• Crisis in Aboriginal communities

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 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by byork at 2008-01-27 02:42 PM

Marcia Langton, Aboriginal Australian leader and long-time activist, in The Weekend Australian: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23109644-5013172,00.html   

 

Some excerpts:

 

"WHILE writing this essay, I appealed to the newly elected Rudd Government to continue the emergency intervention and maintain the strategies most likely to stop the horrors that plague Aboriginal communities. In response I was pilloried by Aboriginal people, who responded with letters to the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald with sentimental, blame-shifting nonsense. These were later posted on the web page of Women for Wik, a group of high-profile women supporting what they say are Aboriginal rights and who seem, despite extraordinary levels of education and achievement in public life, to be misinformed and misled about the nature of the crisis".

 

_____

 

"If the dysfunctional behaviour was merely riots, rather than murder, rape, incest, assault, suicide, alcohol and drug abuse and gambling, then there would be no justification for the recommendations over the years to end welfare payments without conditions and government funding without positive outcomes. It is justifiable to conclude that an apartheid regime has been created wherever Aboriginal communities are quarantined by remoteness, welfare dependence, a racist criminal justice system and government officials who entrench this expensive social pathology with dysfunctional policies. The most disgusting of these is judicial leniency in sentencing Aboriginal murderers and rapists. This rewards serial rapists and murderers. Instead of jail sentences that would apply to anyone else, they are freed, often after a laughable lecture, or sent to a prison where living conditions are often better than in the communities from which they come".

 

______

 

"It seems almost axiomatic to most Australians that Aborigines should be marginalised: poor, sick and forever on the verge of extinction. At the heart of this idea is a belief in the inevitability of our incapability, the acceptance of our "descent into hell". This is part of the cultural and political wrong-headedness that dominates thinking about the role of Aboriginal property rights and economic behaviour in the transition from settler colonialism to modernity. In this mindset, the potential of an economically empowered, free-thinking, free-speaking Aborigine has been set to one side because it is more interesting to play with the warm, cuddly, cultural Aborigine, the one who is so demoralised that the only available role is as a passive player. The dominance of the "reconciliation and justice" rhetoric in the Australian discourse on Aboriginal issues is a part of this".

 

 

Barry

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2008-01-28 04:07 AM
The Marcia Langton article linked to by Barry - Real Change for Real People -  is a must read. It is an edited extract from a book by her which will be published on February 8th: Trapped in the Aboriginal reality show

Another extract from the Langton article:
She (Nanette Rogers) detailed the traumas and horrors and focused on several cases: a four-year-old girl drowned while being raped by a teenager who had been sniffing petrol; two very young children, including a seven-month-old baby, sexually assaulted by adult men while their mothers were elsewhere drinking alcohol. Both children needed surgery for their injuries. Another baby was stabbed twice by a man attempting to kill her mother.

Miranda Devine, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, asked: "Why did Tony Jones feel the need to ask Rogers, 'Are you worried that the information itself may be abused by tabloids and racists even, shock jocks - the sort of people who will take information like this and exploit it?' Are there really people so morally confused that they see opposition to the rape of babies as a shock-jock phenomenon?"


The question Devine should have asked was, "Are there really Aboriginal people so morally confused that they see the rape of babies as normal and not warranting any intervention?" I am sad to report that the answer to that question is yes. There are such people, and it is them - rather than snivelling racists or the shock jocks who exploit Aboriginal misery for fame - who undermine attempts to prevent the rape of Aboriginal children and other crimes against our most vulnerable citizens
_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • agendas of addiction

Posted by kerrb at 2008-03-01 06:52 PM
Noel Pearson has an article in The Weekend Australian titled Agendas of Addiction (not available on line unfortunately)

He is responding to a critic, Matt Gaughwin, who thought Pearson was being insensitive and cruel to ex AFL football star, Gary Ablett (senior), who suffers from drug addiction

