ANZAC / ACNAZ / April Fools

From the Department of Storms & Teacups:

In Perth, a number of people, some involved with the Western Australian Student Environment Network (WASEN), are organising some kinda skillshare on the subject of non-violent direct action (NVDA), scheduled to take place on the weekend of April 24–27, an ‘Action Camp for Newcomers, Activists & Zealots’ or ‘ACNAZ’. According to some pundits on Tim Blair’s blog, the camp was originally designated ‘ANZAC’, or ‘Activists, Newcomers & Zealots Action Camp’. And of course, a weekend dedicated to non-violent direct action is a grievous slur on the ANZACs. Over to Timmeh:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

“In this age of climate change, it is becoming clear that just like the suffragettes and civil rights advocates, governments are not going to solve the problems of the 21st century for us,” reports Perth Indymedia. “That is why we are inviting you to take part in the Activists, Newcomers and Zealots Action Camp …”

Yep. These parasites are calling themselves ANZAC.

(Via Rohan T.)

UPDATE. It’s illegal, of course. Let’s hope these particular ANZACs are shot down.

Because of its derivation, use of the term ANZAC is restricted by law, as part of the War Precautions Act Repeal Act 1920:

“No person shall, without the authority of the Minister, proof whereof shall lie upon the person accused, assume or use the word ‘Anzac’ or any word resembling the word ‘Anzac’ in connexion with any trade, business, calling or profession or in connexion with any entertainment or any lottery or art union or as the name or part of the name of any private residence, boat, vehicle or charitable or other institution, or any building in connexion therewith.”

From what I can gather, the event was originally termed ‘ANZAC’, but as a result of being informed of the legal implications of their decision, organisers have opted for the term ‘ACNAZ’. This is well and good I suppose, but it’s worth noting that the legislation refers not only to the term ‘ANZAC’ but “any word resembling the word ‘Anzac'”, and while I’m not a lawyer, I reckon a reasonable person would conclude that ‘ACNAZ’ is in fact a fairly close approximation. Of course, the other option organisers could pursue would be to contact the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs (a position currently held by lifelong Labor Party hack Alan Griffin) and seek his permission to use the term ‘ANZAC’ to describe the camp. In this context:

Of prime importance to the Minister in exercising the discretion to approve or reject an application is the need to protect the significance of the word itself as representing the spirit and actions of the first Anzacs.

Matters that the Minister may have regard to in making a decision include, but are not limited to:

* the intent of the legislation to protect the word from overuse and misuse;
* whether there is any commemorative link between the proposed use and the Anzacs and the Gallipoli campaign;
* the views of the ex-service community;
* whether an ex-service organisation will benefit by approving the use;
* commercial aspects; and
* commemorative and educational benefits.

What does the term ANZAC actually represent? Answering this question, apparently, requires an appreciation of the spirit and actions of the first Anzacs. The first Anzacs, approximately 20,000 in all, mostly consisted of members of the Australian Imperial Force, which invaded Gallipoli, Turkey on April 25, 1915. The first to land were the four infantry battalions of the 3rd Brigade, First Australian Division. According to at least one contemporary account, the landing was a splendid affair:


Mr. Ashmead Bartlett’s graphic account of the glorious deeds of Australians in the Gallipoli Peninsula has sent a thrill of pride throughout the whole Commonwealth. It was a great achievement to land in the dark on a coast where the enemy’s strength was unknown, and, having driven the Turks back, to hold the country firmly, while reinforcements followed. Every one of those who are taking part in the action against the Turks will appreciate the words of General Birdwood, who said he could not sufficiently praise their courage, endurance, and soldierly qualities. Though the list of casualties has brought grief to many homes, there is consolation in the thought that all our men at the front are fighting gloriously for the defence of the Empire. Many more thousands of young men are giving their services, and in course of time will join their comrades in the battle line. And in the coming years the memory of all those who fought in the greatest war the world has ever seen, and in the severest crisis through which the Empire has ever passed, will be handed down from generation to generation with pardonable pride. ~ The Town and Country Journal, May 12, 1915

