by Dr. Jim Saleam
‘Alex Norwick, one of the standard bearers of the Australian nationalist cause, died on September 11, 2018.
Australia First Party has received many condolence messages from its members and from activists of other nationalist groups.
Alex Norwick’s story in Australian nationalism began as a migrant’s tale. Indeed, his life shows the other side of the argument put by those who deny the Australian identity – or to the rancour of those who simply denigrate it.
His family origins reflected the upheavals of the twentieth century and a part of Australia’s experience of immigration.
Alex’s mother was born about 1922 in Murmansk in the then Soviet Union. In the 1930s, her father committed some ‘offence’ to the system and was deported to the Gulag never to be seen again and she was punished also by forced labour on a collective farm near Smolensk. It was there in 1941 that the German authorities seized her and deported her to the Reich as a factory slave. Alex’s father was born in Poland of chiefly Polish heritage, but a distant Austrian side had a coat of arms. Alex found his ‘aristocratic lineage’ – amusing. The war saw his father on every side, but he was in a German camp in 1945 when the Americans ‘liberated’ him. His mother and father met in the post-war chaos and eventually moved to France, where Alex was born near Metz in 1958. In 1962 the family, which included a number of siblings, came to Australia.
Although Alex remembered France and could even speak a few French words, he grew up in Sydney’s western suburbs to a different drum. He would say to us that the confusing cultural patterns of his parents and their friends, and even a veritable household language (“a mixture of Russian, Polish, German, French and English spoken simultaneously”) was a bit much, so orienting towards the new country offered a feeling of freedom. Indeed, as he said, “the heavy brooding over the Soviet terror, the war and the great losses to all”, burdened his family into supporting the “Liberal Party conservatives” and being lost in an unreal history that the “right-wingers” encouraged for political support.
Alex opined there was something else for him. By the early 1970s as a teenager, Alex was considering the virtue of an Australian nationalism whereby a new country could strike out on its own and with a social-economic order to suit. He began to read deeply into Australian literature and political history and once blundered into the office of Jack Lang’s ‘The Century’ in Auburn, just to catch a glimpse of ‘the big fella’ who would become an idol to the new nationalism. Alex corresponded with a welter of political groups and attended various meetings so as to get their temper and assess who was who in a minority zoo. It was at this time Alex realised that ideologically he was ‘neither Left, nor Right’ and appreciated there was a Third Position. Certainly, he critiqued the bankruptcy of Marxism and the organisations that pushed it, but he had no time either for the conservatives and their commitment to free market capitalism – and crucially, he recognised that they and not the Left, were in charge of the state. When in 1975, he saw the entire ‘Right’, from the most timid of constitutionalists and the most noisy of ‘anti communists’ (particularly the migrant ones) and through to the pseudo ‘fascists’ rally to Malcolm Fraser (who very quickly made it clear that capitalism was internationalist and Australia open to immigration from Asia and ‘refugees’), Alex knew it was time for a new movement. He cast about for new friends.
From late 1976, Alex Norwick played a consistent and evolving role in the affairs of the new nationalist movement. Thereafter, he played every role: writer, speaker, organizer, electoral candidate and party-officer. At that early time, he worked with E.F. Azzopardi, Frank Salter, Jim Saleam and others in creating the first of the Australian nationalist organisations. A line of descent began through a number of organisations and when he died, Alex was regarded as one of the leaders of Australia First Party.
Alex’s commitment to a politics that represented a Third Position took him on fresh pathways. In the 1980s, he corresponded with many European nationalists who also set out upon that path and while he insisted on a specific Australian road for our movement, he understood there were interlinkages and he built on that. He made some friends in that firmament who are still friends of ours in Europe today – and who lead movements trying to rescue the old-Continent from globalisation, refugee-invasion, multiculturalism.
In 1986-1987, he took the chance and travelled to Gaddafi’s Libya for conferences at which many different nationalists from various countries including non-European ones, talked of an anti imperialist struggle against the power of the internationalists, such that a world of free nations and peoples would succeed them. Therefore, it was simple, after the break-up of the Eastern bloc, for Alex to be one of the first nationalists in any country to proclaim that the struggle against the New World Order was the rule of the day and that it could – and soon showed it did – involve being free of all old ideological moulds in order to get people opposed to the globalising regime in our country and to see as friends anyone elsewhere who was trying to do the same.
Alex wrote under various pen names and sometimes anonymously. His written work had a real influence on nationalists at every turn and his pamphlets remain in print and will always be so. Younger people continue to find his work to help set their paths. His expertise in matters of history and politics was always welcome as counsel and the breadth of his knowledge of value to all in many discussions. The informal workshopping of the former Sydney Forum in the years 2001 – 2012, re-birthed him as an articulator of Australian nationalism. The re-establishment of Australia First Party saw him step forward as one of its main ideologists.
Alex Norwick’s vital legacy has a few facets. Alex insisted upon a central thesis: that Australia was a Nation unto itself, an identity. It certainly was a ‘European’ nation by race, but its cultural forms were native to the soil and they may evolve further and it was to this ethos and idea that all ‘whites’ should ultimately assimilate. Alex also looked into Australia’s past to the Vision Splendid which emerged in the late nineteenth century – of a new country, independent and assertive in the South Seas, which would also be the ‘Working Man’s Paradise’, where a high standard of living and a free social order could arise on the wealthiest of Continents. He argued that to get these things, a cultural and political revolution was necessary to overturn the corrupt elite, an event only ever likely in a crisis of the current order and that to achieve all this it was necessary to prepare for the day – that just perhaps, we could seize the hour.
Throughout the long years, Alex as a bush philosopher, kept his sense of humour. He brought levity to a situation where – and we recognise it too clearly – Australia is being dismembered and its people disinherited and we have not managed to avert the catastrophe. Even so, he laughed at the odds and maintained the iron principle that resistance alone offers the promise of success. He invoked that name of Henry Lawson when he wove tales of a better Australia to encourage that resistance until victory.
In the last few years, Alex lived on a property in central-western New South Wales. From there he kept up an energetic correspondence and continued to write for Australia First publications. Ultimately, he was felled by a heart attack made fatal by other complications.
Australia First Party benefits substantially from his Estate.
One voice goes silent? No, his voice is not quelled because the struggle continues! Alex Norwick: present!