Anarchism and Aboriginal sovereignty

The relationship between anarchists and the state got off to a pretty rocky start in Australia. Initially established as a penal colony in 1788 — a prison island for the human excrement Great Britain’s rulers believed constituted a greater proportion of the criminal class than they wanted to pollute their cities — the Stolenwealth of Australia was officially declared open for business on January 1, 1901. When the first Australian Federal Parliament opened in Melbourne on May 9, 1901, the anarchist John ‘Chummy’ Fleming interrupted the proceedings (much to the displeasure of the detectives watching him) by loudly proclaiming that, for the poor, there was little to celebrate.

Since invasion, much the same has been true for Australia’s indigenous peoples. Prior to 1788, the territories that have come to constitute the contemporary nation-state of Australia were occupied by hundreds of different peoples, numbering perhaps 750,000. By 1911, 123 years after settlement, the Aboriginal population had been reduced to 31,000 (see Colin Tatz, ‘Genocide in Australia’, AIATSIS Research Discussion Papers, No.8, 1999), and most of its peoples exterminated.

So too, ‘Aboriginal sovereignty’.

John Tracey reckons that the left — in particular anarchists — “attempt… to euphemise the notion of sovereignty”; in other words, seek to somehow avoid acknowledging that ‘sovereignty’ means — in theory but, moreover, in practice — “the legitimate government and ownership of this land” (Australia). Unfortunately, I’m aware of relatively few anarchist writings on the subject of Aboriginal sovereignty. Two that I am aware of are a text, Whitewash: Australia’s Bicentenary: Another history, issued by the ASF in 1988 for the bicentenary of invasion, and a more recent essay by Owen Gager which appeared in a local zine produced by the Barricade collective several years ago (‘Aboriginal Sovereignty: An Anarchist Critique’, In Ya Face, No.5, 2003).

The ASF pamphlet doesn’t appear to be available online, but Gager’s essay is, and so I reproduce it below.

An important part of the anarchist project in Australia involves repairing the damage caused by white colonisation and the attempted genocide of indigenous peoples. As Owen Gager argues in the following article, part of this process involves critically examining the issues of sovereignty and how it relates to the struggle for a classless, non-hierarchical society.

Aboriginal Sovereignty: An Anarchist Critique

Some people within the anarchist community are now, after looking, understandably, at the expropriations of the Aboriginal people as the basis of white settler state and economy, trying to appeal to the concept of “sovereignty” as the basis for an anarchist conception of Aboriginal struggle, a struggle they see as crucial to ending Australian capitalism. In taking this course, however, they follow the dominant rhetoric of the campaigns promoted by the state-funded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Commission (ATSIC) [abolished in 2005]; the rhetoric, that is, of those who claim to be Aboriginal leaders.

In looking at Aboriginal society, we are looking at a form of society which long antedates our own. The concept of “sovereignty”, as it has developed in Western (white) political theory, takes its point of departure from an analysis of such early societies, “societies without government”, as the English writer Hobbes called them. Hobbes [1588–1679] characterised these societies as sites of “war of all against all”. Such societies, it is claimed, are unsustainable as social entities and provide for their members only radical insecurity which threatens life and property. In Hobbes’ theory, the earliest statement of what sovereignty means apart from Bodin‘s [1529/30–1596], this “war of all against all” can only be ended through a “contract” with a sovereign – a King, a parliament, or a “Lord protector” such as Oliver Cromwell. This is for Hobbes, sovereignty. This “contract”, very much like the Newstart Activity Agreement and other Centrelink creations, is a contract which gives one party, the sovereign, all power, and the other parties to the contract the ‘right’ to obey. As a theory of state totally irresponsible to its subjects because the alleged alternative is chaos, or “anarchy”, it prefigures fascism and colonialism.

