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(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review No. 429

From "Philip McCrory" <philmcc@melbpc.org.au>
Date Wed, 6 Dec 2000 01:53:24 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Number 429
4th ­ 10th December, 2000


Remember that old 19th century saying "working for the company store"?
Well, it seems the concept has been given a new lease of life in the 21st
century.  Over 60% of Australians would not be able to make ends meet
without easy access to credit and only about 30% of Australians are able to
save.  The company store (corporate credit) has become a permanent feature
of the whole rotten financial system.  It just doesnıt sell groceries, work
clothes or gives credit, it does much more.  It provides that steady stream
of credit thatıs necessary to bind every Tom, Dick, Mary and Edwina to a
financial system that makes money by selling them money.

Once youıve reached your credit card limit on the plastic fantastic youıll
spend the rest of your life paying it off.  The role of the company store is
to keep the worker in debt.  The bigger the debt the better.

Todayıs company store is user friendly and easy to tap into.  You want the
latest computer item, possibly even a holiday.  You donıt have the cash.
Donıt worry, the company store will give you access to the money you need to
make your purchases now.  Just like the old company store, once youıve taken
the first fistful of dollars you soon find you canıt live without them.

The more money you borrow, the more the company store owns your body and
soul.  Before you know it youıre spending the rest of your life working for
the man.  What at first seems like a little commitment eventually takes over
your whole life.  Credit has become the cancer of the 21st century.  It is
the single most effective way that incorporates most of us into the
capitalist, economic system.  Enjoy the fruits of capital today, spend the
rest of your life paying for the privilege of existing.  Credit is a two
edged sword as long as we pay for the privilege of borrowing money the
system grinds on.  If a few of us canıt make our repayments bad luck.  If
most of us refuse to pay back the money we have borrowed the whole rotten
system will come tumbling down.

Many people involved in the movement for an independent and publicly funded
ABC seem to think that the ABC belongs to the Australian people.  The ABC
does not belong to the people, it belongs to the government of the day.
Remember what happened to The Commonwealth Bank and Qantas.  The government
decided to sell both these State enterprises without asking the peopleıs
opinion about the sales.  The same fate awaits the ABC.  Although the ABC
has been built up through the taxpayer contributions of generations of
Australians, the government of the day can commercialise or privatise the
ABC without asking the people their opinion.

Those commentators who claim that we can change the government at the next
election if we are unhappy with the decisions that they have made,
conveniently forget that itıs almost impossible to reclaim a public asset
once it has been sold.  Although "Itıs our ABC" is a popular slogan that
strikes a chord with most Australians the horrible truth is that itıs their
ABC and they can do what ever they like to it without asking anyone.

The current state of debate surrounding the future of the ABC lacks a
critical, radical analysis.  The best way to guarantee the future of the ABC
requires radical changes to the current struggle to save it.  The only way
to ensure the ABC remains in public hands is by applying public pressure to
force the government of the day and the opposition to hold a referendum on
this question.  2001 is an election year, now is the time to strike.
Political parties will do almost anything to retain or win power.  Now is
the time to force Australiaıs political parties to incorporate the following
policy into their election campaigns.

If re-elected or elected they will hold a referendum to place the question
of the ABCıs ownership to the Australian people.  If they are forced to hold
a referendum on this question and the question is carried, the ownership of
the ABC will be incorporated in the Australian Constitution.  Once itıs in
the Australian Constitution no government could commercialise or privatise
the ABC without holding a referendum.  Then it would truly be OUR ABC.

This country does not need another 250,000 people to walk for
Reconciliation.  It needs another person with the fire and determination of
Eddie Mabo to redress the current abysmal relationship between the
Australian State and indigenous Australians.  The High Court decision which
was handed down on the 3rd of January 1992 which overturned the terra nullus
lie did more to redress the wrongs that indigenous Australians had suffered
for 204 years than any walk will ever do.

