18th - 24th May, 1998
IN A TIME OF UNIVERSAL DECEIT - TELLING THE TRUTH IS A REVOLUTIONARY ACT - George Orwell
Almost thirty years to the day the Butcher Suharto has pulled a page out of De Gaulle's book. When the French President, De Gaulle, was faced with massive student and workers protests in May 1968, he called fresh elections. In a brilliant display of political cunning, he took the breeze out of the May'68 events by directing protests from an extra parliamentary milieu: - the streets, into a parliamentary milieu:- elections.
By calling new elections he destroyed the revolutionary momentum that had been building up over the previous four weeks. Suharto has decided to play the same trump card, he has called for fresh elections and has told all and sundry that he won't be standing. He hopes that he will be able to take the wind out of the Indonesian protest movement and divert people's energies from extra parliamentary direct action into a tame electoral contest that he will set the rules for.
The beautiful thing about history is that people learn from their mistakes. The Indonesian rebellion will not be diverted because Suharto the Butcher has promised to call fresh elections. Everybody knows (except possible John Howard and Alexander Downer) that the butcher's word means nothing. His little ploy to gain breathing space will fail. Although the generals may be still supporting the butcher, many soldiers will, if push comes to shove, turn their guns against their superior officers before they turn them onto the people.
The longer Suharto continues to cling on to power, the more likely that the reform movement will turn into a revolutionary movement. Although the army may have a monopoly on violence in Indonesia, even they can't stop the will of the people. Suharto will go, possibly before the end of the week. May be his Australian mate, Paul Keating, will put up Pol Pots twin brother, Suharto and his brood in his Sydney mansion. Possibly he'll put down a mattress between a few of his French clocks for them.
Reforms or revolution is the cry that's echoing across the Indonesian Archipelago. Last weeks rebellion against Suharto the Butcher has caused consternation among the regimes primary supporters in Indonesia and among foreign investors. Thirty two years of corrupt authoritarian government almost came to an end last week when the Jakarta shanty dwellers streamed out of the slums and looted at will.
The flames of rebellion have stirred the Suharto regime's supporters to weigh up their options. Do they join the students and people who are baying for Suharto's head, or do they continue to support the regime that has made them what they are? There are two movements in Indonesia, one wanting to replace the head of the beast with a new head and one which wants to destroy the beast and build a new society from the carcass of the old.
Those with power and wealth in Indonesia have decided that they want to change the head of the regime. Suharto and his family have become dispensable pawns in the game to maintain their power and wealth. The only thing that stands between virtual reforms and revolution is the Suharto family and the military units that will protect his interests. The number of people that are calling for virtual reforms are growing by the day. Academics, sections of the armed forces, business people, retired army personnel and trade union leaders are some of the elements in Indonesian society that are demanding virtual reforms.
Millions of ordinary Indonesians want more, they don't want to change the beast's head, they want to gut it and create a society that acknowledges them and looks after their interests. As Suharto struggles to maintain his power and authority, the number of people for reform and revolution are evenly balances. Which direction they move in will be determined by what Suharto does. If he decides to dig in and fight, the people that want virtual reforms will be swept away and Indonesia will be plunged into revolution. If he accepts the writing on the wall and resigns without a fight the people who want reforms will triumph for the moment and the status quo will be maintained.
How long revolutionary forces can be kept at bay in Indonesia will depend on whether reforms deliver more freedom and economic security. If they don't, it won't be long before the Indonesian people take their future back into their own hands. Either way things will never be the same in Indonesia.
MEET THE CARING, SHARING, LOVING PEOPLE AT THE VICTORIAN WORKCOVER AUTHORITY
I had tears in my eyes when I viewed the Victorian Workcover Authority's latest "hard hitting" campaign to prevent workplace injuries. Not tears of joy, tears of frustration. The Kennett regime's attitude to injured workers has been little short of criminal. Thousands have lost their workers compensation benefits and thousands have been denied benefits by a government that has gone out of its way to ostracise injured workers. The Kennett regimes latest act of bastardry happened a few months ago when they removed the common law right of injured workers to sue their employers for negligence.
