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Retired carpenter..history buff, local and ancient..love stories of Italianate style, especially those village superstition stories..Very far left-wing.

Descend into darkness …

“A fragment does not give us that continuously changing truth … ” (Anais Nin).

We now live our lives in fragments. Small moments of awareness, like a penny peep-show of old. Wisdom and knowledge in photo-ops and literary grabs of no more than a thousand words … written in a witty and evocative hand. Hinting at but not over-playing a verbose vocabulary … just enough to thoroughly suffocate the inadequate language of the uneducated while going about the task of educating the unknowing about the inner truths of subjective objectivity.

What is “truth”? … we may ask. And did not Pilate ask the same of Jesus? … or so we are told … before he cast him to the mob … So there is the difference of the times … now, the mob plays the role of a Pilate and any victim that falls into their media net of criminality or what can even be construed as such is torn apart BEFORE they are judged and THEN thrown to be intellectually eviscerated by the singular expert on visual media or blog.

It was a hot summer’s day and I might have dropped into that front-bar of that esplanade hotel for a quick refresher before lunch … you could get a good, cheap counter-lunch at some of those hotels then … I’m talking of the early seventies … There were three other blokes in the bar, sitting with their backs to the esplanade and sea … I was at the at the zenith of the “u” shaped bar so could see through the open sash windows onto the street.

At that moment, a young woman clad in a “strategically shaped” yellow bikini stepped barefooted onto the hot road and, clutching an ice-cream in one hand and towel in the other, quick-steppingly made her way across to the sea. As I said, she was a young woman and a Bertie Wooster might add; “with a rather splendid profile” … and the hot surface of the road made her tapping steps enhance the perimeters of that profile .. and as I nonchalantly perved, those other three chaps, as if on some silent, invisible, stage-directed que all turned simultaneously and looked toward the young lady. And as their eyes lingered on the sight some while, one has to conclude they were of the same imagination as yours truly.

What made them turn in unison? … What made their eyes linger on the vision? … What is it about the female form that creates a certain kind of silent hunger in the heterosexual male? … a lust for life!: “Perfume of embraces all him assailed, with hungered flesh obscurely, he mutely craved to adore.” … Thank you, Mr. James Joyce … couldn’ve said it better meself!

Of course, I won’t try to answer those questions … I suspect most men of my generation (and any other ) already know them anyway. Sufficient to answer for myself in that time of youth, lusting after the sublime feminine form. The object of sexual desire. But that was then. Back in those long lost years of “wasted youth” etc, etc … Now, I have to admit a certain lack of enthusiasm toward the erotic or even the exquisite female form.
Something lost upon the way, perhaps? … I don’t think so … A woman in her early forties recently remarked to me that she noticed that “one doesn’t see … (and here she paused to choose the correct word) … sexy looking people much anymore.” … She didn’t mean saucily-dressed or whatever, she meant as in that attractive manner … that je ne sais quoi of style and form that some people seemed to have in spades.

I recall my first sighting in film of Catherine Deneuve, a “love at first sight” moment … in a movie experience type way … now there was a woman who visually oozed that confident feminine quality that was both sensual strength and vulnerable beauty at the one time … a type of woman one felt like showing both heroic example and adoring servility at the one moment. The Leonard Cohen; “I’m your man” kind of thing … “… with hungered flesh obscurely … “

I myself am a viewer these days of those so-called “Scandi-noir” films where often there is a smattering of nudity and sexual activity … but strangely (perhaps it is my age), even though there is accompanying sultry music and mood photography to fit the moment, I find the scenes cold and clinical … almost brutal and the bodies harsh and brittle … certainly not attractive as the girl in the yellow bikini from my young years … and indeed, I confess to sometimes wincing my eyes shut at just that strategic moment of coitus abruptus. These present day displays of the body-naked is more like a display of the “body-corporate”! … and one is left with the cold, clinical feeling of a surgical examination rather than the warm inner-glow of unsettling desire … one senses the silent glare from unseen eyes by the society examiner of sexual morals of; “don’t you even dare think … !” … What has gone wrong?

Sexual sensuality has morphed into sexual depravity, lustful desire has morphed into lascivious groping … and we as a collective have become the lesser for it. Where once flirt and tease were played with all the skills of a professional erotic dancer … now, one could perhaps observe that brutality has become the new eroticism. Where once was the anticipation of a new date a thrill of elated emotion; “Will she turn up? … it’s getting a bit late, surely! … Oh wait … there … !” … is it now no more than a banal casual appointment?

The same with humour, where once, the inept clumsiness of slapstick and the guffawing of a gross double entendre sufficed for many an evening’s entertainment, those now dated situation comedies have been replaced … NOT with equally juvenile but more sophisticated humour, but it would seem with more a vicious glee in making mockery of another’s unfortunate situation … like the many humiliating situations and events on clips on Twitter or YouTube … an up-dated media event like the sadistic “Funniest Home Videos” shows … We no longer laugh at situations, but more now at the hapless victims of a situation … Where once a professional comedian would play a rehearsed part of a gormless dupe, we now have smart-phones candidly recording every mishap and misadventure by any citizen just going about their business to be displayed to the entire world! We no longer hunger for just a touch from a desired person, but seem to need to totally control the entire relationship …

I see the steady walk toward authoritarianism as the motivating principle of these debased and bullying behaviours, where so many people, used to following persons of exemplar, those regular paths of guidance in life choices are being fed wrong choices , wrong possibilities and in accepting so readily these immoral and unethical social “norms”, we are being herded onto a path that only leads toward a descent into darkness.

Persuasion … (the language of sedition)

Mr. Hogarth spoke: “He would honestly and fairly put the objects of the league before them, and in so doing he would speak out fearlessly and conscientiously, and at the close of the address would be most happy to answer any question. No matter what sort of organization was formed it was absolutely necessary that if it wished to stand a test it must be built on the ground of justice, and start out on fair lines. The (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) was not as represented by many writers to the press who put forth issues contrary to facts. The objects of the league are not suited to any particular party- Its objects are to help the working men as much as possible. He was pleased that man has the freedom of speech so that he can get on a public platform and discuss the various political questions of the day.”

The above address could be from any number of interviews of late with any member of the LNP govt’. The familiarity of language, the tone and expression are all too familiar in today’s right-wing political rhetoric … but in truth it was from a fore-runner of the Liberal Party setting out the objectives of a new political party in 1893. “The Burra Record, Wed. 8th Feb 1893: An address to a gathering at The Burra Institute explaining the objectives of The National Defence League”.

The National Defence League went on to place members (all the usual suspects!) in the Legislative Council (the SA. Upper House) … then went on to rename itself to the Australasian National League then to merge with the Liberal and Democratic Union and the Farmers and Producers Political Union to become the Liberal Union. The NDL stood for ‘the preservation of law, order and property’ and was opposed to ‘all undue class influence in Parliament’ … The current Liberal Party of South Australia claims on their website that their party had its origin under the NDL.

Those smooth, dulcet tones of persuasion that flow like a certain kind of syrup from the elocuted lips of the highly educated upper middle-class … The carefully enunciated sentences that are both persuasive by their cunning use of an inherent truth layered on top of deliberate intent to deceive, betray a training in vocal semantics that can only come from an institution that holds the value of such Machiavellian double-speak close to their vulgar hearts. Institutions well established in the practice of training their charges in the use of such tactics as rhetorical contortionism and suggestive honesty.

Here is some more from the same times … It makes for VERY interesting example reading about the language tactics used by the conservative class in trying to persuade the masses.

From the South Australian Chronicle 24/March 1894:

“LAND TAXATION.

Mr. Hogarth, the National Defence League lecturer, was announced to lecture at the Woodside Institute on Tuesday evening on ‘The coming conflict and some proposed systems of taxation.’ The weather was wet, and at 10 minutes past 8 o’clock there were only five persons present besides Mr. Hogarth. At that time, however, about a dozen or fifteen local land reformers appeared, accompanied by Mr. C. Proud, of Adelaide, who attended at their invitation.

Mr. Hogarth did not finish his lecture until after 10 o’clock, but he had a good and patient hearing. He said he wished he could infuse into the landowners of the colony the enthusiasm displayed by the single taxers and land reformers ; or, failing that, he wished he could awaken them to the danger that threatened of having much more severe land taxation. He did not believe the single tax would come as the single tax, but he did believe that there was a great probability of something of the kind taking place through the gradual increase of the land tax. The National Defence League and the large landowners would not object to Id.(one penny in the pound value) land tax if the other side would guarantee that that was all they wanted, but they knew too well it was only the thin end of the wedge of what, in his opinion, amounted to confiscation.

He regarded the land tax as a tax on industry, and said if the wedge were pressed home it would ruin the poor farmers and the insurance societies, which had most of their funds invested in land values.

Mr. Proud severely criticised several of the statements of Mr. Hogarth, and especially the systematic way in which he and other National Defence Leaguers overlooked the relief that would be given to the landless and poorer landowners on the remission of customs duties which would take place as the land tax was increased.

They always talked about the poor farmer and the poor gardener and the poor widow paying the increased land tax, when as a matter of fact they knew that a mere handful of 703 land taxpayers, including the South Australian Company as one, would pay more than half the land tax for the whole colony, while of course nine-tenths of the whole people would benefit from the reduced Customs duties. As he knew the lecturer would fight shy of facts and figures and keep in the realm of generalities, he had looked up the holdings and values in that district — the hundred of Onkaparinga. There were 78,280 acres in the hundred, valued by the Government assessors in 1893 at £312, 03S. At Id. in the pound therefore this whole hundred would not pay one-twentieth part as much land tax as the City of Adelaide alone. In fact it would pay less than three acres in King William-street, Adelaide. The townships of Hahndorf, Lobethal, and Woodside, in the hundred of Onkaparinga would only pay £81 a year, or less than 50 ft. frontage in the best part of King William-street, and yet Mr. Hogarth had bad the hardihood to talk of the increased land tax pressing on the landowners in that, and other country districts.

The population of the district council of Onkaparinga was 703 adult males. Assuming that they held the land values in the hundred of Onkaparinga at Id. in the pound they would pay £1 13s. 9d. per annum land tax, while the South Australian Company for land held in that same hundred would pay £113. Did the meeting think Mr. Hogarth and the Defence League were fighting for the adult resident’s 33s. 9d. or the South – Australian Company’s £113? (Applause.) Then, again, the adult residents had families for the most part and used dutiable goods. As Customs duties were removed they would be benefited — most of them to a far greater extent than the added land tax — while the South Australian Company, being an absentee (landlord), would save nothing from the removal of Customs duties. Indeed that one absentee company on all its lands in South Australia would have to pay about £4,458 a year land tax at Id. in the £, and the 703 large landowners would pay on the average over £100 a year each. It was principally to save these large land monopolists that the National Defence League was working and that Mr. Hogarth was lecturing, but he was glad to notice that the country people as well as the city workers were at length seeing the real bearings of the question and going steadily onwards towards increased taxation of land values and decreased Customs duties.

The debate was conducted on very friendly terms throughout. Votes of thanks were accorded to Mr. Hogarth on the motion of Mr. Kelly, seconded by Mr. R. P. Keddie ; while Mr. C. Dunn and Mr. H. Hart moved and seconded a vote to Mr. Proud. Both votes were carried with acclamation, and a similar compliment was paid to Mr.’ Caldwell for presiding. The attendance increased very materially when it became known in the township that a debate was being conducted, and towards the close the proceedings became quite lively and enthusiastic.”

Quite lively indeed! … But mark the language used by the conservative speaker..the deliberate obfuscation, the deliberate, deceitful “playing” of the poor and vulnerable people sympathy-card when there was not the least real sympathy for such people … and THIS in 1894! … when we see the same trick played out in 2018 with the claim for reducing taxation on the same most wealthy corporations in the chance of ‘trickle-down” politics … Where, we have to ask does this blatant and insulting mockery of truth and reason emanate from?

