The white man’s flag [by Mary Gilmore, 22 April 1920]

[Editor: This article by Mary Gilmore was published in the “For Worker Women” column (“Conducted by Mary Gilmore”), in The Australian Worker (Sydney, NSW), 22 April 1920.]

The white man’s flag.

An issue or two ago I used strong images and direct language in some verse under the heading, “Song of the Anti-White.” I did it because, in my going about among all sorts of people, it seems, to-day, to be more than ever necessary to drive home the fact that never has the “White Australia” policy been so menaced FROM WITHIN as now.

No matter how it may be threatened from without, if the pro-white feeling within the Empire is strong, the Dominions are safe. But no matter how weak the menace from without, if the inter-Empire feeling is weak, then indeed we are in danger, and our hope of safety lies in nations outside any pro-Asiatic, inter-Imperial ring. That is to say, our safety lies with nations which, like Australia, are set on the defence of the white man’s flag.

* * *

Readers of this page do not need to be told how deeply fidelity to our race is in all our hearts. There are hills in Fiji and in India, but they are not our Blue Mountains!

But while we stand for our own, we need not decry other races. They have their rights as well as we ours. We have no right to encroach in an unfriendly and conquering manner on them, any more than they on us. Nations should walk neighborly side by side, each learning tolerance of the other. But the love of conquest still stands in the way of this. Hatred and intolerance bristle on every hand.

* * *

Instead of the “marriage” of love between nations, choice being open, and made because of mutual fittedness, there is only “marriage” for money, or conquest by brute force.

Australia is our country, and we do not wish to see her forcibly “married” to any non-Christian, whether Mohammedan of Turkey or of India. The Mohammedan, let it be remembered, carries the crescent from Japan to Turkey in Europe, from the Levant to end to end of Africa. The proclaimed line of defence of the white Christian policy lies along Canada, U.S.A., Australia, and New Zealand. These, with the exception of a partial voice in South Africa, are the only nations that have spoken out on this question. These countries have declared the white man’s flag.

* * *

Life, like money, has no flag and no country. It flourishes alike in the worm and in the child. Anciently it was one in form, but evolution changed it to many. The many grew in diverse development less because of immediate circumstance than because they did not “mate back.”

The same thing is true of races. We know the Jew who marries Jew; but who knows the millions lost by marrying “out”?

* * *

There are those who will say that “one race is as good as another”; and that “it doesn’t matter if the white does go down.”

An individual, a nation, a Government that believes that is already down. He (or it) has lost the aspiration of the white without even taking on the aspiration of the colored.

Nations and individuals, degenerate like this, have but one god, and that is gold — the gold of cheap labor. Their cry is, “The black is cheaper than the white. Up with the black, down with the white!”

A day will come if this policy is followed when the black financier will say the same thing to the white — and win! — if white does not stand by white.

* * *

For Australia, the great need is a public spirit which says:

We are white. Without enmity to any we are white. Without enmity we will stay white. But if that is made impossible then we will take up arms in self-defence. No flag shall restrain us from being white, no crown destroy us, no over-lordship break us from our resolve. With those who believe in our destiny we are in accord; with them we will stand to maintain it for them and for ourselves with them, as they with us.

With such a spirit Australia will live. Without it —— But let us not say even the word!

16/3/’20. MARY GILMORE.

The Australian Worker (Sydney, NSW), 22 April 1920, p. 9

Editor’s notes:
In the first paragraph, the verse that Mary Gilmore refers to is: “Song of Anti-White”, The Australian Worker, (Sydney, NSW), 8 April 1920, p. 9

[Editor: Changed “but who who knows” to “but who knows”.]

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