(AA) ++ AAWR 212

esperanto (lingvoj@lds.co.uk)
Fri, 16 Aug 1996 20:43:11 +0200

Anarchist Age Weekly Review

Number 212

12th - 18th August, 1996


The Federal government has decided to retain the 1-2 billion dollar diesel
fuel rebate that the mining and agricultural sector now enjoy. It's not
enough that many of Australia's most profitable corporations don't pay any
taxes, many also receive generous government welfare cheques. While the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission has sustained over 400
million dollars in cuts to its welfare budget over the next four years, the
corporate sector will receive over 3.6 billion dollars of government (our
taxes at work) welfare.

Over nine hundred million dollars of the yearly diesel fuel rebate finds its
way into the hands of large transnational corporations mostly overseas
owned. The other three hundred million dollars goes to approx. 120,000
family farms (about $2,500 per farm). I have no problem with the diesel
fuel rebate going to struggling family farms, but I see no reason why
welfare should be paid to trans-national corporations who don't even pay
taxes. No wonder the mining sectors were such generous contributors to the
Federal Coalition's election funds.

Anyone, even somebody with one synapsing neurone would have difficulty
reconciling the Coalition's continued welfare generosity to the corporate
sector while starving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of funds.


The butcher Suharto is getting desperate. As he gets older the father of
one million dead is beginning to worry about his future. In an effort to
silence all opposition Suharto the Butcher has mobilised his military goons
to wipe out the People's Democratic Party. The P.D.P. is a small party of
about 200 activists who have conveniently been blamed for the July 27th
riots. It's leader Budiman Sujatmiko was arrested on Monday and over 200
members (almost the full party membership) have been arrested since the 27th

In an extraordinary hamfisted attempt to crush any dissent Pramudya Toer,
Indonesia's foremost writer was summoned to the Attorney General's office.
Pramudya was arrested in 1996 and spent 14 long years in Suharto's
Indonesian Gulag. He is Indonesia's foremost living novelist and has had 38
books published. All his books have been BANNED in Indonesia. He is now
almost blind and suffers from constant police harassment. Pramudya is a
living symbol of freedom to all Indonesians. Long after Suharto the Butcher
is dead and forgotten Pramudya will be remembered. No wonder Suharto and
his cronies have hauled Pramudya in for questioning.


You've got to had it to Bernie Fraser, the current head of the Australian
Reserve Bank. Just as John Howard and Peter Costello thought they had seen
the last of Bernie Fraser, Bernie turned feral and shredded their post
budget celebration plans. The Coalition government was working towards a
wonderful budget plan. They planned to have their tough budget followed by
a Reserve Bank interest rate cut. As they crossed the t's and dotted the
i's in their pre-budget deliberations, they were patting themselves on the
back about how clever they were.

They planned to deliver a tough budget and claim that the budget was just
the medicine that was needed to deliver an interest rate cut. They didn't
plan on Bernie and the Labor Party appointed board of the Reserve Bank
pulling the rug from under them. With one deft stroke of the interest rate
knife Bernie was able to spoil their planned post budget celebrations.

As the Coalition looks for a suitable replacement for Bernie Fraser, the
Chief of the Reserve Bank is having the time of his life throwing stones at
the spokes of the Coalitions budget wagon. As John Howard tried to reclaim
some ground by raising the possibility of post budget interest rate cuts,
good old Bernie was telling a group of prominent business people at one of
those dreary business breakfasts, that irrespective of the budget's
contents, he didn't believe there would be any changes to interest rates.
Bernie seems to be hell bent on delivering a few short jabs to the
Coalition's midriffs before he is forced to find another job in a few months


You can always count on Victoria's finest to overreact whenever they're
confronted with any sign of resistance to their power. On Monday morning
the Kennett regime's praetorian guard used mounted police to clear a pathway
through 60 picketers at the A.C.I. plant in Spotswood Melbourne. In their
frantic attempts to open up a path for A.C.I. scabs they trampled a number
of picketers under foot. Considering that the trade unions had negotiated
to only put up symbolic resistance to the scabs, you are left wondering what
type of grey matter floats inside the skulls of many of Victoria's finest.

