29 Sept 2006

Australia is based on expropriating and making money out of farming, blowing up, mining and building ugly houses on places sacred to other peoples. But in the process, Australia has generated its own sacred places. A few of these are overseas, places like Anzac Cove . . . and Kokoda, which is in Papua New Guinea, decolonised by Australia 31 years ago. Despite this fact, which one might think made this no-one's fucking business by the Papuans', John Howard has stuck his oar in claiming that, while PNG may be an independent country, he can categorically make statements about what will happen there.

Paraphrase of PNG's response: "We would never do anything to enrage our heavily-armed imperialist overlords."

Paraphrase of ALP's response: "Anyone would think we're a bunch of fairies the way Howard kowtows to these darkies."

28 Sept 2006

I have still to tidy up and post my thoughts on the Steve-Irwin-death phenomenon, but last night I was appalled when I channel-surfed into the interview with his widow.

The Channel 9 interviewer was putting this extraordinary question to her: "They say that behind every strong man is a strong woman. Can this you remain strong without your strong man?"

Unbelievable. He starts by citing a platitude which in fact runs completely contrary to his line of inquiry, viz. are you, Terri Irwin, going to go nuts? Because, yeah, strong women, whatever, but ultimately if you haven't got a bloke around, and frankly part of Irwin's charm was that he behaved more or less like a nine-year-old, you're in the shit.

The widow Irwin replied straightforwardly, in the only way one could, by saying "I have no choice but to carry on!" Damn straight. If she does manage to deal with this loss, and I certainly think she is more than capable, it will be no thanks to this moronic prat. Where are all the journalists who tore into Germaine Greer about her insensitivity about this suit's utter cluelessness?

27 Sept 2006

Sinister Australian federal agency logos

I pointed out last year how incredibly sinister the then DIMIA's logo was. They don't use it a lot anymore, and will of course have jettisoned the old stationary etc when they changed to being DIMA, but I did find this instance via Google image search:

Yes, Australia, a writhing, twisting mass of human bodies. That's the Department of Immigration and Mulitcultural Affairs so you know. Yes.

Today, I noticed how sinister the Australian Tax Office's logo is:

Like every organisation, from the federal government to self-employed plumbers, in this country, the ATO feels the need not only to add the word 'Australian' to its name – I always like to point out that there is no need for this, since no-one's going to confuse what Tax Office they are – they, like DIMIA, have a logo in the shape of Australia.

Does one really want the ATO to represent Australia in this way? A jagged continent, hewn out of angular, bureaucratic letters, it is the perfect representation of the bureaucratisation of a landmass. This of course is perfectly appropriate for the ATO. Less appropriate is the fact that the twisted shapes of the letters put one in mind of thrash metal band logos. In particular, the initial A reminds me of the initial A of the Anthrax logo:

Read Jeff Sparrow's the global war on witches, a convincing comparative study of the early modern European witch craze and the current 'war on terror'.

The WOT is of course a persecution of Muslims. This seems to make it different from the witch trials. Of course, witch trials were partly about cultural and religious non-conformity. One could indeed argue that they were in reaction precisely to the Muslim threat at that time – gates of Vienna and all that.

18 Sept 2006

The Australian far left blogosphere today

When I started this blog, it was in part to correct what I perceived to be an absence of far-left perspectives on Australia in the blogosphere, and moreover, in the light of Australia's invasion of the Solomon Islands and East Timor, a general lack of dedicated analysis of Australia in the blogosphere full stop.

Political blogging at this stage was somewhat-accurately summed up on the Melburnian paean to ressentiment, The Spin Starts Here. As you might expect from apolitical jesters, they manage to characterise the economically-far-right Catallaxy as 'centrist'. Nevertheless, political blogging in Australia seemed to run the gamut from far right to centre left, without the far left bloggers that exist in other countries. The lone serious left voice (I don't count myself, because my blogging never exhibited sustained seriousness) was Evan Jones' Alert and Alarmed. As a one-man and quite understated operation, I felt it wasn't enough.

Since starting this blog, however, welcome new forces in the blogosphere have emerged. The most recent is the mostly-Marxist leftwrites, which has some real star names on it and basically great analysis, atlhough is broad enough to have somewhat-variable quality. Another force, though not technically a blog, which started up shortly before this blog, though I wasn't yet aware of it, is the Labor Tribune.

Still, I see us as doing complementary and not overly-overlapping work with these other blogs. While lw is made up of Australian voices looking at the world, we are, thus far, non-Australian voices talking about Australia per se. LT is closer to us here, but like lw is much more heteroclite tha we are, offering a forum for debate. While Mike and I have different perspectives, my aim is not to provide a forum for debate per se, but rather to produce a coherent critique. And that's why I'm still keeping this blog simmering and still hoping it will build.

13 Sept 2006

In Afghanistan, Australian troops kill 150 natives and suffer no fatalities.

In the Solomons, the Australian proconsul 'high comissioner' is expelled; Alexander Downer makes ominous noises about corruption.

What the hell kind of 'battle' achieves a 150:0 kill ratio? Sounds like a massacre to me. I'm sure they'd have us believe that the fuzzy-wuzzies charged the Australian troops brandishing scimitars screaming wildly, believing that magic would protect them while the Aussies mowed them down in self-defence. Alternatively, the figures are just made up.

And can't you see that exercising national sovereignty is the pure inverse of corruption? If there is so much corruption, it should be a doddle for Australia, and a fortiori Australian mining interests, to get the country to do their bidding?