(AA) ++ Anarchist Age Weekly Review

esperanto (lingvoj@lds.co.uk)
Fri, 25 Oct 1996 20:05:53 +0200

Number 222

20th - 26th October, 1996


The end of the 20th Century has seen the State revert back to its core
function. Twentieth century history can be characterised as a period when
the State took on a number of peripheral functions that made many people
think the State was their ally. The great majority of 20th Century labour
and radical activists have linked successful social struggle with the
struggle to control and extend the power and functions of the State. It's
no accident that in the 20th Century the State began to provide social
services, health, education and birth to cradle care for its citizens.

Most radical social and revolutionary activists felt that the best way to
achieve social progress was through the State apparatus. The State through
taxation has bankrolled public utilities, transport services and a hundred
and one other functions during the century. Throughout the 20th Century
mass social action has forced the State to provide more and more services
for its citizens. During the immediate post W.W.II period most people saw
the State as their ally and their security blanket, few saw the State as an
agent of social control.

The more anarchists talked about the potential problems of State
intervention the more they became marginalised and irrelevant.

The late 20th Century has been marked by a major shift in the State's role.
All around us governments are divesting themselves of public utilities and
placing them in the hands of the private sector. The State is reverting
back to its core function - social control. The incorporation of the labour
movement into mainstream society and the legal system has been accompanied
by a major decrease in worker militancy. The workplace and community
militancy that forced the State apparatus to provide services for working
people has been replaced by a working up the right channels culture that has
allowed political parties and the ruling class to literally give away public
assets to the private sector.

As people begin to lose the gains made by their parents and grandparents and
as the State divests itself of its peripheral functions, more and more
people are beginning to realise that the security they enjoy is not provided
by the State or those who own the means of production, distribution and
exchange. They realise it's provided by people becoming involved in groups
and organisations that demand and win struggles against the ruling class and
the State. As the State reverts to its core function of providing
protection to those with power and wealth more and more people are beginning
to realise that the only way they can win their freedom and security is by
abolishing the State and replacing it with a federation of community and
workplace councils that are based on egalitarian principles.


Jackie Kelly's victory in the Lindsay by-election in Sydney's Western
suburbs has been hailed as the high point of the Howard governments current
parliamentary term. The Lindsay by-election result has highlighted the
changing political and social landscape in this country. Considering the
poor week the Coalition had before last Saturdays election, it's surprising
that the Coalition government won, so handsomely returned.

When you think about the Coalitions victory, you realise how alienated
people have become with the Labor Party. For over twelve years working
people waited for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. For twelve
years they waited for the accord to deliver them some relief. As the Labor
Party forgot its traditional heartlands, its supporters began to believe the
Coalition's rhetoric. It will take some time before people begin to realise
that the Coalition governments policies will only add to the problems they
now suffer. Blaming the victims may give electors a warm fuzzy internal
glow, but it won't change the alienation they feel.

As long as the Coalition can play the divide and rule game and convince
electors that their insecurity is linked to the High Courts Mabo decision
and the current level of immigration, we can expect the Coalition to
continue to win elections. As soon as people realise that all they can
expect in the future is crumbs from the corporate table their feelings about
the current government will change dramatically. The hatred that is now
directed at indigenous Australians and immigrants will be directed towards
the political process and political parties and possibly it may be directed
at those sections in society that own the means of production, distribution
and exchange.

Unless Australians are willing to direct their anger at those national and
transnational corporations and individuals who control society they will
continue to scramble for the corporate crumbs, that the coalition and Labor
Party have so judiciously managed on their behalf.


It was refreshing to hear the lack of bitterness in the voices of Tjandmurra
O'Shane's parents when they thanked Australians for rallying behind their
son. Tjandmurra was the six year old boy who was playing in the playground
of a Primary School in Cairns when he was approached by a stranger, doused
in petrol and ignited. He would have died if the school principal had not
caught him and extinguished the flames with his bare hands. Most
Australians were shocked by the ferocity and senseless nature of the attack.

