Beyond The Politics Of Left And Right

Dr. Jim Saleam, Sydney Forum, August 2003.


This item has been edited from the speech as recorded.

The labels of Left and Right are parts of our political vocabulary. We learned them. We know they can mean different things by country or by time or by place. We know they are used every day.

There is the 'left' of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and its 'right'. There is right-wing Christianity (fundamentalist, family-ist, moralist) and left-wing priests (ideological, guerrilla-ist, social-reformist). There is extreme rightism and radical leftism. It seems that people usually think the Right represents some sort of commitment to a country, a faith, a flag while the Left is more concerned with the economically poorer classes, the globe and social progress. That stays as the old view, the easy view, of things.

Some say politics is a straight line with Left one side and Right the other.

In this system. The each end of the line are communists and fascists, communism being the extreme form of social democratic labourist thinking and fascism being the extreme form of capitalistic rule. Really?

Some say politics is a circle and as the arc spins so Left and Right meet. That sounds more intelligent. Here the inverted circles have grey areas where on one side there can be a sort of mushy liberalo-conservatism and on the other a sort of red-fascism or national communism. Possibly?

Some say that politics is a series of separate lines, multi-dimensional, with different Left-Right continuums. That sounds fascinating. In that way the Left-Right divide is kept, but it depends on what level you're playing.

Well, long ago, I decided to unlearn what I'd learnt. The terms: yes, I've used them for certain purposes, possibly university-writing or as quick guides. But I reject them in fact. At best, they're like scaffolding: maybe necessary while you build your structure; but once it's there, you knock the scaffolding down as an ugly necessity whose purpose is past.

What does seem pretty clear to me is that there might be powers behind the scenes with a vested interest in the old Left-Right divide. As long as we are hypnotised by the division, we cannot combine all dissident forces into a synthesis able to affect change.

We wish to serve the Australian people. To that end, many of the people here have commitments to parties and activist groups. We need to get it right. I do not wish to sound melodramatic, but we here count. If we get our ideas right, we can serve more efficiently more expressively. We can become downright - dangerous!

The Establishment: 'Left Wing Cultural Agendas'/ 'Right Wing Economics'

It is now said by many Australian patriots that the system that rules over us - let's call it the New World Order capitalist system is a strange bird. It seems to have capitalist economics but marxist social ideas, married together with a totalitarian method. For the sake of the argument, I think that's correct.

There is a lot of material out there, from (American) Christopher Lasch's Revolt Of The Elites, through to (Australian) Katherine Betts's work Immigration And Ideology, which look at the phenomenon called the New Class.

I use this as a lead in to this point. Look at our 'opinion makers' in this so-called Australian liberal-democracy. Many of them were the flower-power kiddies of the late 1960's, former Trotskyites, Maoists and ex-members of the former Communist Party. They moved on, got older, went into the media, the arts, the think-tanks, the government bureaucracy, the law. What did they give us?

They set the political-correctness agenda. They imposed the vile language of 'tolerance' 'acceptance' 'anti-racism', gender-politics, globalism and the rest of it. They created a vision. As Mary Kalantzis put it, a vision for a "post national" society, for the "mistaken identity" of Australia and Australians. As she put it: we will "negotiate across the boundaries of race and gender". On the "biggest export platform in the world", as Keith Windshuttle put it in 1980 in his classic book Unemployment, Australians will exist as an underclass with the elites clocked in to an emerging global order, with a security apparatus in place to keep us all in line. While we're phased out, presumably? Well, Windshuttle had it right in 1980 and the new class has done the propaganda. These lefties traded their marxism for a place at the big business table as long as 'anti-racism' anti-sexism' could be the way forward. Yes, and the capos don't mind that!

Now look at the other side of the system: the men of the so-called New Right. What did they give us: no unions, workplace bargaining, high immigration, free markets, hyper-capitalism. These New Right warriors, from the parliamentary cockroaches like the Abbott-Costello show through to so-called social-democrats like millionaire R. J. Hawke, and then arch-capitalists like Hugh Morgan, Frank Lowy and a host of others, set the ground for a horror-Australia where social rights are undermined, where all structures are dissolved to make exploitation simpler and efficient.

But look at the essential point. The New Class and the Old Class can get on very well in the key area of the abolition of nationality and identity.

One can serve the other by glossing up the sick, the unpardonable, the treasonous-to-everything-we-were-and-are principles of modern capitalism. The other steamrolls straight over the people. Here Left and Right are together against the people.

