(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review

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Number 242

24th - 30th March, 1997

EUTHANASIA - PARLIAMENTARY HYPOCRISY

What a sight, watching our beloved Senators casting a "conscience" vote = on the question of euthanasia. What hypocrisy, the very people who have = voted against rational adults with terminal illness having the right to = a gentle easy death - euthanasia, are now claiming they did it as an act = of conscience. What utter rubbish, Australia's parliamentarians are = supposed to be representatives - they should represent the people's = views in parliament. How many of these hypocrites who exercised a = conscience vote had any knowledge of what the people they represented = wanted. Paradoxically about the only Senator who actually represented a = viewpoint on euthanasia was Senator Harradine.

To make matters worse many of these hypocrites are the very ones who = have supported the Liberal/National Parties attempted to out = Commonwealth funds that are provided for palliative care programmes. = Listening to many of these parliamentary hypocrites it was obvious that = few if any of those Senators who voted to repeal the Northern = Territories euthanasia laws had or have any intention of expanding = palliative care programmes to help alleviate the suffering of people = with terminal illness.

The Northern Territory euthanasia laws were cut and dried, they were = directed at rational sane adults with terminal illnesses that wanted to = end their life in a dignified manner. What's so evil or immoral about = people who want to end their lives, because they see no hope for = themselves. What's so evil or immoral about somebody with intractable = pain as a result of a terminal illness wanting to end their life in a = dignified and gentle manner. What right has the State or = representatives of the State to stop rational sane human beings from = choosing the manner of their death.

If the State is so concerned about the sanctity of human life and human = dignity why wasn't the Andrew's bill structured in such a manner as to = provide individuals with terminal illnesses around the clock palliative = care. Not only have these "conscience voters" disenfranchised the = people they represent, they have also closed the door to the expansion = of palliative care services to assist increasing numbers of Australians = who face a slow painful death.

PUBLIC PROPERTY - GOVERNMENT PROPERTY NOT COMMUNITY PROPERTY

I'm sick and tired of hearing that public property belongs to the = people. I'm sick and tired of hearing that Australians are shareholders = in assets that are owned by the State. Over the last few years Qantas, = the Commonwealth Bank, one third of Telstra and the nations airports are = a few of the Commonwealth assets that have been "sold" or are about to = be given away to the private sector. In Victoria the Kennett regime has = privatised the State Electricity Commission, jails, part of the public = transport sector, introduced compulsory competitive tendering and wants = to privatise the Gas and Fuel Corporation and Metropolitan water.

How many times have any of the "shareholders" been asked whether they = want to sell these assets? Not once!! Both the Coalition and Labor = parties have joined forces to sell public assets without asking the = public what they want to do with these assets. Assets that have = provided cross-subsidised services for decades have been sold at the = whim of the government of the day. Time and time again public assets = have become private property, because the government of the day decided = to dispose of these assets.

Anybody who still believes the fairytale that each and every one of us = is a shareholder in these public utilities and assets needs to face = reality. Public assets belong to the government, they don't belong to = the people. Any government can at any time decide to dispose of any = public asset it likes for whatever price it likes. Just look at what = governments of all persuasions have done with public assets over the = past decade.

They have treated public assets as their own personal fiefdoms. Selling = them off at whatever price they like to who ever they like. Anybody who = is interested in protecting the integrity of public assets should pour = their energies into campaigns that make public assets the people's = assets. At the very least no public asset should be sold until a = referendum is held to decide whether people want to keep such an asset = in the public domain or whether it should be sold to the private sector. = Without such constitutional provisions, governments will continue to = dispose of public assets, treating them as government not people's = property.

WHAT'S GOING ON IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA?

Anybody who has followed events in P.N.G. over the past week would have = seen the P.N.G. armed forces challenge the power of a democratically = elected government. In an attempt to rid themselves of mercenaries, the = P.N.G. armed forces have demanded that the P.N.G. government jettison = the current Prime Minister Julius Chan. Day after day we have seen the = P.N.G. government confronted by the very people who theoretically = provide the government with the military muscle to maintain the status = quo.

