(en) Anarchist Age Weekly, 2nd-8th June '97

Philip McCrory (philmcc@melbpc.org.au)
Sat, 17 May 1997 13:23:09 +1000

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It must be Christmas. It's been a long time since I've seen so many taxpayers dollars make their way into the pockets of so many corporate giants. The mining industry is crying crocodile tears because the Coalition government (bless their tiny little brains) is going to freeze the diesel rebate to the mining industry at 812.9 million dollars. These spoil sports have told the mining giants they are not going to give them a cent more than the 812.9 million dollars allocated to them in the 1997-98 Federal Budget. All of the mining companies are crying it's an outrage. They want more and they want it now. If they don't get some now some of them have threatened to embark on an investment strike. So there!

If this wasn't bad enough the Kennett Regime has just given the oil industry a bonus of 106.9 million dollars. This windfall profit has been hastily scooped up by the oil industry without even so much as a thank you Jeffrey. While those toothless tigers in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the corporate world's best friends in Australia, the Kennett Regime cry foul, the oil industry goes through the charade of dropping prices.

One week ago prices for petrol in Melbourne were 67.9 to 68.9 cents per litre. Last Friday prices all over Melbourne jumped to 74.9 cents per litre. Surprise, Surprise on Sunday prices dropped to 72.9 cents. Without any hint of endorsement the oil industry crossed their heart and hoped to die while they explained that they had passed on the government 1.9 cent cut in State oil taxes to the consumer. What a sick little joke.

Not to be outdone the private health insurance industry is trying to go one better than both the mining and the oil industry. They've also got their hand in the taxpayers pocket trying to scoop up a few more coins. Remember a few months ago the Federal Coalition government (yes that intellectually limited mob again) gave a rebate of up to $450.00 a year for families who earned less than $70,000 per year to help them take up private health insurance. Well the little maggots raised their prices as John Howard and Michael Woolridge were announcing their wonderful news. Well guess what. Although the rebate to families and singles who continue to take out private health insurance hasn't even started, our friends in the private health insurance industry are about to jack up their prices once again.

It must be Christmas, the corporate sector seems to have a conveyer belt to the Federal Treasury. Although most of them only pay nominal if any tax at all they are able to stuff their pockets with handfuls of taxpayers money. No wonder Federal and State governments have no funds to pay for even basic necessities that make life bearable in a civilised society.

PS. Let's not forget about the big four. The banks grab for cash makes the mining, oil and private health industry look like rank amateurs.


Zhu Rongji, China's Vice Premier graced our humble shores last week. This apologist for the old men who still run China as a personal fiefdom came across to Australia to improve trade relations. In his speech to the Australia China Business Council last week he said China wanted to develop a stronger trading relationship with Australia. He wants Australia to move from fifth to third position in bilateral trade. The Australian government and the business community hung on his every word. As far as they are concerned this is the man who can do no wrong. This is their God. His presence in Australia ensures their place on the Chinese gravy train.

It's fascinating how Johnny's trip to China a few months ago has been rewarded with the presence of Zhu Rongji, one of China's Vice Premiers. Now what did honest Johnny promise the Chinese government? Did he promise to send shiploads of cheap technology to China? Did he promise to stop trading with Taiwan? Well yes and no. What little Johnny did for Deng's heirs was drop Australia's support for a United Nations Resolution that was critical of China's human rights record. Instead of publicly censoring China, the Australian government has decided to embark on private bilateral discussions on human rights. A little bit like the Australian government does with Indonesia. They keep everything private, very private indeed, so private nobody knows anything about the extent of human rights violations that are going on right beneath our noses. As a payback the Chinese government will allow the barbarians to increase their trading links with China and at the same time will turn a blind eye to Australia's relationship with Taiwan, as long as it's kept private. You know, a wink is as good as a nod to a blind man.

SUHARTO THE BUTCHER WINS THE BIG ONE You've got to hand it to Suharto the Butcher, this man and his military machine are capable of anything. Let's not forget that this is the man who presided over the deaths of over 500,000 Indonesians in a few weeks in 1966. Anybody who thought that last weeks Indonesian election would allow Indonesians to express their will must be hanging their head in shame. The election results are startling to say the least. Over 90% cast a ballot, of those who cast a ballot over 74% voted for Golkar the Butcher's party. Considering that over 300 people died in pre-election riots and that Fretilin in East Timor has reactivated the armed struggle, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Golkar would not have won such a comprehensive victory. Well they did, so there, up your jumper, as Suharto the Butcher would say.

