(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review

Philip McCrory (philmcc@melbpc.org.au)
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 11:43:19 +1100


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Number 238

24th February - 2nd March, 1997

HUXLEY'S BRAVE NEW WORLD HAS ARRIVED

The cloning of an adult sheep by the Edinburgh Roslin Institute in = Scotland raises very important practical and ethical questions about = human cloning. In a nutshell the Scottish scientists took a cell from a = mature sheeps udder, they extracted the nucleus (the part of the cell = that contains the genetic material) from the cell. They then took an = egg (ovum) from another sheep and extracted the nucleus from the egg and = replaced it with the nucleus that they took from the adult sheep's = udder. They then placed this embryo into a surrogate mother (incubator) = who gave birth to a sheep identical to the original mature sheep.

The same procedures that have been used on a sheep can be used on a = human being. With the right technology somebody could take a cell from = your body, take out the nucleus from the cell, find a human female ovum = (egg) remove the nucleus from the ovum and reimplant it into the person = they took the ovum from or a surrogate mother who would then produce a = child who is your identical twin. If you had access to the technology = and the women you could produce thousands of living, breathing replicas = of yourself. Not only can you do this, you could alter the genetic = material in the nucleus of the cell to introduce new characteristics in = your offspring.

Currently the only obstacles to the introduction of this technology = among the human population are ethical and legal. We all know that = ethical considerations have no bearing on what happens in a capitalist = society or a dictatorship. The only ethical considerations that make it = out of the sandpit are money and power. We all know that legal = sanctions do not work. In a capitalist society or a dictatorship money = and absolute power are able to override any legal sanctions.

The best way to prevent this technology from gaining a toe hold anywhere = in the world is by people becoming involved in campaigns and activities = that challenge notions of absolute power and economic inequality. A = dictator could use their absolute power to force scientists and = thousands of women to become involved in a project to create thousands = of identical clones of themselves. Any transnational corporation could = use their unlimited financial resources to buy thousands of third world = women to act as incubators for this new technology. You can't put the = genie (technology) back in the bottle, you can't control dubious ethical = practices by enacting and enforcing laws and you can't force every = laboratory to maintain some mythical ethical standard. The only way to = put a brake on technology that removes power from people and places it = in the hands of individuals is to create a society where no one has the = power to dominate other people and force them to do their bidding. = Anarchism's strength lies in its basic principles of association. A = society based on egalitarian principles of association has the best = chance of neutralising technology that reinforces the power of a = minority at the expense of a majority.

MAO'S CAT COULDN'T CATCH MICE, NEITHER CAN DENG'S

"The colour of the cat doesn't matter, what matters is whether it can = catch mice."

Deng Xiaoping's death last week has raised important questions about the = ultimate fate of a 1/5th of the world's population. The death of Mao = Tse Tung in 1976 was followed by the rapid rise of Deng Xiaoping, the = capitalist roader. After the disastrous consequences of the Great Leap = Forward, and the mayhem of the Cultural Revolution, the Communist Party = bureaucrats realised that centralised economic planning would never be = able to deliver the economic rewards that were necessary to maintain = their power.

It's no accident that the "arch capitalist roader" Deng, was elevated to = the position of paramount leader. Deng's attitude to life and economics = can be summed up in his most famous saying "The colour of the cat = doesn't matter, what matters is if it can catch mice." Deng realised = that state capitalism and centralised planning would never solve China's = economic problems. As far as he was concerned Mao Tse Tung's legacy was = the legacy of failure. Marxist/Leninism had been tried and found to be = wanting. Essentially Deng didn't care what ideology was used as long as = it produced the desired results.

In an attempt to kick start the Chinese economy from the doldrums it = found itself in, he dismantled Mao's legacy. He closed down the = collective farms, he encouraged the growth of private enterprise and he = forced state industries to compete with each other. China ditched its = policy of self-sufficiency and began trading with the rest of the world. = Irrespective of the warmth and strength of the eulogies that have = accompanied his death, Deng's cat has been just as unsuccessful as Mao's = cat in delivering economic results to the Chinese people.

