Opinion Number. 1528


prohibited imports prohibition of importation of material advocating overthrow by force or violence of established government of Commonwealth: publication entitled ‘international press correspondence’ advocating overthrow by force or violence of established government of all countries which have not adopted soviet system: whether prohibited import

Key Legislation

CUSTOMS PROCLAMATION No. 221 dated 4 August 1932

The Comptroller-General, Department of Trade and Customs

The Comptroller-General of Trade and Customs has forwarded to me several copies of the publication ‘International Press Correspondence’ for advice as to whether or not these publications fall within the class of prohibited imports specified in Customs Proclamation No. 221 of 4/8/1932.

Customs Proclamation No. 221 prohibits the importation of literature in which is advocated:

  1. the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth or of any State or of any other civilized country;
  2. the overthrow by force or violence of all forms of law;
  3. the abolition of organized government;
  4. the assassination of public officials;
  5. the unlawful destruction of property; or
  6. wherein a seditious intention is expressed or a seditious enterprise advocated.

On page 983 of ‘International Press Correspondence’ the following paragraph appears:

The experience of our first Five-Year Plan and the prospects of the second, tell the workers in the capitalist countries who still fear the cost of revolution and the difficulties of constructing socialism that: in 1918–19, after the end of the World War you feared the cost of revolution, but during the past fifteen years you have suffered greater loss by preserving the obsolete capitalist system. And will it be only fifteen years? You were afraid that revolution and civil war would destroy the productive forces, but the world crisis of capitalism has destroyed them to a far larger extent than revolution would have done. You were afraid of the convulsions which might be caused by the proletarian revolution–unemployment, depreciation of currency, fierce class struggles, bloody war; but capitalism has put you into a zone of tremendous convulsions, fascism, war, the undermining of the material basis of existence of millions of human beings. You dreamt of ‘stabilised capitalism’, but the relative, decayed capitalist stabilisation which was established after the first round of revolution and wars has come to an end. You were afraid of the difficulties of socialist construction, but capitalism has compelled you to share with it all the sufferings of its own death agony–the closing of factories, the failure of banks, unemployment and the loss of the savings of small depositors, wage cuts, the reduction and even the abolition of social insurance, the increase of exploitation. Proletarians, comrades, you must choose between capitalism and socialism, between reaction and revolution, between the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of your own class. There is no other way. And we have no doubt as to the choice which the working class of the world will make. It will choose the path of the proletariat of the U.S.S.R., the path of revolution and victory!

Another paragraph of a similar nature to be found on page 997 reads as follows:

The end of capitalist stabilisation is leading the world to a new cycle of wars and revolutions. The proletariat and all the toilers and the oppressed are faced with their greatest trial, they are faced with decisive class fights.

The whole of the path which has been traveled, the whole of the world situation show that, in the struggle against the terrible calamities of the economic crisis, against unemployment, fascist counter-revolution and war, there is only one way which leads to victory–the path of the revolutionary overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie, the seizure of power by the proletariat, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is the path of the October revolution.

These paragraphs advocate the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of all countries which have not adopted the Soviet system, including, of course, the Commonwealth.

Statements advocating the same doctrine may be found in all the copies of the publication which have been submitted for advice.

In my opinion, therefore, the ‘International Press Correspondence’ is a publication, the importation of which into the Commonwealth is prohibited under Customs Proclamation No. 221 dated 4/8/1932.

[Vol. 26, p. 75]