Well it seems that Indonesia's secret ballot wasn't fair, let alone secret. Anybody who didn't bother to go to the polling booth, had their vote marked as a vote for Golkar. Unless you specifically went to the polling booth and mutilated your ballot paper (a practice fraught with danger in Indonesia) your vote was counted as a vote for the Butcher's party. If you thought the vote was a secret ballot, well think again. Most electors actually filled in their ballots before government officials. Even the United States government has refused to accept the Indonesian election results.

Just in case Golkar was still heading for a hiding, all counting of ballot papers was supervised by the Indonesian military and even then no results for any particular seat were released until a member of Suharto's family had cleared the results. So much for a free and fair election. You'd think that the poll was so rigged our political leaders, both government and opposition would say something about the election results. No, not our boys and girls, as far as they are concerned everything's O.K in Indonesia, Suharto and his party won the election fair and square.


If there's one thing you can say about John Howard, his timing is lousy, very lousy. It's so poor he makes the Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor look like a champ. John Howard and the Coalition government had their chance to apologise at the reconciliation conference. They painfully "fluffed" their lines and have badly missed the boat. A belated apology is no apology at all.


Julius Chan (I refuse to call him Sir), Papua New Guinea's sidelined Prime Minister wants his job back. He claims the Australian judge he appointed to conduct the inquiry into the Sandline contract has exonerated him of any wrong doing and he wants his job back. John Giheno, Papua New Guinea's current caretaker Prime Minister thinks otherwise. As far as he is concerned he's still the Big Man - and Julius Chan cannot resume the Prime Ministership.

John Giheno contends that the inquiry's terms of reference didn't allow Justice Warwick Andrew to uncover the truth. John Giheno wants to examine the report and wants an inquiry held into matters outside the inquiry's terms of reference. You wonder what Chan's hurry is all about. Elections for a new Parliament will commence Saturday, June the 14th. By mid July when the new government is sworn in we may find that both men are looking for new jobs. Jerry Singirok the general who started all the fuss now says he's happy to wait for the outcome of the elections. Meanwhile on Bougainville the B.R.A. have kidnapped Bougainville's representative in the P.N.G. government. It looks like they didn't take too kindly to his electioneering efforts.


A Socialist/Communist Coalition have won the French National Assembly elections held on Sunday. President Jacques Chirac's ruling right wing coalition finds itself in opposition although it held 480 of the 577 National Assembly sets that were up for grabs. Unemployment has been the governments biggest headache, with official unemployment rates topping 15% and with more of the same austerity programs before them, the French people decided to change course midstream and threw their electoral weight behind the Socialist/Communist alliance.

Although Chirac didn't need to call a National Assembly election for another year, he called one because he knew if the French people become aware of the sacrifices they would have to make to crate a single European currency by 1999 they would desert his right wing Coalition in droves. Well he was right, they have deserted him in droves, but a year before he suspected they would see the writing on the wall.

If I was John Howard, I would take note of what's happened in the United Kingdom and France. Economic irrationalism as an ideology is dying, dying very rapidly. If the Australian government is not able to put a dent in the unemployment figures (and I don't expect them to). If they continue to follow their discredited economic policies they may find themselves in Chirac's and Major's shoes.


Ian Roberts is a Rugby League player, a bloody good Rugby League player. Last year he left his club Manly and now is Captain of the North Queensland Cowboys. So what you may say, just another sporting jock, they're a pound a dozen. Well Ian Roberts is gay and proud of it. He has just released his autobiography Finding Out. What I find strange about this whole affair is how much news coverage his coming out has attracted. If around 10% of the population is gay you'd think there would be more than a fair sprinkling of gays in professional sport. Thinking about it I only know of four high profile athletes who have come out and all of them have come out at the end of their careers. Those I can remember are Martina Navratilova - tennis, David Kopay - grid iron player, Greg Louganis - Olympic diver, Justin Fashanu - English soccer player and now Ian Roberts.

Ian Robert's coming out highlights that it's difficult for gays in the sporting arena to come out. Australian society accepts that you'll find gays in music, the arts and dance but many still refuse to accept that gays can and do pursue careers in all walks of life. Many don't come out because they believe that the discrimination they will be forced to face will harm their career prospects and ruin their lives. Even today Ian Robert's coming out is treated as a spectacle. He's well known enough that he will be able to continue in his chosen profession. I wonder if an 18 year old who was just starting a football career would be treated in the same way if he came out, I doubt it.

Ian Robert's coming out should encourage other sports people to come out. The more who come out the easier it will be for other gay athletes, especially younger gay athletes to pursue their careers without worrying about the homophobia that is such a hallmark of contact sport in this country.


