| GOVERNMENT GELDED ABC SHELTERED WORKSHOP FOR THE INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC
Nothing highlights the moral bankruptcy of significant sections
of the ABC more than Melbourne's 774 local radio’s decision
to host a special Melbourne by-election program at the Queen Victoria
Markets in Melbourne on Friday morning in which only the more “popular”
candidates will be interviewed. Over the past two decades significant
sections of ABC television and radio have been little more than
Afraid of its own shadow significant slabs of the government gelded
ABC have been transformed into sheltered workshops for the Institute
of Public Affairs. Week after week, month after month, year after
year debate within the ABC is contained within strictly defined
boundaries. While radical right wing opinions dominate ABC television
and ABC radio, radical left wing opinions are shunned.
Just two weeks ago I was approached by an ABC television producer
to appear on ABC News Breakfast on ABC1 and ABC News 24 to discuss
the launch of Communitysavesfairfax.com. three hours later the same
producer, alerted to the fact I had a left wing radical pedigree,
withdrew the invitation. Ironically, I had been involved in a debate
that lasted over 20 minutes on Sky News Business Breakfast two days
The stacking of the ABC Board with neo-conservative Board members,
the appointment of neo-conservative senior bureaucrats to the ABC,
the introduction of short term contracts and the outsourcing of
production has created a climate of fear within the ABC. The ABC
is publicly owned. We all pay our eight cents a day to watch and
listen to Aunty. It’s time a thousand flowers were allowed
to bloom among the stunted old perennials growing in much of the
It’s ironic at the very moment Ken Williams, the CEO of News
Limited, publicly indicated he would use News Limited’s considerable
resources to derail the Gillard government’s legislative attempts
to hold the corporate owned media to account, one arm of his far
flung corporate empire is involved in crass, crude political censorship.
I, like the other 15 candidates standing in the Victorian Melbourne
By-election was approached by the Melbourne Leader (which claims
it has a readership of 51,000) to provide a “profile”
for the Melbourne Leader. A picture and a fifty word opinion piece
on “my plans” for Melbourne. I emailed back indicating
I believed a “sullen, angry, disillusioned, disgruntled electorate
wants ideas, not profiles”. I was surprised to receive an
email that stated the Melbourne Leader would be publishing that
I “did not submit the profile as requested”. Any normal
reader looking at the article in the Melbourne Leader would think
I didn’t respond to their request.
It is both disingenuous and dishonest for the Melbourne Leader
to imply I didn’t respond to their request. I sent the newspaper
three emails outlining my position regarding their “profile”.
At the very least they should have stated they declined to publish
What's happening highlights why we need laws to make the corporate
owned media accountable. I could take my complaint to the Australian
Press Council, a self-regulatory toothless tiger. Even if they found
in my favour, it would be months before the matter would be resolved.
Everyday hundreds of people across this country are misrepresented
in the corporate owned media. They have no effective redress. Making
the corporate owned media accountable would bring them into line
with current community standards.
The 38 billion dollars lost on poker machines over the past two
decades in Victoria, mainly by low income earners, the vulnerable
and the addicted (The Age 14/7) highlights an issue very few in
government at both the State and Federal level refuse to tackle.
The key to the problem is the large amounts of cash gamblers can
lose, the decreased pay out to players and the favoured son status
venues enjoy in government circles. People gamble for the thrill
of winning. There are very few ways people on low incomes can obtain
a financial windfall in a capitalist society. People also gamble
for company. There are very few places the elderly, the young and
the disadvantaged can socialise in a non judgemental environment
in our society.
One way both problems can be tackled is by transforming poker machine
venues into gaming rooms where gamblers can still socialise, get
the adrenaline rush associated with winning and have the opportunity
to mix with other people in a non judgemental environment. In Japan
the public has access to gambling venues where tokens are used to
play machines. The machines pay out in tokens and these tokens can
then be exchanged for consumer goods.
These parlours provide a social outlet, allow punters to enjoy
the adrenaline rush associated with winning and also provide them
with a range of useful consumer goods. People gamble because of
the thrill associated with gambling and the chance of a financial
windfall. To ignore the reasons why poker machine venues have been
able to cream off 38 billion dollars in the last 2 years in Victoria
and billions more in the rest of the country, is the best way to
ensure they will continue to make billions from people’s suffering.
