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(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review No. 586 15th March 21st March 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 17 Mar 2004 14:16:19 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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The Howard government's "Medicare Plus" package is fatally flawed. The raft
of legislation that will be passed through the Senate by the four
independents is based on distortions, half-truths and lies. Abbott the
Federal Health Minister has succeeded in deceiving Harradine, Harris, Lees
and Murphy, four Senators who will pay the electoral price for their
duplicity at the next Federal election.
The "Medicare Minus" package destroys Medicare as a universal health care
delivery system, it will result in decreasing bulk billing rates which will
drive more patients to overworked public hospital Accident and Emergency
departments will cause an explosion in health care costs and result in
increased out of pocket expenses for those Australians who will be covered
by Abbott's much vaunted safety net.


The introduction of a differential rebate for children, concession
cardholders and the rest of the community will result in doctors restricting
bulk billing to concession cardholders and children. Why would any doctor
continue to bulk bill all their patients when they receive 20% less for bulk
billing non-concession cardholders? The differential rebate was introduced
for one purpose, to destroy universal access to the health care delivery
system. The current patient contribution for general practitioners who
don't bulk bill is $14. The introduction of a $5 and $7.50 payment will not
encourage doctors who don't bulk bill to recommence bulk billing concession
card holders.

As a consequence of these changes, many people will not consult a doctor
until they have a major problem, this will cost them, their families and the
community much more than if they had consulted a doctor when they first
noticed the problem. Others will be driven to overcrowded and understaffed
Accident and Emergency departments, placing pressure on a public hospital
system that has been denied much needed funds as a result of the $3billion
of tax payer's funds that are used to subsidise the private health insurance
costs of the 43% of Australians who can afford private health insurance.
The greatest problem posed by Abbott's illusory safety net is the very real
danger that costs for private pathology, radiology, general practitioners
and specialist services will explode. The safety net is not tied to the
government recommended fee. Abbott has indicated that the $300 threshold
for concession cardholders and the $700 threshold for other families will be
based on whatever fee a doctor chooses to charge. Once the threshold has
been reached, the Federal government will pay 80% of whatever fee
pathologists, radiologists, specialists and general practitioners charge.

The costs to the community and those people who have reached the threshold
will be enormous. Supply and demand market forces will be replaced by a
government guarantee that has no upper limit. The Federal government will
soon be forced to rein in costs by placing limits on what they believe a
fair price for a particular medical service should be. The proposed safety
net is both illusory and financially unsustainable.

Even the introduction of dental, physiotherapy and occupational therapy
services in the Medicare package is illusory. The criteria that have been
established to ensure access to these services, the minimal amount of money
allocated to finance this part of the package and the bureaucratic hurdles
placed in the path of service providers and patients, will ensure that very
few people are able to access these services.

Abbott's much vaunted "Medicare Plus" package is a potential disaster. He
does not seem to have the capacity to understand the portfolio, let alone
design a package that will meet Australians health care needs. In order to
maintain what little credibility the government enjoys in the health care
field, Howard needs to move Abbott to a less taxing portfolio and appoint
someone who has the capacity to deal with this serious issue.

John HOWARD Thursday 11th March 2004
Howard dismissed a Senate report that 3.5 million (1 in 6 Australians) live
below the poverty line by declaring that the poor are not getting any
poorer. Instead of commenting on the unacceptable levels of poverty in the
lucky country, he's happy to accept it has a given. Sure there are 3.5
million Australians, mostly women, children and the disabled living below
the poverty line: So what! They are not getting any poorer. What's the
fuss all about? Howard and his Cabinet have shown how out of touch they
have become with the lives of ordinary people spending their whole lives
wondering how they're going to pay their bills.

The Howard government has presided over a sea change in cultural attitudes
to the 40% of Australians who survive on Social Security benefits. Howard's
pro corporate and anti worker policies have increased that gap between the
haves and have nots, to unacceptable levels. The Prime Minister sees
nothing wrong with the rich getting richer at the expense of the rest of the
community. He's more than happy to take the credit for the rich getting

The tragedy about the Prime Minister's attitude to the number of Australians
living below the poverty line is not his and his government's dismissal of
the problem, the tragedy is that this country's media continually lets him
get away with statements like, "It's fair to say the rich have got richer
but the poor have not got poorer" during his term in office.

