(en) Re: Anarchist Age Weekly Review 8 - 15 Aug

Philip McCrory (philmcc@melbpc.org.au)
Thu, 14 Aug 1997 13:03:28 +1000

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

Number 262 8th - 15th August, 1997


Almost every Australian household is going to get a little surprise with their next Telstra bill, no not a big fat reduction, but something more interesting. An invitation to buy into the Telstra float. Yes that's right folks, you're going to get the opportunity to buy something you already own. Picture it, there you are, watching the television set you already own, when some fool tries to sell you the same set. Anybody with half a brain would tell them to move on.

Contrary to popular opinion nationalised assets do not belong to the people, they belong to the state. If Telstra belonged to the people, the state could not sell Telstra without a referendum. Although nationalised assets do not belong to the people, profitable state assets pay back dividends to the people. If there's one thing you can say about Telstra it's profitable. Last financial year the Telstra cash cow delivered 2.1 billion dollars to the Federal government's coffers.

The sale of Telstra is little more than a cruel hoax. Something that is owned by eighteen million Australians will now be sold to one million shareholders. It just doesn't make any sense. Why should a profitable cash cow that belongs to all Australians be sold to a few shareholders? Why should dividends that can be used to build hospitals and provide basic infrastructure be channelled into the pockets of private shareholders? The governments partial privatisation of Telstra is little more than a crude con job. How can the government of the day sell an asset that belongs to all Australians without asking their opinion?

Can you imagine the hue and cry if the state nationalised a private asset without offering the owners compensation. You'd never hear the end of it. What type of compensation will the Australian people receive for the partial sell-off of Telstra - a miserable ten billion dollars, one billion will be directed towards a bodgie environmental program, another 9 billion will be ploughed back into consolidated revenue. Australia's most profitable company will now provide dividends for private shareholders not the public. What a pathetic joke. Only John Howard and his little mate Kim Beazley could think of such a cruel joke to play on the Australian people.


Ever wondered why magistrates, judges, public servants and university lecturers have had tenure? It's breath takingly simple, tenure confers a degree of protection on all these office holders. The current Federal and State government drive to remove tenure from these office holders is an attack on one of the cornerstones of Australian society. Tenure has developed to protect people from the excesses of government.

Tenure has bestowed on university lecturers the luxury of criticising the institutions they work for, government policy and the community as a whole without worrying about their livelihoods. Unfortunately over the past decade more and more university staff are employed on part-time contracts. This permits university administrators to pressure their staff to keep quiet. What university staff member is going to open their mouth if they know their contact will not be renewed in six months time.

Judicial appointments have been for life for a very good reason. Permanency gives judges and magistrates the luxury of pursuing judicial judgments without any major concerns about political consequences. If judges lost their tenure governments could stack courts with sympathetic appointments during their term of office. Although governments appoint judges and magistrates today, it's highly unlikely that a particular government could stack all the courts during its term of office.

The current Federal government plan to remove tenure from the public service gives it the power to dismiss public services who do not agree with its policies and appointment sympathetic ones to replace them. Theoretically the public service is appointed to serve the public, not pander to the government of the day. Passing legislation to remove public service tenure will make public servants, servants of the government of the day not the public.

Tenure is important in any society where people don't have the power to recall those people who wield political power. In these situations tenure has acted as a bulwark against state power. The current attempts by the state and corporate world to limit tenure for public servants, university lecturers, judges and magistrates is a direct attack on what little power ordinary people have to resist government attacks on individuals and communities. It's no accident that the Federal and State governments have turned their attention on those people who have tenure. As far as they are concerned anybody who has the power to resist their legislative programs and protect the public interest needs to be eliminated.

12 August, 1997

Letters to the Editor

The Australian/ Brisbane Courier Mail

Dear Editor,

I nearly choked on my porridge when I read in today's Australian that Mr Borbidge claims Mr Beattie is an anarchist. For Mr Borbidge's information, an anarchist is somebody who believes that human beings don't need rulers to govern themselves. An anarchist society is a voluntary non-hierarchical society based on the creation of social and political structures which allow all people equal decision making power and equal access to societies wealth.

Considering Mr Beattie is trying to wrest control of the Queensland government from Mr Borbidge, it's patently obvious to everyone except our good friend Mr Borbidge, that Mr Beattie is not a boot strap to an anarchist, let alone an anarchist.


