women’s liberation movement, the civil rights movement (especially in the United States) and the movement protesting against the Vietnam War. There were many offensives against the status quo during that decade or so.
The atmosphere in the 60s was not only created by these offensives against the status quo in the rich, western countries. After World War Two, there was also a wave of liberation throughout Asia and Africa. World news coverage was populated with names like Mao Tse Tung and Chou En Lai, Ho Chi Minh, Sukarno, Sihanahouk, Nehru, Nasser, Nkrumah, Lumumba, Fidel Castro and Che Guevera. Liberation from colonialism and social revolutions of one degree or another were a fundamental feature of the period. All these leaders, with different gradations, were on the left of politics, even if simply by virtue of the fact that they stood against colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism – all of which were the forms that capitalism presented itself most directly in what became known as the Third World. Some, such as Ho Chi Minh, Mao Tse Tung and Castro stood very clearly also for the perspective of social revolution.
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