• Crisis in Aboriginal communities

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 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by dalek at 2007-07-02 07:20 PM

 YM. Well I have actually having lived and worked in aboriginal communities from the top of South Australia right through into the NT. I spent years assisting communities with power systems, so I can claim some first hand knowledge. (My role was to liase and plan with community leaders). The first comment I will make is that the state of the communities varied widely, many communities were models of good governance - there was no drunkeness, or petrol sniffing etc.  A small minority were hellholes, some so bad that the Authority who had responsiblity for my safetyand the safety of my crew would not allow us in.

From my direct experience I would argue that the situation in most of the communities  is not as bad as Howard and Pearson and Brough would have you believe.

Even in the few years that were covered by my activities (which I fondly believe asisted in bringing "modernity" to many people) I observed active and effective programs that were instituted by the people themselves that attacked the core issues in the communities.  

Pearson, Howard  and Brough are just opportunists who for their own reasons are making  a meal of what is undoubtedly a very bad situation in a minority of communities.

Howard because he faces an election, Pearson because he and his brother have established a Pearson Industry (to use LS terminology).

You guys have been totally sucked in, you are once again supporting a military solution. This time to a problem that is already being solved by the people themselves.



 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by arthur at 2007-07-03 12:23 AM
dalek's fond belief that he was helping bring modernity is best illustrated by his opposition to providing children with computers to protect them from sexual predators.

Pearson is spot on:

Strangely - but if you adopted an old leftist analysis it should not be surprising - the greatest impediment to the policies that are needed to relieve suffering is the confusion of those parts of the middle class who think themselves progressive. And it is particularly that section of the progressive middle class who are involved in the so-called helping industries who most contribute to the misery of those whom they believe they are helping

The "progressive" sneering of people like dalek has actually helped influence Aboriginal policy in Australia. That is a crime.

For a less caricature and more convincing illustration of "progressive" malevolence towards Aboriginals checkout this long thread at Lavadeus Prodeo - Welfare reform, Pearson style.

Tactically it is probably best to refer to this poison as "confusion" but the malevolent bile with which they defend misery and degradation is unmistakable.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by youngmarxist at 2007-07-03 12:27 AM
Dalek, that does not answer my question as to what alternative policies you advocate.

 Which programs, and who should we be supporting if you think Pearson is not the right person?

 What has Pearson said that is incorrect, and what is the actual situation?

Do you have any concrete suggestions or solutions to bring to this discussion? Or do you merely enjoy being full of hate?

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by nkelly at 2007-07-03 04:19 AM
Regarding that poor unfortunate Dalek; Arthur writes, The sheer extremism of his poisonous hatred of progress is becoming unconvincing. Is it really possible that people like dalek actually exist? Young Marxist writes, Do you have any concrete suggestions or solutions to bring to this discussion? Or do you merely enjoy being full of hate? It appears that Dalek is in the argument a despicable and hate fueled waste of time. Why does Dalek bother? You are so much better as a group when you just swap ideas amongst each other. Poisonous hatred, full of hate. As usual you are too kind to Dalek.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-07-03 06:10 AM

I think that there's some wrong headedness in our arguments.


Quite often when someone makes an observation or critisism they are countered with an argument that if they don't have a better solution then this detracts from their observation or critisism.


It's ok to critique someones position without having a thoughtout position to replace it.


For example someone sells me a car, I return the car saying theres something wrong. The mechanic accepts my critisism of the car without demanding that I produce a better idea about how to fix it. Of course it would be good if I could give the mechanic a better idea of how to fix the car.


Theres plenty that troubles me about the governments new approach to indigenous peoples in Australia. I havent got a better plan mostly because I think that the answers lie within the indigenous communities rather than with the government. (also I see the indigenous population as being very complex, a one size fits all aproach may suit those on Groote Island but not those at Hermansburg. Extra police may be the answer for some but I know that others feel overpoliced already. ;) 


What I do think is positive is that the Prime Ministers actions have raised this issue to the number one political issue and many people who do have an intimate knowledge of this state of affairs are getting to speak to a greatly enlarged audience.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by youngmarxist at 2007-07-03 07:41 AM
owenss, dalek has not been making 'observations' or 'criticisms'. He has been dishonestly attacking us, claiming that 'we' support things and people that 'we' do not. And doing it in a  angry tone that makes him look ridiculous.