As Tjandmurra fought for his life people around the country rallied round
and offered support to Tjandmurra and his family. A week after the attack
Tjandmurra's parents held a press conference in Cairns to thank all those
people that had sent their support and best wishes. In a remarkable
interview they handled the media in a dignified and courageous manner. They
showed little rancour towards the man who has been charged with causing
Tjandmurra's burns and through their interview they have done more for the
reconciliation process between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians
than all the politicians and political parties have done this year.

Their remarkable example stands in direct contrast to the example set by the
prophets of racial hatred that have been feted by the mass media this year.
When you compare the behaviour of those members of our community who have
attacked indigenous people in this country with the behaviour of
Tjandmurra's parents you realise that for every bigot and racist in our
community there are dozens of people who believe in and are willing to fight
for reconciliation.


The Australian Foreign Affairs department has suffered one of its worst
defeats this decade. In an extraordinary move the United Nations voted
against Australia's inclusion in the United Nations Security Council.
Anybody who had kept an eye on the department of Foreign Affairs manoeuvring
in the United Nations would be forgiven for thinking that Australia's
election to the Security Council was better than a sure thing.

Imagine the Coalition governments surprise on Tuesday when they found out
that Sweden and Portugal had been elected as temporary members of the
Security Council. In an attempt to dampen any criticism of the Coalition
government and the department of Foreign Affairs rumours began circulating
that Portugal had bribed its way on to the Security Council.

Well for whoever is interested in a few home truths, The Foreign Affairs
Department's chickens have finally come home to roost. Successive
Australian governments have pursued a policy of supporting the Indonesian
Military dictatorship to the hilt. Sections of the Australian Foreign
Affairs department have been politically in the Suharto regimes pocket.
Australia is about the only country in the world that has supported
Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. Irrespective of the spin the Department
of Foreign Affairs spin doctors put on Australia's inability to be elected
to the Security Council, the two main reasons why the world does not want
Australia in the Security Council, is Australia's support of Indonesia's
annexation of East Timor and the resurrection of the old White Australia
Policy in this country.


The Tobacco Industry has asked the Federal Court to place an injunction on a
National Health and Medical Research project because they are unhappy that
the N.H.R.M.C. research project has shown that passive smoking causes
increased levels of respiratory disease and lung cancer. They claim the
N.H.R.M.C. has not put enough emphasis on other research that shows that
passive smoking does not cause respiratory disease and cancer. Instead of
fighting their case in the research journals where claim and counter claim
are traditionally aired, the Tobacco Institute is attempting to use the
courts to muzzle research results they are unhappy with and don't agree with.

The Tobacco Institutes attempts to get the courts to intervene in research
results sets a very dangerous precedent. If they are able to have an
injunction placed on the National Health and Medical Research Council
working parties paper on the consequences of passive smoking, they will open
the flood gates to endless court challenges that will ensure that no
controversial research findings will ever be published.

Their efforts need to be resisted, not only on the legal front but
practically. Media outlets should publish research results and be damned.
If the Tobacco Institute's assault on the dissemination of ideas is not
tackled head on we will never have access to information that's likely to
put a dent in the profits of individuals and corporations.


They both had general elections this week and many of the punters decided
that there was no point in voting. In Lithuania's second general election
since they quit the former Soviet Union only 50% of eligible voters bothered
to cast a ballot. In an amazing sophisticated display one in two electors
felt that it was useless participating in the elections because power does
not lie in parliament. Considering the number of people that troop to the
polls in Australia and New Zealand, it's heartening to see so many voters
reject parliamentary rule in Lithuania.

Although the situation in Japan is very different to the situation in
Lithuania, only 55% of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot in Japan's
general elections. The same disillusionment with the parliamentary system
that is rife in Lithuania is being experienced in Japan. Electors know that
their vote doesn't mean much. They know that power lies in the upper
echelons of the permanent bureaucracy and in the boardrooms of national and
transnational corporations. They know that it doesn't matter who they vote
into power. The parliamentary system is under challenge. It's under
challenge in many parts of the world. People are sick and tired in
participating in the farce that's called democracy, they want something more
than the parliamentary system can offer.


