August 2012

Self described “anarchists” who perpetrate violence against other Anarchists in Australia should not be permitted to hide behind the veil of anarchist politics in order to avoid sanction for their

We do not live in the Anarchist utopia. There is no functioning system of redress within the Anarchist community in Australia at this time.

Individual anarchists have the absolute right to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure their safety, and to protect others from violent people in our midst. This includes utilizing the “law”.

Those who call on anarchists not to report their violent actions to the Police because of anarchist politics should be rejected for the violent hypocritical thugs that they are.

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The following article was published in issue 1 of Black Light (which was actually the second issue, but just to be fancy they called the first issue Issue 0), released at the recent Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair. It’s an expanded version of this earlier blog post. Andy put a bunch of subheadings in the printed version that I haven’t reproduced here (because I am slack).

Organising Anarchy
in Contemporary Australia

by Kieran Bennett

The first task of any small political group is to understand the situation in which they seek to operate. Understanding the economic, political and social situation in a given society shows a political group the way forward; it allows us to identify what opportunities exist, what challenges we are likely to encounter, and what our capacity is likely to be in responding to these.

In issue one of Sedition[1], Jeremy[2] of the Jura collective presented an extremely optimistic picture of the current situation in Australia. In ‘Organising in Australia’, Jeremy correctly identified that the Australian context presents significant challenges for revolutionary anarchists; we face a “political culture steeped in passivity and representative disempowerment”. Persistent corporate propaganda informs us that “life in Australia is as good as it gets – or will be as long as we keep shopping”. The ongoing farce of reformism offers no realistic hope for achieving the radical change our society needs, and it is deluded to think “that the entire population will wake up one day, realise they’re insurrectionists and spontaneously and instantly create the anarchist society”. Any realistic assessment of what will be needed to achieve libertarian socialism directs us towards the task of organising, “we need to build a sustained revolutionary movement”.

Jeremy’s initial argument for organised anarchism is absolutely correct, but his assessment of the organising situation in Australia is utterly wrong. Jeremy writes:

“There is widespread discontent and resistance among millions of people in Australia. They talk to each other and build networks and take a variety of political actions.”

The available evidence on the organising situation in Australia suggests the opposite.

Apathy and Partial Discontent

In June The Australian breathlessly reported that strike days in Australia had reached a seven year high of 257 600[3], but when you step outside the ideological bubble of the Murdoch media talk of renewed industrial militancy seems farfetched. In 1996, Australia recorded 928 500 strike days, in 1986 it was 1 390 000, in 1976 it was 3 799 400[4]. In 1987 there were 223 strike days per thousand workers, in 2008 it was 21, and in 2007 at the height of work choices, it fell to an all-time low of five[5].

The decline in strike activity is mirrored by the decline in union membership:

From August 1992 to August 2011, the proportion of those who were trade union members in their main job has fallen from 43% to 18% for employees who were males and 35% to 18% for females. – ABS[6]

Australia’s working class remains in the trough of a thirty year low in resistance, as measured through strike activity and union membership. These measures are particularly relevant as Jeremy argues for anarchist engagement with those unions pursuing the ‘organiser’ model.

The discontent that does exist in Australia is expressed either as total apathy, or as discontent with the present head of government. Compulsory voting is still working for the Australian state. Voter turn-out in federal elections remains at or around 94%[7], and the informal vote in federal elections hovers at around 4%[8].

There is no evidence of millions of discontent Australians engaging network building or political action in statistics on civic participation. At the 2006 census [9]:

19% of adults reported that they had actively participated in civic and political groups in the previous 12 months. This level of involvement varied with age, peaking at around 24% for people aged 45-64 years. The civic or political groups that people were most likely to be active in were trade union, professional and technical associations (7%), environmental or animal welfare groups (5%), followed by body corporate or tenants’ associations (4%). Only 1% reported active participation in a political party – ABS, [10]

Anarchy and Formenting Resistance

All of this paints a grim picture for anarchists seeking to build a revolutionary movement in the current Australian context. There are however, limited opportunities for advancing anarchism in this context.
The Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement of 2011 resonated with a small subsection of Australian society. For a short time ‘Occupy’ camps in major Australian cities provided an opportunity to advance anarchist ideas to those small groups of people who were inspired to emulate the actions of the Occupy Movement in the United States.