When governments and the media accept that 1 in 6 Australians will continue
to live below the poverty line, while the rich continue to get richer, you
have to wonder what type of society we have become. It's distressing to
think that cultural norms have changed so much during the Howard era that
most Australians, this country's institutions and most of this country's
political parties are willing to accept and embrace the idea that poverty is
and will continue to be an integral component of life in the lucky country.

$31.3 billion isn't chicken feed in anybodies world. Even Bill Gates' ears
would prick up at the mention of such a tidy sum. When the Prime Minister
(yes I'm afraid it's a John Howard week this week) and the Federal Education
Minister Brendan Nelson announced that the Federal government would spend
$31.8 billion on State, private and Catholic school education over the next
4 years, I was impressed (only kidding).

Within one hour of the package being released, doubts began to grow in
people's minds about the government's announcement. It seems the fanfare
accompanying their media conference had a sound of deja vu about it. Core
and non-core man has done it again, lies, lies and more lies. It looked
like the Treasurer had released the same figures during the last May budget.
According to the last budget papers, Federal government funding would hit
$30.9 billion over the next 4 years. Oops, that only leaves $400 million
of new spending on education initiatives. Oops, I forgot that a week or two
ago, the Prime Minister flanked by Rome's man down under Cardinal Pell,
promised Catholic schools an extra $362 million. That leaves $38 million,
just enough to fund the Federal government's propaganda package about its
much vaunted expenditure on education.

Sad isn't it when the Prime Minister and a senior Cabinet minister are
willing to lie through their teeth, to help their little mate Tony Abbott
weather the scrutiny that the Federal government's Medicare Plus package was
receiving. Why else would they have bothered to launch their education
blitzkrieg 24 hours after the release of the Medicare Plus package?

Just in case you think the Federal government's education package is
directed at government schools, think again. The Commonwealth government
allocates $1,000 for each State school pupil and $4,500 for each private
school pupil. When core and no-core man tells Australians that government
and private schools receive the same amount of money, he neglects to tell
people that 70% of students attend State schools and 30% private schools.
Just in case you still think the education package has anything to offer
State school pupils, State schools will receive an increase in Commonwealth
expenditure of about 19% over the next 4 years, while some elite private
schools will receive increases of between 150% to 300%. I could go on and
on, but unfortunately I haven't got 20 years to catalogue the Prime
Ministers lies.

The Spanish have given in to terrorism!! A few well placed bombs and the
death of 200 people has changed the course of a nation! I just can't
believe my ears. It seems that the "coalition of the willing" don't get the
message. The Spanish people exercised their right to change their
government. It's obvious they were not happy with the way their government
committed them to the war in Iraq.
Over 11 million people, a quarter of the population, took to the streets to
show their dissatisfaction with the Spanish government's intervention in
Iraq. Around the same number took to the streets last week to register
their disgust with the carnage in Madrid. The Spanish government terrified
about the political ramifications of the Madrid bombings, continued to lay
the blame on E.T.A. long after the facts pointed elsewhere. They attempted
to manipulate the Spanish peoples emotions for short term political gain.

Any government that goes to war when 90% of its people do not agree with
that war should expect a political backlash at the next election.
Governments that give lip service to representation, soon find that their
people are no longer willing to lend them electoral support. The election
of the Socialists, a political party that opposed the war, should not
surprise anyone. Governments that take their people for granted should not
be surprised when they're dumped.

The problems that the Socialist government in Spain will face when and if
they withdraw their troops from Spain is a serious one. The United States
will use every means at its disposal to pressure the Spanish to leave their
troops in Iraq. Whether they do or don't withdraw their troops, will depend
on the economic and military pressure that will be applied to Spain by
Britain, the US, Italy, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
At the end of the day real power does not lay in parliament, it lays in the
boardrooms of national and trans-national corporations. Whether the
policies of the Spanish government will ultimately reflect the will of the
Spanish people, will depend on the Spanish peoples ability to resist the
pressure that the Bush administration and their corporate allies will be
able to exert on them.

