(en) ++ AAWR

Philip McCrory (philmcc@melbpc.org.au)
Fri, 10 Jan 1997 21:05:51 +0000

A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/wind/ainfos.html AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA


Number 231

6th - 12th January, 1997

WIK WIK WIK WIK The recent Australian High Court decision that native title can co-exist with pastoral leases has set the cat among the pigeons. I found it amusing to see Premiers Court, Borbidge and Kennett and the National Farmers Federation froth at the mouth at the High Courts judgement. Listening to the emotional outpourings of these august gentlemen you'd think that civilisation as we know it was about to come to a sudden end.

Borbidge called for a referendum, Kennett, Court and the National Farmers Federation called for immediate Federal parliamentary legislation to overturn the High Court judgement. Acres of trees were destroyed to ensure that their pathetic outpourings filled the nations newspapers. Let's take a step back and examine the High Courts decision. The High Court has stated that native title can co-exist with pastoral leases.

Contrary to the National Farmers Federation outpourings most pastoral leases in Australia are not held in family farms, they are held by a relatively small group of transnational corporations. For a peppercorn rent these corporations can run cattle on lease holdings bigger than Tasmania. If there's one thing I learnt on my recent trip to central Australia, it's the way the land has been locked up by pastoral leases. Pastoral leases are normally run by managers on behalf of absentee landlords, staffed by poorly paid workers and normally need square miles of land to support one cow.

The High Court decision to allow pastoral leases and native tittle to co-exist gives some indigenous Australians who will never be able to return to their traditional lands, to have access to these lands, to hunt, to fish and to have access to sacred sites. What's so outrageous about allowing indigenous Australians access to land that's covered by pastoral leases. Why shouldn't both groups be able to co-exist on the same piece of land. Considering that most pastoral leases are held by national and transnational corporations, it shouldn't be too hard for most Australians to support the interests of indigenous Australians over the interests of the transnational sector. A NEVER ENDING CONVEYOR BELT OF INANE READING The good thing about holidays is that you can do things that you normally don't have the time or inclination to do. Travelling long distances by car and stopping at numerous road side stops, soon brings you into contact with reading material you only glance at while you're waiting for your shopping to be processed at the supermarket checkout. By the end of my eight thousand kilometre journey I had become a minor (very minor) expert on Kerry Packer's publishing empire.

I scanned Women's Day, New Idea, Women's Weekly, Post and countless other roadside publications. Delving into their contents, I was amazed at the lack of content and what passed as journalism in these incredible publications. After reading about the lives of the rich and infamous I felt like throwing up. It's very easy for me to make fun of these publications, but the facts are that Packer and his family make a very good living from peddling this trash.

People actually line up and snap up this material week after week after week. A significant proportion of the population seems to have a need to learn about Michael Jackson's latest escapade or the pathetic British Royals (or any other Royals for that matter) attempts to come to grips with their lives. Is it a form of escapism or is it something more? Is it cheap entertainment? Do people buy it for the recipes and stars, or does it fill a void in people's lives?

The popularity of Packers considerable stable of publications (some sell over one million copies per week) is a fact. Generations of women and men have gravitated towards such publications. Maybe just maybe they present a world that most people can only dream about. Maybe people just want to know what goes on in the bedrooms of the media's superheroes. Irrespective of the reason for their popularity, such publications provide a direct challenge to anybody who is interested in change. People buying these publications soon develop a world view that mirrors the inane content of the publications they read. If we're interested in social change we need to spend more time analysing why such publications are so successful while radical publications like the Anarchist Age Weekly Review are singularly so unsuccessful.

HERE WE GO AGAIN Unemployment up, consumer spending down, current account deficit up and economic insecurity up! up!! up!!! Same old story. While Johnnie and his mates enjoy their Chrissy break, many people are beginning to realise that the election of the Coalition government in March last year hasn't really changed the economic situation. It doesn't matter how many belts they tighten or how many levers the Reserve Bank pulls, nothing is going to change for the great majority of Australians.