Indigenous discontent with the Northern Territory intervention continues, and the spread of welfare quarantining to the rest of Australia will affect Australians in major population centres for the first time.

The fortieth anniversary of the Tent Embassy in Canberra became the launching point for a renewed Embassy campaign by indigenous activists. The indigenous sovereignty movement argues that land rights are a poor substitute for indigenous sovereignty, a sovereignty that was never ceded. Limited space may exist for anarchists to make the links between land rights, reconciliation and capitalism. Land rights are about integrating indigenous communities more fully into Australian capitalism, co-opting indigenous resistance, and further opening indigenous controlled lands up for exploitation. Anarchists may feel uneasy about the statist sounding language of sovereignty, but we are surely for indigenous self-determination, and there is no self-determination under capitalism. In order to advance such a dialogue, Anarchists will need to actively engage in solidarity with the indigenous sovereignty movement, including the defence of the tent embassies that have been established in cities around Australia[11].

A minority of Australians continue to be disgusted with the treatment of refugees, and resistance inside the system of immigration detention centres continues. Anarchists in Australia are engaged in the campaign for refugee rights and against mandatory detention, but more could be made of the space this campaign presents were anarchists more consistently organised. Trotskyist groups use Refugee Action Collectives like Lenin branded soap boxes, yet the nature of this issue lends itself to an anarchist critique. Anarchists should not be shy in arguing against borders as a general principle. The Cross Border Collective in Sydney is producing some interesting work along these lines [12].

Australians continue to express concern about the state of the environment, and climate change in particular. Outside the union movement, environmental politics are one of the largest areas of civic participation in Australia:

Over 5 million people (34%) aged 15 years and over took some form of environmental action in 2007-08. People most commonly signed a petition (17%) or donated money to help protect the environment (14%), while attending a demonstration for an environmental cause was relatively rare (2%). Some people expressed their concern about the environment through a letter, email or by talking to responsible authorities (10%), or by volunteering, or becoming involved in environmentally related concerns (9%). [13]

As frustration with the mainstream political process’ capacity to address environmental issues increases, the space opens for anarchists to advance make the case that capitalism is responsible for ecological catastrophe, and that the capitalist state is incapable of an adequate response. Within the environmental movement there is a two-fold task for anarchists, to argue for real mass organisation (and not GetUp style tokenism), and to argue for tactics that actually confront polluters, the state and capitalism.

The election of conservative governments at the state level in the most populous Australian states has led to a renewed attack on public sector and construction workers. The trade union movement has been militant in its response now that their supposed allies in the Labor party are in opposition. Whilst supporting the campaigns of teachers, nurses and construction workers, Anarchists within these sectors must be ready to argue for more militant tactics. We need to be ready to make the case that industrial ‘umpires’ should be ignored, that early compromise by union bureaucracy must be guarded against, and that continued disruptive industrial action delivers the goods. Again, these tasks would be easier if anarchists were a more organised tendency.

The storm clouds of global financial crisis continue to grow on the horizon, whilst Australia has thus far been isolated, the situation continues to cause a sense of unease. Were a deepening of the global crisis to significantly affect Australia the situation for Australian workers could change rapidly and resistance could develop or falter in any number of ways.

It is likely that next year Australia will have a conservative government, intent on pushing politically motivated austerity, attacking the union movement, and pushing a conservative social agenda. The task before us will be to argue for resistance. In his article in Sedition, Jeremy argues that “if we actually want to make change, we need to do the hard work of building accessible, long-term formal organisations, linked to larger networks”. In that, I whole heartedly agree.

