FOR centuries British capitalism has sought to export its surplus populations and its trouble makers to the rest of the world.
Rebellious trade unionists such as the Tolpuddle Martyrs, and Irish rebels were transported in chains to Van Diemens Land, as well as very petty criminals, people who escaped the gallows for stealing a rabbit or picking a pocket by being transported to Australia, or Canada, or before that the American colonies.
Cecil Rhodes in fact preached that imperialism was the only way of finding an outlet for surplus populations, and for preventing a revolution in the UK by raising the standard of life.
He remarked in 1895: ‘My cherished idea is a solution for the social problem, ie in order to save the 40 million inhabitants of the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands for settling the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced in the factories and mines. The empire as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid a civil war you must become imperialists.’
As late as 1938, the Archbishop of Perth was stating: ‘At a time when empty cradles are contributing woefully to empty spaces, it is necessary to look for external sources of supply. And if we do not supply from our own stock we are leaving ourselves all the more exposed to the menace of the teeming millions of our neighbouring Asiatic races.’
His Grace was welcoming British child migrants shipped to Australia, in August 1938.
The acting Australian Prime Minister stated in December 1944: ‘It is proposed that the Commonwealth seek out in Britain and Europe, in each of the first three post-war years, at least 17,000 children a year (i.e. about 50,000 in three years) suitable and available for migration to Australia. . .’
In fact it was a Labour government, the Attlee government, from 1945 onwards that organised this supply of what was slave labour for farmers and industrialists.
The UK government emptied institutions of all kinds, told the children, some of them as young as three, that their parents were dead, and that they were headed for a new and happy life in Australia, Canada, or Rhodesia.
This abduction and trafficking in children was carried out without the permission of any of their parents. It was organised by both Church and State for the good of British imperialism.
The children were in the main treated as slave labour and abused and exploited. The first thing that was done to them was that brothers and sisters were separated, and many were sent into the care of churches and other institutions where they were abused and beaten black and blue.
This government-sponsored trafficking in children was not halted until 1967. It was part and parcel of the being of British imperialism.
So more is required from the leaders of British imperialism than a mere apology by two prime ministers Brown and Australia’s Rudd.
At the least, they must be financially compensated, and returned home and resettled if that is their wish.
Also their treatment raises the question as to what is to happen to the tens of millions of jobless and youth unemployed that are being created by the crisis of capitalism all over the global capitalist economy.
Past history teaches us that the imperialists have them in mind for the essential cannon fodder that will be required by the bankers and the bosses, for the wars that have already begun to decide which capitalist powers are going to own and control the gas and oil resources of the world.
The apologies of imperialist politicians must be treated with the contempt that they deserve.
The real way to right the wrongs that have been done and are about to be done to the youth of the world is to organise socialist revolutions to smash capitalism and imperialism and go forward to socialism.