Jack Lang - Australian Nationalist
In 1931 the Great Depression was upon Australia. Unemployment had reached over 450,000 in a population of 8 million. People were starving and soup kitchens had sprung up in most cities. Australia was at a crisis point when in New South Wales Jack Lang arose to proclaim a policy of Australia First.
Capitalism's crisis: Niemeyer's Plan
By 1931 it had become obvious that "capitalism" had - as a system - failed miserably. It either had to be modified or replaced. The Establishment responded to the slump with plans for "austerity". [The exact same austerity scam being forced upon the people of Europe today.] In 1930 Sir Otto Niemeyer from the Bank of England visited Australia to "advise" governments to implement a" "deflationary" policy. Niemeyer contended that wages must be "depressed" (i.e. cut) to make our exports more competitive and to raise profits. According to Niemeyer (in a language we still hear nowadays) our living standards were "artificial in nature" and trade was the secret to "recovery". [BULLSHIT!] Indeed, "international trade" was supposedly at the root of the Depression. Niemeyer advised savage cuts in all existing social services. [Sound familiar?] But more significantly Niemeyer demanded that Australia not default on her international loan obligations to Britain. [Read Rothschild] With pressure tactics and careful diplomacy Niemeyer sold his sorcery to Australian state and federal politicians. They called it the Melbourne Agreement of August 1930.
The Lang plan
In 1930 Jack Lang was returned overwhelmingly as premier of New South Wales. His first government (1925-1927) had introduced comprehensive systems of widow's pensions, child endowment, and worker's compensation; his second government pledged itself to maintain these hard-won games and steer the state out of the Depression.
Immediately, Lang rejected the Niemeyer plan.
At a stormy mass-meeting in the Sydney suburb of Paddington he declared:
"... The same people who conscripted our sons and laid them in Flanders' fields... Now demand more blood, as the interest on their lives..."
The meeting ended in a mass clamour for the principle of Australian Nationalism - Australia First!
Lang proclaimed his plan to fight the Depression:
- reduction of interest on all government debts to Australians
- suspension of all loan payments to all overseas creditors
- the expansion of public works programmes
- bank funding of government works through controlled credit expansion.
The "Conservatives" immediately equated the Lang plan with communism, condemned his nationalism as "anti-British" and mobilised against him.
Lang's nationalism was anathema to the officer and commercial classes; the ordinary ex-soldier became the bully-boy of those whose class snobbery was as much directed towards the poor veteran as the city working class.
Lang continues his struggle...
In May 1932 Sir Philip Game, Governor of New South Wales, sacked the Lang government and ordered new elections. The New Guard automatically offered support to the "United Australia Party" (predecessor of today's Liberal Party). The press painted Lang as a wild man manipulated by the Communist Party, and his government was defeated at the polls.
But Lang persisted. His meetings in 1931 and 1932 had been the largest ever seen in Australia. On one occasion, Sydney's Moore Park was tightly packed and included folk who had walked to Sydney from Bathurst. The slogan "Lang is right" had become the watchword of Sydney's unemployed. In 1933 Lang further developed his ideas on finance; he came to advocate views which took the best from Social Credit (while removing the obvious nonsense) and pushed for the "socialisation of credit", i.e. using the Reserve Bank to provide funds for capital creation and for stimulating consumer demand. He spoke more than ever as a nationalist against the demands of international capital.
However, improvements in the unemployment rate (which was still high even in 1939!) removed the possibility of Lang's return to office. The politicians pulled Australia out of the 'financial crisis' caused by the banks and the rich by sacrificing the pay and conditions of the working class.
Are we going to let them do it again?