 Not only does dalek not have an alternative plan, he can't even point us to someone he thinks we should be listening to. 

 Critiquing someone's position without at least having a broad alternative in mind - or at least being able to point to different points of view that should be considered - is absolutely sterile and useless. Politics is about what policies you want to see in action, or it's just whingeing.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by dalek at 2007-07-03 11:51 PM

Let's agree on a few things:

  1. The Aboriginal people were defeated by British imperialism, subsequently poisoned, and shot for sport by the colonists.
  2. The aboriginal people were not recognised at all until after 1967
  3. Until recently they had no rights at all and consequently no responsibilities at all

The plan by Pearson et al is to take away the rights they have fought for and to increase the responsibilities. It is a one size fits all temporary fix until election time.

Only the most ignorant would believe that over 200 years of neglect and persecution can be fixed by the army and yet another layer of white regimentation in even ten years?

One thing I observed is that where there was really strong and militant aboriginal leadership the communities seemed to be well run and largely devoid of drunkeness and petrol sniffing. The best (pace feminists) were run by what the locals called "strong men" make what you will of that.

In my view the "problem" lies with the collaborationists like Pearson instead of fighting for rights he advocates doing things the white mans way.

The Gurindji took Wattie creek by force of arms now they will lose it because of Uncle Tom Pearson.





 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by arthur at 2007-07-04 12:18 AM
dalek, Lets agree about just one thing, there is no way you can recover from having opposed providing computers to Aboriginal children on the basis that it would be exposing them to sexual predation.

Your "militant" sounding denunciations are entirely typical of absolute phoneys, as are your denunciations of people actually fighting as Uncle Toms.

The extravagence rhetoric is so typical of people trying to hide the utter bankruptcy of their line.

PS nkelly, I'm not sure if I understand your posting. Certainly hate sessions against dalek are less productive than discussions among ourselves. But he is such a perfect negative example of pseudo-leftism that kicking him off would be wasting an opportunity.

Please take a look at the link I provided to Welfare Reform, pearson style. The same desire to preserve the current mess is beter concealed there while dalek's frothing brings it out into the open.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-07-04 03:07 AM


Uncle Tom refers to Josiah Henson a great African American who deserves better than to be remembered as Uncle Tom. I think there are much better terms to describe a race traitor.


You use this term to describe Noel Pearson. Its hard to tell you what a poor description I think this is only to say that I have asked militant aboriginal people what they think of Noel and Uncle Tom was not a term they used.


I know that political aboriginal people struggle for unity against adverse conditions, for whities to deride their leaders would be a very poor look.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by youngmarxist at 2007-07-04 07:33 AM
owenss, I'd be interested to hear more on the different lines you see advanced by Aboriginal people active in politics.

While it's not directly relatd to this issue, I did a report of a 'Justice for Mulrunji' rally last November. About half way down you'll see the name Adrian Walker - he advocated that black people 'police the police' by watching what they do. He says that this set-up once existed in Brisbane.

There are sound recordings you can listen to of what he said.


Presumably any plan put forward on the grounds that it is more democratic than Mr Howards's proposal will neeed to be backed by people thinking at that level.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by dalek at 2007-07-04 05:18 PM
Owenss I used the term Uncle Tom, in the sense " It is commonly used to describe black people whose political views or allegiances are considered by their critics as detrimental to blacks as a group."


I see the Federal govt activities in the NT as basically a revocation of land rights, to allow unrestricted  minining developement and unrestricted dumping of the worlds nuclear waste and to avoid sharing the benefits (?) with the Local Communities.


BTW I once flew in a light plane from Cairns to Wiepa, I was sitting next to the pilot and I saw a dirty yellow column of thick dust that rose 10,00 feet above the bush. The pilot said "oh that's from the uranium mine". "Is it radioactive" I said? "I won't fly through the fucking stuff" he said.


But as Lang Hancock once said apropos of Asbestos - "some-one has to pay the price of progress". (or something like that).

Won't be the handmaidens of "unsustainable development" that's for sure... They are safe in the dome.



