I’ll be posting some more things I dig out from the Salient archive over the next few days, all on the NZ far right. The topic has a fairly small amount published on it, so until I’ve finished up the History of the NZ Far Right series (elsewhere on this blog) I’ll be posting a fair amount. This’ll drop away to more general writing on various topics when it’s done. At any rate, thanks to the present Salient editors for permission to reprint from the NZETC archive.
Social Credit – Conspiracy Theory
THE “conspiracy theory of society” has been a feature of this century’s history. Inasmuch as the Second World War was fought to stop the persecution of minorities, it was fought to deny the conspiracy theory. The racist theories which led to the persecution of the Jews are a symptom of the perversion of nationalistic beliefs which the theory leads to. It has parallels in history as far back as the Roman persecution or Christians and even further. Its danger is the conversion of a state of reason into an emotion-laden one of unreason.
The conspiracy theory is common in postwar society. The States of South Africa and Indonesia have shown it in mild forms. While this article will consider two examples of it found not in nations but in political movements, the difference between theory and practice must not be exaggerated.
The first movement is the John Birch Society. In 1957 one Robert Welch published “The Politician,” in which he saw Communism rampant through the American nation. The “politician” was Eisenhower, whom Welch said had been “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.” Welch believed that John Foster Dulles was “a communist agent”; that Franklin Roosevelt was guilty of “plain unadulterated treason”; and that democracy is “a weapon of demagoguery and a perennial fraud.”
In 1958 the Society was founded and its “Blue Book” published. Welch announced that World War II was “largely brought on through the world-wide conniving of Stalin’s agents” and that the Communists had had the full co-operation of the American Government then and since. The Society aimed at fighting the Communist conspiracy by its own tactics—front organisations, publications, breakup of rallies. The Society attracted immediate and widespread support from the Right, particularly little-known but powerful businessmen.
The second movement is Douglas, or Social Credit. The origins of the movement are well known and can be passed over here. Its significant strength is in Canada, New Zealand, and to a lesser extent in Australia and Great Britain.
The conspiracy theory of Social Credit has been often referred to in newspaper correspondence columns. It is the conspiracy of the International Banking movement. Professor A. J. Danks described it in his 1955 demolition of Douglas economic theory:
“The Douglas theory has had a long history now, and ample time has elapsed for its consideration, especially during the last slump … It can hardly be argued that a meritorious theory which achieved plenty of publicity would be overlooked or misunderstood by all.
“So another explanation has to be found. The Theorem becomes a form of social dynamite to be concealed and suppressed, at all costs, in the interests of a small group of vaguely designated Bankers and International Financier.
“The conspiracy is a good means of persuasion. The ordinary man in his vanity, can readily stand to be told that he is getting less of the material benefit from life than he deserves. He also derives some moral satisfaction from the tale that somebody, a sinister and shadowy back room Ruler of the World, is, by cunning and indirect means, filching some of his hard earned dues. His attention diverted from the faulty logic of social credit, the prospective social crediter can wallow in a vague and satisfying emotion of frustration.
“Primitive people took it out on the Scapegoat; the Romans supplied bread and circuses; the Nazis offered up the Jews; the social crediters will throw you a banker or two.”
The similarity in the conspiracy phobias of the two movements is not at first sight great. Yet a Social Credit publication examined them last year and announced to its readers: “The International Financial Conspiracy and the International Communist Conspiracy are one and the same thing.”
The publication is “The Social Crediter,” a fortnightly paper published in England and Australia. The article is entitled “No Co-Existence,” and has been reprinted in pamphlet form. It concludes:
The one objective of all who wish not only to retain their freedom, but even, in a frightening number of cases, to save their lives is to contribute in every way to the overthrow of the Conspiracy. The one body which knows what has to be done, and how to do it but which needs every ounce of support it can get, financial and educational and moral, is the John Birch Society.
The Social Credit Secretariat will … make available the educational material (of) the John Birch Society. We ask our readers to contribute as much money a they possibly can to enable us to finance the necessary stocks; to themselves buy, read, and get read by others, the books we recommend. The John Birch Society is the spearhead of the attack on the Conspiracy. Their efforts will be enhanced by the support of as much educated opinion as can be mobilised throughout the world. There is probably no other body of people than Social Crediters better able to mobilise that opinion. We are an International movement, while the John Birch Society … is not.
The article deals at considerable length with the Conspiracy.
Communism, it states, is not to be identified with the Communist Party.
