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Work for the Dole: Remote communities to be twice as screwed

2014 December 6
by kieran

This is a disgusting and self evidently racist attack on Aboriginal peoples in remote communities.

From the ABC:

Job seekers in remote communities will face tougher rules than those in the city under a new work-for-the-dole program, as the Government tries to end “sit-down welfare”.

The Federal Government’s new scheme will force job seekers aged 18 to 49 to do work-for-the-dole activities for up 25 hours a week.

Nearly 30,000 people living in remote communities will have to work five days a week, 12 months a year under the program, to start in July next year.

The scheme already running in selected city and regional areas requires job seekers to take part for only six months a year.

The idea of “job seeking” in remote communities is absurd. This is a policy that will either lock indigenous people in remote areas into permanent service to the government, or force them out of their communities and off their lands.

Forced labour, or be driven from your lands. I imagine our government would be reasonably happy with either outcome.

From the Archives: Unemployment Action, December 1985.

2014 December 6

December 1985 issue of Unemployement Action, paper of the Unemployment Workers Union in Launceston. Click to download PDF.

December 1985 issue of Unemployement Action, paper of the Unemployment Workers Union in Launceston. Click to download PDF.

This weeks document is the December 1985 issue of Unemployment Action, the newspaper of the Unemployed Workers Union in Launceston, Tasmania.

This document was located in the archives of the Melbourne Anarchist Club, along with a variety of material from the Unemployed Workers Union in Victoria, which I hope to share more of later.

The document highlights struggles around changes in the way the dole was paid, job search requirements, and interactions with a HR representative at local chain store. Of particular interest today is it’s focus on the first iteration of Work for the Dole in Australia and criticism of the now ubiquitous traineeship scheme.

Download a pdf of Unemployment Action, Dec 1985, here.

I’ve typed up one article from the issue below:

75,000 Unemployed to be Conscripted into Contract Labour ‘Work for Dole’ Scheme

The Launceston U.W.U. will continue to campaign against youth ‘Traineeships’, in their present form, until we are assured that they are not going to be used as a cheap labour scheme to reduce unemployment statistics without creating any jobs.

The campaign to date has consisted of gathering information and informing the community & trade unions of th reality behind the federal government’s public relations hype. We have campaigned publically through radio, T.V. and the newspapers, as well as attending conferences and meetings. As the truth has sunk in, the oppositions to traineeships has steadily mounted.

When the State A.L.P. announced their support for traineeships, we met with Wriedt and Michael Field (Emploument spokesperson) to outline our concerns. It was not a pleasant meeting as we found outselves being abused and lavelled as bludgers. We were shocked at the lack of information and forethought that had gone into adopting traineeships as part of their employment policy.

Attendance at the national youth workers conference in Orford in October also proved to be frustrating. The Dep’t of Employment & Industrial Relations had sent a top level bureaucrat, Chris O’Conner, to defuse any opposition from youth workers to traineeships. O’Conner visible related and moved out of prominence when these welfaries, unable to gain any consensus for or against traineeships, moved onto ‘safe’ ground of aiming to get themselves onto traineeship committees. As well he would, their representation on such committees merely adds credibility to traineeships and defuses opposition. Unemployed workers were sold out by the welfare sector yet again. They refused to even discuss what demands their representatives should make.

However, much has been achieved in the last 3 months. The welfaries are now running to maintain their credibility and a number of trade unions are taking up their responsibilities to safeguard their members and act with unemployed workers to counter this current attack

Concerned community groups and Unions, including the Liquour Trades, Miscellaneous workers, A.C.O.A. and the T.T.L.C. have published a leaflet about traineeships which has been distributed through CES offices and schools. Aimed at school-leavers, it gives some of the information that the Government left out of it’s glossy 6 page brochure.

A.C.O.A. members also voted to place bans on traineeships in nearly all C.E.S. offices in Tasmania until the Government agreed to;
* 100% additionality
* payment of full award wages.

Bans were also placed in C.E.S. offices in Sth Aust. and Q’land, until the national executive of the union ordered that the bans be removed.