 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by byork at 2007-07-05 05:32 PM

I keep receiving global emails from various groups that are mobilizing against the emergency plan, so you can bet it will be an issue. Apart from anything else, I find it bizarre that they have jumped in so quickly and so definitely before the task force has handed down its recommendations for implementing the plan. I understand this will happen when the task force reports in a week or two. But for dalek and co, there's no need to consider the details of how the plan will be implemented, they already know it will be wrong-headed. Indeed, the 'revocation of land rights' that dalek knows will happen is matched only by his certainty that mining development will be unrestricted as will the dumping of the world's nuclear waste in these communities. dalek increasingly reminds me of those old blokes I used to meet while a young fella doing 'mass work' in pubs around Melbourne in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Total formulistic thinking, no evidence needed. Just a nod and wink and, of course, we all know what is really happening.


dalek's use of 'Uncle Tom' in reference to Noel Pearson is just disgraceful. I know of no reputable tried-and-tested Aboriginal leaders, including those who are critical of the emergency plan and of Pearson, who use that epithet against him.


I am still of the opinion that, regardless of the likely short-falls of the plan's eventual implementation, Aboriginal people will, in the main, see it as an opportunity to be seized. This is because they are the ones in the remote communities who know that action is more than urgently needed.



 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2007-07-16 05:16 AM

The Cape Experiment: The inside story of the radical welfare reforms on the Cape York Peninsula

This was on abc tv tonite and will be repeated tomorrow at 11:35 am
also the full program will be online tomorrow

It puts a compelling case for the urgent need to end passive welfare dependency for indigenous australians
Bill Kerr

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by dalek at 2007-07-16 05:52 PM

kerrb. Another view on the "crisis" in aboriginal communities, this time not from the "biased" ABC.  Dalek.

Below is the text of an article by Jennifer Martiniello which will be forwarded to major newspapers in Australia. Please pass on to your networks. Jennifer Martiniello is a writer and academic of Arrernte,
Chinese and Anglo descent. She is a former Deputy Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, and a current member of the Advisory Board of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the ANU.

Howard's New Tampa - Aboriginal Children Overboard
Howard's new Tampa children overboard are our Aboriginal children.
The Little Children are Sacred report does not advocate physically
and psychologically invasive examinations of Aboriginal children,
which could only be carried out anally and vaginally. It does not
recommend scrapping the permit system to enter Aboriginal lands, nor
does it recommend taking over Aboriginal 'towns' by enforced leases.
These latter two points in the Howard scheme hide the true reason for
the Federal Government's use of the latest report for blatant
political opportunism.

It has been an openly stated agenda that Howard wants to move
Aboriginal people off their lands, and has made recent attempts to
buy off Aboriginal people by offering them millions for agreeing to
lease their lands to the Federal Government, e.g. Tiwi Islands and
Tangentyere in Alice Springs. There was also the statement by the
Federal Government that it could not continue (?!) to provide
essential services to remote communities, which raised an uproar of
responses in the press. The focus on the sexual abuse of children is
guaranteed to evoke the most emotive responses, and therefore command
attention, just like the manipulation of the Tampa situation. But
while the attention of the media and the public is being emotionally
coerced, what is being sneaked in under the covers?

Two issues specifically - mining companies have applied for more
exploration permits in the Northern  Territory, the Jabiluka uranium
mining operations at Kakadu have already hit the media because of the
mining company's applications to the Government to significantly
expand its operations, including establishing new mines at Coronation
Hill, and another critical issue - nuclear waste. The Howard
Government has already mooted that nuclear waste should be dumped in
the Northern Territory, on Aboriginal lands. Aboriginal traditional
owners are absolutely opposed to this. We have a long history of
deaths and illness from radiation, from the atomic tests at Woomera
in the 1950s to the current high incidences of carcinomas in the
community at Kakadu near the Jabiluka site. The main obstacle to the
Federal Government's desired expansion of mining operations in the
Northern Territory and nuclear waste dumping is, of course, the
Aboriginal people who have occupancy of, and rights under the common
law to, their traditional lands.