If they think that their show of force at the A.C.I. picket line on Monday
morning will put off picketers and supporters they haven't learnt the
lessons of the Richmond Secondary College baton charge in 1994. The main
problem facing picketers at the A.C.I. Spotswood plant in Melbourne is not
the excesses of the Kennett regime's finest. Their main problem is that
many trade unions are refusing to honour the A.C.I. picketers picket line.
It's one thing having a picket line broken by police supported scabs, it's
another thing having a picket line broken by other trade unionists. The
sacked A.C.I. maintenance workers will not be able to win their struggle
unless trade unionists refuse to break their picket lines.


Anybody who had the misfortune of tuning into the Olympic coverage on
Channel Seven would have been exposed to the inane mutterings of the Atlanta
Olympics main sponsors. In an attempt to keep their sponsors happy the
Olympic game organisers forced the Para Olympic movement to solely rely on
the Olympic Game sponsors. Traditionally the Para Olympics, a world wide
gathering of disabled athletes is held two weeks after the finish of the
Olympic games. In many ways the Para Olympic games are a worldwide showcase
of the human spirit. It's one thing to put in your best performance when
everything is functioning normally, it's another thing to participate and
compete in sporting events if you have a major disability.

As Para Olympians from across the globe gather in Atlanta to conduct the
Para Olympics they are beginning to find out that they are seen as little
more than nuisances by segments of the corporate world. In an attempt to
maintain selective corporate control over the Olympic movement the Para
Olympians were forced to negotiate with the same dreary sponsors that
sponsored the Olympics. In a slap in the face for disabled athletes, the
golden arches crowd has decided that it won't sponsor the Para Olympic
games. Possibly the guru's who run hamburger heaven don't think they can
extract a profit by selling burgers to the disabled. So much for the
caring, sharing people at McDonalds!


There are few things that make me sick. Unfortunately I felt sick, very
very sick on Monday afternoon. While driving my trusty steed in pursuit of
an honest buck my eardrums were assailed by the dulcet tones of Bonaparte
Keating. It looks like somebody has had the time and believe it or not the
inclination to write a 600 page tome on Australia's beloved former Prime

I almost went through a red traffic light as I listened to the world's
greatest former treasurer wax lyrical about his time in parliament and his
contribution to the nation. The man who deregulated the banking system,
fathered the accord and free floated the dollar wants us to think that over
the past thirteen years he made a positive contribution to Australian
society. The only good thing about the interview was the fact that there's
normally very little interest in former Prime Minsters and if we're lucky,
very luck, Paul Keating's autobiography will find itself in the publishers
remnants bin in the next few weeks. We can only live in hope his
autobiography will not hit the best seller lists.


You can always tell how interesting a news item is looking at the number of
newspaper inserts that a particular story generates. Over the past week
insert after insert has been produced that claims we are not alone. Combing
through these inserts we have been told that life may have existed on Mars
three or four billion years ago.

When you look at the story a bit more closely, you'll note that a team of
United States scientists have said that they may have discovered life on
Mars because sections of a meteorite found in Antarctica 10 years ago has a
distinctive appearance that suggests single cell organisms existed on Mars.

Being a naturally suspicious soul, I think that all the fuss that surrounds
their finding is more likely to be related to N.A.S.A.'s attempts to raise
public money for their space program, than the possibility that this
meteorite somehow indicates that we are not alone.


There's one very important point about Amanda Vanstones gift to the
education sector that most commentators have failed to mention. If you go
beyond the cuts and the changes to the student contribution scheme you come
to a little item that will change the very nature of tertiary education in
Australia. The Coalition government has in its wisdom decided to allow
universities to offer 20% of their tertiary places to full fee paying students.

With one stroke of a pen the Federal government has begun the long march to
make education a privilege for those who can afford it. Education is no
longer a right for those people who have the capacity and will to undertake
tertiary studies. Next year the government will only be funding 80% of
places in tertiary institutions, the rest will be opened up for whoever has
the up front cash to tackle a course. The following year the government may
decide to fund only 50% of tertiary places and allow the rest to be sold to
the highest bidder. This changes has more ramifications than all the budget
cuts and increased student charges have.

In a few years time we'll find ourselves in the same dreary predicament most
Australians were faced with in the 1950's and 1960's where tertiary
institutions were the preserve of people with means. The few positions that
were available to the bulk of the population were funded by a highly
competitive scholarship scheme. It's no accident that the Federal
government has made 6,000 scholarships available to students who may not be
able to afford fees. The mob that believes they were born to rule has
regained the tertiary ramparts and has once and for all buried that enduring
Australian myth that tertiary education is a right not a privilege.


