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(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review No. 430 11th - 17th December, 2000

From "Philip McCrory" <philmcc@melbpc.org.au>
Date Thu, 14 Dec 2000 06:47:05 -0500 (EST)

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


Telstra, Australia's telecommunications giant, a fully owned public company,
is now 51% owned by the State and 49% owned by the private sector courtesy
of Senator Harradine and the Australian Democrats.  Last year Telstra forged
a three billion dollar alliance with Hong Kong's Pacific Century Cyberworks,
a marriage we were told that was made in heaven.  PCC has the 2nd largest
mobile phone network in Hong Kong while Telstra owns the cables that have
make the cyber revolution possible on this side of the world.

In steps their little, legal tax efficiency scam.  Like all good corporate
citizens the Telstra board is keen to maximise returns to shareholders.  In
order not to pay tax on profits that are derived from this union Telstra and
Pacific Century Cyberworks, a private company that belongs to one of Hong
Kong's most successful entrepreneurs, Richard Lee, have set up their
headquarters in one of the world's most attractive tax havens, Bermuda - a
former British colony that has given the world both the Bermuda shorts and a
much needed refuge for the world's corporate citizens that aren't too keen
to pay taxes.

While profits sit off shore in Bermuda, Telstra's profitability goes up but
the country's tax taken from this union is zilch.  The Australian government
can only tax Telstra if it brings the profits back into the country.  This
little foray into the legal tax minimisation industry has deprived the
Australian people of any of the profits made by this amalgamation.  Public
companies have traditionally paid back the tax input into their
infrastructure through taxation and by reinvesting profits in Australia.
Not in this case.  This legal little scam has deprived the Australian public
of increased spending on infrastructure and has deprived them of the tax
Telstra would normally pay on its profits.

Interestingly, apart from a few stories in newspapers, very few commentators
have mentioned this little scam that disenfranchises the Australian people,
the majority owners of Telstra and rewards the minority owners, the
shareholders through increased dividends.  What's Johnny Howard and his mob
of merrymen and women have to say about this example of highway robbery -

What else would you expect from a government that literally gave away 331/3%
of Telstra to the private sector.  As Xavier Herbert was fond of saying
"Poor fella, my country".

It seems that Australia's economic indicators are beginning their downhill
run.  Indicator after indicator is falling.  Just a few months ago everybody
was talking about how the good times would roll on for ever.  Today
everybody is scattering for cover because they expect a "hard landing".

Capitalist economics is based on the boom/bust cycle.  Irrespective of how
good things are today the very opposite can be the case tomorrow.  All the
leading indicators predict a downturn, some economic commentators (I don't
know who still believes that economics is a science) are even toying with
the R - Recession word.  As the supply of easy credit begins to dry up and
people stop spending, manufacturers will have trouble off-loading stockpiled
goods.  As the stockpiles increase more people will lose their livelihoods
and recession becomes a reality.

The boom/bust cycle is an integral component of capitalist economics, the
better the returns the higher the possibility that the community will be
faced with recession.  Historically every time there's a boom it's followed
by a bust.  The economic events that are unfolding today are no different to
the recessions and depressions that unfolded in the past.

Capitalist economics has the seeds of its own destruction within its makeup.
The current down turn is nothing new and will occur again.  Any society that
allows market forces to override human and social needs will be plagued by
recession.  The history of the 20th century has been marked by recession and
depression.  Every good economic result has been followed by a collapse.
The 21st century is no different.  The current downturn is a result of the
failure of capitalist economics to provide any long term solutions to the
economic problems that plague Australia and any other country that leaves it
up to the markets to run their economic systems.

Australia's suicide rate continues to increase.  Nearly 2500 Australians
took their lives last year.  At a time when we are told we have never had it
so good, more Australians are taking their own lives.  It's easy to say that
people take their own lives because of overt psychiatric problems.  Although
some people who attempt suicide may have psychiatric disorders ranging from
schizophrenia to depression, many do not suffer from a psychiatric problem.