Deng's reforms have raised the spectres of the past. He has created a = new ruling and middle class who have profited from the changes he = introduced. Unfortunately the great bulk of the Chinese people have = actually seen a deterioration of their living standards and are now = living in a society where economic insecurity is a way of life. It's no = accident that crime has soared and an increasing number of Chinese are = finding it difficult to keep the wolf from the door.

Both state capitalism and private capitalism have not been able to = deliver the economic fundamentals that create a secure economic = environment. It's time the Chinese people found a cat that can catch = mice. Possibly the anarchist black cat is the cat they have been = looking for. Only time will tell.

MERCENARIES - WHAT MERCENARIES?

Howard government stops mercenaries being deployed in Papua New Guinea, = scream the headlines. In one of the most hypocritical acts of the = decade John Howard has criticised the Papua New Guinea government for = hiring a few dozen foreign mercenaries to assassinate the Bougainville = Revolutionary Army Leadership, while lending their support to the Avalon = Air Show in Melbourne.

If you believed what you read in the newspapers and saw on the = television screens, you'd think that the Avalon Air Show was just one = giant peaceful aero-nautical display that could be enjoyed by tens of = thousands of aviation enthusiasts. Patrons saw F1-11's burning off = fuel, they saw magnificent men and women perform in their flying = machines and they were able to see the latest and the best planes that = money can buy. All harmless fun, or is it? The Avalon Air Show in Melbourne is nothing more than an international = aero-nautical arms show. The first four days of this six day expo are = closed to the public. Nearly every arms manufacturer in the world has = their latest and greatest killing machines on display. Every tin pot = dictator in the region sent representatives to have a look at what was = on offer. Many made substantial purchases. It's no accident that the = Avalon Air Show has become such a success with foreign "dignitaries". = The show is marketed throughout the world as a wonderful showcase of = military apparatus on the one airfield.

For the first four days military buyers were able to look a what was on = offer and were able to strike a number of mutually rewarding deals. = Representatives from Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, The South Pacific, = Malaysia, Vietnam and many other countries were given the opportunity to = buy the best killing machines in the world. While the Howard government = has taken such a hard line position on mercenaries in Papua New Guinea, = it has fallen over itself in its rush to provide visas for the merchants = of death. It looks like it has given its blessing for Australian soil = to be used as an international arms bazaar. So much for their concern = about foreign mercenaries in Papua New Guinea.

RONNIE THOMAS GUILTY?

Ronnie Thomas was found guilty of the murder of S.P. bookmaker Peter = Wade and his girlfriend Maureen Ambrose on the 22nd December, 1991. = Although a career criminal who had spend 26 of his 47 years in jail for = the murder of a night watchman in 1968 and for armed robbery in 1982, he = gave himself up at the Rocks police station in central Sydney on Sunday = 19th January, 1992.

He was charged with Wades and Ambroses murder and was found guilty of = their murders in the Queensland Supreme Court in 1993. He has = steadfastly maintained his innocence and is pursuing a number of legal = avenues to have his conviction for murder squashed. He claims he was at = the wrong place at the wrong time, he says he knows who the murderer is = but fears his mother will be killed if he identifies the murderer.

Late last week the police received a threat that Arnott's biscuits = would be laced with poison and distributed throughout New South Wales = and Queensland if the New South Wales police who gave evidence against = Ronnie Thomas did not take public lie detector tests. Although blame = for the threats was laid at the feet of John Victor Bobak, another = career criminal who was accused of the murders of Wade and Ambrose, = there's information about that John Bobak had come to a sticky end long = before the extortion threats.

The whole affair resurrects the spectre of police verbals. The New = South Wales Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Force has = uncovered a litany of corruption that has infiltrated every pore of the = New South Wales Police Force. The Queensland Police Force has its own = sorry tale of corruption. The former Queensland Police Commissioner, = Terry Lewis still languishes (albeit in quite a nice country retreat, = I've been told) in jail. Both police forces have a long history of = verbals.

It's not beyond the realms of possibility that Ronnie Thomas is innocent = of the murders, why would he give himself up if he was guilty? With his = past record you'd think he would be the last person to give himself up. = Whey would somebody go to all the trouble of making threats to poison = Arnott's biscuits and risk a lengthy jail sentence if they did not = believe in Ronnie Thomas's wrongful conviction?

