(en) A.A. Weekly Review 10th Dec.

Anarchist Age (anarchistage@geocities.com)
Tue, 16 Dec 1997 10:34:25 +0930


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Number 279 7th - 14th 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

DUBAI BOYS OWN ADVENTURE

Seventy former and serving Australian army personnel are in Dubai (guests of Her Majesty's Government) about to launch into a three month training program on Dubai's wharfs. Listening to Howard's, Downer's, Reith's and Costello's denials that they knew nothing about this boys own adventure, it's obvious, very obvious that somebodies telling porkies. The training of army personnel in Dubai as stevedoring mercenaries, has all the hallmarks of a covert government operation that's gone feral.

It's interesting to note the governments reaction when they are pushed on this question. As far as they are concerned it's all legal and above board to train industrial mercenaries to take over the jobs of Australian workers. Let's not forget the state has a monopoly on legalised violence in our society. As far as the Howard regime is concerned, there's nothing wrong with using the states military personnel to break the back of a civilian organisation - the Maritime Union of Australia. The training of these mercenaries is a perfect example of how far the state is willing to go to protect its interests. As far as Howard and his cronies are concerned, there's nothing wrong with using violence to destroy lawful, peaceful civilian organisations in this country. They see nothing wrong with the state spilling blood to win a point.

What we mustn't forget is that this exercise is being carried out in peace times. What we mustn't also forget is that the Howard regime is willing to sanction the use of violence to destroy a trade union. Can you imagine the media and government outcry if maritime workers were willing to meet violence with violence. The Dubai exercise is an excellent example of how the state is willing to promote and encourage the use of violence against its own citizens. Fortunately to be forewarned is to be prepared. If the Howard regime believes that Australian workers will let the government get away with their violent solution to waterfront reform, they should think again before they unleash the military on Australian workers.

"FAMILY AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY"

Whether its Blair in Britain, Shipley in New Zealand or Howard in Australia, the mantra is the same "family and social responsibility". The newest buzz word among governments all over the globe is that welfare recipients have a responsibility to the state, not to the community, but the state. Already people on unemployment benefits have to run the gauntlet of very unequal partnership - you don't do what they say and you'll lose the dole.

As if welfare recipients have any responsibility towards the government of the day or the state. Most people on welfare are there because the state has failed them. Very few people want to be on welfare benefits, most want to be productive members of the community. They find themselves on welfare because there are no other options. Many elderly and disabled people want to lead productive lives, but the government and the state has no use for them. Most young people want work, unfortunately what little work is available is exploitative and just plain unhealthy.

What's the point of having a state or a government if it can't meet the basic needs of its citizens? Why should people who have contributed to the welfare of the community be forced to enter a contract with the state. Welfare is a basic human right, it's not charity. Welfare is the social cement that binds communities together. Any community that ignores its elderly, its young, it's sick and unemployed does so at its own peril.

Welfare is a "sop" that's given to people to keep them off the streets. Any government that believes it has the right to force people into social contracts, doesn't understand the pacifying natures of welfare payments. The rich and powerful can use the state apparatus to control dissent or they can share a little bit of their wealth and maintain some social cohesion. Any government that embarks on a policy of family and social responsibility believing that families will take up the slack, needs to think again. Any government that embarks on a policy of "tough love" is digging its own grave. Welfare is not charity, it's a right that people are entitled to if the state is not able to provide its citizens with the necessities of life.

HI HO HI HO OFF TO WAR WE GO!!

You've got to hand it to the Federal National Liberal Party, if there's one group of people that never learns from past mistakes it's the Canberra rabble. Listening to the Defence Minister waffle on about Australia's change to its defence policy, it's more than obvious that the people who embroiled Australia in the Vietnam debacle have reverted back to that old classic - forward defence. As far as the Federal government is concerned, it's time that Australia began providing direct military assistance to its friends in the region.