John Howard is bad for business. His policies on reconciliation,
immigration, multiculturalism, Iraq and conservative "family values",
alienate more people than they attract. It's no accident that Australia is
having difficulties in finding markets for both its agricultural products
and manufactured goods. More and more countries are not willing to trade
with a country that has a question mark hanging over its head about its
racial policies.

Kerry Packer is well aware that Howard's policies are bad for business.
It's interesting to note that the Packer Empire seems to have fallen in
behind Labor's golden haired boy Mark Latham. On the other hand, Murdoch
buoyed by Bush's globalisation push, has pursued and continues to pursue a
neo-conservative agenda. He has tried to set the political agenda by
appointing neo-conservatives to the editorial staff of his major newspapers.
Packer is keen to expand his business interests in Australia. In order to
launch a successful takeover of Murdoch's media interests in this country,
he needs the political backing of the Labor Party.

Howard is firmly in Murdoch's camp, he owes his survival to the Murdoch
press. Over the next few months they will pull out all stops to help their
man get over the line. It will be interesting to see whether other local
business moguls also see the writing on the wall and remove their backing
from the Howard camp. It is becoming more and more difficult for Australian
businesses to do business in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, South America and
parts of Europe. A change of government may be just the tonic that's needed
for Australian businesses to spread their wings overseas.

The perception that Howard's policies are hurting Australian companies
profitability overseas, is one that has the potential to drive the corporate
world into the arms of Latham's Labor Party.

A. Of course it is. Every time a government collapses, disorder follows.
You've seen the television pictures, read the newspaper articles, browsed
the internet, listened to the radio. No government chaos, pure and
simple. Or is there more behind the story than meets the eye. If the
police went on strike tonight, an army of looters would materialise out of
the darkness and steal everything that wasn't nailed down. Some people
would help themselves and many would try to settle old scores.
The State, whether democratic or a dictatorship, maintains order through the
use of force. The less enfranchised the population, the greater the
inequalities that exists within the community, the stronger the disciplinary
arm of the State. When people lose faith in the representative process and
no longer identify with the institutions that exert authority over them, the
State needs to reinforce its repressive arm. If the State collapses, people
will attempt to redress the inequalities that exist in society. Whether
this is done in an orderly and democratic manner will to a large degree
depend on the political and social organisations that existed within the
community before the State disintegrated.
If no political or social movements exist and no central authority fills the
vacuum, strong individuals will impose their will on the people around them,
creating personal fiefdoms that they maintain by the use of force. Failed
States like Somalia and Afghanistan do not have to be ruled by warlords.
People can build structures that allow them to control their own lives in an
egalitarian democratic manner. The creation of a dual power situation
involves planting the seeds of the new society in the ruins of the old.
Government can be inclusive and democratic or it can be exclusive and
authoritarian. What type of society grows out of the shadow of the old, is
to a large degree dependent on the political, social and cultural
organisations that emerge, as the struggle for egalitarian social change
gains momentum in society.

Traditionally, anarchists have not used the country's institutions to attack
the credibility of the State. When Bakunin recanted' his evil ways' and
appealed directly to the Tsar to release him from the hellhole he was going
to die in, many in the anarchist movement expressed doubts about his
tactics. Direct action doesn't always deliver the goods. Although millions
around the world agitated to have Sacco and Vanzetti released, they were
still executed.
The anarchist movement, although resilient, is politically weak. Expecting
activists who face the wrath of the State to rely on direct action to free
them or protect them is wishful thinking. Although we believe the
institutions we have to deal with are structured, to maintain the status quo
enough checks and balances exist in some situations to make it possible to
launch an institutional defence. Legal quangos tribunals and courts exist
because of past struggles. Checks and balances exist because people have
been able to extract concessions and reforms by challenging the authority of
the State and corporate sector.
The anarchist movement is interested in both defending and extending the
freedoms we currently enjoy. We should use all the means that are available
to us, to pursue these goals. To rely only on direct action is to ignore
other options available to us. To avail ourselves of institutional
safeguards and structures does not mean we have abandoned our principles.
Using these safeguards means, we are astute enough to use the structures
that are available to use to both survive and prosper.
Martyrdom holds few attractions for anarchists. Anarchism is a life
affirming ideology. Refusing to use structures that are available to us to
defend ourselves because it may compromise some dearly held ideological
principle, may give the individual personal satisfaction but it wont protect
and extend those freedoms we currently enjoy in the communities we live and
work in.