The extortion threat seems to have achieved its purpose. Once the media = embargo was broken people began to discuss the Ronnie Thomas case and = the possibility that the wrong man is serving a life sentence for = murder. This case raises some very important points about the ultimate = impartiality of the criminal justice system. It goes to the very heart = of policing in this country. Important questions have been raised about = Ronnie Thomas's guilt or innocence.

Thomas himself has said "I didn't ask for this and I don't want it to = happen." Irrespective of what eventually happens enough doubt has = already been raised about Ronnie Thomas's conviction to excite the = interest of the New South Wales Royal Commission into Police Corruption = and the interests of the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission.

USER PAY NIGHTMARE REPLACES CROSS SUBSIDY ASSISTANCE

Superficially the user pay principle seems to be one that is attractive = to many Australians. People think if somebody uses something they = should pay for it. If people took a few minutes to look beyond the = superficial appeal of this idea they would realise that the user pay = principle condemns the great majority of people to a life of misery. = Everybody needs access to water, power, health care, housing and = transport. Why should someone who needs access to health care or = housing be forced to forgo these basics if they don't have the money to = access these services. Do we want to live in a society where a minority = live in comfort while the rest of the population are denied basic = essential services because they don't have the necessary funds to access = these services.

Cross subsidies go a long way to redressing the injustices that a user = pay philosophy inflicts on people. What's wrong with the idea that city = people cross subsidise country folk for the cost of the infrastructure = that's necessary to provide them with power and telecommunications. = What's wrong with water rates being determined by the amount of property = an individual holds. As more and more cross subsidies are removed, more = and more people are going to find out they can't afford to pay even for = the basic necessities of life. As individuals and groups we need to = resist changes to the cross subsidy philosophy that has served us so = well in the past. Unless we are willing to bury the user pay principle = we will find that sooner or later, most of us won't even be able to = afford the basic necessities of life.

ANARCHIST QUESTION AND ANSWER

Q. Would Environmental Degradation Decrease In An Anarchist Society?

A. One of the most potent images I've seen in my lifetime is the picture = of earth that has been taken from spaceships on their way to the moon or = other parts of the solar system. It hangs there fragile surrounded by = cloud, self contained all alone. Taking a closer look at this powerful = image it's obvious that life on this isolated, fragile planet will = ultimately be determined by the actions of those of us who live on = earth.

Any human society has the potential to destroy the earth. Capitalism by = its very nature poses the greatest danger to the planet. Any economic = system that is based on the generation of profit irrespective of the = social, environmental and human costs is bound to compromise life on = this planet. Most people and economic commentators recognise the danger = capitalism poses. Unfortunately over the past decade "green capitalism" = has been touted as the saviour of capitalism. In a nutshell economic = commentators are saying you can make a profit from marketing green = solutions to a corporate sector, that is intent on making a profit by = destroying the environment.

In order to be successful "green capitalism" needs to be coupled with = sustainable development. Sustainable development is an economic system = that goes hand in hand with a society whose economics are based on the = satisfaction of human needs, not profits. Although green capitalism may = deliver some short term profits to investors by prolonging the life of = an economic system based on profit, sooner or later, most likely sooner, = green capitalist solutions will not be able to fill the hole in the = environmental dyke.

An anarchist society is more likely to turn back the destructive = environmental tide than a capitalist society, because its economics are = based on the satisfaction of human needs through sustainable = development. They are not based on the generation of profits through = the exploitation of finite resources. Some activists believe that = anarchism is an evolutionary not a revolutionary phenomena. They = believe limited resources and increasing populations will force = communities to embrace anarchist economic principles if they want to = avoid mass bloodshed and possible extinction.

ACTION BOX OUR STORY "Those who don't know the past are doomed to repeat the failures of the = past."

Australia has a proud and long anarchist history. Australian Anarchists = were active in the 1890's the late 1910's and early 1920's. They have = also had an active presence in most Australian states since the late = 1960's. Unfortunately the forty to fifty year gap between the = disintegration of the I.W.W. in the early 1920's and the emergence of = the Anarchist movement as part of the new left in the late 1960's = spawned a movement that had no knowledge of its past.