Readers of Peter Marshall‘s Demanding the Impossible will notice both extreme similarities and extreme dissimilarities with Hobbes. Most pre-twentieth century anarchist writers envisaged anarchy as the continuance of natural laws carried over from the very earliest societies, where the “natural rights” of men and women were respected and guaranteed, as outcomes of consensus in a society where each person knew everyone else. The state, when it arose, shattered these existing non-contractual rights, destroyed existing natural law with unjust edicts by all-powerful rulers, for whom, in Randolph Bourne’s words, “war is the health of the state”. The tranquility of a natural society is overthrown by a “war of all against all” as states dragoon ordinary people into wars for extension of state power and territory. For both Hobbes and his anarchist opponents, “sovereignty” and “anarchy” are diametrically opposed ideas. The differences are over the content of these concepts.

40, 000 Years is a Long, Long Time…

The problem with both kinds of theory is that they are based on myth rather than history. There is no historical record of “social contract”, in the forms Hobbes envisaged, ever being agreed to on a specific time or a specific date. Conversely, the search for societies which gave equal rights to all genders, and had no record of eradication of non-human animal species, has not produced large numbers of early utopias. Nor has the geographical spread of the social principles of these few model societies always extended very far or for very long. One can say, nevertheless, that most of the earliest societies of which there is some record, including Australian Aboriginal societies, were not “chaotic” or unstable in Hobbes’ sense; as we have noted, until undermined by external invasion, Australian Aboriginal society lasted a very long time indeed. The absence of state and of employment and of money is characteristic of a great number of early societies.

“Sovereignty” in international law arrived, like all written law, with white colonialism. It was in more ways than one the law of the conqueror; as the international law of the conqueror it was an etiquette of conquest agreed on between rival conquerors. Imperialism immediately proclaimed the “sovereignty” of the racist power it imposed, describing the pre-existing society as Hobbesian chaos. Where, as in New Zealand / Aetearoa, a militantly undefeated indigenous majority confronted a white settler minority, this majority were told that they were “sovereign” – using a word for “sovereignty” unknown to most Maoris – and that “sovereignty” would be recognised in the “treaty” in which they agreed to sign sovereignty away to Britain. Once, as a consequence of this treaty, a white settler government was set up, which waged open and victorious war against the indigenous people, the “treaty” was declared a nullity since the Maoris suddenly were found not to have been “sovereign” when they signed it! The New Zealand treaty, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, is still not recognised.

It is this colonialist conception of “sovereignty” which “leaders” like Pearson and Langton want to enshrine in a “treaty” they now chatter about – a “sovereignty” which has never existed under white rule, which they will formally renounce by signing a treaty, in return for promises, which, like the Wik judgments, will never be kept.

Sovereignty & Globalisation

How relevant is any form of national sovereignty under conditions of transnational corporate globalisation? Clearly, today, the national sovereignty even of existing “independent” states can be overruled by decisions and actions of transnational corporations backed by international economic bodies like the WTO, most obviously in freedom to make economic policy. The erosion of sovereignty through the absence and withdrawal of capital, which can take the form of a refusal of capital to employ, has been experienced by a would-be “aboriginal nation” pre-emptively as a strike on pastoral and mining capital in tropical Australia, following on court rulings giving Aboriginal workers equal pay.

The transnational corporations made explicit claims to a new form of sovereignty in the late 1960’s (see Global Reach [Richard J. Barnet and Ronald E. Müller, Simon & Schuster, 1974]). This was the claim, in the terms borrowed from neo-Keynesian economists like Benham, of “consumer sovereignty”, on its face a claim to a form of popular, not state sovereignty. Here the illusory social contract of Hobbes found a new expression, the social contract as the contract between buyer and seller, a contract on the basis of which transnational corporations claimed power over and against the state as the only entity which allegedly could sell to the consumer what s/he “demanded”. This claim is obviously tautological, since “consumer demand” is in turn defined as demand for what corporations produce, and can sell at profit, while any kind of demand (demands for basic commodities by the world’s poor) is excluded by definition, as incapable of expression in a contract of sale, since the poor lack the income to buy.