[1] February 2012, pp. 2 – 4. Sedition is a new joint publication of Anarchist groups in Australia.
[2] Disappointingly, each article in Issue 1 of Sedition is attributed to a pseudonym or to a first name only. A rather unnecessary step for a movement that is not underground.
[4] ILO,, 9C Days not worked, by economic activity
[5] ILO,, 9D Rates of days not worked, by economic activity
[6] ABS, ‘Decline in Trade Union Membership’
[7] ABS, ‘Democracy, Governance and Citizenship: Voter Turnout’,
[8] ABS, ‘Democracy, Governance and Citizenship: Informal Votes’,
[9] It will be interesting to see the most recent census results, taken in the post GFC world. The 2006 results are probably still a reasonable reflection of civic participation in Australia, anecdotally there does not appear to have been a sudden shift.
[10] ABS, ‘Democracy, Governance and Citizenship: Civic Participation’,
[11] Check out
[12] ‘We Don’t Cross Borders; Borders Cross Us’,
[13] ABS, ‘Democracy, Governance and Citizenship: Environmental Citizenship’

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Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair poster, reads "Second Annual Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair, Nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come. Zines stalls info. Workshops kidspace and more. Free entry. 10am to 6pm Abbottsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Melbourne. Saturday 4th of August 2012. A Events Melbourne. www.amelbournebookfair.orgYesterday I had the pleasure of attending the second Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair.

The bookfair featured nearly forty stalls and some twenty one workshops. It drew a diverse range of individuals identifying as Anarchist, and plenty who did not.

I am absolutely thankful to the organising collective for putting on such an excellent event, and I hope to be able to support the future events by the collective.


UPDATE: Posted 8-August-2012

NOTE: The original post is the non-italisized text above and below this section.

It is clear in light of the criticism I have recieved from people I respect that I need to revisit, review and reconsider my remarks, in particular those about the ‘Decolonisation’ session.

Broadly speaking, there have been three kinds of response to three aspects of my original post.

The first was to the fact that I had dared write a critical review. The responses were generally ad hominem in their nature, and some appear to have been posted before the poster had even read the post in question. These kinds of remarks focused on my apparent arrogance, the supposedly unhelpful or unproductive nature of my writing, and the apparent disrespect I’ve show the organisers of the bookfair.

I do not consider such responses credible, for the reasons I put forward here on a previous thread.

It is clear that a small group of people reading this blog have taken a personal dislike to my remarks on ideas and groups dear to their heart. Being unable to disentangle political disagreement and personal affront, they respond to my presence with an almost hilarious venom.

I’ve come to expect a response along those lines, hence the joke about “denunciation bingo” and the less than welcoming introduction to the Comments Policy on this website.

However, in hindsight it is clear that my less than welcoming tone served to scare off or alienate people who would otherwise have put forward the comradely criticism that I actively seek. It is Lia’s remark in particular that makes me regret taking such an abrasive approach:

I’m a bit hesitant to comment here because I’m not sure either of us is going to get much out of this, but hey.

The second area of response concerned my remarks about “lifestylist trendies”. I would like to thank those comrades, Leigh M in particular, who pulled me up for my inappropriate remarks about clothing.

I stand by the remark “the real disappointment in these two sessions was that the large number of anti-organisationalists and life-stylists present at the bookfair decided not to participate”. The post-left vision of anarchism that many self described Anarchists embrace is obviously not something I agree with.

And this brings me to the ‘Decolonisation’ session.

I would like to thank Lia for her remarks as one of the organisers of the session.

Clearly, where I stated “I realised there was not going to be any opportunity to raise any kind of objection or contrary thought”, I had misunderstood the purpose and nature of the session.

The fact that I left the Decolonisation session has caused no end of negative comment, one person in particular posted “Kieran Bennett is a racist dickhead” no less than twelve times.

I now regret leaving the session. It is clear that I would be in a better position to explain what I find problematic, where I agree, and what I dispute, if I had stayed in the session and done a better job at listening.

I take the point made by Rebecca, Lia and others, that it is inappropriate of me to somehow expect Robbie Thorpe or any indigenous Australian to discuss the genocide of their people dispassionately.