Q. How will decisions be carried out in an Anarchist Society?

A. It's one thing to make a decision, it's another thing to have that decision carried out. Much of the infrastructure that now exists will continue to exist in an anarchist community, even if substantial amounts of infrastructure have been destroyed people still have the knowledge or access to resources and possibly expertise to rebuild that infrastructure. Contrary to opinions that are voiced by people who believe that anarchism is a utopian philosophy, anarchists don't want to rebuild the wheel or change human nature.

Anarchism is a movement that wants to create social structures that allow people to control decisions that affect their lives and that creates structures that allows everybody equal access to what is produced by society. Once a community makes a decision to proceed in a particular manner, studies would be undertaken to see if the community had access to the natural and human resources that would be needed to complete the project. The community councils would then appoint a group of people with the necessary expertise to conduct the study. Once the study was completed, the results would go back to the community for debate and ratification of the original decisions. Modifications may be made of the original decision at these meetings. The people who conduct the study don't make that decision, the community makes the decision.

If the community decides to go ahead with the project, various groups/delegates would be elected or appointed to co-ordinate the completion of the project. They would need to draw up detailed plans about how the project would be carried out. Once these plans are completed the community would have one more chance to review the project. If the go ahead is given to complete the project, community delegates/groups would be appointed or elected to organise and complete the project. In many aspects the steps taken in an anarchist society are similar to steps taken in any society to complete a project. The main difference is that in an anarchist society, the community as a whole initiates the project, makes decisions on costings and makes the decisions on where and how the project is carried out.


Meeting veterans from the Spanish Civil War and the Korean Anarchist Movement has taught me that marginalisation is not the inevitable fate of anarchist activists. Talking to these men and women it was obvious they had a different perspective on life. Their struggles had borne fruit, they knew what it meant to belong to an organisation or group that was working in the mainstream not on the margins. Although anarchist groups continue to exist most of us are involved in activities at the margins of the main event, reacting to not initiating activities.

Although most of our activities occur at the margins and although our ideas are not treated seriously we need to continue to strive for change. Many marginalised activists become disillusioned and immerse themselves in other activities. Let's not forget we are not in a position to determine the social and political agenda. Although other people set the agenda, we can grab an issue and run with it. Occasionally we can initiate our own campaigns and move from the margins to the main game. Even if we spend years on the margins, the possibility always exists that we can break out of our isolation and influence events that are happening around us.

Whether our ideas and our activities are marginalised is not important, what's important is to organise and remain active. Our strength lies in the strength of our ideas not our numbers or what mainstream society thinks about us. Although being continually marginalised can have a negative influence on what we attempt to do, it's important to remember that nobody else is going to articulate our ideas. Social conditions change, sometimes they change rapidly. Look at Kobila, he fought with Che Guevera in 1968 in the Congo and lost. For the next thirty years he eked out an existence on the margins of society. Within less than a year Kabila finds himself at the centre of activity in the Congo. Look at the momentous changes that have occurred in Eastern Europe and the former U.S.S.R. Look at the rapid changes that have occurred in Ethiopia, Erfiteria, Afghanistan and that are beginning to boil over in Indonesia. Look at how the One Notion Party has kicked its way into Australia's consciousness over the past few months.

Change does occur, sometimes slowly, sometimes very rapidly. Those who have lived on the margin for years can find themselves at the centre of activity. Forget about being marginalised, radical egalitarian change is in there. It's not a question of whether change will occur but when it will occur.


The last supper didn't occur in Palestine 2000 years ago, it occurred in Melbourne on the 2nd of May 1986. One of the highlights of the Australian Anarchist Centenary Celebrations in 1986 was the meeting that was hosted by a number of the Italian anarchist immigrants who had been active in Australia between the two world wars and just after WWII. Boris Franceschini, Sam Turco, Franco Aprico and Bruno Vannini turned up to talk about the past. These men were the survivors of a group of activists that had escaped Mussolini's Italy and put down roots in Victoria.

In their hey days in the 1940's and 1950's they held meetings that attracted hundreds. Like most emigre groups they found they were prisoners in an alien land. The 1940's and 1950's were two of the most barren decades for anarchists in Australia. A few isolated survivors of the I.W.W. had no contact with these anarchists from across the world. They had little if any interaction with organised labour, kept to themselves and kept the dream alive, raising money and supporting the anarchist movement in Italy. On the 2nd of May 1986 they sat at a table, eager and ready to share their experiences with the wider anarchist movements. People came and went, some participated in the discussion others wondered out, not realising that these men in their late sixties and early seventies had carried the flame of anarchism in their hearts.

