The Illusion Called Parliament: What Is Parliament? Understanding Parliament And The State Power Dr. Jim Saleam
The Illusion Called Parliament:
What Is Parliament? Understanding Parliament And The State Power
Dr. Jim Saleam
The Australian nationalist cause has been in flux for some time. The inability of a structured, cohesive nationalist party to move beyond the fringe has been marked. The groups that make up the Australian patriotic constellation have been in perpetual crisis - for some years in fact. It has proved, to date, impossible for genuine nationalists to penetrate these forces (particularly One Nation), and to have regrouped these fractions, and resumed the struggle.
The defeat of the 'Hansonist' One Nation Party (which was a pseudo-popular conservative party not a nationalist party), the near-disappearance of other pro-Australian electoralist parties and the climate of suspicion and inaction amongst other formations, have together been symptoms of the lack of true strategy and tactics. This is not to condemn people as people, but to state the facts.
The question of which 'road' to take has never been more important. The question of parliament, parliamentary elections and parliamentary politics, is squarely before us. In one way or another the question of parliament bedevils most patriotic groups. It is time to render the question clear.
A vital political fact for this analysis is that the Australia First Party (AFP) has survived. It will continue to act in the service of the people. This pamphlet is designed to raise the tone of political debate by analysing parliamentarism - and it shall be found wanting. It is hoped the lessons will be applied by AFP and learned by all.
There is an energetic debate going in Australian patriotic circles about parliament: about how to get patriotic representatives into parliament and/or how to influence those big-party representatives who we've already got. That there is such a debate is healthy and, given the failures of certain patriotic parties in recent times to win substantial representation, or even to make a dent in the party-dictatorship, it is long overdue. Indeed, it's possible to say that people are talking largely because of the inability of patriotic parties to achieve an electoral breakthrough.
Unfortunately, as is the argument here, the entire discussion is misconceived. But first things first. There are three contending 'camps', although some readers might observe there is occasional overlap in those involved in the debate.
Camp One: this group says that patriots do need a party which focuses its attentions on winning seats in Federal and State parliaments, and in other ways too, influencing the political debate by preference-allocations and shaking up the big parties. Of course, these people are involved in a 'party', usually meaning a group 'registered' as a party under Federal and/or State electoral acts. Some think in terms of 'winning government' one day, and others just in terms to influencing the major parties in government. It is held that party policy and organization must be subordinated to these broad objectives. The party must function as the big parties do in order to compete in the struggle.
Camp Two: this group says that 'parties are on the nose' with the electors. This group says it is far better to sponsor good 'independents'; as candidates they show the strength of popular concerns, and if elected, can serve their electors fearlessly without party discipline and obligations. They can raise matters of national significance as they are compelled by conscience to do. It is held that no organization is necessary other than structures which promote such candidates. Whether any independent candidate will be elected is problematical. The function of the support-groups after the 'failure' of certain candidates, is not clear (do they 'fold up' or seek new independents for the poll three years thence?). The function of the support structures outside of backing independent candidates generally is difficult to determine, other than to describe them as propaganda agencies for the theory which endorses such candidates.
Camp Three: this group says that if only parliamentarians could conform to the rules implicit in Westminsterism, and be gently prodded into bowing to the will of the electors on public issues, the people would again be sovereign. In this model, we require no organization except for voters' groups which inform both parliamentarians and electors of their rights and duties. Further, such groups can employ clever techniques of voting and preference allocation to 'dictate' to the candidates. Voila! : reform. This camp employs the literature of an array of writers, but needs minimal central structure.
Each camp has differences in accent and direction, but each shares several things in common. Obviously, each agrees that parliament is in theory the incarnation of the popular will, the proper place for that will to be articulated and a neutral institution where policy and legislation is thrashed out. It seems too that they agree that the physical structures of patriotic politics should exist around parliament with the restoration of parliament's independence and the voters' sovereignty, the twin goals. Each agrees parliament has gone wrong somehow from the original intention of the Constitution and/or from some variously-given point in time.