The Australia Defence Forces are being put on a "war footing". The changes that were announced this week are all about preparing the military to revert back to its historical role in the region:- providing support for every corrupt tin pot dictator in the region. If there's one thing the extra-parliamentary movement, both left and right agree on, it's the fact that Australian military forces will be deployed in Indonesia in the next few years. As night follows day, Australian troops will be deployed in Indonesia to maintain Suharto's shaky grip on power. Suharto the Butcher's health is failing fast, there is no obvious successor that will take over from him when he dies, it's highly probable that Indonesia will break up into a number of independent nation states. Australian corporate and government interests are tied up in the survival of the Indonesian state.

It's not improbable that Australian troops will be deployed to this region to support what's left off the dictators forces in Indonesia. Australia has been training Suharto's troops for years on Australian soil. It conducts joint military and naval exercises with the dictators troops, it provides weapons for the Indonesia armed forces and must importantly of all it provides moral support for Suharto's policies in the United Nations. Australia's reactivated forward defence policies are a blueprint for the deployment of Australian troops to support morally bankrupt governments in the Asia-Pacific region.

DRUNKEN RIOT OR BIRTH OF AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY

The 3rd of December 1997 marked the 143rd anniversary of the Eureka Stockade. At 3.30am on Sunday the 3rd of December 1854, over 250 soldiers and mounted and foot police stormed the Eureka Stockade at Ballarat, guns blazing. There were less than 150 men in the Stockade, most had gone back to their tents, not expecting that her Majesty's forces would attack them on God's day. Around 30 men were killed and 113 arrested. On the 8th of December 13 were charged with High Treason, they were all acquitted in trials in February/March 1855.

Two years ago the Victorian and Australian government earmarked four million dollars to build a centre to tell the Eureka story. Geoffrey Blainey the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ballarat was appointed as Chairman of the historical sub-committee that determines the historical content of the centre. That's right the same Geoffrey Blainey who dismisses the efforts of some of the most eminent Australian historians as "black arm band history" is now Chairman of the Eureka Centre Historical sub-committee. In his own words Blainey states "some people say democracy was born at Eureka - I don't subscribe to that point of view".

The stockaders original demands included:- 1. Manhood suffrage. 2. Abolition of the Property qualification for members of parliament. 3. Payment of members. 4. Short term parliaments. 5. Equal Electoral Districts. 6. Abolition of Diggers and storekeepers licences. It's highly likely the current historical sub-committee will dilute the radical nature of Eureka. Eureka is part of Australian history. To deny the people of this country, full access to the nature of the event and the ideas that sparked the rebellion is a crime against the Australian people. Popular pressure needs to be applied to ensure that the Eureka Interpretative Centre does not only present a Disney sanitised version of the events that inspired the Eureka rebellion.

HI HO HI HO OFF TO OBLIVION WE GO

If there's one thing we can learn from the Kyoto conference, it's that nation states are incapable of reaching any binding agreements. Everybody at the Kyoto climate conference knows that the earth is staring down the barrel of a gun. Instead of trying to reason with the gunman and save our lives, delegates have headed on a course that will antagonise the gunman.

Each nation state seems to be more interested in its own short term future than in the planets future. Even the world's richest developed nations baulk at the prospect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When you look at the situation realistically, it's obvious that the needs, desires and aspirations of the corporate sector are being given far more weight than the needs, hopes and aspirations of people on this planet.

What everybody seems to forget, is that, we find ourselves in this particularly difficult situation because of our methods of production. The world economy is based on production for profits sake and unlimited growth. The Howard regimes 1.25 billion dollar industry package that was announced of Monday hinges around a yearly growth rate of 4%. Capitalist means of production, distribution and exchange, both private and state have created the climate problems. They are not and will never be part of the solution to these problems.

The Kyoto Conference is a step in the right direction. Popular pressure has forced many of the world's nation states to take the problem seriously. Unfortunately they are part of the problem not part of the solution. Irrespective of what written agreements are made at Kyoto C02 emissions will continue to increase and global warming will in the next thirty to forty years bring about catastrophic changes. As the situation becomes more difficult, governments and nation states will disintegrate as people attempt to find solutions to problems that not only threaten their way of life but their eventual survival. If we wish to survive as a species, it's time we began the mammoth task to dismantle the economic and political systems that are pushing us on the road to oblivion.