Aboriginal “Sovereignty”

This definition of sovereignty has excluded Aboriginal people since the beginning of European settlement as too poor to buy what capitalism produces and committed to social forms of moneyless exchange. The new global definitions of sovereignty do not recognise states and nations. Even if they did, Aboriginal states are composed of a majority of poor citizens, excluded by definition from sovereignty. There have been less of those who view ATSIC as precursor to an Aboriginal state than as a kind of corporation, with a land base, provided by land rights legislation (Michael Mansell), a capital base, provided by the expropriation of Aboriginal social security payments, and a labour force (forced unpaid labour of those deprived of social security payments). The existing Community Development and Employment Program (CDEP), which pioneered work for the dole in the Australia, already uses dole payments to some extent as capital, but still provides renumeration to workers and is not entirely conscriptive. The bulk of existing ATSIC funding is earmarked by the white government for CDEP programmes. CDEP is not a model of “consumer sovereignty” in that only a few consumer goods are produced for sale, but it is intended as a beginning. The problem of this model of “sovereignty”, which attracts Pearson, Langton, and even Foley in a recent issue of The Paper, is that a corporation, especially when the WTO’s projected General Agreement on Trade and Services is introduced, can be taken over by another corporation. Unpaid unskilled forced labour is not unattractive to some multinationals. (This might even be a bit much for Noel Pearson, though one wonders.) It is no protection against TNC takeover to limit claims to sovereignty to political dimensions; nations, too, can be taken over, as many Australians have noticed. One must ask, indeed, if a white Australian sovereignty remains for Aborigines to supplant.

Sovereignty, in its traditional political sense, is the ability of an elite to make laws with the backing of a standing army. Sovereignty is not government itself, but the physical and legal conditions for government. Once in place, such political sovereignty, placing beyond legal challenge government as a property-protecting agent, can be transferred to corporations. As the incarnation of property successfully protected, TNCs grow bigger than governments, subordinating them to themselves and basing themselves more on economic than military power as an ultimate resort.

How can anarchists endorse such a concept? Aboriginal societies have never needed such “sovereignty”, relying as they did and still do for their social cohesion on forms of consensus decision-making that long anticipated anarchists finding a name for the process. How can the form of liberation of an oppressed grouping be defined in the oppressor’s language?

Each distinct Aboriginal people has its own description of the relationship to the land which link it to a particular geographic area, in its own language. Although this is often now described as “traditional ownership”, it is not ownership in the capitalist sense of a right to do what one pleases with the land. It involves duties to the land as well as rights; more duties, probably, in most cases, than rights. One might, in very Western terms, describe such relations to the land as expressed – if one knew, or were permitted to know, the languages in which they were expressed – as poetic popular ecologies. And why should not ecology be expressed as poetry? If there is to be any claim to decide who may or may not enter a geographical area, it should be ecological, not political. (By “ecology” I do not mean a theory of “population pressure”.)

The argument between Aboriginal and white capitalist ways of life is about ways of life, not sovereignty. Ecology before economics. Consensus decision making, not “leadership” by individual politicians, white or black. Moneyless economies based on mutual exchange, where no-one is left hungry as resources are shared, instead of the creation of poverty for corporate power. Work reduced to physical minimum not systematic overwork. Self-activity (collective not individual) not employment. Yes, we know Aboriginal society was neither a paradise, nor a utopia – that it had many problems, in many ecological and social areas. But, compared with the society we are now living in, its values, what it tried and may often have failed to do, were infinitely preferable to the society we now live in unhappily. Shouldn’t that be what we are arguing about, not “sovereignty” – the imposition of the state on an anarchic people? The Aboriginal community leaders who fail to argue this – to present the dominant values of pre-European Aboriginal society as values that everyone, Aboriginal or not, can share and develop further – are, as their own people will tell them, not speaking after traditional discussion and debate, and are using whitefella language. It is not for anarchists to follow in the footsteps of any leaders, especially this kind.

