(en) Anarchist Age number 235

esperanto (lingvoj@lds.co.uk)
Sat, 08 Feb 1997 10:44:45 +0000


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

Number 235

3rd - 9th February, 1997

GO FOR IT It's not often people in this country get an opportunity to express their opinion about issues that concern them. On Tuesday the Federal Coalition decided to go ahead with a peoples' convention, half of which will be appointed by the government of the day and half of which will be elected by the people. The peoples' convention that will be held at the end of the year is essentially John Howard's delaying tactic. He hopes to bury the republican debate by using the longest route possible.

The electoral process surrounding this proposed convention presents a unique opportunity for anarchists to raise questions about the Australian Constitution and about principles of association that determine the make up of any society. As anarchists we support two basic principles of association, equal access to wealth and equal access to power. The Australian Constitutions principles of association revolve around private property rights and the rights of the States in a Federation. The Constitution legitimises the inequalities that are part and parcel of life in this country.

The election of delegates to a peoples convention gives anarchists the opportunity to question the role of the Constitution. It's important as anarchists that we highlight the inadequacy of a convention that is only concerned with changing the head of State. Whether a Monarch or a President becomes the head of State has no bearing on the inequalities that reflect the central core of the Australian Constitution.

Anarchists should seriously consider standing as candidates for the people's convention under the slogan A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM. The forth coming elections present a platform that anarchists may be able to exploit to put forward egalitarian concepts. Instead of calling for a referendum to change the head of State anarchists should be calling for a referendum to determine whether the current constitution should be replaced with principles of association that are relevant to a community that is about the enter a new millennium. Anarchist candidates could demand that the question that should be put to the Australian people is SHOULD THE CONSTITUTION BE ABOLISHED?

YES NO

If the referendum is passed an ongoing peoples' convention could be held to determine the shape of new principles of association that could then be put to the people.

For those anarchists who are squeamish about being involved in elections, participation in a vote to elect delegates to a peoples' convention is very very different to participating in elections where you elect representatives to make decisions for you. As individuals and as groups we can ignore the whole process or we can attempt to utilise this platform to highlight the inadequacies of the current constitution and the current republican debate. We can put forward egalitarian alternatives. Think about it and go for it, we have little if nothing to lose.

CORPORATE BRIBERY? Ten months after the Federal election the list of donors to the various political parties has become available for scrutiny. Surprise, surprise, a number of corporate giants had filled up the Liberal parties coffers with substantial donations (some running into the millions of dollars) just before the elections. The corporate world never does anything unless it thinks it's going to help its bottom line.

It's not cynical or far fetched to think that the corporate world wants a return for its investment. Not a direct return, but a more subtle return. Can you think of any political organisation that's going to introduce policies that may alienate one of its major donors. Can you imagine the lobbying that would go on if they even thought about introducing legislation that could curtail their donors profits. Of course they're not and if they do think of introducing such legislation all it would take would be a few phone calls to the right people to see that piece of legislation disappear into a series of parliamentary committees.

Corporate donations to the Liberal Party are little more than crude attempts to influence the government of the day. I'm sure anybody who still believes that corporations donate millions of dollars to political parties for the hell of it are still waiting for Santa to bring them their Chrissy presents.

SIMULATED CHAINSAW NOISES This weeks East Gippsland Forestry agreement that was signed by the Kennett regime and the Federal Coalition government puts the final nail in the coffin of many native forests in Victoria. Irrespective of what Howard and Kennett say, it's obvious they have given the wood chippers carte blanche to do what ever they like with native forests.

Instead of relying on plantation timbers the State and Federal governments have swung the State behind the woodchip industry. Any green activists who had any illusions about Kennett's and Howard's plans would have been brought back to reality by this weeks agreement. I wonder if we have just seen a dividend being paid for the wood chippers investment in the Liberal Parties election fund? I'll leave it up to you to come to your own conclusion.

POLISHING THEIR GUMBOOTS I've heard of people polishing their shoes, but I've never heard of people polishing their gumboots. The election of Susan Davies an independent non endorsed A.L.P. candidate in the Gippsland West by-election, marks the beginning of the end for Kim Il Kennett. As West Gippsland electors wash the Liberal Party blood off their gumboots, other Victorians are beginning to realise they don't have to put up with the pro-business garbage that passes as politics in Victoria.

Life in Victoria is akin to drinking a cold beer on a hot day. There's nothing more exciting and satisfying than downing a frothy cold beer. Once the froth and bubbles touch the back of your palate you long for the cold beer to splash into your belly. The problem with Victorian beer (The Kim Il Kennett variety) is that it's all head. There's plenty of froth and bubble (The Grand Prix, Golfing Events, Ferrari races and a host of other sporting events) but there's no beer. The Victorian economy is all froth and bubble unfortunately it doesn't have any body.

