new-logo25kohlsBy Gary G. Kohls, MD

 

“Fear and negativity won out in Australia after the coup. Again, that familiar tune. We learn from this that opponents of change will do anything. As we’ve seen here, they will play dirty, they will vow and pledge and undermine like there’s no tomorrow. We cannot expect them to abide by democracy or decency.” – Meaghan Delahunt

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Four decades ago in Viet Nam War-era Australia, after a decade in which that nation’s progressive thinkers (especially its logically anti-imperialist, antiwar youth) were fed up with Australia’s collaboration in the stupidity and the atrocities of the American-led Vietnam War, a political movement emerged that came close to revolutionizing the ever-lasting right-wing Australian political system.

The early 1970s were exciting times for progressives, and it was happening at the exact same time that the disastrous and ill-conceived agendas of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were provoking chants in the streets that said “Hell No, We Won’t Go”. Australian progressives were sympathizing with returning American Viet Nam veterans who testified about the war crimes that they had committed “in country” and then, in disgust, went to Washington, DC and threw their military medals at the Pentagon.

The revolutionary Australian movement of the early 1970s was virtually indistinguishable from the politics of the 2016 Bernie Sanders-led movement that came close to upsetting America’s entrenched, conservative, perpetual war, pro-Wall Street, pro-privatization political system that has had increasingly firm control of America’s electoral politics for the last century. Back then, in Australia’s major parliamentary elections of 1972 and 1974, the Australian Labour Party’s very popular progressive politician (and democratic socialist) Gough Whitlam was elected and then re-elected as Prime Minister. Whitlam was vigorously opposed by the very conservative (right-wing, NeoLiberal) Liberal Party – the equivalent of the conservative Tory Party in England.

Below is what author Meaghan Delahunt has to say about how progressive politics in Australia was decapitated. Delahunt has uniquely experienced both the crushing Australian coup d’etat in 1975 and the equally crushing (and failed) Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014 (to gain independence from Great Britain). More

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