(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review

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Number 240

10th - 16th March, 1997

VICTORIA BANKRUPT?

The Kennett regime has had it easy until last weekend. Victorian Trade = Unionists weathered the Kennett regimes first four years in office by = moving over to Federal Awards. The election of the Howard government in = March 1996 and the re-election of the Kennett regime a month later, = closed off the escape route that Victorian workers had stampeded = through. When Kennett and his cronies transferred the whole industrial = relations sector into the hands of the Federal government they felt they = had drawn and quartered the Victorian Trade Union Movement.

The Public Transport Commission Union's decision to go on strike on the = very weekend that Kim Il Kennett was about to enjoy the antics of his = lovechild - the Melbourne Grand Prix, has thrown a spanner into = Kennett's plans for Victoria. The current dispute about a new workplace = agreement between Victoria's Public Transport Commission workers and the = State government can be laid wholly and squarely at the feet of Kennett = and the Victorian Treasurer Stockdale. On the 26th of February the = Public Transport Commission Unions and the Victorian Public Transport = Minister Cooper had come to an in principle agreement about a new = workplace contract. Cooper, a relatively new minister was asked to take = the contract via Treasury and Stockdale. =20

An important part if not the central piece of the agreement concerned = superannuation. The State government had agreed to honour all = superannuation commitments and allow workers to transfer their = superannuation entitlements to the new corporations that were going to = be formed in the Public Transport Sector.

Stockdale and his cronies in Treasury realised that many, if not a = majority of Public Transport employees would decide to take = superannuation lump sums when the Public Sector was corporatised. They = realised that there would NOT be enough money in the State Treasury to = pay workers superannuation entitlements. They were also concerned that = tens of thousands of other public sector workers in health and education = would demand the same superannuation entitlements that Public Transport = Workers were entitled to.

In an attempt to defuse the situation Kennett and his cronies decided = not to offer workers any superannuation guarantees but offer them a six = per cent wage rise over the next two years.

As soon as public transport workers realised that they were going to be = CHEATED of their superannuation entitlements, they decided to withdraw = their labour for the Grand Prix weekend. In an extraordinary display = Kennett was near to tears when he found out that the workers were going = to go out on strike. He stated that Victoria have never seen such an = act of betrayal, that the workers stand was un-Victorian and that he = would reek his personal vengeance on public transport workers after the = Grand Prix weekend.

All over the Grand Prix weekend and since the Grand Prix weekend, radio, = television and especially newspapers have done all they can to vilify = the public transport workers. On some days not one reason was given why = public transport workers had gone on strike. Except for talkback calls = on radio not one media outlet seemed to have a good word top say about = the strikers. Reading newspaper accounts of the strikers you'd think = they were all practising paedophiles and ate human flesh for breakfast. = The sympathetic coverage of the Grand Prix and the governments efforts = to use private buses with volunteer drivers (you don't drive you get the = sack) were a disaster. The Grand Prix Corporation stands to make over a = ten million dollar loss which, surprise, surprise will be subsidised by = the Victorian taxpayer.

The current dispute is not over yet. Other Victorian Public Sector = Workers are beginning to realise the implications the governments stand = has for their superannuation payments. If there is one things that's = sacrosanct among workers it's their superannuation entitlements. Many = public sector workers continue to work in boring repetitive meaningless = jobs, dreaming of the day when they receive their lump sum payment and = begin living. Kennett and his cronies believe they can destroy = Victorian Unionists by turning public opinion against them.

What Kennett and his ilke have forgotten is that although they have = three more years to serve in office before they face the voters, the = increasing number of Victorian who are dissatisfied with the Kennett = regime can bring the State to a halt. People are becoming sick and = tired of Kennett's bovver boy approach. The only difference between = Kennett and his cronies and a gang of thugs is that Kennett is more = dangerous because he has the State apparatus to support him. = Interestingly the Kennett regime worked out a sweetheart deal with the = Victorian Police Association over police officer's superannuation = payments just after they were elected to office in 1992.