Guest what? Australia's peak farmers organisation is meeting in Canberra this week to plan for the year ahead. This year a major split has developed within the N.F.F. between those agricultural peak bodies that want to see all tariffs swept aside and those peak bodies who don't want tariffs removed unless everybody is playing on an even playing field.

For the past decade the N.F.F. has led the charge to remove trade barriers. At this weeks annual N.F.F. meeting a number of farmer's organisations have indicated they will be leaving the N.F.F. As far as many farmers organisations that represent small farmers are concerned, the N.F.F. has shown by its actions it only supports the big end of town. Their experiences have taught them N.F.F. policies have been disastrous for most small and medium sized farmers.

Since the N.F.F. has embarked on its free trade mania, over 25,000 farms, mainly family farms have folded. It's postulated that there will be less than 90,000 farms in Australia by the year 2005 if the N.F.F. continues to be an apologist for the corporate sector. No wonder this weeks meeting in Canberra has all the ingredients of a serious bun fight many agricultural producers are sick and tired of being lumped in with agribusiness. They realise they are the losers in the current struggle to "encourage" free trade. Even some peak farmers organisations that represent medium and large farmers are very concerned about the direction the N.F.F. is taking farmers in.

There is enough disillusionment in the Australian countryside to sink the National Farmers Federation. The N.F.F. is little more than an apologist for agribusiness and the corporate sector. Their policies have led to the foreclosure of thousands of family farms. Farmers are beginning to realise that their interests do not coincide with the interests of the N.F.F. Moves are afoot to set up a parallel organisation that wants to protect the interests of small farmers and family farms. Whether this organisation is established depends on what happens at the Annual National Farmer's Federation Conference in Canberra this week.


Remember the 1960's when Menzies and his cronies subscribed to the domino school of foreign affairs. Those of us who are old enough would remember newspaper pictures of South East Asian countries falling like dominos before the communist onslaught. Well it looks like our very own Peter Costello has taken a leaf out of Menzies book and subscribes to the domino theory of economic affairs.

It's no accident the Australian government has promised to provide the Thai government with a 1.3 billion dollar loan. Thailand is the first of the emerging Asian tigers who is faced with economic collapse. In an effort to stave off this inevitable collapse, the International Monetary Fund has stitched together a thirty billion dollar rescue package to prevent the Thai domino from falling. What has happened in Thailand is no different from what's happening across South East Asia. Governments are destroying both their natural and human resources to generate short term non sustainable profits.

The International Monetary Fund is concerned that the Thai economic collapse will trigger an economic disaster across South East Asia. The resultant social upheaval would spell the death knell of corporate capitalism in this part of the world. No wonder Australia is pumping 1.3 billion dollars into the Thai economy. The corporate world is concerned that if Thailand is allowed to go to the wall the rest of South East Asia will follow and they will lose control of their investments.

Ironically the ordinary Australian taxpayer is now being asked to bankroll the corporate sector losses in Thailand. The thirty billion dollar injection into Thailand is not going to help the Thai people. The International Monetary Fund has imposed a strict austerity program on health, education and what little public infrastructure exists in Thailand. The ultimate winners in this bailout attempt, will be the corporate sector. The very people whose greed and corruption caused this collapse will now be supported by the Australian taxpayer. You've got to hand it to the corporate sector every time their bottom line is threatened they shove their grubby little fist in the public purse.


Q. Would unemployment be a problem in an anarchist society.

A. No. Although unemployment is endemic in a capitalist society, it's an alien concept in an anarchist community. Work in a capitalist society is divided into paid and unpaid work. Over fifty percent of work in a capitalist society is essential unpaid work. Access to the wage system determines who shares and who doesn't share in the wealth produced in a capitalist society. The young, sick and elderly are all excluded from participating in the wage system.

An anarchist society does not recognise the division between paid and unpaid work. All work is valued, everybody irrespective of what they do, is entitled to share in the wealth that is produced in an anarchist society. The division between leisure, work and education will also breakdown within an anarchist community. Unemployment would cease to exist because the wage system would no longer play any significant role in an anarchist community. The young, the elderly, the sick, those who work in essential industries and those who don't choose to work would all be seen as valued members of an anarchist community.