The really frightening thing about capitalism is, that it's an economic and political system that only delivers economic miracles to a tiny proportion of the population. When the economy nose dives, those who suffer are those with the least financial reserves. It's no accident that the poorer are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. It's no accident that over six million Australians (over 30% of the population) are forced to rely on social security benefits to survive.

Irrespective of who wields power in parliament the economic situation is not going to improve. The 18th century economic policies that are being reintroduced into late 20th century Australia are a recipe for 18th century economic conditions.

The failure of Communism (State Capitalism) and the global crisis facing monopoly Capitalism are symptoms of economic systems that derive profits from exploitation of human needs not the satisfaction of human needs. Lower taxes, anti-monopoly laws and interest rate cuts can never overcome the short comings of an economic system based on the generation of profits.

Everywhere we turn we're told Capitalism is efficient and the only rational economic system. How can any economic system that keeps people in debt and that values the generation of profit over any other considerations have anything going for it. Anarchists want to remove the economic uncertainties that are the hallmark of Capitalism, they want to create an economic system that is based on the satisfaction of human needs, where no one person or monopoly controls the means of production, distribution and exchange. Whether we can build such an economic system within the cracks of the Capitalist system depends on our ability to highlight the deficiencies of the current economic system. Unless we can highlight the utter stupidity of an economy that benefits a few at the expense of the many, we will continue to go down the path of trying to reform an economy that is beyond reform.

SOUTH KOREA FARMER-STUDENT-WORKER ALLIANCE? South Korea is undergoing social and economic changes very similar to the social and economic changes that Australians are experiencing. South Korea's economic progress from a third world economy to an industrial giant in the space of one generation can be attributed to aggressive protection policies. Agriculture and industry have both benefited from policies that protect local industries from foreign competition.

The current wave of strikes that have paralysed South Korea's industry are a direct consequence of the governments attempts to deregulate the economy and destroy the trade union movement. South Koreans expect to have a job, unemployment rates are extremely low, family farms survive as a consequence of agricultural policies that protect local agricultural production. Last year South Korea was racked by farmer protests when the government attempted to deregulate the agricultural sector. Farmers, students and non-workers are all in conflict with the current government. Currently talks are going on between farmer, student and union representatives to form an alliance to take on the government head on. South Korea has a long history of people taking direct action against the State. The current round of industrial strife highlights the militant nature of large sections of the South Korean people.

THE TALE OF TWO ELECTIONS It's strange how the United States government selectively chooses what electoral results it decides to support. Remember the Algerian elections about five years ago, when the Muslim fundamentalists won the elections. I didn't hear a peep out of the United States government when the Algerian military staged a coup and annulled the election results.

A few weeks ago the Serbian people decided they had had enough of the war criminals who ran the Serbian government. In a direct challenge to the power of the Serbian nationalists the Serbian people voted in opposition candidates in local elections in the capital Belgrade and in a number of other major Serbian cities. As protesters take to the streets to challenge the legitimacy of the Serbian government, the United States government throws its support behind the Serbian opposition.

The Clinton administration's actions show its not interested in democracy. What it's interested in, is supporting political movements that support United States involvement in their affairs. Using the cloak of protecting parliamentary democracy the Clinton administration is trying to increase its already considerable world interests. Don't be fooled by the United States new found love for parliamentary democracy. Historically the United States government is willing to throw its support behind any movement that helps to extend its already considerable world influence, whether its a parliamentary democracy or military dictatorship doesn't really matter.

TUPAC AMARU The continuing Tupac Amaru siege in Lima highlights the fact that armed struggle is not dead in South America. Although most of the nations of Central and South America are parliamentary democracies, cracks are beginning to appear in their edifices. Successive United States governments threw their weight behind a series of military dictators in Central and South America. As a consequence of the actions of these dictators a plethora of revolutionary groups were able to grow and launch actions against these governments.

