Allende_supporters

by Tom Sinclair

1. What every nationalist politician needs

We nationalists certainly have a radical program – if by radical we mean uprooting the tendencies and habits which have formed in the West over the past thirty years. The chief tendency, which we oppose is, of course, multiculturalism and mass non-white immigration into the West – a development foisted upon the Western nations by our own politicians, and welcomed by our media, intellectuals, economists, trade union and business groups. Disparate nationalist groups, from Britain to Russia to New Zealand to Canada, are all united on one thing: non-white immigration into the West must cease; and the non-white immigrants already here must be encouraged, through state policy, to return to the homelands of their forefathers.

That is, one could say, our key policy: and certainly the one which attracts the attention of the public. The masses are not really interested in, for instance, the BNP or the NPD’s opinions on global warming, industrial relations, or public health care: they want to hear about immigration. They will vote for a nationalist party for its positions on immigration, mostly because no other politician is brave enough to speak out against it, no matter his or private feelings on the issue, and every political tendency across the board – from the mainstream, liberal democratic parties, conservative and social democratic, to the radical Left – are all for multiculturalism and immigration. “Racists” have been purged, even from the conservative parties of the West, long ago. The likes of the BNP and the NPD, then, constitute an alternative to the mainstream political consensus.

It has to be admitted, however, that the policies of nationalists on non-racial topics which have little to do with immigration – e.g., trade union law, interest rates, financial regulation, recycling, old growth forest logging, maternity leave and the like – attract little attention from the public for another reason. That is, those policies are undeveloped – which is a euphemistic way of saying that nationalists don’t have any. There is very little consensus on these areas of policy in the nationalist world when they do come up for discussion.

The danger is that this locks nationalists out of mainstream political debate. Suppose that a representative for an Australian nationalist party were to do an interview on the current affair program The 7.30 Report. Kerry O’Brien, the host of the show, and a notoriously tough interviewer, would hammer that representative, relentlessly, on areas where the nationalists are weak: he would ask, ‘What does your party think of the ACTU’s latest Living Wage claim? Or increased financial regulation in the wake of the recent financial crisis?’. The representative would mumble some clichés about ‘true Australian worker’s socialism’ in response to the first question, and, in response to the second, perhaps blame the recent financial crisis solely on a single special interest group. All the while he would be hoping that O’Brien would turn the line of questioning back to the question of immigration. At home – in the living rooms across the country – the average Australian television viewer would be shaking his head: even though he may agree with that nationalist party about immigration, he can see, straight away, that the party – given its inability to formulate even the most basic positions on current political topics – is, in the jargon of the mainstream media, ‘unelectable’.

Is it so hard? Does a politician need to have a clear, fixed position on everything to be able to negotiate an interview, or hold a press conference? Does he need to be able to recite facts and figures on almost everything, at a moment’s notice? No: all he – and his party – needs are positions on three or four contemporary political issues. In an interview, at a press conference, on the campaign trail, he can adroitly steer the discussion towards one of those key issues, and then expound the party’s position on it. Enoch Powell made a political career on four issues: immigration; Britain’s membership in the EU; the conflict in Northern Ireland; and monetarism. For Pauline Hanson, it was Aboriginal welfare, Asian immigration, protective tariffs for Australian industry and agriculture, and rural and regional unemployment and under-employment (and socialist remedies for solving that problem). In the case of both Hanson and Powell, their ideology covered a broad range of issues. It should be noted that with his discussion of monetarism alone, Powell was involving himself in a discussion of one of the most contentious issues of the day, involving many mainstream, respectable politicians, economists, journalists and academics. He was not simply a ‘Send the Asians and Coloureds home’ one-trick pony.

And this is the main problem: to introduce the nationalist to mainstream debate – to open doors which have been closed to him because his opposition to immigration was not ‘respectable’.