Pearson criticised Ablett because Ablett advocates a social theory of self medication as the main cause of addiction. Ablett argued that:
it's time we realised that drugs are not the problem but a symptom of far deeper issues, both in people's lives and our society
Pearson replies:
The symptom theory is a hideous idea that is deeply embedded in our society's consciousness about substance abuse ... It is hideous because it furnishes those who are engaged in substance abuse with a perfect justification for their indulgence ... it discourages a social response to addiction as the problem in it's own right, and deflects attention to a vast array of so-called underlying factors, most of which are beyond the reach of social policy. So we are left sitting on our hands while the addiction epidemics continue to grow
Pearson is criticising Ablett because symptom theory masks the true nature of the problem in aboriginal communities. Despite dispossession many aboriginal communities did remain relatively drug free until the following conditions came about:
  • Availability of the addictive substance
  • Money to acquire the substance
  • Time to use the substance
  • Example of use of the substance in the immediate environment
  • A permissive ideology in relation to the use of the substance
Pearson is arguing that we need to tackle drug addiction as a problem in aboriginal communities in its own right - independent of other complicating historical, social and genetic factors. That analysis provides a tangible basis for moving forward from where we are now.

Worth reading the whole article if it available in your local library (page 26, The Weekend Australian, March 1-2, 2008 )

_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by byork at 2008-03-02 01:11 AM

Noel Pearson's aritlce 'Agendas of Addiction' may be read here: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23299086-5013172,00.html  

 

In haste,

 

Barry

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-03-03 09:22 PM

I disagree with Pearson's contention that:

 The symptom theory is a hideous idea that is deeply embedded in our society's consciousness about substance abuse ... It is hideous because it furnishes those who are engaged in substance abuse with a perfect justification for their indulgence ... it discourages a social response to addiction as the problem in it's own right, and deflects attention to a vast array of so-called underlying factors, most of which are beyond the reach of social policy. So we are left sitting on our hands while the addiction epidemics continue to grow.

for two reasons:

 

1) There are people and communities for whom all five conditions above are met, who do not indulge in drug abuse.

 

I think it would be interesting to study both white and black communities where all five of these conditions are met, and see what level of addiction exists in each community. I would hypothesise that the black communities would have more.

 

2) I do not believe that symptom theory must provide a justification for indulgence, although I can clearly see that it can.

 

I can clearly see the risks that Pearson is trying to avoid, in his hostility to symptom theory. Obviously he does not want his people (and people in general), to fall back on the excuse that "I take drugs because I was abused/discriminated against/etc".

 

Recently I have had direct experience of a model of understanding addiction which recognises the contribution of negative experiences, yet does not give permission to addicts to continue their drug abuse.

 

I think an approach is needed that says to addicts who turn to drugs because they have suffered, "Yes, I know that you've suffered a hell of a lot. That probably made you want to escape, and drugs was how you did it. But it's not OK to destroy yourself and damage the people around you. We'll give you the help you need, but if you don't help yourself, it's not OK".

 

(BTW I don't think that every drug addict is using the drugs because of painful experiences).

 

Believing that abusive or other bad experiences contribute greatly to the risk of addiction does not necessarily mean that we will be "left sitting on our hands while the addiction epidemics continue to grow", if the risk of giving addicts permission to go on being addicts is carefully avoided.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2008-03-04 10:02 PM
YM,

there are 3 definitive papers by Pearson on this topic, which you would have to read some of at least to get all the nuances of his position - not possible in a short summary by me or a short article by Pearson

nevertheless in the linked Pearson article  he does acknowledge that other factors can contribute to substance abuse (environmental eg. dispossession, government neglect, boredom and also genetic factors, biological individuality)

Pearson's position is that the "other" factors (other to the fact that drug addiction becomes a self perpetuating problem that takes on a life of its own) ought to be seen as secondary to the main issue of welfare dependency / drug abuse in some (many) indigenous communities

he does say there are special conditions about aboriginal communities that make things worse
1. avoidance rules and relationships
2. kin solidarity and refusal to confront abuse
3. attribution of blame and misfortune on sorcery by non kin
4. individual autonomy

np-sub-abuse-strategy-1-9-02.doc, pp. 15-17

I think that goes towards answering your first point

nevertheless, Pearson's position is in large part derived from studies done by the late Swedish Professor, Nils Bejerot -  so he is claiming a much larger scope for application of this analysis than just indigenous communities - this also explains why he is directly criticising something that Gary Ablett wrote

also in his more analytical, longer writings he does identify factors other than symptom theory as part of the problem - he identifies 3 levels of denial:
1. at the individual level,
2. codependency of family and friends and
3. finally symptom theory, at the social level

np-sub-abuse-strategy-1-9-02.doc, section 3.1, begins page 13

Pearson is not saying that symptom theory is the only issue involved although he is saying it is one of the major issues - that goes some way to responding to your second point

you say:
There are people and communities for whom all five conditions above are met, who do not indulge in drug abuse
and
I do not believe that symptom theory must provide a justification for indulgence, although I can clearly see that it can

