(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review

Anarchist Age (anarchistage@geocities.com)
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 13:49:14 +0930


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Number 278 1st - 7th December 1997

VICTORIAN VOTERS NOTE - NEW CONSTITUTION FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM

Joseph Toscano Stephen Reghenzani

The question delegates should be debating at the Constitutional Convention is not whether Australia should be a Monarchy or a Republic, but whether Australians need A New Constitution. As your delegates we will promote the idea at the Convention that Australia needs more than cosmetic changes to its head of State. We believe this country needs A New Constitution.

Think about it:-

If you want delegates at the Constitutional Convention who believe the Australian people should determine whether they want a new constitution, vote for THE NEW CONSTITUTION FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM TEAM. Thank you, Dr. Joseph Toscano MDBS.

VOTE FOR THE NEW CONSTITUTION FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM TEAM - Put one in the New Constitution For A New Millennium Team box on your ballot paper. Note - WE HAVE NOT ALLOCATED PREFERENCES! If you want to allocate preferences vote below the line put the number 142 in the first box 250 in the second box and allocate preferences in the rest of the boxes as you want to. http://www.ozemail.com.au/~phlmacc

STOP IT!!

Listening to John Howard's string of half truths on Sunday night, it's obvious that the governments 10 point Wik plan is on its way to the dustbin of history. Wik is not a debate about land tenure, but a debate about justice. Beazley nearly hit the nail on the head when he mentioned on Monday night that Wik is a debate about honour and national pride. Howard and his band of merry intellectually limited morons, believe that all they have to do is pass the Wik 10 point plan through the Senate plan and over 200 years of injustice will just fade away.

Although he wants Australians to help him pass his sacred 10 point plan through parliament, he doesn't seem to understand that people in this country will continue to be diminished if we do not acknowledge the past. It doesn't matter how many laws are passed and how many elections are called and won on the "race" question, the problems that Mabo and Wik have brought to the surface will not go away, because John Howard wants them to go away.

As a nation and as groups and individuals on this continent we can continue to ignore the past and use our superior numbers to impose our will on this countries indigenous population or we can strike an agreement with the descendants of this countries first inhabitants to initially acknowledge and eventually expunge this stain from our history. We are faced with a historic opportunity, we can, like John Howard and his mates continue to deny the past or we can acknowledge the past and work towards a just future.

Whether we are capitalists, anarchists, fascists, supporters of parliamentary rule or direct democracy, all of us who "now call Australia home" whether we were born here or were born overseas need to reach an accommodation with Australia's indigenous people. In the spirit of reconciliation the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist Media Institute designed a regional anarchist flag to acknowledge the prior occupation of this continent by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We incorporated red, green, yellow and blue stripes (the primary colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags), onto the black flag of anarchy. This gesture acknowledges the prior occupation of this continent by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Although the gesture is only symbolic it is an important step we have taken in the reconciliation process. Unless the Howard regime takes steps to resolve the Wik debacle we will continue to be dogged by questions about our past and our ability to acknowledge this past.

KYOTO - WHOSE INTERESTS IS THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT REPRESENTING!

Day three of the world greenhouse emissions conference in Kyoto has already seen Australia marked as an international pariah. While every other developed nation in the world has indicated what they are willing to do, to help decrease greenhouse emissions, the Australian government continues to sit on its hands, while everybody else has submitted plans to decrease greenhouse emissions by three to ten percent, by the year 2010, the Australia government continues to refuse to release its plans. (May be because they're too ashamed to admit they want to increase greenhouse emissions by 18% by the year 2010).

When you think about it, you can't help asking yourself the question, "Who's interest does the Australian government, represent, does it represent the interests of the Australian people or the interests of a few privately owned energy producing corporations?".

Looking at the Australian governments track record, it obvious where the governments allegiances lie. Instead of admitting there is a potential problem, Howard's merry men and women have shoved their heads down a burrow and have refused to acknowledge there is a problem. Irrespective of whether the Australian government represents the Australia peoples' interest or the interests of the corporate sector, we will all be asked to pay the price when we are ostracised by the rest of the world.

The Kyoto conference will, whether the Australian government participates or not set legally enforceable reductions in greenhouse gas emission levels. It's interesting to note that the Howard regime likes to think it's at the forefront of change and when the discussion turns to free trade and globalisation. On the other hand it's always at the end of the line when the debate turns to questions of social justice and the environment. Kyoto marks a low waterpoint in our relationship with the rest of the world. Unless the Australian government changes its tune by the end of the week, we are well on the way to achieving world pariah status.