No wonder the folk at the Victorian Workcover Authority have embarked on another one of their "so-called hard hitting" media campaigns. Considering injured workers can't sue negligent employers, that the penalties for negligent employers are little short of a cruel joke and that the Victorian Workcover Authority doesn't have the necessary field officers to police the already inadequate workplace safety regulations, no wonder accident rates are at an all time high. Everybody and anybody has been telling the Kennett regime that their so-called Workcover reforms would increase workplace injuries and guess what, they have.
The Victorian Workcover Authority is more interested in denying injured workers their benefits, than in doing anything about safety. I'm more than sure that individuals within the Workcover Authority would like to do more to help prevent injuries in work places, but unfortunately they have few resources to prevent injuries let along have the staff to police the inadequate legislation that determines how the Workcover Authority's finances are distributed.
The current Workcover media blitz is an expensive waste of time and highlights the Kennett regime's hypocritical stand towards injured workers and their families. If it wasn't so serious the whole thing could have been dismissed as another of Kennett's failed advertising campaigns. Unfortunately it's not.
NOT QUITE RIGHT
Well I may not have picked the exact date that the New York Dow Jones Index came tumbling down, but I've picked the next best thing. The date that the over inflated New York Stock Exchange began its long awaited bear run. I postulated that the exchange would collapse on the 15th of May, 1998. As everybody now knows it didn't collapse on that day, but what it did do was peak on the 14th of May 1998. The market has now entered a bear run that will end in a major collapse in the next few weeks.
JAMES HAS HIS FOOT ON THE ACCELERATOR!!
Guess what boys and girls? Kerry Packer's flesh and blood, James Packer is now the top dog in the Packer empire. Packer's right hand man, Brian Powers, has resigned as the Chief Executive of Consolidated Press and has popped up on the Fairfax board. Everybody knows that John (God dammit it I'm Prime Minister) Howard wants to give the Packers Fairfax as their own little toy. Unfortunately the boys and girls in the Senate have other ideas and have consistently blocked Packers efforts to take over Fairfax. Powers speculator evaluation to a non-executive position in the Fairfax board delivers a Trojan Horse to Packer.
The mass media in this country is in a very real mess. Ownership rests in three camps, Murdoch, Packer and what's left of Fairfax. Both Murdoch and Packer would like to get their claws into Fairfax. Sooner or later, most likely sooner than later, the Packer or Murdoch boys will get their fangs into Fairfax. Although there seems to be a song and dance about the imminent death of the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, I don't really care. All three media outlets in Australia run a corporate line. Anybody who has had any dealings with them soon realises that their interests do not coincide with the interests of Australians. Murdoch, Packer and the Fairfax stable are only interested in one thing, their own bottom line. To them news and information is a commodity that is sold to the highest bidder. Although it may seem a little bit presumptuous of me, the fewer and fewer hands media ownership is concentrated in this country, the more important independent publications like the Anarchist Age Weekly Review become.
MONEY MARKETS ILLITERATE!!
Pity poor old Johnny (God dammit I'm Prime Minister) Howard, on Monday he lashed out at the international money markets for down grading the Aussie dollar. You see Johnny's angry because he claims that the money markets are not taking into account that the economic fundamentals in Australia are right. Well Johnny it's good to see you're learning the first lesson of capitalist economics. Corporate economics normally have no relationship to what's happening in the real world. They feed on speculation and rumour Johnny, not economic realities.
ANARCHIST QUESTION AND ANSWER
Q. Are anarchists doomed to a life of permanent protest?
A. Historically it's very easy to argue a case that anarchism is a permanent protest movement. Most situations where anarchist ideas have come to the fore have occurred in spontaneous explosions of mass action.