I’ll tell you where such language comes from … it comes from those same institutions where the most miserable individual bastards that have ever had the moxxy to waste so much oxygen of this country graduated from: Those private schools and colleges that have been parasiting off the Australian taxpayer and citizen for more years than they are worth! … Those same institutions that have taken the middle and upper-middle class brats from the grasping arms of their parents and nurtured into them the racism, the scorn, the perceived privilege and a “born to rule” bone idleness worthy of the most lascivious arseholes that ever could quote a private school motto and turn honour into horror in the space of a conjunctive!

For too many years we have let these institutions form the backbone of our educated leaders. For too many years has the Treasury of the Australian public given gross payment and unregulated charity in the form of financial grants and allowances to these most miserable of Houses of Education for none but the rich and profligate. We, the Australian people have allowed such institutions to flourish and prosper like a chancre on a healthy democracy, all the while letting them preach sedition and indeed, in some cases inculcate treason into the tender minds of their wards. Such betrayal by the higher echelons of society who benefited so well from their placements toward the trusting working classes who in turn suffered so miserably from their resulting deprivations can only be righted by the most severe censure.

It would only be fair that a tribunal access which of these “honorary” circles of sedition has done the most damage to fair governance … Which House has unleashed the worst purveyors of opportunist and capitalist plunderers upon the nation, and those that are found most culpable be cut from any funding whatsoever and be made to re-pay to the Treasury all those moneys over all those years they have committed such fraud upon the Australian people?

Truly, let them be “educated” with a working-class justice most prejudice.

Das Testament

Any reading of the annals of human history, its achievements and failings, in both majestic endeavour or mean deception, will uncover the heroic alongside the cowardice of the spirit of humanity indelibly written into the texts and transcripts recorded in those annals … even an attempt to hide or disguise the facts of a moment of importance cannot be forever obscured … there is no hiding from history.

The primary sources of Roman history are well served with examples of both. Tacitus will record with both pride in deed and shame in action those annals he has written for the elucidation of posterity. His candid revelations without fear or favour can be an inspiration to those who follow and would like to record their own interpretations of their own contemporary histories, an example most encouraging. Even the everyday chattering of the Diary of Samuel Pepys gives sublime clue to the machinations of his times.

There are those moments when researching contemporary history that certain discrepancies in what one can remember being taught in primary or secondary school can be revealed … and revealing most alarmingly a betrayal of honour by those educators entrusted with the teaching of an accurate and honest history of one’s own State or region. The revelation of which can be more than a shock to the system. The lie about the Governing class of South Australia, in that it was a honest, well-meaning if a tad unknowledgeable about Indigenous peoples and affairs … that it had the best interests of the State and people at heart … that the colony was run on a tight rein by competent administrators right through till the end of the 2nd WW … well .. this was a lie … from the start to the finish … a complete fabrication carefully constructed by thieves, speilers, con-men and killers … AND all of them the most political conservatives.

These ruling conservatives, of whom many of the streets of Adelaide are named after, used their political and financial networks to corrupt and destroy the original intentions of the Letters Patent written for the British Parliament and signed off by the King of England … While there is but obscure evidence of unbridled corruption in the official documents, we can see within the signed off letters between the board members and their agents, some of them quite subversive, that there is the agenda of intent to profiteer from their favourable situation … and after all is said and done, under all the pomp and ceremony of the official documents, we see nothing but a collegiate of cowboy entrepreneurs, spivs and speculators.

The entire official history is open to capricious interpretation and in dire need of total overhaul. The activities in the latter decade of the nineteenth century and into the first decades of the twentieth century of shady political organisations like The National Defence League, ostensibly a lobby-group for the conservative conspiracy operating in a covert manner to block social policy, usurp the procedures of democratic governance and to frustrate fair taxation in the state.

As we go about the mundane and banal business of our everyday lives, we are sometimes suddenly, in the midst of any one of those everyday chores, in between those activities of boring methodology of habit, we are confronted with a moment of such sublime beauty … perhaps an intrusion of natural sights, sounds or actions … like the movement of an obscure lizard or caterpillar that attracts our eye … or the sudden syrupy call of an obscure bird nearby … the movement of a kangaroo if you are in the country or even some domestic animal that you have petted rubbing about your leg … and all of a moment, putting aside those mundane chores you are doing, to either listen or look, a door of perception can open to you … a pause to gaze through that door into an ethereal world full of distracting mystery and strange reward. A world so different to that of the everyday, that one has to hold it in abeyance so as not to be too distracted from the work at hand … a kind of pause and reset moment.

We are dreamers by nature, imaginers by desire for what can be unattainable and indeed … given a bit of thought … perhaps not really wanted … but desired all the same … a kind of sweet-sorrow … as “the bard” would have it! But the strangest thing is, that all those visions that delight us, that provoke such emotional hunger and desire in us are really no more than an exercise of gazing into that which is already in our hearts … already inside us. Such moments happen in historical research where a flash of light can suddenly illuminate a confusing jumble of historical detail and reduce to hard-core evidence that which has been in some doubt for a long time … like the below.

Letters Patent establishing the Province of South Australia 19 February 1836 (UK):

“ … Provided Always that nothing in those our Letters Patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives In Witness whereof We have caused these our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the Nineteenth day of February in the sixth year of our Reign.
By Writ of Privy Seal
Edmunds”

In my recent research into the pioneer Germanic settlers of this region, called by some with more an eye of an acolyte’s hunger for approval than to interest of knowledge as ; ”white-bread contemporary history”, a research that has given me access to a cache of pictures and documents archived by a local historian of good research repute, I have been sifting the many pictures of schools and churches and residences of those hardy settlers … when I came upon one picture of a group of school-children in the year of 1930, varying in age from about ten years old to mid-teens. Upon first glance, they appear to be the usual mix of grinning or scowling kids under instruction to “smile for the birdy!” … and then I noticed one boy, mostly hidden behind the first row who looked different than the blond-haired Germanics, standing in the shadows there … and sure enough, upon enlargement of the frame I saw that he was an indigenous child … and going through the names so gratefully written under the pic, I see his name as ‘Mervyn Sumner” … and that is all.

Having a familiar knowledge with the surnames of many families of this region, THAT particular name did not ring any bells … I started to research through Trove and elsewhere and there he was, sadly recorded in another state (Victoria) in a police inquiry.

(The Argus/Melb Feb 4th 1936):

“Pending the receipt of further Information from the South Australian authorities it is practically certain that the half-caste aborigine youth who died on Lock Island last week and is believed to have been poisoned was Mervyn Sumner who escaped from the Edwardstown Industrial School After the Inquest was opened and adjourned two fruit-pickers who arrived during the week-end stated that they knew Sumner well. The Inquest was reopened mid one of the pickers identified the body as that of Sumner. The hearing was then again adjourned to a date to be fixed.”

(The Age/Melb 30th March 1936):

“MILDURA. The deputy coroner (Mr. H. F. Paul) concluded an inquest on Saturday into the death of a half-caste, Mervyn Sumner, who was found dead on 30th January at Lock Island, Mildura. A finding was recorded that death was due to strychnine poisoning, but there was not sufficient evidence to show how it was administered.”

(Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry):

“In 1921 a two-year-old boy was placed in State care until the age of 18 for being illegitimate. When he was 14, he absconded twice from subsidy placements and, at 15, from the Edwardstown Industrial School. He died 11 months later in Victoria in 1936. His SWIC recorded ‘died’ and the Mortality Record Book ‘sudden – poison’. No coronial files were held in South Australia because the death occurred interstate. The Inquiry obtained department files relating to the boy.

One file contained a report on absconding from the superintendent of the industrial school, which said the boy absconded in February 1935. The police were notified and a warrant issued. Eleven months later, the department received information from the police regarding an unnamed person dying from poisoning in Mildura. According to an informant, the person had given himself a different name but stated that he had come from an Adelaide orphanage.

He told the informant that he had twice previously escaped from the orphanage and that he had no intention of returning to SA until he turned 18. Fingerprints taken from the deceased matched those of someone with a different name again. A photo was then sent to the department, which identified the boy. It appears he had used at least two false names after he had absconded. A newspaper article on the file refers to the circumstances of the death. The boy had been camping on the River Murray with two other youths. He wandered on to an island and what happened next was not known, but later the boy came running from trees and collapsed, saying, ‘I am dying’. He died ‘in agony almost immediately at [the boys’ ] feet’. The article said that a swiftly acting poison caused the boy’s death. The file contained no official document s following up the circumstances of the boy ’s death.”

The above records give a lie to the Royal and Parliamentary proclamation of allowing the indigenous peoples land to be “enjoyed by such natives thereof … “The deliberate actions extant in the files of The South Australia Company, to exploit both persons and land of the new colony from the beginning to the end give testament to their culpable actions to enrich themselves and their colleagues at the expense of the labouring settlers and the indigenous peoples. These so-called Administrators were nothing … NOTHING … more than a bunch of entrepreneurial “free-enterprise” cowboys with good connections and no idea, who found an opportune moment to be in on a good thing! And when it all went pear-shaped, they manipulated the situation so as to be bailed out by the British government of the day with taxpayer money yet leaving themselves still “in situ” to profiteer on their already swindled and plundered estates … no different than these times … not the slightest difference at all.

My studies into the early and subsequent multi-culture immigrants to this country has shown a coordinated discrimination and crushing, one-culture-at-a-time, NOT necessarily by a dominant CULTURE, but certainly by a DOMINATING middle-class capital/financial system … and THAT was and IS the ONLY flag of allegiance such entrepreneurs and swindlers fly … it is their State, their Nation, their Empire, their Tyranny.

Starting with their own duped labourers, then the innocent indigenous peoples, then the Germanic peoples who migrated here in good trust to SA … with the isolation & discrimination wherever possible, using poverty as a weapon of persuasion, then, when the hardiest of them all could no longer be ignored because of their success, bringing those selected from among them with the most adaptability to a “consciousness of kind” … into the tent to control the others and so on and on with the other ethnic peoples, the Italians, Greeks, Slavic peoples, Baltics, Asian and middle-eastern … and even now as we witness these days with certain Indigenous individuals.

Each people, one ethnic group at a time … the same procedure: invite, contain, divide, reject their culture … introduce debt along with aspiration & expectation until cultural and financial control does the rest until capital/material obsession becomes the new culture … with the help of those among their own who will work with and perhaps for the masters in that “consciousness of kind” cooperation.

Until those unique cultures become a pastiche of the original … a blancmange confectionery of the real thing … one culture at a time till we are all looking and sounding like a Dutton, an Abbott or a Hanson or a Howard. We must revive our individual cultures within our multiculturalism … and THAT includes that most crushed of all the imported cultures: Those of the Scots, the Welsh, the Cornish and including the Celts … Look now how successful the Indigenous peoples are being against EXTREME oppression in holding and restoring their cultural tribes … It’s still one hell of a fight and it is one we must win!

Cultural Renaissance now!

Four principal elements of life

Earth, Air, Fire and Water … The humanist side of politics see them as spiritual elements that need to be respected even when being put to use … The corporate side of politics see them as an opportunity to capitalise upon for personal enrichment … and there is the left – right divide.

But mother nature is a strange beast, caring little for the creatures that shelter from or make use of her bounty … whether they use it judicially or waste it profusely, she is what is described as an immovable force, neither sympathetic to cruelty nor appreciative of kindness … she just is. And it goes to measure that they who will waste her resources to fulfil their own greed and treasure house is benefited as much by the same chance of luck and fortune as those who hold her gifts dear to their heart.