SIR!! SIR!! CAN I PLEASE GO ON STRIKE!!

It's just so pathetic seeing grown men and women being forced to approach the Industrial Relations Commission every time they want to withdraw their labour during a “non-bargaining period". As most people in Australia are aware the Kennett regime is in the throes of passing legislation that will in Victoria remove a workers right to sue a negligent employer. The Victoria Trades and Labour Council has embarked on an Industrial campaign to show their total disgust with the legislation.

On Tuesday the Electrical Trade Union closed down the Victorian rail system, thumbing their nose at an I.R.C. that had decided that their action was illegal. On the same day that Buses and Tramways Union backed down from going ahead with a 24 hour strike on Wednesday, because the I.R.C. had declared that their strike was illegal. The Metal Trade Union fared a little bit better, the I.R.C. decided that their strike about the Workcover changes was not illegal and they went ahead with their strike on Wednesday, in the face of Government and employer grumblings that they would sue the union and individual workers for participating in the Workcover strike.

It's tragic to see that the right to strike has been removed from Australia workers. Unless they are willing to put their case before the Industrial Relations Commission and the Commission agrees with them, they don't have any rights to remove their labour. Workers organisations and individual workers live with the spectre of bankruptcy if they dare to remove their labour without I.R.C. permission.

It's one thing to push laws through parliament, it's another thing for courts to rule on these laws and it's yet another thing to enforce these laws. The governments attempts to remove a workers right to strike are real, very real. Currently no court has attempted to enforce its decisions to prevent a worker from exercising that right. Sooner or later the courts will attempt to enforce their decisions by bankrupting individual workers. When that moment comes, each and every one of us needs to be involved in the struggle to ensure that no worker loses any of their property because they've exercised their right to strike.

WORLD AIDS DAY

The first of December marked world Aids Day. To mark the day, United Nations AIDS released figures that once and for all bury the myth that the Aids epidemic has been contained. Over thirty million people (over 2/3rds in Sub Saharan Africa) like with HIV or Aids. 2.3 million people died of Aids in 1997, a 50% increase over the death rate in 1996. Half the deaths were among women and over 450,000 children under 15 died of Aids related diseases.

Over the past few years the Aids epidemic has moved across to Asia, over 5 million Indians are infected with the virus. The overall picture is depressing, very depressing. By the year 2000, over 40 million people will be infected with the AIDS virus. Fifteen years after the AIDS virus was first identified, many governments continue to refuse to acknowledge it exists. India, Nigeria and South Africa are three of the main culprits. The only developing nation that has been able to put a dent into the spread of HIV has been Uganda.

The turn around in Uganda has not been achieved by better health care but by education. Education about how HIV is transmitted and the increased use of condoms has halted the epidemic in Uganda. There are no magic cures or vaccines to prevent the spread of AIDS. Currently education seems to be the only answer. Religious and cultural inhibitions are the biggest stumbling blocks to this message being relayed to people who know nothing about why people are dying around them of the “slimming" disease.

The rapid spread of HIV in India has been ably assisted by the governments refusal to admit they have a problem. AIDS is a young peoples' disease, one in 100 adults under 49 has HIV. Although improved detection and treatment methods have halted the spread of AIDS in the developed world, the overall rate has increased and will continue to increase if governments don't allocated the necessary funds and resources to tackle the problem. AIDS can be contained if resources are allocated to overcome religious and cultural inhibitions to the safe sex message. Uganda a predominantly Roman Catholic country has shown that it can be done.

HINDU FUNDAMENTALISTS POISED TO FORM NEXT INDIAN GOVERNMENT

The collapse of the ruling Coalition government in India has opened the door for the Hindu Nationalist Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form the next Indian government. On Monday the Indian president K.R. Narayanan called on the BJP, the main opposition group (It has 162 seats in parliament) to form the next Indian government.

The BJP's extreme Hindu nationalism has found favour in an electorate that is concerned about corruption, loss of value of the countries currency and the imminent collapse of the Indian stockmarket. India's flirtation with free market economics may have increased the buying power of a small middle class, but it has all but closed the door to millions of Indians who have become collateral damage in the Indian governments quest to pursue free market policies.

The BJP like all nationalist parties across the globe sing the praises of nationalism by scapegoating significant minorities in their countries. The BJP are more than nationalists, they are religious fundamentalists who have shown they are willing to use the power of the state to force people to follow Hindu practices.