The current military revolt in P.N.G. is just that, a military revolt. = The military personnel have made a number of demands:- that the = government break its contract with Sandline International and that the = current Prime Minister, the architect of the mercenary force resign. = Currently only a relatively small number of people have been involved in = the protests supporting the army. Currently the dispute is between the = armed forces and the parliamentarians. In many regards the people are = little more than extras in this little drama.

It's interesting to note that the armies demands have not gone beyond = their initial demands. At no time have the armed forces linked the = corruption that's endemic in P.N.G. with parliamentary rule. They have = gone out of their way to support not challenge the constitution. We are = all witnesses to a rebellion that will ultimately not touch the lives of = most Papua New Guineans. Apart from some looting initially, business = goes on as usual. Few P.N.G. citizens have taken the opportunity to = challenge the status quo. Most are willing to watch the events = unfolding before them, most do not want to use the military rebellion as = an opportunity to challenge the State itself. Now that Sandline = International has been expelled from P.N.G. we will see the Australian = government support efforts to reinforce the power of parliament over the = armed forces and the P.N.G. people.

POST SCRIPT (Wednesday a.m.)

Rebel troops and P.N.G. citizens were outraged at the Parliaments = inability to dislodge Chan from power. They have surrounded Parliament = house and have decided to exercise some people power against the = parliamentarians. Brigadier General Jerry Singirok seems to have lost = control of some rebel troops. The scene is now set for dramatic = changes, possibly radical changes in P.N.G.

THE CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST

The Kennett regimes privatisation policies are beginning to pay = dividends. The death of two Victorians and the hospitalisation of over = a hundred people in Victoria over the past few weeks can be directly = laid at the feet of the Kennett regime. The forced council = amalgamations that occurred at the beginning of the Kennett regimes = first term in office resulted in the wholesale sacking of thousands of = council workers. Compulsory competitive tendering saw the jobs of many = council workers taken over by a host of dubious private corporations.

In an attempt to save a few dollars the Victorian Government repealed = most health regulations regarding food processing and handling and = decreased the number of local government health inspectors from 314 to = 75. Today it's unusual for food processors or food outlets to be = troubled by visits from health inspectors. Most local authorities don't = have the funds, time or inclination to keep an eye on food outlets in = their local municipalities.

It's no wonder that over the past few months, Victoria has been dogged = by an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and now by outbreaks of = salmonella gastroenteritis. What's surprising is that it has taken this = long for the system to fall apart. The problems associated with the = lack of inspectors have been compounded by ever decreasing funds = allocated to the Environment Protection Authority, the sections of the = Health Department that monitor infectious diseases and by a public = health sector that doesn't have any time to do adequate testing of = collected samples.

Seeing Kennett and his ministers standing up and saying there's no = problem, while hundreds rush to hospital accident and emergency = departments is an obscenity. The Kennedy regime has been responsible = for implementing policies that have resulted in the total demise of a = system that managed to protect Victorians to one where each and every = Victorian is subjected to unnecessary health risks. Ultimately the = Kennett regime bears the responsibility for the deaths and sickness that = have descended on the Victorian community.

KENNETT REGIME DISMEMBERS VICTORIAN COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTRES

Anybody that believes that the Victorian government has any interest in = providing health services needs to think again. Late last week the = Kennett regime introduced legislation into the Victorian parliament to = remove the last vestiges of independence from Victoria's Community = Health Centres. Many of the sixty Victorian Community Health Centres = owe their origin to the Whitlam Labour Government. In 1972 the Federal = government decided to bypass the State governments and directly fund = health care to communities who were having difficulty in accessing State = health care services. These community health centres were a revolutionary concept because they = provided a range of health services to the local community and the = health centres board of management was elected by the local community. = This meant that local community health centres provided services for = local communities and even more importantly were run by democratically = elected boards of management. The demise of the Whitlam government in = 1975 meant that many of the community health centres that had been = established were transferred to the State sector. Although many community health centres had difficulty attracting = sufficient funds from the State sector they continued to flourish and = continued to be governed by elected management committees. The Kennett regimes legislation will mean that every Victorian Community = Health Centre elected board will be abolished. The boards will = initially be replaced by administrators and eventually they will be = replaced by a board that is appointed by the Victorian Health Minister. = It seems the Victorian government can't even tolerate the minimal amount = of independence that Victorian Community Health Centres now enjoy. The Kennett regimes ultimate aim is to totally dismember these community = health centres and eventually sell them to the private health sector. = The tens of thousands of people who now receive cross subsidised health = services will be forced to utilise already over-crowded public = facilities or they'll have to cough up the money to receive non-medicare = funded services. If anything highlights the authoritarian and arbitrary = nature of the Kennett regime it's the way this government is attempting = to run the public health sector.

