(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review

Philip McCrory (philmcc@melbpc.org.au)
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 13:31:57 +1030


A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

Number 254 16th - 22nd June, 1997

WIDENING THE TAX BASE

After squeezing the elderly, the poor, the unemployed and social security recipients, the Coalition government has come to the conclusion that the State needs to widen the tax base. Liberal National Party politicians met on Monday night to discuss how they could widen the tax base. Increasing levels of unemployment, static wages, voluntary taxation in the corporate sector and extremely generous tax concessions for foreign owned companies (they don't even pay voluntary tax) have dented the tax base.

In an effort to shift the burden from the pay as you earn taxpayer (average wage earner) the government has decided to launch the debate we had to have - tax reform. That's right folks tax reform is on the political agenda. Johnny and Peter have told us we need to increase the ever shrinking tax base. So how are these political giants going to increase the tax base, they're going to try to introduce a Goods and Services Tax (G.S.T.). "If only we had a G.S.T.", they cry in unison, "we could create paradise on earth". Anybody with an ounce of sense and possibly half an ounce of grey matter would know that the people who suffer the most from the imposition of a G.S.T. are those who have least buying power. As the Liberal/National Party nerds march around crying "no exemptions" most people realise that if you have a G.S.T. on basic necessities, the people who are disadvantaged by such a tax are those sectors of the population that don't have any disposable income to spend on entertainment, luxuries or travel.

I'm such a naive soul, I thought that if we were going to have a tax debate we should be directing our sights to those sectors of the population that are raking in the cash but not paying their fair share of tax. Why shouldn't the government look at the generous tax exemptions that foreign investors enjoy. Why doesn't the government look at the 50,000 companies that have gone off shore to minimise their tax responsibilities and labour costs. If the government examined just these two areas and changed the taxation system so they paid just 10% of their profits as tax, we wouldn't need a G.S.T. on the necessities of life.

FUDGING THE FIGURES

You've got to hand it to the Coalition maggots. They know how to fudge the figures. In an attempt to decrease unemployment levels and the number of people on the dole, the government has launched an unprecedented attack on the country's young people. In an effort to sanitise unemployment levels among young people, they have removed the dole for 16 and 17 year olds and (surprise, surprise) they have tied the amount of money unemployed 18 to 20 year olds receive to their parents income. If a family unit earns more than $25,000 a year (enough money to push them just above the poverty line) they will be expected to support adult children who live or don't live with them.

You wonder what this government thinks it's doing. It seems to have no understanding of the increased pressure that will be applied to families, that will make it more difficult for most of them to survive. Fudging the figures may fool people some of the time, but it won't fool them all of the time. Everybody knows somebody who is unemployed, everybody knows that most people who are unemployed would prefer to be working. Wages are now so low it's impossible for most family units to exist, let alone function without two incomes. The extra pressure that these changes will place on young people and families will lead to more suicides, separations, divorces and crime. Anybody with even a partially functioning brain knows that social security benefits are paid to people so that they don't need to resort to crime to meet the basic necessities of life.

The changes that the government outlined on Tuesday night are little short of criminal. They and they alone will be responsible for the damage and person and community dislocation these changes will cause.

VICTORIAN NURSES ON THE WAR PATH!!

Victorian nurses have had enough of the governments gross incompetence. The Victorian government has turned a first class facility, the Victorian Health Care System, into a third class facility in the space of five years. They now refuse to negotiate with the R.A.N.F. (Royal Australian Nursing Federation) about conditions and wage rises. Nurses are so incensed about a 20% decrease in numbers and a thirty percent increase in workload, they have closed down over four hundred beds in the first phase of their dispute with the Victorian government.

Nurses are angry. They want decent pay for hard days work. They want job security and they want access to essential equipment to carry out their jobs. In an attempt to confuse and blunt the R.A.N.F.'s offensive, the Victorian government has directed that the various health networks bargain with the nurses directly. The R.A.N.F. knows that the networks don't have the funds to meet the nurses demands and at the end of the day, their demands can only be met by the Victorian government. This dispute has the potential to bring the Kennett regime to its knees. Whether they are brought to their knees or not is totally dependent on the nurses solidarity. The government will find it difficult, very difficult to intimidate nurses.

