A.A. Weekly Review

Anarchist Age (anarchistage@geocities.com)
Tue, 04 Feb 1997 10:22:35 +0930

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Number 234

27th January - 2nd February, 1997

YOU CAN'T SELL FROM AN EMPTY WAGON I always enjoy watching the Federal Treasurer trying to deliver economic news. Every time you listen to him, you begin to realise how elastic the truth can be. Pierre delivered his half-yearly Treasury report on Monday. In a virtuoso display, that any magician would be proud of, he showed all of us how elastic the truth can be.

When he reviewed the Budget unemployment predictions, you saw him at his best. As far as he was concerned the budget predictions of 8.25% were on track, although he did mumble that the government had decided to round off unemployment level to 8.5% Even the most conservative commentators believe that unemployment will reach 9.5% by June 1997. If we are to believe our beloved Treasurer, the adjustment the Federal government has made to their unemployment predictions, is just that, a statistical adjustment - pity even that small adjustment will add over a billion dollars to the budget deficit.

Listening to the Treasurer, you'd think that economic recovery was just around the corner. Reading between the lines of his smoke and mirror performance, you suddenly realise things aren't as wonderful as he claims. Although inflation has been held down at 1%, company profits are down and taxation receipts are down. The Federal governments attempts to reign in the deficit by inflicting economic pain on Australians on social security benefits and Australian workers has been a total fiasco.

In an attempt to carry favour with Australians the Treasurer likes to slip into a few old fashioned homilies. He keeps saying "we've broken the back of the deficit". Unfortunately if you listened closely to Mr. Costello, you heard him mention that the May budget was already over three billion dollars in deficit (his figures not mine). Looking at the figures a little more closely it's obvious the deficit is closer to 6 billion than 3 billion. Looks like the world's second greatest Treasurer has forgotten that old adage - "you can't sell from an empty wagon". Anybody who is stupid enough to believe that you decrease unemployment and increase profits by "downsizing" deserves to be dismissed as a pathetic joke.

WAIT FOR IT!! The world stockmarkets are about to take one of their regular plunges. Wall Street got the wobbles and the Nikkei keeps on falling, falling. All those investors who have forgotten about the volatility of the stockmarket are about to be burned once again. As the World's speculators pull their money (actually your money) out of the stockmarket, the superannuation funds will be left holding the baby.

If you think what's happening with the stockmarket has little if anything to do with you, think again. The stockmarkets extraordinary ascent since the 1987 crash in large part can be attributed to the flood of money that superannuation funds have pumped into the world's stockmarkets. It's ironical that workers superannuation funds are used to bolster the very organisations that deny them a fair share of the profits they create.

Falls in the stockmarket have in part been bank rolled by workers superannuation funds. Anybody with any sense should demand that their funds not be used to prop up the capitalist system. Superannuation funds could be better utilised to bankroll co-operative ventures. Why should self-managed enterprises and co-operative enterprises be starved of funds while fund managers risk workers superannuation on speculative stockmarket ventures.

CAPITALISM ALBANIAN STYLE Albanians aren't very happy. Many have taken to the streets battling police and the army and burning down government buildings. They're angry because they've been taken to the cleaners by government sponsored con men and women. Since the change of government in 1994 Albania's entry into the market economy has been fast tracked by a government that believes free enterprise is the way to Nirvana.

Tens of thousands of Albanians have invested money in government sponsored pyramid investment schemes. As long as there were people to invest those at the top of the pyramid made a buck. As the pyramid base increased in size the whole thing came tumbling down. It will be interesting to see if Albanians will now reject capitalism and possible embrace some form of co-operative self-management. They've tried Communism and capitalism, both have failed. What have they got to lose?

ARTIE HUNG OUT TO DRY You've got to feel sorry for Mr. Rugby League, former player Ken Arthurson. Anybody who follows Rugby League in this country would have been revolted by the power struggle that's been going on in Australian Rugby League. On the one side you had Kerry Packer, media magnate extraordinaire, on the other side you had the world renowned media magnate Rupert Murdoch. Both wanted to use the game to further their own commercial ventures. Clubs that had relied for decades on membership support, suddenly became the personal playthings of Packer and Murdoch.