The legal framework now exists to overcome 212 years of injustice.  The
problem doesnıt lie with this countryıs institutions, it lies with the
political will of the government and opposition.  The saddest aspect of the
reconciliation rallies and walks that has seen over 700 000 Australians
march for reconciliation is that so many of the people who are in positions
of political power are willing to march but arenıt willing to act to redress
centuries of injustice.  In many regards these people are more culpable than
those who poisoned the flour and carried out the physical and cultural
genocide of a nation.

They know what needs to be done but arenıt willing to do it.  Reconciliation
walks not backed up by action are next to useless.  The government of the
day needs to understand that action needs to be taken, if itıs not taken
every single non-indigenous Australian will be forced to wear the racist
tag.  Bullies rule in this country, the best way to get results is to stand
up to these bullies.  The struggle for justice for indigenous Australians
didnıt just happen because middle Australia has an attack of the "guilts".
It has occurred because of radical action taken by indigenous and
non-indigenous militants in the past.  Two hundred and fifty thousand people
walking for reconciliation can be easily dismissed.  Two hundred and fifty
thousand people taking radical action is another question.

Australiaıs jobless rate is officially 6.3%.  Prime Ministerial aspirant
Peter (born to rule) Costello, the Australian Treasurer, never tires of
telling us we have never had it so good.  In steps that conservative body -
The National Institute of Economic and Industry Research.  As far as they
are concerned the figures are slightly elastic.  Australiaıs real
unemployment rate, over ten percent, has been skilfully hidden by a series
of welfare and statistical changes.

To be officially listed as employed in Australia you only have to work a
minimum of one hour per week.  I donıt know anyone who can live off an
hourıs wages - do you?  If you do, give me their numbers so I can join in on
their scam.  Many people who were previously unemployed are now on
disability support pensions.  Thatıs why the number of people on disability
support pensions has increased by more than 400,000 over the past decade.
Increasingly difficult work activity tests have frightened many people out
of the search for work.  Hey presto, another unemployed person relying on
their friends and family to survive.

The Bureau of Statisticıs jobless figures have never had a ring of
authenticity to them.  The report by the National Institute of Economic and
Industry Research has driven the final nail into the credibility of these
figures.  The Bureau of Statistics has become just another government
instrumentality dishing out figures that support government initiatives.

If you donıt like the results, change the mechanism by which you arrive at
the result.  Change it often enough and people will believe the figures that
are pumped out.  They must be right.  They are government figures and as we
all know, governments and politicians donıt lie or cook the books to suit
their ideological position, only anarchists do that.  How could you believe
anything coming from the mouth of somebody who believes the State should be
replaced by a federation of community and workplace councils based on
egalitarian principles, when the Treasurer tells us that everything is OK in
Howardıs Nirvana.

Thereıs a stench surrounding the United States Presidential election results
that will bury the quaint notion that elections have anything to do with the
popular will.  Information is beginning to leak out of Florida that
highlights that minorities are disenfranchised of what little power they
have.  Whatıs even more intriguing is how the legal system is conspiring to
ensure that the checks and balances that were established to guarantee
fairness are not put into place.

If youıre going to have an election, whatıs wrong with counting all the
votes?  If you want to hear the will of the people you need to count all the
votes cast.  Not in Florida.  No recount in good, old Florida, they believe
they have a winner, George W. Bush.  Not that I really care whose in the
Whitehouse or who controls the Senate or the Congress.  Not that I care if
the transparent lies the US electoral system is based on come tumbling down.

What I care about is those people who cast a vote in good faith believing
that the system worked.  What I care about is how minorities are manipulated
in a system that has real interests in their short term and long term
welfare.  The silver lining to this fiasco is that a greater number of
United States electors will become disillusioned with the electoral system
and fewer and fewer people will participate in a system that has less and
less credibility.

Bushıs "for the good of the country" speech outlines the political
opportunism of a man who is more interested in the office than the people of
the United States.  Let Bush and Gore battle it out, let one of them claim
the prize.  At the end of the day the American political system will be
dealt a blow that will put the whole rotten edifice into question.