“It is an international conspiracy, staffed in its upper echelons by the richest men in the world, and other power seeker who are attracted to its secret council and highly placed secret agents placed and kept in position by self-deception, lust for power, blackmail, corruption, terror, murder, and most of the crimes known to man. The Communist Party is one of the organs of the Conspiracy controlled in secret from the top and used as an agency for recruiting thugs and criminals, and for spreading corruption, subversion, and terror.”
The absurdity of this view hardly needs to be outlined. Facts are twisted to fit pre-conceived views. Amazing “facts” are casually revealed—there is more than 50 per cent conspiracy control in 100 of the world’s 130 countries; the USA Government is totally controlled by the Conspiracy. However the Birchites estimate blandly that the chances against their success have been reduced from “about one in a hundred when they started to about one in four today.”
The article is not signed. The assertions are not documented. This is because others who have revealed both the Conspiracy and their names have “in many cases been murdered, or met with ‘accidents,’ or been driven to suicide.”
The “Social Credit Secretariat” has been committed to the aim and presumably the methods of the John Birch Society. In their eyes they have begun the fight of the international social credit movement against the Conspiracy.
The international social credit movement is in fact a strange mixture of economic eccentrics, Canadian puritans, New Zealand welfare state optimists, and French nationalists. Against this background, two important points must be made. First, that we in New Zealand must suspect the overseas movements. Aside from the Australian and British elements, the Fascist tendencies of the Canadian parties have been well documented. Second, that Rightist elements are found in the New Zealand Social Credit movement.
Local social crediters have written often and at length of the overseas movements. The violent French nationalism of the Canadian party has gone some way towards discrediting that section. The totalitarian actions of the original Alberta Social Credit Government (e.g. the press-censorship laws of 1937) were quickly disallowed by the Federal Government, yet deserve to be remembered as a similar warning. Now the British and Australian movements are in disrepute.
It is well to remember that the Labour Party has philosophical links with Social Credit. One Labour Minister joined the Social Credit movement after holding office. But the Right has always been present. In a mild form, the only social credit MP ever, Captain Rushworth, represented the conservative, farming area, Country Party.
In its more extreme form, consider these views of a 1954 Social Credit candidate:
“During the last war the nearest bomb to the Bank of England was a conventional one which fell near St. Paul’s but did not explode, and that wasn’t by accident, either.
“The assassination of Abraham Lincoln can be attributed directly to the use by the Federal States of a certain amount of debtfree money, and the opinion expressed by a London financial paper that such a Government should be destroyed.
“It was intended that Russia should have the secret of the atomic bomb in order that the two great armed camps into which the world has been divided should be evenly matched.”
Social Crediters often write and speak of the movement as the only effective answer to Communism—the very approach used to justify support for the John Birch Society. Even a faintly League of Empire Loyalist touch is found in the plaintive slogan “Vote Social Credit — Prevent the Empire’s breaking up” found particularly on billboards (Someone really should tell them that the Empire became the Commonwealth decades ago.)
Thus the article, the “Social Crediter,” and the Secretariat’s actions are disturbing in their implications. New Zealand Social Crediters would be well advised to heed these warning signs, study the writings of such as Professor A J. Danks, Martin Nestor, Professor J. B. Condliffe, and the Royal Commission’s report, and dissociate themselves from the company and ideas in which they now find themselves.
Right Wing Revolt?
Moves among ultra-conservatives in the university may result in the formation of a “Far-right club.”
Despite claims that the movement results from a split in the National Party Club, it is reliably reported that most students interested are not members of the National Party Club.
One of the prime movers is second-year law student David Williams, who recently spoke at Forum in support of apartheid.
A source close to the group told SALIENT that between 15 and 20 students are interested. The scheme is believed to have originated only some 10 days ago.
FRIED RED SNOWBALLS – JOHN BIRCH IN DUNEDIN
THE American public has been served sugar-coated snowballs by its leaders for the last 25 years.
THIS is one of the more interesting claims made in a pamphlet issued by New Zealand’s new ultra-right organisation, Co-Resistance.
“General Eisenhower’s buddy, Russian general Zhukov, said ‘Co-existence is as nonsensical as fried snowballs,'” the pamphlet says, and then goes on to make the statement quoted above.
The Co-Resistance movement has its headquarters in Dunedin, and first came to prominence earlier this year.
It sent some of its literature to an Otago University staff-member who had an unjustified reputation of being a Communist. Fifty-odd students descended on the next meeting of Co-Resistance.