The Rugby League world split into two camps. Australian Rugby League and the Super League, both vowed to bury the other. As Murdoch and Packer fought, initially a cheque book war and later on a series of legal battles, loyal club supporters discovered they had no control over their teams. Late last week Packer and Murdoch came to an agreement about how to share the spoils of war. Their peace pact drove the last nail into the coffin of club based Rugby League in this country. Ken Arthurson realised there's no place for club men in their League. He bowed out last week citing health reasons as an excuse.

The demise of Ken Arthurson heralds the demise of club based Rugby League. Rugby League players have become disposable commodities that are bought and sold by media magnates who are more interested in the profits players will generate than the future of the game. Let's hope tens of thousands of supporters switch off and throw their support behind Rugby League Clubs that are controlled by their members not profit driven corporations.

ROB KNOWLES BACKTRACKS QUICK FAST If there's one social reform that Australians have taken to like ducks to water it's Medicare. Medicare is a universal health scheme that gives every Australian, irrespective of age, racial origin, income or level of disability, access to the public hospital system and access to private doctors. Any State or for that matter Federal government that attempts to tamper with the universal nature of Medicare, will soon find itself on the defensive.

Over the past four years the Kennett regime has embarked on a slash and burn approach as far as the public health sector is concerned. They have starved the public hospital sector of funds, alienated and sacked staff, increased waiting lists, cut back beds, closed local hospitals and privatised sections of the public hospital system. Most Victorians have not understood the extent of changes to the public hospital sector because the Kennett regime has successfully shifted costs to the Commonwealth government.

As far as Victorians are concerned, although the hospital system is not as good as it was, it's still free. All they have to do is flash their Medicare card and they don't have to pay for these privatised services. What most people don't realise is that the Commonwealth funds that are diverted to State government coffers are being skimmed off the top of limited Commonwealth health care funds. In reality the Kennett regime is illegally plundering Commonwealth funds to pay for the State health care system. While it does this, it's handing out money left and right to projects that don't benefit Victorians one little bit.

In an attempt to make ends meet, the Bacchus Marsh Hospital, a hospital between Melbourne and Ballarat that has been hit by more than its fair share of State government cuts, has decided to privatise its day surgery centre. So what, you may say privatisation is a grim reality in the Victorian public hospital sector. It looks like the local doctors and hospital authorities realise that the Medicare rebate will not cover their costs. In an attempt to overcome this little dilemma, the hospital administration, in its wisdom, has demanded that anybody who uses the day surgery unit irrespective of whether they're pensioners, employed or unemployed will need to cough up $65.00 up front if they want their surgical procedures performed. Although most Australians are happy to flash their Medicare card they're not very keen to pay money up front for services that their taxes are supposed to cover. Within a few hours Rob Knowles, the Victorian Health Minister saw the writing on the wall and has decided the hospital can't charge public patients up front, because it contravenes the State - Commonwealth Medicare agreement (surprise, surprise).

What Knowles hasn't told Victorians is that unless State funds are released to assist Bacchus Marsh Hospital, the hospital will close down its day surgery centre. The battle surrounding Bacchus Marsh Hospital is a battle being fought out all across Australia. If people aren't willing to fight to retain universal health cover, they'll find that the State and Commonwealth government will demand payment up front for more and more public health services. If people are not vigilant, they'll find hospital authorities will be rifling through peoples pockets looking for cash or credit cards before they will be treated. If you don't believe me, it's already happening at Rosebud Hospital just outside Melbourne.

PAUL'S RIGHT I never thought that I would find myself on the same side as Paul Keating. As monarchists and patriots beat their breasts lamenting the fact that the former Prime Minister Paul Keating has declined to accept an Australia Day Honour, I find myself agreeing with his sentiments. Keating has stated that he believes that only people who go that extra step should be honoured in the Australia Day Honour. He does not believe that people should be awarded honours for doing their job.

If anybody has the time or inclination to fish out the Australia Day Honours list you'll find that the majority of recipients are people who have been honoured for doing their job. You can scan the Australia Day Honours list all you like but you won't find many people being honoured who have struggled against all odds to bring up children, look after disabled family members or provided services to the community. If you wade through the honours list you'll find many people being honoured for doing little more than feathering their own nests. For once Paul Keatings right.