The State Council of the metalworkers union has supported the U.W.U.’s objections to the traineeships and expressed it’s opposition to the Fed. Gov’t. And one of the key unions, the Shop Distributive & Allied Industries Employees Union has refused to have anything to do with traineeships, saying they are inappropriate for their industry.

BY Killer Buckley.

From the Archives is an irregular series of posts where I share primary source material I have located whilst researching the history of anarchism and related politics in Melbourne and Australia.

Bonus!

Chris Hurley is still walking around with a badge and a gun

2014 December 4
by kieran

On the morning of 19 November 2004 Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley arrested Mulrunji Doomadgee. Hurley took Doomagee to a cell. By 11:30am Doomagee was dead.

There are many people who still believe Mulrunji Doomadgee’s singing of the reggae song “Who Let the Dogs Out” to senior sergeant Chris Hurley simply cut too close to the bone. Less than an hour after being placed in a cell the 36-year-old was dead – with his liver almost split in two, four broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, severe bruising to his head and a torn portal vein. – National Indigenous Times, reproduced on TreatyRepublic.net

To this day Chris Hurley remains an officer in Queensland Police, and if the following is to be believed, he still doesn’t take kindly to behind taunted or sworn at.

From today’s Courier Mail:

THE police officer acquitted of manslaughter over a high-­profile Palm Island death in custody case has been questioned in court over his use of force against a man who allegedly swore at him on the Gold Coast.

Luke Cole is accused of assaulting Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley after swearing at him from a car in Robina on November 15 last year, but Cole alleges the police officer put him in a “choke hold” before he was even told he was under arrest.

Ten years after the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee, Chris Hurley still walks or streets, armed with a badge and a gun.

Fergusen really isn’t that far away.

Update

Gold Coast Bulletin 5 December 2014, ‘Cop Chris Hurley did not have reason to put a Gold Coast man in chokehold during scuffle: Court‘:

A COURT has found a police officer was acting outside his duties when he pushed a man up against a car and choked him on the Gold Coast.

Magistrate Kerry Magee told the court she considered aspects of Snr Sgt Hurley’s story lacked credibility or were implausible.

Ms Magee said there was no reason for the police officer to demand Mr Cole get out of the car and said he had no warrant to arrest him.

“This is at a point where he hadn’t even asked the defendant his name,” she said.

Ms Magee questioned Snr Sgt Hurley’s explanation that his hand “slipped” up to Cole’s neck and did not accept the claim that Cole came at the police officer aggressively.

She said Cole showed a “reasonable response to the assault upon him” when he pushed Snr Sgt Hurley.

Not the first time that a member of the judicuary has pointed out that evidence given by Chris Hurley lacked credibility:

Senior Sergeant Hurley did respond to Mulrunji’s punch by himself punching Mulrunji. I am satisfied that this was somewhere to the body area rather than to the head and occurred as the two men struggled outside the station. I reject Senior Sergeant Hurley’s denial as untruthful.

I conclude that these actions of Senior Sergeant Hurley caused the fatal injuries.

From Inquest into the death of Mulrunji, Ms Christine Clements, Acting State Coroner, Coroners Court of Townsville and Palm Island, 2006.

This man is still walking around with a badge and a gun.

River of Tears – Kev Carmody

From the Archives: DissenterLink – an IWW pamphlet circa 1999

2014 November 30

DissenterLink #2, published by the IWW Melbourne branch circa 1999. Click image to download pdf.

DissenterLink #2, published by the IWW Melbourne branch circa 1999. Click image to download pdf.

After a long hiatus, it’s time for another post in my irregular series, From the Archives!

This weeks item is a newsletter distributed to dole claimants by the Melbourne branch of the Industrial Workers of the World circa 1999. DissenterLink #2 is a a fun little pamphlet that focuses on the Howard government’s introduction of “Work for the Dole”.