My remarks about “white crimes” were not meant to indicate that I somehow believe there is no genocide against Australia’s first people, or that this issue should be dismissed. But I can see why some people have read them as such, and I apologise.

I take on board what Rebecca and others have said about the appropriateness of an indigenous speaker denouncing the crimes of colonisation to a predominantly white audience.

And upon reflection, I should know better. It seems my own assumptions and prejudices are not as well examined or dealt with as I sometimes like to think.

To those who offered comradely criticism despite my abrasiveness, thank you.


I only managed to attend four workshops, ‘Economic Collapse’, ‘Power and Capitalism’, ‘Introduction to Anarchism’ and ‘Decolonisation’, a comrade accompanying me to the bookfair also attended ‘Life after Capitalism’, ‘War on the Poor and Austerity Capitalism in Europe’ and ‘Indigenous Activism’.

The session ‘Economic Collapse’ was disappointing, even if it was interesting in what it revealed about the economic understandings some groups are advancing.

The host of the session presented a confidence and money supply centred explanation for the business cycle; damn that fractional banking! The talk then diverged into peak oil alarmism and pseudo mathematical explanations for why there was absolutely no hope of preventing the imminent collapse of civilization as we know it. Apparently we all have to sell our houses.

I would have loved the chance to inject some thoughts about the actual nature of the economic crisis, but unfortunately the breathless urgency of our peak oil enthusiast did not relent for the entirety of the session.

The comrade I was attending with attended the later session on the situation in southern Europe, and found the economic analysis much more rigorous.

The sessions ‘Power and Capitalism’ and ‘Intro to Anarchism’ were very productive.

‘Power and Capitalism’ saw an interesting discussion about what is an anarchist understanding of ‘Power’ and of ‘Capitalism’. Discussion centred around the questions: what is the relationship between the state and capitalism? Does capitalism occur within a state or market, or does it form an overarching world-system? Do states and the ruling class act in a manner determined by the economic system, do they show agency within capitalism? The tentative conclusions of this discussion might confound those who are only accustomed to dealing with a crude caricature of anarchist thought.

‘Intro to Anarchism’ actually drew in a range of people keen to learn more about what it was anarchists proposed! The discussion fell into the expected clichés, as new participants raised the usual objections about human nature, crime and the need for coercive authority to achieve organisation.

In these kinds of sessions, I like to focus more on what anarchists see as wrong about the present situation, and the prospects for changing it, before delving into the specifics of a hypothetical future. But of course the discussion in any brief Q & A has to respond to the questions of curious non-anarchists, and I was pleased to see the discussion go a bit beyond cursory answers to questions.

The real disappointment in these two sessions was that the large number of anti-organisationalists and lifestylists present at the bookfair decided not to participate. The lifestylist trendies with their fashionably ripped clothing, badges and carefully cultured state of unwash, managed to spend the day pretending to be anarchists whilst carefully avoiding any exposure to actual anarchist ideas.

A comrade I met at the bookfair summed it up perfecting, “They’re anarcho-fashionalists!” [Retracted: See Apology at end of post].

And that brings me to the ‘decolonisation’ session.

I was looking forward to participating in this session. It would apparently focus on ‘what would decolonisation in Australia look like’, an idea that I had hoped to challenge. But it was not to be.

I’ve seen Robbie Thorpe present his talk “Australia is a crime scene” before and on youtube. It’s an odd, if interesting stream of different thoughts. Unfortunately Robbie utterly missed the mark in his presentation at the Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair. He decided to berate the audience. Heck, they’re white after all?!

As I saw Robbie get increasingly passionate in his denunciation of white crimes, I realised there was not going to be any opportunity to raise any kind of objection or contrary thought. I left the room. Many followed.

The comrade who accompanied my on this trip went to the later talk on Indigenous Activism. Unfortunately Gary Foley was unwell and unable to present, and Robbie Thorpe presented again. The two talks appear to have been much the same, both in content and tone.