THE EUREKA SERIES - 2004 - No. 9
Samual Huyghue, a Canadian, was Robert Rede's (the Resident Commissioner and
Officer-In-Charge of the Ballarat goldfields) chief clerk. He provided one
of the few eyewitness accounts of the Eureka struggle in his manuscript
titled The Ballarat Riots'. Huyghue drafted the first manuscript in
Ballarat in 1857, revised it in September 1879 and completed it 30 years
after the battle on the 10th December 1884. The original manuscript was
given to the Mitchell Library in Sydney in 1928 by E. L. Taylor. His
father had been given the manuscript for safe keeping by Huyghue before he
Huyghue's account was first published in full by Bob O'Brien in his book
Massacre At Eureka The Untold Story' 1992 ISBN 0 909874 19 0.
Huyghue makes a number of very valuable observations about the events that
led to the Eureka stockade battle, the battle itself and its aftermath.
There was a great deal of fear in the government camp about the possibility
of an attack;
"In fact we were utterly unprovided with any efficient fortifications or
places of shelter from an enemy fire, and with our limited numbers could not
have long withstood the persistent attack of a hostile population".
He also claims that there was little sympathy for the miners outside
"There was little sympathy shown elsewhere with the extreme proposals of the
Ballarat agitators".
The miners were well aware that government reinforcements would turn the
tide of battle against them and attacked elements of the 21st Regiment who
they believed were carrying cannons. He gives an interesting account of the
reaction of the miners when their quarry was snatched from them by
reinforcements from the government camp
"I never witnessed such a sight before and probably never will again. It
was accompanied too by an ever-increasing roar from the throats of what
might have been the entire mining population which fury-urged rolled towards
us as the voice of doom".
He also makes the observation that the Gold Commission was its own worst
"The mud be splattered and blunt-spoken diggers did not like to have riding
in amongst their claims' at all hours to settle disputes or demand licences
with armed troopers at their heels individuals tricked out in scraps of
braid and gold lace, stamped with an air of authority, well bred and lofty
and often redolent of perfume",
NEXT WEEK: More of Samuel Huyghue's observations about the events that
culminated in the government attack on the Eureka stockade on the 3rd
December 1854.

- Selected Anarchist Responses to Prisons and Crimes. Vol 1 1886-1929."
Edited by the Dawn Collective, Published by the Kate Sharpley Library 2003,
ISBN 1-873605-48-X
Prisons and anarchism is a topic that won't go away. Although anarchists
have always opposed the prison system, what will replace prisons has always
been a matter of contention. Under The Yoke Of The State' Vol.1' it gives
the reader the opportunity to examine the opinions of prominent anarchists,
some who were executed, others who spent time in prison, during the period
1886 1929.
The first part of this 60 page booklet put together by the Dawn Collective
from Oakland California, allows Peter Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, Lucy
Parsons, Voltarine de Cleyre, Albert Parsons, Alexander Berkman and Emma
Goldman to outline a number of anarchist opinions about the prison system
and possible alternatives. Although Errico Malatesta's contribution is
short, just one and bit pages, he makes the important point that
"one has the right to intervene with material force only against those who
offend against others violently and prevent them from living in peace".
Part II Memoirs' is taken up with the prison experiences of anarchist
activists, some executed for their ideas. Kanno Suga's (1881-1911) untitled
4-line poem was written while she waited to be executed in Tokyo. She was
originally jailed for violating Japan's censorship laws because she
co-founded with Kotoku Shusui the newspaper Jiju Shusui (Free Thought).
While they were in prison, the authorities discovered a plot to assassinate
the Emperor that led to the execution on the 24th and 25th of January 1911
of Kanno, Kotoku and another ten of their comrades. Nestor Makhno, Rudolf
Rocker, G. P. Maximoff, Mollie Steimer, Nicola Sacco, Librado Rivera, Emma
Fgoldman, Alexander Berkman and Flores Magon recount their experiences of
prison life in jails around the world.
A thumbnail sketch about the life and times of the author accompanies each
contribution in this fascinating booklet. Under The Yoke Of The State'
provides a useful addition to the ongoing debate within society and the
anarchist community about the role of laws, prisons and the State and how
people in a free and egalitarian society would tackle the problems
associated with violence and crime. This booklet makes a valuable and much
needed contribution to this ongoing debate.
Under The Yoke Of The State' is available from
The Dawn Collective
P.O. BOX 24715
94623 1715
or the publishers
Kate Sharpley Library
BM Hurricane
London WCN 3XX