The purpose of this article is to look at a particular issue which is of great relevance to Australia today, and to educate the nationalist reader who has little to no prior acquaintance with it: hopefully, then, a clear position can be formulated in his or her mind on the topic.

2. Chile in the 1970s

The history of Chile in the 1970s is, in itself, intrinsically interesting to the student of politics. Chile, a Latin American country with a predominantly white population, went from a Chavez-style socialist banana republic to a typical Latin American style military dictatorship banana republic in the space of a years – albeit with a difference: Chile, under the military dictatorship, was the first experiment, in the post-war era, in what is now known as neoliberalism. After the military coup in 1973 that deposed the Marxist Allende, the Chilean military junta enjoyed – after imprisoning, exiling or killing thousands of Chilean communists – absolute power. Faced with a desperate economic crisis, the junta took the (uncharacteristic, for a Latin American ‘fascist’ government) the step of implementing structural reforms to the Chilean economy, which included deregulation, privatisation (Chile’s electricity grid was sold to the Australian entrepreneur Alan Bond), the privatisation of superannuation (or social security, to American readers), labour law reform, cutting of tariffs on imports and the like. The junta’s economic policy-makers were known as the ‘Chicago Boys’, having studied economics in the University of Chicago under the economists Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger. This was the first instance in history of an authoritarian regimé applying neoliberal measures.

The results are controversial: those with inclinations towards neoliberalism use statistics to show that the Chilean experiment was a success – inflation and unemployment fell, economic growth rose, etc. – while the opponents of neoliberalism (a diverse array of Communists, socialists, Keynesian economists) use statistics to show that the Chilean experiment was a failure. What is certain is that Chile broke new ground: Australia, along with many other Western countries, embarked on widespread deregulation, privatisation, cutting of import tariffs, in the 1980s, a decade later (the Chilean privatisation of superannuation preceded the Australian). Furthermore, it is unlikely that the ‘Chicago Boys’ could have carried out their program without the complete control of economic policy given to them by the Chilean military: their policies met with substantial opposition, not only from the regime’s Communist opponents, but from organised labour and big business as well.

Communism is based on myths and personality cults. The case of Allende in Chile is no exception. Allende was, and continues to be, exalted by the radical Left as a superman figure, a sort of Marxist higher man bringing socialism to the masses, wooing them with his oratory, charisma and rare genius. In his personality cult, he is like so many Communist leaders before him: Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che, and lesser lights such as East Germany’s Honecker, Romania’s Ceauşescu and Albania’s Hoxha.

The BBC documentary series on Allende and the coup that toppled him – ‘The Other 911’, which is available on YouTube – even evokes, unwittingly, parallels to Hitler and his fall. Allende perishes, by his own hand (blowing his head off with a submachine gun given to him by Fidel Castro), in a fortified presidential palace, besieged by soldiers from the outside, defended by a small, but ideologically determined, praetorian guard of Chilean Communists. The females are evacuated as the palace is besieged (bombed by Chilean air force jets) and Allende, to the last, makes heroic addresses over the radio to the Chilean people, mourning the end of the Chilean socialist dream. The similarities between Allende’s last days, and Hitler’s, are obvious – even if the Left is not willing to acknowledge them.

The circumstances leading up to the Chilean coup, and the aftermath, will not be covered here, interesting as they are. The objective is to look at the main myth about Allende’s Chile: that he had introduced valuable ‘social reforms’, that it was a kind of ‘socialist paradise’. At the time, Allende’s Chile was upheld by the radical Left – like Chavez’ Venezuela now – as a model to the world, as a path, towards ‘democratic socialism’ and ‘development’ worth emulating. In contrast, Pinochet’s Chile, when the ‘Chicago Boys’ ran rampant, was a time of great poverty, misery, inequality, etc. My intention here is to expose the myth: not by measuring statistic against statistic, but by showing how everyday life was, in Allende’s Chile, would be unbearable – in terms of personal freedom, comfort, and the efficiency in the provision of services – even to the most radical of Leftists in the West today.

