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The reactionary No vote and a term we must revive

Written by: Nick G. on 17 September 2023


When Labor PM Albanese decided that the No campaign in the Voice referendum would not be attacked for being racist, he opened the floodgates of racist opinion.

We all know from the treatment of Adam Goodes, Stan Grant, Lydia Thorpe and many more First Peoples, that to have a First People’s voice is to make oneself a target of the vilest residual racism that still infests much of the non-Indigenous population.

What enables the die-hard racists to persevere with their racism is the legitimacy given to their views by certain conservative First Peoples themselves.
An appropriate term to be attached to such people is “quisling”.

Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian fascist who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during World War II. He headed the government of Norway during the country's occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a traitor to his people and identified completely with the occupiers.

The Nazis were adept at using quislings in their areas of occupation. Other notable quislings were Croatia’s Ante Pavelic and Ukraine’s Stepan Bandera. At the end of the war, Quisling was tried and executed for crimes against his own people.

During the lead-up to the Voice Referendum, racists have claimed that a Yes vote would create apartheid in Australia, that it would extend privileges not enjoyed by other Australians to First Peoples, that it would divide the country.

A form of apartheid already exists in Australia. It is not enshrined in law, as was its South African version (itself inspired by the treatment of First Peoples in Queensland), but is for that reason so much harder to identify and oppose. The invisible apartheid can be seen, however, in the social avoidance of First

Peoples by many non-Indigenous Australians and the informal closing of doors to their employment and advancement.

Some more recent arrivals in this country, themselves facing barriers to education, housing and employment, are susceptible to the poison spread by racists that the Voice would privilege First Peoples ahead of other Australians. A Voice that is purely advisory does not do that. 

Those who claim that the Voice would divide Australia engage in the real racism of denying existing division as witnessed in the appalling gaps that exist between First Peoples and the rest of the population in areas such as housing, health, education, incarceration and suicide rates, and employment. 

Die-hard racists in the community, and in the ranks of Liberal and Country Party politicians say all of these things and more, not only because Albanese has said not to name racism for what it is, but also because these views are legitimized by quislings among the First People. 

They deny the need for Treaty, decry the “romanticism of Culture” and deny the ongoing trauma of unsettlement and colonialism.

When some people defy Albanese and call these quislings out for their treachery and complicity with Australian racism, they cry foul and behave like pitiful victims of the same racism that they have themselves covered up, aided and abetted.

Our use of the term “quisling” does not extend to those First Peoples who advocate a No vote based on their refusal to acquiesce in reliance on parliament, and their rejection of the explicitly racist Australian Constitution.

The quislings to whom we refer represent and do the work for the most reactionary section of the mining industry who want unhindered and unlimited freedoms to exploit and plunder the lands of the First Nations Peoples.   

Capital's economic imperatives create the capitalist ideology of neo-neoliberalism and reactionary conservatism.  Racism is a tool of colonialism, of capitalism, of imperialism.   

The racism displayed by the quislings on behalf of the most reactionary section of the ruling class needs to be challenged by facts - truth telling.

That's why Truth Telling (educating about, and challenging, the intense propaganda and lies) should have been the first step, before the Voice.

First Peoples will make up their own mind about how to vote in the Referendum. 

We have refrained as a Party from advocating a Yes vote out of respect for the divergence of views among First Peoples, but we will call out the racist underpinnings of the reactionary No vote for what they are.



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