I want to oppose the Establishment. As implied here, its politics is downright anti-European inverted racism, anti-national, anti-identity, anti-freedom. It is a recipe for the worst totalitarian order ever devised. But it is a powerful politics, able to motivate its supporters from the boardroom, to the parliament, to the agencies of state, to the university, to the media, to the Trotskyite street storm-trooper gangs, the dross who were out there screaming against Hanson and who now want the refugees freed from detention.

To oppose the Establishment, I want our troops in motion but I want allies, even the most occasional, difficult and partial of allies, to get us out of political isolation because we can and will bloc together in public struggle. But first we have to get free of the psychological chains which bind us; to become a true national resistance we need to develop a new politics.

Looking At The Issues Themselves.

Why can't we have a type of politics which judges the issues as they come?

In that way, we make the first move in breaking from the imposed model of politics. By the self-assertion that we will go beyond Left and Right, we can actually start to do it. We just get up and run with it!

I'll give you some examples. All simple ones, but at the same time, rather profound matters of policy and attitude.

Take Citizens' Initiated Referendum (CIR). I would say that most people here favour it. It was once the programme of the ALP. It was only removed from the programme in 1962 when Donny Poo Dunstan decided it was dangerous populism, something that might get in the way of the agenda on immigration he was pushing with great energy. Now some of the older folks here were opponents of the ALP. Would they now condemn the policy? Not likely they're its greatest champions. So what has happened? A policy which once belonged to a group some think of as left-of-centre has gone over to people denounced in the daily press as "extreme right wing"? We say it is the correct policy and it should be part of a new Australian order.

Take the question of economic independence for Australia. We know that under the free-trade regime of the GATT and the GATS we are expected to create a level-playing-field economy. Under GATT we open up to unrestricted free trade. We have to compete with the sweated goods of the Third World. Under GATS we allow the direct competition of foreign companies in our domestic economy and further, the direct importation of foreign labour at non-Australian rates of pay.

Who opposes that? Well the 'extreme-leftist' Trotskyite groups don't! They say that the free market in goods and labour is good. It creates a one-world economic system. 'Theoretically', this is all justified in marxist-trotskyite language; they say it hastens the day of the great world socialist revolution by creating a two-class world with the only issue being the class struggle. But they refuse to allow unions, workers, ordinary people to go against it in the name of protecting industry or raising barriers and standards. That is denounced as "reactionary" "national chauvinist" "racist" in character. In effect therefore, this so-called extreme-left force becomes the tool of the capitalist forces that are 'right' in character. So, where are we left? (pardon the pun!!) We are in the situation 'system verses people'. And that is a far better way to look at politics!

And let me go one further. These Trotskyites even call the Communist Party of Australia "right-wing". Why? Because it says that Australia could and should try to be "independent" of the NWO. It says that the Australian economy should try to be independent of the world banks and multinationals. The Trotskyites say this is a plot to restrain the workers from reaching the level world where revolution is possible. Some even say the CPA could become "fascist" under the right circumstances. Interesting.

Take the question of the recent New World Order war against Iraq. I hope everyone here opposed this criminal war. Did we love Saddam? No! But we saw through it all. Weapons of mass destruction were weapons of illusion. Terrorist links were CIA lies. Then there those supposed patriots who whispered that the war might be wrong but that Islam, as a threat to Australian independence, could nonetheless be dealt a blow - a clever line but off-beat - were also rejected. No! We all opposed the war whether on the streets or in other ways. This was new. Here we were, those described as the nationalists, the patriots, or according to our critics, the right-wingers, opposing a war, denouncing a foreign adventure, saying 'live and let live' to the Iraqis. We knew that oil and Israel were behind the war and we knew that supporting Zionist/US foreign policy does not serve Australia, in the short-term or ever. And I thought opposing war was a leftie thing? No, it was a patriotic thing regardless of whether died-in-the-wool pacifists or old style Reds were involved.

Let's look at what policy we would have to the latest madness of our rulers: a Pacific Economic Community with free movement of labour (labour: the islands' only resource!!) and a common currency:

We are against slave labour - left-wing.

We are for our own workers ahead of foreigners - right-wing.

We are against imperialism which strips these peoples of their heritage and freedom - left-wing.

We assert our own heritage and identity - right-wing.

We oppose the local capitalists who want the plan - left-wing.

We are for a strong independent Australia - right-wing.

BUT when you add it all up: it's a policy which puts Australia and Australians First as its bottom line and which demands for us what we would grant to all: identity, independence, freedom!

