Anarchist Age Weekly Review Number 285

Anarchist Media Institute, Melbourne, Australia

          ·  REALLY JEFFREY!!
          ·  ZERO POLLUTION
          ·  OBITUARY - JOHN BRINK
          ·   P U B L I C A T I O N S

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

Anarchist Age Weekly Review Number 285, 3rd - 9th February, 1998
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Feature Article


Picture: Picket at Webb Dock The Federal and Victorian State government, Patrick Stevedoring and the National Farmers Federation are in the process of laying a legal trap for the Maritime Union of Australia. Anybody who still believes that workers have the right to withdraw their labour in Australia only has to look at what's happening to Maritime Union members at Webb Dock in Melbourne to understand that the Trade Practises Act, The Workplace Relations Act and the Crimes Act are the tools that are being used to deny workers the right to remove their labour.

The Federal government and the Victorian State government have broken their own laws and have entered into a cosy financial agreement with Patricks Stevedoring at taxpayers expense. Tens of millions of taxpayers dollars have been earmarked to bankroll the National Farmers Federations attempts to destroy the Maritime Union of Australia. The establishment of a N.F.F. Stevedoring arm at Webb Dock is a transparent attempt by the corporate sector to break what little power trade unions still have in this country.

The Webb Dock dispute is the beginning of a long dispute that involves the Federal government, the Victoria State government, the Stevedoring industry, private security goon squads, the Australian army, the A.C.T.U., protesters, the Victorian Trades and Labour Council, the Courts, the corporate sector and the mass media. An overwhelming array of forces have been directed against the remnants of a once proud and strong Trade Union Movement.

Currently the Maritime Union of Australia is playing the employers game, using the employers rules to try to side step legal action. Sooner or later this dispute will turn ugly and will end up in the courts. Looking at the array of charges that can be laid against workers for removing their labour, the time has come for these laws to be challenged head on. The laws have been enacted to intimidate workers and workers organisations. Workers can choose to be intimidated or they can meet these laws head on.

Sooner or later, when the legal processes have been exhausted, maritime workers face the prospect of having their union bankrupted, their houses sold under their very noses to pay for the employers losses and possible imprisonment for daring to remove their labour. Whether the state is able to criminalise legitimate workplace action, to a large degree depends on the mobilisation of public opinion. Historically Australians have not been impressed when workers are financially penalised and jailed for removing their labour. Every time this have occurred Australians have mobilised to force the government of the day to repeal these laws. The struggle on the wharves is in an early embryonic stage, how it develops doesn't depend on the actions of the Federal government and the N.F.F. It hinges on the amount of support that can be generated among the Australian people.

by Anarchist Media Institute, Melbourne, Australia
Excerpt from Anarchist Age Weekly Review Number 285, 3rd - 9th February, 1998

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Jeffrey (Glib) Kennett has to be heard to be believed. Last week the media broke the news that his wife had had enough. She had moved out of their love nest in Surrey Hills and moved to a Melbourne Bayside apartment she had recently purchased. Kennett appeared on the media asking people to protect their privacy. The next day he publicly blames the A.L.P. and his political enemies for driving his wife out of their marital nest. As the week drew to a close, Felicity Kennett maintained her silence while Jeffrey (Glib) Kennett let all and sundry know the political pressures drove his wife away.

It's common knowledge among media outlets that the marriage breakdown is a personal not a political matter. Kennett has attempted to generate publicity for his political career by dragging the separation into the political arena. He will do anything even use the breakdown of his own marriage to generate sympathy for his political programs. Well Jeffrey, it's not going to rub off, few people really care about your marriage breakdown, even fewer of us will shed a tear for your plight.

If you feel like shedding a tear, think about the tens of thousands of Victorian couples whose marriages have broken down courtesy of the Kennett regimes, education, hospital, Workcover, privatisation compulsory competitive tendering and a myriad of other policies that have caused redundancies, despair and divorce. Kennett and his cronies are beginning to reap the seed they have sown. Very few Victorians are going to shed a tear for Kennett, most are hoping they have the courage to emulate Felicity Kennett's example and drive Jeffrey (Glib) Kennett out of public life, back into the advertising sector:- a marriage made in heaven.