“It was rather funny, really,” one of the students involved later told SALIENT. Only four Co-Resistance people attended the meeting, and were swamped by the huge majority of students.
The Co-Resistance pamphlet was sent to SALIENT by one J. A. Cameron, whom more thorough readers may remember has indulged in a long correspondence with SALIENT since an article linking a Social Credit group and the John Birch Society earlier this year.
It is not clear whether Mr. Cameron agrees or disagrees with the pamphlet. Interestingly, it includes an offer of the “No Co-existence” booklet which prompted the initial Social Credit article, and subscriptions to the “Social Crediter”—from which the pamphlet came.
“What am I upset about?” Co-Resistance’s pamphlet asks. “Just a few years ago when Karl Marx died, only eight people attended his funeral. Most of our State Department people were too young to go. All the Communists have to do is keep doing the things they have been doing, and all we have to do is keep on doing the same things we have been doing, and their timetable calls for taking us over from within, by 1973.”
“I don’t think that these views could be taken as representative of more than a quarter of one per cent of Americans,” Peter Blizard commented to SALIENT.
Just back from the United States, Mr. Blizard took an especial interest in the beliefs of organisations such as the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society and their influence in America.
The pamphlet offers such books as “The Politician,” by Robert Welch (which proves that Eisenhower was a Communist) and “The Blue Book of the John Birch Society” (which proves that most other people are, too), at £1 each posted.
More significent is its explicit endorsement of a new Australian weekly news magazine, the Australian International News Review. This magazine, which has been in business for about two months now, early aroused the anger of Sydney University students.
Sydney University’s Concessions Director wrote asking for student concessions. The magazine deleted the reference to concessions, and printed the letter as an endorsement.
News Review has so far expounded a policy of white supremicism and nuclear armament.
Fascists in NZ?
SIR,—In his tv interview Brigadier Gilbert showed that his assessment of our political system and likely threats to its stability takes quite insufficient account of what constitutes the greatest danger: Namely right-wing extremism. In fact, he hardly mentioned it — then only in answer to a question that he could not avoid. His words were: “We are concerned just as much with threats from neo-fascism as with threats from Communism. In fact it is not so very long ago that we were successful in detecting some neo-fascist activity here.”
“Not so long ago” is too long ago, considering that some neo-fascist activity seems to be operating without hindrance or protest. Fascism is not, as many people think, restricted to black-shirts and the swastika.
An organisation calling itself “Essential Books” is circulating fascist literature around the country, and is centred at Frankton. Anyone writing to the press displaying a right-wing outlook is liable to receive an advertisement for the sale of this literature. In this way its activities remain unknown to the general public, while its influence goes on spreading. The books and pamphlets give clear evidence that this organisation is surely neofascist. An hysterical, bigoted, irrational and fear-crazed outlook is cloaked by the very symbols that it seeks to strike down.
In 1945 the USA War Department gave the following guide to the identification of fascism: “An American fascist seeking power would not proclaim that he is a fascist. Fascism always camouflages its plans and purposes.” The fact sheet goes on to say that the camouflage commonly consists of “Red Bogy” panic incitement, names and slogans of popular appeal draped with the flag, and racial and religious bigotry.
Americans and Australians are the writers of these books and pamphlets, some of them representing recognised organisations—for instance the Australian Social Crediter. Anti-Communism is the theme scream: Racialist doctrines, super-patriotism, and many popular concepts, such as “reason,” “realism,” “democracy,” “freedom,” also play a big part. The list includes “The Blue Book Of The John Birch Society” and “America’s Retreat From Victory” by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Every document contains accusations of Communism from the USA Supreme Court to the United Nations, from President Roosevelt to President Johnson. Other literature expounds the facts of white supremacy.
One might hope that such rubbish is unlikely to be taken seriously, but in the present situation that seems most unlikely. For as long as “Essential Books” is allowed to spread its filth, our doubtful democracy cannot become anything but weaker. USA and Australian neofascism is being encouraged. And Security is allowing this to continue. – Hugh Fyson
Extremist from Australia was welcomed
ERIC BUTLER—the director of the most extreme group of Australia’s ultra-right—passed through Wellington during the university vacation.
ALTHOUGH HIS “League of Rights” is anti-Semitic, racist, and neo-Nazi, he won an enthusiastic reception from the local press.
THE GROUP which sponsored the meeting at which he spoke, the NZ Democratic Society, also received laudatory newspaper coverage.