The question is: why is this of relevance to nationalists in the West?

In the year 2009, Communists have, by and large, infiltrated the environmentalist and anti-globalist movement, and are bending both to Communist purposes. And they are not troubling to define their terms and substantiate their claims. They speak of themselves as anti-capitalist, without defining precisely what capitalism is, or, moreover, what their alternative to capitalism is (at least to the general public – at bottom, they want Soviet-style Communism).

Now, many nationalists are eager to join forces with the anti-globalist movement, or at least, find common ideological ground. Because of their ideological and theoretical vulnerability – in short, their not having a position on these subjects – they can easily be seduced by the arguments of the anti-globalist/anti-capitalist crowd, and end up endorsing a kind of hazy socialism or communism without thinking of the implications of their statements (against greedy bankers, corporations, excessive economic growth and personal consumption, neoliberalism (however neoliberalism is to be defined). So they need to be shown what the consequences are – in a country such as Allende’s Chile, in which the government provisions ‘social justice’ and ‘social reform’, and is run by ‘the workers’. However Communists don’t seem to concern themselves too much in relation to the Ethnic/Racial Heritage of its workers and this is one of the major contrasts between it and Nationalism.

Perhaps the difference between the nationalist and the anti-capitalist/anti-globalist is that the nationalist has only a very vague idea of an alternative to ‘capitalism’ (however capitalism is defined) while the anti-capitalist/anti-globalist (who is, more often than not, a secret Marxist, or a radical environmentalist who wants to take the world back to the pre-industrial age) has a very clear, well-thought out plan. To the Marxist, the ‘anti-capitalist’ world of the future will be a lot like Honecker’s East Germany, or, at the least, Chavez’ Venezuela or Allende’s Chile.

The anarchist is, on the other hand, halfway between the Marxist/environmentalist and the nationalist in terms of vagueness. His idea of the future is one where property is abolished and where businesses are ‘run by the workers’ (syndicalism); or, better still, one where no-one has to work. How people are meant to survive without working – which, in the anarchist doctrine, is considered to be degrading and dehumanising – is not quite explained. All the same, the anarchist does, unlike the nationalist, have a consistent position as to what the alternative to capitalism is. Some Nationalists have flirted with using ideas from Social Credit and we do not discredit the possibility but it has never really been tried and tested too much.

While history has, most definitely, rejected Marxism, it has not rejected socialism. Indeed, socialism has, across the Western world, enjoyed something of a revival during the current recession (socialism in general always does well during a recession). At one point, then, the nationalist – if he wants to stay relevant – will need to come up with an answer to the question: socialism, for or against. Being vague in this area – while being extremely detailed on immigration (or rather, anti-immigration) policy will not do.

3. How it was

TTC-Broken-Down-Bus

So, given the importance of the subject, what was everyday life in Allende’s Chile like? Rather than looking at statistics – which certainly do not give a full picture – we shall examine small bits and pieces, as it were, of Chilean-style socialism in action. (The quotations here are from an account by a Chilean economist, Daniel L. Wisecarver, who is quite biased against socialism, and definitely in favour of neoliberal formulas, but who has some quite hard to come by information).

We shall begin here with a description of the quite bizarre practice of setting ‘fair’ and ‘socially just’ prices by the government in Chile:

By the end of the Allende government, more than 3000 prices were explicitly fixed, primarily by DIRINCO (the Directorate of Industry and Commerce). It is quite clear that the process of price fixing could only be negotiating sessions (when interested firms were allowed to participate) and that the post of price fixer had to be one of the most remunerative employments in all of Chile. The printout lists of fixed prices, including such items as “chalet type” dog houses and woollen gloves for infants, served as inventories of goods that had at one time been available for purchase… [Even after the Junta took power] some specific price fixes were remarkably detailed, particularising the name and type of product, the distributor’s name, and the place sold. For example, in July 1974, maximum prices were set for retail sales of RANN brand detergent, imported by the Center for Purchases of the Ancud Chamber of Commerce; or the retail price of soybean oil from the Netherlands imported by Domingo Coro and Son… [Wisecarver, Daniel L., ‘Economic Regulation and Deregulation in Chile 1973-1983’, in ‘The National Economic Policies of Chile’, ed. Walton, Gary M., Jai Press, 1985, pp. 154-156]