Q. What principles would an anarchist justice system be based on?
A. Sorcery, superstition and mysticism are a few of the principles that have
underpinned different justice systems through the ages.  (Justice - Otreat
fairlyı).  How would people be treated fairly in an anarchist community?
Due process, compensation, rehabilitation and community protection are the
four pillars that anarchist justice is based on.
Due process - mechanisms will be in place that guarantee that anybody who is
accused of any crime will have the opportunity to state their case before
their peers.  Summary justice, revenge and kangaroo courts have no place in
an anarchist community.
Rehabilitation - Anarchists recognise that there are reasons behind criminal
behaviour.  Rehabilitation plays an important role in any anarchist justice
system.  Every individual has the potential to change their behaviour.
Compensation - is another important pillar in an anarchist justice system.
Little is gained from putting people behind bars.  Victims of criminal
behaviour should expect that an anarchist justice system would compensate
them for their loss.  Compensation may include an apology, physical
assistance, or emotional support.  It may have a community as well as an
individual component to it.  A justice system that incorporates compensation
within its framework has the potential to overcome the hatred and
disappointment that violent behaviour causes.
Community protection - An anarchist society is not a perfect society, far
from it.  Calls for revenge, especially in horrific crimes will occur in any
society, even an anarchist society.  In some cases there may be no agreement
on compensation and rehabilitation may be viewed as a waste of time.  In
other cases a personıs behaviour may mean that he/she is a continuing danger
to the community.  In both these situations a secure facility (pseudonym for
a prison) may be necessary to protect the perpetrator of the crime from
community and individual calls for vengeance or it may be necessary to
protect the community from offenders who are responsible for repetitive,
violent behaviour.  Secure facilities in an anarchist community could range
from arrangements to limit somebodyıs freedom of movement outside of where
they live to the establishment of small facilities which house one or two
offenders which are built within a community setting.
Although the way an anarchist society is structured limits crime in an
anarchist community, violent, exploitative behaviour will still occur.  How
an anarchist society deals with this problem is a very real test of that
communityıs ability to put theory into practise.

Itıs time to break out of the political ghettos and move into the
mainstream.  For far too long anarchists and anarchist ideas have been
regulated to the very fringes of political, social and cultural life.  In
those societies where anarchists are able to operate in an open fashion,
itıs important we seize the moment and make our presence felt in the
communities we work and live in.  Western society is faced with a crisis,
20th century alternatives are no longer seen as desirable or relevant.
The demise of communism as a viable alternative has opened the gates to
anarchist modes of thinking.  What we have to say is just as legitimate,
sensible, secure and rational as any other social or political movement.
Technology, access to education, and rising personal and community
expectations are just a few of the reasons why the 21st Century is the
anarchist century.  Unfortunately most anarchist activists in Western
societies are still using the same strategies that were being used when
anarchism was a marginal movement.
As anarchist activists we need to move into mainstream activity.  If we
donıt bring our ideas to the fore of community thinking, nobody else will.
We need to break out of ghetto marginal thinking and place our ideas within
mainstream frameworks.
Anarchist principles of organisation and anarchist modes of action donıt
have to be only used by anarchists.  The communities we live in need to
experience and see how anarchist principles of organisation strengthen a
groupıs ability to get the job done.  Join mainstream community groups from
Neighbourhood Watch, to local school councils, to issue orientated groups,
to trade unions, church groups and community groups as an anarchist.  Show
people that anarchists are not television cardboard cut outs.  Show them we
are real living human beings with ideas, and principles that offer solutions
to the community and personal alienation, cynicism and despair that has been
created by the corporate monopolisation of all aspects of daily life.
Strike back, subvert the dominant institutions in society by breaking the
cultural and intellectual stranglehold that they hold - be yourself, be an
anarchist, break out of the intellectual, moral, cultural and political
ghettos that our enemies have been able to fence us behind.