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Anybody who witnessed the opening of the Constitutional Convention on Monday can't help but be disappointed with the exceptionally narrow scope of this "once in a hundred year opportunity". Anybody who believed that the Convention was a historical opportunity to move beyond a debate about symbols, would have been sorely disappointed with the debate. The Constitutional Convention will never rise above a debate about symbols, the major political parties will do what they can to bury any debate that has the semblance of substance.

That dreary little man, our beloved Prime Minister has promised that if the Constitutional Convention reaches a consensus on a preferred republican model, he will put it to the people in a referendum. If the delegates do not reach a consensus he will hold a nonbinding plebiscite to determine what republican model the Australian people prefer. Unfortunately for Australian electors the Liberal/National Party not the Constitutional Convention will formulate the exact wording of the motion or motions that will go to a referendum or plebiscite.

Steve Reghenzani and myself ran on a platform of A New Constitution for a New Millennium. We encourage all electors to boycott the proposed referendum or plebiscite unless the questions deal with substance not symbolism. We don't need symbolic changes to the Australian Constitution, we don't need a new preamble or for that matter, A Bill of Rights. We need a new egalitarian principles of association.

Any referendum or plebiscite that does not tackle the question about whether we need a New Constitution is really a waste of everybody's time. As we approach the 21st Century we should forget about symbolic changes and concentrate our efforts on creating conditions that bring about substantive changes.

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Have you heard about the car that runs on compressed air? No joke, Citroen is about to launch a zero pollution compressed air urban vehicle in Mexico City next year. The Mexican government has entered a partnership with Citroen to produce 80,000 vehicles to replace its taxi fleet. Mexico City is the most polluted city on this planet, the introduction of 80,000 vehicles that run on compressed air should have a major effect on pollution levels in Mexico City.

I stumbled on this major technological innovation when I was flicking through the Ages motoring section. A few columns that had been reprinted from the Guardian was my first introduction to this earth shattering news. You'd think a technological innovation that creates zero pollution, and that has the potential to make the worlds most persistent polluter - the oil industry redundant, would make the front pages of every newspaper on this planet. If the information I've seen is correct we are on the verge of a revolution that's just as important as Guttenberg's printing press and the first computer chip.

An industry that causes more than 50% of the worlds pollution is about to enter the dustbin of history - or is it? A car that runs on compressed air could be one of the major solutions that's needed to help decrease pollution levels. Whether such a vehicle is mass produced will to a large degree depend on the strength of a few transnational corporations. Technology is not value free, it's laden with values. What innovations are developed to a large degree depends on who controls production and marketing processes.

A vehicle that runs on compressed air is a major challenge to almost all of the worlds major corporations. Whether such a vehicle gains universal acceptance has more to do with the marketing strategies of a limited number of transnational corporations than any intrinsic values that a car that runs on compressed air has.

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Bill Clinton must be thanking his God that he can trot out Sadam Hussein when ever he's troubled by domestic or international political considerations. If things are going tough, trot out the old Sadam Hussein doll and stick a few pins in it, works every time!! With predictable regularity Sadam pops up whenever slick Willie has a bit too much on his plate.

Its been happening so often lately, you can't help wondering whether Bill is paying his old mate Sadam a retainer to stick out his head on cue, every time something goes wrong for slick Willy. I'm sure Bill prays every night to his lord begging him to blow up the Sadam Hussein doll. It seems to work every time, especially on Republican house leader, Newt Gingrich.

Joseph Toscano/Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society.

OBITUARY - John Brink
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John Brink, anti-apartheid and social justice activist died on Christmas Eve - he had just turned 77. John had been suffering from Altzeimers disease for several, perhaps many, years, but his mental condition began to decline drastically at the end of November. John and his wife and companion, Margaret, grew up in South Africa and were prominent amongst the minority of whites who embraced the struggle against apartheid and racism in the 1950's.