The murder of taxi driver Peter Coe in Melbourne in January this year and
the subsequent trial and sentencing of the thirteen year old boy for his
murder highlights everything that is wrong with the Victorian Kennett
Regime. The current State government has given public assets away to the
private sector. They have also conducted full blown campaigns against
community services, health, education and the welfare sector.

The boy who murdered Peter Coe was in State care, the residents who died in
the fire at Kew Cottages were in State care. Many children who have
suicided or who have died accidentally have been in State care. Many of the
children who are shunted from home to home and many of the children who are
forced to eke out an existence on the margins of society are in State care.
The Victorian State government has failed to even meet the basic physical
needs of children in State care let alone their emotional and psychological

As the Kennett regime lets Crown Casino rake in the profits, as it bank
rolls the Australian Grand Prix, as it is making plans to hold celebrations
to mark its fourth year in office more and more people are asking themselves
whether this government has got its priorities in the right order. Peter
Coe's mum continues to blame the Victorian State government and community
services for her son's death. It's about time people demanded that a Royal
Commission be held into the Kennett Regime's scandalous neglect of children
in Victoria. The Federal Senate would do all Australian's a favour by
calling an inquiry into the Kennett Regime's pathetic record in looking
after the welfare of children it its care.


It's fascinating isn't it. Twenty one years after the Regent Theatre was
saved from demolition by a black ban imposed by the Builders Labourers
Federation, the Kennett regime and the consortium that renovated the Regent
are now claiming that they saved this old dame. Well boys and girls you're
wrong, if it wasn't for the Builders Labourers Federation there would be NO
Regent Theatre.


Q. Why are Anarchist so keen about rotating positions of authority?

A. Anarchists are keen to rotate people in positions of authority because
they understand the limitations of human nature. An anarchist community is
based on the devolution of power. Even if decisions are made in an
egalitarian manner, structures and individuals are required to carry out
particular decisions. Although delegates may have limited mandates, they
still have real power. How delegates conduct themselves and how they
co-ordinate decisions with other delegates gives them this power.

Although it's comfortable for people to perform the same function within a
community or a group, the potential exists for that particular individual to
acquire a great deal of power. One way of limiting an individuals access to
power is by rotating people through a series of positions. Every group and
community should seriously consider limiting the time a particular
individual can perform a particular task. As far as delegates are concerned
it's important that different delegates are used at different times in
different groups.

The rotation of delegates and the rotation of some tasks within a community
or group helps to prevent the rise of an unofficial hierarchy and power
elite. Even the office of the President of the United States, arguably the
most powerful on earth is only allowed to be filled by the same person for
two terms. Rotation of positions, limited mandates and the power that a
local assembly has to recall a delegate are all mechanisms that can be used
to prevent the concentration of power in a few hands. Whether these
mechanisms work or not is determined by peoples participation in the
decision making process.

It doesn't matter how many attempts a group or community makes to rotate a
particular position, it won't work unless people are willing to take on that
position. In our society it can be difficult to fill these positions
because most people realise that most individuals and for that matter groups
have very little power as far as decision making processes are concerned.
An anarchist community or group relies on the people involved in a decision
to make that decision. If people are involved in the decision making
process they would be expected to have a greater interest in ensuring that
their decisions are carried out. You would expect that in such a community
you would not have any problems finding people who would want to be delegates.


Whether we are young, old, male, female, gay straight, black, yellow or
white, there's something we can all do to help create an anarchist society.
Each and every one of us can become involved in activity that creates a
climate for egalitarian social change. Change just doesn't occur. Change
happens because people expect and work for change. What direction social
movements move towards depends to a large degree on the climate of change
that is prevalent at the time. Anybody who has been involved in radical
activity knows how difficult it can be to survive let alone flourish when
the dominant climate is opposed to what you are trying to do.

Everyone of us can become involved in activity that has an effect on the
prevailing climate. Just by talking to the people around us and putting
forward a different point of view to the prevailing point of view is one
very simple way we can change the social climate. It's important that we
don't bite our tongue and don't articulate our viewpoint on a particular
issue. More importantly we should try to create a feeling that change is
not only necessary but is possible today not tomorrow.