Unemployment is an alien concept that is directly linked to the wage system. It's a relatively new concept that denies an increasing number of people full participation in their society. It's ridiculous to think that fit healthy people, who want to be productive are denied any significant role in society because the wage system can't accommodate them. Any political and economic system that refuses to use the goodwill and productive abilities of its citizens deserves to be overthrown. The threat of unemployment is a dagger that is held over workers heads in a capitalist society. In an anarchist society the very opposite is true, everybody's contribution is valued, people are encouraged to be productive. The health of the individual is inexorably linked to the health of the community in such a society. Unemployment would obviously cease to exist in a community that has broken the artificial barriers between paid and unpaid work, leisure and education.


If we want radical egalitarian social change, we need to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to acquaint people with egalitarian concepts. Each of us is involved in activities where we interact with other people. Most of us are involved in groups and organisations that are not overtly political. As anarchists we totally reject the notions that politics is contained to participation in the electoral process and that political action is divorced from every day life.

Everything we do has a political dimension. Involvement in a church group, a sporting club, a school counsellor or a social club is by its very nature political. All these groups have structures that resemble main stream society. If we are involved in such groups we should attempt to change the principles of association of such groups, so they develop a non-authoritaria n structure. Elected presidents can be replaced by committees. Decisions could be made by the group not the president. All office bearers should be recallable. Introducing egalitarian structures into such situations familiarises people with anarchist concepts.

Spontaneity is important because it allows us to pursue ideas that we wouldn't normally dream of pursuing. As an anarchist activist you don't need to wait for somebody else to do "something". Unless you seize the moment the chances of change occurring will recede rapidly. Take the plunge if you see an opportunity, seize it, don't wait for somebody else to do "something". Opportunities to promote change occur daily, look for them, seize them with both hands, if you don't the moment will pass.

Organisation is all very well, but organisation coupled with spontaneity is an irresistible force that the state and the corporate sector finds hard to quell. If you're involved in an anarchist group, look at what you're doing. Be willing to change tactics even in mid campaign. Because some tactics worked in the past doesn't mean it's going to work now. Don't repeat the failures of the past, learn from those failures. Analyse them, study them and use new tactics to approach the same problem. As a group, try to leave room for individual and group spontaneity. If you don't you'll continue to beat your head against a brick wall using tactics that are more appropriate to the 1930's than a society that is about to enter the 21st century. Remember spontaneity is the life blood of the anarchist movement.


In 1842 a Sydney City Councillor, Henry McDermott complained he had "suffered abuses" because he had been called an anarchist for suggesting that "agricultural areas and small towns" should be established on the New South Wales coast to encourage decentralisation. It's interesting to note that even in 1842 anarchy was equated with decentralisation. By 1852 the word anarchy was being used as synonyms for chaos and terror. In that year James McEachern formed the Tambaroora Association of Alluvial Miners to counteract merchants claims that individual alluvial miners were causing "law and order to be superseded by anarchy and confusion".

When the Melbourne Anarchist Club was formed on the 1st of May 1886 anarchy and anarchism in Australia were synonymous with social breakdown, this occurred although Australian anarchists made it clear that they were talking about creating. "a system of social thought, aiming at fundamental changes in the structure of society and particularly... at the replacement of the authoritarian state by some form of non-governmental co-operation between free individuals"

The Melbourne Age sent a reporter to the second Melbourne Anarchist Club meeting and an even handed report about the meeting appeared in the Melbourne Age on the 17th of May 1886. Not to be out done the Melbourne Herald, the forerunner of Melbourne Herald Sun claimed in an article on the 17th May 1886 that the Melbourne Anarchist Club aimed to hoist a species of social "black flag", order in a supply of red-caps and go on a rampage.

When you review the Herald Suns hysterical response to Loren zo Kom'Boa Ervin's visit a few weeks ago, it's obvious little if anything has changed over the past century. Source for article: ANARCHISM and STATE VIOLENCE IN SYDNEY and MELBOURNE 1886-1896 by Bob James. Published 1986 Book available from Australian Anarchist Bookshops.


Images of an International Anarchist Gathering

Thousands of anarchists poured into Venice at the end of September 1984 to celebrate Orwell's year. They poured into Compo Santa Margherita and Compo San Polo from all corners of the globe. Survivors of the Spanish revolution mingled with punks from Germany. Ciao Anarchici is a rarity amongst anarchist publications. It's a 110 page glossy coffee table book. The book has over 270 photographs, accompanied by text, both it Italian and English, from many of the participants as well as quotes from the debates at the Venice 1984 Anarchist gathering.