On Sunday the 20th of January 1889 a  number of anarchists met in Melbourne
to form a new anarchist organisation.  Andrews and Petrie wanted to form a
Communist-Anarchist Group, chummy Fleming wanted to expand a new Anarchist
Club that meet at Albert Park.  Rosa wanted to create a Social-Democratic
Federation.  After terse and angry discussions it was agreed to form a
society that promoted "the free discussion of social reform problems".  The
participants at the meeting felt that they could not work together on any
other issue because of their differing viewpoints.
A resolution that had been passed to call the new group OAustralian
Socialist League - Melbourne Branchı was called into question.  After heated
debate it was decided not to adopt the name and to leave the naming of the
group to a future date.  Rosa attempted to stop different factions within
the anarchist movement from displaying and selling literature at any future
meetings of the group.  A number of people opposed Rosaıs attempts and
pointed out that "free reading was as important as free speech whoever might
or might not be able to take advantage of it.
The discussion then moved onto the election of officers for the group.
After another heated and vitriolic discussion, it was decided that the
meaning of an officer should be "someone who agrees to do, and is simply
authorised to do  what any member can do, but which if left to any may be
attended by none".  By the time that this definition had been accepted by
the participants at this meeting, Rosa was so upset by the decision he
withdrew his nomination and proposed that Jack Andrews be elected secretary.
He was elected unopposed and gave a paper "The Work Before Us" the following
Source of article:  Australian Radical,  January 26 1889.  Reprinted on page
79, 80  What is Communism? and other anarchist essays by J.A. Andrews on
1889 Melbourne edited and introduced by Bob James 1992.

This fascinating study of Bakuninıs theory of anarchist revolution adds
depth to the Bakunin story.  Eugene Pyziur has dissected Bakuninıs
paradoxical personality and analysed Bakuninıs writings.  Pyziur doesnıt,
like many authors, dismiss Bakunin as a buffoon or a paranoid, he has drawn
together Bakuninıs writings on revolution in this handy 160 page book.
Itıs divided into six chapters and has an extensive bibliography and an
interesting index.  The ascendancy of Marxist thought during the 20th
century tended to push Bakuninıs anarchism into the background.  Pyziur has
concentrated on Bakuninıs contribution to revolutionary theory.  He has
examined his voluminous output and has incorporated itıs essence in this
book.  Chapter one examines the contradictions within his character.
Chapter 2 dismisses Bakuninıs contribution to anarchist theory.  Chapter 3
pulls together the Genealogy of Bakuninıs thought.  The author examines the
influences on his life and how these influences were incorporated into the
ideas he placed on paper.  Chapter 4 analyses his critique of the existing
social order.  Chapter 5, possibly the most interesting chapter, looks at
revolution as an imperative, analysises revolutionary forces and follows the
course of revolution.  Chapter 6 examines Bakuninıs viewpoints on the future
anarchist order and looks at his opinions about how to maintain an anarchist
The Doctrine of Anarchism of Michael A. Bakunin is not an easy book to read,
but in itıs defence itıs an important one.  Anybody who takes the time to
read Pyziurıs book will be rewarded for their efforts.
I donıt know where you can get hold of this intellectual Molotov Cocktail.
The copy I reviewed is the First Gateway Edition.  It was published in 1968
by the Henry Reynery Company of Chicago.  The original 1955 version was
published by the Marquette University Press, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United
States.  I assume it was a doctoral thesis that was published as a book.

The single most powerful memory of the Melbourne Reconciliation Walk, not a
rally or march held on Sunday was its self-consciousness.  Hemmed into one
side of the road by barriers and enthusiastic marshals wave upon wave of
people walked the 3 kilometre walk in almost absolute silence.  A few
punctuated slogans here and there, some Koori flags, one lone Torres Strait
Islander flag and a sprinkling of home made banners followed a young Koori
dance troupe and elders transported in what looked like golf buggies.
Wave upon wave of decent ordinary people, all shapes and sizes, all races
walked peacefully along a designated path.  Some carried waterbottles, some
pushed prams, a few carried OIım Sorryı posters, a few walked on bicycles,
some took the opportunity to walk their dogs.  The silence was almost as
powerful as any slogan could be.  People hugged others, shouted at friends,
middle Australia tried to make its peace with the original inhabitants of
the land.  Thinking about what I saw, I felt that I was seeing too little,
too late.  Two hundred and twelve years after the colonisation process began
we as a people canıt even say sorry let alone begin the reconciliation
For every Victorian that walked, twenty stayed at home, not understanding or
interested in the reconciliation process.  Anyone with even a rudimentary
understanding of history would know what happened when this country was
colonised.  Unfortunately most Australians, especially immigrants have no
understanding of why they stand on this land.  Reconciliation is interwoven
with compensation, there can never be any reconciliation without
compensation.  How many people walking understand this.  Some understood,
they carried posters and placards calling for a treaty.  At least a treaty
puts the question on the national agenda.  Anything outside a formalised
treaty is a token gesture that will temporarily sweep past injustices under
the carpet.  As long as we as a people continue to rewrite history to hide
the theft of the land from indigenous Australians we will be forced to
soothe our conscience with gestures that promise so much but deliver so
little because in Australia the meek do not inherit the earth.

