Tuesday, May 27, 2014

For better government, we must break the cycle....

The right to elected political representation is dear to all Australians.

We want good government that brings benefits to us as a people.
But we are continually frustrated by a recurring electoral cycle of hope that Labor will do the right thing by its electoral base; frustration and anger when it gets into office and betrays those hopes; an electoral win for the conservatives; and then a return to the hope that Labor gets re-elected and can be trusted….”this time”.

We live in a country where you and I and Clive Palmer and the CEO of Qantas all have one vote.
But the reality of property ownership under capitalism means that we are fated to be a client state of “big and powerful friends”; that there is a mismatch between our existent political democracy and our non-existent economic democracy; that we do have a ruling class that exercises continuing  power regardless of which political party gets into temporary office.

We can only break out of this self-defeating cycle of electoral hope and despair when we make some basic and fundamental changes in this country.
Firstly, we must properly address the original sin of the colonial unsettling of the continent’s First Peoples.  This requires a Treaty between the Australian government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.  That Treaty must acknowledge more than the prior existence of ATSI peoples.  It must recognise that they exercised prior occupancy, custodianship and ownership of the continent.  It must acknowledge that the unsettling of their relationship to country was a crime that occurred through violence or the threat of violence. It must acknowledge their inalienable right, through their communities, to Land Rights and to self-determination.

Secondly, we must jettison the Constitution, that weak and obstructive compromise between the British imperialists, the separate colonial elites and the developing forces of nationhood.  A new Constitution must be republican, democratic and national.
Thirdly, we must have our rights and liberties – those catch-cries of the Eureka Stockade – enshrined in a Bill of Rights.  Human rights in Australia are poorly defined and not well protected.  International conventions and treaties on human rights to which Australia is a signatory are not enforceable under Australian law. The Bill of Rights must be located within the new Constitution and not be subject to the whims of the government of the day.

Fourthly, we must decisively reject the suffocating embrace of the neo-liberal agenda.  We stand for the restoration of the social purpose of government.  The so-called “free market”, dominated by imperialist finance capital, leads directly to the path of nation-wrecking.  Why should the Board of Qantas, for example, not be sacked and the company renationalised?  We are an island nation that requires the security of controlling the means by which our citizens may depart from or return to the country.  We cannot place ourselves at the commercial or political mercy of foreign-owned carriers.
Fifthly, we must prioritise the five pillars of our people’s livelihood as the foundation of good government.  They are housing, transport, health, education (public and free), and employment.  The prioritising of the needs of capital by both major parties must stop.  Capital can either be harnessed for social purposes or be freed to wreak a destructive path through our people and our communities.  Our agenda for these five pillars will be built in the suburbs of the working people through strong community organisations committed to a long-term alternative form of service provision.

The spirit of Eureka is one of defiance of out-dated and self-serving power structures.
The spirit of Eureka is one of struggling against the odds for extending democracy and justice to all.

The spirit of Eureka is one that stands for a just, democratic and sovereign Australian republic.

“I call on my fellow diggers, irrespective of nationality, religion or colour, to salute the ‘Southern Cross’ as the refuge of all oppressed from all countries on earth.”    (Rafaello Carboni, November 1854)

“We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.” (Eureka rebels’ oath, November 1854)


Contact information:

Spirit of Eureka, PO Box 3119 Rundle Mall, SA 5000

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Christopher Barnett: guardian of the flame

