The Coming Struggle: Tasks for Australian Nationalists
Conservatism - the greatest danger
to the development of a Nationalist party
(1) The Two Patriotisms.
"Patriotism" in Australia is a confused question. There are two patriotisms: British-Australia patriotism (conservatism) and Australia-First patriotism (nationalism). These two patriotisms are distinct entities.
How did this situation arise?
Answer: from Australia's colonial past.
Can these patriotisms be reconciled?
Answer: no, they cannot.
These two patriotisms have a psychological basis, a political basis, and (to a certain extent) a "class" basis. An understanding of these two entities is critical to nationalist development in the forthcoming period.
(A) How did these Two Patriotisms emerge?
During the period from the early 19th century the British Empire in Australia depended on the upper class for its administrators, governing assemblies, and control: and on the middle class for its primary social prop. The mass of working farmers, workmen, etc., were not "considered" economically, let alone politically. By the 1860s such working men had fought at Eureka Stockade, Lambing Flat, etc., and had established the dimmest rudiments of nationalism. By 1890 they had created unionism, republicanism, nationalism, and a folk culture. They had fought the Seamens' Union fight against Chinese labour, supported the "Kelly Outbreak", and more - for Henry Lawson's vision of a Social Republic;(3) their demands were fought against by the upper class: and their primary demand for White Australia was most certainly fought by the British Empire and only won with great difficulty.
This ordinary nationalism was a political fact by 1900 and has underlay much struggle even afterwards. The upper class who governed a piece of real estate for Britain showed its true colours: anti-Australianism. The middle group was torn both ways, and confused the two patriotisms, claiming - like Billy Hughes - that Australia and Empire were "synonymous",
(B) How things stand today.
The upper class of colonial times has become the Australian Establishment with its policies of U.S. alliance and economic Asianisation. Despite its awkward moves towards a republic, it basically still stands draped in the colours of political-British monarchism. In any case, its loyalties are certainly not Australian. The middle class conservative meantime finds in his "British Heritage" (Monarch, Parliament, Law, British immigration) a certain security in a society under threat. He identifies with the same rhetoric pushed by sections of the Establishment. He is proud of being British and conceives the definition of Australia in these terms. Yet he also is willing to fight Asianisation. Nonetheless, we can see an inconsistency: how can a conservative go all the way in such a fight - carry it through to the end - when one might have to trample upon cherished institutions and ideals? Or when one respects the Establishment's "law and order"?
The ordinary working Australians (and those who share their outlook) are capable of consistent nationalism. "Australia" means "Australia" to him. It is his identity. He does not have "Home" (or "the Home Country") to put into his thoughts. He is not a "British ethnic". He is realistic enough to realise that "our" system of law favours the rich, and that "justice" is often a commodity (or privilege) that can be bought. Therefore the Australian working man is the fighting trooper for Australian Independence, or at least, the first source of fighters for the new ideal.
(C) Concerning British-Australian Patriotism.
There are several organisations which - today - express a British-Australian ideology: the League of Rights, the National Flag Association, The Strategy, Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, the Constitutionalists, certain R.S.L. groups, etc. (there are others). These bodies draw their support from the mass of the conservative middle class and rural Australia.
Our petty bourgeois have illusions for politics. Some of them talk of appealing for help via the English Monarchy; or by invoking the Magna Carta (1215) or the Bill of Rights (1689); or by "proving" that the Australian Government has been acting illegally via some pedantic interpretation of the Constitution (or by virtue of some other law, such as the Australia Act of 1986). As if the System could give a damn about their bush-lawyer antics; even if any of their arguments were technically correct, they would just be ignored or overruled by the System and its judges.
Conservatives reason that it is just policies and attitudes that must be corrected. Their argument with the Establishment is conceived as an "in house" dispute. When questions of Australian Identity or Asianisation are involved, the tendency is to "pressure" the government: to "lobby" and to "expose". The idea that it is the whole System itself which is at fault and must be overturned has not been considered at all. The petty bourgeois conservative is therefore a reformist at heart. He does not understand what he is fighting.
The conservative often acts as being so "reasonable". He tells the nationalist that he should be more "moderate", more willing to accept the monarchy or the retention of the national flag. He tells us there is "big support" for us if we change and be more like him. Really? Then why is this big support not already with the existing conservative bodies? He promises us big votes, big money, and a big party. But would such conservative organisations be really able to create an effective opposition? We think not. The middle class conservative has, since 1960, thrown up at least 50 organisations to "fight" the enemy - and all have gone down the drain.
It is this very "reasonableness" which is our greatest danger.
(D) The Nationalist and the Conservative.
The relationship between the nationalist and the conservative must necessarily be a strained one.
The conservative middle class patriot is a desperate man. His world is shaken by events. He is desperate to restore it, Any quick ticket to "victory" (whatever that "victory" is) is what he is looking for.
The conservative is always calling us back into the confused swamp. He wants us with him. And naive patriots, and budding Nationalists, are at risk of falling for his siren call. In fact, much of the trouble that the nationalist cause has had in the past has sprung from this. We must remain constantly on guard against any such tendency to return to the swamp.
We must ask ourselves: are we correct to renounce monarchism and System politics? If so: it is the conservative who must come to us, not vice versa. We are the vanguard of the National Future.