Such a policy had consequences:

One of the most dramatic and visible effects of [Allende’s] price controls and economic policy was the generalised scarcity of most goods in formal markets, the emergence of well-developed black markets, and long queues. In fact, it is now part of Chilean folklore that, upon seeing any queue, people lined up, sometimes for hours, without knowing what was for sale but buying whatever it was in the maximum quantity allowed. [Ibid, p. 154]

Wisecarver gives examples of, of all things, socialist and interventionist policies in buses:

Some of the regulations that existed in 1973 and 1974 were truly spectacular. For example, children could be transported only in yellow buses, so much so that owners of yellow buses were at times able to convince the police to give traffic violation tickets to parents who took more than their own children to school in the family car. Or if any organised group wanted to charter a bus (or drive its own) for a weekend outing to the beach, it was first necessary to get permission from the Sub secretary of Transportation, with at least three days’ anticipation. In fact, no bus could go anywhere, anytime, for any purpose without express authorisation. And one of the many crucial decisions reserved for the Subsecretary of Transportation, one which required careful study and consultations with other ministers, was the color and fabric of the uniforms that bus drivers were to wear in the coming year. [Ibid, p.161]

On a more mundane level,

The authorities fixed the number of buses and the frequency of runs; the frequencies were uniform, regardless of the day of the week or the hour of the day, and were monitored by the police. To help enforce required time schedules, bus drivers were prohibited from taking rest periods in bus terminals… The Ministry of Transportation also set quotas on the number of buses that could be brought into Chile, their make, model, size, country of origin, etc. Most of these restrictions and controls were codified [in a decree]… which also required that the Subsecretary of Transportation ensure that there appear no unfair competition from similar transport services, specifically not from artificial cost reductions. Hence, all bus fares were fixed.

[Ibid, p. 161-162]

Price-setting and regulations gave the government officials in charge enormous privileges, and the right to be inefficient in providing a service:

It is necessary to mention the state’s ex-entry in this sector, ETC (the collective transportation enterprise), a firm which ran annual deficits on the order of US $10-15 million. At the outset of the current government, this public firm possessed approximately 35% of Chile’s buses, its own set of exclusive routs, its own replacement-parts factory, and more than 5000 employees. ETC was well known for its free “social” routes and for having its vehicles broken down in the shop up to half the year. [Wisecarver adds in a footnote] These routes often turned out to exist for the exclusive benefit of a variety of government officials, their employees, and their related social groups. [Ibid, pp. 164, 199]

As for taxis:

The number of autos that could be employed as taxis was strictly controlled by the Subsecretary of Transportation, the Traffic Director, and indirectly by the union of professional taxi drivers. Each municipality was assigned a fixed quota of taxis which were identified with special license plates, and the taxi plates were naturally worth several times the value of the car itself. The monopoly enjoyed by these taxis permitted them to provide poor service (they might agree to take a customer to certain places only if it was convenient). The only “control” exercised over those drivers who were lucky enough to be cabbies took the form of fixing legal taxi rates. [Ibid, p. 164]

Chile Taxi Driver

Wisecarver gives an account of the practices of Chile’s longshoremen and dock workers, which makes bizarre reading. He first describes the activities of the unions:

In Chilean ports before 1981, there were a total of 77 separate unions up and down the coast, with as many as 17 in any one port. These groups had total monopoly control on moving any cargo within the ports; they determined the number of workers on each crew and fixed their remunerations as a function of the type of cargo. Every worker had his precise job and could and would do nothing more; no one not explicitly named to each task could work. In practice, the system degenerated to such a point that work crews doubled true labor requirements and, of course, the wage bill was correspondingly duplicated [i.e., workers would be paid for two jobs despite only doing one]. One of the major concerns of workers during half of each shift was said to be finding the most comfortable place to sleep. [Ibid, p.173]