The Indian subcontinent is ruled by Muslim fundamentalists in Pakistan and in the next few months the BJP will be able to wield power in India. The continuing struggle in Kashmir between Muslims and Hindus will reach new heights if the BJP forms the next Indian government. Although India is painted as an impoverished developing country, the BJP will find that it will control a significant nuclear arsenal when it gains power. It's within the realms of possibility that India and Pakistan will find themselves embroiled in a war that could, if the Pakistan Muslim fundamentalists felt they were under threat, turn into a nuclear holocaust.

ANARCHIST QUESTION AND ANSWER

Q. Would in-built obsolence be a problem in an anarchist community?

A. Definitely not!! There's no incentive both at a personal and a community level to produce for productions sake in an anarchist society. Company profits in a capitalist community hinge on producing goods with in-built obsolence. What corporation is going to spend time and resource to manufacture a product that's going to last forever. Any company that made such a product or spends time developing products with recyclable parts would be digging into its long term profitability and consequently would be digging its own grave.

An anarchist community is based on the satisfaction of human needs, not production for profit. Population pressures and ever shrinking access to finite resources has made capitalist production in the last 20th century, a luxury the world can no longer afford. If human and natural resources are not directed into recyclable, sustainable production, we can kiss life on this planet good bye.

Anarchist production is the magic key that could halt the current head long rush into oblivion. In-built obsolence is not a key plank in any anarchist enterprise. Anarchist production revolves around producing products that are recyclable, longlasting, durable and produced from sustainable resources. There is no incentive to mass produce shoddy goods that people don't need in an anarchist community. In a capitalist society the opposite is true, the more shoddy goods that are produced, the more goods you need to produce to fill the void created by the production of shoddy goods. Consequently the greater the profits.

Although in-built obsolence is a central feature of capitalist production, it has never been or ever will be an integral part of production in an anarchist society.

ACTION BOX - FEET OF CLAY

It's easy, very easy to sit back and give support to some leader or group. I'm constantly surprised at how many people put their faith in a leader, thinking that he or she has the solutions to their problems. Unfortunately, all leaders sooner or later are found to have feet of clay. Normally the very same people who gave their support to a leader are the very same ones who now absolve themselves of any responsibility for their leaders shortcomings, claiming their faith has been destroyed and they'll never put their faith in anybody else.

By all means give respect to those who deserve your respect. Acknowledge people for their efforts, energy, ideas and actions, but don't put your faith in them or give them power to make decisions for you. Although the anarchist movement relies on people with energy and initiative, it will never succeed unless individuals take responsibility for themselves and their actions. As long as people sit on the side lines and give leaders unlimited power to act for them, nothing will change. The current merry go round where people shift their allegiance from one leader to the next, waiting for the new Messiah to lead them from the wilderness only creates disillusionment, disappointment, despondency and dependency.

The essential differences between people who are prominent in the anarchist movement and leaders, can be summed up in two sentences. Leaders encourage people to de dependent on them, they have the answers, all people have to do is follow the word and they'll reach a state of nirvana. People who are prominent in the anarchist movement encourage people to act independently of them. Leaders encourage people to give them power to make decisions for them, they know the answers. Although prominent anarchists may think they know the answers, whether their ideas are carried out or not depends on whether other people within the movement agree with their ideas and decide to participate in activities that they have suggested. Nobody in the anarchist movement, no matter how prominent they are has the power to force anybody else to carry out a decision they disagree with.

AUSTRALIAN ANARCHIST HISTORY - JACK ANDREWS - DEATH

Jack Andrews died in the Melbourne Hospital on the 26th of July 1903, of the effects of Tuberculosis, a few months short of his 38th birthday. Andrews was arguable the foremost 19th Century Australian Anarchist theoretician. Although I've written about Jack Andrews contribution to an anarchist thought and action in the past, I'd like to concentrate on reactions to his deaths in this article. Andrews had nothing to show for his struggles, he died a pauper and would have been buried in a paupers grave. If his friends hadn't raised the money to have him buried in an unmarked grave:- No.415, Compartment B in the Church of England section of the Booroondara Cemetery in Melbourne. Jack Andrews never married and was not survived by any children, his papers (those of which survived) are held by the Mitchell Library.