ANARCHIST QUESTION AND ANSWER

Q. What do anarchists mean when they say they want to abolish the State?

A. Anarchists want to abolish the bricks and mortar that concentrate power in the hands of a centralised system of government and replace it with regional networks that give everybody the opportunity to participate in the decision making process and a share in the wealth produced by society. As we approach the 21st century the role of the state has undergone a massive transformation. The globalisation of capital and the formation of transnational corporations that straddle state boundaries has diluted the power of the state and placed it in the hands of corporate boardrooms.

The nation state theoretically acts as a bulwark against the excesses of capitalism. Over the last two decades the state has reverted back to its original role - control. As more and more state assets are given away to the corporate sector, the thin veneer of respectability that has been a prominent feature of the state in the latter half of the 20th century has been stripped away and we are left with a system of government that works in the interests of the corporate sector, not the interests of the people. Anarchists have always said that government is a problem when it exists as an entity outside the control of the people. When anarchists talk about government, they talk about self-government (self-management).

Anarchists don't believe that self-management is possible while the state exists, they don't believe you can have self-management in a society where there are inequalities of power and wealth. Anarchists want to set up structures that remove political power from the hands of the state and economic power from the hands of the corporate sector and place it back into the hands of the people not through representative democracy but through structures that break down hierarchies and that are based on direct democratic principles. Anarchist activists never tire of saying "you can't have freedom without economic control and you can't have economic control without freedom.

ACTION BOX - FEAST DAYS

Whether we celebrate Christmas or not the sheer number of people both secular and religious who celebrate Christmas highlights the important role of common feast days. Cultures revolve around common ideas and common celebrations, every culture has its myths and its celebrations. Anarchists across the globe are a minority within the cultures they live in. It's all very well to reject dominant culture, but what do we put in its place? Can we create a libertarian culture? If we do are there days we hold in common and celebrate? Feast days don't just materialise out of thin air, they are the natural by-product of a living, breathing culture. About the only day anarchists seem to celebrate is the 1st of May. In Australia International Labour Day coincides with the establishment of the Melbourne Anarchist Club, the first specific anarchist organisation that was formed in Australia. Apart from the 1st of May it's hard to visualise any other day that means anything to anarchists in our region. It's time we thought about whether any day or days has any special significance to Australian anarchists. If there's no significant day we should seriously think about what we want to celebrate and why we want to celebrate it.

Should we pluck a date from the air and label it International Co-operation Day or Autonomy Day? Should we set aside a week and call it Anarchy Week and use that week to highlight anarchist ideas and activities. It's one thing to criticise mainstream culture it's another thing to create a libertarian culture.

Think about it, do you want to celebrate? If you do are there any days you prefer over another day. What do you want to celebrate, do you want to celebrate an event or an idea or both?

In early 1998 the Anarchist Media Institute will be holding a public discussion on "anarchist feast days". If you're interested come along. AUSTRALIAN ANARCHIST HISTORY THEY CAME FROM EVERYWHERE!!

Ha Ki Rak and Miura Seichi at the beginning of the May Day rally on the Yarra banks in 1986 to celebrate the centenary of the Australian Anarchist Movement.

The Australian Anarchist Centenary celebrations held from the 1-4th May 1986 attracted activists from all over Australia and from overseas. Ha Ki Rak from Korea and Miura Seichi from Japan were two of the oldest activists at the celebrations. Anarchists came from Italy, Horst Stawasser represented the German Anarchists Movement, while Philipe Pellitier represented the French Anarchist Federation.

Marianne Enckel represented C.I.R.A., the Swiss Anarchist Library in Lusanne, one of the largest anarchist libraries anywhere in the world. Albert Paz came from Spain and Art Bortel the Canadian anarchist provided the money for a representative of the Hong Kong anarchist community to come across to Melbourne to help us celebrate our centenary. People worked well together, some of these overseas visitors participated in the international radio hook up with the Chicago anarchists, while many others took part in the media conference at the eight hour monument in Melbourne.