It’s content is particularly relevant in light of the Abbott government’s renewed push in this area. I’d be interested if any one reading this who was involved in the IWW in Melbourne back in 1999 could offer some more background on this pamphlet, how it was received, and the campaign against the implementation of “Work for the Dole” back in 1999.

Contents:

‘Hassle the Work for the Dole poverty pimps’, a Darwin correspondent
‘How to Work the Job Network’, A Job Network insider
‘Bullets Not Words’, J. Tomlinson
‘Work-for-the-dole in the real world’, unsigned
‘Work for the dole crap set to continue’, unsigned
‘Why Work For The Dole Schemes Still Suck’, unsigned
‘Mutual Obligation’, Geoff Francis and Peter Hicks.

Thanks to comrade LB for scanning the pamphlet. I’ve put it together in a PDF you can download here (pdf).

Update: After uploading this pamphlet I discovered that Reason in Revolt has a copy of what appears to be Issue 1 of DissenterLink.

A Call Out

Do you have mouldy old piles of pamphlets, leaflets, or other anarchist or far left propaganda? I want! If you have old propaganda to offload, or if you have a collection I could take a scanner to, get in touch.

Bonus!

Join the Melbourne Golden Dawn “welcoming committee”

2014 November 10

After months of rumours and false starts, there is now reliable information that Golden Dawn MEP Giorgos Epitideios will be in Australia and holding events in Melbourne and Sydney, 16-20 November.

SEE: The Guardian, Golden Dawn: far right Greek party members pay ‘stealth visit’ to Australia, “Two members plan to raise money and meet local supporters in Sydney and Melbourne this week”.

Golden Dawn is a violent fascist organisation in Greece, that has attempted to build support in the Greek diaspora community in Australia and around the world. This tour of Australia comes at a key time for Golden Dawn, and opposing them now is critical.

As a fascist organisation Golden Dawn has its roots in the military dictatorship of 1967-1974, but until recently they have been at most a marginal political force. In 2012 they capitalised on the the waves of anger and discontent at mainstream Greek politics in 2012 to win 18 seats in the Greek Parliament. Their violent apparatus has close links with the repressive apparatus of the Greek state, and is renowned for it’s violent attacks on immigrants, the workers movement, anarchists, left groups, and the queer community.

The Greek state has subsequently turned on Golden Dawn:

Golden Dawn (GD), as we knew it, is over. Their leader N. Michaloliakos is behind bars, along with other prominent members, while those who survived the first purge are facing added charges that emerged a few days after the first arrests. While this was happening, a number of their offices around Greece have closed down, the state funding they received has been stopped, and reports indicate that many of their members (ex or current) are forming lines outside the High Court to testify against the organization.

For an analysis of the how and why check out When the state turns antifa.

Golden Dawn is on the defensive in Greece, and as such is seeking support abroad. Golden Dawn MEP Giorgos Epitideios, a former general, is in Australia as part of a respectability campaign.

Within Greece, Golden Dawn want to be able to claim that they have support from the Greek diaspora, and that they’re seen as respectable internationally.

Within Australia they want to pitch to the Greek community, in particular to organise funding to offset the losses they have suffered following the attacks on their organisation in Greece.

A solid, public and overwhelming rejection of these fascists in Australia would send a strong message of support to anti-fascists in Greece, would harm fascist propaganda in Greece, and would prevent these violent thugs organising among the fringes of the diaspora community.

A Welcoming Committee

Information is being disseminated through the No to Golden Dawn in Melbourne facebook page and twitter account. The event page Disrupt and Dismantle Welcome Collective will be updated to the address and dates of Golden Dawn events in Australia as information comes to hand.

A statement condemning Golden Dawn has been signed by ten Australian trade unions including the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, the Communications Workers Unions, the Community and Public Sector Union, the Construction and General Division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), the Maritime Union of Australia, the National Tertiary Education Union, the National Union of Workers and the Textile, and the Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia.

A call to action will be issued by the No to Golden Dawn in Melbourne group in the coming days.

