I’m sure there’s a quote I remember about words like ‘democratic’, ‘people’s’ and ‘citizens’ in the name of a political party being almost guaranteed indicators that the party in question cared very little about democracy or about people.

Which brings us to The Citizens Electoral Council, and something tells me this party must be pretty bad, because absolutely nobody likes them. Labor and the Greens put them second last; Liberal and the Democrats put them dead last, Family First and the DLP put them only just higher than the Greens, and even the Shooters and Fishers and the Climate Sceptics put them down at slot 23-24, after Family First, making their preferencing pretty pointless.

The CEC preference Family First, which must be a little embarrassing, and then Senator On-Line (who, now I look at them, give the CEC one of their highest ratings, at 13-14 on the ticket) and the Climate Change Sceptics. Preferences eventually flow via almost all the tiny parties to the Liberals (which must be *really* embarrassing, though at least it’s pretty clear that there were no preference deals happening here), with the Greens and Labor holding the two bottom sets of slots on the ticket.

So, why does everyone hate the CEC? Their website which is strangely designed, puts the name ‘Lyndon H. Larouche Jnr’ up front and centre, without any useful information on why. Further investigation leads to the statement “Established in 1988, we joined the LaRouche movement to fight for Peace through Economic Development”, which does not, in itself, sound like a bad thing. Then one can follow links called ‘About Lyndon H. Larouche Jnr’ or, more promisingly ‘Has your neighbour been brainwashed about Lyndon H. Larouche Jnr?’ Since cult-like interest in a founder and accusations of brainwashing sound far more interesting than actual policy, I am diverted immediately down this track.

There is a lot of discussion about LaRouche’s economic genius, but it takes a very long time to get to any sort of statement about what he was actually trying to do (too busy talking about how scientifically he got there). But finally, we get to this:

His work and activities as an economist have always intersected a continuing commitment, since military-service experience in postwar India, to what has been often termed “a just new world economic order”: the urgency of affording what have been sometimes termed “Third World nations,” their full rights to perfect national sovereignty, and to access to the improvement of their educational systems and economies through employment of the most advanced science and technology. On this account, he has continued the same quarrel with the policies of the British Empire and Commonwealth which U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt had, on these same issues, with Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.

I have to say, I’ve heard worse ideas. Indeed, I’ve read far worse just in the last week. And then we get to this:

Additionally, since 1964-1972, he has been a leading organizer of the opposition to the 1964-1972 cultural paradigm shift. On this account, he has become a leading target of bitter enmity from ideologues of such sundry New Age cults as the “rock-drug-sex counterculture, post-industrial utopianisms” generally, and “neo-Malthusian” forms of anti-scientific, “environmentalist” fads.

Right, that would be why the lefties don’t like him. And I am alarmed to learn that

As a result of that, he has been the target of sundry known efforts to eliminate him, even physically, by sundry official and private agencies inside the U.S.A. and abroad. This pattern is typified by a 1973 plot directed by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, as admitted in official documents subsequently released, and by a 1983-1988 U.S. official operation run under the cover of Executive Order 12333.

You know, I thought it was generally the people on the loony left of politics who claim government conspiracies.

Anyway, I shall not share with you the entire screed about how the Evil Media has brainwashed everyone into thinking that LaRouche is a bad guy, when really, he isn’t (they use the word ‘lackeys’, though, which makes me happy in a special way!), because it is not really relevant to their party policies. And as an economic ignoramus, I’m really not qualified to say whether LaRouche makes any sense or not. I present the above simply to give you an idea of what the CEC’s website is like.

Oh wow, no, I have just read their history page (unsurprisingly, this party originates in Queensland), and I absolutely must share this with you:

As does Mr. LaRouche, the CEC represents the Judeo-Christian-Islamic view that all human beings are created in the living image of God the Creator, and are therefore endowed with creative reason, unlike any other species. This “divine spark” of reason common to all mankind, means that there is only one race—the human race—contrary to the racist premises of multiculturalism. Since all men and women are created equal, they are thus sovereign individuals under natural law, and the sacred duty of governments is to foster the common good—the economic and social conditions under which each and every individual may flourish, and therefore contribute to the good of his or her nation, and to mankind as a whole.