Transforming poker machine venues into social centres where people
can enjoy the thrill of gambling, socialise in a non judgemental
environment and be paid their winnings in consumer goods is another
way to tackle the major issues related to gambling.
HIS STORY, HER STORY
The current community debate that Australian history is so boring
and pedestrian it shouldn’t be taught in Australian high schools
as a separate subject highlights the legacy of denial attached to
Australian history in the public imagination. Australian history
is boring because the history academics promote and the public are
familiar with is the boring, bland, sanitised, white washed version
we’re dished up at school and in the community.
Australian history has its share of the macabre and blood thirsty
as well as stories about personal and community struggles that put
Australia at the cutting edge of social, political and community
innovation at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s a history
written in blood, about gains made through the blood, sweat and
tears of ordinary people breaking free of the chains of the old
world. It’s a story that has not been told because it highlights
our radical origins as a nation in an era when radicalism is treated
as a virulent virus.
It’s a history that’s waiting to be rediscovered, written,
shared and used as a template for a future free of corporate excess,
government ineptitude and public indifference. The problem isn’t
how Australian history is taught, the problem is our understanding
about what has happened and continues to happen on this continent.
Those events that suit the prevailing political mood are celebrated
(Anzac Day) while those that don’t fit our perception of ourselves
as a decent, fair society are denied (bloody colonisation). Australian
history is about us, it’s about how people from around the
world who established communities on the blood, bones and lands
of those who had lived here for nearly 60,000 years created a new
society that became the envy of the world. To deny our children
and the people of this land the true stories associated with this
land is unforgiveable.
A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME
A little bird told me Murdoch’s neo-liberal sheltered workshop,
The Australian, was frothing at the mouth because the Greens in
the Melbourne by-election preferenced an anarchist before the ALP.
I gave up reading The Australian over a decade ago (although I still
love sending them unsolicited advice and opinions) as a result of
decent men and women on The Australian’s editorial team being
replaced by neo-liberal intellectual eunuchs when Murdoch noticed
the political winds they were a changing overnight he threw his
support behind the neo-liberal deregulation, privatisation, corporatisation
and globalisation revolution which we are all paying the price for
I know neo-liberals are very good at dishing it out but tend to
turn tail when confronted and I know my epistle to the editorial
team at The Australian will most likely be ignored and will diligently
be filed away for a future date when I commit some minor transgression,
but I still harbour the mistaken belief journalists at The Australian
may want to set the record straight.
It’s true, the Greens preferenced an anarchist before the
Australian Labor Party but I'd like to point out to The Australian’s
rapidly shrinking band of readers the ALP preferenced an anarchist
before the Greens. They preferenced yours truly No.11 and the Greens
No.15, while the Greens preferenced yours truly No.6 and the ALP
No.9. Not that How-to-vote cards make much difference in the seat
of Melbourne. Faced with a Melbourne Cup field some voters will,
as I suggested to them on my how-to-vote card, vote for yours truly
first and then allocate their preferences as they see fit. If they
can't make up their minds I suggested they preference the Greens
No.3 and the ALP No.5.
ANARCHIST QUESTION AND ANSWER
A. Freedom, like democracy, must be
the most misunderstood word in the English language. As one of 16
candidates for the Melbourne By-election I was surprised to hear
the Christian fundamentalist candidate use freedom as her catchcry.
Freedom is a slippery character. One person’s freedom can
be another person’s nightmare. Freedom to and freedom from
are diametrically opposed concepts. The same word used by different
people can mean totally different things. The freedom to impose
your will on others by force, own slaves, loot, plunder, rape, use
the state to impose your will on others, exploit other people’s
labour for your benefit is dependent on trespassing on the freedom
Anarchists see freedom as a mutually beneficial arrangement. Individual
freedoms are tempered by the freedom of your will over others by
others. Although the individual is at the heart of anarchism, the
individual’s freedom is only guaranteed when those around
him enjoy the same freedoms. The master can easily become the slave
in any society where there are no mutually beneficial arrangements
in place to ensure everybody in that society is free. Anarchist’s
“holy war” against hierarchy is related to their desire
to ensure that no one can use institutional structures to deny the
freedoms we all crave and deserve to anyone else in society because
of the power they exercise .