As Kim Il Kennett and his entourage head off overseas, Victorians are beginning to realise it's time to take the boots out of the cupboard and polish them so that they can deliver the Kim Il Kennett regime a fatal blow. You know that the Victorian State government is feeling the heat when it starts rewarding its supporters. Even Kennett's driver has been hauled onto the gravy train. He's accompanying Kennett's entourage and has been given the tittle of protocol officer (baggage handler). All I can say is than you to Susan Davies and the people of West Gippsland for giving Victorians hope that the nightmare on Spring Street is coming to an end.

PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY FATALLY WOUNDED Anybody who thinks that representative democracy is alive and well only has to look at this weeks Pakistan's General elections. Less then 30% of registered voters bothered to cast a ballot. If you include those eligible voters who are not registered less than 15% of potential Pakistani voters bothered to front the electoral boxes.

They didn't turn up because they have no faith in a political system that continually re-elects people who are more interested in lining their pockets than helping people. Parliamentary rule is on the wane across the globe. Although it promises so much it cannot deliver because power lies in the boardrooms of national and transnational corporations not parliament.

It will be fascinating to see if a concentrated anti-parliamentary campaign in Australia at the next Federal Election will once and for all stop the State from forcing people to participate in a spectacle they have no faith or belief in.

THE TALE OF TWO AUSTRALIA'S Dengue Fever has broken out in the Torres Strait. Since Christmas over 10% of the population of Erub (Darnley Island) has come down with Dengue Fever, a particularly nasty virus infection. Dengue Fever is also rife on Mer (Murray Island) and Yorke Island. There's concern that the current outbreak of Dengue Fever will spread across the Bamaya and other parts of Cape York in Northern Queensland.

Dengue Fever is spread by the Dengue mosquito. Dengue mosquitoes breed in disused sources of water, in old tyres, large shells, drums etc. They like to live in dark places and are found under beds, in cupboards, laundries, storage areas and under high set houses. Any community can minimise the harm done by Dengue mosquitoes by taking simple basic precautions that destroy the mosquitoes breeding grounds and the use of aerosol fly sprays to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

During epidemics people can use screens on windows and doors, insect repellents inside and outside the house and bednets while sleeping. As the current outbreak of Dengue Fever spreads across the Torres Strait, the Queensland Health Minister, Mr Connor visited Erub (Darnley) Island and promised to supply the Islanders' council with "do it yourself" fly screens. A response that can be characterised as too little too late in only one small area.

The current Dengue outbreak is a direct consequence of State and Federal government inertia and cost cutting. Local Island councils' don't have the funds, staff and equipment to protect themselves. Cost efficient programs could be introduced tomorrow to destroy Dengue mosquitoes breeding grounds, and to supply islanders with the necessary equipment to fight this epidemic. If the same outbreak had happened among non indigenous mainland communities, the Commonwealth and Queensland State governments response would have been better co-ordinated and funds would have been found to eradicate the problem.

Islanders' experience of other outbreaks of disease reinforces their belief that governments are not interested in any quarantine problems unless they threaten the mainland.

SLEDGING Sledging has become an ugly part of sport in Australia. It's not only rife in junior teams, it's also rife in most national Australian teams. Brian Lara's accusation that the Australian cricket team uses sledging as a tactical device highlights the win at any cost philosophy that permeates professional and amateur sport here and overseas. Sledging is a tactic employed by players to upset an opposing players concentration. It's rife in football, soccer, cricket, basketball and even baseball.

Although a clamp has been placed on racial slurs, players and spectators use a variety of verbal tactics to upset opposing players. It's upsetting to think that sledging has become a problem among some junior players. It's only natural for junior players to emulate senior players. If they see senior players using sledging as a tactical weapon, they'll tend to follow their example. The win at any cost mentality that pervades even the junior ranks of some team sports helps to foster aggressive behaviour among senior and well as junior players. Sledging is becoming an increasing problem, not just on the sporting field but in schools, the community and work places. People are described as winners and losers. Winners deserve to have the best, losers deserve to have nothing. The win at any cost philosophy that is used to justify the use of sledging on the sporting field is also used to justify the use of sledging in the work place, home, school and political life.

It's time people began to understand the divisive and hurtful nature of sledging. What's the point of a victory on the sporting field or a job if it's won by using unfair tactics. The divide and rule philosophy that's behind sledging is used by those in power to create an insurmountable division between different people in society. So what if a particular team wins a sporting event. Sport in a capitalist society has become a commodity that's packaged and marketed to the highest bidder. Winners draw viewers and sell advertising time, they don't do much else except fill the pockets of financial backers. Sledging is a direct consequence of the marketing and packaging of sport as a saleable commodity. If there's money to be made, players will continue to use whatever tactics they can to win a contest..