As a protest against the Sharpeville massacre (21 March 1960), the President of the ANC, Chief Albert Luthull burned his pass-book, while residing at the Brik's home. Luthull and John were amongst the 18,000 people detained in the nationwide security crackdown. When John was released after 3 months in jail - without charge or trial - only to be placed under a banning order, John and Margaret migrated to Australia in order to raise their 4 kids, but also to continue the fight against apartheid.

They helped establish the South Africa Defence and Aid Fund (SADAF), to raise money to support political prisoners and their families in South Africa, and to expose the apartheid system to the Australia public. Under John's leadership, SADAF put out a newsletter, organised campaigns and held public meetings - often sponsoring tours by the likes of Robble Resha (ANC), Judith Todd (Rhodesia) and Dennis Brutus (South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee - SANROC), Brutus was one of the organisers of what proved to be the highly effective international sports boycott.

John as a pacifist demonstrated to others the efficiency of non-violent strategies of social change. The social ostracism of apartheid in South Africa, through the growing travel, cultural, educational and sports boycotts led on to the eventually crippling economic effects of the international trade sanctions. John threw himself into the sports boycott and was influential, for instance in convincing Wallabies like Jim Boyce and Anthony Abrahams to refuse to play - to 'build bridges with' - an apartheid-Springbok team.

John was also involved in opposing racism in Australia, working for instance with Faith Bandler on the 1967 Aboriginal referendum. Other movements close to John's heart included Amnesty and Community Aid Abroad (CAA). Not only did John help generate CAA's Southern Africa grouping, its newsletter, etc. but he was on one of CAA's most reliable - and found - 'walkers' Against Want. It wasn't just the way John could walk-that-extra-mile-for freedom, equality and justice, but his list of sponsors was always so huge! In response to John's non-violent activism he received numerous death threats and in 1984 the Bvrink's home was attacked with a petrol bomb.

But John was much more than an exemplary political activist - not that being an agitator, 'troublemaker' or freedom-fighter isn't one of the highest vocations...

John appreciated the pleasures of living - he understood the joys and happiness beyond racism, poverty, oppression, etc. John had a lust for life, for making you feel welcome, for bringing out the best in each of us. He loved playing-with-words, as a way of playing-with-people. Once John got started on a song or a story, it sure was hard to stop him.

As a pacifist, Catholic, anarchist and Communist, John believed in people's innate goodness, and inspired so many of us to keep our eyes on the prize, to fight for the things that make life worth living.

Peter McGregor 21 January 1998

Peter McGregor, Lecturer, Humanities, UWS, Nepean PO Box 10, Kingswood, 2747 Ph: 02 96787356 Fax: 02 96787399 email

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Q. What types of campaigns should anarchists become involved in?

A. Every and any. Some anarchists work on the premise that they should only involve themselves in workplace struggles, community struggles or struggles that involve a significant number of people. As anarchist activists we should look at everything that's happening around us. In terms of getting ideas across, sometimes involvement in a small local struggle can be more effective than involvement in a mass struggle where the agenda is controlled by a central committee.

If possible try to become involved in the very beginning of a campaign. The structures that are formed at the beginning can and do influence the course and conduct of a campaign. An exclusive campaign that's run by a few people normally peters out before an inclusive campaign that invites and encourages local participation. A local planning struggle or a campaign to install a set of traffic lights can in the long run be more productive than a much bigger campaign whose agenda is determined by a central executive.

What types of campaigns we as individuals or groups become involved in, is not determined by the issue or size of the struggle but by our levels of energy and resources. It's better to become actively involved in a few well organised struggles then trying to become involved in everything going, possibly achieving nothing. Anarchism is a personal and political philosophy that extends across all aspect of daily living. As human beings we can use authoritarian or non-authoritarian methods of organisation. How a struggle is conducted determines the outcome. Even if a struggle or a campaign is lost (and many will be) the sense of co-operation and self-organisation that was achieved in a particular campaign, can determine whether people will become involved in other issues.

