Some preliminary notes on Croatian nationalism and the left in Australia (includes scan of SWP pamphlet ‘Croatian Nationalism and the Fight for Socialism’)

A major national security concern in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s was potential political violence undertaken by Croatian nationalists and anti-communists against symbols of Yugoslavia in this country, as well as actions taken up inside Yugoslavia. Within the Croatian nationalist movement back then and also since the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, there has long been concern about pro-Ustasha elements, who praise the wartime regime of Ante Pavelic, and their links to the far right here and abroad.

In Australia, this concern was primarily raised by the left, including the Australian Labor Party and the Communist Party of Australia. While in opposition, the ALP under Gough Whitlam accused the Liberal Party of playing down the threat of political violence by Croatian nationalists inside the country (leading in part to the Murphy Raid in 1973). The CPA’s Tribune ran numerous features on Croatian nationalism and the Ustasha in Australia. 

But not all on the left were convinced. The Socialist Workers Party, the Australian party linked to the Mandelite Fourth International, came out in defence of Croatian nationalists in Australia, particularly the Australian wing of the Croatian Movement for Statehood (the HDP). This seems to have stemmed from an opposition to Tito’s Yugoslavia and suspicion of the CPA’s defence of the Yugoslav government. In the early 1980s, they produced a pamphlet titled Croatian Nationalism and the Fight for Socialism (which I have scanned and uploaded below), which supports the HDP as a form of revolutionary nationalism. This became a source of friction between the Australian SWP and their US counterparts during the 1980s.

This is a topic that I am very interested in exploring further and will be diving into the newspapers of the SWP and the CPA, as well as the International Socialists, over the next little while. Any suggestions of sources to track down would be greatly appreciated.

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