As military dictatorship after military dictatorship has been replaced by a parliamentary system a large number of these revolutionary movements have withered away. The resurgence of Tupac Amaru in Peru, the resurgence of armed groups in Colombia and Venezuela and the growth of the Zapatista movement in Mexico are all linked to the inability of elected parliaments to tackle endemic poverty and inequality in this part of the world.

Irrespective of how the Tupac Amaru siege in Lima pans out, revolutionary groups will appear and grow in those parts of Latin America that are suffering as a consequence of social and economic policies that, continue to increase the power and profits of those with power.

ANARCHIST QUESTION AND ANSWER Q. What role would leisure play in an anarchist community? A. Leisure is a relatively new phenomena. Mass leisure is a distinct 20th century concept that developed as a result of industrialisation and specialisation. Today the artificial division between leisure and work is a feature of life in "developed" societies. Developing societies continue to blend leisure and work. Work normally begins at sunrise ends at sunset and incorporates what few leisure activities that are possible. Today the great majority of workers in "developed" economics work to not only meet their immediate needs but to acquire wealth to participate in leisure activities that are based on consumption. The great song working for the weekends encapsulates everything that is worrying about leisure time in western society.

The artificial division that exists between work and leisure time would tend to blur in an anarchist community. Leisure time would not be a commodity that is based on consumption. In time, it may be difficult to pick differences between leisure and work time. Work and leisure would be seen as an extension of each other, not competing interests in a persons life. This does not mean that people would not take holidays in an anarchist community. Everybody needs a break from their surroundings and the community they live in, holidays provide that break. Leisure time is that time that exists for some people in a day when they can put routine behind them and participate in activity that they find relaxing and satisfying.

An anarchist community would see leisure as part and parcel of everyday life. People in such a community would not see it as something different. The solitary and competitive nature of post modern leisure would be replaced by more community orientated activities. At the same time individuals could pursue solitary activities if they wanted to. The heavy emphasis that is placed on consumption in post modern leisure activities would be replaced with an emphasis on co-operative participation.

The artificial division that exists between leisure and work in our community would be replaced by a lifestyle that incorporates both leisure and work in an anarchist society. An anarchist community would put mechanisms in place that would allow anybody who wants to work or participate in leisure activities or do both, to approach their day in such a way so that they could do whatever they pleased. ACTION BOX - PLACE NAMES My recent trip around Australia has highlighted to me the importance of place names in political and social struggle. Most of us don't give a thought to place names, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are names that just roll off our tongues. How many of us realise that the names of Australia's three major cities are the names of three colonial gentlemen whose main claim to fame is that they were born on the winning side of the English hereditary blanket.

Place names tell the story of the victor. How many of Australia's place names reflect the presence of indigenous Australians and the contributions of generations of convicts, workers and post W.W.II immigrants. Reading the myriad of place names as I drove through 9000 kilometres of Australia, it became more and more obvious to me that the bulk of place names and memorials in Australia are dedicated to the victors.

Nothing highlighted this for me more than the all too public struggle over place names in the Northern Territory. Every sign on the way to Uluru was sign posted. So many kilometres to Ayers Rock. Few people know of the continuing struggle between the Northern Territory government and the traditional owners of Uluru (Ayers Rock). In 1985 the Commonwealth government gave the traditional Ananagu owners freehold title to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (Olgas) National Park on the condition that they lease it back to the Commonwealth government, so everybody can share the glories of the park. The traditional owners wanted to change the name of Ayers Rock to Uluru and the Olgas to Kata Tjuta, names that these natural structures had been known for, for thousands of years. (In the 1880's Mr. Ayers "discovered" Uluru and decided to call it Ayers Rock). In 1997 the Northern Territory government still refuses to change the names, all signs outside the park refer to the rock as ! Ayers Rock and even the tourist resort just outside the National Park is called Ayers Rock Resort.