Kennett and his cronies are nothing more than a mob of bullies, they can = be stopped and they will be stopped. People don't ever need to withdraw = their labour, they can work to rule, refuse to co-operate with the = government and within a few weeks bring the whole government to a = grinding halt. If their ever was a time for unity this is it. People = need to work together to neutralise these bullies. The public transport = workers and any other Victorians who are willing to stand up to this = can't do government, this second rate government that can't even = organise a successful Grand Prix, need to be supported to the hilt. The = struggle has just begun, as individuals and as groups we can't continue = to let the Victorian Coalition parliamentary maggots ride roughshod over = us, our hopes and our aspirations. Now is the time for united action = against these apprentice fascists.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

I specifically didn't mention International Women's Day in last weeks = Anarchist Age Weekly Review, because I wanted to analyse the mass = Media's response to the 8th March. Considering the advances women are = supposed to have made in this country you'd think that a few newspaper = columns or a few seconds of television time or a few minutes of radio = time in the so-called main stream media would have been devoted to = reporting what women did to celebrate the day.

Scanning the pages of the Victorian Herald Sun, the Melbourne Age and = the Australian, the only mention that was made of the day was a diatribe = by Padric McGuiness (the failed Sydney Morning Herald columnist who has = been banished to the Melbourne Age) bemoaning that International Women's = Day is a socialist plot. The only other mention I saw was about 10 = lines in the Australian acknowledging that John Howard the Prime = Minister of Australia marked the day by saying women should have equal = opportunities to men. Scanning the rest of the newspapers they seemed = to be full of information about the Melbourne Grand Prix. The Age, = Herald Sun and Australian devoted acres of trees to this pathetic = display of machismo.

If anybody was under the illusion that International Women's Day meant = anything to the mass media, any illusions they had would have been = dashed when they realised that the television and radio gurus were more = interested in a few fools racing around a race track in a public park = than acknowledging what International Women's Day means to hundreds and = thousands of women. Even an old cynic like myself was shocked at the = lack of acknowledgment of the day both on the day and the day after.

Anybody who believes that the struggle for equality between men and = women is over only needs to look at the total lack of interest = International Women's Day generated in the mass media to realise that no = much has changed in the last two decades.

WHEN IS A MERCENARY NOT A MERCENARY?

When he works for the government of course. Nothing highlights the = coalition governments moral bankruptcy more than their reaction to the = Bougainville revolt. Over the past nine years Bougainville has been = gripped by a civil war that has directly and indirectly led to the = deaths of over 10,000 people. The Hawke and Keating Labor government = bankrolled the Papua New Guinea government and provided them with = equipment, training and on the ground military assistance.

When the Coalition won office in March last year, there seemed to have = been a distinct change in the governments attitude to the Bougainville = crisis. For a time it seemed that the Foreign Minister Alexander Downer = was interested in broking a deal between the Bougainville rebels and the = P.N.G. government. Today nothing seems to be further from the truth. = This weeks meeting between John Howard and Julius Chan has seen the = Coalition government fall in line with the Papua New Guinea government.

The Federal government has promised to provide indirect and direct = military assistance to P.N.G. to quell the Bougainville rebellion, if = they don't deploy mercenaries in Bougainville. It's strange, very = strange indeed that the Australian government is willing to change its = policies towards P.N.G. and Bougainville after just one meeting with the = Prime Minister of P.N.G., Julius Chan. Possibly John Howard and the = Coalition government have thrown their support behind the P.N.G. = government because they want C.R.A. to maintain its presence in = Bougainville. Why else would a government that was sympathetic to the = rebels demands change sides midstream?

HI HO HI HO OFF TO WORK WE GO!!

Disillusionment, despondency and dependency will peel off the backs of = young Australians when they begin their work for the dole programmes - = John Howard's not my words. The work for the dole scheme must be one of = the most cynical exercises that Australians have been exposed to this = century. Listening to the Coalition government beating their breasts = you'd think they had just done young people a great big favour. Being forced to work for the dole albeit for award wages will not = overcome disillusionment, despondency and dependency. It will not build = up young peoples self-esteem and self-confidence. At best it will = artificially lower unemployment rates short term, but will eventually = increase unemployment rates as unscrupulous employers take on work for = the dole recipients and lay off both casual and full time staff. The = work for the dole scheme is a recipe for more disillusionment, = despondency and dependency. In the long term it will be as singularly = unsuccessful as Kim Il Kennett's attempts to reintroduce a Cadet Corp in = Victorian Secondary Colleges.