ANARCHIST QUESTION and ANSWER

(Question sent in by Christ from Bli Bli, Queensland, Australia). Q. When the well being of so many is at stake, what compels people to = shut up? A. Most people don't believe the well being of so many is at stake, even = many of those whose well being is at stake don't see any need or = possibility to change. People shut up for various reasons, family = commitments and the fear of retribution are two major reasons why people = decide to put up and shut up. Most people don't have an independent = income, most are mortgaged up to the hilt, most need to work or receive = government benefits to survive. It doesn't take a person long to realise how precarious their position = is. People on salaries and government benefits (hostages) live life on = a knife edge. If they're seen to ask too many questions, it doesn't = take long for them to lose their jobs or benefits. It's no accident = that historically many anarchist activists have been self-employed. = Although in reality many self-employed people are little more than = economic hostages (working long hours to make a living) some choose to = be self-employed so they can articulate ideas and be active. They = choose to be self-employed so they not the state or a private employer = control their income. Other people don't raise their voices in protest because they can't see = any problems. As far as they're concerned, as long as things are all = right for them it doesn't matter what happens to the next person. What = they conveniently forget is that sooner or later the "next person" will = turn on them. Others see what's going on but believe that's the way it = is, even if they speak, they believe that nothing will change, so they = believe there's no point in putting their head up and having it chopped = off. Fear, self interest and cynicism all play their part in stopping people = from raising their voices. It doesn't really matter if other people = don't raise their voices, what matters is that you raise your voice. If = nobody is willing to put their head up and articulate ideas that don't = support the status quo, the status quo will survive ad nauseam. Things = change, sometimes with a rush, sometimes not at all, but they do change. = Empires come and go, dictators meet their match and peoples' lives = improve. They improve because individuals and groups put up their = heads, dare to dream and eventually make their dreams a reality. = Nothing will ever change if we wait for somebody else to speak up. If = we want change we need to speak up, irrespective of whether other people = are paralysed by fear, self interest or cynicism. ACTION BOX - WHAT CAN I DO? "I'm just one person," is the cry I hear over and over again. = Organisations have their uses but an individual does not need an = organisation to be active. You don't even need to go out of your way to = be active. You don't need to distribute or produce anarchist material. = By just talking to your friends and acquaintances you are active. Not = everybody sees things the way you see them. Mainstream ideology is = continually rammed down our throats through the electronic media and = newsprint. By articulating your viewpoint about what is happening and = how things can change can influence they way people approach life. If = you don't articulate anarchist ideas and activities, who else will. You can take things a step further by becoming involved in groups that = are active in your neighbourhood or community. Participation in your = local church, school, a local protest movement, community group, = sporting club or even your neighbourhood watch chapter (don't panic) can = inject fresh ideas into tired authoritarian organisations. Don't expect = to be welcomed with open arms, but try to hang in there, your ideas may = help to create a less hierarchical organisation. Attempting to = introduce anarchist direct democratic principles and replacing elected = representatives with recallable delegates can change the very nature of = the organisation you're involved in. Irrespective of whether you're expelled or not doesn't matter, what = matters is the influence your ideas have on that organisation. It won't = be easy work, in many cases it may be a waste of time, but at least you = as an individual are able to be active. Individual effort is the = cornerstone of change. Don't be put off if you're not supported by an = organisation or are short of funds, your direct participation in a local = organisation can have a positive impact for you and the organisation = you're involved in. You only need one person to initiate a = conversation. You only need one person to influence an organisation. = Having one person with anarchist ideas in a group, locality or workplace = is much better than having nobody at all. Yes Virginia one person can = make a difference and you could be that person. AUSTRALIAN ANARCHIST HISTORY ANNIE WESTBROOK The I.W.W. local in Fremantle West Australia was small but active. It = was formed at the end of 1914. Annie Westbrook was an active member of = the Fremantle local and a very good 'Soap Box' orator. Almost the = entire I.W.W. local in West Australia was arrested in October 1916. = Twelve members of the Fremantle local were charged with "seditious = conspiracy" for opposing conscription. The Crown alleged that the = I.W.W. was an organisation that advocated "sedition, sabotage and other = lawless acts". If the Crown could link the accused with the I.W.W. they = were obviously "guilty" of seditious conspiracy. Although a well known I.W.W. orator, Annie Westbrook was not charged = with seditious conspiracy because the authorities believed a "mere lone = woman" wouldn't cause them any trouble. How wrong they were. Almost = alone Annie Westbrook took up her fellow workers case. She gave up her = job, organised a defence committee and began a speaking tour that took = her all over the West Australian goldfields. She kept up correspondence = with the I.W.W. in Sydney and also took up the cause of the I.W.W. = twelve in Sydney. Nine members of the I.W.W. in West Australia were found guilty of = "seditious conspiracy" and were released on good behaviour bonds. On = their release Annie Westbrook turned her attention to the fate of the = Sydney I.W.W. twelve. She went around Australia speaking on their = behalf raising money for their release campaign. In 1917 she spent six = months in jail under the unlawful associations act because she was a = member of the I.W.W. Ten of the I.W.W. twelve were released on the 3rd of August 1920, three = days later the ten men and their supporters celebrated the victory at = Sydney Town Hall. Mrs. Annie Westbrook was invited by the New South = Wales Labor Council to publicly congratulate the men on their release. When Mrs. Westbrook rose to address the assembly at the Sydney Town = Hall, The "Loyal Women of Australia", a group of conservative women who = opposed the release of the I.W.W. twelve "screeched and screamed in = shrill crescendo". Instead of removing the "Loyal Women of Australia" = from the Town Hall, the police pounced on Annie Westbrook and dragged = her off the stage. The pandemonium that followed her removal only died = down when she was returned to the meeting.