"UNGRATEFUL BASTARD!!" Nobel Prize winner and Australian of the Year Peter Doherty has found that it doesn't matter who you are, or what high honours have been bestowed on you. If you don't have what are claimed to be mainstream values, you'll find significant segments of the mass media will be keen to publicly carve you up. If you compare the initial media response to the appointment of the new Victorian governor James Gobbo and the Nobel Prize Winner Paul Doherty you'll notice they initially both received the "jolly good chap" treatment.

Unfortunately for Peter Doherty he found that within 24 hours the very people who lionised him were braying for his blood because he had no time for the monarchy and left Australia in the early 1980's, because he was sick and tired of dealing with university bureaucrats. Within a few short hours the Australian of the Year found that it's not wise to open your mouth in Australia. It doesn't matter how many contributions you've made to life in this country, if you aren't part of the God, Queen and Country brigade, what you have to say is irrelevant.

ANARCHIST QUESTION AND ANSWER Q. How Would Artists Be Rewarded In An Anarchist Society? A. Like everybody else, irrespective of what they did, irrespective of whether they sang or danced, told stories, painted or set up installations. Irrespective of whether they were popular, or they entertained just a few people, they would all be entitled to share in the wealth of the community they lived in. The artist in an anarchist community would not have to be drawn into a competitive market place, selling their creativity to the highest bidder.

Although everybody in an anarchist community is potentially an artist, some will appeal to thousands, while others will appeal to just a few. For every artist who receives public acknowledgment in a capitalist society, tens of thousands eke out a miserable livelihood. Most are forced to take on other work to survive. Those that are commercially viable are marketed and packaged to a mass audience. The "lucky" few are able to reach a mass audience and accumulate more wealth than they know what to do with.

There would be more artists in an anarchist community. Although their economic reward is the same as everybody else's, they are able to enjoy rewards that most artists in a capitalist society only dream about. They would have the luxury of being able to think and produce without having to worry about where the next meal is coming from. As artists in an anarchist community don't have to be concerned about whether they can create a profitable commodity, artists would have the luxury of knowing they would have an audience for their creativity. They would be able to display what they have created without worrying about commercial considerations.

Whether people enjoy the work will depend on the nature and strength of the work. Some artists work will be popular and receive public acknowledgment, other artists work will disappear. The essential difference between artists in an anarchist and capitalist community is that everybody in an anarchist community has the opportunity to develop the creative aspects of their personality. To be able to create without the fear of wondering where the next meal is coming from is the greatest reward that any community can give to people who want to create. ACTION BOX - FEAR Fear is an understandable reaction if you're involved in attempts to change yourself and society. It can range from the fear of discovery and possible death in a military dictatorship, to the fear of ridicule in Australian society. How we approach fear determines whether we are able to become involved in action that can change us and society. Many people never do anything because they're frightened, they're frightened of what their parents, family, friends or work colleagues will think. Other people have responsibilities to partners and children and are concerned that they will lose their livelihood if they become active. As far as friends, family and work colleagues are concerned there's very little you can do, apart from maintaining contact with them. It's a mistake to think that the anarchist milieu, can fulfil all your needs, it can't. Those people who cut all their links tend to be the ones who become disillusioned with the path they have taken. When they realise that all their needs can't be met in the anarchist milieu, they tend to blame the ideas themselves and other anarchists for their dissatisfaction and disillusionment. Fear of losing your job is a real fear. It doesn't take long for activists to find themselves on the dole. It's no accident that historically many anarchists have been self-employed. If you're black listed by the State and employers you don't really have any other choice. One way to minimise your chances of losing your job is by offering assistance to activists who are involved in disputes outside your industry. You may eventually decide to be publicly active in your workplace, but in the interim you could help other people or you could be an underground activist within your own workplace. The fear of you or your family and friends being physically harassed by political thugs can be minimised by not using the place you live in as a political centre. It's also important you take action to keep your home address as private as possible. As far as the State is concerned, fear of the State's reaction is logical and understandable. Although there's very little you can do to prevent arrest, you can rest assured that the rest of the anarchist milieu will do what they can to defend you through the courts and by demonstrations, protests and mutual aid. It's important the State realise that an attack on one anarchist is an attack on the whole anarchist community and that community will do all it can to assist that person initially through the legal system. Eventually (if that person ends up in jail) they will do all they can to support them and any dependents they may have while they are in prison. Solidarity and mutual aid can go a long way to minimise the fear we all feel if we're involved in overt extra-parliamentary political activity. AUSTRALIA ANARCHIST HISTORY MELBOURNE ANARCHIST CO-OPERATIVE HOUSE - 1886-1890 Some members of the Melbourne Anarchist Club set up the Co-operative House at 47 Victoria Ave, Albert Park in 1887. The house became an anarchist centre that was used to hold meetings till early 1889. By early 1889 the relationship between individualist and Communist members had become so bad the Communists left the club. I'm not sure whether the house was owned by David and Emily Andrade or whether it was rented. The Co-operative provided accommodation for anarchist activists who had difficulty in finding accommodation. Jack Andrews a prominent Melbourne anarchist lived in the Co-operative house for most of 1888. The house also had printing equipment and many members of the Melbourne Anarchist Club learnt how to print at the Co-operative House. When you remember that 1889 was the year the "Marvellous Melbourne" speculative bubble burst and that the State did not provide social security benefits for the sick, young, elderly and unemployed, you begin to realise how important this co-operative venture was. The Australian anarchists of the 1880's and 1890's attempted to set up other co-operative ventures. Schellenbergs farm at Smithfield in New South Wales was also used as an anarchist co-operative in the 1890's, but that's another story.