Anybody whoıs surprised by the current revelations about vote buying, knows
nothing about the preferential voting system.  Australia has a compulsory
preferential voting system.  This means that at the end of the day your vote
will be directed to one of the major parties.  As elections in most
electorates are won on the basis of preference distributions, you can see
how important preferences are in Australian style elections.
Itıs a well known political tactic to bankroll political parties that direct
preferences your way.  The Liberal Partyıs financial support for the
Democratic Labor Party, DLP, is an established fact.  Election after
election, The Liberal/National Party was elected into Federal parliament on
the backs of DLP preferences the party had brought.
The grand old tradition continues today.  Instead of the DLP, we have a
plethora of smaller parties, some are creations of the major parties.  All
are keen to do deals for preference swaps.
Federal and State elections are run by political parties that are more
interested in securing the right preference deal than having the right
policies.  Few electoral players, except possibly the anarchists and they
normally encourage people to vote informal or not vote at all, have not
received a helping hand from a major political party.  The political system
is structured in such a way that smaller political parties would be
committing electorate suicide if they didnıt use their preferences to cut a
deal to help them both politically and financially.
Donıt be sucked in by the media induced hysteria about vote buying.  Itıs an
integral part of the political process in this country.  Their all guilty of
it, the whole bloody lot from the biggest to the smallest.  Theyıll do
whatever it takes to strike that all important preference deal.

JOSEPH TOSCANO (Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society).

. LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE No.1216 12th ­ 18th Oct 2000, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011
Paris France. Tel 014805 3408. Fax 014929 9859.
. SEME ANARCHICO Vol 21 No.4 Oct 2000, C/-Pabio Razzi, C.P. 168, 53034 Colle
Val dıElsa (SI), Italy.
. UMANITA NOVA 86th year 24th Sept, 19th Nov 2000, C.So Palermo 46, 10152
Torino, Italy. Tel/Fax (011) 857 850, email fat@inrete.it
. WEST END NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS No.79, 80 Oct, Nov 2000, PO Box 5208, West End
4101 Brisbane. Australia. Tel 07) 3846 2233, Fax 07) 3848 2233.
. NEW FARM NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS No.16 Sept 2000, PO Box 5208, West End 4101,
Brisbane Australia. Tel 07) 3846 4358, Fax 07)3848 2233.
Our debt STILL STANDS AT $1000.00 exactly.  Apart from 45 cent postage
stamps we have not received any financial contributions in the LAST TWO
WEEKS.  It is our aim to reduce this to ZERO by the end of the year 2000.
In order to do this we need your support.  Currently we are spending too
much time trying to eliminate this debt.  You can help by donating money,
taking out a new subscription to the Anarchist Age Weekly Review ONE dollar
per issue.  WE ESPECIALLY ASK all our INTERNET READERS who are subsidised by
subscribers to kick into the kitty.  Remember without your financial
assistance we will be forced to curtail our activities.  Buy your local
library, school, factory, workshop, friends a SUBSCRIPTION and increase the
level of debate about whatıs going on in your neighbourhood and your world
SUBSCRIPTIONS 10 dollars, 10 issues.  50 dollars, 50 issues.  Make out
cheques/money orders to LIBERTARIAN WORKERS and send to PO Box 20, Parkville
Vic  3052, Melbourne, Australia.  If we can raise a miserable two hundred
dollars a week till the end of the year we can start off with a clean slate
in 2001.
DEBT 6.12.2000 - $1000.00

1st Issue OUT NOW. Deadline for contributions for SECOND ISSUE ­ THEFT OF
LEISURE TIME, End of December 2000.  Enquiries/Contributions ­ email
POSTAL: PO Box 12197, Abeckett St, Melbourne 3000.