I suppose you are technically correct on both points but nevertheless I would say that in the overall scheme of things this muddies the waters - from the point of view of statistical probabilities Pearson's analysis is a correct one (of both indigenous societies and for the particular case of his rebuttal of Gary Ablett's analysis)

I think from what you say, your own words, that when it comes to this balance:

being understanding of a person's difficulties
versus
being intolerant of a person's drug abuse

that the balance of both your words and Pearson words is that the latter factor (being intolerant and a person drug abuse) is the more important one

The paper I am referring to can be found here:
http://www.capeyorkpartnerships.com/team/noelpearson/papers.htm
title: Cape York Peninsula sustance abuse strategy (word doc, 76pp)

The other two papers are referenced in that paper:
outline of grog, drugs (and therefore violence) strategy
charles perkins memorial oration
_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-03-05 07:44 PM

Thanks for those links Bill, I've just read the first article and glanced quickly at the Violence/Grog strategy outline.

 

I was worried that part of Pearson's "zero-tolerance" strategy to drug abuse might include a USA-style "lock-'em-all-up" approach. I noticed that in the full strategy that, while proposing strict rules to be enforced by Community Justice Groups, he does not suggest making current penalties harsher. Rather, he recommends compulsory rehabilitation, etc.

 

This long quote from Pearson, regarding his approach to symptom theory, comes from the Violence/Grog strategy outline:

 

1.1       The symptom theory is wrong

           susceptibility factors must be distinguished from causal factors

           it is the existence of the epidemic rather than personal factors that is decisive to recruitment to addiction

           we must understand the difference between prevalence (the number of active abusers) and incidence (the number of new cases in a certain period of time)

 

Our worst mistake is that we have not understood the nature of substance abuse.  I maintain a fundamental objection to the prevailing analysis of substance abuse amongst our people.  The prevailing analysis is that substance abuse and addiction is a symptom of underlying social and personal problems.  According to the symptom theory we must help people deal with the reasons that have seen them become addicted to various substances.  According to this theory we must address the "underlying issues" if we are to abolish substance abuse.  The severe substance abuse in Aboriginal communities is said to have been caused by immense ingrained trauma, trans-generational grief, racism, dispossession, unemployment, poverty et cetera.

           

But the symptom theory of substance abuse is wrong.  Addiction is a condition in its own right, not a symptom.  Substance abuse is a psychosocially contagious epidemic and not a simple indicator or function of the level of social and personal problems in a community.  Five factors are needed for an outbreak of substance abuse: (i) cash (ii) spare time (iii) the substance being available (iv) the example of others and (v) a permissive social ideology.  Under these circumstances substance abuse can spread rapidly among very successful people as well as marginalised people.

           

Of course substance abuse originally got a foothold in our communities because many people were bruised by history and likely to break social norms.  The grog and drug epidemics could break out because personal background and underlying factors made people susceptible to trying addictive substances.  But when a young person (or an older non-addict) is recruited to the grog and drug coteries today the decisive factor is the existence of these epidemics themselves, not his or her personal background.  And for those who did begin using an addictive substance as an escape from a shattered life and from our history, treating those original causes will do little (if indeed you can do anything about those original causes).  The addiction is in itself a much stronger force than any variation in the circumstances of the addict.