RABELIAS MEETS CAR MAGEDDON!

It could only happen in Australia. Remember last week we wrote about the Rabelias editors who were facing criminal charges because an article they published on shoplifting in the La Trobe University student newspaper could "incite people to commit a crime". Well it looks like you can incite people to commit murder and be given a government endorsement to do it. But if you incite people to shoplift to make ends meet, then you're up before the courts facing serious criminal charges.

Late last week the same censorship board that banned the editor of Rabelias that supposedly "incited people to shoplift" has given a MA15+ (mature adults over 15) rating to a new video game that gives people points for killing pedestrians with a motor car - Carm ageddon. It tells us a lot about the type of society we live in when material that advocates crimes against property is banned while material that advocates violence against people is allowed to be distributed.

THE WHOLE WORLD'S WATCHING

Remember when the international struggle against apartheid hit its straps, demonstrators would chant "the whole world's watching" over and over again. Well the same thing is happening again, this time the whole world's watching Australia. Yes, that's right, the whole world is watching little olde Australia. There are few things that are calculated to cause more harm to a country than overt racism. The end of apartheid in South Africa came, because enough people around the world were willing to step forward and say enough is enough.

As the Howard regime struggles to reset the country's course down the old racial highway, more and more Australians are beginning to be embarrassed by the Howard governments efforts to promote the racial card. Racism, judging a person or a group by their skin colour or cultural background is a recurring world problem. Every time ideas that are based on racial principles have nearly triumphed, movements have developed that have resisted these changes. Once again Australians find themselves at the crossroads, do they support political and social movements that promote racial intolerance or do they promote and support political organisations and social movements that promote racial tolerance.

We live in a different world. What goes on in Australia is now everybody's business. Mass communication is a fact of life. The government can no longer say that what goes on in Australia is Australia's business, it's not, it's everybodies business. As the Howard regime struggles to contain the racial genie that they let out of the bottle, more and more governments, groups and individuals across the globe are wondering what's going on in this country. The whole world is watching and shaking its head at what's happening in Australia. If we are not able to contain and possibly root out racism from our society, those Australians who travel (one or two million do every year) will find that they will be shunned by the rest of the world.

EUROPE'S ON THE MOVE

Over 50,000 protesters marched in Amsterdam on Sunday to show their disgust with Europe's push towards monetary union. Over 80,000 protesters clogged the streets of Paris last week to voice their concerns about the social costs of policies that need to be implemented to forge European monetary union. The streets of Europe are alive with the sounds of people who are concerned about the illusory benefits of globalisation. The collapse of Communism (State capitalism) was hailed as the death of ideology, capital had triumphed and we were all going to share in this triumph.

Less than six years after the Evil Empire was brought to its knees, it's becoming apparent to an increasing number of Europeans that both State and private capital need to be abolished if people are to share in the common wealth. The hollow rhetoric that has accompanied the triumphant march of capitalism can no longer fill the void most Europeans experience. The pie in the sky economic mumbo jumbo that has been such a prominent feature of the economic irrationalist army has been found to be nothing more than a mirage.

Europe is on the march. It's on the march against globalisation. It's on the march against the corporate beast and it's on the march against their own representatives. Government has become an arm of the corporate sector, only too willing to turn a blind eye to the damage the corporate model is inflicting on individual, groups and even Nation States. The seeds of the corporate world's destruction lie in its pyrrhic victory against State capitalism (Communism).

Europe is on the march against the corporate dream at the very moment Europe's democracies are trying to tie the monetary knot. Increasing levels of unemployment coupled with an increasing sense of insecurity have combined to make more and more Europeans wary of the possibility that the corporate world will be the only beneficiaries of monetary union. The rush to oppose globalisation is not a rush into the arms of the past, it's a move into the future. Europeans are keen to wrest control of social and economic parameters from the hands of the corporate world and the State into their own hands. The fight against ideology is not dead, it's only beginning. One twin (Communism) has been toppled, the other twin (capital) will soon meet a similar fate.