The defence of Aboriginal society by raising issues such as sovereignty – which it claimed, so far wrongly, can be contested in Australian or international courts – assumes that the issues of what society we choose to live in raised by the Aboriginal past and the issues of proletarianisation raised by the Aboriginal present can be somehow resolved by litigation. This is ridiculous. These kinds of issues are not resolvable in law but raise questions about the relevance of law to radical social change. The dispossession of the Aboriginal people is not an historic act which occurred illegally in 1789. The wave of expropriations, of land, of children, the now threatened expropriations of personal incomes, have been continuous and still continue. Talk of “sovereignty” addresses, at best, only one of those atrocities, historically the most distant. Such talk tells people, like the politicians in the old Wobbly song, that the quickest way to revolution is “talking constitution!”. That is and has always been a lie.

Most Aborigines – with the exception of a few non-traditional leaders aspiring to be corporate CEOs – are now members of an unemployed underclass, who, unlike other unemployed, can look back to a past in which almost all capitalist relations were reversed. That early society arose, as it were, spontaneously, without conscious design – “natural”, in the sense that it could not and did not make plans to prevent its overthrow, which it did not foresee. A future society, borrowing enormously from Aboriginal and similar societies, will be a product of planning and agreement between all members of the oppressed classes – especially because it will comprise not capo individuals but real, social individuals who will try to form a society in which the forms of the present total and overwhelming sovereignty of capital we now experience can never be repeated.

Anarchists respect Aboriginal societies, and other indigenous societies adhering to the same family of non-capitalist values, not because they are compelled somehow to do so by pre-existing forms of “sovereignty” but because they choose the values of indigenous over against non-indigenous societies. The social values of Aboriginal society were worked out by people for whom globalisation in its present form did not exist and was inconceivable. The new international underclass, the millions thrown out of “their” countries by political persecution and poverty – and facing concentration camps in the countries in which they seek refuge – is the living critique of and the new destructive force threatening capitalist globalisation. The insights of the new underclass, one meshed with the old, combine the future and past in ways that global capitalism cannot counter.

Note that at the time of publication, the US anarchist Arthur J Miller offered the following comment in reply:

“[This] article is a good example of Eurocentic white supremacy within the anarchist movement. It is not up to white people, even white anarchists, to tell Indigenous people what is best for them, for that is just a continuation of white supremacy. Also the anarchist writer lacks an understanding of indigenous sovereignty. Indigenous sovereignty is not a statement of what form of self-rule they have but rather the need for self-determination in order to try to defend their right to their culture and ways against genocide. True sovereignty was not an indigenous concept before the invasion, but since the invasion it has become important for survival against the invaders. [This article] places anarchists in line with the invaders and Columbus.”

A veteran anarchist, Miller is also the author of another pamphlet, In the Spirit of Total Resistance: A Spark of Anarchist Resistance [PDF].

See also (links courtesy of Ana):

Settlers in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty (SISIS)
Indigenous Solidarity | An (Un)Settler’s Place
Confronting the ‘settler problem’: Thoughts on Indigenous solidarity organizing in “Victoria” [Canada], Joanne Cuffe, New Socialist, No.59, Winter 2006/2007
Indigenous Resistance (Insurrectionary Anarchists of the Coast Salish Territories / Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: “Against Capitalism and Colonization”)

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  1. John seems to have a much wider definition of capitalism than I do. The Aboriginal system of economic organisation that he describes has only the most superficial resemblance to aspects of capitalism. If traditional Aboriginal economic organisation can be described as capitalism, then so can ancient Rome or medieval Europe, thus rendering the concept of “capitalism” meaningless as an analytical tool for understanding the changes in economic organisation in the world over the last couple of thousand years.

    It is probably appropriate here, as well, to point out that I have not made any statements endorsing what John sees as the Left’s policy on Aboriginal economic issues – more welfare from the State. I don’t have any short term answers, beyond recognising the necessity of proper consultation with Aboriginal communities. I can, however, recognise some wrong answers – and the NT Emergency Intervention is one of them.