Following the stages of the Howard Government's usual modus operandi
(defund, blame, eliminate), defunding of critical programs for remote
Aboriginal community projects began in July 2004, with coerced
changes to funding contracts, and monies for critically needed youth
and health programs in remote areas being the first dollars to go.
Take Mutitjulu for example, which was notoriously profiled by the
ABC's Nightline program. I say notorious because one of Senator Mal
Brough's personal staffers was the so-called ex-youth worker
interviewed on that program, and the content of that interview was
laden with myths and mistruths. The staffer in question failed to
appear when summoned before a Senate inquiry to explain and the
Senator's office is yet to issue a statement. When the community
lodged a formal protest to Government, it was raided and their
computers seized. But the program did show the effects of the Howard
Government defunding of essential programs on that community, in
particular the youth centre and health centre. The people at
Mutitjulu also just happen to be the traditional owners of Uluru, one
of this country's most lucrative tourist attractions. The Howard
Government would not like us to ask who benefits by the people of
Mutitjulu being forced off their community. Under the amendments to
Native Title made by the Howard Government, once Aboriginal people
have left their traditional lands, forcibly or otherwise, their
rights under the common law that every other Australian enjoys over
their land are significantly impaired.

Progressive defunding of Aboriginal art centres has also begun, with
a range of community art centres not having their funding renewed by
DCITA in July 2005 and 2006 in the Northern  Territory, from
communities in Arnhemland to mid and southern Territory communities.
The art production facilitated by those Aboriginal art centres are
the only means through which members of those communities can
actually earn a living, as opposed to being on welfare. But then,
dependent people are easier to control by means of that dependency.
The Howard Government's failed Shared Responsibility Agreements
(SRAs) have also been the catalyst for further blame shifting and
progressive defunding, take Wadeye for example.

Our Aboriginal communities are being squeezed further into
dysfunction and disenfranchisement by carefully targeted political
engineering, the systemic and ruthless roll-out of a planned agenda.
It is no accident that Howard's scheme to address what he calls the
urgency of the Little Children are Sacred report's 97 recommendations
was trotted out so very quickly, and addresses so very few of those
recommendations. It is sheer political opportunism to advance an
already in motion agenda, and to score points in an election year.
After all, The Little Children are Sacred report is not the first of
such reports, nor are its findings and recommendations new. The
Federal Government has had the 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997 and 2002
reports gathering dust and deliberate inaction on its shelves.
Perhaps Mr Howard has been saving them up for a rainy election year?
And of course Mr Howard's scheme targets only Aboriginal communities,
despite the fact that the findings specifically state that non-
Aboriginal men, that is, white men, are a significant proportion of
the offenders, who are black-marketeering in petrol and alcohol to
gain access to Aboriginal children. What measures is the Howard
Government going to take about non-Aboriginal sex offenders,
pornographers, substance traffickers and the like? Nothing according
to the measures announced, but then, they're not Aboriginal and they
don't live on the Aboriginal communities where their victims live.

So who are the real victims here, the silenced victims of John
Howard's scheme? Aboriginal children, of course, who will be subject
to physically and psychologically invasive medical examinations,
irrespective of their home and family circumstances, and who will
deal with the mental and emotional fall-out from that? Aboriginal
men, too, who become the silenced scapegoats, painted by default by
John Howard as all being drunken, child-raping monsters. Perhaps the
fact that almost every picture shown of Aboriginal men in the media
these days shows them drunk, with a slab, cask or bottle under their
arms leads Mr Howard to expect that one to pass unchallenged,
irrespective of the fact that statistics show that only 15% of
Aboriginal people drink alcohol, socially or otherwise, compared to
around 87% of non-Aboriginal Australians. The greater majority of
Aboriginal men are good, decent people. Perhaps the media would like
to rethink its portrayals of Aboriginal men? How about some photos of
the other alcoholics, you know, the white ones. There's more of them.