JUNIOR DOCTORS LIVID

The sight of 2000 junior doctors protesting and striking in New South = Wales is something I did not expect to see in my life time. In an = attempt to decrease doctor numbers the Federal Coalition has passed = legislation that will block four hundred doctors each year from pursuing = a career in medicine, not before but after they have graduated from = medical school. Instead of limiting the number of people entering medical schools or = closing down a few medical schools across the country, Michael = Woolridge the Federal Health Minister and Federal cabinet have decided = to limit training opportunities for medical students who have FINISHED = their course. Instead of guaranteeing new graduate doctors positions = while simultaneously restricting entry to medical schools for first year = students, the government has decided to destroy the lives of hundreds of = graduates who have studied for six years. These students went through = medical schools on the understanding that they would be allowed to = practise medicine once they graduated and finished their training. Junior doctors are on strike in New South Wales because many of them = will have wasted seven years of their lives doing medicine. They will = find that at the end of their internship they will not be allowed to = practise medicine or they will be forcibly conscripted into hospital or = rural service. So much for the actions of a government that promotes = itself as a supporter of individual liberty. The way the Coalition = government has treated junior doctors highlights the Federal governments = total lack of regard for individual liberties let alone justice.

ANARCHIST QUESTION and ANSWER

Q. Would an anarchist community stifle individual initiative?

A. We're constantly told that an egalitarian community would inhibit = individual initiative. Why would anybody bother to perform at their = peak if they received the same financial rewards as everybody else. Why = would anybody want to go that extra mile if they received the same = rewards as their neighbours. Those people who think that an egalitarian = community would stifle individual initiatives believe that monetary = rewards are the most important driving force behind initiative. They = seem to forget that there are more important rewards than money in life. An anarchist community promotes individual initiative, it does not = stifle it. The biggest barrier to an individual developing themselves = to their fullest capacity is external not internal. How many well known = writers, artists, scientists and doctors would have never "made it" if = they hadn't had financial and personal support along the way. An = anarchist community does not reduce initiative to the lowest common = denominator, it actually promotes initiative by creating an environment = which meets peoples' economic needs. Such an environment would encourage hundreds of thousands if not = millions of people whose ability to develop themselves to their fullest = potential is stifled by the struggle for economic survival. It's no = accident that so many of the people who today are praised for their = initiative didn't have to worry about the economic necessities of life. = Many painters are able to paint and writers write because somebody else = has sacrificed their life looking after their physical and economic = needs. That old saying "behind every great man lies a great woman" acknowledges = the fact that one individual, usually a woman, has to sacrifice = themselves so that another individual can develop themselves. Such a = system is not only grossly unfair but highly inefficient because it = stifles initiative in the great majority of the population. The very = fact that each and every individual has power and has access to the = "common wealth" is the best and most efficient way of encouraging each = individual to show initiative and develop themselves to their fullest = potential. Power and wealth are not rewards that promote individual initiative in = an anarchist community. The rewards individuals strive for in an = anarchist society are different and in their own way much more = satisfying than an ability to acquire power and wealth. Community = recognition of effort and an enhanced reputation among ones community = are two very important rewards that individuals who show initiative = receive in an anarchist community. The reward of knowing that you have = done a job to the best of your ability and the community recognition you = receive for doing that job are two important ways initiative and effort = are recognised in an anarchist community. ACTION BOX - KEEPING THE FIRES IN THE BELLY BURNING Remember the fire in the belly that you felt when you first become an = anarchist. It's important to feed that fire and keep it glowing. It's = very easy to let the trials and tribulations of living and life smother = those embers and put out those fires that burn inside you. It's no = accident that many young people lose that fire as they grow older. It's = no accident many older people lose those fires and consequently lose the = ability to envisage and work for change. There's nothing more soul destroying than listening to the activist who = has seen it all, done it all. Listening to these dried up wizened = characters, you'd think that the spirit of revolt had been doused for = everybody when their embers had been extinguished by the disappointments = and limitations of their own struggles. Although the path towards = libertarian change may be difficult it's important to keep those fires = in your belly burning. If they're not fed that quintessential fire of revolt that was ignited = when you first confronted personal and community injustices will = eventually flicker out. You'll then