    Finally, John’s reply to me above gives the appearance of endorsing the racism of the pastoral employers and, once again, absolves them of the responsibility for the sacking of the Aboriginal station hands after the equal pay decision. Aboriginal people deserve both equal rights within the Australian society which has colonised them and recognition of their rights as indigenous people. The Left has, in the main, focused on the former and paid insufficient attention to the latter (though it’s better now than its total ignorance of it 30 years ago). John’s approach seems to be to focus on the latter, while ignoring the former. In my mind, it’s not a choice. Both approaches need to be taken seriously.

  2. Ablokeimet,

    I did say it depends what you mean by capitalism. Perhaps private enterprise and a free market is more precise – and I believe traditional Aboriginal economy operated this way.

    I do not endorse the racism of the pastoral employers, I simply identify them as an historical fact.

    Like you, Lingiari insisted on both land rights and equal wages, this cannot be denied as a major Aboriginal demand of the struggle. However, I reckon, Lingiari’s concept of the holism of the two is different from the left’s who did, and continue to, perceive the Aboriginal struggle, in particular land issues, through the singular prism of industrial rights.

    The left project their own identity of worker onto the Aboriginal identity of land owner.

    I don’t think it is better now than 30 years ago. 30 years ago was the middle of the land rights campaign with a national Aboriginal leadership, who insisted on leading their own movement by themselves. The sort of united fronts that have emerged today would be dismissed just as FCAATSI was in the ’60s as alternative white paternalism.

    But in the ’90s ATSIC leached the leadership of Aboriginal Australia and made them dumb in the bureaucracy, then ATSIC was scrapped leaving a complete vacuum of leadership which is just beginning to slowly fill now – very separate from the left and its united fronts.

    30 years ago Aboriginal Australia was united and mobilised around the demands land rights and self determination. Today Aboriginal Australia is quiet and white radicals are mobilising around multicultural and assimilationist anti-racism slogans.

  3. EDITORIAL OPINION: Strap yourself in for a wild ride
    Issue 158 – 25 Jul 2008

    ISSUE 158, July 24, 2008: Every race has the right to elect its own leaders. That’s a no brainer. Which speaks volumes about Australia and our recent political history…

    Er…

    In the past few weeks, newspapers, television and radio journalists have repeated ad nauseum that tired old chestnut about the ‘corrupt, disgraced ATSIC’.

    Like all government agencies, ATSIC was occasionally incompetent.

    But it was not corrupt. Indeed, it was less corrupt than most Australian governments…

    Um…

    ATSIC: Flaws in the Machine
    Gary Foley
    November 15, 1999

    “The formation of ATSIC has not offered any significant transfer of authority or improvement in indigenous political and economic power or bargaining capacity. ATSIC has no access to information, knowledge, research capacity or objective advice except through the existing bureaucracy which is responsible to, and controlled by, the government.”

    ~ Dr. H.C. Coombs 1996

  4. ATSIC was initially a vision of the late Charles Perkins, the basic principle of Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs including policy and budget. However that’s not how it turned out. ATSIC, including ministerial appointments of the chair, was totally a construction of the bureaucracy within the bureaucracy’s terms of reference, including funding guidelines.

    The real political structure of Aboriginal Australia, the historical entity that forced on the changes such as ATSIC, Native Title and the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody, was a different thing altogether from what emerged as the elected leadership – elected with minimal turnout at elections to the point where a family of 6 could dominate some electorates.

    The new, contained leadership was given some funding for Aboriginal programs. Previously such inadequate funds were the focus of arguments between the Aboriginal leadership and the federal and state Aboriginal affairs departments. During ATSIC, the arguments about the crumbs was between competing Aboriginal leaderships – divide and rule, job well done. The white bureaucrats and politicians could wipe their hands of the problem and proclaim “that’s up to the blackfellas, it’s not my business”.

