Sunday, June 24, 2007

Howard, a National Disaster and the Solution to the Aboriginal Question

So, that most magnanimous of White Supremacists John Howard is at last going to take an interest and solve the problem that is disgracing Australia in the eyes of the world (BBC World News 21.06.2007) – the collectively degenerate behavior of the collectively degenerate non-people known as Aboriginals. Their behavior is quite unacceptable to the Leader and by taking matters away from the government of the Northern Territories he has branded them as incapable of dealing with the problem posed to Australia’s image by alcohol, drug, solvent and child abusing “Blacks”. How will the far-sighted Howard achieve this solution? Why, by the simple expedient of banning sales of alcohol for six months and giving every aboriginal child a medical. A solution so obvious that it’s a miracle no one thought of it before. What a decisive, insightful Leader Howard is, a true successor to that long line of decisive, insightful and yes, humane Leaders of that so-called Rainbow Nation – Australia.

That a culture which had developed and thrived over a period of 40,000 years is in such dire circumstances as to come to the notice of, and require the attention of the Leader is a tragedy for its people and a cause of everlasting shame to their colonial masters. The BBC reported Leader Howard’s initiative in a positive light, totally failing to focus on any of the contributing factors and merely portraying Aboriginals as dissolute and irresponsible. It was much more important to show the Leader patronising the natives whilst clutching his bottle of mineral water.

The repression, the separate development, the isolation, the suppression of opportunity, the suppression of culture, the enforced “invisibility”, even, in the not so distant past, the murder of these non-people by “Big Game Hunters” goes or went largely unreported either inside or outside of Australia and is a measure of the worth given to these people by the capitalist system. In this system the only people of value are the Western type consumers, just as long as they keep consuming; all of the rest are either of some limited labour value or else surplus to requirements.

Australia’s indigenous people are in the latter category, otherwise how else to explain that a six month prohibition on alcohol and a medical examination of children (presumably to establish whether there has been any physical/sexual abuse so that the all-caring state can take them into protective custody) is deemed sufficient to reverse the collapse of Aboriginal society. Addressing the root causes of this society’s problems would expose the institutionalised racism that is endemic in the country and its system, and no decent, upright Australian Leader wants that, do they?

Would 80% of children with potentially blinding trachoma be acceptable in Western type consumer society? Is it acceptable that diseases like diabetes and rheumatic fever, which was brought under control in the slums of the UK a hundred years ago, still affect a quarter of the adult Aboriginal population?

Aboriginals are 2% of the population yet account for 90% of overcrowded homes and a third of the prisoners in Rockhampton Jail. Perhaps that is that acceptable?

The Federal Government spends about 25% less on health per head of the Aboriginal population compared with the rest of the population and 20 cents compared with each dollar spent under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Is that acceptable?

The life expectancy of Aborigines is up to 25 years less than whites. Wars apart, Australia has the distinction of having the lowest life expectancy rate among its indigenous peoples of any country in the world. Is that acceptable?

Howard, the magnanimous Leader whose first act on coming to office in 1996 was to wipe A$400 million from the budget of the ‘Aboriginal industry’, because, he claimed, ”political correctness had gone too far.” This was announced in a speech in Queensland, a state where historic racism is so entrenched that it elected Pauline Hanson as its representative to the Federal Parliament on an anti-Aboriginal, anti-immigrant racist ticket; the Leader, at home amongst his own kind! Is that acceptable?

The tragedy is not just for the “Aboriginal” peoples of this world, be they in Australia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Guatemala, Palestine, USA, Sudan, Cambodia, it is also the tragedy of the majority non-people of the whole planet. Massage a few statistics here and there and you have the lot of most of humankind. There is an answer to all this injustice, you know it and I know it – Socialism, real Socialism, a Socialist society based upon the values of the Global Movement that holds each human being to be of equal value. That so few have a handle on what we really stand for is not just our problem, it is a problem for all of humanity – look around you. Look at what the Masters of the Universe (the Capitalists) are doing to us. Is that acceptable?

Are you angry? I know I am, but each of us needs to get beyond that emotion and do something, anything that will make change possible. As socialists we must spread the message, we must “make” more socialists. Unless we help others to understand what we already understand we fail – there is no other way to describe it. Did YOU make another socialist today? This week? This month? THIS YEAR? Did you actually talk to someone today about Socialism? If the answer is no, then you are not angry enough and THAT really is unacceptable.