Most Australian anarchists have no idea of their past. Each new = generation repeats the mistakes of the past, re-inventing the wheel as = they go about their activities. An analysis of the past turns up the = same discussions about philosophy, tactics and strategy that reappear = again and again and again. The debate between "life style anarchists" = and "workplace anarchists" that takes up so much of the time and energy = of so many activists in the 1990's was going on in the 1890's.=20

There is no excuse for not knowing our story. A number of people have = delved into our past and have come up with a number of snapshots that = are relevant to us today. If we know our past we don't have to repeat = the same mistakes. Researchers like the Australian Anarchist Historian, = Bob James, and the late Ian Turner have dug up much of the past and have = presented it in an easy to read and digest format.

Most if not all of the major anarchist book outlets in Australia, = Anarres, Barricades, Black Rose, Emmas and Jura Books all have a good = selection of material on Australian Anarchist History. Try to get hold = of these books and read them and see what you can learn about our past. = Unless we make the effort to understand the past we are doomed to repeat = the same mistakes in the future. We have a rich history both modern = and ancient, let's make ourselves familiar with this history and draw up = plans to tackle the present and the future using the lessons we have = learnt from the past.

AUSTRALIAN ANARCHIST HISTORY WHO WAS DONALD GRANT? Donald Grant was the most well known of the I.W.W. twelve. He was a = popular Domain orator and thousands of people flocked to the Domain to = hear him talk. The case against Grant was tenuous of all the cases = against the I.W.W. twelve. He was sentenced to fifteen years = imprisonment for two sentences he is supposed to have uttered at the = Domain. It was alleged he had called on his listeners to "sabotage the = employers property." He claims he called on his listeners to "sabotage = the employers profits." It was also alleged he had spoken the famous = fifteen words that formed the backbone of the police's and the states = case against the I.W.W. twelve. "For every day Barker is in goal it = will cost the capitalists 10,000 pounds." The state argued that this = statement implicated Donald Grant in the Sydney arson attacks. Grant = stated that the statement applied to industrial action and strikes not = arson.

Donald Grant was one of the ten of the twelve that were freed on the 3rd = of August, 1920, nearly four years after they were imprisoned. Within = three weeks of his release Donald Grant was back at the Domain preaching = revolution. Grant finally made his peace with the Labour party and = parliamentary politics and became a Labour Senator for New South Wales. = He was living in quiet retirement in Sydney in the late 1960's and the = early 1970's. I've not been able to come across any information about = his ultimate fate and would be grateful if anybody could fill in the = missing pieces.

Bill Beatty another member of the I.W.W. twelve that was imprisoned for = "conspiracy to commit arson" was living in Brisbane in the late 1960's. = If Sydney or Brisbane readers have any information about the ultimate = fate of these last two survivors of the I.W.W. twelve then write to = Joseph Toscano, P.O. Box 20, Parkville, 3052, Melbourne, Australia.

Source of Information: Sydney's Burning (An Australian Political = Conspiracy) by Ian Turner, National Library of Australia, Registry No. = Aus 67-751. P.S. If anybody has any information about where any of the I.W.W. = twelve are buried please drop us a line.

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS He didn't care, he really didn't care what anyone of us was doing. He = just stood there in his shorts and sandals staring straight ahead. = Hundreds of eyes trapped in stalled petrol driven chariots threw envious = glances at this renegade. While we battled the heat and listened to the = inane patter of bored drive time hosts, he took off his sandals and = rubbed his hairy calf against a section of the small wooden bridge he = was standing on.

We just sat there in grid lock, sweat pouring down our backs trying to = find our way home. He didn't care, he was surrounded by human beings in = hot metal cocoons. He didn't care or most likely didn't even know we = were staring at him. He sat down and dangled his legs in the water that = flowed under the bridge. He didn't feel the heat, he sat in a thicket = of trees in one of the few remaining public parks in this part of = Melbourne.