For every person who succeeds in committing suicide, one hundred make a
serious attempt to take their own lives.  Everyday problems related to
employment prospects, school results, interpersonal relationships, drug use,
sexual abuse and identity problems can cause people to contemplate suicide.

Suicide is not just a personal problem, it has a community dimension to it.
Western culture tends to treat suicide as a personal malaise and directs
suicide prevention programs at what are perceived as 'at risk' individuals.
The reality is that Western culture, a culture based on a diet of personal
success, has no room for those who have not made it.

Unrealistic expectations, coupled with a culture that divides people into
winners and losers is one of the main causes of suicide.  Television culture
has created unrealistic expectations that individuals are expected to live
up to.  The feeling of failure that many successful people feel because they
don't achieve super model status, or hold down a good job or have a future
mapped out for them are just as much a cause of suicide as are psychiatric
disorders.  Although suicide manifests itself as a personal disorder its
important that we don't forget that it has a community dimension.

It's official, statistics released on Monday have shown that the best way to
negotiate is through collective bargaining.  41% of Australian workers
receive wages via individual agreements.  33%, mostly public servants, have
their wages set via collective bargaining, while 26%, mostly part time
workers and women receive the award rate.  The average take home pay by
workers who use collective bargaining is 15% higher than those who use
individual agreements and much higher than those who are paid award rates.

It's not surprising that those workers who use collective bargaining are
able to secure the highest wages.  What makes a union successful is its
collective power.  The more workers who join up, the stronger its bargaining
capacity.  It should be a surprise to no one that those workers who bargain
collectively are those who have the highest take-home pay.  Interestingly,
women and part time workers still have the lowest wages.

So next time you find yourself in a situation where you can either make an
individual agreement or join a union and bargain collectively, join the
union.  Even if the union is a conservative one it has the collective
strength to win a greater share of the profits made than any individual
could hope of ever winning.  That's why business, especially corporate
business, will do all it can to prevent its workers from becoming unionised.
They know that once workers experience the power of collective bargaining,
they'll never go back to individual agreements.

The results are now in those people who band together and face their
employers as a single united group have a much better chance of winning
decent wages than those workers who are forced to sign individual
agreements.  It's exactly what anarchists have been saying for decades:
"United we stand, divided we fall".

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Bush/Gore legal battle to win the
White House has been the American media's almost universal opinion that Gore
doesn't have a snow flake's chance in hell of winning the Presidency.  This
sentiment was most notably aired when Gore decided to take his challenge to
the Florida Supreme Court.  Every major American media commentator believed
his chances of winning were Buckley's and none.

Looking at the evidence and the composition of the Florida Supreme court, it
was obvious that Gore had a very good chance of winning his case and win he
did.  Although the differences between Gore and Bush may seem minimal to an
anarchist, the corporate sector is very keen to kick Bush into the White
House.  Bush's policies are more likely to champion the interests of the
corporate sector than Gore's proposed reforms.

It's no accident the American media as a whole has been painting the picture
that Gore's attempts to win the Presidency are hopeless and he should
concede for "the good of the country" (read as the good for corporate
America).  The American corporate media has called the situation hopeless to
create a climate that would allow the Florida Supreme Court and the American
Supreme Court to rule in Bush's favour.  Their sledge hammer campaign has
attempted to paint the struggle as bad for the country (once again read
'corporate sector') in poor form and hopeless.  No wonder the stitching that
keeps the land of the "brave and free" together is unravelling at a rapid