The year is slipping away, it’s nearly August, before you
know it you'll be welcoming 2013. What have you done so far this
year? What's happened to all those resolutions you made at the beginning
of the year to become more involved? Life has an ugly habit of getting
in the way of our resolutions. Midyear is a good time to take stock
(that’s when they have stocktake sales). Even if you haven’t
taken one step to achieve your resolution to become involved in
political and community action so far this year, you can take stock
of your situation.
Taking stock means sitting down, getting out a pen or laptop and
looking at your normal day. So many hours for work, so many hours
for travel to and from work, so many hours for family and friends,
so many hours for watching television and surfing the net, so many
hours for sleep. You can't do much about work, sleep, family and
friends and all those things you need to do to survive but you can
have a closer look at the time you “waste” watching
television and surfing the net. You'd be amazed at how many hours
of your life you waste watching television and surfing the net.
Four, five, six, seven, eight hours a day, especially if you're
not working, can be wasted watching the idiot box and surfing in
the virtual world. You’ve done your sums, you’ve got
no time you can continue your consumer, defecate and die agenda.
You may have an hour or two to spare, who needs your help to get
ideas across? Have a look around, see who you can support.
You don’t think you can work with any of the people or projects
you’ve looked at, why don’t you start your own initiative?
It could be as simple as holding up a placard in a public space
saying “I’m not happy with the way things are”,
“Talk to me”, before you know it you may have attracted
like minded people who are willing to embark on a journey that will
bring about much needed change. If you don’t try you'll never,
never know .
AUSTRALIAN RADICAL HISTORY
THE EUREKA SERIES NO.5 2012
IT WOULDN’T HAPPEN IN 2012
On the 14th December, 11 days after the Eureka massacre, the Hotham
government, besieged on all sides, concerned it didn’t have
the soldiers and police to contain a wider rebellion instigated
the Goldfields Commission. Unlike other government commissions which
are normally established to delay a decision, the Eureka Gold Commission
worked feverishly over Christmas. It delivered its first report
in record time 25 days later on the 8th January. The Gold Commission
recommended the abolition of the Gold License (the trigger for the
rebellion) and a general amnesty for all those associated with the
revolt. The Hotham led government, clinging onto the belief that
no Melbourne jury would dismiss charges against miners for their
involvement in an armed uprising against the Queen, decided to fast
track the Treason trials against the 13 miners that had been arrested
The first trial opened on the 22nd February 1855. Within five weeks
all charges against the 13 miners were dismissed by sympathetic
Hotham’s authority in tatters, the Gold Commission recommended,
on the same day the last rebels were acquitted (27th March), that
the Gold License be replaced with an export duty on gold, the introduction
of the miners right, giving franchise to the holder and the abolition
of the Gold Commission. The Hotham Administration, under intense
pressure as a result of continuing agitation across Victoria, concerned
their authority was in tatters and the next revolt would be successful,
accepted all the Gold Commission’s recommendations.
Within 12 months of the rebellion the leader of the Direct Action
faction of the Eureka rebels and the leader of the non-violent faction
of the rebellion, Peter Lalor and John Humffray were elected to
the Victorian Legislative Assembly by diggers who had achieved “manhood”
suffrage as a direct result of the Eureka rebellion .
A HISTORY OF BOMBING
Granta Books 2001
If you want your book in an easily digestible format don’t
read this review. This is a difficult but well researched 399 paragraph
book about the history of aerial bombing. It begins in the Middle
Ages. Each of the book’s 399 paragraphs is a self-contained
entity. Each paragraph can be read separately, as a book or you
can follow the arrows the author has kindly placed on certain paragraphs
so the reader can jump from page to page following a particular
A History of Bombing is a Trivial Pursuit masterpiece. Each paragraph
is full of facts and figures that shock, amaze and glaze the reader’s
eyes. It’s not often you learn so much useless and useful
information in the same book. Total War, Roman War – two millennium
apart, the result the same indiscriminate slaughter. The author
brings some clarity to our reading by placing each paragraph in
a chronological order. I found paragraph 123 particularly relevant.