Robbie’s talks seem entirely unplanned, almost stream of consciousness in their quality. I wonder if we simply caught him on a bad day. There is much that he presents that is worth discussing, there are several concepts that he advances that anarchists should challenge, and some things that are factually inaccurate.

Unfortunately the two workshops at which Robbie presented did not provide a safe space for this discussion. [Update: Having reviewed and reflected on these remarks in light of the criticism of comrades I respect, I now consider the above remarks about the Decolonisation session mistaken].

I would be interested in hearing other participants thoughts on these sessions, and on the sessions I was unable to attend!


The Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair was representative of where Anarchism in Australia is at the moment. Anarchism is a tiny milieu, with only the most basic level of development and organisation.

The explicitly anarchist groups in Melbourne have memberships in the tens, they constitute a small core that is committed to the anti-capitalist class struggle focus of Anarchism.

Unfortunately most self-described anarchists do not appear to be involved in any type of anarchist organisation, and appear to remain committed to explicitly anti-organisationalist thinking and lifestylist practice.

The bookfair is a very important step in changing this.

For the first time in a number of years, a great many of those who call themselves anarchists in Melbourne are getting together in a largely neutral setting, and having the discussions that I hope lead to more defined politics and a growth in anarchist organisation.

I am already looking forward to next year!

Apology: I should not have generalised about the politics of crusties. To every crusty at MABF who’s political practice extends beyond lifestylism, I apologise.

Other Reviews:

Over Determined Contradiction: A Marxist goes to an Anarchist Bookfair (link broken).

Slackbastard: Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair 2012 (Review)

Melbourne IWW: Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair: Report back from Indigenous Workshop

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The second of two articles I wrote in 2009, upon leaving The Greens.

See also, Part 1: Why I left The Greens.

Population Policy: An Invitation to Racism

The Australian Greens Victoria are currently debating a population policy. There are those who passionately argue that there are “too many people” and “something must be done”, and others who recognize the racism that come with any call to restrict population.

our environmental impact is determined by the combined effect of population numbers and the way that people live – Vic Greens draft Population Policy

In a world of six billion people, surely this is common sense? Maybe, but it’s wrong. The false assumption is that our level of resource consumption as a species is a simple result of lifestyle multiplied by number of people.

But: The vast majority of people on this planet consume next to nothing. The 5.15 billion people who earn less than $10 a day (80% of global population) have a negligible effect on carbon emissions and natural resource depletion.

The poorest Africans and Asians produce 0.1 tonnes of CO2 each a year, compared with 20 tonnes for each American. – The Economist

Most proponents of the population policy perspective within the Greens will acknowledge this. The implicit racism comes into effect when they say things like:

“If everyone in China wanted to drink a beer a day, we’re all screwed” – John Doyle, to a public lecture at Latrobe University, Wodonga campus, 2008.

What does that really mean?

It means that in order to protect our privilege, the rest of the world must be kept poor, for the “common good”?

Should we build walls around western society, to protect the privilege of those within? Yes would seem to be the answer of those within the Greens calling for “zero population growth”.

People who support a population perspective would attack me at this point. They would say the above is a strawman, and that the draft policy states:

Victoria has the ability to reach zero population growth, and better fulfil its global ethical obligation for humanitarian migration, by shifting the emphasis on skills importation to skills creation.

Of course, the above statement is bullshit. Population growth in the west only exists because of immigration. Any call for zero population growth is necessarily a call to halt immigration.

One person I often chat with about population within the Greens raises the objection that immigrants:

“soon take on the carbon profile of their host country”.

The immigrant is the problem! If they come here, they will want to consume as much as we do! BAD!!

Soo, our consumption is the problem is it? The proponents of a population perspective, like the vast majority of the Australian Greens, will, when asked about the cause of the environmental crisis, identify “consumerism”. Clive Hamilton, author of Afluenza, really is a perfect fit for the inner city Greens.

This also, is bullsh-t. Earlier I highlighted the base assumption of the population perspective:

It is not just the “population” part of the “population multiplied by lifestyle equals environmental crisis” equation that is a load of crap.