Indeed, as long as the monarchy lasts, our conservative will be torn between the Establishment and the radicals. He can never gain consistency. Even today, many conservatives sees more value in the monarchy and the Flag than in White Australia (FACT!). Yet continually (like Bruce Ruxton in the Victorian R.S.L.) he will look out for the cause of White Australia unseeing of the multiracial nature of the monarchy and its trademark: the Australian Flag. He therefore remains tied to much of the problem. And the conservative has other "problems" as well: he is afraid of confrontation, of getting a "bad reputation", being called a "racist", or worse - a "fascist". His stinking respectability restricts his actions. And we are supposed to follow that line?! Drop our "radicalism" for alleged success?
The fact is no party can be built upon such middle class conservatives. Their hysterical backward thinking precludes constructive action. Nationalists have had successes because the decision was taken to act outside of bourgeois conventions. True nationalists are certain that we must develop this line.
In conclusion: it was essential that nationalists made the break - politically, organisationally, and ideologically - with conservatism. We must develop our line of approach consistently. The emerging patriotic White Australia movement needs genuine leadership. And it cannot afford to be tied in any way to the very criminal Establishment that it is fighting.
2) Against Conservatism: The break.
Even though Nationalist ideology has been clearly established, we are still liable to the arrival of conservatives (or naive budding Nationalists impressionable by conservatism) within our ranks. What follows is often a course of dissension based upon a desire for "respectability", a "sure fire" formula to attract all middle class conservatives, and ideological "compromise".
Such Conservatism usually manifests itself by several recurring demands:
(1) That we cease militant action.
(2) That we do not retain "radical" policies, for "tactical" reasons (ousting multinationals, rejecting ANZUS, etc.), and get involved in "family issues", "tax reforms", etc., in order to get "respectable" support.
(3) That we merge our forces with conservative patriotic groups.
(4) That we abandon the ideal of Republicanism; the idea of Australian independence.
(5) That we abandon the Eureka Flag, fighting banner of Australian Nationalism.
What is being said here? That we offer ourselves to the conservatives as their leaders, on the basis of their programme, and build their type of organisation, - "open" and "respectable" - like the many and varied conservative organisations of the past and present? Surely they must be joking!? NO!! They seek to drag us back into earlier phases through which the nationalist movement had already passed.(4)
The fact is that conservative "patriotic" politics is inconsistent, compromised, ineffective, and diffuse. The fact is that any so-called "support" which actually weakens the fighting capacity and the cutting edge of an organisation is not support at all. How does one measure "success"? In terms of mere numbers, or pats on the back by bourgeois suburbanites?
In our political struggle, we have learned the answers to the challenges of conservative patriotism, as described above:
(1) That we have learned the value, and the strength, of radical militant action.
(2) That "popular" issues attract (at this time) people whose attitudes are not conducive to the construction of a party with a message which is, regardless of all verbal twistings, a "radical" one.
(3) That the conservative patriotic forces will not succeed at winning either their own objectives or any objectives even remotely similar to our own.
(4) That the idea of the Republic attracts those who are "Australian"; and discourages those of the "British-Australian" mind-set (usually middle class conservatives, who invariably are "armchair patriots", who end up causing nationalists to waste valuable time).
(5) That the Eureka Flag attracts fighters, not talkers. It scares away the weak, the cowards, and the right-wing "nuts" of all sorts.
There we have it. Two lines. Two ideas. Both cannot be correct. Nationalists must choose. But consider: Once we concede in principle on the Eureka Flag, WHERE does it stop? Are we to become monarchists? Do we abandon the right of self-defence? Do we abandon the recruitment of youth? Why not "concede" on White Australia, as the National Flag Association has done? After all, solid citizens do not like being called "racists". We must be 100% opposed to a single concession to conservatism. It is the conservatives who must concede to us. Do we have so little faith in ourselves? We left the confused swamp of conservatism to serve the cause of the Australian Nation. Why go back there? Australia is tired of "solid citizens". She needs fighters.
Beware; a conservative attack on mere "trifles", The Eureka Flag and Republicanism, can actually hide a thorough-going rejection of nationalist politics and organisation. Nonetheless, it is not simple to formalise the rejection of all conservative ideas and norms. The fact is that persons with such views may continually join our organisation, and it is clear that "bourgeois" ideals permeate our society such that no organisation can escape the effects of some warping influences. Therefore, it must be an ongoing struggle to reaffirm again and again our principles. The "break" with conservatism has most certainly taken place. But politics cannot exist in a vacuum. Politics must be tested in struggle. Ideology may be "beautiful" in the abstract, but that is meaningless - unless it is rendered into fighting slogans inscribed on the party's banners. And "organisation" exists only to serve those methods and those ideals.
3. The term "Social Republic" shall be used as meaning an Australia of true equality where all men and women can get justice and reward for their labour.
4. Peculiar Australian historical conditions make it extremely unlikely that the bulk of Australian conservatives would ever assist the nationalists; however, it is possible that a significant section of the conservative classes (and most likely only if Australia is proclaimed a Republic) may lend their support.
The Coming Struggle: Tasks for Australian Nationalists
Australian Nationalism Information Database - www.ausnatinfo.angelfire.com