           

There are two insights here that I want to reiterate in order to make the theoretical foundation of my proposed strategy crystal clear.  First, at this advanced stage of the grog and drug epidemics it is not a breach of social norms to begin with substance abuse.  It follows that we cannot divert young people away from substance abuse.  No matter how much money and effort we spend on alternative activities, drug free activities can never compete with the more exciting drug-induced experiences for young people's attention, because all hesitation about the appropriateness of an abusive lifestyle is long since gone.  Good living conditions and meaningful activities might, under normal circumstances, make non-addicts less susceptible to trying drugs and thus help in preventing outbreaks of substance abuse epidemics.  Diversionary measures can only prevent substance abuse epidemics, not cure them once they are underway.  Second, even under optimal circumstances, life is difficult and full of conflict.  No matter what we do, we can never make life so good that an addict voluntarily leaves her or his antisocial lifestyle and joins us in our struggle for a better future.  The addict has already shown that he or she loves the effects of the substance abuse more than his or her own land, people, family and children.  We can never convince an addict to quit by offering a materially and socially better life including land rights, infrastructure, work, education, loving care, voluntary rehabilitation and so on.  The addict will just use all these material and human resources to facilitate an abusive lifestyle.

           

It is understandable that the symptom theory thinking is so widespread.  Desperate people are often abusers.  But many poor environments are not immersed in addictive substances and many rich environments are.  I repeat, we must understand that trauma, dispossession et cetera make our communities susceptible to grog and drug epidemics, they do not automatically cause abusive behaviour.  Of course a high number of people who are susceptible to turning to different kinds of abuse are, in an indirect way, a causal factor that might contribute to an outbreak of a substance abuse epidemic.  But, I repeat for the third time, this fact has led to two fatal logical errors in our efforts to understand the current social disaster.  Addiction is a condition in its own right and it is just as difficult to do anything about an addiction if you are a socially and economically strong white professional that became addicted through careless drinking of exquisite wines, as if you are an unemployed member of a decimated and dispossessed Aboriginal tribe.  We must understand that an established addiction is a very strong force at the heart of the will of the addict and independent of the historical causes of the first voluntary consumption of the addictive substance, which might be as banal as using a legal drug to relieve a temporary pain.  Regrettable circumstances and things that we and others did in the past (and who doesn't carry a burden of things that we wish were different?) are perhaps important to consider in the rehabilitation of an abstaining addict.  But trying to undo the past and to solve present difficulties such as unemployment has no impact on an active substance abuser's addiction and lifestyle; the addiction and the consumption must be confronted head on and immediately.  We do not need to improve everything that is bad and unjust before we can hope to get rid of substance abuse.  What we need in order to get rid of grog and drugs is a theoretical understanding and a new social ideology.

 

"Progressive" people will now say that Noel Pearson is giving the Federal and State governments an excuse to cut spending (or avoid increasing spending) on programs that address "Aboriginal disadvantage".  But I have never disputed the governments' responsibility to provide funds, and this is not what I'm discussing anyway.  I merely observe that the programs that have been proposed in order to improve the living conditions for indigenous Australians will have little or no impact on the substance abuse epidemics.  Furthermore, the proposed programs will not achieve what they are intended to achieve (better infrastructure and health, less violence and so on) if there is no realistic plan for curing the substance abuse epidemics that are currently in place.

 

More surprising than our (understandable and excusable) mistaken view that a troubled person's historical legacy maintains the addiction and must be dealt with if the abusive behaviour is to cease, is our blindness to the fact that today, when strong people who have struggled to take responsibility for our families and communities, and young, healthy, not traumatised people with their lives ahead of them, get sucked into the most foolish and destructive behaviours imaginable, history is irrelevant not only in the treatment of the addiction, but also increasingly irrelevant as an explanation for the first experimenting with addictive substances.  When abusive behaviour is deeply entrenched in our communities it is not the material destitution, the social ills and historical legacy that fuel the abuse epidemics.  It is the epidemics that perpetuate themselves.

           

And these epidemics cannot be cured with our current policies, which are based on voluntary rehabilitation.  An addict may be willing to deal with the addiction after many years of abuse, when the social, medical and economic problems become annoying.  In fact this is the usual pattern of people "giving up grog" in our communities.  After a health scare and a "last warning" from a doctor, a middle-aged drinker will stop drinking.  But by this time he or she is likely to have ruined his or her health irreparably and in any case, will have wreaked a lot of damage in his or her community prior to giving up, by making life miserable for family and community members, and by recruiting more people to addiction.