There is, however, a price to pay for the wanton destruction of a natural resource … Humanity, being the most guilty of this crime, has learned from so many social collapses and natural disasters that the limits of endurance of a natural system of supply can only be pushed to a certain limit before it hurts … and hurts sorely. Humanity has learned, but alas, not applied that lesson … Humanity esteems that wisdom, praises it, builds idols to it … but does not emulate it … and can there be anything more pathetic than a subordinate giving false flattery to an overseer in the hope for material reward?

Earth, Air, Fire and Water … these were the elements that those Germanic pioneers used as the axiom for their lives out here in the South Australian hinterland, and we can use their trials and tribulations as metaphorical example of that ideological divide … The basic truths that they brought from their homelands in the valleys and on the river banks of the Silesian and Pomeranian soils when they migrated with entire villages to a new land, a new horizon that would allow them the freedoms to pursue their own unique life-style and culture. There was no other truth to their lives and those basic truths were shared with and abided next to their deep Godly faith … it was life and death to them.

Their Earth was the dry, shallow Mallee soils, or the more fertile hills and shallow valleys of the Barossa Ranges … Their Air was the winds that tore through their hard-won crops and orchards … Fire was ever their watch-word that could in a moment wipe out their entire dreams and Water was such a thirst that it went either to drought or to flood .. It was these elements that they held in deep but reverent superstition, where many festivals celebrating a good harvest or lamenting hard times was a hang-over from their pagan past and revered and feared with equal passion.

But there was a contrast in ideology at work in that new colony between the objectives of the colonial administrators and the pioneer settlers. Part of a new philosophy of capitalist exploitation. The one more keen to profit from their speculation at the expense of the land (Earth) with the official doctrine of “trees don’t pay taxes”, the burning of cut-wood for energy and charcoal fuel (Air), the smelting of ores and powering of steam engines (Fire) and the last (Water), such a valuable commodity that could be measured in a price per gallon, held and levied as a commodity.

Who would win this tug-of-war between the basic necessities of life and the profit of corporations? … Of course, it was never in question … They who command the power of regulation and jurisdiction make the laws and enforce them. But the laws they made took little account of those four vital elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water that the farmers staked their survival upon and so the taxes, the interest rates and the harsh conditions of both the leases of land and the environment took their toll … So the pioneers sweated their too small parcels of land, broke their families hearts, condemned to frightful birthing moments and illness and disease, and broke their own backs in doing so and after several generations were scattered to the farther reaches of the new colonies and their leaseholds sold and resold to neighbours to increase their own acreage and the chance of financial survival in an unforgiving environment, till the pioneers finally got the hang of the soils, the knowledge of the weather patterns and the chances of fire and made a go of their estates, only to be once again reviled for their “German-ness” in the time of the Great War.

All those place-names, those familiarities that gave their new locations a feeling of “home” … hamlets and streams, the hills and forests, the valleys and the tracks … names rolled off in a German tongue now culled from the maps by a ludicrously named ”Department of Nomenclature” … to victimise those hardy farmers and tradespeople who in reality had little intention of revolution as they came to the colony to escape those same warring empires … and even had less hope of achieving any uprising even had they the inclination … But still they were held in suspicion, partly because of their close-held cultural beliefs and their singular Lutheranism … one of the very reasons they fled their homeland … and so they stood next in line to the Indigenous peoples to witness their identities erased with the stroke of a clerk’s pen and substituted for a ruling nation’s whim, a mere idiosyncrasy.

But those hardy peasants, stubbornly steeled in their beliefs by centuries of certainty, rose above mere bureaucracy, their offspring gaining more and more credibility in agricultural pursuits .. orchards, cropping, animal husbandry and wine-making until they were the major force in the adjacent valleys and flats … Their family names now a marque of distinction in the art of vigneron and fine produce. No more rejected for their origins, where once the names of “Those who Served” on local plinth and stone memorial boasted a majority of Anglo-Celtic surnames. By the time of the second world war, these Germanic families heralded the majority of servicemen and women.

Now the object of those who considered themselves “born to rule” was how to bring this rising demographic “into the tent” … into the arms of a conservative colonial ruling class, when in truth those very same “lesser aristocrats” of a lower status than those they emulated in snobbery, if not in capacity, would rather see these “foreigners” remain in a servile state and managed like their own country-folk, destroyed of their culture and native inclinations by the brutality of the British industrial revolution … robbed of their heritage by a rapacious middle-class … so they sought out those members of the community most aligned with their own ambitions … most agreeable to their own “consciousness of kind” … those later arrivals who were able to ride in on the coat-tails of their hard-working country people … ”the Men who come behind”, as Henry Lawson wrote:

“There’s a class of men (and women) who are always on their guard —
Cunning, treacherous, suspicious — feeling softly — grasping hard —
Brainy, yet without the courage to forsake the beaten track —
Cautiously they feel their way behind a bolder spirit’s back …”

Better educated, more financially secure, more than willing to bend their culture and will to a ruling class appreciative of a “doffed cap and the tugged forelock “ … they are easy to find, easier to corrupt and cheaper to reward … divide and rule, a tactic as old as empires and as certain of as time itself.

Those suitable applicants were initiated into the rituals of governance .. the conditions of rule, the bias of social superiority that would lead to the possibilities of wealth and glittering prizes. Some of these old family names were altered, letters and umlauts dropped that showed their origins as too vulgar … too close to the Earth … too close to a past of struggle and woe … These new inductees needed to be “blooded” in class warfare, with a knowledge of which side must always “win” … So from the end of that second war, we see many names that once graced the lists of “desperate needs dole”, now, in this new century, carved in the foundation stones of civic buildings and raised in toast at dinners of the Chambers of Commerce in the capital city, while their “lesser” cousins marvelled the crowds at local and national sport grounds with their dexterity with ball, bat and other skilled sports.

But their parents and their grandparents and forebears right back to the first years of the colony have their names carved into a different, more humble marble and stone … Courageous testaments cut in lonely, abandoned church-yard cemeteries … many with their still-born or short-lived children buried next to them, to keep them company into eternity and perhaps the only recognition being a short note in the obituaries of another’s old diary or the fading memory of a aged descendant, themselves still keen to test the four elements that continuously challenge those with close and honest affinity to the eternity of the land:

Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

Too Much of Plenty

In an era of such discrepancy between those who have too much and the great majority who have too little, it is with a kind of disbelief that I keep on seeing the tyrannical political representatives of the former being repeatedly gaining office to inflict even greater burdens on the latter …

As the good professor would once have asked; “Why is this so?”

Of course, there are the usual reasons acceptable to statisticians of demographic favour, the reliable “rusted-ons” and a degree of persuasive propaganda through a compliant and biased mainstream media.

But in an era of known “swinging voter” power, which we have seen disrupt both Houses of Parliament in recent years, why is it that their vote and that of many mainstream political party favourite preferences shift toward what could be described as preferencing bigotry, racism and elitism in class-distinction to give greater advantage to the parties most corrupt in governance against the poor, the weak and the most vulnerable?

It is, in my estimation, a shift over the last couple of decades of a seeking for assurance by a population of well-established, even if not entirely economically secure, section of the populace; the well-heeled, the moderately comfortable or the socially at risk but having access to easy credit to maintain a false feeling of comfort and security – Australian citizen body that has over these last couple of decades snuggled itself down in a soft furnishing of an “expectation of privilege”.

But they forget that it is not so long ago, just a generation or so, that many of their parents or grandparents fought a daily battle of poverty and want against those very political forces that would have drowned them in that sea of despair while enriching, as they are doing now, the same section and grandchildren that tormented their older kin.

I have the archival records of one of those families who struggled to overcome that debilitating poverty that only the actions of the militant unions and their affiliated political representatives gave relief to so many working families.

“1983 … Business of Survival … With the Death of Richard, I must now manage alone, on one pension.

The house seems in good condition. No large account, only the small loan I had taken out, which finishes in June 1985. Must try not to take out anymore loans, to (sic) much drain on my low income.

I must try to live on produce from garden, with eggs to help out.

Try to cut down on weekly food bills, most of all on meat.

The animals take quite a lot (money) for food, reg, etc.

As the fowls are all getting old, must breed up some new hens.“

That direct quote was from an aged pensioner’s diary … sure, we know she was not going to die of hunger or homelessness. Or do we? She certainly was afraid of some vague uncertainty … and therein lies the simple truth:

“A lifetime of habit, creates a certainty of belief … a moment of uncertainty doubts a lifetime of belief.”

For that lady, her entire life was constructed around hard work. The old-age pension that Labor and the unions put in place gave her a measure of security so she could live out her final years in dignity.

But these simple demands by the most vulnerable of the population, along with a most brutal and cruel treatment of so many asylum seekers with their families coming to our shores seeking that second chance at a new life, have been swept aside in a maniacal assurance of security from fear: fear of terrorism, fear of financial devastation, fear of a different skin colour and culture even fear from the indigenous people of the very soil of our nation. In fact – from fear itself.

A fear of the loss of that expectation of privilege: Too much of Plenty.

It is an ugly revelation of a ugly country when such fear bubbles to the surface like pooled sewerage and it even has its own peculiar “smell”, the smell of that fear … and one can smell it most prevalent upon those who, while having gained their measure of financial security from dealing with and from those very subjects they most revile, are the first to demand restrictions upon and levies via wages limitations upon those very enablers of the life they have now become most accustomed to.

The machinations of the big financial houses, the merchant dealers and commodity miners, along with energy, communications and property speculators … in fact the entire middle-class and their hangers-on have used their money, media contacts and lobby group persuaders to corrupt and make degenerate an entire citizen demographic of aspirants and wannabes , even so far as to create simmering doubt in the most decent and honest citizen that now cannot, does not now want to see beyond its own pathetic insecurities to what most benefits the nation. We now have not only a cowardly nation that – going on the recorded histories of so many failed empires and States – has not only condemned itself with a continued cowardice to the same fate of those lost civilisations, it has, by its continuance of electing those representative political parties who most seek to gain riches and wealth by stamping down and using as a footstool to climb the largesse ladder those most productive to the nation … by doing this vile act, it has also relinquished its right to survive.

Its “Too Much of Plenty” will too soon become so little of nothing.

Just WHO controls the conversation (of left-wing politics)?

There was a moment, it is written, when Julius Caesar stood on the foggy far bank of the Rubicon in silence, with his formations of loyal legionnaires at his back before he whispered those fateful words; “Jacta alia est”.

I feel empowered today to whisper those same sentiments if not the actual words … for it is not with the intent to conquer a government that I am writing this piece, it is with the intent of wresting the conversation away from those who like to think they are in control of where the left-wing politics of this nation ought to be heading. For too long has the needs of the “wretched poor” of that majority of the national population … and in that bracket, whether they want to know it, accept it, or not, I include the everyday pensioner, be them aged and surviving from pillar to post pension payment or the other myriad of the poor, be they Indigenous, refugees, invalids or the working poor “other” … the so many and increasing number who have little connection to the Glam and Glitter nightly portrayed in an endless stream of inconsequential and mindless reality television fantasy … a fantasy, the ABC is keen on increasing with a new direction of portrayals of warm‘n fuzzy personal stories rather than disturbing investigative current affairs. For too long have they been tricked and maneuvered by a duplicitous middle-class.

For while the more radical side of the left-wing keep calling for intensifying the pressure on those representatives in the parliament, we see only a very cautious edging toward further left … much like a bad vaudeville act comically edging itself off stage. This is most probably governed by the frightful reality that the general population is fearful of radical anything that could jeopardise their hard-won fantasy of a plasma TV in the lounge room and that faint scent of Glen 20 in every other! Even if both the TV and the couch are “on the tick”.