Most, if not all the international participants were billeted with local activists. Some of the friendships that were made in 1986 still flourish over a decade later. Anarchism is an international philosophy that crosses national and racial boundaries. The participation of so many overseas anarchists in the Australian Anarchist centenary celebrations highlighted the strong international current in the anarchist movement. Over a decade later I still think about all those international participants who helped the Australian Anarchist Movement celebrate its centenary.

BOOK REVIEW

Workers Self-Management in Algeria by Ian Clegg 1971. Library of Congress Catalogue No. 73-178700

The never ending round of atrocities perpetuated by the Algerian Government and the Muslim fundamentalist opposition are a far cry from the wave of auto gestion (self-management) that followed the summer of independence in 1962. In 250 pages, just five years after the Algerian state strangled this third world libertarian movement that was based on decentralisation and democracy, Ian Clegg published Self-management in Algeria.

He begins the book by outlining the historical perspective on workers councils. Ian examines the brutality and barbarism which accompanied the French colonisation of Algeria and he gives a brief account of the eight years of armed struggle that culminated in the national liberation of Algeria in the summer of 1962. In 1962 Algeria was left in a state of "almost total economic and political paralysis". Over ninety percent of the European settlers who had colonised Algeria over 130 years ago left at the end of the national liberation struggle destroying "buildings, machinery, communications and administrative records.' At the very moment the "colons" left the political and administrative machinery ground to a halt. The war had resulted in over one million deaths, over half a million orphans roamed the streets, half a million refugees were returning from Tunisia and Morocco, two million peasants were left in virtual concentration camps and over two million agricultural and industrial workers suddenly found themselves without work.

The Algerian people reacted quickly occupying abandoned businesses, factories and agricultural enterprises, electing management committees to run these enterprises for their benefit. Ian Clegg explores this movement and the states reaction to a movement that made the whole political apparatus irrelevant. Ian embarks on a journey discovering how the state was able to reimpose control and destroy this movement in less than five years.

Workers Self-Management in Algeria is a classic few people are familiar with. If you are interested in self-management and want to understand how such a strong movement can be co-opted by the state in such a relatively short time then make the effort to become familiar with Ian Clegg's book. It will not only give you an insight into self-management, but it will help you understand the ferocity of the struggle in Algeria today. Anybody who makes the effort to get their hands on this book will be amply rewarded by the clear, concise and informative nature of this classic that rarely sees the light of day.

PERSONAL OBSERVATION

Seven eighteen in the evening, how did I know the time? Clock radio in the car. The end of another long week, trying to get home, almost on the Footscray on ramp of the Westgate Bridge. Light rain, few cars, it will be another story when I hit the Lorimer exit, workers streaming home in their self-contained plastic bubbles on wheels, collide with the Friday night crowd, making their way to St.Kilda, an explosive combination.

The sun's still up, the road glistens, the windows open to let in the fresh smells as the rain hits the tar. In just a matter of seconds, I'll hit the on ramp, cross the Westgate and make my way home, Almost without noticing the rear wheels lose their grip, the car begins to spin. I've lost control, holding onto the steering wheel till my wrists ache, I take my foot off the accelerator and thank my lucky stars its 19.18 not 18.18, no cars in sight except for a batch behind red traffic lights waiting to enter the on ramp. As I complete one revolution I find myself staring at a white metal barrier and it's highly likely the car will disintegrate when it hits the barrier.

No my life didn't flash before my eyes, but the thought passed through my mind that this was a stupid way to die. I held on, waiting for the inevitable impact. Holding onto the steering wheel for dear live, I tried to throw the car into another spin. The car came to a halt with inches to spare (millimetres doesn't sound the same - does it?) Straddling two lanes of traffic, my mind screamed, cars streaming on to the on ramp, they can't see you, they'll hit you!! I throw the car into reverse in an attempt to provide a narrower target for the vehicles that are entering the ramp. I just manage to straighten the vehicle, when they spot me, by then I've got my foot on the accelerator and I'm able to leave the on ramp without causing a pileup.