Essentially, it must follow that if parliament can be 'captured', national independence for Australia can be won. Is it a pipe dream? We know through experience that the major parties will resist all these projects to the end. It is salient to recall that parliament and the electoral rules and mechanisms in place are fine-tuned to these parties. The system itself is designed for two party blocs: 'Government' and 'Opposition'. These parties argue different 'policies', but never dispute the system itself. Even the decision as to the holding of an election is out of our hands and both public funding and strong backers support the enemy's party machines. But why does our side keep going back to parliament for solutions? Is it that we have become convinced of something that in the idea of parliament which in fact - might not be real? Have we fallen for a mythology?
Development Of A Mythology.
All fairy-tales have a basis and were composed somewhere- and sometime. The idea that winning power in parliament, or controlling parliament, gives 'power' to the holder of the ticket called the majority - is the issue. Does controlling parliament confer the sovereign power, regardless of whether that power is understood as being devolved upon a party, a person or the people in the mass? But first, let us look at how our side understands parliament.
It is a matter of record that patriots have been organizing to impose the individual's 'my will' on parliamentarians for about sixty years. Not that it's worked, but that is a side-quip. These patriots have looked at the institution as an entity constitutionally constructed down the ages to register the popular will. This is Alice In Wonderland stuff. That could be the useful mythology for a parliament based upon the Westminister system, a convenient lie told by way of justification. It could even have been the original intention of medieval English kings to provide a voice for the commoner. Even the cynical English revolutionaries of 1688 might have considered that a parliament set out the compact between rulers and ruled (whilst they intended to keep with the 'ruling'). But is all this how parliament sits in a modern society? Does it help us to differentiate power from the semblance of it?
Some Australian theorists, well-meaning to be sure, have clothed parliament in mythological garments A few have said that parliament is a holy institution. Others said it derived of a certain British constitutional evolution which was inspired by the Holy Spirit, inherited by Australia by virtue of British settlement. It was put occasionally that it is hallowed and rich in symbolic ritual. I will not name the names, save to say this doctrine in Australia arose during the Second World War period and was consistently developed thereafter. These theorists said that parliament was a part of the 'Crown' and Australian freedom wore this crown. It was said that parliament could be made to work for the sovereign people. Parliament needed a bit of fine-tuning and a few tricks (like getting the parliamentarians to 'agree' to Citizens' Initiated Referenda) to ensure it would function as a compliant tool of the people's will. No more strife or hubble-bubble; no more toil and no more trouble! Nirvana.
It seems that this mythology has moved generations of activists, waves of activists, to struggle on. As the political articulation of the three camps in the present debate shows, there are different interpretations of how to get to parliament and what to do when one gets there, but in certain ways all roads lead to parliament.
I am sure that today, despite the fervour in some quarters about such views, there is a nagging sense of doubt. For one, I have seen it and heard it. And I am sure readers of this pamphlet have too. After battering away at the same essential line year in and year out, decade in and decade out, and seeing no progress (conceded: we haven't won the war regardless of all of our efforts), some rationalisation must follow. It could be that those more worldly thinkers amongst us are stripping parliament of its emporer's-new-clothes and asking questions. Is the question one relating to 'power'? Should the question no longer be about parliament? And then the voice of reason!
Someone Cries: "It's The State, Stupid!"
Someone cried: "it's the state, stupid". We were looking at the wrong entity. Logically, parliament is an important institution. It would be a very positive thing if patriotic representatives served there, whether they are elected as members of a 'party', whether they are noble independents, or whether they are time-servers and system-men who, when pushed by the better angels of conscience and popular agitation, do the right thing by the people and the country. It is also valid to argue that parliament is a place where patriotic voices can make a difference and if ultimately 'captured' in some manner or another, parliament could enunciate new laws for our battered land. These 'laws' might not hold up, but they would be a basis for a new movement for patriotic action that struggles outside of parliament for their acceptance! But that's another story.