And what of our communities? The Howard Government also hasn't
mentioned that the majority of Aboriginal communities in the Northern
are already dry communities, decided and enforced by those
communities. But then that would spoil the picture Mr Howard wants to
paint of our Aboriginal communities. Other large communities, such as
Daly River, have controlled the situation by only having alcohol
available from the community's club and enforce a strict four can
limit. Also forgotten in the current politically opportunistic furore
is the fact that Aboriginal communities around Tennant Creek and
Katherine have been lobbying Governments and town councils for
decades to restrict the sale of alcohol on Thursdays, when Aboriginal
community people come to town for supplies. So far their pleas have
been rejected. Nothing in Mr Howard's plan to facilitate that,
either. Or about the control of alcohol when those people, once
forced off the communities into the towns, bring their problems with
them, child abuse or alcoholism and all the rest. Of course that
would make access to Aboriginal children a lot easier for white
offenders, they won't have to go so far to find a victim.

One last word on focus of attention. In the famous Redfern Address,
the then Prime Minister, Paul Keating asked perhaps the most
important question for all Australians to consider. He said 'We
failed to ask the most basic of questions. We failed to ask - What if
this were done to us?' What if this were done to us - to Mr and Mrs
Average Australian, to our schools, youth centres, health centres,
access to medical care, communities, homes, children, grandchildren?
After all, current national health reports from a wide range of
health organisations name sexual abuse of non-Indigenous Australian
children as a crisis area in need of urgent attention. And the
numbers of victims are higher. National reports into mainstream
domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse also call for urgent
action, again the issues are at crisis level, and the numbers of
victims and abusers are far higher than in the Little Children are
Sacred report. None of the recommendations in all of those hundreds
of national health reports recommend compulsory sexual health tests
for every Australian child under sixteen. Not one of them recommends
that a viable solution is closing down youth and health programs, in
fact they all advocate that more are needed. None recommend that the
victims' or the offenders' communities and homes should be
surrendered to the Federal Government and put under compulsory lease
agreements, and none advocate processes which would lead to either
the victims or the abusers losing their rights under common law to
their property as measure to control or remedy the occurrence of
abuse. Would the Howard Government even dare to contemplate such as
that? I think not. It would be un-Australian, and the Government it
would expect immediate legal repercussions on the grounds of
impairment of human rights, extinguishment of rights under common
law, discrimination, and a raft of other constitutional issues.
Besides, Mr and Mrs Average Australian don't, for the most part, live
on top of uranium and mineral deposits or future nuclear waste dumps.

But seriously, the most critical question for all Australians to ask
themselves in the lead up to this year's Federal Election is just
that - What if it were done to us? With full acknowledgment of what
has already been done to workers, trade unions, student unions,
public primary, secondary and tertiary education, elderly care,
palliative care, medicare, crisis health care, nurses, teachers,
multicultural affairs, migrant groups, women, child care, small
businesses and artsworkers, among the many, through the exercise of
policies of social engineering and fear, your answer at the polling
booth may just determine whether it will be done to you, or continue
to be done to you. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald 25th
June, the Howard Government last week used the military to seize
control of 60 Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, which
are now under military occupation. This is not Israel and Palestine.
The Northern Territory is not Gaza or the West Bank. This is
Australia - but is it the Australia you thought you lived in? Walk in
our shoes, Aboriginal Australia's, and ask yourselves, what would it
be like to have this done to us? And then, walk with us.

Jennifer Martiniello

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2007-07-30 05:45 AM

Noel Pearson points out that progressive sounding "leftist" rhetoric originating from the tolerant middle classes is a cultural obstacle that aboriginal people have to overcome. Nice folks who want to do the right thing but who haven't thought deeply about the issues or are afraid to take a tough stand. In contrast, Pearson is a tough minded Leftist who can see through the wishy washy rhetoric and is prepared to unite with anyone who is prepared to take real take action in order to improve the situation of his people:

The middle-class producers of culture and ideology often see themselves as the Left. My texts have often been perceived as attacks on the Left. But I support key policies of the Left. In many areas, Aborigines can agree with the Left, including the people who have felt most hit by my criticism. I agree with them on land rights and conservation, trade unions, redistribution and the role of government in guaranteeing equitable health care and education.

The contention of mine that has caused most consternation when I have challenged the Left during the past eight years is that the result of progressive policies can be at odds with the good intentions that inspired them. My aim has been, as Dennis Glover wrote in The Australian yesterday, to "set higher standards for the Left" by critically examining the outcomes of ostensibly leftist policies. It is appropriate to set high standards because the Left's claim to the right to govern rests on its promise to lift the living standard and prospects of the lowest classes.