           

This last point is an important insight.  It is mainly during the first part of his or her career that an addict spreads the abusive behaviour, not when he or she has become a social invalid.  There is a whole literature about how addicts have been helped after decades of abuse.  It is of course good if people manage to stop abusive behaviour, but if our policies are restricted to offering help to addicts we will get nowhere.  We might reduce the prevalence (the number of active abusers) marginally but not the incidence (the number of new cases in a certain period of time).  And if we are unable to reduce the incidence because we have no efficient methods for influencing the behaviour of the addicts that are spreading the abuse, and the people just about to be recruited, we will not curb the epidemics.

           

Put it this way: today people begin abusing grog and drugs in our communities because other people do.  And if "underlying issues" make somebody start drinking or using drugs, the most important "underlying issue" today is the chaos caused by the grog and drug epidemics.  And addiction is not a symptom of bad or chaotic circumstances anyway; removing them will not cure addiction, and hence not stop abusive behaviour.



This analysis is of course a simplification; our history and our exclusion from mainstream society have not become irrelevant factors.  But these generalisations are more valid than the symptom theory.  We must understand, and learn to recognise, the symptom theory.  It is probably one of the most destructive ideas affecting Aboriginal policy generally, and grog and drug policy in particular.  Its most evil effect is to promote passivity in the face of a social disaster: "it is difficult to do anything about the addiction problems because they are just symptoms of underlying problems (that are impossible to solve)". The symptom theory is based on an incorrect understanding of addiction epidemics and therefore causes confusion in relation to how substance abuse should be tackled



 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by dalek at 2008-03-06 04:04 PM

I discussed Pearsons ideas with some young Aboriginal students in various stages of studying law. They were unanimously apprehensive that the "Lock them up approach" was Pearsons real agenda. They distrust him immensly. But that's the young for you - what would they know?

Dalek 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by byork at 2008-03-06 04:48 PM

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,22305919-953,00.html  Young, gifted and black. Tania Major is 26 and recently graduated in Criminology. The influence of some of the 'oldies' who nostalgically (and sometimes self-interestedly) cling to 40 and 30 year old formulae that created welfare dependency, racial separatism and social dysfunction in remote communities will be cast aside by young progressive Aboriginal people.

 

The young know a lot.

 

May they rock on,

 

Barry grin

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-03-06 07:13 PM

I've copied

STRATEGY 1: REBUILD A SOCIAL, CULTURAL, SPIRITUAL AND THEREFORE LEGAL INTOLERANCE OF ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR

from the Cape York Partnerships document into my folder - you can read it by clicking here, or on the link above.

Here is the section "Institute zero tolerance of illicit drug use within the community", which doesn't look like a "lock-em-up" approach at all. But what would someone who's actually read the document know?

 

1.22         Through making it a condition of employment with the Community Council, and through community bylaws, establish the following measures to attack any use of illicit drugs in the community:

 

·           Make clear the zero tolerance policy to illicit drug use which will be implemented in the community

 

·           The Police to conduct drug tests from time to time, either of all employees or randomly from time to time

 

·           Persons found to be using illicit drugs to be brought before the Community Justice Group for counselling to stop their drug use and to discuss the changes that he or she needs to make in his or her working or recreational life in order to stay away from drug use, including Compulsory Income Management

 

·           Persons found to be using illicit drugs must submit to tests at appropriate intervals afterwards to ensure that they are not continuing to use drugs

 

·           Persons found to be using illicit drugs be liable to any of the following:

 

·      Termination of employment

 

·      Fines

 

·      Compulsory attendance at rehabilitation

 

·      Compulsory Income Management orders

 

·           If the person found to be using illicit drugs is a visitor to the community, even if Aboriginal and even if related to people in the community, and even if a longterm visitor, he or she will be removed from the community by order of the Community Justice Group or the Community Council.

 

·           Provision be made in the community bylawss for people who are known to be producing or dealing drugs to be dealt with as follows:

 

·      Either on its own information or on information provided by any other persons, the Community Justice Group may formally advise the Police that a particular person or persons is under suspicion of producing or dealing drugs

 

·      That this formal advice will constitute all necessary authority for the Police to conduct regular searches of the persons involved, their property and their premises, for as long as they are suspected of producing or dealing drugs

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by dalek at 2008-03-06 07:29 PM

YM.