What Needs to Happen

The Golden Dawn events in Melbourne are already appropriately infiltrated. The time and location of the planned events is expected to be released at very short notice, at some point between 16 and 20 November.

Anyone who cares about opposing fascists in Australia and in Greece should prepare to respond in this time frame. In order to oppose and disrupt Golden Dawn in Australia, we need to muster hundreds of opponents of fascism at a particular location in the Melbourne area at short notice.

Make ready in your organisations, unions, and community groups. Keep an active watch on the No to Golden Dawn events and facebook page. Tell everyone you know about this, spread the word that these dimwits are coming and we are going to drive them away. When Golden Dawn attempt to show their heads in our city, let’s drown them out, break them up, and drive them out.

– Kieran.

The Greens have forgotten housing

2014 November 2
by kieran

Renters in Victoria are being wrung dry by rising rents and insecure tenancies. One million of us rent. 24% of us experience “housing stress”; we fall in the bottom 40% of households by income and we’re spending more than 30% of what little we have on keeping a roof over our heads (link).

And it keeps getting worse. Every six months landlords and real estate agents hit us with “pay more or we’ll inflict the cost and trauma of seeking new accomodation on you”.

Higher rents for shorter leases, lower wages for casual hours... You better not get sacked, you better not get evicted...

Higher rents for shorter leases, lower wages for casual hours… You better not get sacked, you better not get evicted…

Ben Schneiders writes in today’s Sunday Age:

The forgotten people, Victoria’s 1 million renters
There are about 1 million Victorians who rent in a system that is heavily weighted towards the interests of landlords and has become steadily less affordable …

The interests of renters are unlikely to attract much attention in this state election campaign. When housing has received a mention in recent state and federal campaigns it has tended to focus on the woes of first home buyers – not renters.

For the working class in Victoria, every tenancy is precarious. For the landlords and real estate agent scum, any working class tenant who is not in housing stress should be paying more.

But The Greens reckon they haven’t overlooked housing. Trent McCarthy was quick to get a media release out this morning, “The Greens haven’t forgotten Northcote’s renters“:

The Greens introduced legislation into Parliament only a few months back that would have removed the ability for landlords to evict tenants without giving a lawful reason. And it would have required all rental properties to pass a ‘roadworthy’ – to meet basic standards in relation to repair, comfort, safety, facilities and energy efficiency.

It’s piss weak rubbish.

The Greens are not credible on housing. A “house roadworthy” and energy efficient requirements will not lower rents. On the contrary, these measures would drive rent increases and do little if anything to improve the quality of housing stock. They would create a lovely little market in house roadworthy certification.

Removing the ability of landlords to evict renters without cause would be a minor step in the right direction, but it is rendered meaningless in a world of six month leases. The six month lease cycle is a key weapon in the landlords campaign to squeeze the working class.

When it comes to affordability, it seems the only people The Greens are serious about are artists, their Arts and Culture policy calls for:

The provision of low rent working spaces for practising artists in under-utilised buildings.

If The Greens took renters seriously they’d have some serious housing policy. Security of housing in rental is abysmal. A real demand would be that once leased, tenants should be secure from eviction indefinitely.

Once you’re in a house, price increases are the real bastard. A real demand would be for serious price controls and strict limitation on increases during tenancy.

Choice.com.au shows how Australian rental conditions compare.

Choice.com.au shows how Australian rental conditions compare.

But neither price controls nor greater security of tenancy address the fact that housing is a basic human need. Access to housing should hostage to private landlords, who operating through a few real estate agents are practically a cartel arraigned against the working class.

As workers and renters we should demand a right to secure, cheap and comfortable housing. We should demand the kind of investment in social housing, democratically self-controlled social housing, that could give the working class a bloody alternative to the cutthroat antics of the private rental market.

Bonus! Lets Hang the Landlord!

Selling a PUP: The astute political analysis of The Saturday Paper

2014 April 6

Don't let media billionaire Rupert Murdoch tell you what to think, let real estate millionaire Morry Schwartz guide you instead!