Q. Could an anarchist society revert back to the society it overthrew?
A. Of course it can.  Nothing is static, the moment when the State
disintegrates and people attempt to create an egalitarian community is the
beginning not the end of the struggle to create a brave new world.  Whether
an anarchist community survives and prospers depends on both internal and
external factors.  An anarchist society may have to weather external attacks
both militarily and economically.  If it is able to survive these initial
attacks it will then be faced with its greatest hurdle.
Can it satisfy people's needs?  Will power remain in the hands of the people
or will it drift back into the hands of an elite?  Can the enthusiasm that
was needed to overthrow the old order be harnessed to create a new
egalitarian community?  Whether these problems are addressed and overcome
depends on the level of participation both in the decision making process
and in the day to day activities required to ensure an anarchist community's
There will always be people within an anarchist community who hanker for the
old days when they didn't have to be involved in the day to day activities
of the community they live in.  Others will want to impose their will on the
community, while others will continue to demand more than their fair share.
Whether an anarchist community survives will, to a large degree depend on
its ability to deliver on its promises that everyone will share in the
common wealth and everyone will be involved in the decision making process.
If problems arise it's quite possible that people will want to organise
their lives another way.  If the pressures on an anarchist community are too
great and people are faced with hardships and possible military defeat it's
possible a significant segment of an anarchist community would prefer to
forgo any gains they had made so they could live in peace.  An anarchist
society is not a "perfect" society, anarchism allows people to make their
own decisions, some will be good, some will be bad.  If things go wrong, if
too much external pressure is placed on an anarchist society or if the human
and social costs to keep such a society going are too high, it's possible
people will decide to move in other directions and recreate authoritarian
structures and institutions.  As we all know the price of freedom is eternal
vigilance and participation.

Western society is not the great monolith it seems to be.  In order to cut
costs and maximise profits most of western industry, from electricity
production to manufacturing to transactions on the stock exchange, is based
on the "just in time" principle.  As long as the cogs go round, wonderful!
As soon as one cog in the production process falters the results can be
It's important workers understand the potential power they hold in their
hands.  A dispute in one area can bring the whole process to a screaming
halt.  One of the foremost experts in using the 'just in time' principle are
French truck drivers and farmers.  Time and time again they've used the
principle to stop successive French governments from marginalising them.
The recent closure of a factory in Melbourne that produced windscreen wipers
that supplied components to the vehicle manufacturing industry highlighted
how vulnerable the whole system is.  Within twenty-four hours unions,
government and industry were forced to stitch up a package to maintain
The survival of Western society is a day to day proposition.  Centralised
forms of production make it hostage to workplace action.  'Just in time'
methods of production make it vulnerable to worker's demands.  It's
important that as anarchist activists we encourage as many workers as
possible to recognise the power they hold in their hands and encourage them
to use this power to maximise both individual and industry returns.  Short,
sharp wildcat strikes can cause maximal disruption with minimal effort.
Although the legal system has been geared up in Australia to stop such
disruptions, it can take some time to get the beast activated.  Workers need
to understand that employers will use every means at their disposal to
maximise profits.  If the process they have set up gives workers a window of
opportunity to exploit the situation then they should be willing to use it.
Post-modern society is travelling so fast even the smallest pebble in its
path can cause its disintegration.

William Lane came to Australia from England in the 1880's.  He was one of
the best known Labour organisers of the 1890's.  Lane was editor of the
'Brisbane Worker' and wrote one of the best known radical Australian novels
of the late 19th century, 'Working Man's Paradise' which was published in
1892.  Lane was the driving force behind the emigration of hundreds of
Labour's most militant members to New Australia in Paraguay.
He was unprepared to share power in Paraguay and emigrated to New Zealand.
Lane edited a conservative, authoritarian newspaper in New Zealand and died
cursing organised Labour and the union movement.  His change of political
ideas from socialism to anarchism to conservatism is not as unusual a
journey as it first seems.  Many Labour activists have gone through a
similar transition.
Lane's anarchism was most evident in an article he wrote for the (Wagga)
Hummer which was published under his pseudonym John Miller on the 16th of
January 1892.
"Those Socialists who are anarchists want to smash up Law and start with
voluntary co-operation as a beginning".
In 'Working Man's Paradise', Ned the naive hero of the novel discusses the
social question with another character Geisner.
"The Anarchist ideal is the highest and noblest of all human ideals.  The
Anarchical Communists simply seek that men should live in peace and concord,
of their own better nature, without being forced, doing harm to none, and
being harmed by none.  Anarchical Communism that is men working as mates and
sharing with one another of their own free will is the highest conceivable
form of Socialism in Industry."