I think that was one of the points that the young black people made to me: Those laws that you list with such approval would never be applied to white society at large. They are fundamentally racist. I can just see you shouting with approval when the coppers come into your workplace and.. "The Police to conduct drug tests from time to time, either of all employees or randomly from time to time" for example. Or would you not object if they took only the black ones ?

Or Muslims perhaps?

BTW Noel Pearson is Tania Major's boss.

Dalec.

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2008-03-07 01:52 AM
dalek:
Those laws that you list with such approval would never be applied to white society at large. They are fundamentally racist
To criticise the end point of an analysis without engaging in or refuting the analysis itself is a no brainer. Just as name calling is a poor substitute for real debate. The laws need to be seen in the context of Pearson's full analysis, part of which was quoted by YM in an earlier post and which dalek has persistently failed to engage with

The R word is then used to mask this failure. Pearson would categorise this as moral vanity:
The second major constituency in contemporary Australia is morally vain about race and history. Its members largely come from the liberal left and are morally certain about right and wrong and ready to ascribe blame. For them, issues of race and history are a means of gaining the upper hand over their political and cultural opponents. The primary concern of the morally vain is not the plight or needs of those who suffer racism and oppression, but rather their view of themselves, their understanding of the world and belief in their superiority over their opponents. ...

... at some point empathy and acknowledgement turn into moral superiority, and the relative failures of one’s cultural and political opponents become the basis of accusations of insensitivity or racism. At this point, race becomes a useful club to beat the Neanderthals from the right, and racism serves the cultural and political purposes of the progressive accuser rather than the humanity of those subjected to it.
Pearson's analysis of different variants of racism is just another of his writings that dalek as failed to engage with. I published this in more detail on the sorry thread.

dalek:
I discussed Pearsons ideas with some young Aboriginal students in various stages of studying law. They were
 unanimously apprehensive that the "Lock them up approach" was Pearsons real agenda. They distrust him immensly
dalek, are you seriously presenting this as an unbiased survey of aboriginal opinion? How could any reasonable person after reading your numerous abusive comments about Pearson believe that you could conduct such an unbiased survey? Some things are very obvious. One of them is that Pearson is prepared to bite the bullet and make some tough decisions. It is also obvious that Pearson's approach is controversial and public opinion is sharply divided. In any community (white or aboriginal) you will find people for and against Pearson. So you found some young aboriginal students who distrust Pearson, as a result of your allegedly unbiased survey. Are we meant to be surprised, impressed, crestfallen? For someone who claims they are not a Rudd populist you do seem to be influenced a lot by your own interpretation of "popular opinion".

Pearson has gone to a lot of trouble spelling out his position in great detail in numerous writings (cyi link) that are publicly available. Surely a serious discussion would involve a real discussion of these documents, Pearson's stated public position.
_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-03-08 05:40 PM

Dalek, Pearson claims that Aboriginal society and culture has been completely overwhelmed by substance abuse, to the extent that Aboriginal communities are now completely dysfunctional.

 

If I thought that my society was suffering the same sort of dysfunction, then yes, I would support such drug testing in the workplace. I've recently spent 3 months in rehab myself, subject to drug testing at any time, because it was clear to me that I could only deal with my own problems by submitting to such a regime.

 

If Aboriginal communities were convinced that the Police were not the right people to do the testing, then no doubt some other organisation could arrange the testing.

 

Do you support or oppose Pearson's contention that substance abuse is such a problem in Aboriginal communities that drastic measures must be taken? If you oppose Pearson's contention, what is your analysis of the situation? If you support Pearson's contention but oppose his policies, what alternative policies do you support?

 

As to your cheap slur, suggesting that I would only support Aboriginal people or Muslims being tested, that just goes to show the nasty, vicious way in which you 'argue' (using the word loosely).

 • Dalek's post moved to Junk Forum

Posted by dalek at 2008-03-09 05:29 PM

I have moved Dalek's latest post to the junk forum as it is mere abuse and contributes nothing to the debate - Youngmarxist

If you want to read the post, you can click on this link.

 

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2008-03-15 06:18 AM
Just how bad is it in some aboriginal communities?

This Sydney Morning Herald article We need to get the children out of here describes the terrible extent of the problems in Aurukun, in far north Queensland:
Elders are calling for the children to be removed from the community at age nine, for their safety and education ...

