Left Fascism, that appears to be the best name for the political system the Labor Party and the Greens are presently imposing on the Australian people. ‘Fascism’ is, of course, a loaded term, often associated with far-right nationalist extremism, and leftists have been happy to use it with gay abandon when denouncing anyone or anything that they don’t like. However, historically it has been equally a phenomenon of the left.
Both Mussolini and Hitler emphasized the socialist dimension of their programs and for decades in the early twentieth century many leftists and so-called progressives expressed admiration for their statist and increasingly totalitarian regimes. It was only the vast propaganda power exercised over the left by the Communist International that succeeded in associating ‘fascism’ with conservatism and liberal democracy, as the Soviet Union contrived to obscure the horrific reality of its own profoundly totalitarian system.
Now, however, the time has come to reclaim the term, to specify its location on the political continuum, and to apply where it best fits – to the type of economically inefficient, highly bureaucratized, propaganda-dependent, politically corrupt, relentlessly regimented, corporatist, leader-centred, statist regime that is emerging under Gillard. Such a term is required because, as various commentators have pointed out, it is now possible to identify these characteristics at the federal level. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive technical term that draws them together and reflects the fact that they are systematically linked as parts of a coherent program — not just accidentally present, perhaps because of the ineptness of Gillard and her supporters in Parliament and the unions. In other words, we have left fascism and it is not by accident but by design.
Although definitions of fascism vary, the key component is all-encompassing state control over every aspect of life, as the Gillard government is presently aiming to achieve. Increasingly frequent laments about the ‘Nanny State’ don’t go far enough to identify the present and sinister political trajectory. As the founder of fascism, Benito Mussolini, explained:
“The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State … interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people”. According to Mussolini, the essence of fascism can be summed up as follows: “Everything in the State, nothing against the State, nothing outside the State”.
An excellent recent illustration of this statist mentality is provided by left-wing ALP Senator Doug Cameron, who used his March 25 speech to the welfare lobby group, the Australian Council of Social Service, to demand further tax increases so that the state can assume greater responsibility for providing income for an even larger proportion of the population.
What Cameron didn’t mention was that more than 50% already rely on government handouts, increasingly promoted as ‘entitlements’. This promotes the ideal fascist society composed of millions of isolated individuals dependent on the state for the quality of their existence and therefore beholden to the political party prepared to guarantee them ongoing state largesse. This contrasts with the pluralistic approach of the Coalition, whose family and community spokesman, Kevin Andrews, told the same conference the following day that an Abbott government would seek to strengthen civil society, preserve the social fabric, mobilize private resources, and empower local communities to assume greater responsibility for the provision and direction of assistance to those in need.
A core element of left fascism is exemplified by the Gillard government’s fierce desire to establish state control over the media and to criminalize free speech. Possibly nothing better illuminates the political crisis into which Australia has fallen than these complementary pieces of legislation, designed to brutally suppress criticism and dissent, even to the extent of reversing the burden of proof to generate the desired level of fear amongst journalists and editors. Complementing this plan to suppress private media was the government’s gift of $10 million to the ABC ahead of its coverage of the upcoming federal election.
Left fascism also expresses itself in the corruption-ridden, corporate-state relationship between the government and the so-called union movement, which is not strictly a ‘movement’ at all, but rather a system of patronage, nepotism, and influence controlled by a small self-perpetuating elite which exploits its control over government decision-making for personal advancement and benefit. It is present also in the Gillard administration’s acceptance of high levels of fraud and criminality within the unions, and also within organizations claiming to represent favoured ethnic and racial groups.
Left fascism expresses itself also in Labor’s desire to centralize control over ideology and propaganda through the education system at all levels. A particularly appalling example of this is the vital history component of the national curriculum, which largely dismisses the achievements of Western Civilization, instead absurdly elevating the destructive protest activity of the far-left and extreme environmentalism to Gandhi-like status. The universities, which have been made financially dependent upon the state, are also now happily complicit in the left fascism project. Virtually all academic criticism has been brutally stifled while a group of major universities have set up ‘The Conversation’ as a major on-line propaganda vehicle.
Another core aspect of fascism is the state’s desire to achieve the ‘total mobilization’ of the population against some mythical threat. In the case of Labor-led left fascism, total mobilization has been promoted against alleged climate change (“the great moral challenge of our generation”). And this led only a few years ago to Labor declaring its intention to sign up to a plan that amounted to establishing a world government and total mobilization on a global scale. Associated with this are proposals, promoted by leftists and radical environmentalists, for the suspension of the democratic process and the rule of law. Another example is Gillard’s class-war rhetoric, and her typically inept but persistent attempt to mobilize mass opposition against ‘bosses’ and ‘big miners’ and, most recently, foreign workers.
A particularly colourful aspect of fascism is the Orwellian double-talk that typifies totalitarian regimes and the utterances of their apparatchiks. Gillard herself excels at this, as Terry McCrann points out in a recent column, 1984, the sequel. For her, he suggests, “Dysfunctionality is Focus… Chaos is Clarity … Division is Unity … Treachery is Loyalty … Vitriol is Benevolence.” It is also exemplified by the offensively deceitful rhetoric issued by the Human Rights Commission, the ABC and other compliant media, various academics, and judicial figures supporting Labor’s plans to ‘reform’ (i.e., regulate) the media and punish free speech. For them, dissent is evil; conformity is good; accusation is proof; regulation is independence; constraint is freedom; punishment is liberation, etc. It is present also in the government’s labour market reforms, where exclusion is inclusion; job destruction promotes workers’ interests; union intrusion increases productivity, etc.
Similarly with the so-called Gonski ‘reforms’, where catering to the teachers’ unions and other special interest groups is promoted as identical to improving educational outcomes for students. And, of course, there is the Carbon Tax, which will reduce anthropogenic global warming, except that there isn’t any and it won’t anyway.
This brings us finally to Gillard’s use of the quintessential fascist technique of the Big Lie, in connection with her Carbon Tax, the Budget Surplus, the Mining Tax, the knifing of Kevin Rudd, her feigning of righteous anger at a hastily re-defined ‘misogyny’, and all the other maneuvers noted above.
As Hitler explained in Chapter 10 of Mein Kampf, the “primitive simplicity” of the common citizen made them vulnerable to this propaganda strategy, “since they, themselves, often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods [the masses] would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Consequently, the state can use the Big Lie with impunity because, even when the deception is revealed, the masses “will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation”, other than face the alarming reality that their political leadership is lying to them and treating them as fools.
Fortunately, it appears that some 70% of the population is now awake to the Big Lie. As we close in on the federal election, Gillard appears to be in a losing race with this ever-expanding awareness of the mischief she has been doing.
When she is gone the task of dismantling Labor’s left fascist regime will remain and, for the incoming Abbot government, this may prove to be its defining challenge.
Merv Bendle is a former academic and frequent contributor to Quadrant and Quadrant Online