A history war is upon the nationalists and it comes from the ‘far right’ and its conservative allies and mates.
The first shot was hardly noticed but was fired in 2022. Since then, the noise has grown louder. Yet, the story is subtle, almost benign, if not looked at too deeply. But like all crookery, it has a purpose locked up in the code.
The war is all about Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, who is now being held up as a veritable saint of Australian nationality and identity and his politics are advanced as a template for the present ideological-political struggle against globalism.
Now I will not say Deakin was any bad man. His attitude towards his country ranks him ahead of the gang of open internationalists and globalists who have misruled us for over seventy years. In our future historiography, he will receive such praise.
However, we are historicists and where there is a fault in our national story, we are wont to tell it.
Indeed, Deakin’s ‘fault’ lay at the very core of the movement for the Federation of the colonies into a country and the ‘National Settlement’ it evoked. How so?
THE NATIONAL SETTLEMENT FAILS US
Responsible historians now argue that in 1901, Australia adopted a series of principles put into law as its guide to nationhood, which if read together with the paper document called the Constitution, might be said to have been an organic unwritten constitution beside the paper document. This was held as the ‘National Settlement’ that settled broad issues amongst us and laid out a plan for the future.
The principles were: White Australia, protection for Australian industry, fair wages through arbitration, a social welfare mechanism and a positive relationship with the then-British Empire for national security and future development.
Deakin had been a member of the Australian Natives Association (ANA) and his support for its cultural nativism is noted. Some say that without the people’s agitation of the ANA, we would never have become a country. That cultural nativist position also involved Deakin’s support for White Australia and his sympathy for the forging of an Australian industrial base with domestic and not trade-centred economic development. To win these things, he sought the help of the labour movement. He wanted a fulsome unity of Australians to achieve something in the annals of nation-building. All that shows the positive side of Deakin.
The downside to Deakin’s worldview was that he was also a supporter of the Imperial Federation and the Empire generally, a contradiction in his thinking shared by many at the time—and which was part of the compromise that produced the Federation. After all, the Empire had opposed White Australia (as Deakin must have known) and to achieve it, many may well have considered that if they supported the Empire, the policy would be conceded. Certainly, this shows in the White Australia debate in the 1901 Parliament. Deakin pushed the line that immigration restriction could be achieved with a language test imposed upon would-be migrants rather than the open ban on certain types of migrants. That was the imperial line that operated as Joseph Chamberlain put it “so as not to offend Her Majesty’s Indian subjects.”
There is an argument that for many Australians in the Federation movement, the National Settlement was to be ‘as good as it gets.’ Within that framework, many thought the Nation would develop slowly, and organically. I would suggest that was the view of the ANA. If Australia eventually went away from the Empire or otherwise, that was a matter for the future. Many thought that there was an immediate task in front of them—and they did what they reasoned was necessary.
We cannot say their thinking was in some way ‘anti-Australian’. With the benefit of hindsight (as shall be discussed momentarily) we can say their thinking was flawed, which might be a valid point when we consider our opponents here who are going ‘back to the future’ with their views.
We can say that the National Settlement had its moments (Australia created a national currency, the Trans Australia Railway, an Australian Navy, the first signs of an independent foreign policy, the Commonwealth Bank). Still, it was not long before the imperial forces set out to sabotage this organic constitution. Given the Empire had resented White Australia, it soon allied with Japan. Pro-imperial capitalist forces desired the re-introduction of cheap labour, particularly in Queensland. With the First World War, the Empire relied upon the naivete of the people to produce a cannon-fodder army for a war not in our interest.
The National Settlement was not overthrown at that time, but it was in constant political warfare with imperialism. Parts of it lingered for decades, but by the 1980s, remaining protectionism and our social policies were finally overthrown. Australia became the fantasy land of the free markets with its immigration door well and truly ajar.
THE WAR – AND IT’S PERSONAL
It is an irony of history that our problem with Deakin can be personalised. Deakin’s daughter married Herbert Brookes, whose political biography would fill a volume. Suffice it to say, Brookes supported the involvement of our country in the Great War and the crime of nation murder perpetrated against us by the Empire. In 1916, he founded the first of the Australian secret armies pledged to uphold the Empire and the privileges of local capital. He supported conscription, which the labour movement and other true patriots defeated in a mass campaign and two referenda. To uphold his ‘Anglo’ ascendency, he turned against Australians of Catholic or Celtic origin and considered them potentially traitors. In the name of Empire, he ripped open the National Settlement. That Angloism would become a core aspect of this new perverted ‘patriotism.’
We can say quite clearly that Brookes opened up a new era in Australian politics. The ‘patriot’ was to be defined as ‘Anglo’, anti-communist, loyalist to monarchy and written constitution, willing to serve militarily overseas. That meant there was no new nation, no Co-operative Commonwealth, no placing Australia first in foreign policy. Brookes’ nephew would carry on the tradition of founding the Australian Security Intelligence Service (ASIS) to stand side by side with the USA in its anti-communist warfare which would ultimately undermine White Australia through the cultivation of Asian allies!
Of course, we do not say that Deakin condoned much of this (some of it post-dated his time), but when this new official imperial Australia was born in the Great War, he failed to oppose it either. This new Australia, dominated as it was by a traitor class, made a mockery of the National Settlement. It consequently mocked Deakin.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
So, what is the idea behind the new Deakin myth? As we argue, ideology is the essential worldview of a movement while politics is essentially how that ideology is applied in practice, how it locates vectors, mobilizes resources, relates to other forces and establishes its place.
The new Deakinites (sic) wish to re-form Australia’s native heritage, but chiefly around our supposed ‘Anglo’ base; they do not exclude the other ‘whites’ (although some may), but they simply want them to exist within this framework. They acknowledge the need for us to put Australian economic interests first and to provide better conditions for our working people, but they oppose the intervention of the state against big capital, finance capital and multinational capital. They seek allies who ask not too much, but they would serve supposed traditional friends as their propagandists. This blurry ‘patriotism’ inspires us not. To achieve success for this ideology, the new Deakinites desire to create a united front of conservative and far-right groups and influencers (sic) recognising that they link back to establishment parties and think tanks whom they may reason can be ‘won over’ (the first mistake in becoming a satellite). It is rather a matter of who wins over whom!
The new Deakinites will exclude and excoriate the nationalists with our absolute commitment that the national identity must be ‘European in general but native to the soil in particular.’ They repudiate our notion of creating a bloc of the productive classes against the traitor class and our promulgation of a struggle for national independence. They reject independent politics which must struggle for itself, its programme, and its power, whereas the conservatives and far-right always imagine they have allies in the ranks of the dominant class and institutions and would ‘infiltrate,’ a bloc with them and make the alliance.
NATIONAL SETTLEMENT DONE AND DUSTED
The National Settlement is thought of by nationalists as an option for national progress held in good faith in its day. It is over now! If we are politically successful, we cannot restore it (sic). We cannot consider it to be something that can be abstracted out of its time and place and recycled as some sort of new ‘starting point.’ It was sadly insufficient at the start. At best, we note the better parts of its ‘intent’ and move on.
Rather, we must frankly start again! If we reckon that the struggle comes down to the overturn of the contemporary traitor state, we must be ruthless with our national past. Only that which serves this struggle can be a true reference point.
We might say that whatever Alfred Deakin’s historical limitations of time and place, he would not support this contrived Deakinism. There was an element of high decency in the man. We cannot escape our prejudiced view that if he was open-sightedly forced to choose between the traitor class ideology which opened Australia to a new colonisation and the ‘narrow’ Australia First view of the radical nationalists—he would choose the latter. The new Deakinites should do the same. ■