Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cricket, peanuts, and right-wing politics

The recent post here about Rodney Hogg prompted some interesting comments box reflections on the often difficult relationship between cricketers and politics.

Hoggy may regret his recent intervention in Australian political discourse, but up in Queensland his former team mate Carl Rackemann is busy turning himself into a politician. Nicknamed 'Big Carl' by his fans, Rackemann played twelve tests and fifty-two one day internationals for Australia in the 1980s and '90s, before following family tradition and setting up as a peanut farmer in the South Burnett region.

Last September Rackemann announced that he would be standing as a candidate for the Katter Australian Party in the 2012 election to Queensland's state parliament. As its name suggests, Big Carl's party is led by Bob Katter, the long-time federal MP for the North Queensland seat of Kennedy. Katter is fond of wearing a ten gallon hat, and political analyst David Penbarthy has noted his 'strange, Alabama-inspired manner of speech'. Katter's politics are a curious mixture of libertarianism, social conservatism, and Keynesianism. He rails against 'government interference' in the lives of 'ordinary Australians', denouncing environmental laws in particular, but believes that the state should reimpose heavy tariffs on trade goods from Asia, subsidise farmers, and ban 'immoral' behaviour.

Katter's party has been described as 'One Nation with a hat', and it has been attempting to appeal to the small farmers and small town working class voters who supported Pauline Hanson in the 1990s. Many of these voters blame the decline of small town industries and falling prices for agricultural products on the globalisation of the Australian economy and the depredations of Asian capitalists. They may be alienated by the Liberal-National coalition's embrace of globalisation, but they are also hostile to the social liberalism of the Labor and Green parties.

Katter can appeal just as crudely as Hanson to the prejudices of Australians. In a 1996 speech he accused unnamed 'slanty-eyed ideologues' of trying to impose 'political correctness' on his country; more recently he called for the construction of one hundred new military vessels to patrol the waters around Australia and hunt down would-be refugees.

In his recent interviews with the media, Carl Rackemann has explained that he is a third-generation farmer in South Burnett, and has claimed that this firm grounding in the region will help him to perform well if he gets to parliament. What Big Carl hasn't mentioned is that South Burnett is perhaps the most reactionary part of Australia, and that members of the extended Rackemann family have been closely involved in the febrile, anti-democratic politics of the place.

In the late nineteenth century the South Burnett area was a part of the blackbirding industry, as Melanesians abductees landed in ports like Mackay and Brisbane were purchased and put to work on cattle farms and sugar plantations. As Queensland's slave-driven economy took off in the 1870s and '80s, the state earned the nickname 'the second Louisiana', and attracted emigrants from the defeated Confederate States of America. Germans also began to arrive in numbers, and in 1884 George Hiedrich Rackemann led a large family group off the docks in Brisbane.

In the area around the South Burnett town of Kingaroy, the Rackemanns helped establish a peanut industry in the 1920s. When the Great Depression struck Australia's rural economy, depriving farmers of export markets and pushing them into debt, many of the people of South Burnett turned to the ideology of the far right for answers. Hundreds joined the Douglas Credit Party, which blamed the Depression on a conspiracy by Jewish bankers, and warned of the dangers of a takeover of Australia by communists.

In August 1939 thirty-seven armed supporters of the Douglas Credit Party stormed the Queensland parliament in Brisbane, and took the state's Labor MPs hostage. The rebels, who surrendered after a short siege, included Charles and Raymond Rackemann, peanut farmers from South Burnett. The Douglas Credit Party petered out in the early 1940s, but later that decade many of its activists formed the League of Rights, which was for decades Australia's largest explicitly anti-semitic organisation. With its claims that Jews, bankers, Aboriginals, and trade unionists were plotting to ruin white farmers and nationalise their land, the League played on old financial and racial anxieties.

One of the League of Rights' admirers was Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who was MP for Nanango, a seat that includes parts of South Burnett, for forty years, and Premier of Queensland for eighteen years. As Premier, Bjelke-Petersen declared a state of emergency to allow the passage of the Springbok rugby team through Queensland, banned trade union pickets, and regularly accused the United Nations of plotting to conquer Australia. Bjelke-Petersen may have repressed the left and trade unions during his long reign as Premier, but he was consistently supportive of far right political organisations. He was happy to speak at League of Rights events, and his paranoid denunciations of communism and the United Nations encouraged the formation of ultra-right outfits like the Progress Party, which contested Queensland's 1980 election, and the Confederate Action Party, which grew in strength in the 1980s before falling apart in the early '90s. Paul Rackemann contested the Capricornia seat in the 1980 election for the Progress Party, and was a founding member of the Confederate Action Party. In his speeches and communications to the media, Rackemann claimed that he had been persecuted on account of his German ancestry, denounced the Australian banking system as the tool of a sinister cabal of conspirators, and complained that Queenslanders were becoming 'serfs'.