Strangely, the Chilean port workers lived in a kind of feudal, hierarchical society, where unions had complete control over the workers’ lives:

The social structure that grew up around the port workers’ monopoly was, if anything, even more remarkable. There were at least five categories of workers:

1. Stevedores – These were the truly high-class workers, the ones with the legal monopoly to work, granted by the possession of an official ID (identity) card issued by the authorities.

2. Supplentes – These were the first-round substitutes for the stevedores, logically but not necessarily the first ones in line to receive the coveted (and lucrative) ID card. The suplentes were the first ones called to work if there were insufficient stevedores.

3. Pincheros – These “helpers” were a large group of lower class (at least in the port hierarchy) workers who might one day hope to be granted stevedore status. Meantime, they waited in the ports for any jobs that might be handed down to them by the higher-ups.

4. Medio Pollos [‘Half chicken’] – These were lower-class pincheros.

5. Cuarto Pollos [‘Quarter chicken’] – Lower-class medio pollos.

For every ship that had to be loaded or unloaded, the stevedores would be called in to determine work crews and costs. Only the stevedores had the legal right to employment, and therefore they were the only ones directly paid. They would then dole out jobs to their pincheros, who in turn would distribute tasks to medio pollos and cuarto pollos. The stevedores collected all the wages and passed them along, after deducting a sort of “commission”, to those below them who had participated in each specific job. At the same time, the union leaders collected a separate round of contributions from all the workers in order to finance the unions’ network of social benefits – housing, schools, health, etc. This network was sufficient to maintain the support of the lower-level workers for the union leaders and hence to maintain the pecking order within the ports. [Ibid, pp. 173-174]

Wisecarver mentions that, under these arrangements, workers were effectively controlled in where they wanted to work and live: ‘Anyone wishing to move and be able to work in a different port had to receive explicit authorisation from the authorities and respective unions’. [Ibid, p.175]

On the topic – of workers being paid for more than they actually worked – Wisecarver writes amusingly:

When the time arrived (1981) to change the legislation and eliminate the monopoly, the card-carrying stevedores reportedly “worked” between 400 and 600 days per year and earned more than $US2000 per month, substantially more than annual per capita income in the entire economy. Such statistics were of great use in stifling potential opposition to the new law among nonparticipants in the ports. [Ibid, p.174]

Finally, we shall look at a topic which has the most relevance to conditions in Australia at the present: Chilean labour law. A kind of guild socialism existed:

Consider the case of “professional colleges”. These colleges were basically highly specialised unions formed to protect the interest of the profession practiced by their members; each College, along with its legal faculties and responsibilities, was created by its own law. Without being a registered, paid-up member in good standing with the relevant college, regardless of professional qualifications, one could not work as a lawyer, public administrator, architect, librarian, accountant, newsman, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, professor, etc. The specific laws gave colleges the right to set fees charged by their members as well as standards for their work, prohibit the public sector from hiring nonregistered professionals, prohibit non-members from offering professional services to the general public, ensure that only dues-paying professional were registered, and so forth. [Ibid, p.186]

In general, the Chilean labor law was based on an ideological worldview akin to that of Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and the modern Australian union movement:

Starting with publication of the 1931 Labor Code, legislation governing labor relations blossomed into a network of some 70 fundamental labor laws by the end of 1973. Aside from the numerous statutes granting special privileges, two general types of legislation might be considered. On the one hand, for individual contracts, lawmakers acted as if employees were gullible and naive while employers were shrewd and ruthless. Therefore, in order to protect the former from the latter, it was necessary to legislate hours of work (normal and maximum overtime), wages (minimum at least), work conditions, length of vacations and when they could be taken, and so forth and so on – nothing was left to change or negotiation. [Ibid, p.187]