We are all people; there are no non-people, despite what the “Howards” of this world say, despite what the system teaches you and despite whatever comfort bribes the system gives you. Passion is a weapon, use it. The Capitalists do, every day and in every way. Australian Aboriginals had their Charlie Perkins, American Blacks their Martin Luther King, outspoken cage rattlers and comfort zone intruders prepared to make themselves heard. Worldwide we activists are few, but we each know that there is a massive groundswell of support for what we stand for – people are just looking for a few candle holders to light the way and that groundswell will become a tsunami of change for the better. Vanguards are anathema to true Socialists, but someone has to pass the torch of knowledge on, will you commit yourself? Will you be one of the anonymous champions who bequeathed a better world to all of the children and the non-people of our planet, who gave that little bit extra that made the difference? It seems to me that Socialism (and I understand the contradiction) is an individual thing; we can only be responsible for our own actions or inactions. By spreading the “word” we each create the micro-conditions that at some point will meld together to bring about the society we seek, a society of equals with justice and fair shares for all. This is our challenge, to show people what we stand for in such a way that they want to join us and make a difference too. Resolutions at conference are all very well, but commitments to spread the word are where it’s really at. Is that acceptable?


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ajohnstone said...

Indeed , Howard's invidious racism is seen in these new laws. Would he dare invoke them against a white community ?

Steph said...

I find talking to people about socialism a very difficult task, even though it's rewarding to find out how many people I know agree with me, the same amount or even more disagree. Their arguments usually end up with calling anti capitalist views naive, or refuse to listen. I'm reminded of the situation in the movie "Bless This House", where the young daughter isn't listened to by her father!

Anonymous said...

I remember my a former law lecturer of mine giving a speech at a forum which I attended where he said that there is a preceedent case concerning land status where their court actually justified taking Aboriginal land by reasoning that Aboriginals did not own that land, and that they were merely "part of the flora and fauna". I have yet to get the citation for this case so I cannot confirm for sure if it is true.

They also have a former Immigration Act that required immigrants to be tested in any European language at random (not nessacarily English) to confirm that they were from European countries.

These facts prove that racism in Australia is so institutionalised one could reasonably deduce that they are only second to the former apartheid South Africa.

Lisa said...

The reason it is difficult to talk to others about socialism and "make" socialists is because of ill informed, hyperbolic and in many parts inaccurate rants like this article (an example of an outright lie, or, if I'm to give you the benefit of the doubt, mistake, is that Pauline Hanson was ever elected Queensland's representitive in Federal Parlaiment). I was born and raised in Australia, have watched this play out around me for the last 22 years and did not just watch one report on BBC. I'm also, however, well educated on matters of the world out side of Australia and have travelled extensively (including to Communist countries, developing nations etc). In spite of the fact that I am sympathetic towards the plight of Aboriginals (and had many Aboriginal playmates growing up) I found this article offensive as an Australian and as an intelligent person who used their time to read it. I would even go so far as to say your personal concern lies not with the well being of the Australian-Aboriginal population but in what you can gain in using their tragic story as part of your rhetoric.

Darren said...


I understood that Pauline Hanson was elected for the Oxley division in Queensland at the 1996 Federal Election.

Brian Gardner said...

I disagree with Lisa's contribution. I like the article and the anger it expressed. I dont think the article had any significant errors, and in any case doubt that that is the barrier to making socialists that Lisa seems to think.

Are we meant to be impressed that Lisa is - as she tells us - from Australia, that she has even had some friends who are aboriginal, that she is well-educated and widely-travelled ?

She says that the article offended her "as an Australian". Oh, and as an "intelligent person" (Did I mention already that I am well-educated... : )

I am reminded of the old joke, that if you say "world hunger kills" no-one is offended but if you say "Fuck sake, world hunger kills", then people are offended - but for the wrong reasons.

(Partly) because Lisa is seeing things - as she says - from the perspective of an "Australian" and rather than (say) as a human being, she takes offence at the wrong thing and appears to get things a bit out of proportion (Shades of "Anyway, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play")

The article didnt insult "Australians" (whatever they are), so even if you are daft enough to seek to identify with your postcode/zipcode there was nothing to be offended by. The article attacked capitalism and capitalist politicians, and in that context "their [the aboriginals'] tragic story" is squarely our story - the story of our global class, the dispossessed.