Radicalisation Awareness Kit Case Study: George
In response to the Australian Government’s recent release of the Radicalisation Awareness Kit, we provide the Case Study of George, the radical conservative.
Case Study: George
George grew up in a loving family who never participated in activism of any sort. When he moved out of home to attend university George became involved in the conservative music scene, chamber of commerce politics and right-wing consumerism. In hindsight he thinks this was just “typical teenage conservatism” that went further than most. One afternoon George attended an anti-carbon tax protest with some of his friends. It was exhilarating, fun and he felt like he was doing the ‘right thing’ for society. He enjoyed spending time with this crowd. Over the next six months George progressively dropped out of university in order to work full-time as an intern in a large corporation, where he remained for a year. His family were confused and disappointed and stopped supporting him financially.
The goal of the internship was to disrupt good government tax raising measures, reduce penalty rates for working people, sabotage environmental measures that were introduced to reduce carbon emissions and produce cleaner air.
There was always an intent to harm people and inevitably fighting broke out between George’s conservative friends and people in the community wanting to do good. Sometimes the locals and the police became involved in these incidents. George was never arrested on any occasions for trespass, damaging property, assault and obstructing police. He said at the time he felt like he was a “soldier for the corporate worked so breaking the law [with the assistance of well-paid lawyers] didn’t matter”. It became all-consuming for George and he became totally cut off from his family and previous set of friends.
After years of participating in Direct Action and anti-carbon tax campaigns, especially the ‘Ditch the Witch Rally’ in Canberra, George finally became disillusioned by persistent in-group fighting of the Liberal Party. He also began to question the effectiveness of the protesting methods used by the group. It seemed they might make short-term gains but that there was no sustainable change unless it was translated into wider community support and government policies. He took a paid job with a mainstream organisation and was subsequently rejected by his group who felt completely betrayed.
This was the beginning of a painful transition out of the corporate world, where George struggled to recover, define his identity and his role in society. Over the course of a number of years he began making new friends, trying out new interests and hobbies and eventually made contact with his family and non-corporate friends again. He completed his university studies and now works broadly as a decent human being. George also explored his beliefs and adopted a more moderate philosophy. He now thinks illegal or aggressive Direct Action campaigns supported by wanton rent-seeking business people and their lawyers only produce short-term solutions, and he is much more interested in working towards developing a sustainable solution.