Don’t let media billionaire Rupert Murdoch tell you what to think, let real estate millionaire Morry Schwartz guide you instead!

In yesterday morning’s The Saturday Paper, as Western Australia went to the polls in a Senate election rerun, Mark Seccombe asked just what kind of voter “can you sell a PUP”.

He spun us a tale of a dwindling number of older, less educated, and unemployed white males, duped by a billionaire’s extravagant advertising spend. The Palmer vote in 2013 was an outlier, after a poor showing in the Tasmanian state election it was clear that the Palmer United Party would struggle to make 4%. The not so subtle message was that the Palmer voters who remained where dupes, unemployed, under educated, older and angry.

Last night the Palmer United Party won 12.49% of the vote, 7.48% more than in the federal election last year.

Seccombe’s article is fascinating, largely because of where it appears. The Saturday Paper is has been marketed as “a newspaper without the Murdoch”. The assumption that underlies it is that the failure of the social democratic left in this country has been due to the nefarious influence of an all-powerful Rupert Murdoch, and a working class stupid enough to believe him.

What passes for Australian social democracy has a convenient scapegoat in Murdoch. Why did Labor rush to the right? Murdoch. Why do governments torment refugees? They’re appealing to stupid racists who believe Murdoch. Why did the Gillard government fail? Murdoch and stupid people. Why haven’t the Greens broken through into the mainstream? The evil Murdoch monster tells lies.

When confronted with a phenomena like Clive Palmer, how does this “left” understand him? He’s a rich man duping stupid people, and there is nothing else going on that we have to understand.

There is something else going on. The failures of Australian social democracy are not due to some all-powerful media baron, or that Australians are simply too stupid to understand that the left are correct. Rather, Australian social democracy fails because of its total disconnect from the reality of the Australian working class, and its own lack of political content.

Clive Palmer’s success yesterday means something, and explaining it is important to understanding what is going on. The two explanations that the mainstream left will offer are wrong. Clive Palmer did not buy the vote, advertising spend does not determine the course of an election, if it did he would have won far more than 12.49% of the vote. And the Australian working class is not stupid. Formal tertiary education is not some indicator of intelligence (especially when you look at what the Australian edufactory produces), and the Australian working class did not somehow acquire some form of stupidity recently that it did not have when those darlings of the current left, Whitlam, Hawke and Keating, were elected.

Don’t get me wrong, Clive Palmer is a joke. He is a self-interested dinosaur-building Titanic-raising coal-mining billionaire. But this isn’t some secret. 12.49% of Western Australians voted for him even though he is a joke. The vote for Clive Palmer is an indication of growing disillusionment. When faced with the vacuous circus that is Australian politics, 12.49% of Western Australians consider a joke like Clive Palmer the better alternative.

The mainstream left will nash their teeth. But for the radical left, this is actually a good sign. Parliament is a farce. Our democracy is a sham. The parliamentary process does not serve the interests of the Australian working class. Evidence that the legitimacy of authority of the official political process is being slowly eroded should be welcomed.

Further Reading:

Tad Tietze at Left Flank:

The rise of PUP in WA, winning 12.5 percent of the vote has again wrong-footed mainstream and Left observers. Most still seem to think that attacking Palmer’s economically undeliverable promises will expose him as a fraud. Or that damning him for using (his own) corporate cash to win votes will reveal him to have no real support. Or that his erratic anti-politician persona, complete with scathing vitriol directed at the established parties, will simply show he is not to be taken seriously. Or, finally, that his status as a member of the business elite will repel people, as soon as people wake up to it. All these views miss what is happening, because in fact political attacks only increase the anti-political appeal of operators like Palmer. It confirms to voters that the insular, self-obsessed political class and its media lapdogs are simply trying to shore up their own interests against the threat he poses. After all, these same politicos don’t blink when the established parties makes promises they don’t intend to keep, amass corporate money for their campaigns, ridicule their opponents, and get entitled about their entitlements. Palmer’s success is a reflection of the disdain for politics that is the defining feature of the political situation today, and his nasty anti-democratic side matters little when voters see the sick state of actually existing democracy.