ANARCHIST QUESTION AND ANSWER Q. Why Are Anarchists So Adamant That They Should Retain The Power To Recall A Delegate? A. An essential tenet of any anarchist organisation is the power of recall. The essential difference between dictatorship, a parliamentary system and an anarchist community is who wields power and how long that person can hold power. In a dictatorship, one person wields power for as long as they want to or till they're overthrown. In a parliamentary system people give power to a group of representatives to make decisions for them for a fixed period of time. Whether they carry out their promises is irrelevant as people cannot recall them till the next election.

No one individual holds power in an anarchist community. Anarchists make decisions using direct democratic principles and then elect or appoint delegates to carry out these decisions. Delegates have a limited tenure and they also have a fixed mandate, they are not able to make decisions on behalf of the people they're delegates for. Any compromises that are made by a delegate during negotiations have to go back to a general assembly for ratification. Without that ratification any compromises that are made by a delegate are not binding on the community that has delegated a particular task to a particular individual.

Anarchist groups also have the power to recall a delegate and replace them with another delegate if the original delegate has overstepped their mandate or is not representing the interests of the community that has delegated a particular task to them. The power to limit tenure, fix a mandate and the power to recall are three mechanisms by which the people who make a decision can ensure that a particular delegate carries out their wishes.

Anarchists attempt to set up structures that ensure that no individual or group is able to wield power for any length of time. The personal and institutional excesses that characterise how power is wielded in a dictatorship or a parliamentary democracy cannot occur in an anarchist community. The power of recall, fixed mandates and limited tenure are mechanisms by which power is removed from the hands of individuals and placed in the hands of a collective. ACTION BOX - OCCUPATION BASED UNIONS The Federation of Occupation Based Union Congress that was held in Melbourne on Sunday is a practical demonstration of how anarchists can become involved in activity that's not issue orientated. For far too long anarchists have reacted to issues and have not been able to launch campaigns that are not issue orientated. F.O.B.U. is a Federation of Occupation Based Unions. Each Occupation Based Union that is federated to F.O.B.U. incorporates wage earners, self-employed, unemployed retired workers, students and in some Occupation Based Unions volunteers.

Each union is inclusive, not exclusive. Occupation Based Unions are not based on a particular trade, they encompass a number of trades and professions in a particular field of human endeavour. Each union has egalitarian long term aims and short term aims that encourage mutual aid, protect members wages and conditions and support members who make attempts to self-manage their work places.

These Occupation Based Unions are based on direct democratic principles and provide a vehicle by which members can develop strategies and plans to introduce egalitarian collective concepts into their work places. Currently there are only two Occupation Based Unions in the Federation. The Autonomous Health Union is up and running, is looking for new members and meets on a regular basis on the first Thursday of each month. The Community Services Union is currently dormant but is about to get a shot in the arm.

Occupation Based Unions provide a perfect vehicle for activists, whether they're employed, unemployed, learning a job or retired. Whether more are formed depends on whether people feel there's a need for such a union and whether they have the desire to create one. The F.O.B.U. is only too willing to help you establish a branch of the Autonomous Health Union or a branch of the Community Service Union in your local region. More importantly, the F.O.B.U. is keen to see the establishment of new O.B.U.'s. If you require information or help contact the: F.O.B.U. Co-ordinator, Evan Ling, P.O. Box 560 Altona. Vic, 3018, Melbourne, Australia, or telephone him on 041 939 4243 - 8 am to 10 pm AUSTRALIAN ANARCHIST HISTORY "REGARDLESS OF RACE, COLOUR OR CREED" The first Australian local of the I.W.W. was formed in May 1911 in Adelaide. The Australian I.W.W. like its counterparts in the rest of the world advocated the One Big Union, the general strike and direct action. The I.W.W. rejected the explicit racist practices of the early Australian Trade Union Movement. It was open to everyone regardless of race, colour or creed.

The I.W.W.'s appeal was enthusiastically received, especially by unskilled migratory and itinerant workers. I.W.W. members knew only one foreigner, the boss. One I.W.W. local in Brisbane was composed entirely of Russian immigrants. George Hardy, a prominent member of the I.W.W. stated there was one reason why the A.W.U. (Australian Workers Union) could never become the One Big Union - because it drew the colour bar. When we're told we need to make allowances for the racist and sexist policies of the past, we need to remember that anarchist organisations have always attempted to tackle both racist and sexist practices.