Ciao Anarchici was organised by the Centre for Libertarian Studies (CSL) in Milan, the International Centre for Research on Anarchism (CIRA) in Geneva and the Anarchos Institute in Montreal. Two dozen activists were kept busy for six months translating, sending circulars, inviting artists, setting up exhibitions, making banners and obtaining permits. Over 100 people spent the week of the gathering working in kitchens, booths, halls and backrooms of the meeting and conference centre.

Flicking through the book, readers are confronted with an avalanche of energy, expectation and hope. Participants from South and North America rub shoulders with European, Asian and Australian activists. Conferences merge with films videos and audio-visuals. Art merges with reality, children play, adults dance, stages vibrate with performers. The line between participants blurs, everybody becomes one. A wine, specially bottled for the occasion, helped to dull the frustration of simultaneous translations, as Alain Trevent from Belgium put it.

"We're returning from the planet Anarres, we have now to convince the inhabitants of the planet Urras, of which we are also part, that anarchism is possible and good to live."

CIAO ANARCHICI available from Black Rose Books 3981 St Laurent Montreal. Quebec. H2WIY5 Canada Paperback edition: ISBN:0-920057-71-3 Hardcover edition: ISBN:0-920057-73-X


Passing by the Spread Eagle Hotel in Richmond on Saturday morning, I happened to glance through a crack in the window. Within an atom of a second I was transported back to John Howard's relaxed and comfortable dreaming. There they were, cloth caps, parkas, horned rimmed glasses, Norm Gallagher clones, hunched over their beers. Sitting on non nonsense chairs, staring at each other. Smoke rose from the tables, froth danced on the edges of the beer glasses, occassionally somebody uttered a monosyllable.

Looking at them I realised these are the men who bear witness to the lie that there was anything comfortable or relaxed about life in this country in the 1950's. Their faces spoke of the time when workers in this country fought to win every benefit we now take for granted. As the corporate world and state roll back the gains these men won, they sit in the public bar in pubs around the country sipping beer, dreaming their own dreams, slipping into alcohol induced oblivion as they curse John Howard and his parliamentary mates.

Nobody remembers them, nobody honours them. As I write, their struggles are being written out of the history books. Youngsters stare at them and wonder if these people come from the same planet. They don't care, they've done what they can, they sit there drinking beer, exchanging the occasional sentence, waiting for the inevitable.


When the jockey's were on strike, Steve didn't bet. Last week when Melbourne's transport workers were cranking up their dispute with the Kennett regime, Steve decided to show his solidarity with the transport workers by not paying his fare. Sitting on the train, travelling to the city, his heart sank when he saw two men in long coats wearing name badges enter the train. As luck would have it, they made a beeline straight for Steve. You see, Steve wears his heart on his face and it was obvious to anyone who saw him he was harbouring a guilty secret.

"Shit!! " He said to himself. "I'm sprung," as the revenue inspectors made their way towards him. He was looking at the ground, when they asked him what was troubling him. As he looked up slowly, his eyes settling on their name tags, he could believe his eyes. "Christ!" he said "You're Mormons!!" "Yes that's right," they chorused. Looks like Steve's luck is still holding out, our friends were not revenue inspectors, they were representatives of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. I think this is the first time in Steve's life that he has welcomed Jesus Christ into his life. As I said, Steve's luck has finally changed. Joseph Toscano/Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society.


Many years ago a major daily newspaper sent a noted astronomer a telegram "wire collect immediately five hundred words on whether there is life of Mars". The astronomer dutifully replied nobody knows, nobody knows two hundred and fifty times.(1)

Around this time there was a plethora of fiction and non-fiction speculating about life on Mars. H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds". Gioran Schiaparelli's observations through the telescope of what he saw over "canali" just like Christian Huygens the noted Dutch astronomer and inventor of the 17th Century. Schiaparelli's observations of "canali", in Italian "canali" meant channels or grooves, but was promptly interpreted into English as Canals a word that implies intelligent design. In the latter years of the 19th Century, Schiaparelli gave up viewing Mars, enter the American Percival Lowell. According to Carl Sagan in his monumental classic COSMOS, he viewed Mars with the canals in mind, be believed too much, he imagined canals carrying water from the poles to the thirsty cities of the interior, the colour changes he viewed were according to him were due to "shifting vegetation patterns".

Since then of course, this fascination with life on Mars has continued. Just after the success of the Apollo moon landing in July, 1969, NASA sent an environmental impact probe, the Mariner 9. Mariner 9 looked closely at the planets Mercury & Mars and out of all the data came the TTAPS Report.