A couple of articles in a new anarchist publication, The Platform

2014 March 20
by kieran

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.

Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne

2013 December 11

The Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne and Acracia Publications are a group in Melbourne, comprised largely of the children of the Spanish anarchist refugees who settled in Australia after the crushing of the Spanish revolution. In the last couple of years they have embarked on a project to translate and share material from their archives, and to stimulate some debate amongst anarchism in Australia today.

For your enjoyment, here are some of their recent publications.

Pamphlets

A Brief History of the Spanish Anarchist Refugees in Australia, Francisco Soler (ed), May 2012.

The Anarchists and the Social Revolution: Interviewing Salvador Torrents in Australia, Campio Carpio, August 2012 (in English, originally in Spanish, 1975).

El Canton de Cartegina, Tomas Cano Ruiz, August 2012 (in Spanish, originally published 1973).

Libertarian Anthology, 2012 – present

Libertarian Anthology 1, ‘Anarchism: Aims, Principles, Historical Development and Objections’, July 2012.
Peter Kropotkin, ‘Anarchism’
Peter Kropotkin, ‘The Historical Development of Anarchism’
Albert Meltzer, ‘The Aims and Principles of Anarchism’
Albert Meltzer, ‘Objections to Anarchism’

Libertarian Anthology 2, ‘The ancient Greeks and the anarchist tradtion’, September 2012.
Ferraro, ‘Anarchism in Greek philosophy’
Henry Nevinson, ‘The Anarchist Play’
Martin Small, ‘Athenian Democracy’
Wilbur Burton, ‘Aristophanic pacifism’
Alan Morgan, ‘Anarchism and the Greek Temperament’
anonymous, ‘Anarchism in Greece today’

Libertarian Anthology 3, ‘Anarchism, Trade Unionism, Councilism, and Revolutionary Syndicalism’, November 2012.
Emile Pouget, ‘The Basis of Trade Unionism’
Rudolf Rocker, ‘The Origins of Anarcho-Syndicalism’
Alan Spitzer, ‘Fernand Pelloutier and the dilemna of revolutionary syndicalism’
Andrew Giles-Peters, ‘Councilism and Syndicalism: a historical perspective’
Gaston Gerard, ‘Anarchism and Trade Unionism’

Libertarian Anthology 4, ‘The Negativity of Anarchism’, December 2013
David Thoreau Wieck, ‘The Negativity of Anarchism’.

Footnotes to Anarchist Affinity’s Statement of Principles

2013 November 10
by kieran

I’m a member of Anarchist Affinity, an anarchist-communist grouplet 1 in Melbourne.

We’ve just published an initial position piece, a Statement of Principles. It’s not perfect. It’s not final. There will be changes, and subsequent position statements. But it’s where we are at now.

I wanted to take a few moments to highlight some bits of it, explain a couple of things, and point to the ideas that inform it.

Paragraph 1.

1. As anarchists we fight to create a self-managed, socialist and stateless society, in which all contribute freely according to ability, and through which all have full access to the material basis for pursing their individual and collective fulfilment. In this libertarian socialist society, individual freedom is harmonised with communal obligations through cooperation, directly democratic decision making and social and economic equality. We believe such a society is both desirable and possible, and we actively work toward overcoming the hierarchies, exploitation and systems of oppression that stand in its way.

The bulk of paragraph one, in particular the words “individual freedom is harmonised with communal obligations through cooperation, directly democratic decision making and social and economic equality”, is blatantly plagiarised from Schmidt and Van der walt (2009), ‘Socialism from Below: defining Anarchism’, from Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism. I believe that chapter of Black Flame is still available online at the Fantin Reading Group.

Paragraph 2.