Guardian of the flame

I am reprinting below an unedited statement from the Facebook page of expatriate poet Christopher Barnett.
Christopher has lived for many years in Nantes, France.  Much of his writing is in the adopted language of that country.
As a working class teenager, Christopher joined the movement to oppose the US imperialist war of aggression in Vietnam and became a revolutionary.  He joined the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist). 
Through a series of twists and turns both personal and geographical, Christopher established Le Dernier Spectateur (The Last Spectator), a theatre in Nantes where he works as a performance poet with poor and marginalised peoples. 
Last year, Wakefield Press, a South Australian publisher, brought out a 320-page book by Christopher, When they came for you/elegies of resistance, a series of Facebook poems inspired by the Israeli Zionist murder of Gaza Flotilla participant Furkan Dogan, a Turk. 
Last November The Conversation published a review of that book under the title The greatest Australian poet you’ve never heard of.   
Later this year, documentary film-makers Anne Tsoulis and Georgia Wallace-Crabbe will release These Heathen Dreams, a study of Christopher’s life and work, subtitled journey of a cultural bolshevik.
Christopher is ill.  He struggles with pain.  He sees much greater pain in the bloody crimes inflicted upon the peoples of the earth by imperialism and all reactionaries.
Like all of us, his candle will eventually be extinguished.  While it burns, he helps keep alive the great flame that lights the way forward for the wretched of the earth.
from where/i come
it is as if the institutions of fear, so necessary for capital to survive(with all its applied violence, both physical & interior) was founded in australia.
yes you had the hearsts, the beaverbrooks, the springers etc but it was in australia that such an institution could be constructed - perfectly.
the medias owned by so few people, people who delighted in the destruction of community life unless it was a source of profit. a form on caging both culture & community. the medias owned by people with a vested interest in cultivating an institution of fear (when i was young sport was very local, very tribal an integral part of community life but that too was transformed both as an engine of profit & a means of alienation - until it is not sport at all but the stock exchange of the fields)
the framework of that is almost entirely conceived by the comprador bourgeoisie & their masters in washington
bread & circuses but bread & circuses, meticulously & brutally conceived, to capture the breath of the people, not for their exaltation but for their execration
an already deeply colonised culture exacerbated with a cross control of all medias, especially in a time where the normal ideological institutions like education & church & family were either deeply compromised or in plain collapse.
our generation witnessed the collapse of civic life - we witnessed it up close
silence piled on top of silence working in complicity with the savage rhythm of those medias - (i can remember returning to australia for a month in 1994 & the sound the percussive sound of australian television was physically unbearable)
there is no national conversation - there is too much noise for that & those media have made listening - a sin, a sin most are not even capable of committing.
the destruction of civic life was planned over drinks with kerry & rupert & peter abeles laughing at the maelstrom they had modelled would soon be applied in all anglophone countries - in concert. There is a specificity in australian media, & there is a specificity to its particular cruelty
what western counties & their cultures do is to destroy the destinies of their people - the poorest as always are the easiest target & the target with which the greatest concentration is unleashed
in a word, i was born in the 50’s & there must be now millions of men & woman who have never received a decent education, who have never had the work that befits their desires or dreams, if indeed they have work & i have worked this arena so often i know now here & in australia there are now three generations who have not known work & never will
why do you think thatcher/blair & their acolytes created the jurisprudence of ‘asbo’[1] & all the rewriting of 18th century jurisprudence about ‘public order’
the elites know that they are deeply hated & they have built a jurisprudential wall around their privileges. It is why they have criminalised every form of resistance, especially those within communities
the institutions of fear have been writing full time to demonise such acts of resistance in every form & in every sphere. These these elites wonder why on the weekends their cultural precints are full of people wanting to king hit one another. The campaign against this, in australia, again reveals a hatred of the people. There is no analysis or context. The scribblers for the monstrous media, for the institution of fear, are not there for that, they are there, so that all citizens are frightened. Fear is so easily ramped up, so easily elaborated by ‘journalists’ who have never experienced life in any of its forms
thatcher was ready & reagan too - they were ready to collapse all institutions, those of jurisprudence, of public bodies, of legislature of the academy into a maelstrom of murderous melodies or at least melodies constructed by murderers.
to do this civic life had to be destroyed & so it was.
& so it was possible to once again profane against an ancient culture like mesopotamia as a rapist would - fucking the country into the earth littered with holy books, ancient manuscripts, staining all the ancient busts & sculptures with blood, with a million people's blood & the west would feel nothing for the real or the ancient. for the screams & the tears, for the blood & the soil
it would be served up only as noise by the institutions of fear - so success & celebrity silenced any interior screams that might let on what was really happening
australian ‘journalists’ work for monsters & engage in monstrous practices - the near silence/sanitisation of the detention/torture of refugees is only the latest of its crimes
what is done, is being done to aboriginal people is equally concealed, equally sanitised by these so called ‘journalists’, servants & scribblers, almost without exception
you have to cook an aboriginal man in a paddy wagon for the media to wake up but it is all too soon forgotten, as were the deaths in custody, they continue & we all know that
it is a pity murdoch can only die once, i wish he could die many times & a death more painful than my own.
althusser wrote about the apparatus of state in the 60's, but being a reasonable man but also a deeply troubled one, perhaps he was blind to the diabolic nature of it's impulse because it is more than about profit or control. it is about degradation & destruction
the destruction of civic life exacerbated two impulses, already existing in their populations, fear & inertia & as each 'crisis' emerged these impulses would be exacerbated a little more but each time with greater intensity, &  like imperial wars, they make use of chaos, the chaos already at the centre of the colonised mind with a focus on crime & celebrity, where the two are intertwined & it would appear to me the arrival of 'telereality' at the turn of this century was to destroy all interiority, to make of interiority a form of pornography. the moral failure of populations in the west to react to the carnage of empire is concurrent with the complete destruction of an 'inner life' - & it is at this point too, that instead of substantial information - newspapers were flooded with 'lifestyle' & instead of facts, commentary, self interested commentary took its place -
we must all wake up, by moments & ask ourselves, "what kind of world is this"
it is not necessary to see it as a conspiracy, on the contrary it is the coherent 'refined' expression of the elite's hatred & contempt for the people. current conditions require that that expression is articulated with great viciousness - so even a quick scan of newspapers & their other media will reveal it's expression. the way the poor, the underclass, the marginalised are treated in our times is not possible without the institutions of fear. it requires a moral death, to be replayed & repeated, over & over, again & again. as in ancient times there are still two rivers that mark the point of no return
the tigris & the euphrates
c b mai 2014

[1] Introduced by the Blair government in 1998, an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) could be issued in response to "conduct which caused or was likely to cause harm, harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as him or herself and where an ASBO is seen as necessary to protect relevant persons from further anti-social acts by the defendant." It was essentially aimed at rebellious working class youths.