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Jack Lang

Why I Fight

Jack Lang

[Jack Lang (John Thomas Lang) was the Premier of New South Wales from 1925 to 1927 and from 1930 to 1932. During the Great Depression, Lang put forward a plan to put Australia's national interests before those of the banks. The banks and conservative politicians combined against him, until they finally brought his government down.]

In the life of every man there comes a time when he must face up to the solemn procession of the old order passing and turn to salute the new order that arises, deciding with his own conscience where lies the duty of his own generation standing between the two as a powerful factor in the whole course of history.

In this Australia of ours, as in every other country of the modern world, that time has arrived, and each of us must decide for himself whether he will stand with a civilisation that has debauched itself with a gigantic criminal foolishness or give the best that is in him to the recasting of the order of society to eliminate those ugly factors that have made want a mockery of divine bounty and placed human life on the altar of sacrifice to the false gods of personal aggrandisement round which our machine age has grouped itself.

In the years that have slipped away we have lived with poverty, making personal acquaintance with the demoralising effects of want; and, in the twenty years that I have given to the Parliamentary service of the splendid people of this, the greatest land that God has bestowed on man, I have striven to straighten out those sharp corners where so many of my countrymen have encountered miseries and hardships that are obviously outside the divine dispensation of human society.

And in that striving I have come to recognise a force that is stronger than society, secret and swift, that secures itself behind the charter of exploitation of the common people of the world. It is a privleged and select autocracy, which knows no nation and cherishes no faith, and has stolen for itself from the long evolution of modern civilisation an assumption of power which it now claims as a right. And where I, and others, would seek to lead the people through to freedom we have encountered this hidden hand entrenched in ramparts that have become almost unassailable.

Enthroned in our society is a hierarchy of financial anarchists playing with a world of men and women for sheer personal gain, putting them to work under the whips of hunger, throwing them into idleness to keep them in discipline, massing them for war, dividing them in peace - and from every activity into which it deploys them drawing toll in gold, counted over and over in human tears and blood.

To my people I give the call to throw off this yoke, striking at it through the one chink in its carefully constructed armor; and in the following pages I have endeavored to point the way by disclosing the methods by which this power works and exposing the immoral sacrifice of whole nations of people, and particularly of this young nation of ours to the cause of greed.

I can see the Old Order passing and I salute the New, hoping that the facts I am about to reveal will inspire my fellow Australians, who have been cheated of the heritage God has given them, to stand solidly with the great Labor Movement for the restoration of our civilisation on the foundations of justice and equity and the rehabilitation of our national economy on a real basis of lasting prosperity expressed in happiness, comfort, and security for the whole of our people.

July, 1934.

This document is an extract from Why I Fight by John T. Lang, published 1934, Sydney (Preface)

The Association for the Advancement of Australian Culture