(AA) ++ AAWR 9th June 1996

esperanto (lingvoj@lds.co.uk)
Sat, 15 Jun 1996 02:22:08 +0200


Mabo Day passed almost unnoticed throughout Australia. Apart
from the Torres Strait regional authority declaring a public holiday
in the Torres Strait, few others realised the significance of this day.
Four years ago on June 3rd 1992, the Australian High Court
recognised the blatantly obvious fact that this continent was
inhabited before European colonisation in 1788. Two hundred and
four years after the colonisation of this continent the judicial
system recognised the fact the "Terra Nullius" was a myth.

Mabo Day marks the beginning of Australians' attempts to come to
terms with the fact that all non-indigenous Australians are
beneficiaries of a brutal bloody conflict that almost wiped out the
indigenous people that had occupied this land mass for over
40,000 years. It's strange that such little attention was paid to this
important day. Mabo Day is not about guilt. It's about forging new
links with those whose ancestors were dispossessed with the
advent of white colonisation.

Mabo Day gives all of us the opportunity to look at our
background and look at ways that we as individuals and groups
can promote the reconciliation process that is necessary if we are
to feel at peace on this continent. Instead of us recognising our
history, we tend to ignore and bury it. The way Mabo Day has
been handled this year reinforces the fact that most Australians
and Australian institutions are uncomfortable about the past. They
would prefer to bury not exarnine Ihe past. As long as we continue
to bury the past the reconciliation process will never leave the
starting box.

When you look at the pathetic public holidays we are saddled with
(The Queen's birthday to name one) you realise how little attention
is being paid to this important day. If a public holiday was
declared on the 3rd June, people would have the opportunity to
reflect and pay their respects to those who have been dispossessed.
If Mabo Day was a publi, holiday ceremonies could be carried ou
across the nation that helped people t@ bridge the chasm that
exists between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

On the third of June this year Australian missed an opportunity to
begin the reconciliation process. Hopefully over the next few years
more and more Australians will stop to think about what Mabo
Day means to all of us. Whether we're indigenous or not, Mabo
Day is; day that should be etched on our memorie.c

As people take to the streets in pro an anti gun rallies the
underlying assumptions behind the gun debate are beginning to be
aired. The single most important point about this whole debate is
whether people can trust the State to defend them. Historically the
State has been the greatest vehicle for mass murder in human
history. People who are involved in pro-gun rallies are talking
about the right to defend themselves Where you ask tl c@m
a,@ainst who, the begin talking about the mythical Asian hordes.
When you question them furllle many raise the point that you can't
trust the .@ t@

It's all very well to say that the Slate is there to protect us. The
reality is the State is there to protect the status quo. Th mythical
separation of powers is just that a myth. Irrespective of how strong
th judiciary is, the reality facing most of u is that power resides in
the S tate apparatus and we can't rely on the State to protect the
rights of individuals. So when tens of thousands take to the street
protesting about the proposed changes to gun laws, they are in
essence saying that they don't trust the State to protect them.
As an anarchist activist I have certain sympathies for the pro-gun
lobby. I have little if any time for some of the drivel that comes out
of the gun lobby's mouths, but I recognise the basis of their
paranoia. That paranoia is not based on the fear of attack by
individuals, but it is based on the fear of what people will do if the
State turns on them. It's no accident that some people are turning
the gun debate into a debate about the power of the State and what
individual citizens can do if the State uses that power against its
own citizens.
It's no accident that some of the most stringent gun laws
(mandatory execution for possession of a gun) are found in some
of the worst dictatorships in the world. It's no accident that some
of the most liberal gun laws are found in parliamentary
democracies The gun debate is about power alld control. Do you
give power to a centralised State and hope against hope that the
State will protect your interests or do you arm the people to ensure
that no S tate feels powerful enough to ride roughshod over
The gun debate is here to stay. Whether people give up their semi-
automatic guns or not relies to a large degree on whether they trust
the State to be the sole anned entity in a community. Centralised
States rely on military power to maintain their hold over the
population. Decentralised communities rely on active participation
in community processes. The gun debate is essentially a debate
about power, who should hold it and how it should be utilised.

There they all were, putting up their hands to get their fifteen
minutes of fame. Victoria's finest, our wonderful political stars j
ostled with each otller in their attempts to talk about the
Pennington report. In one of those lapses of judgement that poor
old Jeffrey Kennett is famous for, he established a committee of
"eminent" Victorians to look at the law and social consequences of
illegal drug use in Victoria. In one of the better reports on this
question that I have seen, the committee proposed that education,
better treatment program decriminalisation, possible legalisation
o@ marijuana use for personal consumption and the establishment
of intensive ea@ment programs for hard dru addiction where the
addict is considere to have a medical problem not he criminal .