In 1925 the French in Syria used extensive aerial bombardments to
quell a rebellion. “Massive attacks were directed at Hama
and Suwayda”. On Sunday the 18th October 1925 over 1,000 civilians
were killed when the Muslim neighbourhoods in Damascus were bombed.
Syria protested referring to “the prohibition of bombardment
of undefended cities in the laws of war”. In 2012 it seems
little has changed. Dresden, the Tokyo bombings and Hiroshima are
investigated, condemned, put to bed, forgotten.
Thanks to Klaus, a three year old survivor of the blanket bombings
of Berlin’s residential suburbs in 1944 and 1945 for lending
me his copy of this book to review .
three, black, brown, black, white flesh, downcast eyes, hijab. An
unlikely trio, wandering Indian file through the streets of Reservoir.
Black lipstick, black eye shadow, black top, black boots, black
skirt, black stockings. Between the top of her boots and the bottom
of her skirt strategically placed tears expose acres of bulging
pink, white flesh. Modified Melbourne Gothic garb in rapid locomotion.
Pacing discretely behind her a middle aged male, non descript brown
pants, brown loose fitting shirt, stubble on his chin, receding
hairline, brown shoes, downcast eyes kept pace with the young woman.
Black hijab, black dress, no exposed flesh, not even a flash of
an ankle, empty shopping bags in hand, head bowed, eyes wide open,
trudges behind the other two. Single file, purposeful gait, left,
right, left, right, the little procession makes its way up the footpath.
Two worlds colliding on the streets of Melbourne. Indian file left,
right, left, right. Gothic garb turns left, black hijab catches
up with stubble man, they turn right. Left, right, left, right,
shanks pony their common bond
I'M SICK OF IT
Anson Cameron, Sunday Age (15/7), is right I'm sick of people hitching
their star to “charities” to give their cause meaning.
I'm even more sick of seeing celebrities climb onto the charity
bandwagon to lift their profile. What makes me even sicker is seeing
privately owned corporations and business executives using this
country’s generous taxation laws to set up philanthropic trusts
to improve their corporate image and reserve their place in the
country’s honours list. If we had governments in power that
were willing to tighten taxation laws so everybody, not just pay
as you earn taxpayers and small businesses, paid their fair share
of tax we wouldn’t have a need for philanthropic trusts, have
so many self-serving celebrities to deal with and adventurers could
get on with the job of finding a purpose outside the 9 to 5 grind
without having to justify taking time off to do something they find
I'd hate to see Australia follow the American example and divide
people into the deserving and undeserving poor and deserving and
undeserving causes. The great thing about living in a country where
the state, not the individual or the corporate philanthropist is
expected to take up the slack is that everybody in need, irrespective
of where they live, who they are, their racial origins, sexual orientation,
type of work they do, gender or religious belief are treated equally.
To jettison this principle on the altar of tax payer funded philanthropy
is madness .
POEM – Stephen Roberts
Wind is fickle
Weaves through the branches
Blows down the ears of corn
Carries the messages along the wires
Scoops the water until it rains
Capsizes yachts with no ill will
Hangs onto skydivers doing their loops
Runs after hoops flying down gutters
Suddenly out of spite
Spikes kites splashes balloons mauls catamarans
What malign sprite has taken flight?
Got a hurry on
The sprite is sprouting a black funnel
Fast not play games
ANARCHIST PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED THIS WEEK
AVENUE No.2 2012, (Always Free) Unnamed Collective, PO Box 8187,
Hilton WA 6163 AUST email@example.com
TIERRA Y LIBERTAD No.287 June 2012, Periodico Anarquista, Apartado
de Correos 7.056 de Madrid, 28080 SPAIN, Web: www.nodo50.org/tierraylibertad
UMANITA NOVA Vol 92 No.23 1st July 2012, Settimanale Anarchico
Founded 1920, Federico Denitto, CP 812 Trieste Centro, 34132 Triese
TS, ITALY. Mobile : 338 4802773
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|18– 07– 2012