Similarly splendid was the death of Captain William Annear, 11th Battalion, of Subiaco, Western Australia:

The first Australians clambered out on to the small plateau … heavy fire still met the Australians appearing over the rim of the plateau, and was sufficient to force the first men to take what cover they could on the seaward edge … Captain Annear was hit through the head and lay there, the first Australian officer to be killed. ~ Charles Bean, The Story of Anzac, Vol 1, ‘The Landing at Gaba Tepe’, Sydney, 1941, p.259

Annear was one of the first to be shot and killed, but far from the last. The failed British campaign to keep Turkey British ended almost eight months later.

Gallipoli cost the Allies 141,000 casualties, of whom more than 44,000 died. Of the dead, 8,709 were Australians and 2,701 were New Zealanders. The Turks suffered 251,000 casualties, of whom more than 86,000 lost their lives. Countless thousands had been evacuated sick from the various diseases which had plagued both sides, especially during the long hot summer. For the Allies it was a defeat despite the individual courage and endurance of the soldiers themselves. Equally, Turkish soldiers had shown a strength and capacity in defence of their homeland which amazed all who had known the military weaknesses of the old Ottoman Empire.

Then as now, war and state-sponsored terrorism had its opponents as well as its supporters, and during WWI in Australia, one of the more vigorous voices belonged to the revolutionary industrial unionists of the International Workers of the World. It was in no small measure due to the efforts of the IWW, but also the labour movement more generally — in addtion to the influence of what was then known as ‘The Irish Church in Australia’ (the Catholic Church under Archbishop Daniel Mannix) — that the Little Digger‘s attempts to conscript more bodies for the imperialistic slaughterhouses in Europe were defeated. Twice. One of the more famous expressions of opposition to conscription and the creation of more dead heroes was the following poster, produced by the IWW in 1916:

On the Australian IWW and opposition to WWI see Frank Cain, The Wobblies at War: A History of the IWW and the Great War in Australia, Spectrum, Melbourne, 1993 (‘Scaring hell out of the ruling class’, review by Phil Shannon, Green Left Weekly, #135, March 16, 1994); Verity Burgmann, Revolutionary Industrial Unionism: The Industrial Workers of the World in Australia, Cambridge University Press, 1995; and finally the fabulously titled ‘AUSTRALIAN STRIKE STARTED BY I.W.W.; Ex-Minister of Parkways Hoyle Tells How Agitators Used German Money. MENACE MET BY PEOPLE Organization Declared Illegal and Leaders Convicted of Crimes and Sentenced. Then I.W.W. Appeared. Leaders Found Guilty’, The New York Times, September 10, 1917.

And finally, a cautionary message from The Blairite Foundation for Troop Respect & Matter Investigation:

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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3 Responses to ANZAC / ACNAZ / April Fools

  1. Archbishop of Bugger All says:

    Really, those dopey Blairites would find ANYTHING to get upset about, regardless of whether the intentions are honourable or not.

  2. @ndy says:

    According to Alexa, about 1/3 of the visitors to Tim’s site come from the US, which is interesting; the right-wing blogosphere is very open to participation by bloggers across the Anglo-American sphere it seems. Most of the commentary, on this subject and others, seems to consist of invective (and some fairly nasty abuse at that). I didn’t read, for example, any real analysis as to why, in the context of environmental struggles to preserve Australia’s ecology, holding a camp dedicated to promoting non-violent direct action is such a slur on the memory of Anzac soldiers. On the other hand, there are a number of comments which are simply violent phantasies, which, even in the writings and pronouncements of the staunchest militarists, are not generally considered to be part of the Anzac tradition, or the motivating force for its members (to say the least). A fairly poor disservice to their memory, one might think.

  3. Pingback: ANZAC Day; or: The Importance of Keeping Turkey British | slackbastard

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