One consequence of the Chilean system was that unions played an increasingly politicised role – just as they did in Britain and Australia in the 1970s:

Over time the unions began to acquire more and more economic and political power, particularly those that could associate themselves with important, protected industries. As the unions became more extensive, and with state intervention in the economy becoming continually more generalised, any labor problem quickly became a political problem, one that was most readily resolved by granting union demands. Given the ubiquitous state intervention, once the firm or industry had granted union requests, it could turn to the state for a compensating favor of some sort – a price readjustment, higher protective tariffs or tighter import restrictions, a tax exemption, whatever. It was a neatly closed, if totally distorted, system. [Ibid, p.188]

4. Solutions

We have only covered part of Wisecarver’s article: not included are agriculture, railroads, air transport, maritime shipping, electricity, telephones, water, fuel, finance and banking…

To Wisecarver, what matters the most is greater ease, comfort, efficiency and freedom of personal choice in day-to-day living. Wisecarver looks at Chile, sector by sector, and recounts what to him are the happy results of a policy of deregulation. For example, he enthuses that:

Before deregulation the route between Santiago and Valparaiso/Vińa del Mar was served by two firms which were characterised by old, uncomfortable buses and somewhat less than reliable service. By the end of 1982, there were 12 firms covering the same route. Nowadays, at any time of the day, one can, for example, take the subway to the outskirts of Santiago, wait no more than 15 minutes, and get on a new, modern, air-conditioned bus, arriving at one’s destination within two hours The fare was lower in nominal terms than it had been five years earlier. And passengers to the coastal cities and sea resorts were not the only beneficiaries; daily rates for swimming pools in Santiago also fell. [Ibid, p.164]

Less electricity brown-outs, better phone coverage, less theft of cargo at the docks, less wasteful employment of government workers who do little to no work, better customer service in taxis and airlines… The list goes on and on. Life was bad under socialism; after the downfall of socialism, and the rolling-back of many of Allende’s splendid ‘social reforms’ (and the ‘reforms’ by the administrations prior to Allende) life improved – even if it became less ‘socially just’, more ‘inequitable’, more prone to ‘dog-eat-dog competition’ and ‘capitalism’. In other words, Chile approached the standards of ease, comfort, efficiency that we have become accustomed to in the West. Today’s Left, in Australia and elsewhere, could not abide life in Allende’s Chile – or Castro’s Cuba, or Chavez’ Venezuela, or Kim Jong-Il’s North Korea. (And lest one object that such ‘standard of living’ concerns are trivial, it is undoubtable that the rather dismal and grim existence in the Eastern European and Soviet regimes in the 1980s hastened the demise of Communism in that region).

That question – of whether life under Allende-style socialism is better (or worse) than under deregulation – is one we will avoid here. The question which should be asked, and which we rarely hear, is, ‘How on earth do we get deregulation?’. That is, how does a country, politically, go about getting these things?. The surprising answer is: to a large extent, not through liberal democracy.

In Australia, the remuneration of almost every single occupation is fixed by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), which in turns makes it decisions based on claims put forward by Australia’s small, but powerful, trade union movement and the reckonings of a special ‘judiciary’ whose job it is to decide what is a ‘living’ wage, a ‘fair’ wage. Competition is outlawed: one cannot offer to work for less than the specified award rate (that is, the minimum rate for each and every occupation). Under the Liberal government of 1996 to 2007, some competition was introduced: workers were able to negotiate their own agreements, called Australian Workplace Agreements, outside the award system. The agreements were vehemently opposed by the union movement, and one of the first tasks of the Labor government elected in 2007 was to abolish them and tighten up laws against competition in the labour market further.