The Paris Commune, Hungary'56 and Paris'68 are some 20th century examples of this phenomena. Almost overnight, years of frustration and anger boiled over into a situation where people seized the moment, overturned dominant society and formed workplace and community associations that were based on egalitarian principles. In these situations people formed these egalitarian associations in spite of a lack of an anarchist presence. Within a few weeks, the process disintegrated and power flowed back into the hands of the state.
The other example that anarchists use to show that anarchists can break out of a permanent protest mould, is the example of the Spanish Civil War. Reviewing the events of the Spanish Civil War, its possible to make a case that anarchism is more than just a permanent protest movement. In this example, millions of people attempted to organise their lives in an egalitarian fashion outside the state apparatus. Unfortunately if we take off our rose coloured glasses and review the events of 1936 - 1939 it rapidly becomes apparent that even in this situation, anarchists had very little chance of succeeding.
Anarchist ideas, thoughts and strategies work on two levels, on the one level, we are part of a permanent protest movement. Our day to day activities and actions, protect and expand that space that exists in society which allows us to freely articulate our ideas and to form groups, associations and movements that challenge dominant culture and the very existence of the state itself. Whether we succeed in breaking out of a rebellion mode and enter a revolutionary mode, depends of the dominant forces in society. The inherent contradictions in capitalist and communist societies that are reflected in the rhetoric - reality gap that is a permanent feature of the post-modern state can lead to periods of upheaval where nothing and everything is possible. Whether such an event leads to the creation of another authoritarian society or a non-authoritarian society, depends on what happened before that upheaval. If anarchist ideas and anarchist groups are prominent in the lead up to an upheaval, the potential exists to break out of the permanent protest envelope and become involved in a egalitarian revolutionary movement. The secret ingredients that allows anarchists to move from a permanent protest mode to a revolutionary mode are not such a secret. They can be encapsulated in three words, education, organisation and action.
ACTION BOX - DECISION MAKING PROCESS
So you've decided to form an affinity group. You're keen about this anarchy business and you want to work with like minded people. You've found a few interested souls and you're about to change the world. Well before you get carried away with all the marvellous things you're going to do, spend a few meetings deciding how the group will function and what are your decision making processes. Unless you give some thought to how your group is going to make decisions, you may find that the group is stillborn. If there is no clear agreement about decision making processes, you may find that people take their ball and bat and go home before you even begin to play the game.
The tyranny of structurelessness is as much a danger to an anarchist group as are authoritarian decision making processes. Unless there is agreement on decision making processes, the chances that a group will continue to exist after the initial flush of excitement is very minimal indeed. The group I belong to has agreed on a mechanism to make decisions. We attempt to reach a consensus, if no consensus is possible we allow both the majority and minority to embark on their course of action. The resources that are allocated to each side depends on the number on each side.
All decisions that are made take into account our principles of association:- equal access to power and wealth. Decision making processes that fall outside our principles of association may be discussed but cannot be accepted by the group unless we agree to change the principles of association. If somebody wants to introduce decision making processes that don't allow all members of the group to have an equal say and these new decision making processes are accepted by a minority or majority in the group, the group will split. The groups resources (and debts) will be shared among the members of the group. How they are shared will depend on the number of people on each side. Major differences within anarchist groups both at a strategical and policy level can be satisfactorily resolved if there is an agreement on the decision making processes. If there is no agreement on how decisions are made, the resultant rancour that occurs often drives people out of the anarchist movement.
AUSTRALIAN ANARCHIST HISTORY - THE EUREKA PRESS
Although the Eureka revolt in 1854 on the Ballarat goldfields cannot be described as an anarchist revolt, the revolt was and continues to be an important part of Australian folklore and history. The men and women who swarmed across the Victorian goldfields in 1854, relied on the written word to keep them informed about what was happening on the goldfields. Reviewing the publications available on the Victorian goldfields, four supported the miners in their struggle against the colonial authorities, while one supported the colonial government to the hilt.
The diggers after giving 3 cheers for the ARGUS, 3 for the DAILY NEWS and three groans for the HERALD - then separated.