These few examples of our collective attitude tell us something. A new yardstick to judge politics has come into being. Issues are being looked at as things in themselves. If a certain position is pro-Australian, if it puts Australia

First, we take it. So we form a raft of policies, but we did so because we reduced everything to for-or-against-Australia. We arrived at a new politics in practise, a new politics neither Left nor Right.

Turning The Establishment's Politics Upside Down.

The Australian Establishment's politics is, for want of phrase, my scaffolding again, an attempt to use the labels of Left and Right against the people and their national cause.

So what do we do? Well, we must never accept in the public discourse the labels the opposition place upon us. For this reason, the Forum here has convened under the slogan Identity Independence Freedom. These are not words, but visions. They are ideas that step out beyond conventional politics.

The Establishment forces are experts in meeting and defusing opposition. The Establishment changed in Australia and elsewhere, as I said before, in moving from its former 'traditional conservative face' to a situation where it condones a hyper-liberal social policy and a hyper capitalist economic policy. They are able to appeal to different forces to support the new order.

If we flip all this upside down, we can see that the real oppositional forces are firstly those which struggle against the tolerant society and secondly those which oppose the free market. That's very wide ground. The two wings don't always agree, any more than the Establishment's two sides are utterly harmonious, but it's in the dynamics that the ruling system stays cohesive and so it must follow that in motion - the opposition is the same. Look at the Establishment: from the business end of town in their dull suits chattering on about statistics and growth through to the People's Republic of Newtown and Glebe with baggy clothes, green hair and chatter about the brave world of diversity - the unity is there. So look at our side: from the Christian fellow with his bible quotes against moral decay through to the unemployed industrial worker or dispossessed farmer yarning on about a new Australia of full employment - there is opposition to decay.

A New Dynamic Politics Neither Left Nor Right.

It seems that the way forward is to conjure up a movement at street level, at factory/office level, at school level, university level, in the public media. Such a movement is a lot more than a society which urges people to mark little squares on bits of paper every three years. I cannot think of a recent great change in any society where the later was, of itself, the only factor in inducing change. Change comes when minds change and people act directly. The formalisation of that could be a ballot box return, but that's about it. The formalisation. To inspire, to lead, to incite: well I've yet to hear of a programme in Australian politics in recent years which expresses that!

We have, many of us here have, been political soldiers in a very broad tradition of Australian politics. We've tried lots of things. But we are yet to turn towards people, and all sorts of groups with whom we may never yet thought of dealing with, to affect decisive change!

We can now liberate ourselves of the burdens of the past. I fear some will not make this change. But then, as Henry Lawson put it, some must be in the vanguard of Australians on our darkest grandest day!

Don't Let The Messengers Be Killed Off!

I can tell you, by way of validation, and this is by no means an aside to my speech, that the message of a new politics beyond the old Left-Right boundaries has very significant critics. Some lurk furtively within our broad political camp. And the fact that these critics come forward and try to abort the project before it even gestates, tells us something very important.

When it was announced that I was to speak here on this subject the word got around very fast. It is hardly my idea; I am only one of many messengers of this idea. But I am reliably told, and I will make my data available to certain activists here assembled, that some people (and I just don't mean provocateur outfits) have muttered about this subject being on our agenda. These people are hardly our friends either, so in that sense it doesn't matter too much.

Why do these dark forces object? Well, it's new politics. It is a way out of the political ghetto for the nationalist and patriotic and freedom forces. It means linking up in an activist way with elements of any number of social movements and challenging Establishment ideology and politics. We can reach out to unionists (on the issue of GATS ); we can reach out to many environmentalists (on the issues of .); we can reach out to farmers (on the issues of..) In other words, we can try to link up with larger activist groups which, in one way or another, for varied reasons and so on, and on occasions for only limited times, challenge some negative aspect of state ideology and politics. Beats the hell out of elections, doesn't it!

We do not need to feel that we are on the defensive, when it is possible to attack.

If we are no longer captive to getting the voter on side, but working to get people into action on an issue, a project, to get people to contest power with Establishment agents, ideologues and other actors directly, then we are waging politics.

Let's Move.

I believe that Australian politics is going to change quickly and in our general favour.

I am no longer burdened by looking at politics in the old way of waiting for signs that 'electors' are getting wise. You see that's for Pauline or Dave Oldfield or some other parliamentary matador. Nor are we waiting for the flip side of that politics: namely 'pressuring' parliamentarians to do the right thing to yield a big result.

We live in dangerous times. The struggle to change the politics of our country has never been harder. Step by step, Australia has been enchained. We are now on the edge of the New World Order system being unchallengeable for years in our country.

Neither Left Nor Right!

A New Politics For A New Century, A New Nation!



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