Place names are important, we should take the opportunity to become involved in struggles that record history for everyone not just the victors. Why should we continue to use names that deny our origins and our reality and that reinforce the power of those in authority? If we want to rewrite the record, it's important we become involved in struggles that challenge the notion that place names that reinforce Australia's colonial past should not be changed. AUSTRALIAN ANARCHIST HISTORY "The tree of knowledge" Just a few days ago I was standing under the "tree of knowledge" outside the Barcaldine railway station in Western Queensland. Just to the right of the tree of knowledge stood a small plaque, honouring the ten shearers who were imprisoned for their involvement in the 1891 shearers strike. Few Australians know that the 1891 shearers strike changed the very face of Australian politics.

In 1891 the shearers of Western Queensland had had enough. They went on strike in an attempt to improve their pay and conditions. Anybody who had visited this part of the country would be familiar with the deplorable conditions these men worked under. The Queensland colonial government broke the strike by sending in armed members of the Queensland regiment. Strike camps were broken up by government gunfire and shearers were rounded up and imprisoned. The 1880's was marked by a period of intense radical extra-parliamentary action. It's no accident that Australian anarchists were so active in the 1880's. Their activity mirrored the strong extra-parliamentary movements of the times.

The defeat of the shearers strike in 1891 saw a division emerge in the Australian workers movement. The "tree of knowledge" encapsulates that change. In May 1891 a number of the defeated shearers met under the "tree of knowledge" outside the Barcaldine railway station. They decided to replace direct action with parliamentary involvement. Under the "tree of knowledge" they formed the Australian Labour Party, a party that was set up to win rights for workers through parliamentary action. The rest is history.

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS 7.30p.m. 1st January 1997 There were about three thousand of us, some had come by buses, some by cars, other walked or bicycled. Some were babes in arms, others were young and healthy, some were old, tired and sick. Most had travelled thousands of miles, some had come across from the other side of the world. There were Africans, Asiatics, Europeans and some indigenous Australians. There was even a Japanese motorcycle gang amongst us. Some of us whispered to each other, others took photographs, some hugged and others just stood there looking at the horizon. Although there were so many of us in such a small space, the buses in one designated area, the cars in another, you'd couldn't hear a pin drop. People shuffled forward, peered into the evening and shuffled back, some sat, some stood, each of us savouring every moment.

Each of us was there to reaffirm our humanity and our place on this earth. As the sun set over Uluru we disbanded, each returning to our own private fears, hopes, nightmares and aspirations.

STOP PRESS - AT LEAST HE'S TRYING Poor Tim Fisher he can't take a trick. As John Howard enjoys his Chrissy break, Tim is Australia's Acting Prime Minister. As Tim tries to run the country from his family farm, the media ghouls descended on the Fisher family looking for a quotable quote. Well Tim didn't let them down, first he paraded with his missus and baby thinking the media hordes would take a few pictures and piss off. Well they didn't, they kept hanging around. He then went about his chores, feeding the animals and looking over his property, the media hordes kept on his tail waiting for the inevitable Fisherism.

It eventually came, when Tim told the assembled hordes that many National Party members supported the idea of a Republic. As the media hordes disbanded, each rushing to file Tim's collective wisdom, Tim raced back to the farmhouse, bolted the door and heaved a sigh of relief. Irrespective of what you think about Tim, you know he's trying in both senses of the word.

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

ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK REBEL WORKER Vol 15 No.10 (141) Nov-Dec'96, PO Box 92, Broadway NSW 2007. Sydney, Australia. Email rworker@chaos.apana.org.au **** DESALAMBRAR V2 No.6 Nov-Dec'96, Casilla de Correos 18, C.P. 1871, Buenos Aires, Argentina. **** CON OGNI MELLO, Necessario 1996, Canenero, C.P. 4120, 50135 Firenze, Italy. **** OTHER PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK SECOND ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH LEONARD PELTIER, February 6th 1997, Northwest Leonard Peltier Support Group, Tacoma Office, PO Box 5464, Tacoma WA 98415-0464, United States. **** j ANARCHIST AGE HOME PAGE j http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/3879 ANARCHIST AGE EMAIL - email:anarchistage@geocities.com.