As they stand up and strut their stuff, it interesting to hear the
garbage that seem to be pouring out of their mouths. A Victoria s
politicians examine th Pennington report it's obvious most are not
interested in drug reform. Some if no most are making the right
noises as far a education is concerned, most ver possibly the
majority still seem to want t treat drug addiction in a criminal
manner Every drug dealer in Victoria must b rubbing their hands
in glee as they liste . to the debate. In one small swoop th .
Victorian government has the opportunity to put most of these
parasites out o . business
Instead of decriminalising drug addictio it looks like Victoria's
political master ; are going to opt to retain if not strengthe the
criminal sanctions in Victoria's dru laws. Even if the current bill is
passed i the lower house (which at present seem highly unlikely) it
will be overturned i the u,nI@er house. During the recent State
election campaign Kennett was able t win a number of brownie
points from young voters by suggesting that decriminalisation of
marijuana use was on the political agenda.

He raised the hopes of tens of thousands of young Victorians in a
cynical ploy t buy votes. It will be interesting to se which way he
personally votes when th -politicians are asked to cast their ballot
If he votes against the Penningto recommendations he will be seen
to b@ just another self-serving politician wh@ will use every
means at his disposal t manipulate people and use any issue n
matter how emotive to score a few votes Well let's see what
happens, but don' hold your brea@ that the Penningto
r@ommendations will be accepted by th@ mob of self-seeking
political figures both Labour and Liberal that crawl around Spring

Remember the velvet revolution 6 years ago when millions of
Czechs poured out into the sLreets demanding the end of
Communism. Remember the impassioned speeches when millions
embraced freedom or what they thought was freedom. Well the
bubble has burst in the Czech Republic. In extraordinary election
results that mirror what has happened in Bulgaria, Romania,
Poland, Slovakia and what is happening in Russia and the Czechs.
The jewel in the Eastern European capitalist crown has just fallen
out. The Czech republic has been touted as the model of a country
@at has switched from a State capitalist economic model
(Communism) to a private capitalist model. The election that has
been seen as a key test of the current governments election
reforms, may be its swan song. In a poll cliff hanger the possibility
has arisen that the Czech lands former Communist masters may
find themselves back in power.

Looks like more survivors of the former Communist regimes are
finding out that capitalism does not bring security and freedom.
Unfortunately the East Europeans and Russians had the
opportunity to turn their part of the world into a libertarian sea
when the old Communist masters were swept from power. Instead
of seizing the means of production, distribution and exchange
which were literally tllere for the taking W@ he collapse of Ihe
Communist State, they decided to follow the privatisation path.
Welcoming private investor, giving away their assets to the private
sector, thinking that this is the only way that they could have
freedom and security. Looks like more and more survivors of the
Communist horrors are beginning to realise capitalism has nothing
to offer them.

Looks like the politics of fear have triumphed once again
Israel. The election of Netanyahu to the Israeli presidency
highlights the very difficult position the Israeli State finds itself
in. Almost fifty years after the creation of the Israeli State,
Israelis still fear and loathe the very Palestinians they displaced in
their quest for a new home land. The Netanyahu victory is a
victory for the fortress Israel mentality that has dominated
Israeli politics sillce its creation.

Not all Israelis welcomed the Netanyahu victory many almost
49.6% voted against him. The Netanyahu victory highlights the
stupidity of giving politicians power to make decisions for people.
Representative democracy by its very nature creates more
problems than it can solve. Instead of letting the people both
Israelis and Palestinians decide what should be done about the
peace process, the decisions about the peace process will now be
made in the Israeli parliament. The way forward for bo@l the
Israelis and the Palestinians lies in the formation of joint
communities, where both parties are able to co-exist on the same
land. Force may give Israel some temporary respite but it will
never solve the problems that are facing both the Israeli and
Palestinian people. The current peace process is a sham because it
eventually relies on the creation of two unequal States, one for
Palestinians the other for Israelis. The way forward for the peace
process lies in the hands of those Palestinians and Israelis who
believe that the only way to a lasting peace is co-existence and
mutual support. They do exist and their numbers are growing.
Hopefully the merchants of fear will be given their marching
orders in the near future.