The Trades Hall Council of Coburg and the Emerald Hill Political Labor Council expressed their sympathy at his death. W.J. Sharples another Melbourne anarchist compared him to Tolstoi, Kropotkin, Thoreau and Verlaine. Ernie Lane remembered him as “an outstanding figure in the Australian Revolutionary movement ... a man of exceptional ability". L.G. Churchward in the book “Australian Labor Movement" 1850-1907 claims that the special relationships between “socialist" debating groups and labour journalists “brought the socialist intellectuals especially O'Dowd and J.A. Andrews into much closer contact with the organised working class movement and it enabled their ideas to influence thousands of workers instead of a handful of metropolitan debaters". O'Dowd described Jack Andrews as "truthful, gentle, loving and honest and faithful to the masses".

In the book "Dawn to Dusk" Ernie Lane paints a word picture of a man whose ideas and times have been expunged from modern Labour History.

"Clothed in an overcoat to cover his sometimes shirtless body and tattered clothes, Andrews would proceed to the Domain. Tying a large pole with a small black flag to an overhead tree he would deliver a two or three hours' exposition of philosophic anarchy to the proverbial... two men and a dog.... Andrews obviously spoke right over the heads of the crowd".

Source of article - What is Communism? And other Anarchist essays on 1889 Melbourne. Edited and Introduced by Bob James, Printed by Backyard Press, Available from ANARRES BOOKS, PO Box 150 East Brunswick 3057 Melbourne Australia. Other titles by same author available from Anarres Books.

BOOK REVIEW - UPROOTING WAR - Brian Martin. Freedom Press - 1984. ISBN 0 900384 263

Brian Martin is one of the most prolific and least recognised of Australia's Libertarian Authors. A quiet man, working at Wollongong University, he has over the last two decades produced a body of work that gives readers an insight into the mind of the state and the Corporate Beast. Although first published in 1984, Uprooting War is as relevant in 1997 as it was in 1984.

Uprooting war is not a book for governments or bureaucrats, it's a book for, in Brian's own words, "for individuals, small groups and local communities, in short for the grassroots". In a little under three hundred pages Brian examines the roots of war. “The roots of war are the institutions which maintain centralised political and economic power, inequikly and privilege, and monopolies over organised violence to protect power and privilege".

Brian examines in Chapter 1 the Limitations of Standard Anti-War methods, In Chapter 2 he outlines the principles that underlie a grassroots anti-war movement. In the next three chapters he examines the idea of social defence, peace conversion and self-management. In Chapter 6 he outlines steps towards grassroots mobilisation and organisation. In the next seven chapters he outlines strategies "for challenging and replacing some of the key institutions underlying war". In the final two chapters 15 and 16 he contemplates how an anti-war strategy can be used during and after a nuclear war.

Uprooting war challenges our preconceived notions about what we as individuals can do to prevent war. Brian Martin looks beyond lobbying, rallies and civil disobedience, he wants us to confront institutions such as the state, bureaucracy, the military and patriarchy. Brian Martin deserves to be recognised for this modern day anarchist classic. I encourage as many people as possible to read this book. If you believe that war is inevitable and we can't do anything to stop it from breaking out - think again, pick up Uprooting War and learn how you can stop wars from happening.

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS

I sat down next to a young woman with a bare midriff who was wearing a knitted blue top and designer jeans, nothing unusual except she had a read, white and green flag painted on her face. In her hands she had green and yellow pom poms. Behind me another young woman was wrapped in the Iranian flag (a la Pauline Hanson) and stood on her seat crying I-RAN, I-RAN. All through the crowd were knots of people clustered round Iranian flags. About ten seats in front of me a bunch of very young women wearing traditional Muslim garb, were surrounded by men holding pictures of their holy men.

As the F.I.F.A. gladiators took the centre stage, a sea of Australian flags, sprinkled with Eureka Flags were hoisted into the air. Over 90,000 spectators shouted OLE! OLE! Watching the crowd it was obvious that there was only one God, they worshipped F.I.F.A. As the gladiators strutted, kicked, headbutted and scored, the crowd roared their approval. Every time the Iranian team was on top, the Pauline Hanson clone behind me screamed YES!! YES!! YES!! By half time the woman beside me had switched allegiances, she had found an Australian flag, and was waving it when the Australia strikers marked forward.

It was then that I realised that national identity transcends political affiliation. The fifteen and sixteen year old girls holding babies in their arms whose heads were covered, had nothing and everything in common with the Iranian women I was sitting with. Both were descendants of people who came from the same patch of dirt. In Iran the women who were crying I-RAN, I-RAN would have been rounded up and beaten by the religious police. No bare midriffs, arms or heads in the streets of Teheran. No women at soccer matches. - NO WAY.