Boris Franceschini was fighting his own personal devils, dying of lung cancer. He had come to the meeting while having chemotherapy. The others had their own medical problems to cope with. They sat there talked and for the first time in fifty years were actually part of mainstream anarchist activity in this country. They couldn't believe their eyes seeing all these young people who had come from all corners of the earth to celebrate the centenary of Australian Anarchism.

Boris died a few months later from his lung cancer. I haven't seen or heard from Sam since 1988. Franco is well into his eighties and occasionally comes to a discussion meeting. Bruno still struggles on and continues to subscribe to anarchist publications and donate money to the cause both here and overseas. Seeing the Australian resurgence of anarchism with their own eyes made them feel their sacrifices were worthwhile.


I was running late, yes late once again. I'd promised someone I'd pick them up at eight, it was already 8.15 and I was having trouble finding the place. The night was one of those foul Melbourne nights, it was cold, wet and miserable. As I approached Dandenong Road I knew all I had to do was turn right and I'd be there. Waiting for the lights to turn green I heard a thud on the passenger window. The whole window was taken up with a wizened face please with me to take her to Chapel Street.

I leaned over and opened the door. I was confronted with a solid looking woman dressed in black, wizened face, curly white locks, pleading in broken English, "Chapel St, Chapel St!" I wondered what this elderly woman was doing out in the rain and swore to myself. I was late, the house was just around the corner, Chapel Street was at least 10 kilometres away, but she was old and wet and looked vaguely familiar. I opened the door, she slid in, crossed herself and thanked the Lord that I had given her a lift.

Chapel Street, she kept saying, as if her life depended on it. She asked me if I was going that way, I lied and said I was. Sneaking a glance at her she reminded me of the old Russian woman who lived next door to me when I was a kid. I asked her if she was Russian, she said she was. She smelt solid and comfortable and once again told me that the Lord would bless me for my trouble. Maybe she thought I looked like a Russian Orthodox Patriarch, who knows. I kept thinking why did she knock on my window.

As we drove towards Chapel St, I thought about the old Russian neighbour. I remember as a kid a few of us kids would place a few pieces of broken fibro round their two room shelter and light a fire beneath it. When the fibro exploded she would run out cursing us kids and fall to the ground sobbing. Her husband, a pale bald man who had the glow of a survivor of Stalingrad who had been forced to eat human flesh to survive, would help her up and take her inside. We thought it was a great joke, it didn't even cross our minds the anguish we had reactivated in this woman and her husband. Who knows what horrors they had survived, what they had seen and suffered. We didn't know, everybody we knew didn't talk about the war, we didn't even know there had been a war. We just thought the out-pouring of human emotion we were confronted with as a great joke. I remember a few of us did it two or three times, until one of our parents caught us and thrashed the living daylights out of us.

The rain had stopped, Chapel Street lay up ahead. I did a U turn and stopped at the Corner of Chapel St, and Dandenong Rd. She straightened her hair, got out, blew me a kiss and once again told me God would bless me. I sped off, nearly colliding with another car wondering why our paths had crossed. As I drove up Dandenong Road, a flood of fragmented recollections cascaded through my consciousness, maybe I'd just been forgiven, who knows, who cares?


The Pauline Hanson "phenomena" the mass media's description, not mine, is about to become another boring political party trying to win a few parliamentary seats at the next election. The One Notion bandwagon has come to a screaming halt. As One Notion tries to leave regional Australia and form a beach head in the cities, ordinary people have flocked to stop the One Notion virus from gaining a foothold in the cities. As the white supremacist scum that has propelled One Notion to the metropolitan fringes tries to exploit the Pauline Hanson "phenomena", more and more people who are disillusioned with mainstream politics are beginning to realise that One Notion only offers another version of tired discredited political ideas that scapegoat minorities, and don't deliver any solutions to any of the country's problem.

Pauline Hanson is beginning to realise that she is being manipulated by the apostles of hate. Over the last few days she has tried to pull back from some of the more obscene and outrageous statements made by One Notion. She now claims that she didn't endorse the ideas in her book. Within the space of a week the leopard has been forced to change its spots, or has it? Politicians will do anything or say anything to save their political hides. The One Notion mob is no different. They have been quizzed and found to be wanting. Who wants to vote another representative into parliament? Who wants to give a blank cheque to another politician? Nobody does. As the euphoria surrounding One Notion dissipates more and more people will begin to understand that parliamentary democracy is little more than two minutes of illusory power. Maybe, just maybe the dissipation of support for the Hanson "phenomena" will encourage more people to look at egalitarian extra-parliamentary alternatives.

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



 REBEL WORKER VOL. 16 NO.4 (145) MAY-JUNE'97, P.O. BOX 92, BROADWAY N.S.W. 2007, AUSTRALIA EMail: rworker@chaos.apana.org.au ****


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