A major contributing factor to the present economic collapse, is the anti-human, bestial policies represented by the rock-drug-sex counterculture which took off in the 1960s. The “me first”, “me only” policies championed by the counterculture, are precisely those also championed by the economic policies of globalisation, privatisation, etc.; indeed, the former has helped prepare the way for the latter. The CEC is committed, as is Mr. LaRouche, to urgently re-establishing a new Golden Renaissance, based upon the Classical tradition in art and philosophy, where the creative powers of each individual are fostered, to the benefit of both the individual, and of the entire society.

Setting aside the weird remark about ‘racist premises of multiculturalism’ (how on earth is multiculturalism racist?), this sounds like one of the more Catholic parties. Only more psychotic. I love how they appear to hate everyone on both sides of politics, too.

Incidentally, I keep hearing rumours (including on Wikipedia) that LaRouche and the CEC are anti-semitic. So far, I’ve seen no obvious evidence of this on their site, unless there is something coded in the racist/multiculturalism thing that I’ve missed. Since I’m trying to look at the way the parties present themselves, I’ll not comment further on this, but if you’re interested, there is more information on the CEC’s alleged Anti-semitism here and here. On the other hand, they seem to be quite anti-British (but not anti-America), which is a bit of a new one on me.

Right, on to their policies then.

Sadly, understanding their policies does appear to require understanding LaRouchian economics (assuming such a thing is possible), and I don’t. So I’m just going to quote what looks important, and the more economically knowledgeable among you can commentate, critique, mock, or ignore as seems good to you.

“We must implement a bankruptcy reorganisation of the global financial system as prescribed by American physical economist Lyndon LaRouche, led by a Four Powers Agreement among the U.S., Russia, China, and India to break the back of the British imperial monetarist system centered in London and Wall Street, in order to implement a global Glass-Steagall banking standard to end speculation; and a New Bretton Woods international credit system with fixed exchange rates.

“The present free trade system of “globalisation” is destroying the nation’s agriculture and industry. The Citizens Electoral Council will work for a “New Bretton Woods” system: A return to the best features of the original Bretton Woods system including tariff protection, fixed exchange rates and government support, through banking and otherwise, for agriculture and industry.”

So there.

Moving on to economic policies that I do understand slightly, they want to found a National Bank and State Banks to provide loans at 2% or less to agriculture (family farms), industry and for infrastructure development. Apparently the current system of private banking is responsible for most of the world’s ills, is, moreover, far too British (is this code?), and would make Old Labor (ie, Real Labor) turn in their graves. Also, it tends to be run by the sort of people who are in favour of aboriginal land rights, and the sort of people who would brag about being members of the “international freemasonry of central bankers” (I’m sure this is code). Setting aside with some difficulty the rampant wingnuttery evident in the details, I do quite like the idea of a government bank. It’s one I’ve seen floated in a few different parties’ policies now (sadly, I can’t remember which – I’ve done too many of these posts!), and while I don’t know what effect it would have globally, it seems like something that might work locally. Even in current times, I have marginally more trust in the government than in the private business sector (though maybe not if this lot were in charge).

On a similar note, they want to halt privatisation of Commonwealth and State assets, and return privatised assets to public control. Actually, I’m all in favour of this. Selling off public transport and utilities and half of Telstra were some of the stupidest things our governments have done, in my view. Not that I understand economics, but surely an asset in the hand is worth two that you’ve sold, and anyway, these things tend to be run better when they are not solely about profit (much like health insurance, in fact). They also want to get rid of the GST, because it places a disproportionate burden on the poor, which is quite true. They want to dramatically upgrade public health facilities, and infrastructure generally (including schools and high-speed trains, which I like, an Australian Space Program, which would be awesome, and nuclear energy which I do not like), both for the public good and to create new jobs. I’m agreeing with these guys far too often, which worries me. And they want to get rid of the National Competition Policy, which I think is something to do with the Free Market, which means I probably agree with them there too, though I don’t really understand what they are saying sufficiently to admit to this. In a similar vein to all the anti-privatisation, they want to get Australian oil, natural gas and mineral resources back into public hands. But just in case you thought they were sounding sane, “It is important this be achieved, if we are to progress from being nothing more than a glorified quarry for our colonial masters”, which would be the British and the Dutch. Who knew the Dutch were still involved in Colonialism? Of Australia. Or should I say, Van Diemen’s Land?