The challenge of education facing our children should be understood as a class challenge. There are strong class forces at work that are barriers to social advancement.

The main means by which class stratification is maintained and social progress impeded is not by direct and conscious oppressive behaviour by privileged classes. Rather, the forces of class operate culturally. They are embedded in the prevailing ideologies and intellectual currents, popular and niche cultures. Their effect is to cause confusion in the minds of lower-class people about social progress and how it may be achieved, and cause them to behave in ways that are contrary to their interests.

I developed a (provocative) rule of thumb when it comes to examining the nostrums and prescriptions of the middle-class culture producers, who often come from the progressive cultural Left: whatever they say our people should do, we should look at the opposite of what they say because that will usually be the right thing to do. Therefore:

* They say substance abuse is a health issue and should be approached with tolerance.

We say it is a behavioural and social order issue and we need to rebuild intolerance.

* They say education should be culturally appropriate.

We say this should not be an alibi for anti-intellectualism, romantic indigenism and a justification for substandard achievement.

* They say we should respect Aboriginal English as a real language.

We say we should speak our traditional languages and the Queen's English fluently.

* They say our people need to bedefended in a hostile criminal justice system.

We say we need more policing to restore law and order.

* They say our people are victims and must not be blamed.

We say our people are victimised but we are not victims.

* They say we have a right to passive welfare.

We say we do not have a right to dependency and, indeed, we have a greater right to take up a fair place in the real economy.

* They say economic integration is antithetical to our identity.

We say our culture cannot and will not survive as long as we live in the social dysfunction caused by economic dependency.

* They say poverty is our main problem.

We say passivity is our main problem because it prevents us from taking advantage of opportunities to get out of poverty and the resources we get are squandered.

The striking thing about this stark disagreement about what is really progressive is that we are at odds with so-called progressive thinking across vast tracts of policy.

For me it is not personal antagonism that explains the gulf between me and most national indigenous leaders and intelligentsia; it is this fundamental analytical and policy gulf about what is progress and what is not.

Glover is right when he says that I am a man of the Left because my fidelity is to the lot of the underclass, of whom my people are its most miserable members.

It is that I believe liberal and conservative policies have more to contribute to indigenous uplift than outdated progressive thinking.

It became clear to me that some elements of leftist ideology contribute to the barriers that keep our people down. The key to understanding this is to recognise the profound change in the role of leftist theory. When the theories of the Left were originally formulated, the Left was a revolutionary force. However, the Left has merged with power and government. Leftist ideology is integral to the political and intellectual structure of our society.

The challenge for the Left today is to stop assuming that leftist policy by definition is policy that will help the most oppressed. The most obvious example that this is not the case is the rise of a political and intellectual industry that explains, defends and facilitates behaviours that keep people in the underclass. A young Aborigine today who follows the conventional leftist recipes of the past four decades is destined to stay at the bottom of society.
Bill Kerr

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by Cyberman at 2007-07-30 07:25 PM

What Noel Pearson writes is equally applicable to many ethnic minorities around the world. They are the classic symptoms of the social malaise of a dispossessed ethnic minority.

I certainly don't agree with Comrade Dalek and I do sympathise with what Noel Pearson is saying. Except maybe the bit about the "Queen's English" ! The English don't need Kings and Queens to define the language!

There is an issue of race that needs to be resolved in discussions with the Left. Whatever policies that need to be adopted can't easily be defined on racial grounds. But,  that is not a reason for abandoning Left politics. If he wants to get into bed with the Liberals and Conservatives, fine, but he'll find that he'll get all of the pain for none of the gain.



 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by arthur at 2007-07-30 08:02 PM
Yes, Pearson is definately a tough minded leftist. This paragraph is also worth highlighting:

The main means by which class stratification is maintained and social progress impeded is not by direct and conscious oppressive behaviour by privileged classes. Rather, the forces of class operate culturally. They are embedded in the prevailing ideologies and intellectual currents, popular and niche cultures. Their effect is to cause confusion in the minds of lower-class people about social progress and how it may be achieved, and cause them to behave in ways that are contrary to their interests.

What he calls progressive and leftist should be called reactionary and pseudo-leftist. This difference is important, but apart from that he seems to be spot on.