Turco, Toon, AcKerman, Pollack & Carl Sagon discovered disturbing data about the weather and changes of colour on the Red Planet Mars, that Lowell thought were shifting vegetation patterns, were in fact planetary wide Catastrophies, mainly dust storms which cover large sections of the planet. To this august bunch of scientists they coined the term "Nuclear Winter". "The dust storms had begun when Mariner 9 entered Mars's orbit and together with earth based telescopes we saw the storm grow it started as a sandstorm in a Martian desert, winds kicked dust high into the atmosphere and thickening clouds shaded the planet's surface from sunlight. The sun warmed the dust and the upper atmosphere; the planets surface cast a shadow cooled off. Massive global dust storms are not uncommon on Mars. They last for weeks or months until the last dust particles slowly settle from the sky, then the surface warms up again". (2)

The information sent shockwaves through first scientific circles then as the findings filtered out into the wider community anti-nuclear groups etc. As it intensified fears of what would be the fate of the world after a nuclear war on earth.

Since then NASA has sent Viking 1 & 11 Robotic probes in 1976, to analyse soil samples etc. Since then, we have amassed a great deal of information about our planetary neighbour the Red Planet, its geo stats, even its potential for human existence.

Dr. Carl Sagan says in Cosmos that high up in the mount of Antarctica, thousands of feet up where there is little oxygen, these hardy green plants flourish. Dr. Sagan speculates that Mars once had an atmosphere like ours with running water etc. He goes on to say the polar caps hold the key, the ancient atmosphere if it still exists and didn't get blown into outer space may still exist trapped dormant under the polar caps. In theory you could send up a robotic probe, a Johnny Appleseed probe and sprinkle millions of these same seeds of these hardy green plants and if they do what they do best, then it could create a mini greenhouse effect and the ice will melt the ancient atmosphere will be released and bingo a New Earth for the taking.

Now if one of the ambitions for the scientists at NASA who control the latest "robot" pathfinder and its mobile explorer Sojourner is to look for life microbic on Planet Mars. Alan Brown (no not Kennett's lackey in London) but Koori Activist and now executive officer Victorian Aboriginal Community controlled Health Organisation wrote an interesting letter to the Melbourne Age 8/7/97, his heading said it all: TO INDIGENOUS LIFE ON MARS FROM THE KOORI PEOPLE OF VICTORIA AUSTRALIA EARTH, in it he warned any life forms on Mars to attack and destroy the intruder pathfinder and its mobile research vehicle Sojourner as it reminds the writer (AB) of a time Europeans came here, stole their land, murdered their people and so on. I echo Alan's comments. If in fact NASA does find the microbic life forms in the rocks and soil, it's theirs, we should fuck off and never return as it is their world NOT OURS.

If on the other hand there is no life on Planet Mars, then Greg a mate whom I travel to work with on the train said "It will be the first time humans colonise somewhere where we won't fuck up the natives because there is none".

And I'd bet that if the latter is the case you watch the corporate captains of industry rub their hands with glee and carve up Mars, so that only our class enemies will benefit, meanwhile they will continue to rape and poison our earth as they have another one to go to theoretically speaking.

Stephen Reghenzani

(1) COSMOS Author Dr. Carl Sagan, Chapter 5, P 85. (2) PLANET EARTH Author Jonathan Weiner Chapter 7, p 339 - 342....


Lady Di is having her fancy tickled by Dodi Al Fayed, while Bonne Prince Charlie is having his fancy tickled by Camilla. Who cares? Reading then newspapers, watching television and listening to the radio, it seems the whole English speaking world, especially the Anglo Saxon dominated colonies, seem to be enthralled by the possibility that Di and Charlie are fornicating their way across the globe. I don't care if the tabloids publish pictures of them fornicating with chair legs, but what I care about is how the corporate world uses the mass media to distract people's attention from the very real failures of capitalism.

Infotainment has become the name of the game. Television, radio and newspapers are all used to sell the corporate dream. Di, Charlie, Elle, Elton John, Michael Jackson and a host of other insignificant figures are dusted off and paraded before a public that's hungry for dreams. News and current affairs have become a conduit for soma induced mass anaethesia. Huxley's Brave New World is here with us now. The latest tabloid frenzy about Di and Dodi (rhymes doesn't it) just confirms what we all know - the corporate media sucks!

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

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