With a population that was dead-weary after two world wars in the space of two generations, they were a sucker for the Menzies era of “Father Knows Best” governance … where successive Liberal governments were returned with little more effort than a false belief in the generosity that they were “The hand that giveth” … and the arm that kept the dreaded “Reds” at bay … and when the time for a more radical left-wing government was deemed necessary, the fear was portrayed that the entire nation would be sent into the red-column of bankruptcy because the government of the day “gave too much”, a handy coup d’état put paid to a continuity of “fair go” politics.

From then on in, we, the people, have suffered a decline in living wages and standards with the following of capital’s egregious philosophy of economic rationalism where once at least we had the illusion of the hand that was “giving” was our government, now we have those corporate banking institutions in charge of the economic direction of the nation and the monetary system has become “The hand that giveth – credit” … and bankruptcies have never looked better, and white-collar crime has never been more profitable … and respectful … so respectful, in fact, that now it even appears to have the tick of government approval!

So why has it come to this?

Simple: The education of a middle-class that has been indoctrinated to believe that the only way to a civilised and functioning society is to have that class of “institutionally trained” devotees managing both the treasury and the political direction. For it is no accident that such institutions of education have been lauded and funded and held to the highest esteem of the pinnacle of learning and cultural sophistication, let alone that of intellectual and academic brilliance so that after all the glittering prizes have been distributed to them and them only, the churned-out products of these “ruling-class machines” speak the same “language”, see the same “horizons”, and hear the same “cry of needs of the people” that they perceive it is their duty to govern … after all, was it not written; “Father Knows Best”. So that even those women who graduate from such institutions may believe they are “calling the shots” of liberation from a patriarchal tyranny, they are only doing what is within what could be called a “perimeter of containment” that allows those of the middle-class to “rip-it-up” so far and then the nurtured indoctrination of “trigger comforts” pulls them back to gaze more closely and sentimentally on the treasures and possibilities accumulated by their parents and social kind and to reassess if they really want to go to that radical “bridge too far”.

So then the “soft-soaping” of their more radical vocabulary begins and quickly fades from an “we must” to a gentrified; “There ought to be some consideration toward … ” and the conversation that was entrusted by the working classes to those who had persuasive command of language and “learned” politics now becomes a light-headed whine and whinge of the bleedin’ obvious … because all that time while we of the half-educated working class deferred trust and voice to those better educated to speak on our behalf, they have instead fallen back on their social status blood-line and do not want to lose out on the better things in their life for nothing more than what they have been told is a futile fight for liberty and equality with the great, stinking, out-of-tune song singing ungrateful unwashed.

Might they now truly believe in their soul of souls is right … and that is about as far as their reach for democracy goes!

There were two incidents in Australian colonial history that could have changed the conservative direction that this nation has gone down. The first was the Eureka Stockade Uprising, the second was the insurgency of the Kelly Gang, culminating in the siege of The Glenrowan Inn … pity the night that the schoolteacher (a middle-class aspirant?) ran to warn the special troop train before it was derailed by the deliberately loosened tracks and sent plummeting down the embankment that could have created the necessary destruction of the belief of central colonial power and led to the envisioned and threatened uprising of the Irish settlers of Western Victoria. Such is Life.

But in these days of social media revolution, when the capacity for radicalising of the left has never been more possible, we still have those scared, timid voices of the trained poodles of the middle-classes whispering their “Peter Pan” ideals into the ears of the fearful “don’t be too radical … look what (we/I) … you could lose … sure, you got every reason to complain, and look! … here … I’m always here to help you complain … ” So its futile, silly letters to a minister, silly open letters to politicians, “fists in Gucci gloves” waving in the air to be followed with a tiring sigh and comforting words in the plummy-accent with fellow radical Wilderness School or Scotch College old fellows at their fav’ café or split-level house in Toorak or North Shore or the sub-equal … emulated in the lower caste suburbs by a “seen in Vogue magazine” interior decorations and the plasma in the lounge but with a/many delicately balanced credit accounts that with just one loss of income could bring the entire suburban fantasy of the house of cards tumbling down and the whole family spends Chrissy and the near future by the sea in a loaned caravan on a sad council oval with so many other homeless working people.

But don’t worry. ”They” have your interests at heart and are more than willing to give you a “voice of complaint” on a media platform they share with their fellow status authors … you are not alone … till the bailiff comes.

It is interesting in this town I live near … it has been a conservative-voting town for as long as I can ascertain … many, many years … and they swear by the Liberal Party as having the best interests for the country folk … yet it has to be the centre for the most disadvantaged and in many case most impoverished folk in the region … and the town has gone from vibrant centre to wrack, ruin and despair with most of the historical pioneer civic structures crumbling or in a sad state of disrepair to display loss of inspiration to lift themselves up … all is self-centred toward the individual and to self-preservation. They are divided … like the rest of the nation … and they are in consequence … ruled by their tormentors … and they can see no other way because they distrust any words that speak of radical politics, but go to the general store and you can ascertain their trust of dietary habits by the stacks of “preferred brand” of frozen pizza!

Why has it come to this?

Too much listening to a duplicitous educated to imbecility middle-class knowing the price of every one of their possessions and having no idea of the value of a quality of life lost by the working poor so they whisper insincere words of the possibilities of “personal achievement” rather than listen to an honest inner voice of liberation and revolution!

Cheeriozy!

Got talking to Pete last Friday down the local … the subject got onto the passing of one’s parents … I s’pose because we are both old now ourselves and it comes as no longer an immediate sorrow, but rather one lived through so many years ago. And we got onto the reactions one experiences at the funeral, what with all the rellies gathered there and the friends and some strangers one doesn’t know but is informed in hushed whispers or so later on. There is that bottled-up grief, that reserve in the English tradition, especially amongst the men to not be seen to blubber or weep uncontrollably at such sad gatherings … and the language used is interesting in its sparsity of emotion …

Then Pete, took a sup on his beer, reflected a tad, wiped the beads of condensation from one streak on the glass, looked into the distance and made a motion with his pointed finger …

“But I do remember one chap I worked for, a builder in the financing / speculative line … stiff-upperlip sort of bloke … John M … old Adelaide family, that sort of thing. You couldn’t get an emotive comment from him if’n you smacked his thumb with a hammer … which I did once –  accidently – as he was holding a length of bracing for me … hopeless at physical work … all thumbs … an I hit his thumb and you know what he said? Where you or I would’ve swore blue murder, he just spun away (dropped the prop!), cried; “bother!” and stuck the thumb in his mouth for a second to comfort the pain … that’s the sort of chap he was … “old school Oxford”.

The job was winding down, the contract reaching near completion so there were only a couple of tradies finishing some final touches to the groundworks and I was there as supervisor of the job from go to whoa. That was when John turned up. He was walking the site by himself, looking like he was inspecting the finished job … not his usual occupation … he kept a distance from the physical construction, it being an almost “alien” thing to him, always dressed in a suit … usually waited for the handing over ceremony for that sort of thing … but there he was. Now .. I knew he had been to his old Mother’s funeral the day before, and I put his meandering down to a listlessness that one gets when first “orphaned” … that “you’re on your own now” feeling … so to say, but I was surprised when he sat down and joined me and Keith the plumber for smoko.

John was the project builder, a developer rather than an actual builder … not your sort of tradie evolved into builder, but a bloke from an old family with old money involved in multi-faceted projects, of which building was but one. I was his go-to man for building. I was the “knowledge-base” for that side of his investments. He would leave on-site management to me … and that included timetables, subbie hire and materials delivery scheduling. We had worked together for years, but not in a close familiar way … just a business sort of thing … that’s how it was with John … just business. So it was quite surprising when he opened the conversation with the announcement that he had just buried his mother … of course Keith (another long server) and I both knew this, but we gave our condolences kindly … and fairly, we had no gripe with the man or his family. He thanked us and then after the usual quiet on these occasions, he cleared his throat and spoke in a confiding manner … to neither of us in particular, but rather while looking at the ground somewhere between us.

“You know, it’s a funny thing, language … the expression of certain words … at certain times. I have been to the best schools and university at Oxford, where language is treated as a sacred thing … the pronunciation, the grammar, even the timing of delivery of thought or repost … how to speak and speech, you could say … I used to be in the debating team … ”

John went quiet while he reached to pick up a twig which he used to scribble on the ground by his feet.

“I gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral yesterday,” he continued,” all the usual blather and history … all about the family, her work in the district and committees she was on and such like … all written there on my notes, some highlighted in yellow marker … it went over well … as I was trained to do. A solemn finish before we all made our way to the cemetery for the placing of the casket.”

John drew some hieroglyphics in the dust as he thought it out a bit. I could see all this idle chatter was taking its toll on the man … but he was on a mission to explain something to himself, I felt … we remained silent … to give him space.

He continued with a sudden exclamation:

“Dammit! You have to hold yourself together at these … these events. It doesn’t do to make a fool of oneself weeping and carrying on … one must maintain structure … dignity … after all, it wasn’t as if my mother’s passing was a sudden tragedy. No, no … it was a long tiring business for all the family … a kindly relief for all when she passed … for her most particularly, I’d say … so it was … SHOULD have been a solemn, dignified affair … the placing of the casket in the grave … except for Loretta …” John stabbed the stick into the earth.

There was a silence.

“Loretta?” Keith encouraged.

“Loretta,” John breathed.” Yes … Loretta … Italian woman, the wife of one of the nephews … lovely woman, in the Italian dark-lady of the sonnets mould … if you know what I mean. It was quite a surprise when the nephew returns from a working stint on the continent with an Italian wife … shocked … you could say … a real eyebrow raiser, the whole affair. But they settled down and had a couple of kiddies and got on with the married life routine … but dammit, she’s got that dago emotion thing in spades … weeping all over the place, at weddings and christenings and such like … so she had to almost be dragged from the grave before she threw herself in it on top of the coffin … damn display to say the least!”

And here was the long silence … here was the nub of the new “congenial John”. But here he became uncomfortable …

“You know, one HAS to hold oneself together as an example for the younger ones. It doesn’t do to put on too much display … and … and I was there beside Father O’Loughlin as he read the rites and the coffin was lowered down … certainly, I had some tears to shed … after all, she WAS my mother … but held in check for the moment … there’s a time and place … but I could hear Loretta wailing somewhere there behind me … and I thought I would give her husband a bit of a talking to after the funeral … at the wake. But as we stepped back from the grave to let the mourners file past to throw the bit of dirt onto the laid coffin, that silly Italian woman suddenly called out a word in perfect imitation of our mother’s voice … here was this woman who could only speak a kind of garbled mish-mash of Italo-English, saying in perfect enunciation that one word so familiar to all of her children and grandchildren … and by time-lapsed, especially to me.”

“You see,” John continued in a kind of self-reflection tone, “Mum was a country girl and she had an infuriating habit of “cutesying” words by adding an “ee” to the end … like “bunnee” instead of rabbit. She’d say; “Oh we’re having a couple of bunnies for dinner,” and one really infuriating one she’d say when I was a young tear-away, home from the college with a friend and we’d been ripping it up a tad at a local dance and in the morning she’d wake us with a much too cheerful:

“Come on boys up we get … I’ll make you some bacon and eggies for breaky.”

“Eggees, do you mind, “breakee”? It used to SO infuriate me … and here we were at the final lap so to speak of the funeral, and I had held myself together so well and then that weeping Italian woman has to drop that bombshell that took me by complete surprise and … and … well … ” John threw the twig over his shoulder … “I lost it … I just lost it. Loretta just halted right next to me, looked directly at me in a flood of tears then to the coffin in the grave and wept out a string of indecipherable Italian mish-mash to finish with that one damn softly spoken parting word mother always called to us with a twinkle of her fingers as we left her home:

“Cheeriozy!

That silly, silly muck-up of a perfectly good, common language English word; “Cheeriozy! Cheeriozy!” Loretta wailed out and I just lost it and I wept and wept … and I still can’t get over it … and I don’t know why.”