2. To confront oppression in all its forms, the self-organised activity of all persons experiencing oppression is necessary. Systems of oppression manifest both as structures in the economic system and in the ideology of the dominant culture. Within the dominant culture of our society, intertwined oppressive systems include (but are not limited to) sexism, racism, queerphobia, transphobia and ableism. These oppressive systems, whilst occurring within the context of capitalism and shaped to serve its purpose, are not reducible to capitalism. Unless we actively struggle against all oppressive power systems, these hierarchies will be reproduced both within our own organisations and in any post-capitalist society. We see fighting against these forms of oppression as just as important to the creation of an anarchist society as fighting capitalism and the state. Only by working to eliminate oppressive power relations within the working classes will we be able to create a revolutionary movement capable of genuinely transforming society.

Oh imperfect attempt! Where do we stand on feminism? Is sexism merely a division of the working class, a product of class society, and an idea that will evaporate is a post-capitalist society?

I happen to think that an understanding of sexism is one dimensional if it doesn’t also integrate an understanding of capitalism. That said sexism is not reducible to capitalism, ideas are not merely products of material circumstances and economic structures, they also shape material circumstances, and oppressive ideas can also take on a life well beyond the material circumstances which created them.

If ignored sexism will not simply be washed aside by anti-capitalist struggle. If not specifically combatted, there is no reason sexism would not continue to be an oppressive structure in a post capitalist society.

We want to integrate an understanding of capitalism and sexism, that does not merely reduce one to the other. We’re not there yet. This paragraph was an attempt, it’s an imperfect snapshot of our thinking at one point in time. As anarchists we hope to be feminists and anti-racists as well as anti-capitalists.

For further reading on the topic I’d recommend Insurrections at the intersections: feminism, intersectionality and anarchism, it’s a chapter by Abbey Volcano and J Rogue that was included in AK Press’s new edition of Quiet Rumours: An anarcho-feminist reader.

Paragraph 3.

3. Australian capitalism is founded on an act of genocide – the murder and dispossession of this continent’s indigenous people. Capitalism on this continent was built on the seizure and exploitation of indigenous land, and continued attacks on indigenous communities are perpetrated by Australian capitalism and its racist state in the pursuit of what lands and resources that remain. We unequivocally support the ongoing struggle for indigenous self-determination in Australia, and recognise that indigenous sovereignty over the Australian landmass was never ceded.

Australian capitalism has genocidal origins… surely this is stating the obvious? To consistently oppose capitalism in Australia, we have to support the struggle for indigenous self-determination. To support indigenous self-determination is to oppose capitalism.

Paragraph 4.

4. Capitalism is a social system based on the private ownership of the means of production (land, factories, workplaces, machinery and access to raw materials). A tiny minority own the means of production and profit from the productive labour of the working class. The working class consists of all whose access to the means of existence requires that they place their ability to labour at the service of capital. This includes all who labour for a wage, all who are presently unemployed, and all who labour in the reproduction of the working class (domestic labour). Workers are paid the minimum the capitalist can get away with in a given situation, and the capitalist steals the rest. The private property owned by capitalists is the wealth stolen from past generations of workers. Capitalism denies the vast majority their economic and social inheritance through recourse to violence and coercion. Any incursion into private property is punished by the state. This system, capitalism, the state and the oppressive ideologies that support it, must be abolished in their entirety.

Anarchism critically appropriates Marx’s analysis of capitalism, Marx in turn owes much to Proudon.

From Schmidt and Van der Walt, (2006) ‘Proudon, Marx, and Anarchist Social Analysis‘, in Black Flame:

The imprint of Marx’s economic analysis can clearly be seen in the thinking of the anarchists. Bakunin’s only quibble with Marx’s Capital was that it was written in a style quite incomprehensible to the average worker, and he began a Russian translation of the book. Kropotkin despised Marx, but his understanding of class struggle, exploitation, and capitalist crisis was deeply imprinted with Marxist economics. Malatesta, who complained that anarchism had been too “impregnated with Marxism”, did not develop an alternative economic analysis, and … his close associate Carlo Cafiero even published a summary of Marx’s Capital.

Check out Wayne Price’s Marx’s Economics for Anarchists: An Anarchist’s Introduction to Marx’s Critique of Political Economy.