There can be no doubt, that western societies consume a lot. This consumption is not a product of “lifestyle” (which, btw is basically code for “greed”). It is not the greed of the working class that caused the levels of resource consumption that we see in western society.

The consumption is a product of the production, the ‘greed’ was generated to clear the marketplace.

Capitalism is predicated in growth, because capitalists (be they individuals or corporations) must sell even more product at lower prices, or be squeezed out of the market by competing capitalists.

In times past, capitalism sought out new markets abroad, until capitalism embraced the entire globe. There being no new rich markets to tap, the only way to sell even more is to generate new demand in existing markets.

To give an example, the greedy ‘consumer’ did not create the ipod. Did you, sitting back with your walkman, ever ‘demand’ the ipod?

The ipod was developed by a company trying to sell electronic product into a market place already flooded with walkmans. The idea was developed and marketed by a company engaged in competition with the sellers of portable tape and CD players. The marketing worked, and surprise surprise, that evil worker demanded the ipod over the walkman!

So, this environmental crisis we’ve got, is it a product of “lifestyle times population”? Clearly not.

The entire premise of the proposed Population Policy is bullshit. Worse than bullshit, it gives voice to the closet racists. Why would the Greens ever consider adopting a policy that clashes with it’s commitment to social justice so fundamentally?

Several reasons:

1. The Greens are too scared to mention capitalism. They’ll say things like “growth is bad”, but because they do not criticize the economic system that prioritizes growth over human need, they are left with criticizing those consume the product.

2. The Greens, whilst having a sound ideal (environmental and social justice), lack a clearly stating analysis of the underlying causes of the environmental problem. This effectively extends an open invitation to all and sundry (and often contradictory) “environmental” ideas.

3. The consensus system leads to a tendency toward compromise among contradictory ideas. A process to overtly rejecting something as bullshit is nigh on impossible.


When women reach a certain basic level of health, well being, economic power and access to birth control, fertility declines. It happened in the Western World, and it’s happening in the developing world.

World population will peak at 9 billion in 2050, and then it will slowly decline.

Given the choice and the reasonable assurance of their child’s survival, most women, irrespective of the society, will have around two children. A stable population is achieved at an average of 2.1.

The Economist has a an excellent feature on declining world fertility.

I have to agree with this sentiment:

forcing poor people to have fewer children than they want because the rich consume too many of the world’s resources would be immoral.

And disagree with this one:

the human race will have to rely on technology and governance to shift the world’s economy towards cleaner growth.

What is really needed is a total change in economic and political power structures.

More: John Passant writes about Clive Hamilton and the Greens:

Clive’s book Affluenza blames working people for wanting a few consumer goodies. For him over-consumption rather than overproduction is the problem. Hamilton fears the masses.

Read more at The Greens and Clive Hamilton.

Post Script:

In 2011 Ian Angus and Simon Butler published Too Many People?: Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis, I wish I’d had a copy back in 2009!

I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Simon Butler at last week’s Renegade Activists Conference in Melbourne, hopefully the audio will be online soon.

Until then, check out this talk by Ian Angus on the politics of population politics at Socialism 2012, Too Many People? The Return of the Population Bombers.

Be sure to check out Part 1: Why I left The Greens.

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The first of two articles I wrote when I left the Australian Greens back in 2009. My thinking has advanced since then, but they might be of interest to people curious as to why I left The Greens and moved towards far left politics.

See also, Part 2: Racism in the Environmental Movement.

Moving on from the Australian GreensRoblox Hack Free Robux

Until recently I was active within the Australian Greens.

I was drawn to the Greens because:

there is no social justice without environmental justice, and no environmental justice without social justice. – Global Greens, Sydney 2001.

After seven years involvement with the Australian Greens I recently decided to move on.

I remain committed to the ideals of the Australian Greens, urgent action is needed now more than ever. The problem for me is, that no matter how I look at it, I cannot see how a sole focus on winning seats in the Australian parliament can achieve these goals.