Then John abruptly stood up, turned around and left … without another word, but we could see the tears …

Of course, neither Keith nor I ever mentioned it again.

A Fortress Mentality

If there is one particular action that is put in place by every person or agency that feels itself in need of security, power or protection, it is the almost automatic implementation of their “Fortress Mentality”. This “organic reaction” by entire dynasties, empires and individuals can be traced even in the architecture of construction of towns and forts … from the Middle Ages particularly, where the genre was perfected parallel with the rise in capability of technology to bombard these siege towns.

We can see an interesting read of the evolution of this fortress mentality below:

“Several attributes characterized the new ruling class and distinguished it from those of earlier Islamic societies. First was a strict military hierarchy, expressed in clearly stratified ranks or amirs … amirs of ten, twenty, forty, a hundred and various tiers of soldiers divided by legal status (mamluk vs. free) or ethnic group (Turkic, Circassian, Kurdish, Armenian, or Mongol). This military order represented the only path to political power and its attendant financial and landholding prerogatives, and was closed to all but few exceptional local recruits. It defined the new ruling class and distinguished it from other social groups such as merchants, alama (no translation), artisans, and peasants, which, despite their periodic disapproval of particularly corrupt rulers, seem to have rarely challenged the system itself. Bedouin tribes, organized city riffraff, and other fringe groups that could potentially pose a security risk were either heavily suppressed through routine military campaigns or bribed by attaching them to the army as auxiliary regiments especially in times of external danger. A second characteristic was the fortress mentality displayed and expressed by the new ruling class toward their subjects. This was almost always a noticeable trait, despite the internecine fights that otherwise marked the rulers’ interrelations, especially during succession contests. The fortress mentality was initially engendered by the elite’s linguistic and ethnic differences from subject populations, and ultimately became embedded in a total system that stressed exclusion and segregation as means of control, As such, separation defined most details of communal life, like habits of socialisation, business dealings, and Marriage. It was also inscribed in the spaces of the city and its suburbs, and expressed in particular and distinctive nomenclature and insignia (rank) systems and intricate dress, dietary, musical. and ceremonial codes. The Mamluk sultanate in Egypt and Bilad al-Sham (1250-I 517) was the last and perhaps the most elaborate example of this exclusive polity, which nonetheless managed to penetrate the entire social spectrum and to modify it profoundly and in lasting ways.” (Muslim Military Architecture in Greater Syria, by Hugh N. Kennedy).

The above read is of profound significance if we want to understand how to overcome the rising tyranny of corporate control. For while the Middle Ages routinely fought wars against physical armies, we of the twenty first century have to contend with invasions by computer hackers and digital marketers invading our personal space and working lives to the point of political tyranny and idealistic subjugation by associated government inspired corporations taking control of prices, work, wages and weekends!

In Australia, we have even a morphing of our policing and security agencies into one big “corporation” of action and investigation … a sort of one-stop “shop ‘n’ strop” department … that is now under the command of just such a fortress mentality ministerial lunatic. Just like the same sort of lunatics as first come up with the idea of ‘one big wall’. Sure … that’ll work! And all this under a government itself implementing their own fortress mentality policies that are leaking like a sieve … perhaps because the idea in itself is so riddled with weakness that it never has held together in the ancient past as now.

So why do we do it? It is a lost cause at the best of times.

If we consider Jerusalem in the times of the Roman conquest of Titus: Old King Herod had reinforced the walls around the inner-city with strength and cunning, so that an invading force could theoretically be repulsed by an inferior number of troops … what he didn’t figure on was that the internecine fighting that took place between opposing Jewish factions inside the fortress, so that the defenders had almost to a man beaten the other factions up and Titus really only had to mop-up the leftovers. The fortress mentality had worked in just the opposite as was intended.

So it will be in this current mode of politics, where we can see conservative governance squabbling amongst itself and only a severely disciplined and maliciously opportunistic main-stream media is directing all attention away from the internal disputes of the LNP government. But even this turning away of eyes will not stop the divide as they continue to try and encroach into one another’s territory. As the city suburbs extend into the hinterlands, the more available material world of goods and services will extend ahead of the structured suburbs and make an influential inroad into those closer country towns that were forever conservative, bringing those metaphorical armies of fast-food outlets, cheap as chips shopping capabilities and social inclusion opportunity to the once isolated communities.

Social media will be the battering ram that will break down the last walls of those conservative fortresses. Which may explain the reticence of the LNP government to allow the citizens too much internet access speed … they do not want an “armed rebellion” within their walls of conservative security. For if there is one weapon that will free an entire population almost at once, it is information. Education, that other weapon that for a millennia was kept from the masses lest it too become “weaponised” against the ruling regime is still being denied by withdrawal of adequate funding to public schools in preference for private, elitist class education … another fortress mentality structure that, in my opinion must be torn down so that certain classes of elites cannot continue to hide their inadequacies behind fraudulent qualifications gained in the most part more from a financial advantage than meritorious application.

Now, with the inequality directed against indigenous, immigrant ethnic groups, creed, class and working peoples, we can gather together under a direct communication umbrella all these groups to form a voting block that will force the centrist Labor Party further to the left and hold to their creed of being there for the working people of the nation … by bringing the political players further into the realm of left-wing politics, the conservatives will be isolated in their ivory towers of their own doomed fortresses and be easy pickings.

The only obstacle I see in overcoming those anachronisms of conservative politics, is the innovative use of social media more as a platform of whinge and lament on the now bleedin’ obvious political situation rather than proposing new directions for social change. We are on the cusp, I believe, but the intrusion of a certain hardness of heart and the ever-present cynicism of doubt of good intention lingers.

I would encourage an optimistic approach of idealism … but with open eyes … a heart of innocence toward intentions … but with the step of caution. I don’t think we can go wrong.

“ … and this is why we will not survive.”

Not world wars, neither disease or plague or natural disaster … all these have gone before at times when humanity was still so vulnerable … when we were still small tribes wandering from water to hunting ground to shelter just to stay alive … and we did. And we did because of one central desire: a desire to be a part of other’s lives … a loved one, a special one within the tribe itself … within the shelter of the tribe as a whole … that other one who shared our particular liking for a particular fruit or woven style of cloth or place of refuge over all others … that someone special that would in times more conducive to individual preference develop into a love.

And regardless if it can be fulfilled in the interests of tribal custom or culture … these days call it ethnic group or class structure and creed … regardless if it is never consummated in a relationship, still the embryonic desire will develop in the imagination till it reaches a kind of fruition in the hidden senses and is held to one’s heart in secret conspiracy and there it is stored and adored.

There are moments many of us live through in our lives that can give such emotional pleasure and personal joy that they are held in deepest secrecy and must never be revealed except perhaps … and that is a big “perhaps” … at point of death. For to release such a secret of one’s deepest personality is equal to destroying the base belief in a personal future. The fate for those partners who seek or demand that such be revealed to them can be the unforeseen ruination of the current relationship.

I have experienced this as a revelation on the death bed moment – of which I’ll say more later – but consider this passage from James Joyce’s story “The Dead” in his book “Dubliners” … where the jealous “Gabriel” pushes for his wife “Gretta” to tell him of her past love … ”Michael Furey”:

“O, then, you are in love with him?” said Gabriel.

“I used to go out walking with him,” she said, “when I was in Galway.”

A thought flew across Gabriel’s mind.

“Perhaps that was why you wanted to go to Galway with that Ivors girl?” he said coldly.

She looked at him and asked in surprise:

“What for?”

Her eyes made Gabriel feel awkward. He shrugged his shoulders and said:

“How do I know? To see him, perhaps.”

She looked away from him along the shaft of light towards the window in silence.

“He is dead,” she said at length. “He died when he was only seventeen. Isn’t it a terrible thing to die so young as that?”

“What was he?” asked Gabriel, still ironically.

“He was in the gasworks,” she said.

Gabriel felt humiliated by the failure of his irony and by the evocation of this figure from the dead, a boy in the gasworks. While he had been full of memories of their secret life together, full of tenderness and joy and desire, she had been comparing him in her mind with another. A shameful consciousness of his own person assailed him. He saw himself as a ludicrous figure, acting as a pennyboy for his aunts, a nervous, well-meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians and idealising his own clownish lusts, the pitiable fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the mirror. Instinctively he turned his back more to the light lest she might see the shame that burned upon his forehead.

He tried to keep up his tone of cold interrogation, but his voice when he spoke was humble and indifferent.

“I suppose you were in love with this Michael Furey, Gretta,” he said.

“I was great with him at that time,” she said.

Her voice was veiled and sad. Gabriel, feeling now how vain it would be to try to lead her whither he had purposed, caressed one of her hands and said, also sadly:

“And what did he die of so young, Gretta? Consumption, was it?”

“I think he died for me,” she answered.

A vague terror seized Gabriel at this answer, as if, at that hour when he had hoped to triumph, some impalpable and vindictive being was coming against him, gathering forces against him in its vague world. But he shook himself free of it with an effort of reason and continued to caress her hand. He did not question her again, for he felt that she would tell him of herself. Her hand was warm and moist: it did not respond to his touch, but he continued to caress it just as he had caressed her first letter to him that spring morning.“ (The Dead: James Joyce: “Dubliners”).

In breaking the seal of trust that Gretta held in union with the memory of the dead; “Michael Furey” the character “Gabriel” had also broke the seal of affection between himself and his wife.

A similar bond can be held in the heart with an unpleasant memory. In his book of recounting his surveying of an African plateau; “Venture to the Interior” the now disgraced Laurens Van Der Post recounts his method of dealing with troubling memories …

He would lay still and imagine himself taking down a suitcase containing these memories from the top of a wardrobe. He would then imagine himself opening the case and taking out the memories one by one, going through them dispassionately until the feelings were gone, then repacking them into the case and returning it to the top of the imaginary wardrobe. In such an exercise would he satisfy those ghosts of his personal secrets of a bad moment in his life which he was wont to share with others.

This holding close to the heart is a most human desire that it can reach right into our most personal hungers for company. A (now aged like myself ) woman I knew in my younger, wilder years told me recently of why she was in a relationship with a man we both knew in those years:

“He was a strange bloke, was B … ” I remarked. “How’d you get along with him?”

“Oh … quite well, as a matter of fact … and we only broke up because he went to work to the North West of WA. and I stayed here to finish my nursing training … we wrote for a while but we were both young and we drifted apart … ”

“How’d you get to know him?” I persisted.

“He was just a friend at first … and we went out together a couple of times. He was an electrician … and his flat was full of bits and pieces of electrical gadgets that he’d fix for friends … and clocks … he liked making electric clocks. He had a bench in the front room full of junk …

I came to his flat from work one day all teary and upset as I’d just had my first patient die on me and he just held me and talked to me in his deep, slow voice while I wept … that’s all he did … he just talked about his electrical stuff and what he was doing and he stroked my arms and back and just talked softly and slowly until I went to sleep in his arms. He was such a comfort … a lover-friend.“

And this is why we, as a species may not survive. We have been hollowed out, gutted like a dead fish! We now are so untrusting, so protective of our sensitivities, so afraid that we will not allow another too close lest they seek to hurt us emotionally. Perhaps losing our collective confidence in ourselves to survive emotional trauma. Many young people do not enter into relationships anymore, choosing instead to conduct temporary “meetings” that demand no commitment, no deep emotional give and take where those “secrets” of heightened pleasure or pain are nurtured and ensconced within our psyche … and we, as a species are getting weaker for it … for if we cannot trust ourselves with holding that secret of emotional pleasure to carry as a talisman through rough life, then what trust will we allow others that we hold dear to have their own private “suitcase” with their own private desires … and will we destroy our own relationships from a desire to destroy the entrusted confederacies of others?