It's interesting to note that although the ARGUS and the DAILY NEWS have ceased publishing, the HERALD (HERALD-SUN) continues to publish pro government and pro establishment diatribes 144 years later. It looks like some things never change.
The AGE was launched in Melbourne on the eve of the Eureka stockade and to its credit supported the diggers struggle. The two papers that were described as the "diggers own papers", were the DIGGERS ADVOCATE edited by George Black and the BALLARAT TIMES edited by Henry Seekamp. On the eve of the stockade, Henry Seekamp the editor of the Ballarat Times wrote:
"The Australian flag shall triumphantly wave in the sunshine of its own blue and peerless sky. When digging first began you were hunted like badgers by ferocious and merciless troopers, and bayoneted by constables if you did not possess on your person the talismanic license...
You were indeed patient, were strangely so, and history will record it to your honour. But you are now determined, and history will for this, too, immortalise your dauntless courage...
Go forth, indomitable people! Gain your rights... FORWARD, PEOPLE - FORWARD!".
Seekamp was arrested for supporting the diggers. It was said by many on the goldfields the Henry Seekamp was the pen of the Eureka Stockade.
One of the Ballarat Times journalists John Manning fought at Eureka, survived the British military onslaught and was arrested and charged with HIGH TREASON for his troubles. He and his twelve co-accused were acquitted by a jury in March 1855. As activists we should never underestimate the power of the free press. Three cheers for the 300th edition of the Anarchist Age Weekly Review!!
BOOK REVIEW - ANARCHISM - HISTORY OF LIBERTARIAN IDEAS and MOVEMENTS
by George Woodcock
1962 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 62-12355, Published by Meridan Books
Don't pick up this five hundred page book unless you are in a mood for an argument. On almost every page, Woodcock makes statements and assumptions that are more a reflection of his own state of mind than a critical analysis of the past. If you want to read a book that challenges most of your basic assumptions about anarchist thought, tactics and history then delve into Anarchism - A history of Libertarian Ideas and Movements.
Ploughing through a thirty page Prologue, a 180 page section titled The Idea (subdivided into 8 chapters) and almost two hundred pages titled The Movement (subdivided into 6 chapters). I found it difficult, very difficult going. Not because the book was badly written, but because many of Woodcock's idiosyncratic statements had no visible connection with the anarchist history I'm familiar with. After reading the book and digesting Woodcock's eight page epilogue, I felt like moving into a glass case in a museum.
I recommend people read Anarchism a History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements, not because it will increase peoples' knowledge about anarchism, but because it challenges many of the assumptions that anarchist activists have made. Re-reading the Epilogue and some of the more controversial segments of the book, it suddenly dawned on me that my unease about the contents of this book is outlined in the title Anarchism - a history of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. Yes this is a history of Anarchism, but it's one man's history, George Woodcock's Eurocentric 1962 history of Anarchism. Reviewing many of Woodcock's conclusions, it's more than obvious that Woodcock was not able to write his history of Anarchism free of the prevailing sentiments of his time. Holding the book in my hand, I can't help wondering whether Woodcock would have drawn the same conclusions if he had written the book in 1998 not 1962.
Three hundred issues, six years, seventy two months, two thousand one hundred and ninety one days, over eight per cent of three score years and ten. When we embarked on this great adventure, we had no idea how long it would last. Over one million words and two hundred and fifty cartoons later, the adventure continues.
Week in week out, four pages, sometimes six pages of anarchist news and views lands in readers letter boxes every Friday. A lucky few access it via the internet. Across Australia and places we can only imagine people receive the newsletter. Why does Phil draw a new cartoon almost every week, why does he log the Weekly on the internet? Why do I spend 12 to 14 hours a week writing, writing, writing? Why do other members of the group send in contributions? Why do people read the Weekly and pay for the privilege of reading it?
I know why we produce it, we have a common view of what's wrong with the world and how we want to see it change. Why do people read the Weekly? Most read it because they want to make sense of the world around them. Readers are sick and tired of the trite and tired opinions that masquerade as analysis in the mainstream media. Although people may not agree with what we write, they appreciate another point of view in the lexicon of points of views they are confronted with.