Source of article:  A Reader of Australian Anarchism 1886-1896.  Edited and
with an introduction by Bob James 1979.

'Theft' is the latest Australian anarchist magazine to be flung into
cyberspace.  I like this little, thirty-page zine because it's broken out of
the traditional anarchist mould.  For far too long, anarchist magazines have
championed 19th century concerns using tactics that may have been
appropriate at the turn of the 20th century but which have little to do with
people's experiences today.
'Theft' is based on the premise that capitalism is based on theft.  Not just
economic theft but also cultural and personal theft.  The first issue deals
with shares, a good topic considering that Australians are the world's
greatest owners of shares.  Over 40% have a parcel of shares, while anybody
with money in a superannuation fund (most workers) relies heavily on the
share market to maintain and increase their retirement nest egg.  Issue
number one may be small, but it packs a punch much greater than its size
This isn't a dry expose which nobody's going to read, humour plays an
essential part in 'Theft'.  Humour and facts and figures are intermingled
with graphs, graphics and the occasional surreal photograph.
In the author's words: "Pillage, plunder and piracy have long been
institutionalised and legalised.  Theft in the service of power and
privilege has now become universal.  Our aim in this journal is to expose
the theft and to unmask the thieves."
The next issue out in March 2001 will be looking at "the theft of leisure
time".  Contributions to the journal 'Theft' are welcome.
Contact the 'Theft' collective via snail mail:  'Theft', PO Box 12197,
A'Beckett Street, Melbourne  Vic  3000, Australia
or E-mail your contributions on theft@theftmag.com

Look at their web site:  http://theftmag.com
This is one magazine that's worth supporting.

You can go for weeks without seeing something really new.  Images blend into
each other forming a blanc mange that's laughingly called culture.  Although
we're exposed to exotic celluloid images and toys with virtual reality our
own reality can be predictable, monotonous and pedestrian.  Occasionally,
just occasionally, our senses are bombarded with an unexpected sense of
I needed something to soothe my exuberant gastric juices.  That wonderful
teacher experience had taught me that if you don't want to feel seedy or
become familiar with a toilet bowl it's important when you're out to steer
away from food that contains meat or eggs.  By mid afternoon many of these
tasty morsels have become holiday wonderlands for a host of bacteria.  I had
two choices.  I could walk into a traditional sandwich and cake shop or a
little door that screamed Lebanese Bakery.  I decided to walk into the
Lebanese bakery so I could sink my teeth into something sweet and sticky.
Pushing open the door I was confronted with a sight that was both mundane
and overwhelming.  In one corner stood a cash register, the type that a shop
that runs on two sets of books usually has.  The room about 4 metres * 3
metres * 5 metres was crowded with plastic bags full of Lebanese bread.
The bread wasn't sitting in a pile in display cabinets and it wasn't
groaning under the weight of other bags of bread in those display boxes that
the supermarkets love to shove at the end of the bread aisle.  From the very
top to the very bottom of the room each inch of space was covered with
plastic bags of Lebanese bread.  The room had been designed as a temple to
flat bread.  Every little nook and cranny paid homage to this staple diet.
Shelves about 12 inches wide covered the room.  Every shelf and there must
have been at least a hundred hugging the walls was covered with flat bread
in plastic covers.  Not piled on top of each other but lovingly sitting next
to each other.
1500, possibly 2000 bags of Lebanese bread waited to be taken home and
eaten.  Each bag had green and red printing on it.  The end of each baG
pointed towards the cash register.  Our friend, a portly, middle-aged
immigrant from Lebanon pulled the bags down and collected dollar coins from
eager customers.  One bag, one dollar, five bags get one free shouted the
message chalked on a child's chalk board.  Although tempted to buy five and
get one free I restrained myself and bought two, one white, one wholemeal.