either become a privatised = individual who has no interest in what's going on around you or you'll = continue to mouth the words of revolt but do nothing to bring about = change. The same injustices that ignited our souls are still there, = what many of us find as we grow older and become economically secure is = that the flames of revolt die down and eventually flicker out. We need to feed those embers by becoming involved in activity that = challenges dominant ideology. Unless we remain active the flames of = revolt in our bellies become embers which occasionally cause us = indigestion but eventually go out. Try to keep in contact with other = activists, try to keep yourself informed about what's going on in the = anarchist community and most important of all try to introduce anarchist = principles of organisation and action in any struggle you're involved = in. Try to keep the flames alive by reading, writing, thinking about = out your life, your goals and how you can tackle injustice both at the = personal and community level. AUSTRALIAN ANARCHIST HISTORY - JOE HILLS ASHES - THE AUSTRALIAN = CONNECTION Joe Hill, the I.W.W. song writer and activist migrated from Sweden to = the United States in January 1901. In 1910 he joined the I.W.W. and was = an active member of the I.W.W. until he was arrested for murder in Salt = Lake City, Utah, in January 1914. Joe Hill denied he was ever involved = in the murder but was convicted in a trial that was more a trial about = the activities of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) than a = murder trial. Although the President of the United States Wilson, = appealed to the State of Utah to commute the death sentence, Joe Hill = was strapped to a chair and shot on the 19 November, 1915. On the day before he was executed he sent telegrams to the Chicago = headquarters of the I.W.W. "Goodbye, I will die like a true blue rebel. = Don't waste any time in mourning, organise....It is only a hundred miles = from here to Wyoming. Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the = State line to be buried? I don't want to be found dead in Utah." Over thirty thousand people attended his funeral service in Chicago, his = body was cremated and his ashes were sent to I.W.W. locals across the = world. Tom Barker a leading I.W.W. militant in Sydney recalled that the = Sydney I.W.W. local received a parcel of Joe Hill's ashes from Chicago. = They intended to scatter his ashes near the Domain the following Sunday. = Unfortunately the New South Wales Police raided the I.W.W. headquarters = and confiscated Joe Hill's ashes. When Tom Barker found that Joe's = ashes were missing he went to Sydney Central Police Station to find out = what had happened to the ashes. The Police Chief told him that he had = thrown the ashes into the fire in the police station. =20 Nobody really knows whether the police threw Joe Hill's ashes into the = fire at Sydney Central Police Station. Who knows? Joe Hill's ashes may = still be languishing in some dusty corner of some Sydney Police Station. = Sydney anarchists who have the time and inclination to find out what = really happened to Joe Hill's ashes should consider making enquiries to = find out what happened to his ashes. They should start by demanding the = New South Wales Police Force should make every effort to find out what = really happened to Joe's ashes. If they're still around they should be = returned to the Sydney anarchist community for burial.

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS

As I walked into the office I was greeted with cries of she's a Kennett = supporter. I was a little surprised by this revelation. For six years = I had been trying to meet a Kennett voter. Considering over 50% of the = Victorian electorate have twice voted for the Kennett regime, I was = surprised that I had never come across someone who had admitted voting = for Kim Il Kennett and his cronies. After six years I had assumed that = voting for Jeffrey was akin to having a pleasurable hidden vice. You = enjoyed your vice in private, but you'd never think of telling people = about it. It would just be too embarrassing. Well it looked like things were about to change for me. I had = accidentally stumbled on the Holy Grail. I didn't really believe what I = had been told, I was sure they were having a joke at my expense, but I = was wrong. Yes she said she was a Kennett supporter and proud of it. = Jeff had got the State moving and she adored him. She even told me she = had a scrap book and collected cuttings of Kim Il Kennett. Yes folks it = looked like I had struck the mother load. By now I was beside myself = with excitement. She was about forty years old, had an angular frame and was pounding out = information on a computer screen. I asked her name, she pointed to a = typed name attached to the top of her computer. I assumed she had = trouble with her memory and needed every so often to look at the name = attached to the computer frame to reassure herself about her identity. = I placed my hands on her shoulders and leaned forward to make out her = name. My hands hovered on her shoulders and then slowly sunk until they = settled on her angular frame. She was wearing a plain coat with large = shoulder pads. Power dressing her way to who knows where. She was a = mirror image of the Kennett regime, all froth and bubble and show, = looked good but when you get close to her or the Kennett regime you = quickly find out there's no substance to either of them, just fluff. By = now I could make out her name, it was Yvonne. I said hello and told her = to hold her Kennett scrapbook tightly, because in a few years time the = only public record that would be left of her idol would be bad memories = and a few newspaper cuttings.

