Dr Jo Toscano Anarchist Age Media Review 1st February 2012
The usual suspects
It didn't take long for the usual suspects to start frothing at the mouth at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy protesting at Abbott's remarks Aboriginal's should move on from the politics that led to the establishment of the Tent Embassy in 1972 that inadvertently caught up the Prime Minister and her bumbling security detail.
Led by the hypocrites in the corporate owned media who love dishing it out to anyone who strays from the pre-determined Australia (Invasion) Day script, who refuse to let one new flower bloom in their round up censored gardens. Egged on by reactionary shock jocks in corporate owned radio and television land who use nationalism as their moral fig leaf and a public cudgel to put everybody who doesn't envelope themselves in the Australian flag on Invasion Day in their place. Followed at the rear by the government gelded ABC who are too frightened to say boo!! to a Mickey Mouse cardboard cut out Australians were subjected to the same predictable, one dimensional, boring, inane, myopic analysis of the Canberra disturbances.
What type of people celebrate their national day on the day they began violently dispossessing a people that had lived here for over 40,000 years? What type of people refuse to acknowledge the crimes of a colonial past that can easily be equated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to the Nazi holocaust? What type of people refuse to enter into meaningful negotiations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to right the wrongs of the past and begin a journey towards reconciliation based on justice, not charity?
It's time we grew up and let a thousand flowers bloom in the commentary following the Canberra disturbances so we can, 224 years later, lance a festering carbuncle that is poisoning all of us.
How would you feel?
How would you feel if on Anzac Day the Prime Minister in waiting told you to get on with it and stop mourning those who had died fighting for this country? You'd feel angry. How would you feel if he then told you he would dismantle the Australian War Memorial in Canberra when he assumed power? You'd feel very angry. Before we start frothing at the mouth about a few hundred indigenous Australians and their supporters from the Tent Embassy venting their spleen at the Opposition Leader's ill-timed foolish remarks about tearing down the Tent Embassy in Canberra if he assumes power, let's talk a deep breath and look at what's happening.
On Invasion Day, 26th January 2012, indigenous Australians and their supporters from around the country had come to Canberra to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. The Tent Embassy has, over the past four decades, been a potent visible national symbol of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders' struggles for justice in a land and among a people who have fought tooth and nail to deny the brutality of the colonisation process and refused to enter into meaningful negotiations with indigenous Australians about reconciliation based on justice, not charity.
The response provoked by Abbott's ignorant remarks that those involved in the Tent Embassy celebrations should move on and the Tent Embassy be closed down, has once again highlighted how unfit Abbott is to be Prime Minister of this country. The sooner Malcolm Turnbull makes a renewed bid for the Liberal Party Leadership, the sooner all Australians will be able to deal with the unfinished business that still exists (224 years after the colonisation process began) between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Macho man comes a cropper
While the media is abuzz with stories about how the Prime Minister lost her shoe as she was bundled out of a Canberra restaurant by the keystone cops, the man who started the ruckus gets away scott free. Tony Abbott, leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, pugilist extraordinaire, has once again demonstrated he has a glass jaw.
Instead of confronting a few hundred Tent Embassy protestors who had descended on the restaurant when the protestors heard their nemesis - the man who had told them to move on was there, he chose to run out of the Canberra restaurant hiding behind a woman's skirt. Instead of telling the protestors he would not tear down the Aboriginal Tent Embassy if he became Prime Minister and that when he stated they should move on he was only suggesting it's time to move on from the type of politics the Aboriginal Tent Embassy represents, he chose to accept the Prime Minister's invitation to hide behind her skirt and make a dash for it with the keystone cop security brigade who obviously overreacted to the threat posed by the protestors.
Tony Abbott was in a position to defuse the confrontation. He was responsible for the dog whistling that provoked the confrontation. He could have chosen to defuse the situation. Instead he chose to put the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in an undignified and untenable position. The Opposition Leader has demonstrated once again he doesn't have the ticker or the courage to be Prime Minister. The sooner Malcolm Turnbull rolls him as Opposition Leader, the sooner the divisive, dangerous take no prisoner political message Abbott promotes will no longer fan the flames of intolerance and hatred in this country.
The problem isn't as outlined in the Herald Sun editorial (25/1) that Australians celebrate their national identity, the problem is the day they celebrate their national identity on. The French celebrate their national identity on the 14th July, the day in 1789 they overthrew the French Monarchy. The American's celebrate their national identity on the 4th July, the day in 1776 they won the American war of Independence against the British. The people of India celebrate their national identity on the same day as Australians, the 26th January the day in 1949 they finally declared their independence from Britain.
Australians celebrate their national identity on the day a penal colony was established at Port Jackson in 1788 and a colonisation process began that saw the violent dispossession of people who had lived on this continent for over 40,000 years. I'm pretty confident most of those Australians who currently celebrate their national identity on the 26th January wouldn't be celebrating on the day the Japanese Imperial Forces invaded Australia if the Japanese had won the Second World War and colonised Australia.
We need to celebrate our national identity on a day Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, migrants and those born in this country can be proud of. One day that we can all be proud of is Mabo Day. On the 3rd June 1992 the Australian High Court found indigenous Australians had rights to land in Australian law because of their prior occupation of this land. Celebrating Australia Day on the 3rd June would go a long way towards overcoming the reservations an increasing number of Australians have about celebrating our identity as a people on Invasion Day, the 26th January.
Outflanking the radicals
The Egyptian revolution is a classical example of what happens when radicals strive to achieve parliamentary rule. The parliamentary elections which have just finished in Egypt have handed victory as expected to Islamist forces. The Muslim Brotherhood snared over 51% of the vote while one in five voted for a fundamentalist party that makes the Mullahs in Teheran look like reformists.
The rest of the vote was shared by leftist parties and the people who had taken to the streets to achieve change. The Islamic forces kept their powder dry during the upheaval allowing the liberal minded young to do the fighting and the dying while they concentrated on the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Revolution is about radical change not parliamentary elections. Any revolutionary force that puts all its eggs in the parliamentary basket is doomed to fail. Revolution is about people directly making decisions, not giving power back to representatives. The revolutionary's role in a time of upheaval is to encourage people into organising into street, community and workplace committees that take part in the decision making processes and re-distribute wealth. The incorporation of people into committees and collectives widens the debate about power and gives people the opportunity to establish a dual power situation. Such a tactic cements the committee and the collective as the organ of power. It radicalises people and frees them from the talons of political parties that want to obtain power through the ballot box or seize power with the rifle.
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