You could sense he was happy, you could sense he was taking in the = greenery and the water. Just then the traffic began to move. None of = us pulled over and joined him, we seemed to be more intent on travelling = a few more meters, than joining him. We're so keen to get home that we = couldn't afford to pull over for a few minutes and enjoy the greenery. = Had we forgotten that there's more to life than work, traffic and bills = or did we just want to leave him alone to enjoy his solitude. Who = knows? STOP PRESS! TWO BILLION DOLLAR FIASCO Over 200 million dollars have been wiped off the value of Crown Casino = shares in the past four weeks. Investors are beginning to worry that = Crown Casino is not the goldmine they thought it was. As the cost to = build this blight on the Melbourne landscape blows out from 1.5 billion = to over 2 billion dollars, and as the human and social consequences of = the casino culture that has enveloped Melbourne become more and more = transparent, punters are beginning to give the casino a wide berth. Crown Casino investors know that it will be almost impossible to cream = off enough money from local punters to meet the cost of the building, = unless overseas "highrollers" are willing to regularly use the casino. = To date they have been willing to use the temporary casino. It's highly = likely that once the hype surrounding the opening of the permanent = casino dies down, the "high rollers" will move on to greener pastures. = No wonder Ron Walker and his ilk are pestering their good friend Jeffrey = Gibb Kennett the Premier of Victoria to decrease the minimal taxes that = Crown Casino pays.

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

ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK ALTERNATIVE LIBERTAIRE No.49 Jan'97. BP 177, 75967, Paris, Cedex 20. = FRANCE. CNT No.211-212 Oct'96 A.P. 4040, 18080 Granada, SPAIN. Tel: 958 - 220065. Fax: 958 - 220119

EKINAREN EKINAZ No.3 Jan'97 CNT AIR. Ukibarri 4 abk. 89 Post Akufixatila 48970 Dasabru (Bizraia) SPAIN Tel:(94) 440 1057 Fax: (94) 426 3372

KLEINTJE MUURKRANT NO.303 21 Nov'96. Den Bosch, Postbus 703, 5201 As Den Bosch, NETHERLANDS htt;://www.telebyte.ni/-stelling/

LE LIBERTAIRE No.173 Feb'97 25 Rue D'Aplemont, 76600 Le Havre FRANCE. Tel 02 35 53 3341

LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE No 1071 13 -19 Feb'97. 145 Rue Amelot, 75011 PARIS. FRANCE Tel: 01 48053408. Fax: 01 49 299859

ROJO Y NEGRO No. 82 Oct'96 Compania 9, 10 129. PAMPLONA/IRUNA SPAIN. Tel: (948) 224766. Fax: (948) 212399

SEME ANARCHICO Y-17 No.3 Summer'96. C.P. 217. 25157 Brescia. ITALY

SICILIA LIBERTARIA. YR 20 No.148. Nov'96. Via Galileo Galieli 45-97100 RAGUSA. ITALY

SOLIDARIDADOBRERA No.263 Oct'96 c/- Hospital 101 68001, BARCELONA. SPAIN Tely Fax (93) 441 38 02

UMANITA NOVA 76th Year 24 Nov'96 Italiano Rossi. C.P. 90-55045 QUERCETA (LU) ITALY TEL: 09 81 950684

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.

AUTONOMOUS HEALTH UNION MEETING Thursday 6th March 8.00 pm Ross House/ Mezzanine 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Observers Welcome

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). =20 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.

DIRECT DEMOCRACY Sick and tired of the parliamentary circus. Interested in Direct = Democracy then make a financial contribution to the Anarchist Media = Institute Direct Democracy account to help us fund our anti-electoral = campaign for the next Federal Election. Make all cheques & money orders = to DIRECT DEMOCRACY send them to PO BOX 20, PARKVILLE, 3052 AUSTRALIA.

ANARCHIST WORLD THIS WEEK POSTER AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF A FEW STAMPS Want to help us find new listeners for the Anarchist World This Week = then send us a few stamps to AWTW, PO Box 20 Parkville 3052, Australia & = we'll send you out a colour poster (A3) for your use & a Black and White = poster you can photocopy & put up to help us increase the number of = people who listen to the Anarchist World This Week.

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.

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 $1,690.00. We encourage all our readers to 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 Australia. DEBT 26.2.97 - $1,690.00

ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE OBSCENITY OF THE WEEK Seeing Senator Amanda Vanstone, the Federal Minister for Further = Education and Employment "unreservedly apologising" for stuffing up the = "Aus Study" payments to tens of thousands of Australian students, is = enough to bring tears to an old cynics eyes.

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