Some look forward to the steady diet of alternative analysis, others skim through the pages reading sentences here and there, some show it to their friends, others treat it as a private vice not a public virtue. Looking through the last three hundred issues, I'm astounded by how many times we've got it right. We get it right not because we have unlimited resources, each week we struggle with a never ending debt. We get it right because we have no illusions and aren't interested in pushing the corporate or state barrow. We say what we want to say, we don't have to worry about advertisements, we rely on our subscriber base, nobody else. We owe no favours and ask for no quarter.
If you read the weekly, think about dropping into our GRAND 300th CELEBRATIONS, you're most welcome. Meet the people who make it happen, give us a piece of your mind. Without y our support, the weekly will fold. With your support we can aim for 350, 400, maybe 500 issues, maybe more, who knows!!
STOP PRESS - SO THE LITTLE FELLOW WANTS AN ELECTION
Everybody's waiting for Rob Borbidge to set the date, no not for his wedding day, but for the Queensland election. Johnny (God damit it I'm Prime Minister have some respect son) Howard, is waiting for a sign. No not from his maker (I wonder if his mum and dad are still alive) but from his secret love Pauline. You see, irrespective of what you say about Johnny Howard, he can add up - he was treasurer you know.
Johnny knows that the next Federal election, will be decided on preferences, One Notion preferences as far as the Liberal/National party is concerned. Dills like cosy Costello may lax lyrically about his decision to put One Notion last on his how to vote card but unfortunately for cosy Cos anyone with even a 1/5th of a functioning brain knows that Costello's seat will never be decided on preferences. If it did the Liberal/National Party would be able to squeeze their parliamentary representatives into a telephone booth.
Johnny (I did it my way) Howard, knows better. The next Federal election will be won or lost in the marginal seats. Irrespective of how much the Greens and Democrats huff and puff they will eventually direct the bulk of their preferences to the Labor Party (the party that's so afraid of hard physical yakka, they removed the "U" from Labour). So in steps the National Parties intellectual giant among National Party midgets, Rob Borbidge.
Johnny's going to wait for the Queensland election result, if the One Notion mob push the Nationals over the line, he'll go in September. If they don't he may lose his nerve and wait till March next year. So boys and girls, keep your eye on the Queensland elections, the results of this little exercise in parliamentary rule will determine whether we are going to be subjected to two minutes of illusory power (vote god damit, vote you bastards) later on this year or early next year. Either way we'll all be losers if we continue to believe the myth that parliamentary elections have anything to do with democracy.
STOP STOP PRESS
Heard this one from a Sydney building Contractor, Paul Keating is having his extensive cellar renovated, it looks like he's expecting a permanent visit from his step dad - Soeharto the Butcher.
Joseph Toscano (Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society).
ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK
ARIVISTA ANARCHIA NO.242/N).243 Feb/Mar'98, Editrice A, Cas Post 17120, 20170 Milano, Italy. Tel & Fax (02) 2896627.
FREEDOM Vol 59. No.9 9th May'98, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E17QX, Great Britain. http://www.tao.ca/~freedom email FreedomPressatfreedom@tao.ca firstname.lastname@example.org
GRASWURZEL REVOLUTION No.227 Mar'98, Kaiser strabe 24, 26122 Olden burg (Oldb), D4025E, Germany.
SICILIA LIBERTARIA No.162, Feb'98, Via Galileo Galilei 45, 97100 Ragusa Sicily Italy.
UMANITA NOVA 21 Dec'97, 1st, 8th, 22nd Feb'98, 78th year, Antonio De Rose, C/-La Coop Tipo/Hografica Via S. Piero 13a, 54033 Carrara Italy.
OTHER ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK
THE FERAL BIRD, May'98, Random Publications, 29 Slade Esplanade, Slade Point, Queensland 4740 Australia.
DISCUSSION BULLETIN No.89 May/June'98, I.U.C.E. PO Box 1564, Grand Rapids M149501 United States.
