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Here are some links and tidbits, September 2016.

August tied July for hottest month on record.

Randall Munroe of XKCD has published a lovely little graphic explaining just how abnormal recent temperature changes have been.

It seems increasingly likely that children today will live to see a world of 4.5 degrees of warming.

4.5 degrees.

4.5 degrees. xkcd.

Anarchist Affinity have released issue four of their zine, The Platform. I’ve contributed an article, titled ‘Your consumer choices won’t save the planet‘:

Ethical consumerism is worse than useless. The false choice of “ethical consumption” gives those firms most exposed to the risks of consumer backlash a ready source of green wash, and it provides new opportunities to sell “ethical” products at higher prices. Whilst doing this, “ethical consumerism” diverts attention away from the dynamic that is destroying our environment, exploiting workers, and wasting resources.

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The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism have a forum next Tuesday entitled Making Melbourne a Hanson Free Zone, speakers include Inaz Janif, Jeff Sparrow, and Jack Latimore.

Annoying fascist slime ball Neil Erikson is apparently facing some kind of legal action. The Facebook page ‘Australian Settlers Rebellion’ (operated by Erikson and Shermon Burgess) has put up a post calling on fascists to support Erikson at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 6 March 2017, and states that Erikson has been “charged under the Communist Racial Discrimination Laws for depicting a Religious Act”.

If Erikson has been charged, then it could well relate to last year’s beheading stunt in Bendigo. Erikson was accompanied on that jaunt by Blair Cottrell, Chris Shortis, Lyndon Watson, and John Wilkinson.

Or it could be a publicity stunt with no basis in reality. Prosecutions for racial vilification are exceptionally rare, and Erikson’s name does not appear to be on the Magistrate Court list for the day in question.

Apparently some 49% of Australians support a ban on Muslim immigration. The Essential research poll is based on an ‘online panel’ of a thousand people who receive incentives to complete surveys…

None the less, the poll’s other questions about the return of Pauline Hanson to federal parliament pose a significant problem for anti-racists. 42% of respondents agreed with the statement “I agree with a lot of what Pauline Hanson says and it’s good to see her back in Parliament”. 62% of respondents agreed that “I might not personally agree with everything she says but she is speaking for a lot of ordinary Australians” and 65% agreed that “Pauline Hanson talks about issues other politicians too scared to tackle”.

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Casual academics and tutors are organising at La Trobe University. The La Trobe Casuals Collective is holding an organising workshop on October 20.

Easy Money: The Reserve Bank of Australia and the tremors in capital accumulation‘ makes for interesting reading:

Unorthodox monetary policy is like a vast anti-gravity machine that has been able to delay the day of reckoning. The cost however is that it postpones crisis today by accumulating even greater and greater sources of risk. Unorthodox monetary policy today seems to necessitate unorthodox monetary policy tomorrow. It does seem unlikely that this can go on forever…

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I have a pair of articles in issue 1 of The Platform, this on Transfield Services’ links to the Biennale of Sydney, and this on the rights fresh assault on Medicare, in particular the proposed $6 copayment.

Both articles have been reasonable well received, but totally eclipsed by Rebecca Winter’s fantastic article, Silent No Longer: Confronting Sexual Violence in the Left.

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Background info: Hunger strike at the Broadmeadows gulag

So I just spent a weekend camped outside a detention centre.sports74.ru

On more than one occasion during the weekend a supporter asked if those of us outside had any message we wanted to pass on to the hunger strikers. I was lost for words. “Stay strong”, “We’re with you” and other such sentiments all seemed grossly inadequate.

The refugee movement is a shadow of it’s former self.

As one person put it to me over the weekend, the outrage of 2001, “How could this happen here?!” has been replaced with resignation, “oh well, this happens here”.

We must clearly, unequivocally and without hesitation support every act of resistance that comes from within the camps.

The most significant, effective and important resistance to Australia’s barbaric treatment of refugees has always come from refugees, within the detention centres.

Riots, hunger strikes, burning buildings, and sewn lips demand a response, not just from the state but also from anyone with an ounce of compassion. Resistance inside the detention centres is what spurs and demands a response from supporters outside, and in turn solidarity from the outside gives confidence for stronger and repeated acts of defiance inside.

If the refugee movement in Australia is to be rebuilt, active and visible support for resistance from within detention centres must be maintained.

Perhaps there is one thing I’d liked to have passed on to the hunger strikers, “Thank you”.

