Protests against the Defence Industry Expo (D.I.E) called

11 06 2011

So those that know anything about South Australia will know that the Premier Mike Rann has been trying to brand the state “Australia’s Defence State” or something along those lines.  In short, we’re the place that builds the stuff our government uses to blow other parts of the world up.  Kudos to us.

Anyway.

Protests have been called for the 28th against an expo being put on by the Defence Industry to pimp their explosives to a series of international partners.  Adelaide Indymedia has published this background info for those interested:

According to the Defence Industry Expo’s own website: (www.defenceandindustry.gov.au) the Australian Government plans to replace 80 percent of its “war fighting” assets by 2020. This constitutes an “investment” of $150bn of taxpayers money.

While they brand this as “Defence” spending, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been fighting US wars that have nothing to do with the “defence” of Australia and its people.

In South Australia, tens of millions of dollars have been spent by the Rann Government to attract military industries to set up shop.

Weapons manufacturers will be concentrated in a walled precinct beside the Port River. Powerful US weapons manufacturers are even involved in “partnerships” with local public schools.

Is this how we imagined our future?

Left Unity has other ideas. We think taxpayers money should be spent on the creation of renewable industries and essential services like health, education, public transport and the like.

Why are thousands of public sector jobs being cut and services slashed while millions are being spent on the manufacture of weapons that are ultimately used to kill people in other parts of the world?

These weapons are being bought to help shore up the self-interested global military strategy of the United States. This course has caused people around the world, including Australians, needless suffering and loss in places like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s time we said No! to the “Defence State”.

You can find the facebook event page here.

Advertisements




Fuck ‘Alcopops’

24 03 2009

The state of Australian politics is truly amazing.  Political commentators don’t concern themselves with important issues, such as the introduction of anti-bikie laws that threaten the fundamental rights of each and every South Australian (and if Rann gets his way, every Australian).  No, last week saw political commentators up in arms regarding whether there should be an increased tax on, ‘Alcopops’ — sugary, alcoholic beverages that are colourful and popular among youths out on the town.

It was everywhere, in the news people couldn’t believe that these drinks were going to be sold cheaper to young drinkers who will proceed to get themselves drunk.  Only problem is, they forget that these same people are going to get themselves drunk no matter what — they’ll find something else to drink and it will be harder than ‘alcopops’.

Like me, any rational reader right now is going to be thinking, ‘So what? Who gives a fuck?’  That is, until I read other articles, watched interviews and began noticing the total number of public service announcements.  It’s amazing, in one day I had to suffer multiple anti-smoking ads, anti-obesity ads, anti-binge drinking ads, anti-speeding ads, anti-driving while stoned ads, anti-binge drinking ads aimed at teenagers, anti-drunk driving ads — and these were all funded by you and me.  Then there were the rants about the culture of binge drinking.

It’s incredible nannyism.

Apparently, a group of wrinkly old men, whom you have never met and probably never will, living in Canberra know what’s best for your body than you.  And are willing to decide upon the finer details of your lifestyle; if not through direct legislation than by recruiting a vast number of zealots to do their bidding.

Worse yet were the rants against the Australian culture of binge drinking which flared up once again.  Again and again it was chanted that we need to break this binge-drinking culture and that the government has failed in its duty to care for its citizens by failing to initiate taxation on a popular drink.  Never mind that the minimum drinking age is completely arbitrary, along with the age of consent.

Well, it all reminded me of a thought once expressed by the wise Shawn Wilbur somewhere; maybe we need to focus on making life bearable, on making it so people don’t have to drink to escape the reality of their life.  These are the people who drink to excess and wind up killing themselves in some accident, fight or from some other affliction.  And when you think about it, this makes sense; high school is a prison, work for many is a constant struggle to pay bills, pay the mortgage/rent, fill mouths and placate the taxman in an economy that is increasingly (some might say inevitably) going to shit with every scrawled letter of the parliamentary pen.  That’s certainly a reason to drink if I ever did hear it.  It’s then little surprise that anxiety and depression are common among our cities and that people are so willing to piss away their hard-earned cash on, well, the piss so that they may forget life for about 12 hours.

