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“Australian” companies that serve foreign capital

Written by: Nick G. on 11 May 2023


(Above: Another of our publications that examines the extent of US domination of Australia)

It is often said by critics of our Party’s support for anti-imperialist Australian independence that Australia is already an independent country and, moreover, an imperialist country in its own right.

Evidence for this is said to be the number of Australian companies investing overseas to secure raw materials and to exploit cheap labour.

It is certainly true that this occurs. 
But equally, our critics need to properly investigate the source of the capital that sits inside companies based in Australia and described therefore as “Australian”.
Yesterday, there was an announcement on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) that an Australian company, Magnum Mining and Exploration has entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mitsubishi Corporation RtM International (RtMi) for the offtake of its Buena Vista iron products and waste materials.
The Magnum website describes the company as 
an Australia-based company (ASX: MGU), which is engaged in iron ore concentrate and green pig iron production
The Company's Buena Vista Magnetite Iron Ore and HIsmelt Pig Iron Project is in the US State of Nevada.
The Company's Appalachian Iron HIsmelt Pig Iron Project is in the US State of West Virginia.
Our company will produce green pig iron for EAF steelmakers on the US west coast and in the Ohio River Valley.
Note that the company says it is “Australian-based” and not “Australian-owned”.
Its major shareholders are:
As an ASX listed company, it will have many Australian “mum and dad” shareholders, but the decisive capital whose interests drive the company are foreign.
We noticed this investment pattern when we investigated Australian companies operating in Africa for our publication Oppose the exploitation of Africa’s people and resources by Australian capitalists!
We chose to investigate the following Australian companies in detail as each of them figured in searches we did for Australian companies involved in illegal or harmful activities in Africa:  Sundance Resources, Resgen, Theta, Danakili, and Mineral Commodities. 
In each case, these companies were Australian-based, but their largest shareholders were Chinese or nominee companies associated with big foreign banks. In respect of the nominee companies, we wrote:
These giants of international banking feature in the lists of top twenty shareholders of a huge number of Australian companies, but it is almost impossible to determine on whose behalf they are acting. Indeed, for international investors this anonymity is one of the advantages of working through a nominee company. The other is that the nominee company does all of the paperwork in whatever country it is operating, freeing the investor of red tape.
In 2017, we published Australia and Imperialism in the 21st Century which analysed claims that Australia was an imperialist country, and came to the following conclusion: 
It is true that some Australian capitalists engage in imperialist activity in their own right, but they do not constitute the majority of the Australia bourgeoisie and their activities are not so representative of that bourgeoisie or so independent of US imperialism as to be able to characterise the Australian state as an independent imperialist entity. 
We said that it was more accurate to define Australia as sub-imperialist, characterised by a continuing subordination to, and dependency on, US imperialism on the one hand, and some capacity for autonomous activity at the regional level, on the other. 
Pursuing a policy of building a broad united front against US imperialism to end its domination of Australia does not mean advocating an independent capitalist state, or turning our back on unity with the oppressed of the world. 
Our policy is for the smashing of the existing machinery of state and the creation of socialist state institutions led by the working class. Now, and in the future, we will practice proletarian internationalism and oppose any Australian capitalists exploiting the people and resources of other countries.


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