The Australian crowd consisted of people whose descendants had come from all corners of the globe, looking at the faces of the people flying Australian flags, it's obvious Australia is a multi-cultural society. As the F.I.F.A. gladiators kicked the ball, the crowd roared its approval, groaned or waved their flags. The final score IRAN two, Australia two - IRAN clinched the final berth in the 1998 World Cup Final - OLE!! OLE!! OLE!!

STOP PRESS - OH THE HORROR - THE SHEER HORROR!!

Bill Skate the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea is the leader of a “raskal" gang, he may even have been involved in a murder. The man who sits in the highest office in the land is a criminal. Well boys and girls, what's new!! Most leaders of the world's nations are criminals, not criminals like Bill Skate but worse. Sadam Hussein, Pol Pot, Netanyahu, Yeltsin, Gaffod and Bill Clinton are just a few of the world's leaders whose hands are stained with the blood of people who stood in their way.

What's surprising is that there are still a few leaders without blood on their hands, not that most of them have blood on their hands. Listening to media outlets pontificating about the horror of it all, you'd think the Bill Skates behaviour was aberrant not the norm. The nation state is the perfect vehicle for every deranged megalomaniac around. Reading the honour roll of twentieth century leaders, we cam across the names of some of the greatest mass murders in history, Franco, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Churchill, Kitchener, De Gaul and Nixon are just a few of the names of mass killers that spring to mind. Anarchists continue to call for the abolition of the nation state, because they know that an egomaniac with their hands on the levers of power can do and have done more damage in one day, than a mass murder can do in a lifetime.

Bill Skate follows in the steps of a long line of criminals who have seized the levers of power or who have been elected into office. Unfortunately for the people of Papua New Guinea, this news couldn't have come at a worse time. While over 2 million people (half the population) face starvation. The “raskal" gangs that are such a features of life in P.N.G. have now taken up seats in parliament along side P.N.G. normal garden variety crooked politicians. At the very time the country needs honest decent leadership, Bill Skate “raskal" extraordinaire is now leading the country. The sooner people took matters into their own hands and sacked the whole bloody lot, the better off they would be.

Joseph Toscano/Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society. ∑ ∑ ∑ ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS, No.4 Nov'97, PO Box 558, South Brisbane 4101, Queensland, Australia. ∑ ARCIPELAGO Vol 2 No.1 Nov'97, Gruppo “Emma Goldman" C. 50 Palermo 46, 10152 Torino, Italy. Tel/Fax 011/857850, Mobile 0338/6594361. ∑ GRASWURZEL REVOLUTION Sep'97, Kaiserstrabe 24, 26122 Oldenburg (Oldb), D4025E, Germany. ∑ LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE No.1101 20-26th Nov'97, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris France, Tel 0148053408, Fax 0149299859. ∑ LE LIBERTAIRE No.180 Nov.97, 25 Rue Dumé d' Aplemont, 76600 Le Havre France Tel 0235533341. ∑ SOLIDARIDAD OBRERA No.271, 273 July-Aug'97, Oct'97, C/- Hospital 101, 08001 Barcelona, Spain. Tel/Fax (93)3188834. ∑ TIERRA Y LIBERTAD No.117 Aug'97, F.A.I. Antonio Oliva, Apdo 74, La Pauebla del Rio/SF, 41130, Spain. Tel/Fax (95) 5772135. ∑ UMANITA NOA 77th year, 24th Aug'97, Tiziano Antonelli, Via della Leccia 8,, 57100, Livorno, Italy. OTHER PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK ∑ NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS No.49, Nov'97, PO Box 5208, Westend 4101, Brisbane Australia. ∑ DISCUSSION BULLETIN No.86, Nov-Dec'97, PO Box 1564, Grand Rapids MI, 49501 United States.

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UNIT TRUSTS FOR CO-OPERATIVE VENTURES - NEXT MEETING

WEDNESDAY 17th DECEMBER 1997 - 8.00pm, Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane Melbourne (NEAR SWANSTON ST). We have a bank account and eight financial members, we need seven more financial members to set up the trust. UNIT TRUSTS FOR CO-OPERATIVE VENTURES, PO Box 12197, Abeckett St, Melbourne 3000.

ANARCHIST MEDIA INSTITUTE OBSCENITY OF THE WEEK Has to go to John Howard for his address to the Nation on Sunday Night - A collection of half truths delivered in a stage that makes used car salesmen look honest.

If You Like What You Have Read, Photocopy This Publication & Leave It In Doctors, Dentists, Vets Waiting Rooms & In Railway Stations, Bus Stops, Libraries & Restaurants Etc.

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.

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