STOP PRESS! - GO! GO! GO!

It looks like sections of the Trade Union Movement have begun to realise = that you can't negotiate with the Coalition government either at a State = or a Federal level. The level of workplace disputes is beginning to = rise. Last weekends dispute by Public Transport Workers in Melbourne = highlights the desperate position many workers find themselves in, in = the state of froth and bubble. It's no accident the Victorian Public = Transport Workers were the first to capitulate and are now the first to = strike back at the Kennett regime. The Federal government and Kennett regimes policies are very clear. = Initially they corporatise State of Federal assets, once they're = corporatised and they're attractive to the private sector they virtually = give them away to the private corporate sector. Victoria's Public = Transport Workers have finally realised that the Kennett regime is = rapidly corporatising the transport sector, fattening up the transport = cow so it can be slaughtered before the next election. The main people = who will lose from this little exercise are public transport users and = public transport workers. Users will be asked to pay more for an ever = diminishing service and workers will find that the minimal terms and = conditions they now enjoy will evaporate. It's no wonder many Victorian = Public Transport Workers have decided to no longer turn the other cheek. = They realise that they are caught between a rock and a hard place and = unless they strike out they will lose what few entitlements they have. I HAD A DREAM Wanted - dreamers - fax or post your dream to the Anarchist Age Weekly = Review.

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

ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK ALTERNATIVE LIBERTAIRE No.49 Jan'97, BP177 - 75967, Paris Cedex 20, = France. **** ARIVISTA ANARCHICA No.232 Dec'96, Editrice A, C.P. 17120, 20170 Milano, = Italy. Tel & Fa 02/2896627. **** CNT No.219 Feb'97, A.C. 4040, Granada, Spain. Tel 958-220065, Fax = 958-220119. **** FEDERATION ANARCHISTE FRANCOPHONE 24 Feb'97, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011 = Paris, France. Tel 01-48-05-34-08. Fax 01-49-29-98-59. **** LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE No.1073 27 Feb - 4th Mar'97, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011, = Paris France. Tel 0148053408. Fax 0149299859. **** LIBERECANA LIGILO No.80 1996 (Esperanto), Gilbert Ledon, Rua Maria = Aparecida Anecleto. 111-A, BR 04809-120, SAO PAULO, Brazil. Tel & Fax = +55-12-262-1983. **** UMANITA NOVA 76th Year, 8th Dec'96, Italino Rossi, C.P. 90 - 55046, = Querceta (LU), Italy. **** OTHER PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK Down to Earth Confest Newsletter 1997, PO Box 295, East Beunswick 3057. = Melbourne Australia. Tel (03) 94162803. **** NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS No.41 Feb'97, PO Box 5208, West End 4101. Queensland, = Australia. **** 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 Next meeting - Thursday 3rd April, 8.00pm. Ross House/Mezzanine. 247 = Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Observers Welcome. No Conference for Sunday = 16th March. Postponed, rescheduled for June or July 1997. Interested = in attending write to: A.H.U. PO Box 5035, ALPHINGTON. 3078 MELBOURNE = AUSTRALIA.

DIRECT DEMOCRACY Sick & 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.

ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE PUBLIC MEETING HUMAN CLONING-An Anarchist Perspective, Joseph Toscano Thursday 27th = March, 1997, 8.00pm. Ross House (Mezzanine). 247 Flinders Lane. = Melbourne. Anarres Bookshop will have a bookstall on the night. - All = 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.

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.

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 $1926.00. 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 12.3.97 - $1926.00

ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE OBSCENITY OF THE WEEK Has been won by the master of hyperbole the Premier of Victoria Jeffrey = (Glib) Kennett for describing the Public Transport Unions decision to = withdraw their labour on the Grand Prix weekend as an "ACT of Betrayal".

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