ANARCHIST QUESTION AND ANSWER

Q. Does an anarchist society need capital?

A. The Holy Spirit isn't God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, it's Labour, Capital and Raw Materials, or is it? We're constantly told that we need capital to produce goods. It doesn't matter how much labour or raw materials you have, if you don't have capital you can't do anything with it. The financial sector and the banking sector raise capital, which is lent to individuals, businesses or corporations to buy raw materials and pay labour to produce profits, so that the never ending capitalist cycle can go round and round and round. An anarchist community does not need capital to kick start production. Anarchist societies don't need to generate profits, they need to satisfy human needs, not pursue profits for profits sake. As the community's wealth is held in common, there is no need to raise private capital to commence production. Capital as a distinct entity has no place in an anarchist community. The only capital an anarchist community has is access to labour and raw materials. An anarchist community does not need stock markets, a financial sector or a banking sector to raise capital. As everything is held in common, it is not necessary to raise capital to initiate production. The need to raise capital would be replaced by a need for discussion, decision making processes, planning, organisation and co-ordination. Excess production would either be stored or sent to communities that are faced with scarcities. Capital is an artificial entity that has been developed to justify private theft from the commonwealth. It's no wonder that capital has become an indispensable entity in a capitalist society. Anarchists reject the idea that you need capital to initiate production. An anarchist society needs labour, it needs access to raw materials, it needs discussion, decision making processes, planning, organisation and co-ordination, it does not need access to capital.

ACTION BOX - RESIDENTS' GROUPS

Whether we squat, rent, are paying off a mortgage or own our home, we all live somewhere. It's very tempting to ignore what's going on in our neighbourhood when we lead active lives. Many neighbourhoods have become little more than rows of dormitories. Motor vehicles, rapid public transport and television have combined to make local neighbourhoods irrelevant, or have they? While we remain cocooned in our own homes, commuting to work, worshipping at the shopping plaza and seeing the world through the television screen, we feel impotent. We can't influence or change what is happening around us. Most of us live in communities. We forget that what is happening around us is just as important, if not more important than what's happening interstate or overseas. Our inability to work with our neighbours is one of the most important short falls in most of our lives. Whether we like or don't like our neighbours, we still have a lot in common. Allowing petty personal disputes stop us forming residents' organisations is akin to shooting ourselves in the foot. When you move into a new neighbourhood, try to find out if there are any functioning residents' groups. If there's one functioning, go along to a few meetings and see if you can work with the group. If there's no local residents' group think about forming one. Don't wait for somebody else to do it, do it yourself. Things can happen and do happen in your neighbourhood that you may find upsetting or disruptive. What do you do about it? Do you appeal to your local councillor, somebody who is already inundated with problems, or do you mobilise your local residents' group. Belonging to a residents' group that meets regularly is your best guarantee of slowing down or defeating plans to alter your neighbourhood. Think about joining a local residents' group or forming one. The social bonds you develop by being part of such a group will help to keep your neighbourhood the way you want it kept.

AUSTRALIAN ANARCHIST HISTORY ROLAND NICHOLAS KENNEDY Born Peak Hill, N.S.W. Australia 18/4/1896, executed 9 am 20 December, 1916, Bathurst Goal, N.S.W. Australia

Roland Nicholas Kennedy, a Tottenham copper miner, was hung at Bathurst Goal in New South Wales at 9 am on the 20 December 1916 for the murder of Constable George Joss Duncan on the 26 September, 1916. Roland, his brother Michael Herbert Kennedy and Frank Franz were charged with the murder of Constable Duncan on the 4 October, 1916.

All three were members of the Tottenham branch of the Industrial Workers of the World. Michael Kennedy was the I.W.W. organiser for Tottenham. Neither of the men had any previous convictions. Michael Kennedy had been a policeman in New Zealand in 1911 and 1912. They were accused of shooting Constable Duncan while he sat in his office at Tottenham Police Station.