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS I met Lucy (not her real name) about a decade ago. She's in her early sixties. Her life has been a litany of disasters. Although I don't see her often, every time I've met her I've been able to withstand the torrent of despair she's so keen to share. She's one of those people whose life experiences have been so numbing, she seems incapable of moving forward. Her personal burdens have become her prison walls, she rarely ventures out into the world.

She doesn't mean to be sad, she doesn't mean to burden people with her problems, but that's all she seems to know. When I leave her house I feel as if I've experienced a psychological holocaust and am physically doubled over. When I dropped in this week things seemed to be different. It was late afternoon, the television set was on. She seemed strangely animated, she had an unearthly glow about her. Before I had even sat down she told me how Mary had poisoned Emma and that they were a wealthy family. As I sat down she pointed to Charlie and told me you couldn't trust him, but Alan was O.K. She then told me about where they went for holidays, about their furniture, clothes and the police investigation into Emma's death. For the next ten minutes we watched the television serial together. When she turned off the T.V. the life ebbed out of her, back into the celluloid figures in the set.

We all know a Lucy, or a John. Tragically post modern isolation and consumerism has created conditions that have produced an increasing number of people whose very essence of being is intertwined with celluloid images which fill the gaps in their lives.

STOP PRESS - WITH A "UNION" LIKE THAT WHO NEEDS ENEMIES It's official, the Armed Forces Federation of Australia has supported the Federal Cabinet proposal to randomly drug test Air Force, Navy and Armed personnel. In an extraordinary move that could spill over to other sections of the community the Federal Government wants to perform random urine tests on Armed Forces Personnel. Just imagine it the "piss squad" whizzing around asking Armed Forces Personnel to produce the goods. I wonder how many officers especially majors, colonels and generals will be asked to piss in the pan.

Enlisted men and women with the armed forces are those that have the most to lose from the imposition of random urine testing. These changes are directly aimed at those younger members of the armed forces who are more likely to use cannabis on their days off. If the government is so concerned about impairment of skills of armed services personnel, they should place a total ban on the use of alcohol, both on and off duty. They should also conduct random breathalyser tests on armed forces personnel.