That “death bed revelation” moment … well, it was a long-running chiack between my mother and myself, that the local GP, Doctor Short, who used to do house calls in those days and attended me when I was bedridden with bronchial-asthma at an age of around 6-8years old. He would attend to me while my mother fussed with the pillow or blankets … and my mother, being in her mid-twenties at that time and married to a much older man AND quite attractive … must have caught the attention of the tall, deep-voiced Doctor, who I in memory recall was sometimes in close attendance as much to my mother as to myself … NOT that there was any encouragement on HER part … but I used to tease her in her older years by saying on a regular basis:

“That Doctor Short … I reckon he was burning a candle for you … ” …  to which she’d pooh-pooh the whole thing away and say don’t be ridiculous! But the last time I saw her in the palliative care ward, dying from pulmonary fibrosis … I again said in a teary attempt at jest:

“I still reckon that Doctor Short was burning a candle for you … ” to which to my surprise she looked straight into my eyes in the most meaningful manner, that I have to say threw me a little and whispered:

“I believe you are right … ” … and I am not sure to this day if she didn’t give me a wink …

And that was the last visit I had with her as she died a day later.

Sweet Innocence

I am going to tell you a story that happened back in the late fifties (last century!) as told to me by an aged nun, who had some connection to the incident. While the story I tell, dramatized as it is, is a true story, the ending as I portray it, is, unfortunately a different one than the reality … but let us not lower our expectations, but aspire, like the ‘Sister Cecilia’ toward higher goals.

Sweet Innocence

The knock was gentle and unobtrusive, indeed it had to be repeated before Mother Superior was taken from her reverie gaze out of the window over onto the cool spread of lawn out the back of the building. She turned to glance over her shoulder.

“Come in,” she called. A diminutive nun entered, aged around sixty years, her white hair shining against her white scrubbed face. Her cheeks glowed with two cheery pink blushes.

“Ah! … Charity,” the little nun greeted. “A pleasant morning, isn’t it?”

“Yes Sister … thanks be to the lord Jesus Christ in all his benevolent mercy,” Mother Superior answered in reply.

“Yes, yes … to be sure. Well now, Charity … you sent for me?”

“Yes. It’s about the choir.”

“Ah!” The little nun brightened up, for the school choir was her “special baby,” her pride and joy, and it would be said that several girls from her tutorage had risen to sing in the state orchestra! Proud, she was of her “little choir,” her “little nightingales.”

“Yes, Sister Cecilia, the choir.” Mother Superior addressed the little nun with her formal title and this warned her of an imminent lecture or something. The little nun clasped her hands together as she always did when concentrating. Mother Superior turned from the window and sat briskly down at her desk. The little nun stood on the other side, waiting. “Now, Father Collins and I sat and listened to the choir last Sunday at the morning service” ..

“Oh Charity … Mother Superior, weren’t they just divine, the sweet innocents, I do believe they sung their little hearts out last Sunday … ”

“About Caroline Halsbury, ” Mother Superior interjected.

“And Caroline Halsbury … ” The little nun put her fingertips to one of her cheery cheeks and rolled her eyes to the ceiling … “that girl has the voice of an angel … if ever there was soprano material …”

“Sister Cecilia!!” Mother Superior cried impatiently.

“Yes?” the little nun answered, wide eyed.

“Be so kind as to stop prattling when I am trying to tell you something … goodness knows it isn’t easy what I have to say without the running commentary … ”

“Well, I do apologise, Charity, but I am rather fond of my girls,” the little nun fidgeted.

“That may be so, Sister, and both Father Collins and myself agree that they sounded beautiful … charming … ” She paused and toyed with a pen on her desk. “Not withstanding all that however, we were also of an opinion that their appearance is also of the utmost importance, almost, (since they represent the college in appearance as well as voice), almost as important as their singing … which brings us to Caroline Halsbury … ” She paused expectantly, the little nun looked puzzled.

“I … I don’t see the point, Mother Superior.”

“Oh Cecilia, really!” Mother Superior leapt up impatiently from the desk and rolling her hands together strode once again to the window. There was an embarrassed moment when both nuns remained silent.

“Well, really, Sister Cecilia … it’s … it’s, well, that birthmark right across her face!” she blurted out finally.

“Birthmark?” The little nun seemed fazed.

“Yes, bother it, the birthmark! … that Port-wine stain … that livid blot across the entire left side of her face … surely you’re not blind, Sister?” Mother Superior turned from the window, her fists clenched in frustration so the knuckles were white, she had hoped it would go smoother than this.

“Why of course I know it’s there, it is rather unfortunate for the child, I dare say, she’ll have to live it down her whole life … ”

“ … She’ll have to leave the choir!”

There was a moments stunned silence in the room, a shaft of sunlight burst onto the red velvet piano chair and two yellow-tailed finches alighted friskily on a branch of flowering golden wattle outside the window and sending sprays of dew onto the lawn. The little nun stood with her mouth open, hands raised in front of her, the cheery spots now faded from her cheeks.

“Leave the choir? But why? Just because of her birthmark? Oh, Charity, I implore you … ”

“It’s very, very distracting having to sit and look upon it, Cecilia, both Father Collins and I agree on it and I might add I overheard Mrs Herreen remark the same sentiments to Mr Herreen. Its just too distracting and it upsets the … the harmonious balance between the hymns and that glow of … of … well as you said yourself…’sweet innocence.’ “

The little nun’s temper was quickly rising and the pale blushes on her cheeks now became crimson.

“Are we then to set a precedent of judging books by their covers, Mother Superior?”

“Oh, Lord bless us, Sister, the whole world judges books by their covers, and men by the cut of their clothes and girls by their good looks! The choir is a showpiece for the college and as such should be above criticism in both performance and appearance! The girls in the choir should be the pick of the school, we’ll leave Nature supply their beauty, their voice training only is in your hands, Sister … you understand?” This tirade left the little nun speechless and sad, she remained silently standing with her head bowed. “So …,” continued Mother Superior after letting that sink in, “unless something can be done to hide it, she’ll … unfortunately … have to vacate her place in the choir.” Mother Superior’s voice softened a little at the last. “Will not make-up cover it?” she inquired.

“Both her mother and herself have tried, but it has to be so heavy it becomes obvious in itself,” the little nun remarked quietly, fatalistically. Mother Superior pinched her lips together in exasperation of the whole ugly incident, none the less she pressed on.

“Well … that’s how it stands then, Sister, if you cannot come to a satisfactory cosmetic solution by this Sunday, I’m afraid she’ll have to resign from the choir … that will be all for now,” Mother Superior said in a stern dismissal and watched furrow-browed as the little nun left the room. Sister Cecilia left the office seething with anger.

“How cruel,” she hissed, “how thoughtless,” she cried to herself, “who were these people to see only the substance of the thing and not the spirit? Who were they to judge the body and ignore the soul? How thoughtless, how odious, how cruel!”

All week she pondered and puzzled on the problem, made all the more difficult in that Caroline Halsbury was one of the main singers in the front line of the choir. At times the little nun would, in the middle of a meal or even at an afternoon service, be seen to mumble to herself or shake her head quickly as in dismissing an option, all to the inquiring glances of those near her. She had not told Caroline Halsbury of Mother Superior’s instruction nor had she told any of the other girls in the choir. She had hoped something would come to mind that would make all the unpleasantness unnecessary. But to no avail and here it was Saturday afternoon. Again her temper flared as she sorted the hymns for the Sunday Mass.

“Bother and bother them!” she said angrily as she slapped the music sheets down on the organ. She glanced up to the altar in a blush of shame for her temper. “I’d like to show them, Lord, put them in their place, oh no, not for me, blow it, but for Caroline.” Suddenly an idea flashed through her mind like a bolt of lightning.

“Why … why of course … how very … very right.” She quickly gave a sign of the cross to the statue of Jesus up on the left side of the altar, the statue of Jesus with the striking red sash draped across his sacred heart!

The choir sang out beautifully from the first note of Mrs Gilchrist’s deft touch on the church organ at the Sunday Mass, their collective voices harmonised as sweet as a chorus of nightingales from the darkened cloistral choral stalls so that many a parishioner in the congregation sighed for the glory of those sweet voices.

“Sweet innocence,” Father Collins remarked with a nod of his head to Mother Superior. “Sister Cecilia has certainly achieved top note with those girls,” he remarked, then; “and did you have success with that little suggestion we put forward, Mother?”

“I believe so,” Mother Superior answered, “though it is rather dark there in the choir box, but I’m certain she would not disobey my instructions and I was quite clear as to what they were, I can assure you, Father.”

“I say, Charity,” Father Collins leaned down to her ear, “it would be an extra fillip for the college if those angelic girls could be seen more clearly by the congregation while they are singing”. Mother Superior looked at him, nodded her head and smiled.

“How true, Father, and I think I can arrange that.” She motioned with her finger for a little girl to come to her. “Go quietly to that doorway over there, and you see that row of switches there next to it, yes? Then turn on the one farthest from the door … you understand? … good, now off you go,” and she edged the girl on her way. “The light for the choir stalls,” she informed Father Collins.

The young girl paused at the switches and turned a querying glance to Mother Superior. Mother Superior raised her eyebrows and gave a curt nod of her head and the young girl threw the switch. An excited but muffled cry rippled through the congregation as all glanced to the illuminated choir stalls, not the least from Mother Superior who couldn’t suppress a cry of horror, for there, singing with such sweet harmony were a dozen girls, the pride of Cornellia College, every one of them disfigured with a crimson splash of a “birthmark” covering the left side of their faces, every “birthmark” exactly like the one occurring naturally on Caroline Halsbury’s face! Sister Cecilia, who was conducting the choir with her back to the congregation, now turned and gave a nod of respect to Mother Superior and Father Collins, the same crimson mark penciled vividly over her left cheek.

The rise and rise of a new tribalism

The unifying of several unions into one “super-union” (if we are to believe the ruler’s squawkers; the MSM) has come with a new wave of enthusiasm on the part of so many workers and their supporters, but with fear and trepidation … and no doubt the already planning for its demise … by the capitalist class of right-wing government and the business community.

“United we stand … Divided we fall!” …

… Is no accidental slogan of a new age of tribalism. It was written as a centre-piece truism in historical literature; “A house divided cannot stand” , “The People united will never be defeated”. There are many, many others which proclaim the universal truth of tribal loyalty and unity. The many Indigenous peoples of so many lands know too well in this age of commodity exploitation and land stolen, that their one chance of universal survival, both cultural and physical is the continued “holding of hands” across the nation and across the picket-lines.

The unity by the Australian Indigenous peoples in their presentation of the “Uluru Statement” shows their determination for a united treaty and not for a sell-out “Wild Rivers” style of recognition … after all, what and whose is the “Sovereignty” that needs to be recognised that is already so bleedin’ obvious as the nose on ones face?

This need to reform and consolidate the numbers of unionised labour is an imperative for the equality of those workers who are the backbone of any nation, and also for those too vulnerable or afraid to speak out against exploitation by unscrupulous “business people”. For without the unity of purpose and direction, we all are easy picking for the parasites and vultures in the “League of Capital” opportunists. The too easy promotion of “You: the individual” as the means to self-aggrandised “success” belies the awful truth of how easy it is to milk and make destitute those same deluded fools who, many times coming from a class of working trades that have little or no deep knowledge of capital investment speculation, throw their lot in with those smooth talking suits who entrap many working poor into bad or even quasi-criminal investments. Some of which even capitalise on making life even worse for their “tribal cousins” still casually or part-time employed.