Late Palaeolithic Cro-Mignon pear shaped clay figurines discovered in caves
in Southern France depicts earth goddesses. Their buttocks and stomachs
dwarf their breasts and heads. Nearly every 19th century cartoon I've seen
of the class struggle shows lean workers fighting obese employers who are so
fat they have trouble seeing their polished shoes. Last week's hamburger
law' passed by the United States legislation, protects fast food companies
from being sued by disgruntled customers who claim they're morbidly obese
because of the unhealthy qualities of fast food.
One of the more dramatic black and white photographs I've ever seen shows an
obese Chinese boy selling handfuls of rice to a line of wafer thin Chinese
during a famine in Shanghai in the 1920's. The never-ending cycle of feast
of famine in the past favoured those who were able to utilise their fat
deposits during famines. The elimination of the feast and famine cycle has
resulted in the highest rate of insulin dependent diabetes in the world
among indigenous Australians.
Age-old certainties have been turned on their heads. The 21st century
upwardly mobile generations are now lean and mean - personal trainers, gyms,
expensive high protein diets, botox and surgical intervention, sculpture
lean excitement machines. Human sculptures flex six-packs, bounce
symmetrical breasts, exhibit perfect belly buttons and indulge in total body
waxes. The poor grow fat, living testimonials to deep fried chicken and the
golden arches'. Faced with a population that has trouble getting off their
butts, let alone wanting to die for their country, obesity is described as a
post-modern epidemic. The State, keen to mould its citizens in its own
image, has declared war on fat.
Are you ready to trim off that excess fat for the good of the country? Are
you ready to become a foot soldier in the war against obesity? Turn off the
idiot box and emulate the lifestyles of the rich and famous, you too can
flex your six-pack and wobble your symmetrical breasts. Hand over your hard
won cash to the slimming industry, have your body sculpted by experts,
become a supermodel. Remember, there are 6 billion of us and 10
supermodels, with a little bit of hard work and a lot of cosmetic surgery
and an endless supply of cash, you too can become a rich and famous
supermodel. There is a purpose to life and it doesn't involve the

Talk about fire sales. Concerned about his plunging electoral popularity,
Howard and his merry band of men and women are busily shovelling away
Costello's hard won surplus. The latest group to benefit from their
largesse are old age and disability support pensioners. Worried about the
talk that he's only interested in the big end of town, Howard has increased
pensions by a massive 3.2 cents an hour. His largesse has been met by
dancing in the streets. Every time Don Howard wanders the highways and
byways of his kingdom, they're lining up to kiss his ring (only kidding
It will be interesting to see whether Howard's attempts to buy himself out
of jail will succeed. Everyone's waiting for the big one, the 11th of May
budget. It's expected that after the budget is delivered, Howard will
announce his tax package. What's disturbing about this whole sorry business
is the lack of vision demonstrated by core and non-core man.
There's a feeling that the Howard government has run out of ideas and has
lost touch with ordinary people. Howard's rule has been a disaster. He is
clutching at straws, waiting, begging for something, anything to happen so
he can show he's a strong leader. Wedge politics pitting Australian
against Australian, has to date paid handsome electoral dividends for the
Howard government. The problem with wedge politics is that you can create
political enemies who will not be bought off with a fistful of dollars.
The Howard government has wiped away the gains made by the struggles waged
by generations of Australians. It has succeeded in turning back the
country's ideological, cultural and social agenda. It's political tenure
has resulted in a climate of fear, insecurity, xenophobia and division.
Squandering a budget surplus that has been achieved as a result of the
blood, sweat and tears of the poor, disadvantaged and working Australians is
an electoral strategy that will hopefully fail.