But mention this to any statist and they’ll immediately tell you that’s why we need new legislation to do x, y, z and hence solve these problems.  It’s an impossible battle against busy-bodies that wish to tell you what to do with your corpse.

The worst thing about it all is that people accept it.  They fall to enforcing the latest government instigated health initiative with the passion of the gestapo.  Someone else once remarked that if government were to ever tax beer, hence making it more expensive for the masses, then there’d certainly be revolution.  Somehow, I seriously doubt it.





Opposition to anti-bikie legislation mounts

15 03 2009

Finally, some interesting local news to comment on.  Yesterday, bikie organisations banded together to protest the introduction of Mike Rann’s anti-bikie legislation in a ride through the Barossa Valley.

More than 700 members of gangs – mainly Hell’s Angels, Gypsy Jokers, Rebels, Finks and Descendants – took part in the Freedom Run ride through the Barossa Valley, monitored by a large contingent of police.

Saying he would not be intimidated by their actions, Premier Mike Rann described the protest as nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Gypsy Jokers club president Scott “Diesel” Thomas said the co-operation among the gangs was only in its early stages but warned it was the “start of things to come”.

Gallery: Pictures from the bikie protest

“They are telling us who we can talk to and who we can’t, but these laws don’t just affect us, they affect everybody,” he said.

Police – including the STAR Group – breath-tested riders, checked motorcycles for defects and had pictures taken of their faces and number plates. The bikies have mobilised to fight the Serious and Organised Crime Control Act introduced by the Government to fight the gangs Mr Rann has accused of murder, rape and other criminal activities.

I have talked about the bikie legislation before and elsewhere.  In a nut-shell, the anti-bikie legislation passed by the Rann government finds itself linked inextricably to the anti-terror legislation passed by John Howard after September 11.  The anti-bikie legislation allows almost arbitrary uses of power against groups identified as ‘criminal organisations’ (a classification based on whether there are individuals with criminal convictions in the group and one which cannot be challenged) which then allows the police unprecedented powers to ‘deal’ with the group.  Oh so many people have bought the government’s line in that it allows the bikie gangs to be taken a part, but they miss the key concept; it’s only a matter of time before the same powers are used for different purposes.  The ‘anti-bikie’ legislation, as it has been nicknamed, will merely be re-branded to ‘combat’ some other dangerous group that threatens the very fabric of our society for ever and ever, amen.  Cue the jackboots and the knock at the door in the dead of night.

To add insult to injury, the supreme, all-knowing, wise Mr Rann even wants to export his dictatorial legislation to other states and will be pressuring other premiers at one of their c(ircle jerks)onferences.

But wait, there’s more.

It seems Rann’s pulled out every possible line to the media as of late in order to sell the legislation to the public which is intended to make them safe, albeit at the potential expense of their own freedoms.  So let’s look at some of the comments that appeared in the article mentioned above.

“For them, freedom means freedom to manufacture and sell drugs to our kids, freedom to be involved in violence, freedom to use illegal firearms and freedom to extort.”

What, may I ask, is the problem with selling drugs?  Although I would hardly ever expect a senior politician to give an honest answer, or one that respects the freedom of their subjects for that matter.  And I’m quite sure it isn’t just ‘our kids’ that are buying them — I don’t have kids and if Rann’s kids are snorting cocaine then they’re probably clean.  So maybe it’s the parents that are buying these drugs?

“There are elements among these bikies who are dangerous and serious criminals, and we will treat them as seriously as they deserve.”

This is the comment that gets me.  While I’m not defender of the bikie gangs and I recognise elements of them are involved in all sorts of violence, what about the elements that aren’t?  It makes little sense to throw them all in prison and let God sort them out.  Let’s face it, like any group, society or country, there is always going to be a small percentage that are malcontents.  These people in government are going to be spending thousands of dollars to prosecute, them all and for what?  So that most will acquitted of charges and yet still have their (and inevitably, our) freedoms rigidly controlled by the boys in blue?

“They don’t just want to run our streets and intimidate our people, they want to run the government as well,” he said.