The methodology of those middle-class manipulators to divide the tribal unity of whatever group, is to throw the seeds of doubt into those groups … seeking out the weakest minded or the wavering wannabe “effluents” to undermine and disrupt faith and trust. The main catch-cry we hear in these times is the half-truth that; “They’re all the same” or “It can’t be changed because its human nature“ … half-truths that rely on doubt, suspicion and paranoia to push the rest of their argument along; that it is all in vain as you: the small individual will surely be let down as you are deserted by the leadership who is also only in it for the money.

What money!!? The filth of the capital class created many commissions and even royal commissions to try and pin charges of capital corruption against union leaders, political leaders and individuals in these last few years … to little or no avail. Of course, to use the old maxim; “They were thinking about their own behaviour but accusing others.” They will not stop this continued onslaught against the tribes, be they union or ethnic minorities or even the original owners of country, they have a permanent agency in the mainstream media traitors doing the dirty work for them … even the national broadcaster has now joined their ranks and continually feeds the lies and distortions that paint the tribal groups as feral and unreliable … always displaying negatives like fist-waving, shouting and marching unionists … never the smiling faces of relieved families for the returned rightful wages or conditions or time off to be with the family and loved ones. Never the “rights at work” success stories, the “equal pay for equal work” success stories … never the successful communities of indigenous peoples and settled ethnic refugees, struggling against LNP government promoted racism and bigotry … struggling against MSM promoted racism and bigotry. It is that sense and action of a age old tribalism that gives strength to community and holds a barrier against the continued onslaught of capital-based assault.

Now … more than ever, we as communities of like-minded and interested people need to dispense with the divisive rhetoric of “they’re all the same” and unite under one collective form of tribalism and with our separate cultural identities combine in the one voice of trust in the collective numbers to change the ruling class that has stolen our nation and our governance and become one solid majority to force those who represent us to step in line to the demands and wishes of this new, united tribe of “the people” and do the will of the people.

The coming together of the “Me Too” united voices, the unity of the “Uluru Statement” and the joining together of the unions must be built upon, and not allow to be suffocated by a sabotaging MSM or capitalist conspiracy to break and disrupt. The latter day rising of social media has at last given a voice to the multitude … sure and it can be sometimes a cacophony of accusative shouting and abuse … but that is the peripheral of what is most important: The clear, concise voice of the majority calling for a new unity and a new politics to govern this nation …

Its voice will not be stilled any longer … and united in voice we call to all: “JOIN THE TRIBE!”

“It’s not so much the money . . . “

Do you remember that most identifying line from the Australian classic movie “Sunday Too Far Away”?  Surely one of the most culturally branded films to come out of that glorious era! And the line that was most quoted from that film:  –

“It wasn’t so much the money, it was the bloody insult!”

That story-line epitomised the staunch camaraderie of the shearers striking against the threat of a cut to their wages and the arrival of scab labour. There could be no better description of the mind-set of those times. I remember the sixties and seventies strikes well, where workers would consider the insult to their status and hard-won conditions over any monetary considerations.

But now, with this Barnaby Affair and all the rest of the immoral rorting, we hear the reverse cry of:

“It’s not so much the insult, it’s the bloody money!”

Oh dear! How the mighty have fallen … and when Freethinker makes the observation that until the Aussie workers find themselves without food on the table etc, they will not know the need for revolution. And he rightfully blames the influence of the corporatising of education, where the emphasis on financial considerations are preached over and above moral and ethical necessities. I will include his relevant quotation from Noam Chomsky:

“The educational system in the US was a highly predictable victim of the neoliberal reaction, guided by the maxim of “private affluence and public squalor.” Funding for public education has sharply declined. As higher education is driven to a business model in accord with neoliberal doctrine, administrative bureaucracy has sharply increased at the expense of faculty and students. Cost-cutting leads to hyper-exploitation of the more vulnerable, creating a new precariat of graduate students and adjuncts surviving on a bare pittance, replacing tenured faculty.” (Noam Chomsky).

One can almost trace a direct line from the beginnings of “monetary policy” philosophy back in the 80s where Milton Friedman influenced the Thatcher / Reagan administrations on the supposed infallibility of his stupid theories, and the over-flow of such idiocy, as with many foolish ideas, like those of Hayek and others, found their way to Australia and into academic instruction.

Not only has a cruel economic ‘bottom line’ social condition made its impression on our nation, we are now seeing the beginnings of such cruelty creeping like an allied infection into the architecture of the cities, if we can believe a report just recently on the ABC web-page.

” But if, as urban sociologist Robert Park wrote, in making the city we make ourselves, one might wonder what collective self-conception has produced a city covered in metal spikes, illuminated by blue lights, buzzing with high-frequencies — paranoid, anxious and hostile, by design.

With his artwork, Semple aims to break down the barriers that impede social life. His latest campaign, calling on people to photograph and share examples of what he calls “design crimes”, is an attempt to document the impact this kind of design has on our urban landscape.

“Very slowly, bus stops get perches so you can’t really sit on them, spikes appear [and] there’s a lot more sound being used now,” Semple says.

“Some councils are actually playing frequencies that are targeted at young people’s ears and it stops teenagers congregating.”

“When we talk about hostile design, hostile architecture, make no mistake — there are groups of people spending time, effort and money commissioning this stuff and designing it to be as brutal as possible against human beings.”
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-02/design-crimes-how-hostile-architecture-is-hurting-our-cities/9498912

This hard-arsed attitude to us and our very brothers and sisters has to stop! Along with the corruption of ethics and our social moral base … not calling for bans on sexuality, gambling or other everyday amusements, but at least some control on those who use such everyday humanist activities for base profit, particularly political profit!

Let’s leave the salacious intrigues between consenting adults to consenting adults, but put barriers on those who use such as their profit accruing advantage … political or business. We have reached a point, surely, where things cannot be allowed to sink any lower!

For while individual citizens’ sleaze and decadent behaviour can survive within the darker corners of the mass of society, with only the occasional light being shone upon its depraved activities, these continual displays of corruption, rorting and public exhibitions by our highest representatives of civil governance of gross personal behaviour have to be brought to an end.

This is a further example of why there must be consideration for a changing of the guard when it comes to that class of leadership.

These representatives of the middle-classes that have held the reins of governance for so long have reached their “use-by date” and have to be superannuated out of civil leadership.

Their methodology of economic solutions to social problems is dated, their methodology of education for self-indulgent individualist identity in a multi-ethnic community is dated, their “my way or the highway” policing of so many and varied ethnic and indigenous groups is a harrowing nightmare as is their lock-down method for the solutions on refugees, immigration and temporary import labour.

They are an anachronism, a spent ideology and a spent force for imaginative governance … no longer, since the days of rule by aristocracy, are they the ‘solution”.

THEY are now the problem!

We can see a new style of governance coming to fruition in Sth Australia, with the emphasis by Jay Wetherill’s Labor government huge expansions in new, renewable energy technologies and other down to earth practicalities that have and will further boost community employment and involvement.

We are seeing the beginnings of a style of “Street-level Governance”. No longer can governance be the personal property of a “held at arm’s length” elitist strata of suits and private-schooled ponces, pontificating from elitist suburbs on how the poor and vulnerable should bow and scrape to their betters … work harder and longer in several part-time or casual jobs just to make ends meet.

It won’t be long before we end up under this LNP govt’ with pensioners back to eating pet food just to survive!

We now have a drowning, panicking government that one is too scared to get near to, lest one is dragged down in their madness to grasp onto any rescuing body to hold its head above the water-line. Never has there been a worse conglomeration of corporate corrupt ministers in charge of the nation.

Time to take education, man-power management and corporate regulation from the entrepreneurial/speculative middle-classes and hand it to that strata most experienced in production and delivery of essential goods and services … the educated blue-collar working class.

Let us paraphrase that line from the movie:

”It has never been so much about the money, but more about the f#cking insult!!”

Time to change the rules! Time to change the ruling class!

An Act of Contrition

I am moving into my “Italian period” with these next few stories. I do like those extraordinary personalities and situations that mark the characteristic of the Italian short story … I don’t think you can find the depth of “commitment” to the random acts of delinquency or romance and indeed; superstition from an Anglo-Saxon community. But I could be wrong!

My friend told me of this “event” when he was last here from Italy. I like it for it’s subtle example of “the vendetta”, that long-lasting animosity that exists in these small villages and the resulting act of vengeance by both parties.

It went like this:

An Act of Contrition

Gemano Filosi, the cobbler of the village of San Pietro di Messana was making his way back to his home one Sunday morning after attending Church. He was suddenly overtaken by a man on a horse going at a steady trot … Gemano had to quickly step aside as the horse and rider passed.

“On the hoof, Gemano? You should get yourself one of these,” the rider shouted as he passed.

Now, to any other person such a comment would have been seen as nothing more than a friendly mock … but the fact that it was spoken by one Cesarino Marchesso, a son of one of the largest land owners in the district, and the lingering distaste of an old family hurt concerning these two families, made it strike home with all the force of a spear in the heart …

Gemano swore vengeance.

The insult dated from back to his grandfather’s time when a foal was purchased from the Marchesso family farm by Gemano’s Family, which turned out not to be the expected horse, but rather a mule! At least that was the accusation … in all probability it was just a goofy-looking horse … but that is the way with inter-family feuds … they mostly all start with a rumour. One can construct the ongoing feud without assistance from yours truly … and then even this last “slighting” may have been overlooked but for the painful corns that bothered Gemano with every step.

Gemano swore vengeance … but was yet to figure out how.

The solution came in a flash of inspiration with a request from his sister, Elvira, the next week.

“Gemano … for the love of Gesu, put some new heels on these shoes before I twist my ankles,” she complained.

“Yes,” he replied, “I will have them done by next Thursday and I will leave them outside the shop door for you to collect as I have to go to the town that day.”

Indeed, Gemano was as good as his word, for he did finish those shoes and he did leave them outside his shop Wednesday night for his sister to pick up that Thursday … but not before using them to disguise his own footprints when he stole over to set alight to the Marchesso’s hay stack on that same Wednesday night before quickly scurrying off to make his alibi in the provincial town.

Of course, as anyone who has lived in a small village knows, every family has a ‘list’ of sworn enemies that can be referred to in times of conflict and the police wasted no time in looking up the list provided to them by the Marchesso family.

The upshot was that the clear set of woman’s shoe prints left at gate which led to the scene of the crime could be traced to the sister of Gemano Filosi. There was even a slight trace of the very soil from the site on one of the shoes. But naturally, the police would never imagine the possibility of Gemano wearing the ladies shoes as that sort of thing just wasn’t done …

Of course, Elvira pleaded innocence and protested she was home that very night with her recently born baby. This fact threw the police a little, but still she was arrested at the insistence of the Marchesso family and placed in a holding cell on remand while they investigated. The baby could not be kept with her and had to be brought to her for feeding several times a day. This was a very distressing time for Elvira, and though she suspected Gemano, she would not accuse him openly, so she sent him a secret message pleading with him to come forward on his own volition. Gemano refused and pleaded his innocence, claiming that since the shoes were placed outside his shop overnight for his sister to pick up in the morning, anyone could have used them and then replaced them with the deliberate intent of shifting the blame onto his family!

This was a line of reasoning that did have more than a degree of possibility about it … so that after exhausting their inquiry into Elvira, they had to admit defeat and after three months, released her. But the “stain” of accusation had been placed onto Elvira and such accusations cause long-term difficulties in a small village. Elvira and her husband moved away to the provincial city to live as a result. She still suspected her brother of the crime and never forgave him for dropping her into it and bringing such trouble and turmoil into her family’s life.

But the years passed and they all grew old … indeed, Gemano was ill for a long time and now he had reached the end of his life. He was on his death bed. But still Elvira had not forgiven him as he never confessed to her the truth of his deed. But now he was at his last days and the dottore had informed the family that he was slipping in and out of a coma and they should come to arrange last rites with a priest as soon as possible.