So John Howard thinks that his government deserves 8 out of 10 for their
legislative program over the past twelve months.  Well, let's look at his
achievements.  East Timor - massive pressure by ordinary Australians forced
the government to do a 180 degree turn and send forces to East Timor (1/2 a
point), the GST - a retrogressive tax was introduced because the government
was not able to alter the taxation system to force the corporate sector to
pay its fair share of the tax (-1 point)
The Howard regime gave the private health insurance industry a three billion
dollar gift from the Australian taxpayer to help them maximise their profits
(-2 points).  If that wasn't enough more public funds are being diverted to
the private education sector at the expense of the public sector (-1 point).
You want more?  The Howard government has saved over a hundred million
dollars by penalising some of the most disadvantaged people in this country,
the long term unemployed (-3 points).
There's more!!  The Federal government didn't use its power to override
mandatory sentencing in the Northern Territory (-1 point).  The Prime
Minister still refuses to apologise to the indigenous people of this country
(-2 points).  Yes, like the spruiker on television keeps telling us there's
more: election promise after election promise after election promise hasn't
been kept.  I can hear the Prime Minister say that they're non-core
promises.  You don't expect the Prime Minister to honour non-core promises,
do you?  The list goes on and on and on.  I don't want to bore you with the
Howard government's achievements in the year 2000, but according to my
calculations the score is not 8 out of 10.  It's more like -100, but what do
you expect when we allow the Prime Minister of the government to assess his
government's achievements.

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

* ANARCHIST NEWSLETTER  No.15,  Nov/Dec 2000, FOR JURA, 440 Parramatta Road,
Petersham  2049, Sydney, Australia,  Tel 02) 95509931
* THEFT  No.1  November 2000, PO Box 12197, A'Beckett Street, Melbourne,
Australia.  Email:  theft@theftmag.com  Website:  http://theftmag.com
* CNT  No.261  August 2000, Apdo Correas 4040, 18014 Granada, Spain.  Tel:
958 203 370, Fax:  958 202 246
* LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE  No.1221,1222  16th-29th Nov 2000, 145 Rue Amelot,
75011 Paris, France.  Tel: 01 4805 3408,  Fax: 01 4929 9859
* ROJO Y NEGRO No.125  Sept 2000, Compania 91'129, 31001 Pamplona/Iruna,
Spain.  Tel: 9482 2244 766, Fax: 948 212 399, Email: rojoynegro@ctvies
* SOLIDARIDAD OBRERA  No.298  August 2000, c/-Joaquin Costa 34, entresueto,
08001 Barcelona, Spain,  Tel/Fax 93 318 8824.  Email soliobrera@hotmail.com
* UMANITA NOVA 80th year 22nd Oct, 26th Nov 2000, C.so Palermo 46, 10152
Torino, Italy.  Email fat@inrete.it  Tel/Fax: (011) 857 850, Mobile:
0338-659 4361
* THE OTHER ISREAL  No.95/96 Nov 2000, PO Box 2542,Holon 58125, Isreal.  Tel
(fax 03) 556 5804.  Email otherisr@actcom.co.il
* THE IRRATIONAL IN POLITICS,  Brickburner Press, PO Box 332, North Quay
4000, Brisbane, Australia.

It was our intention to clear our debt by the end of December.
Unfortunately our efforts have not generated the results we expected.  Our
debt is 935 dollars.  A small amount for the corporate world, a huge problem
for us.  It's hard enough producing an anarchist publication week in, week
out without building up a debt.  This is our 9th year of continuous
publication.  It pains us as much as it annoys you to continue to ask for
subscriptions and donations to keep the weekly going.  So once again please
resubscribe to the Anarchist Age Weekly Review.  10 dollars, 10 issues, 50
dollars, 50 issues.  Send cheques and money orders made out to LIBERTARIAN
WORKERS, PO Box 20, Parkville  3052, Melbourne, Australia.  If you're
sending less than 20 dollars send it in 45 cent stamps (saves you banking
and money order fees).  So push us over the line and let us get on with what
we're best at - publishing one of the few (very few) weekly anarchist
publications in the world.
DEBT 13/12/00    $935.00

We normally spend over $400.00 per month on postage stamps.  If you have any
spare stamps floating about or are about to write to us, stuff a few stamps
in the envelope.  Every little bit helps.