P U B L I C A T I O N S Weekly 4 pages of Anarchist comment on Local, National and International events. Subscriptions: $50.00 for 50 issues, $10.00 for 10 issues, Subscription includes postage. Monthly 36 pages of Local, National and International events. 12 issues $36.00 wage earners, 12 issues $20.00 non wage earners. Make out cheques or money orders to: Libertarian Workers, P.O. Box 20, Parkville, 3052. Vic, Australia.

ANARCHIST STORY NETWORK Aim of the network is to gather information about the Anarchist movement in Australia both past and present. A.S.N. PO Box 756, Lower Brunswick 3056. Melbourne Australia.

THRILL YOUR FRIENDS You too can have a copy of the December 1996 Anarchist Media Institute Obscenity Award won by The Dynamic Duo Senators Harradine & Coulston, "for giving the Coalition government a Chrissy present that belongs to the people of Australia". Size A3, Colour:- White, Yellow, Green, Purple, Red, Blue (you choose), Cost $5.00 non-laminated, $8.00 laminated. (Includes packaging & postage costs). Send stamps or make out cheques or money orders to:- Libertarian Workers & send to PO Box 20, Parkville 3052, Aust

Mother Earth Fundraiser Warm, Wet & Wonderful. Sunday 12th January, 3.30 - 6.30. Busy Bodies Gym, Erica Avenue, Boronia, opposite Boronia Railway Station. Melway May Ref. 64 K-8. Boys up to the age of 8 are welcome. $7.50 - $6.50. 2-14 - $5.00, under 2 free. Togs optional, an alcohol and drug free event.

FEDERATION OF OCCUPATION BASED UNIONS CONGRESS Sunday 2nd February at Ross House, Hayden Raysmith Front Meeting Room, 247 Flinders Lane Melbourne. 10.00am - 6.00pm Agenda  Registration - 10.00am - 10.30am  Welcoming Address - 10.40am, Evan Ling/National Co-ordinator F.O.B.C.  Reports:- Autonomous Health Union - 11.00am  Community Union - 11.20am  Strikeback Organic Seed & Information Centre -11.40am  Reviewing the New Industrial Relations Act - Midday, Evan Ling (includes discussion on Enterprise Unions)  Lunch - 1.00pm - 2.00pm  Practical Workshop on how to form an Occupation Based Union - 2.00pm - 5.00pm Presented by members of the -  Autonomous Health Union  Community Union  Strikeback  Election of National Co-ordinator - 5.15pn A L L W E L C O M E Registration: $4.00 wage earners, $2.00 non wage earners Registration Form Name: ............................................................................ .................. Address: ............................................................................ .............. ............................................................................ ............................... Telephone Number: ...................................................................... Don't forget to enclose $4.00 or $2.00 of postage stamps to cover your registration costs. F.O.B.U. National Co-ordinator Evan Ling, PO Box 5006. Alphinton Vic 3078. Melbourne Australia. Any inquiries phone Evan Ling on 041 9394243, 8.00am - 10.00pm.

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.

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.

@@@@ 1997 DEBT ELIMINATION APPEAL @@@@ help help help help help help help help help help help help help help help help help Our debt stands at $1617.45. We encourage all our readers and that includes all those anarchist groups who receive the Anarchist Age Weekly Review and Anarchist Age Monthly Review - FREE of CHARGE help us eliminate this debt. If everybody who read the weekly sent us TEN DOLLARS we could eliminate our debt overnight. If you have some spare cash, want to re-subscribe or want to buy a subscription for a friend make out cheques and money orders to LIBERTARIAN WORKERS and send them to L.W.S.S. PO Box 20, Parkville, 3052. Melbourne Australia. DEBT 8.1.97 - $1617.45

ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE OBSCENITY OF THE WEEK Has been won by the State Premiers, Borbidge, Court and Kennett for their hysterical reaction to the High Courts decision to recognise that Native title and Pastoral Leases can co-exist on the same piece of land.

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