Mr. Butler, who was in New Zealand to rally support for the Smith regime, says that “Rhodesia is the front line against the forces of world revolution.”
His political career is remarkably consistent. Before the war he wrote a book called the “International Jew,” which accused the Jews of being responsible for the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Depression and the rise of Hitler.
After the war he wrote another book, “The Great Lie.” He claimed that Hitler’s murder of 6,000,000 Jews was an invention of the Jews and that actually the Jews had always co-operated with Adolph.
Although this suggests that he was an opponent of Nazism, he was investigated and acted against by the Australian Government during World War II. The Government stated that his “activities were prejudicial to the war effort.”
Mr. Butler mellowed and concentrated more on appearing to be a respectable citizen. At the same time he has been publicising a variety of “facts.” His main claim is that the Fabian Society and the London School of Economics are the centres of operation for the international Jewish-Communist conspiracy.
He has distributed anti-Semitic and pro-Fascist literature by Sir Oswald Mosley, leading British Nazi, and Lincoln Rockwell, his American counterpart. More recently he has been the leading apologist for Dr. Verwoerd and Mr. Ian Smith.
Mr. Butler today claims that he no longer agrees with everything he has published (“Some of my best friends are Jews,” he said recently).
However, late last year in a televised debate he defended his statements. He quoted a man of “authority” to show that there was actually an International Jewish Conspiracy. He explained that by “The Great Lie” he meant that the figure 6,000,000 was a gross exaggeration.
A lecturer in Political Science continually demanded that Mr. Butler give his estimate of deaths, and say whether he thought the murders were immoral.
Mr. Butler refused to answer.
A Jew in the audience leapt out and brandished in front of a camera a photograph of piles of dead bodies in a concentration camp. Mr. Butler looked disapproving.
The Jew said later that all his family had been killed in Auschwitz.
Both the Jew and the lecturer were told by a member of the League of Rights to “go back to their German-Jewish-Banker-Communist friends.”
Local newspapers nonetheless gave Mr. Butler and the NZ Democratic Society wide and uncritical coverage.
The Sunday Times boasted of an “exclusive interview,” while the Evening Post labelled dissenters at the public meeting as “student agitators.”
A local press service contemporaneously released a profile of Mr. Fairlie Curry, president of the Democratic Society.
This lauded the society (“exploded on the public horizon,” “shot into the lime-light”) and denigrated its opponents (“Vietniks,” “bearded wonders,” “untidy, mop-haired exhibitionists,” “the pseudo-intellectuals that infest the Committee on Vietnam,” “the weirdie and beardie brigade”).
This was published in several New Zealand dailies.
Mr. Butler also spoke at NZ-Rhodesia Society meetings in other parts of New Zealand.
But New Zealand papers did not see fit to comment on his extremist background.
For the record, here is a brief summary, from the pamphlet “Voices of Hate.”
Anti-semitic, anti-fluoridation, anti-Salk vaccine, anti-artificial fertilisers, anti-UN, anti-Roosevelt, anti-Churchill, anti-Labour, anti-Common Market, anti-Communism, pro-Social Credit and racism.
Melbourne student papers have waged a long war of exposure against Mr. Butler. Commenting on this, the Adelaide student paper “On Dit” said:
“With the prospect of a McCarthyist revival, it might be well for those who are concerned to protect civil liberties to turn their attention at least a little from the extreme left to the extreme right.” – Hugh Rennie and Noel Turnbull
SOCIETY NOT FOR BUTLER
“SALIENT is making a mountain out of what’s not much more than a mole-hill,” says Mr. Fairlie Curry, president of the Democratic Society.
HE was asked by Salient to comment on last issue’s exposure of Australian rightis Eric Butler, who spoke at a Democratic Society public meeting.
Mr. Curry calls the article “unfair and illogical.”
Commenting on Butler’s neo-nazi and anti-Semitic opinions, Mr. Curry, one-time member of the now-defunct Anti-Communist League, said, “He may have said these things, I don’t know, but he didn’t mention anything of the kind when I spoke to him.”
He suggested “He’s probably mellowed a lot since then.”
Butler, Director of Australia’s “League of Rights,” was supporting speaker with Ron Gostick, leader of the Canadian Christian Action Movement. The meeting was widely publicised by newspaper advertising and a circular which was sent to National Party branch secretaries, churches and many other groups, including the University National Party Club.