ADDRESS - http://www.freespeech.org/anarchistAge
Want to help us find new listeners for the Anarchist World This Week, then
send us a few stamps to AWTW, PO Box 20, Parkville 3052, Australia & we'll
send you out a colour poster (A3) for your use & a black & white poster you
can photocopy & put up to help us increase the number of people who listen
to the Anarchist World This Week.

Politically manipulated and scorned?  Sick of being a peripheral player
every time a Federal election comes around, then join:- VOTE INFORMAL TODAY,
DIRECT DEMOCRACY TOMORROW, a "political party" that is putting the boot into
the Australian Parliamentary Process.  Send a stamp self-addressed envelope
PO Box 20, Parkville. 3052. Melbourne. Australia Telephone (03) 9828 2856
(24 hour answering service).  We will send information about how to join
this unique 21st century Australian phenomena.  DON'T PUT IT OFF  JOIN THE
Written and authorised by Joseph Toscano (National Convenor 205 Nicholson St
Footscray 3012  Melbourne Aust)

Has been awarded to the Italian police for stopping Italian anarchists at
the Italian/French border because they were going to help their comrades in
Nice.  It looks like everybody in the Europeoan community except anarchists
are allowed to cross borders - no wonder anarchists are at the forefront of
the struggle for a borderless world.

A coalition of groups including Amnesty International says they have
first-hand accounts of abuse and neglect at Woomera detention centre.
The coalition says an Iranian man's three year old son was put in leg irons,
deprived of food for 32 hours, and locked with his father in a cell with no
windows, showers or toilets.
They also say a four year old girl who broke her wrist wasn't taken to
hospital for two weeks, and that an 11 year old girl was held in a special
prison inside the centre with 24 men.  Amnesty International's lawyer
Carolyn Graydon says that the girl "suffered from terrible nightmares and
anxiety attacks.  Since her release she continues to bed wet and wet herself
during the daytime".
The government responded to claims that an 8 year old boy had been
handcuffed on a flight by saying that they'd received no reports of children
younger than 16 being handcuffed.  The Woomera detention centre is used to
hold refugees.  It's run by ACM, a private company.
*** The government will spend $107 billion over 10 years on the armed
forces.  This is the biggest increase in military spending in Australia
since World War Two.
*** John Howard has refused to order a police investigation into a Liberal
politician accused of bribing other politicians for preferences - because he
denied the allegations.  Police are investigating similar claims against
Labor MP Wayne Swan, who has also denied them.  Liberal Environment Minister
Robert Hill and Sports Minister Jackie Kelly were both accused of falsely
enrolling people at their addresses.  The Democrats have been accused of
paying for One Nation how-to-vote cards in return for getting their
preferences in a South Australian election.
*** Pacific Dunlop will fire 150 people in its automotive parts division.
Last month South Pacific Tyres, half owned by Pacific Dunlop, announced it
would lose 495 jobs at its plant in Somerton.
*** The Bureau of Statistics has released a report showing that two out of
three households in Victoria are unable to save.  Half of the people
surveyed said they had no money left over most weeks after paying their
bills.  About one in six said they couldn't always pay gas, electricity or
phone bills on time.  One in five struggled to have a night out once a
*** More than one in three Year 7 students can barely read.  A Victorian
State Government report shows that 7 percent of students read at a level
that is supposed to be reached in Year 2.  32 percent read at a grade 5
level. - James H/ Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society.

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,
National and International events.
   $50.00 for 50 issues    $10.00 for 10 issues
Make out cheques or money orders to: Libertarian Workers, PO Box 20,
Parkville, 3052 Victoria Aust.

All material in the Anarchist Age Weekly Review can be used by anarchists,
anarchist collectives and non-profit organisations as long as the source of
the material is mentioned in the article.  The Anarchist Age Weekly Review
reserves all rights as far as commercial publications are concerned.


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