Sorry Mr Rann, they already do.  Government is an institution that gives power to criminals and robber barons, it doesn’t matter whether they’re riding a Harley or wearing a suit and tie.

“I don’t believe there is any sensible citizen who would be dumb enough to vote for a thug party.”

Aside from being an example of a nice little piece of political manipulation in the media, I shall take it upon myself to point out that most sensible citizens were dumb enough to vote for a thug party; that belonging to Mr Rann.

So much for the state that was built with the intention of preserving civil liberties and freedom of religion.  I’ll leave you with this thought by one of the bikies,

“And that’s why we have the need to highlight it to all the public because if they can get away with doing to us then they can get away to doing it to anybody else.”





.urbandissent: soon to be posting from a police state near you

7 01 2009

Over the course of a conversation, Australian’s have this frustrating habit of expressing how happy they to be living in Australia.  To some extent I can empathise.  Australia is free from civil war, attacks from arrogant and militarised neighbouring states while being relatively excellent place to live, lacking in both pollution and overpopulation.  The food is good, the people are fun and generally friendly, the cities are interesting and are full of things to discover.  The problem is that Australians have this strange way of missing, or ignoring, anything that threatens the upbeat image of this country in what seems to be an effort to maintain a certain naive image of reality.  Even when there is outrage, it’s only temporary and when it is decided from some high-up post that, once and for all, things should be a certain way, the dissent dies people go back to their BBQ’s and draping themselves in the Australian flag on Australia Day or during the cricket season.

Just for example, in between playing the part of the little dictator and working to achieve his vision for South Australia, Mike Rann  (whose wikipedia entry reads like a election-day pamphlet) has gradually turned the state into the nation’s premiere example of foot-in-the-door fascism.  I say this merely because over the past few years, the Rann government has set about abolishing double jeopardy, creating legal loop holes that subvert the right to remain silent, has allowed for organisations to be branded ‘criminal’ without the ability to challenge the label, concerned itself with all kinds of nanny statism, allowed illegal immigrants to be imprisoned within the state, regularly taken steps (both official and unofficial) to make achieving a full driver’s license extremely difficult and costly — and that’s just for starters.  It’s ironic that the state founded on the idea that it should epitomise a respect for civil rights, democracy and the best of the Britain could fall so far from the tree.  But there’s even an irony in that as Britain’s come a long way with it’s massive surveillance systems.  However, I digress.  The point is at state level there’s an ever-present danger that government in Australia is advancing leaps and bounds towards a police state and where you can find evidence of something in a small sample, you’ll be able to find it on a larger scale elsewhere.

You don’t need to look very far either, for the federal government has constructed a prison on a remote island off the coast to incarcerate illegal immigrants until they can be “processed” — which is a term that seems to mean treat these people like criminals until they’ve been ran through the bureaucracy like bits in a computer processor — and continues in it’s ridiculous plan to produce a nation-wide internet filter which bring it into line with the likes of China, Burma, Pakistan and all the other dictatorial nations.  When ideas like these start cropping up, you know there’s a problem. Australia has always been notoriously pro-censorship and not very user friendly when it comes to free speech, which itself is a horrible crime.  The Australian government has taken it upon itself to ban books, art and intimidate writers of various forms in the past, even recently.  While free speech isn’t protected in Australia, which allowed the Howard government to pass sedition laws in the anti-terrorism legislation, political freedom of speech is guaranteed in the constitution under the iffy term ‘implied human rights’ but was only established during a trial in the last few decades.  To all intents and purpose censorship is entirely legal and I’m sure that if political freedom of speech became a problem there would soon be created a loophole.  Though if we are to take the following writer’s words for truth, it could be that you won’t be hearing from me soon enough — at least if you’re in Australia — as a legal loophole wouldn’t be needed to have me and others censored, just the poor practical implementation of a rigid technology,

The Minister has stated that political speech will not be filtered under the proposal, but fails to define acceptable free speech and does nothing more to articulate his previous comments that “unwanted” material will be filtered under the scheme.

Overblocking

The Minister notes that in the last round of tests, overblocking, that is filters blocking legal content came in at 3-6%. He only notes that this is an advance on previous tests, but fails to address the very serious implications.