The misconception in our present debate lies in the belief that whoever controls parliament controls state authority. Indeed, in the present discussion, the question of the state is not broached at all. Let me simplify it and be very brutal: let us assume one fine day a parliament of patriots attempts to legislate Australia out of the mess; then, in consequence, let us be fully aware that 'the state' will not permit that to occur without fulsome resistance. To turn the phrase: the state will not permit parliament to 'govern'. The state is only too pleased to have a government - when it accords with state policy. But if the two are in loggerheads, then one must give. In our present system, the parliamentary toads of the main parties are in full agreement: for the New World Order, open borders, free trade, repressive legislation and so on. It has been like that for several decades and few voices in parliament have said much different to Establishment principles.
What is this thing called the state? It could be defined as a machine, an ensemble of agencies and processes, underpinned by an ideology. We mean by agencies: the army, police, courts, gaols, secret police, public service, parliament and other instrumentalities. We mean by processes the laws, rules, regulations and methods that emanate from these agencies. When taken together, these agencies sum to a special collection, an ensemble that all work in regularised tandem. It is possible therefore to observe this entity as a machine in motion. To legitimise the machine, to oil it, to inspire those who staff it, it has an underpinning ideology: liberalism. The machine says it is legitimate because it delivers individual happiness and security and because it delivers these things it is sacrosanct. It is moral and right because liberalism is moral and right. Its circular logic wins the debate.
Every state - and the Marxists bored us to death with the saying - was the tool of a class. Every state (perhaps ours will break the pattern) has a ruling class. It can be benign or in accordance with the cultural proclivities of a people and so forth, but it is a fact of life. In periods of crisis, decline and the dominance of money-thinking, it is not hard to conceive of the state being the special possession and weapon of the dominant group. In contemporary Australia. the class in power has been defined by some - as the transnational capitalist class. Our rulers are not simply 'Australian', but part of an elite as at home in Tokyo and Washington as in Sydney or Melbourne.
The phrase transnational capitalist class is not hard to understand. In the modern state, the rulers are not only those with super-wealth, but those who serve the interests of the class and its state. We may speak of the local managers of the multinationals and the international and 'national' banks, the higher academic staff, the higher public servants of all instrumentalities, the great shareholders, the politicians, directors of the media and certain public figures. The class members are, to use the phrase of the French Revolution 'representatives on mission', whenever and wherever they serve their collective interest, the liberal state.
Are we any clearer? Parliament is just one state institution staffed by just one set of state representatives. If we control parliament, have we dismantled the 'power' which is killing our Australia?
So what then is parliament? Parliament expresses at one level, the formal workings of the state. Yes. But on another level, it is a fig-leaf for the real exercise of power by people outside of parliament, by the Australian section of the transnational capitalist class. It is also a deception in that, if people set out to 'capture' parliament, they fool themselves into believing they can win the power . They capture little even if they succeeded, but expended all of their time, perhaps their lifetimes, pursuing a will-o-the-wisp. One cannot 'correct' parliament any more than a mirage can be given substance. Parliament is merely the ritualised rubber-stamping of the state's decisions.
Can State Power Be Captured By Tricks, Votes?
This is the hard question. Every trick, every vote and every parliamentary seat, has value. True. However, the state power is well aware of all these ruses activated such that it gives up its authority to the people.
All logic baulks at the notion that the Australian state would surrender to the people's will. Why should it? Because someone quotes the Constitution to it? Because electors register their 'will' via petitions, letters to members of parliament, or even by ballots?
In the final analysis the state governs through parliament because it is a power. And because, rightly or wrongly, the majority of Australians either consider it legitimate, or would not for whatever reason - contest its right.
Once we recognise this fact, the patriots of the past with their Constitution-theories, no less than the sincere people today arguing for the 'implementation' of our Constitution as our ultimate defence of sovereignty, are left somewhat high and dry. If we are honest with ourselves, we will draw the ultimate conclusion: it is time to wage 'politics', 'politics' no longer defined as just an electoralist construct, but as the wider object implicit in its definition. In that way, we reduce the matter of parliament to one factor in our political work. We may apply the ideas of all three of our camps on the matter of parliament, but add to our political bag a whole new set of games.