Joseph TOSCANO / Libertarian Workers
For A Self-Managed Society.

historical anarchist literature from around the world, BM Hurricane, London
WCIN 3XX, ENGLAND, www.katesharpleylibrary.net
- UMANITA NOVA Vol 84 No.5 22nd FEB 2004, Settimanale Anarchico, C.50
Palermo 46, 10152, Torino ITALY. tel/fax (011) 857850 Mobile 338-6594361
- Under The Yoke, Selected Anarchist Responses 2003, The Dawn Collective

DEBT ELIMINATION APPEAL - Our debt stands at $1022.50
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The UK govt is going to court to fight for the right to bill innocent people
who spent time in jail, for the expense of keeping them. Paddy Hill was one
of the Birmingham Six & spent 16 years in jail for an IRA bombing before
being found innocent & released. He's been charged 50,000 pounds for his
living expenses while in jail. Mike O’Brien spent 10 years in jail wrongly
convicted murder. His baby daughter died while he was in prison & he was
charged 37,500 pounds by the UK govt. The govt calls the charge 'Saved
Living Expenses' & argues that the innocent prisoners would've spent money
on food & lodgings anyway if they weren't in jail. (Source: Sunday Herald
Police were called to Brisbane's Central Business District after receiving
complaints about a disturbance involving a man & a number of street kids.
They found a man who was allegedly loud & abusive, yelling obscenities &
refusing to cooperate with police. He was arrested, handcuffed & taken away
in a police paddy wagon before being charged with several offences including
obstructing police. It's understood the man is a plain-clothes senior
constable working in State Crime Operations. (Source: ABC News website)
A policeman accused of 38 offences including sexual assault & kidnapping has
been allowed bail. The arrest follows allegations made by 9 women & girls
aged 13 to 19, a police spokesman said. The man was arrested yesterday &
charged with 4 counts of kidnapping, 5 of sexual assault, 3 of aggravated
indecent assault, 10 of indecent assault, 1 of aggravated act of indecency,
13 counts of assault & 2 of act of indecency. (Source: Herald Sun)
5 UK men have been released from US custody in Guantanamo Bay. 2 of the men
have made statements saying they were physically & psychologically tortured.
Jamal al Harith said the psychological torture was worse than the physical
beatings. "Bruises heal after a week but the other stuff stays with you" he
said. "Recreation meant your legs were untied & you walked up & down a strip
of gravel. They actually said, 'You have no rights here.' After a while, we
stopped asking for human rights - we wanted animal rights". Tarek Dergoul
issued a statement through his attorney that said he'd experienced "botched
medical treatment, interrogation at gunpoint, beatings & inhuman
conditions". Another one of the men, Jamal Udeen, was originally imprisoned
by the Taliban, who accused him of being a UK spy. He was nevertheless
accused of being an al Qaeda or Taliban member by US authorities. The men
were held without charge for 2 years. (Washington Times)
Almost 4 million Aussies are living in poverty, a new report has found. A
Senate inquiry report found around 3.6 million people lived on less than
$400 a week. Figures cited in the report showed poverty was on the rise,
from around 11.3% in 1990 to 13% in 2000. One teenager reported her mother
often went without food b/c she had to feed 4 children on $194 a week, while
another family ate all their meals rugged up together in bed b/c they
couldn't afford to run an oil heater. PM John Howard dismissed calls for a
new statutory body to tackle poverty & said "the poor have not got poorer".
(Source: The Age)
A large number of Aussies are becoming 'working poor', according to new
figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The figures showed that,
in the last 12 months: 59,000 working people went without meals, 95,000 were
forced to pawn or sell something b/c they needed cash, & 36,000 were unable
to heat their homes. (Source: ACTU website)
Working women are the target of increasing workplace violence, according to
new research. The survey being run by the Victorian Trades Hall Council,
suggests that the reason may be casualisation of industries where many
workers are women. Hospitality, healthcare & call centres have all been
highlighted in the responses received in the survey so far. Survey
co-ordinator Ellen Kleimaker said the erosion of job security, the large
number of women in casual or part-time jobs & the small number of women in
positions or power, all contributed to the problem. She cited bullying,
harassment & even rape as forms of violence listed by respondents. "Already
we are seeing in the responses that many women put up with psychological,
emotional or sexual violence b/c they're afraid that if they complain they
will be dismissed" she said. (Source: Melbourne Times)

Has been awarded to the Prime Minister of the Great South Land John Winston
Howard for uttering the not to be forgotten phrase "It's fair to say that
the rich have got richer but the poor have not got poorer", when dismissing
the findings of a Senate report released last week that showed that 1 in 6
Australians (mainly women and children around 3.5 million people) were
living in poverty. If there's one sentence uttered by the PM in the last 8
years, that highlights the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the Howard
government, this is it. This comment deserves the platinum plated diamond
crusted verbal obscenity of the decade award.