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I have just spent the weekend at the vigil outside the MITA detention centre in Broadmeadows. Twenty seven refugees face their eighth day without food. They’ve politely asked the Australian government to free them or kill them.

Statement from the hunger strikers at the MITA detention centre in Broadmeadows, Melbourne:

MESSAGE FROM THE ASIO REJECTED REFUGEES AT MITA, MELBOURNE:

We are 30 people here – 25 Tamils, 2 Tamil Muslims, two Burmese and one Iranian. We have been here for three and four years. We cannot tolerate it any longer. We need to be released to save our lives.

At 2 a.m. today (Monday, April 8, 2013) we began a hunger strike together. All 30 of us plan to keep doing this until there is solution, one way or the other.

We will gather together in the grounds of the detention centre and stay there until we get a solution. If the Australian Government does not release us, we ask that they kill us mercifully.

We have painted banners as part of our protest. There is one that shows many people hanging. That is what we want to happen to us if we are not released.

People in here are jumping off the roof, they are going on hunger strikes, they are taking tablets, they are trying to hang themselves. It is a cruel and inhumane environment for everyone.

We plead with you, the Australian people, to help us. We are on the edge of life and don’t know how much longer we can stand it.

We ask Prime Minister Gillard, Immigration Minister O’Connor, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus Opposition leader Abbott and ASIO director David Irvine to stop this torture of all of us… of men, women and children, who have done nothing to warrant this cruel treatment that is destroying our minds.

We ask the authorities: You say we are a threat to this nation. So if we are such people why have they now put women and children and families in here with us? We are willing to be released into the community under strict orders if they think we are threats, which we aren’t. But whatever they want we will do.

But we can’t keep living like this. We are not in detention. We are in a cemetery. We don’t want to die. We left Sri Lanka because we fear to die. We came to Australia to live, not die. But death would be better than the life we have.

SIGNED

ASIO REJECTED REFUGEES.

Links:
Campaign Blog: MITA Hunger Strike
ABC Radio, Hunger striking Tamil refugee says he’s afraid to die
Jeff Sparrow at The Drum, Australia’s Guantanamo isn’t offshore: it’s in Melbourne

Upcoming Actions:
Ongoing, 6:30pm Nightly Vigils in solidarity with MITA hunger strike
April 16, 11:00am, Protest outside Brendan O’Conner’s Office (immigration minister)
April 28, 1:00pm, Protest at Broadmeadows Detention Centre (in solidarity with the National Convergence)

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Petrol bombs have been thrown at police and two patrol cars, a bus and buildings have been set on fire in a disturbance in Tottenham, north London. – BBC

I’m sure that London Indymedia and will have some decent left wing coverage of today’s events in the North London suburb of Tottenham in due course.

But until then, watching the mainstream capitalist press coverage of today’s events is instructive. Keep an eye out for mainstream coverage that focuses on:
 
a. the ethnicity of the demonstrators

b. their “criminality”

c. a focus on theft and “looting”

The mainstream media and the political establishment will emphasize “criminality”, promote racism, and deride claims that legitimate political grievances were at play on the streets of Tottenham today. The goal of the ruling class in these situations is to drive a wedge between those in the working class that have taken their grievances to the streets, and those who are yet to do so.

Tottenham is an immigrant working class area, there is high unemployment, and a long history of repressive Police brutality. Communities like Tottenham are the first to feel the effects of economic downturn, and face the brunt of government attacks on the working class in the form of austerity packages.

The circumstances of the catalyst are almost unimportant, community anger doesn’t just explode out of a single incident. As the UK government continues it’s campaign of austerity, expect more conflict like this in the poor working class communities.

The Clash: Guns of Brixton

 

From wikipedia:

"The Guns of Brixton" pre-dates the race riots that took place in the 1980s in Brixton but the lyrics depict the feelings of discontent that were building due to heavy-handedness of the police that led to the riots, the recession and other problems at that time.

We live in interesting times.

– Kieran.

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Read this shit. Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you’ve probably heard something about the Baillieu government’s plans to introduce $240 on the spot fines for swearing in Victoria. Before you go cuddling up to Labor in response, remember, they started it.

There is a bipartisan campaign against civil liberties in Victoria, and Ted Baillieu is John Brumby’s natural successor. If you care about any sense of freedom on our streets, perhaps you should consider participating in fuckwalk. For more info on the issue read this.