Under the scheme, three to six percent of perfectly legal content gets blocked. Anything other than a 0% rate is unacceptable.

Imagine the Australian Government waking up one morning and deciding that 6% of Australian businesses could no longer open their doors to their customers, and the outcry this would cause. This is EXACTLY what this proposal will do to online businesses, and companies with a primarily Australian focus online could find themselves out of business for no other reason that the Government’s filter has decided to block them, even though they were doing no wrong.

So it’s conceivable that my blog, as well as the blogs of other Australians, may become trapped on some government blacklist, whose selection process is being kept secret, and will then no longer be visible to other Australians. That is even if my connection functions fast enough to even log on, write and update this blog.  Nanny-statism is a wonderful phenomenon of the modern age.  As one commenter on the above cited article pointed out,

it is ridiculous. the gov want to control our lives. soon we wont be able to walk in our own back yards because it would be to dangerous and harmful to children…

Though he went back on this thought, he was indeed spot on.  When this system is implemented we will see ‘difficult’ political critics being added to the list, effectively silencing independently published criticism of the government.  It’s an inevitable result of legislation and government ‘programs’ that they’re initially applied for one purpose or emergency, but then the power granted to that various government department is never given up.  When the department finds it has little to do, the powers are then recycled in another way and so take on another function, such as an internet filter designed to block ‘child pornography’ being used to block the more general ‘unwanted’ material.  This ‘unwanted’ material will no doubt be described as extremist, terrorist, racist and those with an ‘anti-Australian’ agenda, or something similar.  Considering that the word ‘terrorist’ is loosely defined (I could easily and accurately label any military terrorist as I could the KKK or Osama, unlike politicians who label anyone they don’t like ‘terrorist’) no doubt many sights that bear the label ‘Anarchist’ will find themselves removed from the internet.  Even the word ‘extremist’ throws up some interesting complications when you look at the meaning of the word, ‘radical’…

Taken From Here

  • extremist: (used of opinions and actions) far beyond the norm; “extremist political views”; “radical opinions on education”; “an ultra conservative”
  • a person who has radical ideas or opinions
  • revolutionary: markedly new or introducing radical change; “a revolutionary discovery”; “radical political views”

  • arising from or going to the root or source; “a radical flaw in the plan”

So, although I don’t take to ‘radical’ to be a bad word based on definitions 2, 3 and most of all 4, that has attained a far more villainous meaning, care of politicians who use ‘radical’ interchangeably with the word ‘extremist’ means we have a very twisted definition.  Any political stance that exists outside of some brand of conservatism, socials democracy, liberalism or statist socialist is ‘radical’ , therefore ‘extremist’ and no different from the ‘Islamic extremists’ who are ‘terrorists’ and like to blow people (along with themselves) up.  Therefore they must be ‘censored’ so ‘democracy’ can continue.

It seems to me that Australia, or at least it’s administrative government, is plagued with the same mindset that must have existed since the administrations that presided over the first convict colony.  You know, those guys in wigs backed by British marines with muskets who laid down a flag and claimed everything as far as the eye could see as ‘theirs’ — the usual routine back in those days. We have never really broken out of that psyche, particularly as there always seems to be some new effort under way by governments of differing proportions to keep us in line.  Lest anyone mistake this to be an appeal for reform, this is not.  The Australian government, in every degree or incarnation has repeatedly shown its true colours in its complete disregard for liberty.  Be it Hicks, Haneef, the pacific solution, the children overboard scandal, Iraq, Afghanistan in little Johny’s administration, or now in Kevin’s the continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan (even though we were supposed to be out of Iraq) the prison-like detention centre and now this disastrous internet filter proposal that has been allowed to proceed — and these only within the first year of Rudd’s term!  No, you can’t reform that: the structure is rotten.

It’s amazing that the vast majority of Australian’s aren’t paying any attention to such issues.  Mostly there is indifference while people go back to their beer and allow themselves to be shocked into submission by yet more stories of shootings, stabbings and violent murders.  Then they conclusively announce, “government is for our own good,” and we are one step closer to prison sentences for the crime of spitting.