The Censor in Australia
“Socialist Standard” Barred.
Mr. E. M. Higgins, a contributor to the Communist journal, “The Labour Monthly” (January, 1929), gives an account of the prohibition imposed by the Australian Federal Government on the importation of various publications.
The Australian Minister of Customs drew up, in December, 1927, and submitted to the Federal Parliament a list of 128 publications which are “prohibited, seized and forfeited.” During 1928 some 40 publications were added to the list. It includes such works as “The Communist Manifesto,” De Leon’s “Two Pages from Roman History,” all publications of the British Communist Party, many works which Mussolini’s Government allows to circulate in Italy. Among the list of English periodicals are the “Labour Monthly.” “The Worker,” “Worker’s Life” (Communist Party), and the Socialist Standard.
The prohibition operates under the Customs Act, which empowers the authorities to exclude the import of certain goods by proclamation. “Seditious” literature has been “proclaimed,” under a penalty of £100.
Such treatment of the Socialist Standard is not, of course, new. Export was entirely prohibited from this country during the War, and we have also since the War been excluded from New Zealand.
While such exclusion naturally interferes with our sales, it is obviously useless for the object the Government has in view, i.e., the prevention of the spread of Socialist ideas. Capitalism, wherever it exists, inevitably leads to the growth of Socialist ideas among the workers.
The work of active propaganda for Socialism can be carried on just as well by native-born Australians as by foreigners. Socialist ideas are not confined to one country nor are they dependent on the written word of foreign residents. Our comrades in Australia are well able to organise their own propaganda, and are doing so with promising prospects.