    But even more destructive than ATSIC and the internalisation of the battle over the crumbs, Native Title tore Aboriginal Australia asunder – family against family, brother/sister against brother/sister and children against parent. People who previously loved each other and shared knowledge of country and culture now hate each other and posessively protect cultural knowledge in case somebody else wants to use it to challenge or undermine a native title claim.

    The devil is in the detail and the brilliant detail of the Native Title legislation was that an individual cannot be on both sides of a competing claim, they must state their single tribal connection. However no Aboriginal person has a single connection, everyone has two parents with two countries, and four grandparents with 4 countries, etc. multiplied by extended family factors. A dispute between neighboring claims usually has the same family on both sides of the claim, but every individual has to decide which side of the line they stand and go to war with the other side – divide and rule.

  5. G’day John,

    A few things.

    “I was an anarchist for 10 years, 78 – 88 (got excommunicated as a heretic), so I reckon my caricatures are not completely baseless.”

    I’d be interested in learning more about this. For example, what groups were you involved in? Was your ‘ex-communication’ related in anyway to the bicentenary bullshit? What involvement, if any, do you have with anarchists in Brizvegas?

    “Are you familiar with Denis Walker’s High Court actions? Walker vs. NSW I think…”

    Yes and no. I think I first became aware of Dennis Walker’s name in the early ’90s, and via comrades involved in prison solidarity work. Beyond this, I’m aware of a number of court actions brought by Dennis and other Aboriginal activists, actions which have served to expose the illegal basis of the occupation of Australia as well as, in the case of Nulyarimma v Thompson and Buzzacott v Hill, Downer & Commonwealth of Australia, the apparent fact that genocide is not a crime recognised in domestic law.

    On the 1 September 1999, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, sitting in the ACT, constituted by Justices Wilcox, Whitlam and Merkel, handed down their decision as to whether or not the international crime of genocide was a recognisable crime in Australian domestic law. Justices Wilcox and Whitlam held that genocide is not an offence currently recognised in Australian law. Justice Merkel held that genocide was able to be adopted into municipal laws on the grounds of experience, common sense, legal principle and public policy and was able to be prosecuted, but was not satisfied that the evidence before the court constituted the requisite intent.

    Good news for some; bad news for others.

    “But in the end, the question is not what Elizabeth and her courts rule on matters of land rights, compensation and customary law, it is a question of what do we rule on this matter, as individuals and as autonomous political groups? Whatever the state does we know it will be corrupted, as even native title is – anarchists should need no convincing of this. The question is what do we do – or not do.”

    God Save our Gracious Queen!

    I mean: yeah, uh-huh. It’s certainly possible for non-state entities to enter into negotiations with indigenous nations and peoples regarding access to and use of their land… a process which would obviously take time, and almost certainly not be recognised by the state, but perhaps still be of utility to the parties concerned.

  6. Hi Andy,

    I don’t have any connection to Anarchists in Brisbane today. I came into the anarchist movement through the christian anarchists and was pretty involved in People for Direct Democracy (PDD). Heard of Kropotkin’s Cafe? I was involved in that (still owed money!)

    A bit of history here.

    And Ciaron O’Reilly’s book (that’s me on the cover).

    I have no time for Laver or O’Reilly these days.

    In 1988 I got involved a bit more seriously in the Aboriginal community through the bicentennial protests. From this point on I was described, particularly by Laver and O’Reilly, as a white sycophant and apologist for Aboriginal authoritarians.

    Anyway, I’ve shown you mine, now show me yours. The about page doesn’t give me too much to go on. What’s your connection – and where (generally speaking of course)?

  7. Who am I?

    Hmmm.

    Good question.

    According to Ben Weerheym, a former member of the Australian Nationalists Movement/Australian Nationalist Workers Union/White Devils:

    Andrew is involved with and works for Barricade Bookshop, situated in Brunswick, a suburb of Melbourne. Barricade Bookshop is a hotspot for extreme leftists, ranging from violent street-level anarchists, to Old School CPA members to straight-out traitors to Australian democratic ideals. Reds like Andrew Morgan use this venue to indoctrinate young minds and unwitting subjects with evil and inhumane ideologies such as Communism, Marxism and other equally tantalizing doctrines.