... Recidivism rates for teenage boys run at 90 per cent, some having served up to eight terms for offences from stealing cars to assault by the time they are 15. Close to a tenth of the community's adults and teenagers are either on parole, a suspended sentence or community service orders, but the latter are rarely enforced. Another tenth is revolving through jail or juvenile detention.

One in three children are not enrolled at the school, which notionally teaches to year 10 level. Of those who are, they attend two days a week on average. Nine in 10 children do not turn up on a Friday, regarded by most parents as a holiday set aside for gambling the week's "sweat money" (work-for-the-dole payments) and "child money" (family tax benefits)...

There have been two alcohol-driven street riots this year, involving 50 people or more armed with iron bars, knives and hammers, on top of three last year. The past week has seen an influx of sly grog by sea, a stabbing, nightly assaults and the near-sacking of the chief executive officer for his efforts to apply general administrative standards to council business.

Tomorrow's local government election is largely being fought over the community's "right to drink" in the face of recent restrictions on the serving of alcohol at the local tavern by the Liquor Licensing Board.
Clearly, we have to do a lot more than say sorry - and the acute problems that Pearson and many others say exist, do exist (see Little Children are Sacred report ). Step one is to face reality.
_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by dalek at 2008-03-16 05:42 PM

Perhaps all those people who are promoting the superficial accounts of abuse and negelect in Aboriginal communities should read this item from today's Melbourne Age. It attempts to see below the sensationalist. We need to  look beyond the handwringing platitudes and draconian prescriptions of the extreme right.

Dalec

Extract:

"Child abuse and domestic violence are only part of the story, only part of an Australian tragedy unfolding in remote communities. It is one of the nation's greatest challenges.

THE landmark Little Children are Sacred report shocked the nation with its revelations of child abuse in remote communities and led to the emergency intervention — a policy of the Howard government continued by Kevin Rudd.

But indigenous Australia — our failed state within the state — is in the grip of a crisis that threatens to swamp the $1 billion intervention. Child abuse and domestic violence may be entrenched problems, but they are being fuelled by something far bigger: an indigenous population exploding three times faster than mainstream society.

The nation's rural towns — places such as Moree, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Kalgoorlie and Wadeye — have become urban time bombs. Their fast-growing, impoverished, indigenous populations represent the biggest challenge facing policy makers in Canberra today." 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-03-16 09:48 PM
The article that dalek has posted, while worth reading in itself, has nothing to say either for or against Pearson's suggested strategy for Cape York communities. (I assume it is Pearson that he refers to as the 'extreme right'. Click here for a discussion of whether Pearson is a rightist or a leftist).

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by dalek at 2008-03-17 12:20 AM

Pearson and the right have focussed upon the sexual assault, attacks on women, drug taking and Paedophile acts in the Aboriginal communities. These are symptoms, admittedly Pearson does realise this but he has no solution but to punish and straighten. He proposes the same solutions to present problems that were applied to the working class "crisis" of the 19th century in GB and the US. Expanded police powers, forced attendance at schools compulsory medical examinations, compulsory drug testing and workhouses for the poor. Massacres in the US.

In the end the working class dug themselves out of the "crisis" with militant action. The "do gooders" were peripheral at best.

Dalek.

 

 

 

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-03-17 10:21 PM

I find it interesting that dalek appears to believe that sexual assault, attacks on women, drug taking and paedophilia should not be regarded as problems by the left, and that forced attendance at school is in someway a bad thing. I can't find anything at all in what Pearson has said that indicates that he welcomes massacres of Aboriginal people, or workhouses. In fact, dalek has previously misrepresented Pearson's position on the CDEP scheme - Pearson has called for the government to stop using CDEP as a means to get jobs done cheaply, while dalek claimed that Pearson (and I) were against any sort of government spending on Aboriginal communities.

 

Since dalek has admitted that he has not read the papers published by Cape York Partnerships, any opinion he has on Pearson's proposed solutions is worthless.  