In the 1990s another member of the Rackemann clan became prominent in far right circles. After becoming interested in German history because of his family's links to the country, Peter Rackemann decided that the Holocaust had never happened, and that Hitler's regime had been unfairly maligned by historians. Rackemann became an activist for the Adelaide Institute, the organisation led by Frederick Toben, one of the world's most notorious Holocaust deniers and Hitlerians. In 1999 Toben was imprisoned for nine months in Germany for denying the Holocaust, and in 2002 the Federal Court of Australia found the Adeliade Institute guilty of 'vilifying Jewish people', and demanded the removal of hateful messages and images from its website. Peter Rackemann remains one of the key members of the Institute, and the group's website describes him as a man 'who is willing to die' in the struggle to clear Hitler's name. In the January 2007 issue of the Adelaide Institute's newsletter Toben celebrated the involvement of Peter Rackemann's father in the 'pineapple rebellion' of 1939.

Carl Rackemann will be trying to win Joh Bjelke-Petersen's old seat of Nanango in the upcoming Queensland federal election. We would be unwise to conclude, without the help of evidence, that Rackemann has the same politics as some of his relatives, or that he aims to perpetuate the legacy of Bjelke-Petersen and the League of Rights, but there is surely something disingenuous about his claims that his family history and his South Burnett upbringing give him an affinity with democracy.

[Posted By Maps/Scott]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Queensland is full of rednecks. best avoided.

1:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old Anti Defamation League (ADL) arises again from the sewer to assist ASIO with it's gratuitous slanders. The ADL was famous for pipe bombing a Jewish family in California and painting nazi rubbish on Synagogues in several states of the USA about a decade ago to terrorise decent Jewish families into supporting their "protectors" with large donations.
The best expose of all these political crimes run against Australia's Sovereignty by the infamous ADL and the peoples own protection racket providers, ASIO, over the last century is "Gangs and Counter Gangs" By Don Veitch. He was a former intelligence officer who ratted them out.
The Student

12:34 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

What on earth is The Student talking about? The Holocaust denial and pro-Hitler views of Peter Rackemann and the Adelaide Institute are not exactly hard to spot - anyone who goes to the homepage of the AI website will find a 'Lovely Christmas photo of the Fuhrer and one his admirers', and a picture of a couple of orthodox Jews captioned 'Sons of Satan'. We're not talking subtlety, here...

1:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like rackemann is a conspiracy theorist...

The True Story of The Bilderberg Group, by Daniel Estulin
From: "Adelaide Institute"
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 16:40:55 +1030
From: Peter Rackemann

Sent: Monday, 31 December 2007 3:34 PM

The True Story of the Bilderberg Group


Editorial Reviews: Amazon

"If you want to know who really runs the world and the lengths to
which they will go to establish their globalist hegemony, you must
read Estulin's well-documented The True Story of The Bilderberg
Group." — carolynbaker.net

"Judging from the list of frontrunners of each party, Daniel
Estulin . . . may be on to something." — worldnetdaily.com

"For some 15 years, Estulin has been a thorn in the sides of the
Bilderbergers, relentlessly hunting down their secret meeting places,
gaining inside sources who divulge what goes on behind closed doors,
even photographing attendees and publicly disclosing it all. Now he
has put it all in a book that every person who values freedom and
democracy should read." —Onlinejournal.com

2:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outfits like the "Adelaide Institute" are usually agent provocateur stunts set up by the likes of ASIO and it's masters in MI6 and Mossad to tarbrush any dissent to their corrupt game plan.
They provide straw man material to be used as necessary. Wise up.
The Student

4:39 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Frederick Toben a Mossad agent? Oh dearie me. Why not just go the whole hog and say that Hitler was a secret agent of the Jews planted in Germany to make white nationalism look bad?

If you want to recyle conspiracy theories about Jews controlling Australia, then you can hardly disown people like Toben and the rest of the anti-semitic far right.