    I am also “filthy red scum”.

    According to Chunga, vocalist with Melbourne punk band The Worst, I am “the Melbourne Punk Stalker” and I “know everything that’s going on”.

    Your shitty little website there is probably better off being a gig website. You know when ALL the shows are on!
    If I was a neo-nazi I’d definately [sic] be checking your site for all the upcoming b&h shows…

    But seriously… all you’re doing is bringing more hate into this scene.
    People hate you… because they are showing up to the Birmy expecting a fun night with bands… with no Swastikas in sight… and they show up to an empty pub because some loser is trying to boycott the place.
    And now… you got a whole bunch of your fuckbag mates hating me coz apparently I’m a scab
    And how am I wrong when I say you need to get a life???
    Surely you must be surfing through blood and honour websites 24/7 to be getting the information you put on your shitty site.
    Anyway… anarchy is a fag… that’s all I have to say to you Mr Moran…

    See how fast words travel my friends? Be careful what you write on the internet…
    Coz you never know when some stalker is gonna put it on there [sic] website.
    Thanx to the people who have supported us… and to the random people letting us know about this anarchist knobjockey Mr Moran…

    See you in hell.

    According to BirmyHammerSkinz, one of the boneheads who used to frequent Chunga’s favourite pub The Birmingham Hotel in Fitzroy:

    i dont think u have the right to fucking breathe u piece of shit. if you like gooks so much why dont you fuck off to some gook country and see how much they tolerate mouthy cunts such as yourself. then you may see why we dont want the scum to do the same here

    According to Doug Smith of local oi! band Bulldog Spirit (and spokesperson for Skin Heads Neither For Nor Against Racial Prejudice) I:

    think… [my] identity is secret but [I have] a shop called 1+1=3=8 on Sydney Road in Brunswick that prints leftist t-shirts with spelling errors and stuff. [When] fronted… about the [shit] that [I] talk… on the internet [I] denied it.

    According to one of Doug’s mates from Brisbane called Mark Bastard:

    @ndy you’re a fucking idiot mate and you better watch your back because when me and my mates are out and about, if we see you, ur dead

    @ndy im still going to bash you, fukn gooknigger scum

    Further:

    nice side-step shit for brains, but the one barrier me and my buddies have regarding beating the shit out of you is your anonymity. so basically you can hide behind that, but if so you don’t really have a leg to stand on as far as calling me out for making internet threats and not following through. Give me your name, address, daytime and night time contact phone numbers, and I promise you I will beat the fucking shit out of you and then make a black man take a shit in your face.

    Another mate of Doug’s called Dion (Melbourne via Perth) reckons:

    Andy, you are a liar, a hypocrite and no better than the trash that you fight against.

    Somebody called Joel:

    Honestly, I am going to fucking kill you. I hope it was worth it.

    According to a former member of the White Pride Coalition of Australia, Peter Campbell:

    @ndy is another gutless little worm who will do anything to avoid doing his own dirty work. His brother, and anyone else for that matter, will apparently suffice as a “champion” to fight his battles by proxy. Typical jelly backed Lefty tactics really. Darp does precisely the same thing. You can see them now, can’t you? Running over to a bunch of vicious Blacks and pointing out a lone White Nationalist. “Smash the Fash!” they’ll squeal, like the school girls they are.

    According to my myspace profile:

    I live in Melbourne with a cat named Bübi.

    When he’s not eating, he’s sleeping, or chasing imaginary enemies.

    We’ve got a lot in common.

    Many years ago, a friend’s sister said I spoke like I was posh and looked like I was a bogan. A few years after that, I was told that I resembled a bikie. I think I was probably tipping the scales at over 100kgs at that point. Now I use a piece of cloth on a stick to clean those hard-to-reach places…

    I like to read and write. You can read what I write on my blog: slackbastard. Alternatively, think of your favourite writer; I’m like them.

