Tuesday, July 23, 2019

“Great Replacement” conspiracy theory and the blind eye of the capitalist state

(Contributed)                          24 July 2019

Studies of the far-right in Australia have revealed their close relationship with European counterparts, philosophically and in practice.
Recent developments, therefore, rightly give cause for alarm. The European far-right have developed a recent history of indiscriminate use of terrorism to accompany their other political objectives.

The terrorist outrage in New Zealand by an Australian citizen last March, likewise, has shown decision-makers in Canberra have failed to properly monitor recent trends with far-right groups. It would appear they do not even consider recent developments a problem.

Recent research by the London-based Strategic Dialogue has shown how far-right political groups have accepted Great Replacement theory as part of the basis for their attempt to achieve power. The theory, which originated in France (specifically, with Renaud Camus’s 2012 book The Great Replacement), accuses Muslims from the Middle East and North Africa with seeking to replace the white Catholic French as the majority in France. (1) Muslims have tended to be targeted in recent years throughout Europe as a conspicuous ethnic minority.

Other ethnic minorities, however, have historically also been targeted.

Australian version of “replacement” theory

Two decades ago, Pauline Hanson and the then newly emerging One Nation party in Australia, openly targeted Asian ethnic groups, using the statement, 'I do not want my country Asianised'. A changing pattern of immigration away from Europe and toward Asia during the 1990s created a readily identifiable ethnic grouping for the far-right to target.

In the subsequent two decades the same far-right political groupings have changed their target to Muslims, in line with their European counterparts. One only has to consider the reasons behind the changing focus of the far-right: many of those seeking asylum in European countries and Australia are the unfortunate victims and outcome of the so-called Arab spring, a US-led military offensive to topple political systems regarded by the Pentagon as threats to its goal of “full spectrum domination”. The planners of the US-led military offensive regard the citizens and former citizens of the countries concerned to be suspect.  

The geographical developments have also coincided with economic factors which include user-pays philosophies superseding welfare capitalism. The development has heightened tensions within societies between haves and have-nots, those who have gained as opposed to those who have lost. The economic factors have their supporters and opponents.  

Racism a cover for attacks on labour movement gains

The far-right have taken their position as the most aggressive part of the offensive led by the business-classes to undermine and destroy many gains made by organised labour in the post Second World War period. Many European far-right groups, for example, continue to follow corporatist economic philosophies based on free market “welfare” models. They have tended to become more aggressive in recent times, following the lead of the Trump administration in the US which has openly attacked small-l liberal positions.

Supporters of multi-culturalism, immigration and the former order have, therefore, also tended to be targeted by the far-right who regard them as facilitators of those responsible for the Great Replacement and all that white supremacists hold dear.

It is within this context that the recent murder of Walter Lubcke, a pro-refugee Christian Democrat politician in Germany took place. It has been alleged he was targeted by a far-right political grouping. (2) The killing was not an isolated incident: a study of the German far-right conducted by the Federal office for the Protection of the Constitution showed the far-right had been responsible for at least six attempted killings last year and a further 48 attacks in 2017. (3)

The findings also follow a recent investigation in Germany of a far-right group in Chemnitz where eight extremists are alleged to have been planning attacks throughout 2018 on various immigrants, government ministers and journalists. (4)

It is important to study their chosen method of operation.  Great Replacement theory has become a convenient way of the far-right rallying their cohorts. Their cry, 'One land, one people', essentially starts with an ethnic view of peoples linked to national identity. Threats, either internally or externally, are regarded as coming from others who are different. It has included a differentiation between those regarded as pure-bred nationals and other, non-European immigrants. (5) In Australia, the problem has been exacerbated by some established nationals from European backgrounds feeling challenged by immigrants from much better educated backgrounds. 

A study of the attempt to co-ordinate the European far-right has shown how racism toward ethnic minorities has become the standard practice of dealing with the often most vulnerable sectors of society. A media release from Steve Bannon, former strategist for the Trump administration, acknowledged he regarded 'being called a racist is a badge of honour'. (6) The political position was not the outcome of a flippant remark: it was a carefully planned move to divide societies and weaken existing structures, together with directing attention toward a specific issue. Trump’s casual justification for his racist attacks on four minority Congresswomen known as “the Squad” (“many people agree with me”) follows this pattern.

Such people as Bannon also have grander designs which appear more in line with megalomania and demagogy: he has been responsible for establishing a Brussels-based foundation called The Movement to co-ordinate anti-immigrant politicians and their organisations.