Anarchists should become involved in whatever campaigns they choose. Every issue can be viewed from a libertarian or non-libertarian viewpoint. If you are interested in a particular issue, examine the issue, try to apply libertarian principles to that particular campaign and go for it. Don't let other people put you off participating in a campaign because it's only a local campaign. You decide what campaigns you want to become involved in, every issue is a legitimate issue.

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Ever wondered why you use petrol driven cars and use labour saving devices that you have to work overtime to purchase? If you look at the so called technological innovations that have been invented and mass produced in the 20th Century you soon realise that technology is not value free. Centralised technologies that can be controlled by a few corporations seem to reach mass production stages quickly while non-centralised technological innovations that can be controlled by a few people never seem to be available.

There are many technological innovations that have been produced in the 20th Century that are people and environmentally friendly. You won't find out what they are by reading, listening and watching the commercial media. Spend some time each week thinking about the energy sources you use, the food you eat and the technological toys you use. If you are unhappy with the situation and want to become more self-sufficient and self-reliant then make the effort to seek out groups, organisations and information that lets you use people and environmentally friendly technological innovations.

If you don't know where to start, check with your local library and check out the magazines in your local newsagency (occasionally you may come across a gem). If you have access to the internet and you can access it through most local libraries, look for information about people friendly technology. Check out your local environment group for information, if they don't have the necessary information they'll know what direction to send you in. Once you've made contact and have access to the information you can try to apply the information to your particular situation.

Call a family or household meeting, explain to the people you live with what and why you want to change. Look at your financial options and see if you find yourself in a position where you can introduce some people friendly technology into your life. Once you've decided to use a bicycle, start a permaculture garden or use solar energy, you'll soon realise how satisfying and financially beneficial self-sufficiency and self-reliance can be. Think about it, do you want to break out of the corporate commodity straight jacket, if you do, now is the time to take that first step towards using people friendly technological innovations.

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The Mount Isa dispute in 1964/5 was different to the normal union controlled 24 hour show of strength. The Mount Isa miners took on one of the worlds biggest mining corporations, the American Mining and Smelting Corporation (ASARCO) and won. The dispute was a spontaneous uprising of not only the miners but their wives and many of the people who lived in Mount Isa. They won the dispute despite the outright hostility of ASARCO, the Australian Workers Union, the Queensland Government and the mass media.

The Mount Isa dispute was in Pat Mackies own words "a living lesson in the constructive social potentialities of rank and file working people". "It was a triumph of the human spirit".

Pat Mackie a member of the Industrial Workers of World was involved in the very beginning of the dispute. He began work at Mount Isa mines in December 1961 as a "trucker". He couldn't handle working as a mining contractor and eventually finished up working in the mines as a timber contractor (piece worker). The dispute began as many of these disputes do:- over the seemingly trivial matter of the mine not providing adequate showers for the men after they had finished work. Although it may seem a trivial matter, at first glance, when you look at the situation from a miners perspective, you soon realise how important it is to have a hot shower at the end of your shift, to get off the grease and dust you've accumulated by working underground. The dispute ebbed and flowed from May 1964 to April 1965.

Pat Mackie's role in the Mount Isa dispute is an excellent example of how someone who has the experience of working within a militant anti-authoritarian group can influence the direction a dispute will take and its final outcome. Pat Mackie had been a member of the I.W.W. for almost two decades before he began work at Mount Isa. He had seen first hand how the rank and file can conduct and control workplace struggles. Pat had the experience of working with United States Seafarers Unions and he understood the importance of setting up democratic structures that used rank and file delegates with limited mandates to conduct a workplace struggle.

Pat Mackie with the help of Elizabeth Vassilieff has told the miners story in the book MOUNT ISA - THE STORY OF A DISPUTE, Published by Hudson Publishing, 6 Muir Street, Hawthorn 3122 Melbourne 1989. ISBN 0949873276. If you can get hold of a copy it makes fascinating reading.