By James Emerton, Independent Activist
With the Internet becoming increasingly easier to access in the Western'
world, more & more people are turning towards the Internet as a tool that
one uses on a daily basis. The Internet is slowly taking over the reign of
the TV & that can only be seen as a positive progression. TV is a limited
source in the hands of a few. Little access, if any, is allowed to activists
& alternative views that challenge the status quo on the TV, radio & even in
the print media. This is b/c what is seen on these sources is presented by
those with an interest in upholding, maintaining, & protecting the status
quo. If you look at the media networks, you'll find that they're almost all
either corporate or state-owned. The resource-poor Channel 31 & community
radio stations such as 3CR don't exactly have large followings, due to their
community-based approach & the monopoly that the corporate sector hold on
the media. What is important to note is that one doesn't have much choice in
what they see, read & hear.
On the Internet the situation is much different. Media monopolies have their
effectiveness slashed due to the freedom people have to distribute & read
alternative news, opinion & analysis. It can cost nothing, besides the price
for electricity & the Internet service cost, to make a website or web page &
put news & info on it at the click of a few buttons. Only a limited amount
of knowledge is needed, which can usually take up to only a few days at the
very most, if one has adequate knowledge of how to use simple non-Internet
programs on the computer. More importantly, any dummy can just as well find
this info if they know how to use a search engine (all one has to do is type
in a phrase & press search') or if they stumble upon websites that link to
them. Perhaps most importantly, people can actually have a total control
over what they see, read & hear.
What has happened recently is that the corporate media has found they aren't
able to compete with free news on the Internet. They were -- & some still
are -- providing their news for free, with only a few measly ads on their
pages to try & cover costs. With Internet ads not a permanent or very
successful plan for businesses, the corporate media don't receive as much
money as it wants, or even needs. Therefore, some are now charging for
access to article more than a week or 2 old & some others are evening
converting over to subscriptions based on months for access to their
article. This is a reasonable strategy for them, with potential readership
of their profitable scheme (the newspaper) trying to retrieve their
information for free on the Internet.
Of course, with the trend towards charging for online access to news, the
corporate media is giving itself a kick in the stomach. People (or rather,
consumers) aren't going to pay for news, opinion & analysis they can get
from elsewhere for free! Consequently, they're going to stumble upon
alternative viewpoints & sources -- even this very source (the online
version). Those pay sites could then become very unprofitable. One can
conclude that if the Internet continues to grow in popularity, then the
old-fashioned newspapers will one day (perhaps in several decades) be done
Even the corporate media admitted that during the U.S. imperialist invasion
of Iraq that people were going onto the Internet to read alternative
viewpoints. This is a good sign of things to come, for it shows a certain
level of disenfranchisement with the established media. No longer do people
want to continually be fed the rubbish they are provided with at the moment.
The added advantage with reading online sources is that info can be checked
to see if they match or contradict other sources of news, which can be found
via a search engine. Eg, you might want to find whether something in a
corporate media article is actually correct without the Internet, you may be
stuck, unless one of the few alternative or activist print sources actually
publish refutations. However, with the Internet, simply typing a few phrases
into a search engine can bring up an endless list of confirmations -- or
maybe contradictions. It is this freedom and interactivity that Internet
users already enjoy.
It makes sense to promote & extend alternative publications & activist
activities via their own (closed publishing) websites on the Internet for
people to read at the click of a mouse button. The more alternative voice
there is, the better. It is a thorn in the side of the status quo -- one
that should be much larger than it already is.

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 reflect the personal
opinions of the authors, they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the
publishers, the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist
Media Institute.
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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