 

Some of Pearson's proposed solutions are:

 

Every Child is Special

Every Child is Special (ECIS) is a research and development project aimed at reforming Indigenous education by building student, family and community demand for high expectation, high quality education through family engagement and mutual accountability. The project has a ‘No Excuses!’ approach to achieving better education supply and develops collaborative education partnerships to improve education supply and enable ‘demand’ participation in the school.Every Child is Special (ECIS) is a research and development project aimed at reforming Indigenous education by building student, family and community demand for high expectation, high quality education through family engagement and mutual accountability. The project has a ‘No Excuses!’ approach to achieving better education supply and develops collaborative education partnerships to improve education supply and enable ‘demand’ participation in the school.

The Work Placement Scheme

Young Indigenous people from remote communities want for much the same as any other young person. They want for belonging, stimulation, recognition, mobile phone, fashion clothes, car, and anything else our modern society can provide, but in order to obtain most of these things they must first find a job. Only a real job can provide them with the income, identification and recognition they want for. If real jobs are not available in their home community they must move to where they can get jobs.

The Work Placement Scheme helps young Indigenous people from remote northern communities willing and able to leave their home and community for work in southern states. The Scheme provides them with mainstream unsubsidised employment, onsite support and supervision, rental accommodation, and transport to and from their place of employment at cost.

Young Indigenous people from remote communities want for much the same as any other young person. They want for belonging, stimulation, recognition, mobile phone, fashion clothes, car, and anything else our modern society can provide, but in order to obtain most of these things they must first find a job. Only a real job can provide them with the income, identification and recognition they want for. If real jobs are not available in their home community they must move to where they can get jobs.

The Work Placement Scheme helps young Indigenous people from remote northern communities willing and able to leave their home and community for work in southern states. The Scheme provides them with mainstream unsubsidised employment, onsite support and supervision, rental accommodation, and transport to and from their place of employment at cost.

 

Pride of Place

“Pride of Place” projects concentrate on the positive aspects of society and promote these characteristics to instil an ethos of identifying and building momentum, with a view to diminish dysfunctional behaviour inherent within the Community. This project uses community renewal/community beautification as a means to achieve behavioural change. The behaviour and outlook of people is directly effected by their immediate environment, it therefore follows that if that environment resembles a ghetto, people will behave as if they live in a ghetto, and likewise if the immediate environment is clean and neat and beautified, people’s behaviour responds in a positive way.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by keza at 2008-03-20 05:46 AM
Dalek refers to those who support  Pearson's proposals as "do-gooders".  As far as I can see that term is far more readily applied to the vast army involved in maintaining the passive welfare system which Pearson wants to undo. It's also applicable to those who persist with the patronising view that dysfunctional  behaviour within  Aboriginal  communities should be tolerated.

He refers to the working class historically having "dug itself out of 'crisis' by militant action". The situation within dysfunctional  Aboriginal communities however is directly traceable to the fact that such communities have been excluded from the working class. Militant working class struggle is simply not possible in communities where no one has real jobs.

He writes: "Pearson and the right have focussed upon the sexual assault, attacks on women, drug taking and Paedophile acts in the Aboriginal communities."   Of course they should - and so should the Left.  Who wouldn't?   Such behaviours are a direct result of the fact that these communities are currently not part of mainstream working class Australia. 

In his post that youngmarxist  correctly sent to the junk forum dalek wrote:

(Once upon a time people in LS proclaimed "it is right to rebel") now they advance half baked final solutions to the situation of the Aboriginal peoples because the situation offends their sensibilities!)

Yes of course it "offends our sensibilities"!  The most rebellious behaviour from the Aboriginal community (and others)  at the moment comes from Pearson and his supporters and not from the likes of dalek who objectively prefer the passive position of sitting back and letting the situation continue.

In the same (junked) post dalek wrote:

I would argue that unless the changes are strongly supported from the inside they will fail. I am not arrogant enough to suggest the nature of these changes.

This is a completely non-rebellious cop-out.  The  real struggle within the Aboriginal community is being led by people such as Pearson who are playing a vanguard role by proposing that it is possible and absolutely necessary for the Aboriginal community to stand up and throw off the passive victim mentality which has been imposed on them.

It's time for dalek to address the issues rather than continue to churn  out pseudo-marxist   ravings  which reveal  only that  he is ignorant enough of Marxism to  confuse criminal, anti-social and lumpen behaviour with  working class behaviour.