Tasering continues apace, there are now more stories about the use and misuse of tasers than I am able to even follow. Good thing they are totally safe.

Comic via NSW Police Farce.

Why not check out: Australian Police Watch, NSW Police Farce, NSW Police Crime, Victoria Cop Watch, and Sydney Cop Watch. If you know of any others to add to the list, leave a comment.

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It seems the #albchoice campaign will be ongoing, as the religious fundamentalistsramp up their picket of Albury’s Fertility Control Clinic, and supporters of women’s rights continue to campaign in it’s defense.

I’ve setup something of an unofficial campaign website (hard to have an official website for a campaign with no formal structure or leadership) at Albury Choice.org. Please share it around.

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Knives out in Victoria
In March this year Victorian Police got sweeping new powers to deal with knives. The two features of these new powers were the option to issue on the spot fines of $1000, and the power to “designate” entire areas for random searches.

Any “on the spot fine” system is fraught with risk, as Police issue penalties for matters they would have normally dealt with by other less formal means (a stern talking too for instance).


Now it’s a crime: This is no longer just a tool carried by ordinary citizens.

The fact that Police had to announce they intended to conduct random searches in an area was scant protection from the fact that the Police are now engaging in searches without the presence of a warrant or reasonable suspicion.

As Victoria heads into a state election in November this year, the law and order bidding war has only intensified.

The Victorian Government has opened the bidding by undermining a thousand years of English traditional liberty. The concept of a “warrant” has effectively been thrown out the window. All Police need to do is say they are looking for a knife.

According to Vic Police media:

From 22 August 2010
You can be searched for knives in a public place anywhere, anytime, with and without notice.

The Victorian opposition leader Ted Baillieu would go even further and enlist doctors and school principals into the ranks of the police state. This idiot would give school principals search powers, and mandate the reporting of stab wounds by doctors.

Are teachers educators, or police? Increasingly they are little different police. The relationship between educators and students from disadvantaged backgrounds will be further eroded.

As for Doctors, mandatory reporting injury types has always posed a health risk. Doctor patient confidentiality is a cornerstone of our health system. Surely we don’t want anyone not seeking treatment for a knife wound because they fear their doctor will contact the police.

And what justifies all this nonsense? The rate of knife crime in the state of Victoria has remained steady for a decade.

Electoral Enrollment
The 2006 Howard government changes to the federal electoral act have of course been
struck down by the High Court. The then conservative government wasn’t too keen on young people voting, and the changes made it less likely they young people would be enrolled to vote in time for an election.

Victoria’s electoral act has recently changed in the opposite direction. Automatic enrollment.

The Victorian Electoral Commission will now automatically enroll high school students to vote on their eighteenth birthday. It will use information at the disposal of the education department to do this.

If voting is to be compulsory in Australia, this seems rational enough. But I am, as always, concerned when information gathered by the government for one purpose is used for another.

In good news:
The filter is looking pretty dead. Especially when after July 1 2011, the Greens will hold a solid balance of power in the Senate.

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He was cooked to death in the back of a prison van. Neither the negligent white prison guards, nor the cost cutting private prison company responsible for his death will have to answer for it.

From the ABC:

No charges to be laid over prison van death
Western Australia’s Director of Public Prosecutions has informed the widow of an Aboriginal elder who died in a scorching prison van in 2008 that the officers involved in his death will not be charged.

In 1992 the Australian crime thriller Deadly told the story of a white vidmate cop sent to cover up the death of a black man in an outback community. In that delightful piece of utter fiction, the copper gave a damn, and set about finding out ‘the truth’.

In 2010, we just throw money at the widow and tell her where to shove justice.

Ngaanyatjarraku Shire president Damien McLean says the DPP told Mrs Ward in person that the prospect of a conviction – given all of the facts – was non-existent.

The Ward family received a $200,000 interim ex-gratia payment from the State Government following Mr Ward’s death.

By way of comparison, when a white man is wrongfully locked up, he’s a good shot at a few million dollars.

At least there was a coronial inquest. I suspect the heroic actions of a few people of Palm Island contributed to that.

Palm Islander's worked together to deter future black deaths in custody.

If there was such a thing as justice, the charge for those who killed Mr Ward would be criminally negligent manslaughter.

“In order to establish manslaughter by criminal negligence, it is sufficient if the prosecution shows that the act which caused the death was done by the accused consciously and voluntarily, without any intention of causing death or grievous bodily harm but in circumstances which involved such a great falling short of the standard of care which a reasonable man would have exercised and which involved such a high risk that death or grievous bodily harm would follow that the doing of the act merited criminal punishment.”