You can imagine the short shift such a proposal would get from the military top brass. As far as the Armed Forces Federation of Australia is concerned it's about time this "bosses union" was ditched and enlisted men and women formed their own union structures within the armed forces. If they don't they'll find that they have fewer rights than the rest of the community. Joseph Toscano/Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society. =09 I HAD A DREAM There was solidarity in the universities I had an almost absurd dream that academics and students alike stood in solidarity, by putting aside the money-centred direct actions. Instead they focused in more depth on each other's needs. People began to conceptualise whole new structures for learning and imparting knowledge. Learning was no longer a commodity that could be competitively institutionalised. Instead people learned as they lived, studying as they worked. Academics, to help with this transition, focused on helping their students to set up alternative learning avenues, rather than merely focussing on their own pay packets. There was a lot less conflict, as the lack of pay disputes caused less academics to be sacked or have their work-loads increased in the name of productivity. Students began to value application of their research in a way which caused them to contribute more to academics and the wider community than monetary fees ever had. Students and academics alike were in a win-win situation! Nathan Williams/Blue Mountains.

ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK ANARCHIST RESOURCES INC. (ARI) NEWSLETTER, No.1, Jan'97, Jura Books, 436 Parramatta Road, Petersham 2049, Sydney Australia. PO Box 32, Petersham North 2049, Sydney Australia (02) 95509931. **** REBEL WORKER, Vol 16, No.1 (142) Jan'97. PO Box 92, Broadway 2007, Australia. Email: rworker@chaos.apana.org.au **** ARIVISTA ANARCHIA Vol 26 No.7 Nov'96, Editrice A, Cas Post 17120, Milano, Italy. Tel & Fax (02) 2896627. **** COMIDAD No.94 Nov'96, Vincezo Italiano, C.P. 391, 80100 Napoli, Italy. **** LE LIBERTAIRE No.170 Nov'96, 25 Rue Dum=82 D'Aplemont, 76600 Le Havre,= France. **** LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE No.1067, 16-22nd Jan'97, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011, Paris, France. Tel 0148053408 Fax 0149299859. **** UMANITA NOVA 76th Year 27th Oct'96, C/- G.C.A. Pinelli, Via Roma 48-87019, Spezzano Albanese (CS), Tel 0981/950684. **** OTHER PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK CAMPAIGN AGAINST MILITARISM Newsletter 1997, PO Box 186, Northbridge WA 6865, Australia. Tel +6192277880, Fax +6193705578. Email camperth@odyssey.apana.org.au **** NEW DEMOCRACY NEWSLETTER 1996, PO Box 427, Boston MA 02130, United States.= **** THE PEOPLE Vol 106 No.9, 111 W. Evelyn Ave. Ste 209, Sunnyvale California, United States.=20 j ANARCHIST AGE HOME PAGE j http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/3879 ANARCHIST AGE EMAIL - email:anarchistage@geocities.com.

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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.


FEDERATION OF OCCUPATION BASED UNIONS CONGRESS =20 This Sunday - 2nd February, 10.00am-6.00pm, Ross House, Third Floor Meeting Room, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.=20 Agenda =07 Registration - 10.00am - 10.30am =07 Welcoming Address - 10.40am, Evan Ling/National Co-ordinator F.O.B.U. =07 Reports:- Autonomous Health Union - 11.00am =07 Community Union - 11.20am =07 Strikeback Organic Seed & Information Centre -11.40am =07 Reviewing the New Industrial Relations Act - Midday, Evan Ling (includes discussion on Enterprise Unions) =07 Lunch - 1.00pm - 2.00pm =07 Practical Workshop on how to form an Occupation Based Union - 2.00pm -= 5.00pm Presented by members of the - =07 Autonomous Health Union =07 Community Union =07 Strikeback =07 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 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.

REGIONAL ANARCHIST FLAG 5 feet x 3 feet Approximately 175cm x 110cm, Cost $25.00 (includes postage within Australia), $35.00 (Includes postage air-mail overseas). The Black represents the International Anarchist Flag. The Black Flag negates all borders & all flags. The four stripes (red, green, yellow, blue) represent the dominant colours of The Aboriginal Flag (Red & Yellow) & the Torres Strait Islander Flag (Green & 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 & smaller flags & for bulk orders. Make out cheques & money orders to: LIBERTARIAN WORKERS PO Box 20 PARKVILLE 3052 Melbourne Aust.

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.

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ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE OBSCENITY OF THE WEEK Has been won by those sections of the Australian community that use the day that marks the beginning of European colonisation on this continent (26th January) to push their nationalistic claptrap.

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