Community radio station 4ZZZ held a fund raiser at Musgrave Park near
Southbank on Saturday night. Over 6,000 people braved the elements to lend
4ZZZ a hand. As thunderstorms struck at around 8.30 pm some of the fans
moved to the covered licensed areas to shelter from the storm. As people
poured out of the park in an effort to find shelter, sixty riot police in
riot gear, the police public response team and military police began to lay
into the concert goers.

Police arrested over sixty concert goers while breaking up the Musgrave Park
crowd. 4ZZZ has been a thorn in the side of various Queensland State
governments and Queensland police. Some members of the Queensland Police
force used the concert as an excuse to get their own back on 4ZZZ. Both the
Queensland Justice Commission and the Federal Ombudsman have been asked to
investigate claims of police brutality on the night. Irrespective of the
degree of police harassment 4ZZZ will continue to pump out ideas and music
that are a thorn in the side of the Queensland police and the Queensland


Q. Are anarchists racists?

A. Anarchism is a political and social philosophy that encompasses all
human beings irrespective of their racial origins. Although anarchism is
not a racist philosophy, anarchists have occasionally been labelled racist
because of their refusal to accept a particular racial groups cultural
practices. Many people confuse culture and race. Although different racial
groups may have different cultural and religious practices the rejection of
some racially based cultural practices by anarchists does not make those
anarchists racists.

Anarchist activists reject cultural practices that reinforce hierarchies and
authoritarianism. They support cultural practices that are
anti-authoritarian and that break down hierarchies. The rejection of
cultural practices that reinforce hierarchy that maybe practised by a
particular racial group does not constitute racism. Unless activists are
willing to take up questions of inequality and personal freedom in whatever
cultural setting they find themselves in, nothing will change.

Any individual or group irrespective of their racial origin is welcome into
the anarchist community. Anarchists also accept the establishment of groups
that have a common history of oppression. If this means that a particular
racial group wants to set up an anarchist group to organise around their
common oppression then as anarchist we support the establishment of racially
based groups that are organised on egalitarian principles.

Historically race has been intertwined with culture and exploitation. Any
racial group that believes its destiny and survival is determined by the
oppression of another racial group needs to be vigorously resisted. Any
racial group that has cultural practices that deny freedom to people within
and outside their racial group needs to be challenged.

By challenging inequality anarchists reinforce the idea that no one racial
group is better than any other racial group. By following such a strategy
anarchists help to break down the distrust born of oppression and
dispossession that characterises relationships between many racial groups on
this planet. Unless we challenge racism we will never be able to create an
egalitarian community.


One of the most memorable moments I've had was in Seoul in South Korea in
1994. While having coffee in a local coffee shop with some of the local
Korean Anarchists, Choy Kap Ryong a ninety one year old anarchist jumped
onto one of the tables and spontaneously sang a turn of the century Italian
anarchist love song. Anyone who has heard Joan Baez sing "I dreamt I saw
Joe Hill last night" would understand the power of music.

Apart from a little bit of punk music, not much new music has been written
with an anarchist theme. As the anarchist movement grows it's important that
music and songs are developed that represent our ideas and aspirations.
Considering the amount of new music that's produced it's surprising that
such a dearth of anarchist music exists. Music has become a commodity
that's massaged and marketed for a mass audience. It's difficult to produce
music that's commercially successful, it's even more difficult to distribute
music and songs that are not directed at an overtly commercial market.

The internet provides a method of communication that gives non-commercial
music an airing outside the commercial networks. As anarchists we need to
encourage and support people who are willing to produce music and songs that
encapsulate our aspirations and hopes. Unless we assist up and coming
musicians and song writers they will either move holus bolus into the
commercial sector or give up in disgust.

The Anarchist Media Institute is happy to give exposure to musicians and
song writers who produce anarchist material on The Anarchist World This
Week, an anarchist current affairs programme that's heard on 3CR a radio
station in Melbourne. If you can't make it live send a demonstration tape
or C.D. and we will play it on 3CR. We're also happy to have anarchist
musicians come along to our public meetings and begin the meetings with a
few songs.

We're very keen to give exposure to musicians and song writers who produce
material with anarchist themes on the internet. We may be able to assist
anarchist musicians and song writers access the internet through our home
page. So if you've got some anarchist music or songs you want people to
hear, give us a call and we'll see what we can do. The Anarchist Media
Institute and the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society also
encourage other anarchist groups across the country to support anarchist
musicians and song writers. We need them more than they need us.


