Is Marcia Langton a Marxist? She certainly used to be.
Marcia Langton is a very prominent aboriginal activist and academic. So prominent, in fact, that when the Liberal Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt was creating his senior advisory group to design an “Indigenous Voice” to Government, he made Marcia Langton co-chair.
This is interesting, since Marcia started her political career as a hard-core Communist and has never disavowed her past views. She wasn’t simply a naïve young activist, either. Langton was a member of the National Committee of the Communist League (CL), a Trotskyist group that campaigned for the violent overthrow of the Australian government and the implementation of a totalitarian socialist state.
CL was founded by Marxist fanatic John McCarthy, who had been radicalised as a teenager and had travelled to Cuba at the age of 19. Greatly impressed by the Castro dictatorship, he moved to the UK where he joined the International Marxist Group (IMG), the British section of the Trotskyist Fourth International (FI). On his return to Australia, he started his own group in Brisbane, called the Labor Action Group (LAG). The LAG entered talks to join fellow FI followers based in Sydney, who went by the title of the Socialist Workers League. The unity in 1972 lasted from January to August, when the group split over whether Trotskyists should follow Che Guevara’s example and run off into the bush to engage in guerrilla warfare against the government.
The former LAG members decided to form the “Communist League” and held their inaugural conference over the Australia Day weekend in 1973. McCarthy’s new party attracted both independent extremist activists and splitters from other groups. One of those attracted was the young aboriginal communist Marcia Langton.
Langton was described by the Trotskyist Newspaper Direct Action as one of the best-known black Marxist activists in Australia. She was an organiser in the anti-Vietnam War and land rights movements, an editor of the aboriginal newspaper Koori-Bina, a member of the Black Women’s Action Group and a director of the taxpayer-funded Aboriginal Medical Service and Aboriginal Housing Service. Those last two would have been very helpful to a Trotskyist group, which typically tries to use positions inside institutions to fund its activism and find recruits.
While having a promising start, CL remained a smaller cousin to the larger Socialist Workers Party and, in late 1976, Langton, McCarthy and their fellow National Committee member Peter Robb negotiated a merger or “fusion” with the SWP. In exchange for jumping ship, the Communist League leaders were gifted positions on the larger group’s National and Political committees.
Why does this matter? Because Langton has never disavowed her extremist beliefs. She has never been confronted by anyone over the fact that she began her political career convinced that Australia needed a violent revolution to overthrow the government. Instead, the establishment has showered her with gifts, grants, awards and praise. Now, a minister in a supposedly conservative government has given her a position of power in deciding how members of her racial group should have a privileged, undemocratic influence over the parliament she once worked to violently overthrow. This is a woman who was so extreme in her Marxism that she was once the focus of an undercover ASIO operation.
It’s worth remembering that one of the core beliefs of Trotskyism is that Australia doesn’t deserve to exist as a country and should be destroyed. Langton’s fellow Trotskyist and academic, Tom Bramble, has declared that even just the sight of an Australian flag makes him want to puke. Is it relevant that the woman tasked with “shaping a framework towards developing options for an Indigenous voice to all levels of government” might still believe that the government she has been tasked with advising should be annihilated? Damn right, it is.
So why hasn’t anyone ever asked her?