Although Butler was here to rally support for Smith’s Rhodesia, Mr. Curry pointed out that at the meeting he was asked to confine his speech to the Communist threat in South-East Asia.
Another Democratic Society executive contacted Salient to express distress at the article.
He said the Society did not know in advance that Butler was coming with Gostick, and was unaware of his background.
Both he and Mr. Curry were at pains to dissociate the Democratic Society from Butler’s background as exposed in Salient. – Tony Jaques
SIR,—It was with disgust that I read in “Critic” Mr. R. J. King’s statements (for the NZ-Rhodesia Society) condoning and supporting Australian Fascist, Mr. Eric Butler, and also the articles on Butlers “campaign” in Critic and Salient.
It seems to me that Mr. King in supporting Butler (be it anti-Semitism or Rhodesia) is in itself a step made with ignorance; as are any Antisemitic statements. Too many people make statements against the Jews, without knowing a thing about the Jews (whether it is social, economic, political or religious). Here lies the important basis for anti-semitism —lack of knowledge: and what people don’t know about, they fear and use as an excuse for anything — for the international use of the Jew as a scapegoat. Ignorance has been the cause of anti-Semitism since its first appearance – from the “blood libels” of the 18th century, the Dreyfus case of the 19th, to Hitler’s crude propaganda in our century.
How can a person support such statements of Butler’s as “Hitler’s murder of six million Jews is a lie” when firstly, they know nothing about it and secondly they are facts; in fact six million was a conservative estimate of those who died by or through the effects of Nazi persecution!
How can a person on one hand be “pledged to God’ and or “a sober member of his church” and on the other hand, support anti-Semitism, racism, white supremacy as in Rhodesia and South Africa; the things that Christian and Jew, black and white, alike abhor as human beings?
(Perhaps Mr. King before supporting Butler would read the Ten Commandments — which are for Christian and Jew alike.)
Today the western world cries out against left-wing Communist movements as the great danger (a farcical example is our own Auckland spy case); yet to me this is not the “clear and present danger” of today but the right wing, Fascists, Conservatives (call them what you like!) with men like Butler, Mosley, Rockwell and seemingly Mr. King (I might add also, a number of New Zealand’s present MP’s). I Just hope Mr. King’s sentiments don’t spread especially amongst university students; for if they did, then we who believe in individual freedom and equality would have something to worry about.
I would like to add finally that “One of my best friends is an Anglican”— one is also a Buddhist and one a South African Liberal. – M. Johnstone
Spanner in works – Communism foiled
“TANZANIA is virtually a Red Chinese beach-head—the Cuba of East Africa,” said Mr. Eric Butler, Director of the Australian League of Rights.
“THERE are 100,000 Red Chinese trained terrorists in Zambia ready to cross into Rhodesia,” asserted Mr. Butler in an address On “The Communist Conspiracy” in Wellington recently.
Mr. Butler, whose organisation is one of the furthest right in Australia, has supported Sir Oswald Mosley, Lincoln Rockwell, Dr. Verwoerd and Ian Smith. He opposes among other things, artificial fertilisers, Churchill, Salk vaccine, the Common Market and Communism.
This conspiracy, he claimed, was trying to seize the whole of Africa in order to control the trade route around the Cape of Good Hone. “Cuba,” he said, “is taking care of the Panama Canal.”
Describing the mass migrations to the south and the failure of northern African “democracies,” he said “Africa north of Zambezi is slipping back into a charnel house worse than that found by Livingston and others.”
Identifying himself with “decent moral Christian persons,” he described Rhodesia as “a law-abiding country, while ‘liberated’ Africa is in a blood-bath.”
“In no other dart of the world,” he asserted, “have the indigenous population been so well looked after by the Europeans as in Rhodesia.”
In his view Rhodesia was a bastion against the spread of Communism in Africa. Mr. Butler said “Rhodesia has thrown one of the biggest spanners into the works of the Communist Global Strategy.” He said that opinions to the contrary were the result of Mr. Wilson’s “brainwashing,” which he compared to Adolph Hitler’s technique of the big lie often repeated.
New Zealand and Australia have not sent independent fact-finding missions to Rhodesia because they are afraid their envoys would return with a favourable report, he said.
Mr. Butler spoke mainly about Rhodesia, and had little to say about the Communist Conspiracy.
His speech was frequently interrupted by a voluble group of interjectors, who were described by the Chairman, Mr. Fairlie Currie, late of the National Party, as “Red Guards.”