    I resent authority and shirk responsibility. This is due to an early childhood trauma involving me, a tricycle, and a member of the local constabulary — although I may have merely dreamed that particular episode, and in any case prefer to place such a perspective within a broader critique of capitalist political economy and the imposition of work.

    Mostly ‘cos I think it sounds better.

    I also like listening to music, especially punk. I first heard it when I was in primary skool, and I’ve been in recovery ever since. It was also in primary skool that I first got the feeling that I may be living on a different planet to my fellow humans. This feeling emerged after teacher asked the class ‘Who thinks that the people they see on TV soaps are real?’, and I was the only one to answer in the negative. I’ve maintained a negative attitude ever since, and further acknowledge the dialectic of negativity as the moving and creating principle.

    I also like blues, jazz, reggae and ska. In fact, most any genre of twentieth century music, but especially that produced by musicians with a radical political conscience.

    Like ah, Sporty Spice.

    Of course, I like other stuff too, but I don’t like hypocrites or poseurs.

    As I’m an evolving organism, the contents of this profile are subject to change without notice. As I’m not the master in or of this house of cards I call my self, some of these changes may be sudden and inexplicable, but are just as likely to be explained in reference to childhood trauma.

    Other than that, I’m just a suburban boy, really.

    What is there to add? Hmmm…

    The land on which I live is the land of the Wurundjeri people, and forms part of the southern state of Victoria. Victoria is named after a dead foreign Queen (1819–1901), just as Melbourne, its capital, is named after a dead foreign Lord (1779–1848). I live in what is an ostensibly post-colonial society, but one which, in the absence of a GST, is probably best understood as a legacy of British Empire, and part of continuing attempts to render our Mother Earth a mere commodity (a process with origins in Europe several hundred years ago).

    I was raised in the ‘burbs, but both my parents came from country Victoria. I have brothers and sisters, an aunt and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and comrades. Some live in Australia, some live on other islands.

    I like to read, and have since I was a very small boy: something which, alongside of barracking for Collingwood, I think I got from my father. Like a number of other Collingwood supporters, I am missing teeth.

    I have relatively little money — on a global scale, belonging to the top 13/14%; within Australia, below the Henderson Poverty Line as defined in the 1973 Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry into Poverty — but a large number of books.

    I don’t eat meat, a decision I made in high school, after some thought, and a Science class in which the bodies of the mice we were dissecting were flung about like toys. I completely fucking hated high school, and my learning comes despite — and not because — of my experiences there.

    I would like to visit Barcelona before I die.

    O gentlemen! the time of life is short;
    To spend that shortness basely were too long,
    If life did ride upon a dial’s point,
    Still ending at the arrival of an hour.
    And if we live, we live to tread on kings;
    If die, brave death, when princes die with us!
    Now, for our consciences, the arms are fair,
    When the intent of bearing them is just.
    (King Henry IV Part 1 – Act 5. Scene II – William Shakespeare)

  8. PS. Thanks for the links. I’m vaguely aware of some of the history of the (libertarian) left in Brisbane. I’m also fairly certain that Ciaron’s pamphlet is in the local anarchist library. On slackbastard, see also slackbastard : critical reflections (September 27th, 2007) and slackbastard vs. the anarchist ghetto (June 20th, 2008). Aside from various Nutzis, I’ve also had to contend with the bizarro followers of Gaddafi @ Mathaba. See mathaba.net : last words (May 1st, 2008).

  9. An interesting CV.

    I’ll try and find you next time I am in Melbourne (but I promise not to kill you).

    I saw Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs play Brisbane decades ago.

  10. Another noteworthy essay:

    ‘Not Yet: Aboriginal People and the Deferral of the Rule of Law’, Desmond Manderson, Arena Journal, No.29/30, 2008 (PDF)

  11. Pingback: Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair 2012 (Review) | slackbastard