Boulevard, Sout Melbourne at 11.00am Sharp every 2nd Thursday of the month.
Next Rallies: 7th December 11.00am, 21st December 11.00am.  All welcome.
Bring along banners, signs ­ letıs make the 21st a end of year break up

Packerıs Chuckie, John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia and Baton
Charge Bracks; the Premier of Victoria labelled the people who attended the
S11 protests in Melbourne as "UNAUSTRALIAN".  The Anarchist Media Institute
has set up the committee for Unaustralian activities as a response to their
A) 1st OCTOBER 2000 ­ 31 JANUARY 2001, The committee will be taking written,
E-mail, audiotape and videotape submissions from Australians on what they
consider are Unaustralian activities.
B) Saturday 17th February 2000, The Committee for Unaustralian Activities
will be inviting who we consider have made the most damaging allegations to
present their allegations at a public meeting (venue to be organised) of the
C) MONDAY 5TH MARCH 2000, The committee will announce the results of its
investigations at a media conference on Monday the 5th of March 2001.  Send
your submissions to PO Box 20, Parkville  3052, Melbourne, Australia or
E-mail them to anarchistage@yahoo.com

All The News That Fits
Centrelink will get an extra $6 million funding if it 'breaches' enough
unemployed people (cuts off their payments for non-compliance).
The CPSU (the government workers' union) said that "to fund Centrelink on
the basis of cutting people off payments is a perversion of what welfare is
about".                        CONTINUED -------->
*** Queensland MP Grant Musgrove says he probably signed false enrolment
forms - but he can't remember.
"There was a culture in the party of this sort of thing" he said.
*** Almost a third of Australian workers work more than 50 hours a week.
*** The ALP has agreed that if they win government, they will continue the
rebate for people who have private health care, instead of spending the $2
billion on improving public hospitals.
*** A study by the Australian National University has found that while more
women are doing paid jobs, they are doing almost the same amount of
housework as well.
*** The Tax Office took staff off a series of investigations - on the say-so
of the firm they were investigating.  Stephen Breckeridge, from accounting
firm KPMG, on eight occassions had staff removed from investigating his
clients or successfully undermined their credibility.
Michael Tull from the CPSU said "as soon as a big taxpayer complains,
particularly a big corporate client, the ATO seems to take a case of guilty
until proven innocent".
"It's common knowledge in the tax industry that you can...get someone taken
off a case.  And of course the tax industry is doing exactly that...aided
and abetted by the Tax Office".
Mr Beckenridge accused senior tax investigator Bob Fitton of intimidation
and harassment.  These charges were totally rejected by a Federal Court.
However the Tax Office removed Mr Fitton from the investigation, and even
asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge him (the DPP declined).
Mr Fitton is now on leave for an illness caused by stress.
*** New ABC director Jonathon Shier has created senior management positions
costing an estimated $8-9 million per year including superannuation.  He has
also asked managers to make a list of "targeted redundancies", to prepare
for up to 200 job losses before Christmas.  Paul Barry from the 'Media
Watch' program has already been sacked.  Barry said he believed he was
sacked because the program sometimes criticised ABC management.
James H / Libertarian Workers for A Self-Managed Society.

Has been awarded to all these politicians and political aspirants who have
tarnished the reputation of the humble brown paper bag.  (FOR OUR OVERSEAS

If You Like What You Have Read, Photocopy This Publication and Leave It In
Doctors, Dentists, Vets Waiting Rooms and In Railway Stations, Bus Stops,
Libraries and Restaurants Etc.

The articles in the Anarchist Age Weekly Review express the opinion of
individuals within the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed
Society/Anarchist Media Institute. They do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist
Media Institute.

    Anarchist Age Weekly Review -  4 pages of Anarchist commentary on Local,
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