(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review

Wed, 2 Apr 1997 03:54:15 GMT

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Number 242

24th - 30th March, 1997


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


(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.


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.


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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