There's no more sobering experience than an unexpected brush with death. The sack of salty water that envelopes our vital organs is no match for the external environment we have created for ourselves. Is there any moral to this little tale - well yes there is - "don't wait for tomorrow, for tomorrow may never come.'

STOP PRESS - POVERTY IN AUSTRALIA ON THE INCREASE

Forty percent of Australian children live in poverty. The fastest growing segment of the Australian population is the working poor. The governments removal of the operational subsidy for child care centres in 1996 has privatised child care making it inaccessible to the working poor and welfare recipients.

Community child care centres across Australia (centres that have traditionally provided child care for parents with limited incomes) are closing down because they are unable to compete with centres that charge full private fees. The Howard governments' policies on child care have increased the problem of increasing levels of child poverty. Parents on limited incomes no longer have the time to augment their meagre incomes by a few hours of part-time work.

Last year 43% of Australian families received Additional Family Payments. This payment is reserved for family units whose yearly income is less than $22,650 per annum. Just five years ago only 31.7% of families received Additional Family Payments. (Department of Social Security Statistics, not my figures). Sole parents have been hardest hit by these changes, the governments' privatisation of child care has meant that many sole parents are forced to live in poverty because their caring responsibilities make it impossible for them to pursue full time work.

Community run non-profit child care centres that offer places to people on low incomes have been forced to close their doors because of the governments short sighted policies. The Howard regimes changes to child care are just another example of a scheme that has been designed to save the community money that will in a few short years cost the community more than it has saved.

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

ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK RED and BLACK No.27 Autumn'97, Editor J. Grancharoff, PO Box 12, Quaama NSW, Australia 2550. REBEL WORKER Vol 16 No.8 (149) Nov-Dec'97, PO Box 92, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia. Email:rworker@chaos.apana.org.au LIBERTARIAN MUNICIPALISM, An Anarchist Agenda for the 21st Century. Interpolis Conference on the Politics of Social Ecology - Lisbon 1998. Emailnop39577@mail,telepac.pt (Lisbon) Email blakrose@web.net Fax 1-514-849-1956 (Montreal) ABATALHA No.165 Sept/Oct'97, R Marques de Ponte de Lima 37, 20dt0, 1100 Lisboa, Portugal. LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE No.1102 27th Nov-3rd Dec'97, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, France Tel 01 48053408, Fax 01 49299859. NEWS FROM POLAND - ANARCHIST INFOS No.3 Oct'97, PO Box 65, 76-215 S Lupsk-12, Poland Email gawlik@plearn.edu.pl TIERRA Y LIBERTAD No.117 Aug;97, Antonio Oliva, Apdo 74, La Puebla del Rio/SE, 41130 Spain. Tel/Fax (95) 5772135. FREEDOM Vol.58 No.23, 29th Nov'97, 84b Whitechapel High St, London, E17QX, Great Britain. Http://www.tao.ca/~freedom email FreedomPressatfreedom@tao.ca UMANITA NOVA 77th year 14th Sept'97, Tiziano Antonelli, Via della Leccia 8, 57100 Livorno, Italy. OTHER PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK TIMOR LIVRE, STOP INDONESIAN MILITARY TRAINING IN AUSTRALIA, PO Box 5187, West End 4101, QLD Australia Tel 0417 660323. DOWN TO EARTH CONFEST, PO Box 654, Glenroy 3047, Melbourne Australia w.w.w.dte@org.au Tel 03) 9416 2803.

ANARCHIST AGE HOME PAGE - http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/3879, http://www.vicnet.net.au/~anarchist ANARCHIST AGE EMAIL - email:anarchistage@geocities.com.

$ DEBT ELIMINATION APPEAL Our debt stands at $1252.50. If you are in a position to help us eliminate this debt send a cheque or money order made out to Libertarian Workers and send it to L.W.S.S. PO Box 20 Parkville 3052 Melbourne, Australia. DEBT 10.12.97 - $1252.50

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 been won by John Barnett and Pru Goward for their one dimensional autobiography - John Howard Prime Minister - a best seller it aint.

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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