Paragraph 5.

5. The state is a centralised structure in which a small number of people, through their control of the police, military and courts (a monopoly on ‘legitimate’ violence), impose decisions on the vast majority. The state is not simply a “body of armed men” in service of the dominant class, it is also an institution that develops its own interest and that seeks to perpetuate its existence and expand its power. As anarchists we wholly reject the state, and instead we aim for “the most complete realisation of democracy—democracy in the fields, factories, and neighbourhoods.”

An attempt at differentiating between anarchist and Leninist understandings of the state…

Paragraph 6

6. Capitalism reaches across the entire globe. Military and economic imperialism (so-called globalisation) continue to subordinate most of the globe to the capitalist system, securing access to resources, labour and markets for the capitalist core. As capitalism is global, the struggle against capitalism must also be global, and we must act in solidarity and support for the struggles of oppressed people wherever they occur.

A commitment to internationalism, but also a wiff of world-systems analysis. Capitalism does not exist in discrete nation-state entities, it is constituted as a world-system, and that system now traverses the entire globe.

We’re not slavish followers of Immanuel Wallerstein (far from it!), but the method of analysis he advances is a useful tool.

Paragraph 7.

7. Capitalism has wrought upon our planet a global ecological crisis that now threatens the basis of existence for the majority of humanity. Capitalist entities grow or perish, whenever capital is not growing it is in crisis. Capitalism, as the effective cause the present environmental crisis, cannot effectively solve or even lessen the extent of environmental degradation. Capitalism’s demand for continued growth on our finite planet is at odds with human survival as a species, and therefore as a matter of necessity, and not just desirability, it must be abolished.


Prosperity without Growth
makes the case, without realising it. Tim Jackson’s belief that we can somehow change capitalism to operate in a steady state is of course farcical, but the argument he makes for the necessity of doing so is compelling. The obvious conclusion, unintended by the author, is that capitalism must be abolished if human survival is to be assured.

Paragraph 8.

8. The role of anarchists is to build the capacity of oppressed peoples as a whole to struggle for our collective emancipation. It is only when the collective and conscious social force of the mass of oppressed people exceeds the power of capitalism and the state, that a revolution with truly libertarian socialist potential be possible.

This paragraph is only the briefest nod to the argument about social force made by the FARJ in Social Anarchism and Organisation.

Paragraph 9.

9. We believe that revolutionary unionism, or syndicalism, is an essential strategy to build the collective power of the working class. We seek to build rank and file organisations that unite workers across existing unions, and advocate for directly democratic structures and militant strategy.

Platformists are syndicalists. This is often lost in debates about whether revolutionary unions are sufficient in and of themselves, or whether anarchists also require specific political organisations.

We favour organisational dualism, we organise politically as anarchists, whilst also seeking to build mass organisations of the whole (and not just explicitly anarchist) working class.

Paragraph 10.

10. We unite as a specific anarchist organisation on the basis of theoretical unity, tactical unity, collective responsibility and federalism. By theoretical unity we mean developing and organising around a shared understanding of anarchism, capitalism and the context in which we operate. By tactical unity we mean developing and collectively implementing a common strategy for achieving our goals. By collective responsibility we mean agreeing to act collectively – rather than individually in the pursuit of our common strategy. By federalism we mean organising on a directly democratic “grass roots up” basis, rejecting any “top down” command structure.

If this seems similiar to the anarkismo editorial statement, well it is.

If that in turn bears resemblance to the Organisational Part of the Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (draft), well, you get the drift.

Conclusions

I am convinced that if anarchism is to be anything other than a fringe phenomina on the far left in Australia, that anarchists must organise on a political basis. If we truly are libertarian communists, and not liberal individualists, then we need to learn to act collectively, to theorise collectively, to plan collectively, and to engage in struggle collectively.

To theorise and act collectively requires some degree of political agreement. That’s what this document is intended to be for the small group I participate in. If your political outlook accords with ours, and you’re in the mood to smash capitalism and the state, then get in touch.

  1. We’re realists