6:45 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I got this from the Adelaide Institute:

"We must raise a new man - a new form of life

Excerpt from a speech that Hitler delivered to the youth of the nation in 1934:

From the German youth of the future I expect something different....something new. We must raise a New Man....so that we can give the German people a new ideal....forge a strong bond between the people and the ideal....and shape them into a new form of life. This shall be the greatest achievement of our people in this century. The young German of the future shall be slender and straight....fast as a greyhound, tough as leather and as hard as Krupp steel!

[Picture of Hitler here holding Flag and blazing with Glory, Like an Eagle]

'Long Live Germany'

An eagle hovers against the light of heaven over Hitler."

What can one say to [and with] Rackmann and Tobin (et al) but:

"Heil Hitler!! Death to all Jews!!"

9:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I trust Richard is being ironic.

11:05 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

"Anonymous said...

I trust Richard is being ironic. "

Vatt???!! Nein! Vee deed not ddo zee Holocaust but -ooops! Vee vished we haddt -dat eich mein, oopsz! Ha! Ich meean, Ja!??

Ist u das effil Jew Komunistik?

Vee ville alles be strong unt lithe unt very very virilentt Aigles Ja!! Ja wohl main Komandantt zee Breetisch Judenn Peegs vill lose zee Var, unt zee Komunistk Russens unt.... Ja! Unt!! Austerraliansz Adeliadannenzenn: untt vee villennz rule szee Vorldt fur untt zee millionnen Jars!! Ja nein?? HH!

Langt live zee 3rd Reichardt!


11:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and so the ADL set up phony nazi movement doesn't get any more unoriginal. Try to explain why the Harrimans of New York and the British Crown funded the German Nazi party and supported it.
This along with such creeps as Lord "dirty" Berty Russell who wrote the foreword in Hitlers first edition of Mein Kempf??
Oops I forgot he was anti war and anti nuclear power etc.
Why hasn't the illustrious "skyler" in his/her historical expose' given us, the great uninformed, a rendition of the Concordant signed between the Pope with Hitler which set in train the rise of that jerk to power, with the full support of the Catholic church???
Is it just a teensee bit possible that he/she and their ADL mates too busy setting up phony nazi movements like the Adelaide Institute to scare us all about the nazi threat.So that they can then save us by stripping away more of our rights? The Student.

8:39 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

So the Pope's in on the conspiracy too? It's a pity that the concordant was signed after Hitler took power. And Bertrand Russell wrote an introduction to Mein Kampf? What a load of paranoid nonsense. I can never understand why sentient human beings fall for conspiracy theories...

10:48 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

The guy is crazy if he thinks Russell wrote an intro!!

There ARE some conspiracies, but I'm just reading a book about (the history of) money by a Niall Ferguson and he talks about the Rothschilds and much else and one thing debunked is the often quoted story that Nathan Rothschild misrepresented the outcome of the battle Of Waterloo and then nearly bankrupted the British Government, making millions of pounds in the process etc Much of this is completely false and while he did indeed provide gold for Wellington to pay for his war against Napoleon, he in fact very nearly lost a lot of his gold stocks when Napoleon returned form Elba... The point is that the Nazis invented most of the stories about the Rothschilds painting them in a very bad light and a lot of conspiracy people believe now that they are behind everything and indeed also involved were many (more or less liberal)historians who were however also anti-Semitic (it almost seemed then much more widespread until the present time when it is (now) less open to be anti-Semitic but it is still very very strong. You are only uncovering the tip of the iceberg of hate, prejudice, and ignorance Scott Anti-Semitism is a major factor throughout all European history. It still is and Nazism is still strong and dangerous.

A lot of people who are anti-Semitic and or are strong conspiracy people are seriously embittered or just are (effectively mentally ill) or sad lonely characters.

Like some poets!

11:14 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Pounds' obsession with usury is typical (and he was completely wrong) - without credit, all economies would collapse and there would be more poverty, more wars, more misery.

The development of money, and then credit etc was actually a major progressive step in human history.

I actually think that, given a few years, the capitalist system (with skilful sue of credit and indeed help from the banks) will show recovery and we will go through another period of prosperity. There is nothing inherently wrong with capitalism in the relatively short historical term.

But of course, I might just be feeling good!

In the longer time, new forms of economies and government will or might arise.

This is not to say that all is wonderful of course!