That is what one expects of the Labor Party, which is a centre-left party completely funded and controlled by trade unions. But the Labor government, once elected, did introduce competition into the wheat export market, in a move which would have delighted Wisecarver. Before 2008, Australian wheat-growers had to sell their wheat through a government board, the Australian Wheat Board (AWB). Because it had the monopoly – it was the only entity which had the legal power to sell – it could charge a ‘fair’ price, a ‘just’ price, for wheat exported overseas. Australian wheat-growers were forbidden to sell wheat at anything less than a price determined by the AWB. Why, given its adherence to deregulation, privatisation, liberalisation, individual choice, etc., did not the Liberal Party abolish the monopoly? The answer was because it was in a political coalition with the National Party, an agrarian socialist party, for its entire time in office. The Labor Party, which was not bound by such an alliance, and therefore not in need of propitiating a small special interest group, had no trouble at all in abolishing the monopoly – despite the vociferous opposition of rural socialists such as the senator Bob Katter. (One beneficial effect of the policy, and one which was intended, has been to open the export market to farmers prepared to sell their wheat at below the ‘socially just’, ‘living’ rate set by the AWB).

And there is the answer: under a representational liberal democracy, which, by design, represents small sectors of the Australian population, and not the nation as a whole, as an entire unit, deregulatory measures cannot be enacted on a large scale without offending some special interest pressure-group which demands that a government-enforced monopoly be upheld as long as possible. Furthermore, a democratically-elected political party often lacks the political power to take a policy of deregulation, liberalisation, etc., to the limit. To be consistent with regard to its stated beliefs, the Liberal Party ought to have abolished the entire award system, and the minimum wage; possibly, it could have done this in 1996 or in 2004, when it won crushing majorities (in 2004 in particular, it attained, for the first time, a majority in the Senate). But it did not. The reason why is that the Liberal Party had to contend with a pluralist liberal democracy. It is no coincidence that the policies of Chile after 1973 were enacted after the suspension of Chile’s liberal democratic constitution and a wide-reaching internal military campaign against the Chilean Left.

Advocates of neoliberalism do not often recognise this: they sneer at ‘big government’ and politicians and statesmen in general, and excoriate the state. They call for a ‘limited government’ which protects individual liberties against ‘tyranny’, that is, socialists in the legislative chambers. How that protection is to be achieved – through the diminution of the functions of government, and the excising of power-politics and national-minded statesmen from government – is never explained.

Some neoliberal theorists do recognise the conflict – between a competitive liberal society, and liberal democracy – presented here. In a pamphlet (‘The Conflict between Democracy and Economic Reform’, Political Notes no. 77, The Libertarian Alliance, 1993), Adriana Lukasova examines three governments which, in her view, successfully enacted neoliberal measures: the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile; the Thatcher government in Britain; the post-war occupation government in Germany in 1948. These governments were authoritarian (the occupation government in Germany was an Allied-installed dictatorship) and imposed their measures against the wishes of pressure groups such as the trade union movement, big business and the Left. Lukasova approvingly quotes the Chilean finance minister of 1981, Rolf Luders:

The Chilean tradition shows that governments endowed with strong authority, which have simultaneously guaranteed the exercise of economic freedom and of private initiative, have presided over the periods of greatest progress in the history of the country. (Lukasova, ‘Conflict-‘, p.2).

The formula is expressed, in some academic writings on the subject, as ‘Strong state, free economy’. Lukasova writes, of Britain in the Thatcher period,

In 1982 police were equipped with weaponry, police vehicles, communications devices, protective body armour and crowd control equipment. A system of national co-ordination was devised. The police National Reporting Centre, based at Scotland Yard, became a permanently available facility – to provide some of the benefits of a national police force without the odium of establishing one. (Ibid).

Again, the terms need to be defined: does a ‘Strong state’ equate a state with a large, well-equipped police force and army, and a secret police with special powers to carry out surveillance and arrest people without due process? France and Germany traditionally have had very powerful state security services: yet the French government is notorious for caving in whenever a large union demonstration against some unpopular ‘free-market reform’ takes place. President Sarkozy was elected as a neoliberal, but, in the end, gave in to the ‘French consensus’ – that is, sectional-group pressure – to abandon his proposals and stay with the same old French socialism and welfare-statism.