Frank Franz turned King's evidence and said the two brothers shot the police officer. Roland Kennedy said although he was present at the shooting Frank Franz shot the officer. He stated his brother Michael Kennedy knew nothing about the shooting. Although there were no other witnesses, no substantial motive, (the primary motive the Crown could come up with was that they were all members of the I.W.W. and the I.W.W. literature they had read had poisoned their minds), and no scientific evidence, Frank Franz and Roland Kennedy were found guilty of the murder of Constable Duncan.

They were both sentenced to death. The case against Michael Herbert Kennedy was so weak, he did not stand trial with his brother and Frank Franz. When he appeared in court a few days later the Judge dismissed the charge because of lack of evidence.

Although real doubt existed about whether Roland Kennedy was involved in the shooting, he was executed by the New South Wales government barely three months after he was charged and four months before his 21st birthday. He paid with his life for the I.W.W. hysteria that accompanied the anti-conscription referendum in late 1916.

PERSONAL OBSERVATION

I didn't believe it, this was the city. I must have been about twenty kilometres from the Melbourne G.P.O., passing a paddock I'd passed two or three times a week for over a decade when I saw them. There they were, forty of fifty of them, heads in the grass, long stick like legs, fat white triangular bodies. I didn't understand why they were here in the city, I hadn't seen such a sight for over thirty five years.

I thought I was in that dream like state, when images of the past crowd the present. The mind struggling to rearrange reality to overcome the boredom of repetition. I pulled over on to the gravel, jumped out and looked again. This was no trick of the mind, it was real, there they were heads down in the grass, long stick legs and fat triangular bodies. Seeing them again on this dark cold squally winter day re-activated a never ending circle of memories. It's strange how a sight, a sound or a smell can trigger a ever expanding circle of memories.

No wonder survivors of violence, war, and sexual abuse try to avoid images, sounds and smells that trigger the terrors of the past. No wonder it's difficult sometimes impossible for survivors to shake the past and grab the present with one hand, let alone both hands. Our communities seem to be full of damaged people who have difficulty creating a future for themselves because of their dreadful experiences. Try sitting in a magistrates court for a day and look at the never ending line of people whose present and future has been laid waste by the past.

Memory is similar to throwing a pebble into a pool. As the pebble hits the water, ever widening concentric circles mark the pebbles entry. Images, sounds, smells are the pebbles that activate our memories, flooding our consciousness with images that span a lifetime.

As I stood there watching the Ibis pecking the earth look for morsels to help them complete their journey, I was thankful they had activated pleasant childhood memories that had been buried by a lifetime of wage drudgery.

STOP PRESS - IT'S BAD FOR TRADE!

There has been a marked shift in Australia's domestic and foreign policy over the past twelve months. As the Coalition settles into office, "it's bad for trade" mantra is almost at fever pitch. Howard's troops did not take aim at the One Notion crowd until they realised the antics of these Liberal/National party fringe dwellers were bad for trade. As Pauline Hanson and her band of intellectually limited followers spread their wings, all Howard and his Liberal/National party cronies could say was that Hanson's ideas marked the death of political correctness in Australia. Twelve months down the track, the Coalition has changed its tune, not because they think there is something wrong with the One Notion crowds policies, but because the Coalition's business partners have tapped them on the shoulder and told them Pauline's supporters antics are bad for trade. Every time the Deputy Prime Minister, the National's own Tim Fischer opens his mouth he laments One Notions policies, not because they are morally repugnant but because they're bad for trade. Watching the Coalition government backing down from every human rights issue placed on its plate, it's obvious all their decisions are made with an eye to trade opportunities. Australia's relationships with Burma, China and Indonesia are classical examples of the governments change in foreign policy direction. If there are trade issues at stake, you can be sure the Coalition government is not going to raise any embarrassing questions. The Coalition's 180o turn on human rights has been so obvious even the United State's government through its ambassador in Canberra has expressed dismay at the changes. Australia's support for the Indonesian military dictatorship, China's authoritarian leadership and the Burmese military jaunta is making us an international pariah. When the United States government (a champion of many of the worlds military regimes) shows its displeasure with Australia's policies on human rights it's blatantly obvious that the Coalition's anything for trade policies has tarnished our international standing.

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

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