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Edited by Vernon Richards, 1965 London Freedom Press

Vernon Richards has done English speaking anarchists a great service by editing Malatesta Life and Ideas. Although Malatesta is well known to Italian anarchists, few English speaking anarchists are acquainted with his ideas. Irving Horowitz described Malatesta as "the great Italian anarchist who bridged 19th and 20th Century European thought as few of his peers did". Malatesta is remembered more as a revolutionary agitator who spent over half his life in exile than as a thinker. Vernon Richards has rediscovered many of the articles Malatesta wrote for various anarchist magazines he contributed to or edited. He has presented the reader with access to over sixty years of activity and writing.

Malatesta did not earn his living as a writer, he earnt it as a radio mechanic. He didn't write books, he wrote for a number of anarchist publications, giving an incisive analysis of what was happening in the world at that moment.

Vernon Richards has divided this 300 page book into three distinct sections. The first and most interesting section which is over 200 pages long outlines Malatesta's ideas on Anarchism, Science, Freedom, Violence, Mutual Aid, Reformism, Organisation, Property, Money, Crime, Punishment, Revolution, Insurrection, Defence and many other important topics. Part Two consists of 70 pages of Biographical Notes, References and Appendices. In Part Three, Richards attempts to outline Malatesta's relevance to anarchists today.

Considering the book was written over thirty years ago, the comments Richards made about Malatesta in 1965 are as relevant today as they were then. This book throws a great deal of light on an activist whose ideas and strategies in many ways were way ahead of his time. Vernon Richards has been able through hard work and intensive research to resurrect the legacy of Errico Malatesta, a man whose ideas on anarchism will be relevant in the 21st Century.

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Yellow streaks of artificial light feel heavily round her shoulder, he sat there hunched over staring at the poker machines. Two people sitting at a table with half empty coffee cups staring at nothing in particular. The tables and chairs were sandwiched between banks of poker machines that beckoned people to find their G. spot. The room was partially filled by punters who seemed more asleep than awake.

She was forty, maybe fifty, thickset, yellow dress, black shoes, he was forty, balding, slightly overweight, blue top, dark pants, black shoes and socks. He stared at nothing, she stared at nothing. She had a blackened left eye, something you don't see too often these days.

I remember it wasn't unusual to see women with a blackened eye, in the late fifties and early sixties. To children, in the fifties it seemed there was an epidemic of women running into doors on weekends, well that's what us kids were told. I distinctively remember as a kid catching the bus on Monday and seeing one or two women with a blackened eye nearly every Monday morning. Some of us kids on the school bus thought women were clumsy, others knew what was happening.

Her conjunctiva was white, the blackened eye was turning yellow at the edges, she kept staring straight ahead oblivious of the glittering banks of 5 and 10 cent machines that surrounded her. Other people sat around playing with their coffee waiting for their bodies to propel them towards the banks of glittering machines. I drank my coffee and moved on. They sat there waiting, not moving, lost in their own thoughts. I remember I'd seen them before, twice I think, once when they were both drunk, another time I saw them arguing as they fed the poker machines, dollar coins. Today they just sat there, king and queen of everything they surveyed. The blackened eye will disappear in a week or so, the state of her soul, well that's another matter.

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Melbourne is awash with angry citizens who are sick and tired of the Kennett regime overriding citizens objections to redevelopments in their areas. Kennett and the political eunuchs who make up the Victorian cabinet seem to have shot themselves in the foot. They have not only alienated people who would never think of supporting this pack of misfits, but they have created deep divisions in their own heart lands.

One of the single most important issues in the suburbs is the nature of redevelopments that are occurring in suburbs that have traditionally been able to maintain children friendly environments. Inappropriate developments are springing up across the inner suburbs and many leafy outer suburbs. The redevelopment at any cost ethic that is driving the Kennett regime is no longer being swallowed by the general public, especially those people who are pitted against inappropriate developments.