The same can be said of the term ‘free market’, or ‘free economy’. How are they free? No-one is free to buy or sell whatever they like and at any price. Otherwise, there would be, considering the large number of deviant consumers for them, a trade in child pornography or heroin.

These are some of the problems with the formula, ‘Strong state, free economy’. A more accurate formulation would be: ‘The state that says no’. That is, a state run by a small group of men and women who stay focused, at all times, on the national interest, and have the political strength to resist the demands of small, but highly vocal, political pressure groups. Such a state can ignore the union movement, and the industrial-relations judiciary, when introducing competition in the labour market; it can ignore the Marxist category of environmentalists and the indigenous rights lobbies in proposing sustainable development of the country’s gas, coal and minerals where it benefits the national (not international) interest; it can ignore the Bob Katter’s when deregulating agriculture; it can ignore General Motors when it asks for a $US70 billion bail-out (wasted on a company which is going bust anyway), it can ignore big business demands to increase the migration program to 300,000 per year, or developers demands to constantly expand cities and strip away every green belt. Such a state is a rare thing indeed, and rarely appears in a liberal democracy.

That state – one that says no – is one, by definition, that should appeal to nationalists. After all, a nationalist is someone who puts the well-being of the nation first and foremost. And surely it is no good for the nation when, for instance, 1.8 million Australians on welfare are unable to obtain work because, under the award system, the minimum wage rates for every occupation are being kept artificially high by a small special-interest minority, and so less jobs are created than would exist under a fully competitive system?

Many politicians confuse the special interest group for the people who make up the nation. The trade union movement, for instance, can mobilise large numbers of activists to demonstrate against an Australian government, in short notice; and, given its wealth, can mount extremely effective public relations campaigns using advertisements and other forms of propaganda and outreach. The politician, on the cusp of putting forward some proposal to reduce union powers to strike, or to bring about competition in one sector of the market, will look at those large masses of people and think, erroneously, ‘The Australian people are against me’. And often the battle can get ugly and involve actual violence, between unionists and ‘scabs’, and unionists and the police – as during the Australian maritime workers’ dispute of 1998, or the coal miners’ strike in Britain in 1984. In the liberal model, the state has the monopoly in coercion: that is, only the state has the legal right to arrest people, fine them, prevent them from entering certain premises, use some form of restraint and violence against lawbreakers. In a country politically dominated by large, violent trade-union movements, those functions are usurped: the state loses its monopoly, and unions can carry out coercion, commit acts of violence, at will. Given the seriousness of such conflicts, the politician can again mistake the actions of a small but powerful and well-organised group for the popular will, and hold back on introducing legislation for fear of starting what seems almost like civil war.

This is a problem in liberal theory: the constitution, the state structure, is there, in the liberal model, to protect individual freedom. What happens, then, if a small, well-organised pressure group use that freedom to push through legislation in parliament that violates that individual freedom – to work at a certain job at a certain rate, or to supply wheat on the international market at a certain price, or to prevent a rural land-owner from chopping down trees on his own property (in order to protect his house against a fire outbreak)? The answer is that freedom needs to be protected against such groups. Which is why a government, run on nationalist principles, needs to rule with a guiding hand, a firm hand.

Not serving the interests of such groups means that one is serving the interests of whole: which is what nationalism is all about. So, paradoxically, nationalists are, in this regard, advocates of a liberal society – perhaps the last defenders of liberalism in a socialist and environmentalist world. Nevertheless, it should also be noted that Nationalist Alternative is very much against unrestricted Free Market Fundamentalism which is Capitalism in its most terrorizing form. Genuine Nationalism is also intrinsically against Globalization too. This is because Nationalism wishes to preserve the identity, culture, and heritage of people and their Nations.

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