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS Saturday 1 February, 12.42 pm As I lined up with the other devotees to pay homage to the automatic teller machine at my local air-conditioned post modern temple of consumption, I noticed a beaming face behind a glass cage. No I hadn't died and come face to face with the Lord in some post-modern consumer paradise. No I wasn't hallucinating. There he was again thrusting his hands into a glass cage, groping two little puppies, tickling their tummies, all the time beaming and smiling.

By now a crowed had gathered, the children looked on spellbound, elderly people smiled and couples looked at each other smiling, holding hands. As I inched forward trembling at the thought of consummating my relationship with the automatic teller machine, the beaming face held up the puppies, turning them round and round in their glass encased paradise.

As I slid my ticket to Nirvana into the inner recesses of the automatic teller machine, the crowd dispersed, the face stopped beaming and the puppies were locked away in their glass enclosure. As I waited for the fruits of my union with the automatic teller machine, it suddenly dawned on me that I had just witnessed something extraordinary, maybe even holy. A pet shop owners failed attempts to make a sale. I walked away gripping my colourful flat plastic notes trembling at the thought that I would experience consumer nirvana when I handed over my notes to one of the many consumer priests that wanted to sell me something I didn't need or even want.

STOP PRESS - TRAGEDY Ever heard of a card counter? Well if you haven't, brace yourself we're about to be invaded by hordes of them. When you go out at night check you're not surrounded by a gang of these undesirables. It looks like a number of these parasites have been detected and punished. Some people say hangings too good for these sons and daughters of Satan.

Kerry Packer is particularly upset about the increasing numbers of card counters in Australia. Casinos across the nation have teams of detectives waiting to swoop on anybody who is seen mumbling at a Black Jack table. Casino operators are crying foul at the tactics of these antisocial elements. It seems that organised (must be anarchists if they're organised) teams of card counters have swooped on Black Jack tables in Australia's casinos. These parasites are counting cards (no mean feat when you realise that Black Jack is played with eight decks) and are betting big only when picture cards and aces are more likely to fall.

Although card counting is not illegal, (it would be if they could get into your brain) casino operators claim it's cheating and have recently banned a number of card counters from Sydney and Melbourne casinos. Attempts to confiscate card counters illegal gains have come to nothing, because card counting is not illegal. Casino operators claim that card counters break the spirit of the sport and that's why they're banned from casinos. What a joke! When you realise that casino operators pocket 60% of all money that's gambled in casinos, you begin to understand that casino operators not card counters are the real criminals.

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

ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK ANARCHIST RESOURCES INC. (ARI) NEWSLETTER, No.1, Jan'97, Jura Books, 436 Parramatta Road, Petersham 2049, Sydney Australia. (02)95509931. **** THE REBEL LION No.1 Summer'97, PO Box 6, Whalan 2770, New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Email: mj.sherwood@nepean.uws.edu.au **** THE TAO of MODERN TIMES & other poems, A. Angove, Ngarak Press, PO Box 18, Ensay 3895, Victoria Australia. **** L'HOMME LIBRE No.150 Jan-March 97, B.P. 205, 42005 Saint-Etienne, Cedex 1, France. **** OTHER PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK DISCUSSION BULLETIN No.80 Nov-Dec'96, PO Box 1564, Grand Rapids MI 49501, 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, PO Box 20, Parkville, 3052 Vic, Australia.

THRILL YOUR FRIENDS You too can have a copy of the January 1997 Anarchist Media Institute Obscenity Award won by David Marriner, Victorian of the Year, "Rewarding the developer David Marriner with the title, Victorian of the Year, highlights all that's wrong with Victoria". 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, Australia

AUTONOMOUS HEALTH UNION MEETS FIRST THURSDAY OF EVERY MONTH AT ROSS HOUSE 8.00PM, 247 Flinders Lane Melbourne. A.H.U. PO Box 5035, Alphington 3078, Melbourne. Australia.

FEDERATION OF OCCUPATION BASED UNIONS National Co-ordinator Evan Ling, PO Box 560, Altona 3018, Melbourne. Australia. Inquiries Tel: 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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6 6 6 1997 DEBT ELIMINATION APPEAL 6 6 6 help help help help help help help help help help help help help help help help Our debt stands at $1527.25. We encourage all our readers & that includes all those anarchist groups who receive the Anarchist Age Weekly Review & 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 & money orders to LIBERTARIAN WORKERS & send them to L.W.S.S. PO Box 20 Parkville 3052. Melbourne Aust. DEBT 5.2.97 - $1527.25

ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE OBSCENITY OF THE WEEK Has been won by the Victorian of the Year Committee for giving the title Victorian of the Year to the developer David Marriner.

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