New Struggle, New Agenda, New Strategyby Patrick Byrne and Brendan RodwayNews Weekly
, June 13, 1998
“Although the earthly ideal of Socialism-Communism has collapsed, the problems it purported to solve remain: the brazen use of social power and the inordinate power of money, which often directs the very course of events. And if the global lesson of the twentieth century does not serve as healing inoculation, then the vast red whirlwind may repeat itself in entirety”
— Aleksandr Solzhenitstyn, “New York Times”, November 28, 1993
The electorate delivered its judgment on Labor’s headlong rush down the path of globalisation at the last Federal election. The party suffered one of its worst electoral defeats in its one hundred year history. Labor lost a great deal of support among traditional voters who felt betrayed by the party’s economic policies.
Apparently, this lesson has not been learned by the Liberals and Nationals. They have pursued the same policies as Labor, even more vigorously.
History has shown that when economic conditions become seriously destabilised, a political vacuum develops and new political forces come into being. The economic collapse of 1929 caused years of high level unemployment. The conservative side of politics splintered and it took 20 years until Menzies was able to pull its remnants together to form the Liberal Party.
The rise of Pauline Hanson is just the first stage of the backlash of those who feel betrayed by the mainstream political parties.
None of the major parties has moved from its economic rationalist ideology. The media, particularly economic writers, are almost universally committed to this ideology, as are most government economic advisers and the university schools of economics and business.
Today there is no other organisation besides the National Civic Council setting a realistic agenda to solve the economic problems besetting this nation. The policy package outlined in the preceding pages is based either on policies currently working in other countries or those used successfully in the past.
If the policy solutions are there to be put in place, what is the strategy that must be pursued to make it happen?
In a paper prepared for a meeting in Adelaide on October 26, 1997, Mr B.A. Santamaria, the founder of the National Civic Council, said that today’s challenge is different in appearance and more complex than the fight against communism: but in substance it involved the same question, “who will run the country?”
In the case of the communist challenge it was between the elected parliament and the Communist Party taking its orders from Moscow and working through the trade unions and the Labor Party.
Today the struggle is between the elected parliament and the financial markets acting on behalf of a wealthy élite.
Mr Santamaria set down several steps that now had to be pursued vigorously.
“The first is, in a sense, an intellectual struggle.”
“On the one hand, it is necessary to expose the value-barren forces which lie behind the ideology of globalisation, to show that while that force justifies itself in the language of ideology, like the Marxism of the forties and fifties, its ideology is simply a ‘cover’ for obtaining power. Having done this, we must also delineate a program. That then is the first leg of the strategy.”
“The second task is to conduct the political struggle. The fundamental cleavage lies now between those who want an Australia which makes, or wishes to make its living by work, by actual production, in industry, in agriculture, and those who wish it to make its future by dint of financial speculation.”
“When the markets implode in the face of the speculators, as they are now, in the case of the once-celebrated ‘Asian Tigers’, and will do more generally as well, these divergent interests will create two competing political groupings.”
“We must be prepared to grasp the nettle as soon as the opportunity presents itself, and turn the current into political channels, which, although as yet unclear, will be sufficiently strong enough to turn the tide of events.”
“The third task is for us to win a ‘critical mass’ in support of our positions.”
“Our organisational method depends on having a group in every electorate, a group which on a wide range of issues runs practical campaigns on issues which because they affect the family, impinge on everyone.”
“Those campaigns must honestly seek the objectives which they propose. But as we pursue them, they will not only help us to answer those particular challenges, but over a period, they will give us the local following, the critical mass, which we may be able to extend to wider political issues.”