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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 6 6 May 1970

Social Credit's rebels

Social Credit's rebels

On the far right fringe of the New Zealand political scene, there are many themes linking different groups—Rhodesia, the tours of Eric Butler and literature from the John Birch Society, for example. One of the most unusual links, however, is the Social Credit theory of C.H. Douglas.

To quote Eric Butler: "C.H. Douglas was an excellent example of the best products of Western Christian Civilisation as developed in the British context. . . In America today we see in all its stark reality just how an irresponsible political voting system can be used to legalise the destruction of a nation. Douglas saw the difficulty of obtaining a challenge against the Money Power and its revolutionary policies through a voting system which the politicians used to bribe the electors to vote themselves benefits at the expense of their neighbours. Responsible voting is a first priority if there is to be responsible government. The drive to get increasing numbers of American Negroes on the electoral rolls has been part of the strategy of destroying America from within...

"Those who grasped what Douglas offered have a special responsibility to keep alive and flourishing through these troubled days, that knowledge and understanding which alone can bring to life a new Civilisation out of the ashes of the one now being consumed by the fires of revolution."

This invocation of Social Credit's only prophet is surprising to New Zealand ears only because in this country the Social Credit movement has escaped from the right wing heritage of the British, Australian, and, to a lesser extent, Canadian movements. The British Social Credit Secretariat is pledged to defeat the Communist Conspiracy, and the Australian Social Creditors have backed this. In 1964 the British group announced: "There can be no slightest doubt that the John Birch Society is the spearhead of the attack on the (Communist) Conspiracy. But their efforts will be enhanced by the support of as much educated opinion as can be mobilised throughout the world. And there is probably no other body of people than Social Crediters better able to mobilise that opinion. We are an international movement, while the John Birch Society, because of its necessary and dedicated concentration on the immediate objective, is not."

The rallying cry of this manifesto was "No Co-Existence". In New Zealand it struck few sympathetic chords; indeed, since the Labour flirtation with Social Credit in the 1930's, the Party in this country has had an almost socialist tinge.

However a small body, the New Zealand Social Credit Association, does espouse the Butler line. This group includes persons purged from the Social Credit Political League some years ago for their political views, and at times the political Party has been at pains to dissociate itself from them. The Association claims to be the successor to the old Social Credit Association which went out of existence in 1953 so that the Political League could be formed.

Some literature has been published by these breakaways, and a couple have stood for Parliament on their own account as independents, never getting more than a couple of hundred votes. In the context of the right wing world of British nations, however, it is this reactionary form of Douglas Credit which is the true representative of the international movement.