The pressures that the trade union movement are currently under are similar to the pressure that people who disagree with inappropriate developments face. In both cases the laws have been changed by parliament to make it difficult if not impossible to mount any legal challenges against attacks on individuals rights to form workplace organisations and a residents rights to oppose inappropriate developments. Both groups have had their rights legislated out of existence. Across Australia the Trade Union Movement has almost been legislated out of existence by the Federal Parliaments Trade Practices Act, the Workplace Relations Act and the Crimes Act.

In Victoria local councils have had the right to veto their local planning departments decisions removed. Even if the local planning department disapproves of the decision (and in most cases they can't because of state government legislation) the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is able to nip any protest in the bud. If the Tribunal upholds the objection the Victorian Planning Minister can override its decision. So much for the illusion that the people make the decisions in this country.

It's about time the Trade Union Movement and local residents action groups realised that they have a lot in common. Although the last Green Bans were lifted over 20 years ago it's time both sides joined forces and reintroduced them.

Joseph Toscano/Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society.

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ANARRES BOOK CATALOG Summer 97/98, PO Box 150, East Brunswick 3057, Victoria, Australia. Email:-

BARRICADE BOOKS/INF SHOP, Catalogue Dec'97, PO Box 199, Brunswick East, 3056, Victoria, Australia. 115 Sydney Rd, Brunswick Melbourne, Australia. Email

DIRECT ACTION JAMBOREE (Newsletter), PO Box 199, East Brunswick 3057, Melbourne, Australia. Tel (03) 93876646, Email (Labour Day Weekend 6th 7th 8th March).

ARIVISTA ANARCHICA No.24 Nov'97, Editrice A, Cas Post 17120, 20170 Milano, Italy. Tel/Fax (02) 2896627.

BLACK FLAG No.212 1997, BM Hurricane, London, WCIN 3XX, England,

COMIDAD NO.97 JAN'98, Vincenzo Italiano, C/ 391, 80100 NAPOLI, Italy.

FIFTH ESTATE Vol 32 #2 (350) Fall'97, 4632 Second Ave. Detroit MI 48201, USA.

FREEDOM Vol 54 No.2 24th Jan'98, 84b Whitechapel High St, London E17QX, Great Britain email:-

LE MONDE LIBERTAIRE No.1107 22-28th Jan'98, 145 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, France. Tel 01 48053408, Fax 01 49299859

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Our debt stands at $1194.20. If you are in a position to help us eliminate this debt send a cheque or money order made out to Libertarian Workers and send it to L.W.S.S. PO Box 20 Parkville 3052 Melbourne, Australia.

Anarchist Media Institute Public Meeting - Thursday 26th February 8.00pm People Friendly Technological Innovations, Ross House 247 Flinders Lane Melbourne, Anarres bookshop will have a bookstall on the evening. - All Welcome

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Has been won by the union busting doyens of the waterfront, McGauchie Houlihan, Glare and Fels.

If You Like What You Have Read, Photocopy This Publication & Leave It In Doctors, Dentists, Vets Waiting Rooms & In Railway Stations, Bus Stops, Libraries & Restaurants Etc.

The articles in the Anarchist Age Weekly Review express the opinion of individuals within the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist Media Institute. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist Media Institute.

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     Anarchist Age Weekly Review      4 pages of Anarchist commentary on Local, National and International events.                      $50.00 for 50 issues      $10.00 for 10 issues NOTE: The Anarchist Age Monthly Review will temporarily suspend publication from August 1997 to June 1998, Issue No. 80 will appear in July 1998. Make out cheques or money orders to: Libertarian Workers, PO Box 20, Parkville, 3052 Vic

All material in the Anarchist Age Weekly Review can be used by anarchists, anarchist collectives and non-profit organisations as long as the source of the material is mentioned in the article. The Anarchist Age Weekly Review reserves all rights as far as commercial publications are concerned.


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