Elvira arranged for a priest to come with her to attend to her brother’s extreme unction. The old priest from the village being “conveniently” called away to the next parish that week, Elvira arranged for a new younger priest from the town to do the ritual … Gemano, who had embraced the faith even closer to his heart in those later years, was not in a state to notice that his old mentor was not there.

Gemano lay still on the bed in the old family home. He was attended by the close members of his family and the doctor. They all moved respectfully outside as the priest heard Gemano’s last confession and was given the last rites. Being almost unconscious, Gemano could hardly comprehend what was being said to him by the priest. But there was one driving need he wanted to confess …

“Father,” he gasped weakly.

“Yes, my son,” the priest replied.

“Tell Elvira … tell … tell her it was me,” and he nearly collapsed from the effort.

“You, my son?”

“Yes … the haystack … it was me,” and he went silent from the effort. The priest smiled a little and whispered into his ear:

“I think it best you confessed that to her yourself … for the love of God and for your forgiveness … ”

Gemano lay still for a while, then nodded weakly in consent … he knew it would be his last act of contrition.

The priest sent for Elvira and the doctor to come to the bedside of the dying brother.

“He has a confession to say to you, my lady.” The priest spoke so both Gemano and Elvira could hear. Elvira sat at the side of her brother and leaned in to hear from his weak lips.

“It was I … sister … I set fire to Marchesso’s hay …” Gemano’s eyes were wide and he gasped and looked like this statement would be his last act, his last words … Elvira stilled him and held his hand to comfort him.

“Shh, shh, dear brother, ” she comforted. Then she leaned down close to his ear so as to secretly whisper into it:

“I know, brother. I always knew … and I could never forgive you for the hurt you brought to myself and my family … but I do now … I … forgive you. But while you have performed your act of contrition to me … you also have a difficulty. You see that young priest at the foot of the bed?”

Gemano, whose eyes were closed, weakly blinked and looked to the young priest who smiled quietly and gave him a little nod …

“ … well that young man is not really a priest, he is an actor friend of my daughter and he is pretending to be a priest and you really have not been given extreme-unction. The sin remains stained upon your soul, so you will have to go to God and beg him to forgive you.”

Elvira sat back satisfied that she had at last taken her own sort of vengeance.

Gemano’s eyes went wide as this profound knowledge slowly sank in … but it was already too late and indeed, this treachery brought on his demise by the sudden surge of shock to his system. He gasped, raised one arm to point to the “priest” and tried to speak … but only a gasp and a croak emitted from the dying man.

“Ah! … ah! … no!” And with a last gaping gasp of breath, Gemano fell back stone dead onto the pillow.

Elvira leaned to her brother, kissed his forehead and tenderly said:

“Yes, dear brother … now I forgive you.”

The last days of radicalism

I like the idea or at least the tradition of the Italian vendetta … or as the Latin origin would have it: “Vindicta” … “A rod used in manumitting slaves … deliverance … “

“In Roman law. A rod or wand; and, from the use of that instrument in their course, various legal acts came to be distinguished by the term; e. g., one of the three ancient modes of manumission was by the v indict a; also the rod or wand inter-vened in the progress of the old action of vindicatio, whence the name of that action.”

To me it symbols a kind of natural justice, delivered when civil justice is absent or deliberately denied … even a kind of “poetic justice” could be seen as a comfort of a successful “vendetta” by fate … by mute Nemesis.

Yes … certainly a “deliverance” from a perceived injustice, be it by person or persons known, corporations or political opponents … Radicalism against conservatism could be seen as a vindicta; a deliverance from oppression of bland and suffocating mediocrity in life.

Clarence Darrow, in his 79th year, saw the publication of his brilliant dissertation “On Selecting a Jury”, in Esquire Magazine, May 1936:

“The late Clarence Darrow was 79 when this achieved print. Active practice was definitely over for the lawyer who never, in more than fifty years at the bar, appeared on the side of the prosecution, who never, in scores of capital cases, had a client executed. We gave him a fairly pedestrian assignment, asking him to write a piece giving a few pointers on jury-picking. It was greater luck than we merited to receive in return this winged answer to profounder questions than we had the wit to ask. For here is no less a thing than a golden epitome of all the wisdom that has accrued to an ever-youthful spirit in the late evening of a well spent life. Far more than a mere footnote to the tricks of his trade, it is a philosophic summation of the practical answers to any present day Pilate who might jesting ask “What is Justice?” It is an answer wise though witty, compassionate though cynical, the answer of the man who said of the great Governor Altgeld what might equally well be said of himself: “Even admirers have seldom understood the real character of this great human man. It was not a callous heart that so often led him to brave the most violent and malicious hate: it was not a callous heart, it was a devoted soul . . . that spoke for the poor, the oppressed, the captive and the weak.”

His own assessment of the bias of “justice” in that same article can be read below:

“In the last analysis, most jury trials are contests between the rich and poor. If the case concerns money, it is apt to be a case of damages for injuries of some sort claimed to have been inflicted by someone. These cases are usually defended by insurance companies, railroads, or factories. If a criminal case, it is practically always the poor who are on trial. The most important point to learn is whether the prospective juror is humane. This must be discovered in more or less devious ways. As soon as “the court” sees what you want, he almost always blocks the game.”

This publication by Darrow could be seen as a kind of fulfilled “vendetta” against those who would victimise the same; “… poor, oppressed, the captive and the weak.” He left no stone unturned as he dissected the bulbous, inflated buffoonery of civil laws that worked mainly for the wealthy and privileged. Those were the days when a radical attitude toward the conservative establishment was a respected and almost a desirable quirk of the human condition. These days, however, it seems almost a dirty word, where “people of taste and style” are more savvy to avoid distasteful confrontation for what can only be described as acceptance … acceptance of what is described as the “inevitable”, the “reality of the situation” and an avoidance of anything that smacks of the distasteful in either language or opinion … ”one’s upbringing … doncha know!”… when all the time it really is just simple cowardice.

“Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it or protest it. The concept is close in meaning to acquiescence, derived from the Latin acquiēscere (to find rest in).” (Wikipedia).

And then there is this:

Often when I discuss acceptance with students or clients, a common argument is put forth: “Acceptance is no good. It is passive and accepting things as they are is giving up. It is resignation to something unpalatable.” But that is not the real meaning of acceptance. There is no better explanation than Jon Kabat-Zinn’s in, “Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness”: “Acceptance doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, mean passive resignation. Quite the opposite. It takes a huge amount of fortitude and motivation to accept what is- especially when you don’t like it-and then work wisely and effectively as best you possibly can with the circumstances you find yourself in and with the resources at your disposal, both inner and outer, to mitigate, heal, redirect, and change what can be changed.” (p.407). In other words, desiring the world to be something it is not at the moment is stopped and ruminating thoughts about how things “should be” are put aside. Then change what can be changed.

Acceptance helps reduce what people experience as negative. That is only half of the solution to improving one’s quality of life, however. It has been purported that it takes five positive experiences to counter one negative (Gottman) or, more generally, your brain responds to positive events like Teflon and to negative ones like Velcro (Hanson, Mendius). So, the new goal is to allow the positive to resonate, to be prolonged, not in a desperate grasping fashion, but instead through mindfulness and allowing it to permeate one’s attention. This helps counter the balance, and swing experience to the positive.” (Psychology Today, June 27, 2015).

What a load of middle-class wank, but taken alongside the silence or the defensive acquiesce in regards to the “majority decision” on refugees etc, the “outrage” against the minutiae of political behaviour and the pathetic seediness of sexual misconduct of the politically ugly and degenerate and one has to wonder if with such limp-wristed pontification, we, the people are not moving into the last days of radicalism.

Me personally, I prefer Norm Gallagher’s simple response when told of the bankruptcy of a particularly nasty building company:

“It couldn’t’ve happened to a nicer bunch of bastards!”

The White and the Blue

Something has gone awry. There must needs be time to consider … and if I can pinch a line or two:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer … ”

Every time I listen to an interview by a journalist from the mainstream media (MSM) – mostly from the ABC – with a politician or some other notable person, I am finding myself getting more and more frustrated at the direction and the (depending on the interviewee) aggression or the soft-soap tone of the journalist. I listen carefully to ascertain if it is just a prejudice on my part … I have done this for quite a while now, doubting my capacity for objective analysis … but after seeing and hearing many interviews over the last few months, I have to make the judgement that those regular journalists who do the interviews are leaning in an obvious bias toward the conservative side of politics. Is this just opportunism or cowardice?

Also, from my own memory of events alongside the judgements brought down against the accused in these several recent Royal Commissions, along with the excellent listing of actual facts concerning the Home Insulation Program (HIP) Royal Commission, that was published on the Independent Australia social media site, and was once again raised as a political issue in the recent “releases” of the “cabinet files”, I have to conclude that there is a “reservoir” of qualified professional people MSM are able to draw upon and who seem willing to let themselves be a “gun for hire” to deliver for the “payer” a judgement script straight from “head office”.

There also appears to be a willing participation from many higher education academics to just go along with or vehemently support that ideal of politics most destructive to expansive or less expensive education for the people … in face of the fact that their own education may have been as a result of the free tertiary education system in place at the time of their own advancement into higher learning … one has to wonder if they subconsciously deny even the success of their own capacity as an academic? And, of course, there are the many lesser professions that are too willing to toss their lot in with whoever will accommodate their personal pecuniary peccadilloes … one expects no better from these.

Which brings me to the nub of my argument … and to pinch a line from the erstwhile Jason Hand:

”There’s too much White Collar and not enough Blue Singlet.”

And this is the problem … and this is the thing that has gone awry … and this is the falcon that no longer hears the falconer. Where it has become obvious to the suburbs that the political argy-bargy, the subtle exchanging of brown bags of money, the consideration for the “Privileged Parental Leave” as against the struggling single mother in the ‘burbs, the lawyers and the litigants, the judiciary and the journalists are become so far removed from the everyday concerns of us plebs that it is almost irrelevant to even bother thinking about equality for the low wage earners and pensioners … and it is a shame. One has to wonder if many long-serving politicians are so “embedded” with the life-style and remunerations, they have lost the “fire-in-the-belly” aggressiveness to strike at the heart of the problems.

And yet we curse those “stupid people” who voted one way or the other, without considering their position in the here and now … because, if we think about the above examples, where it seems the many “enlightened and highly educated in society” are – apparently – taking the money and running … why on earth would a low-income, lower educated downwardly mobile peon not reconsider their loyalties and simply follow any money? Why do we expect those with the least clout, the least capacity for risk, do what those of greater wealth and better position do not even stop to consider before tossing their lot in with the destroyers of social order for a grubby “thirty pieces of silver”?

And that is why the MSM, in conjunction with the LNP has manipulated the policy interpretations and truthfulness of “promises” put forward by the LNP before the last election. That is why I see those crappy “interrogations” of the PM. There is no doubt there is regret in the suburbs, there is anger bubbling under the surface so now we have “Malcolm the Magnificent” the “deliverer of justice” being cynically promoted … they are low … but they know every trick in the book and they just tweak it here, tweak it there. But the biggest disappointment, is the lack of leadership from the higher strata of society … those of the judiciary. Of the legal fraternity and the academic fraternity … from the professions that have established networks that reach up into the high political circles … they need the example of integrity of another Weary Dunlop … while we already have many a “Joe Hill and Rosa Luxemburg” … we need to witness some gumption from these people to set example and yes! … to stand up and out and brazen it out to “cop it sweet” when the filth move against them … as they have moved against individual workers ,and the unions. For it is from such example the greater mass of citizenry take the lead and then the natural decency that is at the moment dormant in us all will break in a wave over these low-bred parasites that will have all our shoulders bent under their yoke and all our necks crushed under their jack-boots!

Damn their eyes!

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