- Tomorrow and Saturday, two events have been organised in Melbourne to draw further attention to the Northern Territory Emergency Response/”The Intervention”. The first is @ Ormond College [Location and Map], where the Nice People of the Fabian Society will be listening to Nice Person Jenny Macklin talk about “indigenous Australians and bring us up to date on Labor’s focus on indigenous policy and the results”; the second is @ The Horn (20 Johnston St, Collingwood), and whereas Jenny’s Dinner will set you back $60 (no concession), to listen to reggae and dub will cost you a mere $5, with proceeds going to a worthy cause.
(Not the Fabians.)
The Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective is organising a protest at the Annual Fabian Dinner on Friday 4 September where the Minister for Housing and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin will be speaking and congratulated for ‘travelling and listening to indigenous Australians’. We believe it is a disgrace that Macklin, who continues to expand the Intervention and blackmail Aboriginal communities, is being given a platform to promote her handling of the racist and destructive Intervention.
Protest Against Jenny Macklin
6pm Friday September 4
University of Melbourne
[“This is our Fabian annual get together for old lefties, up and coming young Fabians and fellow campaigners from across the years. It’s always a great night and a great opportunity to catch up.”]
Why Macklin Doesn’t Deserve this Award
• Macklin says she is committed to Aboriginal housing but: $672m has been set aside for Aboriginal housing and 18 months later not a single house has been built. Most of the money will go to administration and planning. Macklin has vastly underestimated the admininstration and structural costs of housing in remote areas.
• Macklin has said that the continued quarantining of welfare has resulted in better health outcomes for aboriginal children but: she hasn’t produced any data to back up these claims — health centres in the Northern Territory say that anemia in young children has in fact increased due to poor nutrition.
• Macklin says she is consulting and listening but: she has demanded that town campers in Alice Springs give up their land for forty years before they become eligible to receive desperately needed housing and infrastructure.
• Two recent government reports dealing with Aboriginal well-being — The Productivity Commission Report and the NTER Review — have shown that the Intervention isn’t working and that life is getting worse for Aboriginal people.
• The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, Professor James Anaya, referring to the Intervention said: “These measures overtly discriminate against Aboriginal peoples, infringe their right of self-determination and stigmatise already stigmatised communities.”
The Fabians have a long history of standing up for the rights of disadvantaged people and it is disappointing that such a long serving and esteemed organisation of the left should support measures that take away the basic rights of Australian citizens.
Aboriginal Rights Reggae Fundraiser
8pm Saturday September 5
Smith Street, Collingwood
This Saturday 5 September supporters of Aboriginal rights and reggae fans will be attending ‘Uprising’ at the Horn 20 Johnston St Collingwood from 8pm to 1am. Organised by Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective the night aims to raise funds to go towards a speaking tour by Richard Downs from the Ampilatwatja protest camp in the Northern Territory.
The night will feature live reggae band Elmoth and the Turbo Rads, as well as DJs Sista Itations, Binghi Fire, Sista Sara and Comrade Dubs playing reggae and dancehall until 1am. The $5 cover charge will go towards covering the costs of the speaking tour and an auction of paintings by Aboriginal artist and activist Barbara Shaw will raise money for the Indigenous Solidarity Gathering to be held in Alice Springs in November this year.
“This is going to be a great night of music, of showing solidarity with those resisting the discriminatory Northern Territory Intervention, and of raising money to ensure the many Aboriginal voices of opposition to the Intervention are heard here in Melbourne” said Joe Lorback from the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective.
The speaking tour will taking place from Wednesday 14 to Saturday 17 October. Speaking at university campuses, trade union meetings, and at a large public meeting on Friday 16 October, Richard Downs from the Ampilatwatja protest camp hopes to raise awareness and support for the struggle currently underway against the Northern Territory Emergency Response policies.
In mid-July 150 people walked out of the remote town of Ampilatwatja and set up a protest camp three kilometres away. They say they were pushed to take such action by their town being overrun with sewage. The protest camp has continued to grow and gain support from other Aboriginal communities, and has become a sharp point of opposition to Intervention policies and the failure of the Rudd Government to deliver desperately needed housing.
The protest camp is yet to receive a visit from a Northern Territory or federal government representative, and despite being described as having the worst housing in Australia there are no plans to build any new houses in the community under the $672 million SIHIP housing program.
Richard Downs speaking on behalf of the protest camp said “We’re a remote community. Our traditions and customs are still strong, our law’s still strong, Aboriginal way. We’re not going to let it go away — we’ve just had enough. This is the first time our mob is speaking up, because we never do… But our patience has run out.”
For comment or details of the night:
Joe Lorback 0434 127 661 or comradedubs[at]hotmail[dot]com
Albert Meltzer, I couldn’t paint golden angels, AK Press, 1996
Chapter XXIX : Looking Back…
In the dark days of the War the public wanted to be told something of what they were fighting for, rather than against, which even so was not always clear. For instance, were they to wipe out the Germans — all of them — or just the Nazis? Those who said the former were vociferous admirers of pre-war Germany and later of post-war Germany, but during the war they preferred to discredit ordinary Germans. No such distinction was made between Mikadoist and Japanese — all “Japs” were blamed equally, which meant the leadership not at all. All the Emperor lost in defeat was his divinity. Was the war perhaps just one sort of fascism against other more virulent breeds? Was it for capitalism and imperialism against capitalism and have-not imperialism? A few thought powerful empires could disintegrate and capitalism be firmer than ever in “liberated” colonies. The armed forces, feeling subject to impoverishment at home and fascist-minded officers and discipline, had subversive thoughts of this nature.
The parliamentarian left plugged a European revolution against Hitler since l940 when Britain badly needed some plausible war aims for propaganda purposes. After a year or so it became plain even to the Tories that their own citizens wanted some too. Civil servants were instructed to draw up the plans of a brave new world and a revolution by consent, and William Beveridge, an obscure backroom bureaucrat, came up with his plan for a Welfare State taking care of people’s social needs from the cradle to the grave. The mighty mountain had been in labour and produced a mouse.
Beveridge gained a knighthood from the Plan. It did not save the Conservative Party from electoral defeat, notwithstanding the newspaper deification of Churchill which was reckoned enough on its own to get the Tories back in power. For himself Sir William Beveridge tried for another step up the social ladder by standing as a Liberal MP and for all he knew a Minister thinking (like Churchill, mistaking press for public opinion) his name would be a counterblast to the Prime Minister’s. He too was discarded and made for the disconsolate reaches of the House of Lords under a grateful Labour Government which made the “Beveridge Plan” its own.
It fitted in nicely with the Fabian panacea of Nationalisation, which the miners greeted with flags flying at the pits. I recall one union official at a meeting in Doncaster saying there would be no more strikes “now the pits are ours”. “Who”, he asked rhetorically, “Should we strike against? Ourselves?” “The National Coal Board,” I piped up, amid laughter, and was told I was a fool. Ten years later I met him again and asked, as if I didn’t know, if there had been any more necessity for strike action. He apologised for his earlier judgment and said he had seen the mines weren’t “ours” nine and a half years before but added ingenuously that he had hoped the Labour Party being in office then, all would be well. A few decades later and what parliamentary socialists had always described as the “syndicalist scare” came true. Whole industries taken over by the State were given back into private hands.
With the post-war groans about rationing and shortages came the false relief that unemployment had been abolished and there was a new order which would provide housing, cause the disappearance of slums and guarantee the lack of poverty and sickness. But only in the mining community was there actual dancing in the streets. They had suffered so much from private ownership they felt as liberated as the American slaves did after Lincoln’s Proclamation, and the illusion lasted no longer…