Roots of Radicalism


By David Greason

Thousands of Aussies died to keep out Jap hordes. Now politicians welcome them.

THE WHITE AUSTRALIA POLICY, formulated in the 1890's, dictated Australian immigration trends until 1967 when the then Liberal Prime Minister, Harold Holt (later to be eaten by a shark) quietly disposed of it. As a policy, it was a decisive factor in Australian history. It was a force for the federation of the states; it was also a major consolidating factor in the trade union movement, leading to the formation of the Australian Labor Party (A.L.P.). It played a role in the defeat of the two conscription referenda in 1917, and helped to keep Australia free from the inter-racial strife that plagues Britain, Europe and the United States.

The trade union movement was primarily responsible for the development of the White Australia Policy, and for this alone, Australian unionists earned the hatred of continental Marxists who attacked Australian “racism”. The fear of the “Yellow Peril”, i.e. a full scale Asian invasion, was just as real to the Australian worker as was his fear that small scale non-white immigration would lower his standard of living ― as in fact it did. Sugar plantation owners in Northern Queensland imported several thousand Melanesians for cheap labour, whilst pastoral companies employed Chinese as scabs during the 1891 Shearers strike in Queensland.


The racial nationalist policies of the union movement, immortalised in the writings of the Australian Workers Union leader, William Lane, whose works, The Working-man's Paradise, and The Coming Race War were basic texts of Australian socialism.

Similarly, unionists stood for high tariffs to protect Australian industries from cheap imports. Even today the Clothing Trades Union and the Boot Trades Employees Federation lead campaigns against shoddy Asian imports flooding the home market.

This leads to the paradox in Australian Nationalist politics today.

For years, the Australian "right-wing" has been anti-Union for a number of reasons: Many "anti-communist" formations are close to the ruling Liberal Party (which despite its name is Tory). These groups, encouraged by the anti-union exhortations of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, look upon unions as being 'unpatriotic'.

Another factor is the failure to differentiate between Unions and marxist union officials. This leads to the absurd belief that all unions are "communist" and therefore a danger to the nation.


In reality, the trade union movement has been one of the most nationalist sectors of the Australian community, fighting for immigration restriction, tariff barriers and more recently, the expulsion of multinational corporations. Unfortunately, owing to infiltration by bourgeois elements and a general liberal ethos in the community, the unions have, over the past 15 years, tended to neglect their traditional support for White Australia, although the following points should be noted:

  1. When Vietnamese refugees first began to enter Australia by boat in late 1977, Darwin wharfies walked off the job refusing to man the docks. They repeated this in 1979.

  2. A couple of years ago, Vietnamese refugees and waterside workers fought running battles in the streets of Brisbane.

John Halfpenny, a union leader and ex-leading industrial cadre of the Communist Party of Australia, is believed to have sent a message of solidarity to Bruce Ruxton, Victorian President of the Returned Services League for his call for a return to the White Australia Policy.

Although we as nationalists like to poke fun at and criticise leftist ideology, we can learn from it. One leftist dictum which should be studied is the theory that the political consciousness of the vast majority of workers is limited to a trade union consciousness, i.e. the highest level of political development for the majority of workers is limited to trade union struggles around issues such as pay, hours and working conditions.

This trade union consciousness can be broadened, however, if the workers are shown that the work they are performing is not just a means to the end of earning a pay packet at the end of the week, but is a factor in society's well being, or, as the case may be, ill health. For example ― if workers in a food processing plant are producing goods which they know are not nutritious, then they have a responsibility to halt the production, as they are not only producers but consumers as well. If we refused to create shoddy goods and unhealthy food products then the combines would have to improve them. Remember, we've got to eat the rubbish!

Similarly, if no M.P. is willing to oppose immigration, then it's up to us, as workers and citizens to do so, as the Darwin wharfies did in 1977 and '79 by walking off the job, and as porters and taxi drivers at Heathrow and Gatwick did in September 1972 when they refused to move luggage for or transport Ugandan Asians.


What is also of note in Australia is the attitude of certain leftist groups in regards to nationalist principles, particularly the fight against multinationals and the abolition of tariff barriers. A debate is now raging in the leftist press as to whether protectionism should be supported or not. On the protectionist side is the Communist Party of Australia, whilst opposing protection are the Trotskyites.

The political economists at Sydney University led by Professor Ted Wheelwright are protesting at the deindustrialisation of Australia in an antipodean Morgenthau Plan which will make Australia the quarry for an industrialised Asia. And with leftists in the unions running protectionist campaigns, the possibility of "left" nationalist elements joining with "right" nationalist elements is on the cards.

The Australian nationalist paper Audacity has mooted this possibility in an article entitled "A National-Left?". Obviously, many leftists, particularly the rootless cosmopolitans who are to be found in the Trotskyite sects, are politically beyond the pale. But reduced to individuals ― if they support industrial protection, if they oppose multinationals, and if they oppose Asian immigration ― which some Australian "leftists" do - then how far away from us are they? Is our basic difference that we each believe, in the myth of "left" and "right" in the first place?


Jack Lang was probably the greatest Australian Nationalist politician ever. He staunchly supported the White Australia Policy until his death in 1975, coining the immortal phrase, "Anyone who is against the White Australia Policy is against the Australian Nation". When he was first elected as Premier of New South Wales in 1925, his government introduced widows' pensions, child benefit and workers' compensation, and brought in legislation protecting families living in rented accomodation.

His Government fell two years later but was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1930. When the depression began to weigh heaviest on Australia in 1931 Lang put the people of New South Wales before the bankers, by refusing to make any more usurious loan repayments to the international financiers.

However, when Lang announced that the foreign debts were to be repudiated, "patriotic" elements in New South Wales who put the interests of "British" bankers before those of Australian families, began to agitate for Lang's removal. The New Guard, a conservative para-military organisation, was established to oppose Lang's "bolshevism". Thanks to their activities and the machinations of the international bankers, Lang was dismissed from office in 1932.


Here we have an excellent example of the stupidity of reactionary "patriots" who are too blind to see that the "radicals" who they oppose have their nation's best interests at heart. By this, I am not saying that the average leftist is really a patriot ― most of them are shabby little hacks whose personal character defects lead them to organisations where everything noble is derided; everything noteworthy is undermined. But men like Jack Lang are faced with sadly deluded opposition from people who think that all forms of socialism come from Satan! One hopes that "patriotic anti-communists" will not try the same stunt again ― for in the fight that our countries face in the years to come, it will not matter whether one sees oneself as being "left" or "right" ― all that counts is the nation.

Let Prof. Wheelwright of Sydney University have the last words:

"Make no mistake, if we, the workers, do not take control of the big corporations at least by the end of this century, we shall be the biggest export platform in the world, run by Lee Kwan Fraser, with all the easy access minerals ripped out of the ground, with us left with little natural resources, little new plant and equipment, and no new technology to compete with the masses of Asia. We shall be the poor white trash of South East Asia, with our massage parlours open twenty-four hours a day!"