Where Do We Go?
It is easy to destroy and harder to create. A scheme falls by the application of reason and a new plan must take its place or the player resign from the game. If the current debate about parliament is misconceived, where do we go?
It is reasonable to say that the ordinary Australian has illusions in parliament, so we shouldn't disappoint him! Of course, we should stand for parliament. And try to win the odd seat too. It doesn't matter how we get seats either. It matters not if we are a 'party' or a group of 'independents'. Further, there's nothing wrong in putting the screws on the local MP as well. It helps to mobilise people and frustrate the parliamentarian who is, after all, just another agent of the state power. To get a small parliamentary group hammered out in the vilest of parliaments would be a good result, because it can employ the state's own resources to act as a 'tribune of the people'.
Given parliament is only one place where the state power-writ runs, then we should broaden our struggle. If politics means more than electoral politics, then the 'party' or machine we create, must contest for power wherever it can be won. That means in local government, unions, associations of all sorts, social movements, factory-floors, universities, school-yards and anywhere else. We all remember what the old Communist Party used to do, and it may be time to learn that lesson! And that means 'organization' centres on points of contact with the people and not on electorate boundaries. It also means we build a new 'ideological tradition' to challenge the political glue of the present system and by defending the heritage of our country at every point contest the dominant globalist culture-idea. This trinity of political action (parliament, public, ideological-cultural) is the only 'trinity' that need guide us in the discussion of parliament and the state.
When one contests for power, the organization that does this, is a party. It can call itself the good-blokes-friendly-society if it wanted to, but a party is what it would be. Why all this heart-wrenching, soul-searching, hair-pulling agony over calling a spade a spade? Why can't people speak this five letter word? If we were to be a party like the parties of the state, with their corrupt practises, there'd be no result. If we were a party which sought 'star' candidates who were looking for a seat in parliament at our expense, then we'd be bad judges of character and useless to the purpose. But if we are a movement that denies the validity of the state's ideology and its legitimacy to rule over the people, if we fight it and its agencies across the board and everywhere, then a party we are.
Of course, a party of cadres doesn't appeal to all and there are a thousand places in the broad front where the patriotic individual can function and play a role to his/her taste and abilities. That freedom-of-choice is a moral absolute. There are grassroots bodies in which the common person can serve and serve well. That is mandatory for anyone who does more than talk.
But it is also surely time for some of us to band together into a new structure to wage the political struggle for Australia's identity, and her independence and freedom. That 'party', if it was organized professionally, with its resources husbanded and concealed from the enemy, and if it was structured to co-operate with all grassroots and independent groups of people, could achieve major results. If it was respected as a vanguard force of patriots, it could make a profound impact on the grassroots movement, condition it and develop it further, while contesting the state's ideology and politics. It would only be special people, those willing to accept a certain degree of discipline and a higher degree of commitment who would be full members of such a party, and only those who saw its merit and were otherwise prepared to build it, who would be its rank and file.
All this means that political 'power' is the goal. And here the final fault of some of our theorists of parliament manifests itself. Why their theories? Because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, they say. They never sought 'power' because they never wanted responsibility. It was easier to invoke the Holy Spirit to judge this corrupt age and defer to the monarch - than it was to contest the state. It was easier to denounce others who recognise we live in a tangible world with material enemies. It was easier to go cap in hand to parliament and beg them to change and threaten them with the wrath of God if they did not. Others saw through this and moved to other perspectives about parliament and sought at least some change. But given it was this set of theorists who started the whole parliament myth in Australia, it is time to question the myth itself. Too many of us despair of the whole discussion.
One thing is sure. If we do not think outside of the square we're in, failure will be the reward. And Australia sinks with us.
Ten Principles For Party Building
The reader will understand that these points are given in general. It is high time we nationalists understood that we are required to become special people who will labour without ceasing for identity, independence and freedom of our country. If we can learn our politics well, we are the future force in Australian politics.
Identity, Independence, Freedom.
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