Although it's difficult to introduce change on a mass scale, it's much
easier to encourage people and organisations to change on a one to one
basis. If those of us who want to live in an anarchist community are not
willing to articulate our thoughts to the people we live and work with, then
we can't expect other people to articulate these ideas. You don't need to
be involved in a particular activity to help create a climate for change.
If you're willing to express your ideas chances are you may be able to
influence the people around you and they in turn may influence the people
around them.

Don't expect that things will change over night. They won't. Creating a
climate for change is a life long activity. By trying to change what we
find individually and collectively offensive is in itself part of the
process of change. Try to remember what drew you to anarchist ideas,
analyse the process you went through and use your experiences to help create
a climate for change. Egalitarian social change is possible, practical and
can occur overnight. Whether it occurs or not depends to a large degree on
our ability to create a movement that wants such change. Creating a climate
for egalitarian social change is something that all of us can do. Change
will not occur unless we are willing to articulate our ideas and encourage
other people to take up these ideas.


Although anarchist groups have existed in Australia since 1886, the first
Federation of Australian Anarchist was not formed until 1976. The
Federation included groups in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and
Perth. It existed for about 12 months and eventually folded in late 1977.
The Federation was formed in 1976 after a particularly torturous national
conference in Sydney.

The F.A.A. produced a bi-monthly news letter. Each city took it in turn to
produce the newsletter. Apart from the newsletter, the Federation was not
involved in any major activity. The failure of the Australian Anarchist
Federation highlights the importance of strong local groups. Many of the
people who formed the Federation, thought that the Federation would
encourage local anarchist activity. Unfortunately they seemed to have
forgotten that the formation of a Federation is normally a consequence of
strong local groups not vice versa. No Federation can survive without the
backing of local groups.

As more and more anarchist groups are established across Australia, it's
possible that the background can be laid for a new Federation of Australian
Anarchist groups.


Our good mate Hawke call me Bob has just delivered an extraordinary lecture
to a mob of Suharto's friends in Djakarta. Just two weeks after a series of
demonstrations that have rocked the confidence of the military dictatorship
in Indonesia, good old Bob Hawke is there rubbing shoulders with the major
supporters and major beneficiaries of the Indonesian military machine. As
he stood there basking in their collective glow, he burst into a dance of
adulation which left nobody in doubt about his fondness for the Indonesian
military machine.

As far as Bob is concerned, human rights are not universal concepts. They
need to be tailored to suit local conditions. Those dangerous
revolutionaries in the United States Congress (according to our mate Bob's
view of the world) are wrong when they criticise the good burghers of the
Indonesian economic miracle for their record on human rights. Look Bob I
hate to criticise your insights into the world but economic development in
Indonesia really has little if anything to do with the current military
dictatorship. Suharto and his cronies are raking so much off the top even
United States transnational corporations are finding it difficult to make a
buck. If they are having trouble think about the difficulty Indonesians are
having, no wonder Suharto and his cronies are hated by so many Indonesians.
In case you think that Bob's ideas are aberrant and that the Labor Party is
a paragon of virtue, all you have to do is look at the opinions, words and
actions of Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating "leaders extraordinaire" of the
Labor Party. It looks like the Labor Party is the biggest thing Suharto and
his cronies have going for them in Australia. Thank you Bob, mate, for
doing us the favour of showing us how you feel about your mates in
Indonesia. It's good to know Suharto and his cronies still have a few mates
in Australia.
Joseph Toscano/Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society.
EKINAREN EKINAZ No.2 August'96, C/Uribarri 4-10, Apdo.89, 18970 Basauri -
Bizkaia, Spain. Tel 94/4401057 Fax 4263372 ***
FREEDOM Vol 57 No.15 3rd August'96, Freedom Press in Angel Alley, 84b
Whitechapel High St, London E17QX, Great Britain.
http://www.lglobal.com/TAO/Freedom ***
UMANITA NOVA 28th April'96 76th year, Italino Rossi, CP 90 - 55046 Querceta
(LU), Italy. ***
Socialist Studies No.20, Socialist Party of Great Britain, 71 Ashbourne Crt,
Woodside Park Rd, London N128SB. ***

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Goes to Senator Amanda (I didn't pay for my degrees) Vanstone for changing
the education goal posts so that access to education for Australians will be
a privilege not a right.