The first Australian reading of Dario Fo's play Accidental Death of an
Anarchist was performed in Melbourne in late 1982 by members of the
Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society. The reading was performed
at the Flying Trapeze Theatre restaurant in Brunswick St. Fitzroy. Dario
Fo's play is a tragic political farce based on the Accidental death of
Giuseppe Pinelli a member of a Milan based anarchist group who "accidentally
fell" (pushed) from the 6th floor of the Milan Police Headquarters in 1969.

The Melbourne Theatre company ran a six week season of Accidental Death of
an Anarchist at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne in 1983. Members of the
Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society approached the Melbourne
Theatre Company in an attempt to gain permission to set up a display of
posters about Giuseppe Pinnelli's death in the foyer of the theatre. They
were refused permission to set up a display as the management was concerned
about the political ramifications of such a display. Considering Dario Fo's
play is a political farce surrounding the death of Giuseppe Pinelli their
refusal to let the Libertarian Workers set up a display added to the
farcical nature of the play.

The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society set up a picket line
outside the theatre and handed out leaflets about the play and about the
Melbourne Theatre Company's refusal to let them set up a display. They
conducted their picket every night the play was on. By the end of the third
week the ushers at the Athenaeum would come out at interval and take in
leaflets which they handed to theatre patrons who had not received leaflets
when they came in. Many theatre patrons would come out at interval and
discuss the play with the picketers.


John Howard's refusal to criticise Pauline Hanson's utterances is beginning
to cast a bit of a shadow on the country's profit and loss ledger. As
Australia's economy becomes intrinsically linked with the Asian economy,
what our neighbours think of us can have a major effect on Australia's
economic well being. It looks like the tourist industry is becoming a wee
bit concerned about Johnnies tandem ride with Pauline.

Irrespective of how hard they market the country's fauna and flora, tourists
are not going to pick up their airline tickets to Australia if they believe
that Australia is inhabited by a tribe of Pauline and Johnnie look alikes.
Influential members of the tourist industry and other Australian export
industries are begging Johnnie to show a little bit of spunk and dump
Pauline. Unfortunately for everyone involved in the tourist and export area
Johnnie seems to be enjoying his tandem ride with Pauline and has no
intention of saying anything that may interfere with his plans for
re-election. Unlike Bonaparte Keating, Johnnie doesn't want to be seen as a
one term wonder and if he has to ride tandem with Pauline to win he will.

The I love you Pauline fanclubs that have sprung up across the nation, may
begin to sing a different tune when they realise that what few regional jobs
now exist in Australia are increasingly dependent on tourism. It doesn't
take long for a tourist based economy to fall apart when the tourists decide
to go to a more tourist friendly part of the globe.

Unhappily for Johnnie and Pauline their indigenous bashing rhetoric also has
similar implications for Australia's number one industry, the tourist
industry. An increasing number of overseas tourists came to this country to
experience and make contact with indigenous cultures. Unless increasing
numbers of Australians are willing to put a stick in the spokes of the
Pauline and Johnnie tandem show, the country's unacceptable levels of
unemployment will sky rocket. As the plans for the Sydney Olympics unfold
it would be a pity to see the world boycott the event because Johhnie only
has eyes for Pauline.

Joseph Toscano/Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society.

EL LIBERTARIO Vol 1 No.5 Aug'96, E. Tesora, Apdo Postal 6303, Carmelitas,
Carocas D.F., Venezuela. ****
LE LIBERTAIRE No.169 Sept/Oct'96, 25 Rue Dum_ D'Aplemont, 76600 Le Havre,
France. Tel 48414594 ***
LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE No.1052 26th Sept-2nd Oct'96, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011
Paris, France. Tel 48053408. Fax 49299859.
Internationalism No.95 Sept-Nov'96, PO Box 288, New York N.Y. 10018-0288,
United States.



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Has to go to the Prime Minister John Howard for changing his honesty in
government guidelines when he found most of his Cabinet Ministers were
thumbing their noses at his guidelines. That's real leadership for you.