A) ANARCHISM TOWARDS THE 21ST CENTURY B) TOWARDS AN ANARCHIST SOCIETY -
Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society Position and Activities 1998. Send $4.00 of stamps to L.W.S.S. PO Box 20 Parkville 3052 Melbourne Australia and we will post out both booklets to you.
VICTORIAN READERS LISTEN TO THE ANARCHIST WORLD THIS WEEK
ANARCHIST WORLD THIS WEEK POSTER AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF A FEW STAMPS
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 and we'll send you out a colour poster (A3) for your use and a black & white poster you can photocopy and put up to help us increase the number of people who listen to the Anarchist World This Week.
REGIONAL ANARCHIST FLAG
5 feet x 3 feet approximately 175cm x 110cm, Cost $25.00 (includes postage within Australia), $35.00 (Inc. postage air-mail overseas).
The Black represents the International Anarchist Flag. The Black Flag negates all borders and all flags. The four stripes (red, green, yellow, blue) represent the dominant colours of the Aboriginal Flag (red and yellow) and the Torres Strait Islander Flag (green and blue). The red stripe represents the blood spilt during colonisation. The green represents the land. The yellow the sun. The blue the sea. Quotes available for larger and smaller flags and for bulk orders. Make out cheques and money orders to: LIBERTARIAN WORKERS PO Box 20, Parkville 3052 Melbourne Australia.
DEBT ELIMINATION APPEAL - PUSH US OVER THE LINE
Our debt stands at $782.60. We would like to eliminate this debt by June. Over the past two years we have been able to reduce our debt from over $3000.00 to a little over $800.00. If you've hesitated helping us overcome our debt because you didn't want to throw good money after bad, well you don't need to worry as we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We need a little bit of extra help to push us over the line. So if you haven't helped before and want to help, make out cheques or money orders to Libertarian Workers and send it to L.W.S.S. PO Box 20 Parkville 3052 Melbourne, Australia. THANKS!!
ANARCHIST AGE MONTHLY REVIEW BACK!! - ISSUE NO.80 OF THE ANARCHIST AGE MONTHLY REVIEW WILL APPEAR IN EARLY JULY 1998 AFTER A TWELVE MONTH BREAK Subscribers to the AAMR have received complimentary copies of the AAWR during this period. AS WE DON'T WANT TO SUSPEND PUBLICATION IN THE FUTURE - ONLY SUBSCRIBERS WILL RECEIVE THE AAMR
NEW SUBSCRIPTION RATES:- * $48.00 - 12 issues WAGE EARNERS * $30.00 - 12 issues NON WAGE EARNERS. Please make out cheques and money orders to LIBERTARIAN WORKERS and post to PO Box 20, Parkville 3052 Melbourne Australia.
WAR ON THE WHARFIES WEB PAGE - http://www.users.bigpond.com/Takver/soapbox/index.htm
ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE OBSCENITY OF THE WEEK
Must go to the father of half a million dead, the one and only Mr. Ten percent, who else but Soeharto the Butcher for over thirty years devotion to his and his families welfare.
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.
P U B L I C A T I O N S
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
Anarchist Age Monthly Review - Issue 80 out July 1998
$48.00 wage earners - 12 issues $30.00 non wage earners - 12 issues
Make out cheques or money orders to: Libertarian Workers, PO Box 20, Parkville, 3052 Victoria Australia.
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.
PARTY! PARTY! PARTY!
TO CELEBRATE 300 ISSUES OF THE ANARCHIST AGE WEEKLY REVIEW
"THURSDAY 28TH MAY, 8.00PM"
ROSS HOUSE, 247 FLINDERS LANE, MELBOURNE (Near Corner of Swanston Street)
BRING FOOD, DRINKS, MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL BRING YOURSELF AND YOUR FRIENDS, ANARRES ANARCHIST BOOKSHOP WILL HAVE A BOOKSTALL ON THE NIGHT
@@@@ ALL WELCOME @@@@