Earlier this year a further media release announced European far-right groups had established an alliance for forthcoming European Union elections where they expected to become the biggest force. 'We're working for a new European dream', they stated, in which they wanted 'to build a fortress in Europe', a position in line with current thinking within the Trump administration. (7)

Cold Wars – old and new

The Movement can be seen to fit comfortably into the New Cold War. It rests, however, upon other organisations from the previous Cold War which include the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), a shadowy dual-use far-right body, linking seemingly respectable politicians with others connected to US-led covert operations.  A quick glance at the WACL List of national contacts at that time revealed the seemingly respectable Australian League of Rights and British Conservative M.P.s rubbing shoulders with Ferdinand Marcos and his supporters based in compliant oligarchies in the Philippines together with those associated with Operation Condor in Latin America and known supporters of Apartheid South Africa. (8)

 The WACL was a major player in the Iran-Contra scandal of the late 1980s and promoter of terrorism. (9)

Furthermore, the notorious Italian terrorist, Stefano delle Chiaie was based in Latin America during the 1980s, and, 'at times he co-ordinated his efforts with the WACL, a neo-fascist umbrella organisation that assisted US intelligence operations in Latin America during the Reagan years. A CIA report during this period described the fugitive Italian as the most prominent rightist terrorist still at large'. (10)

The developments did not go unnoticed in Australia, a country with huge strategic significance for the US alliance and the Asia-Pacific region.

The 22nd WACL conference in 1989 was hosted by Australian-based members in Brisbane and attracted 120 delegates from fifty countries. The fact John Howard, then a rising member of the Liberal Party and later Coalition Prime Minister also attended is evidence in itself of his compliance and acceptance of conspiratorial far-right political standpoints. (11) Any attempt to distance seemingly mainstream Australian Liberal politics and the role of John Howard from far-right, neo-nazi counterparts has been relatively easily dispelled from a variety of reliable sources. (12) The likes of John Howard, his office staff and security personnel can hardly deny knowledge of the problem. They have, however, attempted to hide the matter, using silence.

A blind eye upon the far-right: then and now

The fact 120 delegates from fifty countries entered Australia to attend such a function is evidence in itself of decision-makers in the Immigration Department in Canberra consciously turned a blind-eye to the problem of the far-right and their ability to network amongst supporters.

The problems of the past continue to hang around the necks of their later counterparts like a mill-stone.
In the aftermath of the Christchurch terrorist outrage last March, where an Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant murdered 51 innocent Muslims, then Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton stated, 'no far-right groups in Australia currently meet the criteria of a listed terrorist organisation'. (13) When pressed for a suitable answer, Dutton used a member of his ministerial office to specify that 'to be listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia under the Criminal Code, the minister must be satisfied based on the advice of our security and intelligence agencies that the organisation is directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting or fostering the doing of a terrorist act, or advocates the doing of a terrorist act'. (14)

The then Australian government attempt to sidestep any liability with Tarrant was, nevertheless, made to look rather flimsy following an investigation by the Australian newspaper which revealed he had accessed a number of far-right websites. Under normal circumstances one might rightly expect such on-line facilities to have been monitored as a matter of course. (15) In contemporary Australia, it would appear not.

The fact Tarrant was also a known advocate of Great Replacement theory and actually used the phrase as the title of his manifesto which was issued on-line before his terrorist outrage, is further evidence of the indifference displayed by Australian government departments to the problem of the far-right. (16)

A recent media release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister of New Zealand about the forthcoming Royal Commission and a top-level inquiry into the Christchurch terrorist outrage was accompanied with the statement, 'in short, the inquiry will look at what could have or should have been done to prevent the attack'. (17) In addition, it was noted 'there will be a focus on whether our intelligence community was concentrating its resources appropriately and whether there were any reports that could, or should, have alerted them to the attack'. (18)

Using the existing evidence already within the public domain it will be interesting to note how the Australian state and government departments deal with the problem of further disclosures of highly incriminating information about the prevailing culture of political indifference towards the far-right which would appear rife in Canberra.

With the first stages of the commission and inquiry set to open in late July it will be interesting noting how long observers will have to wait before the truth emerges!

1.     Australia foments far-right 'great hate', Australian, 10 July 2019.
2.     German soldiers march to the right, Australian, 25 June 2019.

3.     Ibid.

4.     Off-grid extremist fears for Germany, Australian, 30 April 2019.

5.     Not your father's far right, Le Monde Diplomatique, March 2014.

6.     Bannon plots hard right for Europe, Australian, 24 September 2018.

7.     Far-right pact to end Europe's nightmare, leaders say, Australian, 10 April 2019.

8.     Inside the League, Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, (New York, 1986), pp. 275-85.

9.     The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History, Edited, Peter Kornbluh and Malcolm Byrne, (New York, 1993), page xxx.

10.   The Beast Reawakens, The chilling story of the rise of the neo-nazi movement, Martin Lee, (London, 1997), page 189.

11.   WACL website: 9 January 1990.

12.   The WACL: Origins, Structure and Activities, Pierre Abramouici (2014), has provided numerous examples and reliable evidence.

13.   Far-right groups dodge terrorist list, Australian, 20 March 2019.

14.   Ibid.

15.   Mosque kill accused's link to neo-Nazi sympathiser, Australian, 20 March 2019.

16.   Australian, op.cit., 10 July 2019.

17.   Ardern calls NZ massacre inquiry, Australian, 26 March 2019.

18.   Ibid.

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