Hows this for a possible manslaughter by criminal negligence prosecution?

In a small community in the Western Australian desert, on a day where temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Celsius, two white prison guards working for a private prison contractor, locked an over weight 36 year old aboriginal man in a tin can for four hours.

They knew that the required air conditioning was not working, and that the monitoring camera was not working.

They did not perform required checks, allow required stops, or provide required water. He sustained third degree burns as the temperature of the metal exceeded 56 degrees, and died.

Of course, in this country a white jury would never convict. Townsville confirmed that.

In such circumstances, the Palm Island example seems perfectly legitimate. Perhaps there’s a private prison company who should double check the sprinkler system at their corporate offices? We can only hope.

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Welcome to Police State Blues, a monthly digest focusing on the erosion of civil liberties and the criminalization of dissent in Australia.

Net filter
Gizmodo Australia has launched a campaign calling on new Prime Minister Julia Gillard to replace Communications minister Stephen Conroy with Kate Lundy in her expected cabinet reshuffle.

Gizmodo like Lundy because of her previous work as shadow Minister for IT, and because she has spoken out against a compulsory filtering regime.

But don’t get your hopes up. In her first round of interviews, Gillard said she wanted to “combat the alarming emergence of raunch culture”. She may see continuing Rudd’s war on the Internet as a way of pursuing this aim.

War on the Poor
Queensland’s Premier has announced a new “on the spot fine” regime for “public nuisance”. QUT law lecturer Peter Black initially supported the move, it would free up the QLD magistrates court, but then realised his mistake:

I was looking at it from my privileged point of view – if I was to be charged with a public nuisance offence – instead of from the perspective of the least privileged members of society. I now think it could be easily abused by police who could issue on the spot fines to members of the community who may www.chicagobearsjerseyspop.com not necessarily be aware of their legal rights to challenge the fine in the Magistrates Court.

And what is “public nuisance” exactly? Well that’s the astounding criminal activity VOLLEYBALL of swearing in public, or otherwise annoying the police.

Bye bye Freedom of Association
It seems increasingly likely that South Australia’s “anti bikie” Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Act will be emasculated or even overturned in a coming High Court decision.

The High Court is hearing a challenge to a control order imposed on Sandro Totani, a member of the Finks Motocycle Club. New Chief Justice Robert French has described the control order regime as “draconian”.

It’s amazing the unity that external oppression can bring to a sub-culture. The fractious “outlaw” motorcycle clubs continue to campaign under the banner of their united front, the United Motorcycle Councils of Australia.

In this youtube video they compare the actions of Australian state governments to those of early Nazi germany and apartheid South Africa:

Normally I would call Godwin’s law, but at least the apartheid comparison is apt. The similarities between the South Australia and New South Wales anti-bikie laws bear striking resemblance to apartheids infamous “ban” laws.

A key aspect of the The Bikie laws has been the notion of “criminal intelligence”, or secret evidence. “Criminal intelligence” as a concept started to creep into Australian law in 2004, through so-called “anti-terror” 15 legislation. Now you can find it everywhere, even in liquor licensing!

Many of the laws hinge on so-called criminal intelligence: material that can be relied on by police and government but kept secret from the people it’s used against on the grounds that its disclosure may jeopardise an operation or expose an informer.

What they call criminal intelligence can be notes by an officer, their personal views, speculation, or world! it can be information from an unidentified informant [who] might have an interest in saying something damaging about another person.

“It’s the most unreliable information you can have. It’s the kind of information that would never usually be allowed in court.”

Sally Neighbour has the story. Unfortunately the High Court is unlikely to completely reject the notion of secret evidence, in light of previous decisions upholding various pieces of “anti-terror” legislation.

Snippets

There’s now a CrimeStoppers iPhone app, reminds me of this piece of graffiti for some reason.

Four peace activists arrested for trespass at the Swan Island base have been freed. Nine more have been arrested.

Ark Tribe’s case has been adjourned again, and is due to resume on the 22nd of July. The CFMEU are threatening nationwide strike action if Tribe is convicted. I suggest locating your nearest CFMEU active site, and heading on down to support any strike action if and when Tribe is convicted.

Melbourne Black has published an interesting history of squat campaigns in Melbourne.

Next Issue
The next issue is due to be posted on the 25th of July. Get your submissions in early!

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