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS

Having an hour to kill, I thought I'd contribute to the coffers of the = Returned Services League and wondered into the Navy Club in Ackland = Street, St Kilda. Pushing my way past the swinging doors, I was greeted = with banks of electronic bandits lining the walls of the club. As I = approached the bar I was asked to sign in and was asked to take my = ticket with me, just in case I won more than fifty dollars playing the = electronic bandits. I was surprised at how old many of the punters were, some even had = trouble walking, but that didn't stop them playing the bandits. I lined = up behind two particularly depressing looking men and waited to have my = money changed by the cashier. In exchange for my new $20 note I was = given twenty, one dollar coins in a blue plastic cup. As I wandered = round the club I discovered there were two rooms full of bandits. Each = electronic bandit had a stool in front of it, about half the stools were = occupied by people who seemed to have nothing better to do with their = lives. There were 10 cent machines, 20 cent machines, dollar machines = and even one cent machines. There was a plethora of games, bright = lights screamed, "play me, play me". I sat beside an old woman who = studiously ignored me and began to push the buttons waiting to make a = fortune. Over the next hour I moved from machine to machine testing the = delights of Kennett's gambling led recovery and saw the gold coins in my = blue plastic cup slowly erode away. I sat next to young women, old men, = dishevelled strangers and well dressed citizens. Each one studiously = ignored me, each concentrating on their own path to nirvana. = Occasionally I heard coins hit the bottom of the electronic bandits = hoppers and saw people scoop up their winnings and promptly reinvest = them in another electronic bandit. After about an hour of unbridled boredom I smelt of cigarette smoke, my = fingers tasted like cigarette butts and I only had a dollar left of my = original twenty dollars. I wasn't happy, I wasn't sad, I was just = lonely and numb, not only had I nothing to show for my endeavours but I = felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness. It's not often you can sit in = a room with dozens of people and not communicate with anybody. It's = just so tragic that so many people find themselves in these soulless = places, because they have nothing else to do with their lives. Will I = go again, I don't think so. Even watching commercial television seems = to be more satisfying than sitting in a room of self-contained dreamers.

STOP PRESS - DID YOU NOTICE?