The discussion within the Greens is so often “how to we win the next ten percent”. I’m as guilty as anyone else, we sat around and discussed what we needed to do in order to not offend people so they would vote for us.

I now recognise that this process, brought about by an exclusive focus on electoral politics, means that by the time the Greens achieve a position of power within the Australian parliament, they will no longer be a body that is ideologically and politically able to undertake the radical action that will be required.

Achieving a global system of democracy “in which all citizens … are able to directly participate in the environmental, economic, social and political decisions which affect their lives” (Global Greens, Sydney 2001) is needed now more than ever.

I don’t want to offend the good people I have worked with at all levels of the Greens. I still consider you all my friends, and I still share the ideas that brought us together.

But achieving “equitable distribution of social and natural resources both locally and globally” (ibid) will require so much more than an extra two senate seats.

A further question…

Does our participation in parliament offer cover for a fundamentally flawed system?

“The system is dirty, but don’t lose faith, Bob and his Greens are slugging away…”

And a further question:

Even if we could achieve a radical Green majority in parliament, would it be able to act as needed? Bob loves to quote Machiavelli:

BOB BROWN: Yes, Machiavelli said centuries ago if you’re going to change the world get ready to be squashed by those with most to lose. – Lateline

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. – Machiavelli, The Prince

What will be the instrument of power available to a Green majority in parliament, faced with the absolute opposition of all who “have done well under the old conditions?”

I do not believe votes alone will be enough, we will need the determined collective action of a good segment of society.

A mass movement, and not a mere electoral party, is what is called for.


John Passant points out that the environmental crisis is a product of our capitalist economic system:

Capitalism is based on a fundamental rupture between humanity and production.

Reinventing that rupture don’t address the essential and systemic problem – the profit system is fundamentally anti-nature and hence anti-human.

Global warming: the failure of capitalism

And on the problem with the Green’s current focus:

they see negotiation, discussion and the like in Parliament as the ultimate goal and the failure to win parliamentary support the end of the story.


Hattip to slackbastard.

Song and Dance:

The classic wobbly song, criticizing the ALP for losing their way a hundred years ago, alas I couldn’t find a vid of this one:

Come listen, all kind friends of mine
I want to move a motion,
To build an El Dorado here,
I’ve got a bonzer notion.

Bump me into Parliament,
Bounce me any way,
Bang me into Parliament,
On next election day.

– by Bill Casey, Melbourne Wob

Post Script:
Tony Harris published this little re-working of Bump Me Into Parliament a couple of months ago:

Come gather ‘round Green friends of mine
Consensus I am seeking,
A seat in parliament to find,
The numbers I am tweaking.

Bump me into Parliament
Bounce me any way,
Bang me into Parliament,
On next election day.

As a Greenie activist
I really am quite frightening,
But now I’m off to parliament,
I’ll try to be enlightening.


The carbon tax was my idea
All the party’s for it,
But whether it will work or not,
Well that’s up to the market.


In Peace and Love I do believe
They’re principles inspiring,
But when it comes to Palestine,
It’s really just too tiring.


“Yankee Doodle” Danby is
A Labor man annoying,
He’s after us on BDS,
It’s an issue we’re avoiding.


Barak Obama came to town
Riding on Alliance,
With few demurs and grins all ‘round,
We gave him our compliance.


Inheritance and private schools
Our policies are causing fear!
But in the MP’s caucus room,
We can simply make them disappear.


New parliamentary friends of mine
They think I’m quite reliable,
And now my bum’s upon the bench,
I want to be called Honourable.

So bump them into Parliament
Bounce them any way,
Bung them into Parliament,
It’s the “Professional’ way.

The process of “professionalising” continues at full speed in The Greens, just last month at a national policy conference The Greens ditched the last remnants of a progressive tax policy.

At the time I left, the decision to move on from The Greens was heart wrenching. The follys of a regressive and ineffective carbon tax, and an ongoing trend towards technocratic conservatism have long since removed any remenant sentiment, and made the decision to embrace a revolutionary outlook all the easier.


See also, Part 2: Racism in the Environmental Movement.

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