He seems to have figured out a way to actually act as a leftist whereas we still haven't.

At least we ought to be able to help clarify that ideologies which encourage people to despair of achieving social progress are ideologies that serve the interests of oppressors. But it needs to be as concrete as Pearson's work.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by arthur at 2007-07-30 08:41 PM
Explicitly referencing the "Queen's English" highlighted a key issue (very obviously not the issue of republicanism).

Pearson's usage reminds me of what bell rang that prompted me to reference Stalin on Linguistics in earlier discussion of multi-culturalism.

That pre-emptive rebuttal of post-modernism defends the Tsar's Russian against attempts to keep the oppressed inarticulate.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by Cyberman at 2007-07-31 12:38 AM

Comrade Arthur,

You write approvingly of Noel Pearson. He hasn't got it completely wrong. At least he knows and acknowledges that he's moving to the right with his statement that " I believe liberal and conservative policies have more to contribute to indigenous uplift" !

But, you've got to ask just what exactly does he want. I'd be very surprised if the devil doesn't turn out to be in the detail. Even the modern right aren't going to go along with any idea of overt racial discrimination in the application of welfare laws. It would cause just too much damage to Australia's overseas reputation.

And, if he's looking for allies in his struggle for recognition of aboriginal land rights he's not going to find them on the right either. 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by dalek at 2007-07-31 09:09 PM

Now let's hear Pearson and his acolytes defend this:

1. Brough exercises his work choices, fires 8,000 workers

Darwin insider Henri Ivrey reports:

Indigenous affairs Mal Brough is forcing Aboriginal people out of work in order to make them reliant on welfare. How could this be?

A week ago Brough announced the next chapter of the “intervention”: the abolition of the Community Development Program (CDEP) in the Northern Territory from September. Without any reference to Barbara Bennett of the Workplace Authority, he has determined to throw 8,000 people out of the workforce and onto work for the dole.

Already Aboriginal people at Amoonguna, Impanpa and Mutitjulu in central Australia have been signed off CDEP and on to work for the dole.

Workforce? Yes and no.

CDEP was established in 1977 on the community of Bamyili with the big promise to build communities through 20 hour a week employment, paid at a shade over dole payments. There were also “add ons” of capital and recurrent costs. Bamyili was later re-named Barunga -- the site of another broken promise with Hawke’s 1988 pledge for a treaty with Indigenous Australians.

CDEP’s real achievement for government was that it effectively hid unemployment figures as it spread to its current level of 8,000 participants in the Territory -- and 34,000 nation wide. In Opposition, Territory Labor’s Clare Martin used to make much of this statistical distortion of unemployment figures, but has said sweet fanny adams about it since assuming power.

And it has also bitten Brough in the bum.

When he and Howard announced the national emergency, they proclaimed that they would quarantine the welfare payments of irresponsible parents to force them into spending on food, rent and education rather than grog, p-rn and gambling. Then Brough got the bad news: he couldn’t do that to the incomes of CDEP participants because it was illegal. CDEP wages are just that: wages not welfare.

The solution according to Brough was a novel one -- and one not attempted anywhere else in the western world -- compulsorily remove people from work and put them on welfare.

Of course, he claims that this novel approach will allow people to move onto getting real jobs -- though he concedes only 2,000 will be able to do so. So now you get it. Sack 8,000 people; throw them on the dole; and re-employ 2,000. Bring in the Workplace advocate? Can’t see that happening.

In the meantime, there is deep angst in many towns and communities out bush -- especially those that have successful enterprises based on CDEP workers having “topped up” wages. It’s hardly a princely sum, but it is common for workers in this situation to earn $20-25,000 a year. Such workers also have wage deductions for rent and electricity -- not to mention repayment of loans for household goods and motor cars. On work for the dole -- which they are being forced into -- incomes will be slashed, and any earnings on top of welfare incur deductions after extra earnings of $20 a week. Widespread loan defaulting can be expected. Enterprises on communities such as stores and mechanical shops might be in jeopardy as money on communities becomes scarce -- and they in turn will be forced to cut labour or close shop. The retrenched workers will then be forced on to welfare.

Shades of the Vietnam era philosophy of bombing villages to save them...