Did you notice how the mass media has handled the events in Albania and = Papua New Guinea? If you look at the coverage both in the electronic = media and in the newspapers, you'll quickly notice the difference. The = media has been describing the events in Albania as chaos and anarchy. = Not anarchy in terms of people taking control of their own lives, but = anarchy in terms of disorder. Little if any attempt is made to analyse the situation in Albania and no = attempt is made to describe the function of the citizens committees in = Southern Albania. The peoples revolution in Albania is continually = referred to as anarchy and lawlessness. What is happening in Albania is = not your usual grab for State power. It's something more than an attack = on the parliamentary process and the armed forces, it's a people's = revolution. Most mainstream media outlets continue to deny the popular = nature of the revolutionary process and the threat it poses to the = central authority. They seem to be more happy using phrases like chaos, = anarchy and lawlessness to describe the events in Albania. The Australian media has had a decidedly different attitude to what's = happening in Papua New Guinea. In this case they have chosen to describe = the events as civil disturbances. The Papua New Guinea military forces = are being hailed as some type of heroic force. Little is made of the = fact that they are in the process of usurping the power of an elected = government. Scanning the headlines it's almost as if the P.N.G. = military can do no wrong. The very tone of the reporting suggests that = the military overthrow of an elected government and the possible = installation of a military dictatorship is a desirable outcome in this = situation. Interestingly the current civilian response to the = constitutional crisis in P.N.G. is described as civil disorder or = protest, even the widespread looting in Port Moresby is not described as = anarchy and chaos by the Australian media. As long as there is no challenge to central authority, whether it's = parliamentary or military and the people's response is limited to = supporting one side or another, the media is happy to take sides. When = the people themselves take centre stage and attempt to replace central = authority with self-managed communities, the mass media almost as a = whole takes the side of central authority. Why? Because a threat to = central authority is a direct threat to those who own and profit from = the media.

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

ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK EL LIBERTARIO No.10 Autumn'96, Apdo N0 13, CP 41130, La Puebla Del Rio = (Sevilla), Spain. EL LIBERTARIO No.7 Vol 2 Feb'97, E Tesoro, Apdo Postal 6303, Carmelitas, = Caracas, D F Venezuela. Email cmendezn@fiucv.ing.ucv.ve> cnmendez@sagi.ucv.edu.ve>, homepages chttp://www.ibw.com.ni/~dlabsl> chttp://burn.ucsd.edu/~oli/> **** LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE No.1074 6th-12th March 97, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011, = Paris, FRance. Tel 0148053408, Fax 0149299859 **** SOLIDARIDAD OBRERA No.264 Nov/Dec'96, C/- Hospital 101, 08 001 = Barcelona, Spain. Tel & Fax (93) 441 38 02 **** OTHER PUBLICATION RECEIVED THIS WEEK TIM SPICER - THE MAN BEHIND SANDLINES INTERNATIONAL, Article by Max = Watts, PO Box 98, Annandale 2038, Sydney Australia. **** GRASWURZEL REVOLUTION No.215 Jan'97, Kaiser Strabe 24, 26122 Oldenburg = (Oldb), D 4025E, Germany. **** INTERNATIONLISM No.97 Feb-March'97, PO Box 288, New York NY 10018-0288, = USA. **** 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 3rd April, 8.00pm. Ross House/Mezzanine. 247 = Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Write to: A.H.U. PO Box 5035, ALPHINGTON. = 3078 MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA for "flyer".

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.

ASIA-PACIFIC ANTI-MILITARISM FORUM 28th March - 1st April 1997. Brunswick Town Hall, Sydney Road, = Brunswick Melbourne. ALL WELCOME

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.

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.

MESSAGES OF SUPPORT LA PLUME NOIRE - ANARCHIST BOOK SHOP IN LYON BURNT DOWN BY FASCISTS - = Messages of Support can be sent to LA PLUME NOIRE 19 Rue Pierre Blanc = 69001, Lyon France or Telephone them on 0472009410.

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 $1798.25 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 26.3.97 - $1798.25

ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE OBSCENITY OF THE WEEK Has been won by Ray Martin of Channel Nines Current Affair fame for his = media manipulation of the Papua New Guinea Crisis.

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