Against racial and ethnic discrimination
Racism, the view that those with white skins are superior to those with non-
white skins, has been integral to the ideology of the Australian capitalist
class. It provided a justification for the brutal dispossession of the
Aborigines and the superexploitation of the non-white peoples of Asia and the
Racism was used by the Australian ruling class to divide the working class
and to brand Chinese and South Pacific immigrant labourers as pariahs. By
fostering racist attitudes among the overwhelmingly white working class, the
bosses were able to promote the idea that the threat to these workers' jobs
and wages came not from the employers but from foreign, particularly non-
white, workers. The bosses' success in promoting racist and xenophobic
attitudes among Australian workers was reflected in the labour movement's
support for the notorious White Australia policy.
The massive influx of non-English-speaking migrant workers from southern
Europe following the Second World War was encouraged by the Australian ruling
class in order to provide a cheap, unskilled, labour force for its expanding
industrial base. The pro-British cultural xenophobia underlying Australian
nationalism was used by the capitalists to justify discrimination on the
basis of ethnic background. The capitalists and their governments refused to
recognise qualifications obtained by migrant workers in their home countries,
forcing them to accept low-paying, unskilled jobs. Migrants were denied
proper English language courses so as to limit their ability to unite in
action with Australian-born workers.
Today, migrant workers from non-English-speaking ethnic backgrounds form a
large and increasing component of the working class and it is essential that
they be encouraged to participate fully in trade-union and political life.
The inability to speak and write in English is a major factor limiting full
participation of many in the economic and political struggles of the working
class. Most migrant workers do not have the opportunity to learn English
because their physically demanding jobs and family concerns leave little time
or energy for English courses. Non-English-speaking migrants should be
granted paid leave to attend such courses, which should be provided free of
charge by the state during working hours. Widespread and easily accessible
translation services should also be provided.
Large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking countries has enriched
Australia's cultural life. The Australian ruling class has been forced to
abandon its previous policy of seeking to assimilate non-British immigrants
by imposing the British-based Australian national culture upon them, and
instead has adopted a policy of multiculturalism — though sections of it
would like to return to the old policy.
Insofar as the policy of multiculturalism reflects greater respect for the
right of ethnic communities to maintain their cultural traditions, the party
supports it. The free interaction of different cultural traditions helps to
break down narrow national-cultural exclusiveness. At the same time, the
party does not support the promotion of any particular national culture, and
opposes those elements in every national culture that contradict democratic
rights and humanistic values.
Within the education system there should be no segregation along ethnic
lines. The party stands for a single, ethnically mixed, system of public
education in which students from different ethnic backgrounds have access to
supplementary courses on the language, history and culture of any nationality
of their choosing.
Today, as the capitalist economic crisis deepens, right-wing forces are
attempting to make immigrants into scapegoats, to divide the working class by
promoting racial and ethnic animosities, and to restrict immigration by non-
white and poor people. At the same time, such right-wing forces do not oppose
all immigration. They support increased immigration of white racists from
South Africa and of wealthy Asians. It is well known that migrants to
Australia are often screened to prevent militant unionists and left-wing
political activists settling in this country. The party opposes any
discrimination in the field of immigration, whether it be based on racial or
national origin, political affiliation, personal wealth, or any other
criterion. Australia should open its doors to all who wish to immigrate, and
should impose no restriction on those wishing to emigrate.
The party does not seek to organise the economic and political struggle of
workers along ethnic lines. It seeks to convince all workers that their
interests are the same, and that they can defend those interests only by
uniting for a common economic and political struggle against the common
enemy, the capitalist class.