But as things recover the conspiracy theories (the really crazy ones, not my more sophisticated take!) and madness will lessen. We certainly don't want war.

11:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who is this Scott?? so he admits that the Pope signed the Concordant with Hitler after it was obvious that the nazi party was indeed nazti,and had very evil intentions.Dear Scott please give up the old socialist/zionist drivel about "conspiray theories".

These loaded epithets which Marx/Lennin taught the brain dead faithful to parrot on cue to hide the filth the comrades were up to in the name of"reform",reflect badly on the intellectual capacity of the user.
That certain facts pertain to the rise of a lot of scum to the top through out history is irrefutable

Only the trully gullible believe that these events happened by chance.The foreword in Mein Kempf written by "dirty" Birtie is also a fact. The first copy (and only) copy I read was from a library in Washington and I was totally shocked at the time to see Russels involvement with Hitler. Those were the years of political innocence.
The Royals involvement was exposed about 6 or 8 years ago when letters from the good old Queen Mum hit the light of day and a book was written about this little glitch. Try and get your facts right before rushing to print, it saves so much embarrasment later on. The Student

10:39 pm  
Anonymous Robert Bollard said...

Geoff Lawson's sister was a member of the International Socialists' Sydney Branch for a while in the late '70s and early '80s. If he and Carl both shared their siblings' politics then the Australian fast bowling attack would have had a bizzare political symmetry.

8:15 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

'Try and get your facts right before rushing to print'

Wise words, Mr Student. You claimed that Bertrand Russell wrote the foreword to the original edition of Mein Kampf, and that Hitler signed a deal with the Pope that put him on the way to power. The implication seemed to be that the Vatican and Russell were both involved in some sort of conspiracy to bring Hitler into office.

The reality is that the foreword to Mein Kampf was written by - wait for it - Hitler, and that the Concordant between the Vatican and Hitler (something I've blogged about here at some length - searchthe archives) was signed after Hitler had taken power.

I've gone to the trouble of searching, and I can't find an evidence that Russell wrote any sort of introduction to Mein Kampf. He certainly didn't write the foreword to the text, and he certainly didn't have anything to do with the 1923 edition, or other early editions.

By all means, though, rave on...

9:03 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Thanks for that info about Lawson's sibling Robert. I heard that league star Alan Langer's cousin was a leader of the International Socialists in Brisbane...

12:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott obviously hasn't looked very closely at Hitlers little ghost written epistle. The first copies certainlly were endorsed by dirty birtie. He said that it was "a valuable work of serious political theory and would he felt that many of the ideas contained would become a part of how England and the western European nations would govern in the future" SO TRUE.

Are any of you intellectual lightweights serious students of history or do you just spend your time making cheap shots at those who do seek trurh and decency???? Is the ADL necessary to tell you what to think next????
The Student.

10:10 am  
Anonymous Scott said...

So now Russell didn't actually write the foreword to Mein Kampf - he 'endorsed' it somewhere else? Where else? A search on the net for the phrase you mention turns up - a link to this thread!

11:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russell definetly did write the foreword in the only copy of Hitlers book which I read. Don't try to launder the criminal involvement of the old "British" families in that dark era of history or their ongoing involvement in todays genocides.

What about the british freighters carrying arms for the Vietnamese socialist criminals, caught up in the American Naval blocade of Haipong harbour during the time when our boys were dying there in the South.

What about the current involvement of the Royal family with the Saudi religeous ratbags, in provoking the so called "arab spring"?

Berthold Beck wrote a poem about this type of thing. Quote "the bitch which bore the bastard (hitler) is in heat again, and the name of the bitch is farce".

Isn't that truly an accurate portrayal of all the socialist dribble about "conspiracy theories" right wing/left wing, environmentalism etc, ad nauseum ?
The Student.

1:17 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

What would convince you that Russell didn't write the foreword to Mein Kampf, Student? Nothing, I guess. You'd suggest, I'm sure, that the absence of any record of such a text from bibliographies, libraries, and the net is evidence of a malign conspiracy, rather than the fragility of your own memory...

It is a mystery to me how folks like you can fall for such obviously silly conspiracy theories. The British royal family is behind the Arab Spring? Crikey, they can't organise a lasting marriage, let alone an uprising by hundreds of millions of people! You're so incoherent that you seem like a self-parody - you rave on about the evils of socialism, for instance, then garnish your words with a quote from...Brecht!

1:54 pm  

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