The CEC wants a republic with direct election of a President, and they want to repeal ‘fascist’ laws that have taken away the civil rights of Australians. “These include anti-union, “anti-terrorism”, and “racial vilification” laws, among others.” You know, for a moment there I thought I was going to like that policy.

Oh, and this isn’t stated anywhere in their actual policies, but their website does keeping on talking about climate change as though it’s a myth. I’m guessing their lack of environmental policies isn’t accidental, either.

They want an immediate moratorium on foreclosures of farms (good), better finance options for farmers (very good), and prices which are not rigged by international cartels (hmm). Did I mention that they really hate the Free Market?

Lest you think I’ve just been being gratuitously rude about this lot, here’s my very favourite policy of them all – 12th out of 13, so not actually lucky last, but I think you will agree that it is very special indeed:

We must wage a real war on drugs. The present “harm minimisation” policy is a disaster, which merely expands drug usage. The war on drugs must be fought with all the weapons of war, including international cooperation to destroy the drug crops at their source—which requires reversing the current military policy of protecting the poppy fields of Afghanistan—and dramatically expanded physical and human resources to our police and other enforcement bodies. Most importantly, the drug cartels presently launder an estimated $10 billion per year through Australia’s banks, without whose cooperation the drug trade could not function; these banks, who have also financed the decriminalisation/legalisation lobby in this country, must be pursued ruthlessly.

The bolding is mine, but really, you can hear it in their rhetoric. I don’t think I need to even comment on this one. Except to clarify, if anyone needs the clarification, that when I say ‘favourite’ I don’t mean in the sense that I think it’s a good policy. Quite the contrary.

Finally, they want to open up immigration:

We must establish generous immigration quotas, for the same reason which the Labor Party welcomed the “new Australians” after World War II—to help build our nation. From the very beginning, Australia has been a nation of hope and opportunity for people of many nationalities and religious backgrounds. While the CEC is opposed to the pious fraud known as “multiculturalism”, because it pits one group against another, we warmly welcome those coming here to make a better life for themselves and their families. They will help build Australia (which will suffer a severe labor shortage as the rest of this platform is implemented), just as other generations of immigrants have done.

There’s that fraudulent multiculturalism again. What is that about? Setting aside their apparent belief that Australia could actually sustain a population density comparable with a European country (hint: we couldn’t), I don’t quite get what they are on about, though they do manage to sound ever so slightly sinister and exploitative. Andrew’s theory is that what they are trying to say is that immigrants can come here, but should become part of the dominant culture rather than retaining their own cultures. If so, that’s very nearly as nasty as the more overtly racist policies of One Nation.

Sorry, I just have to go back and reiterate that the CEC wants to launch an Australian Space Program to be a science drive for the economy. No other political party has yet offered me the opportunity to be an astronaut, and while I was not aware of being deprived, the wool has now been pulled from my eyes and I want a space station. Not that I’m going to vote for the CEC on that basis, but that really is pretty cool, and certainly will lift them above the Shooters and Fishers and maybe even the DLP in my eyes.

In conclusion… yeah, they are nutcases. And conspiracy theorists. And climate-change deniers. And possibly specifically anti-semitic, but almost certainly racist generally, and I would not be at all surprised to learn they are sexist too. And, I regret to say, their national office is now just down the road from where I live. I don’t understand their economic policy, but that’s ok, because I don’t understand anyone’s economic policy. I do actually like some of the bits I do understand – less privatisation and removal of the GST both sound like very good things to me. But I seem to recall that there are several left wing parties who have similar economic policies and a much lower level of general batshit insanity, so in the end, that isn’t going to help them all that much.