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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.

A Strange Coincidence

“It is a strange coincidence that in the same years, in which Labor was creating beyond the Canberra Bubble, a work to last for decades, there was enacted in LNP headquarters one of the most extravagant political farces that were ever produced upon the stage of Australia’s history. The usurper “regents of the commonwealth” did not rule, but shut themselves up in the House and sulked in silence.

The former half-deposed government did not rule, but sighed, sometimes in private amidst the confidential circles of the political offices, sometimes in chorus in the senate-house. The portion of the moderate middle-class LNP which had still at heart freedom and order was disgusted with the reign of confusion, but utterly without leaders and counsel, it maintained a passive attitude – not merely avoiding all political activity, but keeping aloof, as far as possible, from the political Sodom itself.

The Right-wing Anarchists On the other hand…the rabble of every sort never had better days, never found a merrier arena. The number of little great men was legion. Demagogism became quite a trade, which accordingly did not lack its professional insignia — the threadbare mantle of “Pauline’s People”, the shaggy beard, the long streaming hair of the media queens, the deep bass voice of the Queensland con-man; and not seldom it was a trade with golden soil. For the standing declamations, the tried gargles of the theatrical staff of the MSM were an article in much request; Speculators and Businessmen, aspirant working-class and intern-slaves, were the most regular attendees and the loudest criers in the public assemblies; frequently, even when it came to a vote in the House, only a minority of those voting consisted of citizens constitutionally entitled to do so.

“Next time,” it is said in a letter of this period,” we may expect our lackeys to outvote the Retirees-tax.”

The real powers of the day were the compact and cashed-up bands, the battalions of anarchy raised by adventurers of rank out of negative geared lackeys and blackguards. Their possessors had from the outset been in some cases numbered among the Labor party; but since the departure of the honesty and courage of the fourth estate, “who alone knew how to impress democracy, and alone knew how to manage it”, all discipline had departed from them and every partisan practised politics at their own hand.

Even now, no doubt, these people fought with most pleasure under the banner of freedom; but, strictly speaking, they were neither of democratic nor of anti-democratic views; they inscribed on the — in itself indispensable — banner, as it happened, now the name of “by, with and for the people”, and then hence that of the party or that of a party-chief; Palmer, for instance, fought or professed to fight in succession for democracy, for the Senate, and for Morrison.

The leaders of these bands kept to their colours only so far as they inexorably persecuted their personal enemies–as in the case of Morrison against Shorten and Pauline against Muslims — while their partisan position served them merely as a handle in these personal feuds. We might as well seek to set a charivari ( charivari – a noisy mock serenade performed by a group of people to celebrate a marriage or mock an unpopular person.) to music as to write the history of this political witches’ revel; nor is it of any moment to enumerate all the deeds of character murder, besiegings of political offices, acts of incendiarism and other scenes of violence within the realm of various cities, and to reckon up how often the gamut was traversed from hissing and shouting to spitting on and trampling down opponents, and thence to throwing eggs and the drawing of metaphorical swords.”

The above piece is a direct quote from Theodore Mommsen’s chapter 8 fifth book on his “History of Rome” published in 1866, with just some name changes and localising of events…Yet the accuracy and pertinacity of his words ring down through the ages, as does his direct recording of those events that led to civil war and the collapse of the Roman Republic.

What we are witnessing in these times is a turning point similar to that of the end of the Republic of Rome where an accumulation of top-end wealth and power had condensed into the hands of only a few people and corporations and they were using their power and wealth to corrupt the machinery of State.

Australia has reached an age where, like the ages of a young person growing toward maturity, the country must choose a direction knowing in its heart of hearts that it cannot continue down a path of endless partying, boozing and avoiding responsibility toward community, work and family and the needs of a social state. If the realisation of confronting those same corporations and peoples that would steal the wealth of our commonwealth seems too frightening, then we must bend our necks to the yoke and accept the role of slaves to their greed and desire. We must watch helplessly as our children become play-things to their material voluptuousness, trapped in a fantasy world of narcissistic glitter and bling with no self-respect and even less for their fellow citizens.

It is a treasured maxim that those things most struggled for are the most valued, the same maxim exists for relationships, likewise for communities…I believe it is high time we as a nation grew from the naive carousing youth to a more mature adult and gave greater consideration to who we are, what we are and where we stand in relation to the rest of our world.

That…or we are valueless as a people and nation.

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History on the back of a beer coaster

Forget the links, the oft’ quoted academic tome…forget the reams of verbose railing against this or that “Authentic History”… ”Researched Paper” or PhD on the subject. I’ll give you a rock-solid run-down on the course of events in both South Aust’ history and the formation of the Liberal Party on what will here be the equivalent of a beer coaster sketch…the “Pub Test” if you will…like a coupla’ mates discussing the pros and cons of a tradie-ute, I am flogging to you.

Right, let’s start with why we need a new history. NOT just of SA, but the whole of Oz.  It is because the Victors and their lackeys in the academic circles have controlled the access to and the writing of those histories for too long and the publishers, coming from in many cases the same “breeding circle” as those types, have selected what THEY thought ought to be published. ie; a nice, white, sugary confection of “suitable for Primary education schools“ story, and in many cases a fiction story.

Here in South Australia

Take the founding of the idea of the State…keep in mind SA was NOT a colony…it was a “Province”…a speculative enterprise by a company with specific restrictions encumbered upon it by the King of England and the British Parliament in what was called: “The Letters Patent”.  We are told – alongside portraits of a stern but proud Governor Hindmarsh – that a group of “enterprising, courageous men”, risking their lives, reputations and capital came to this “frontier of struggle and hardship” to found a colony based on “hard-working individuals who wanted to advance themselves” in a free market environment, and these governors and administrators were just the people to give them that chance.

Fat chance!!

These scum…these trash who even betrayed the original Royal and Parliament decreed agreement undersigned by THEIR OWN PARLIAMENT AND KING, that have claimed naming rights to streets, avenues, towns and counties alongside their ruthless driving out of the indigenous peoples to the point of many recorded and so many more unrecorded massacres…their subterfuge in financial dealings and rapacious land-grabs of broad acres that were first at their own request, reduced in value from the stipulated; “One pound per Acre” to a more salubrious speculator’s price of twelve shillings per acre and THEN when the so called; “Special Surveys” (a polite name for an outright swindle) were “arranged” with the South Australian Commission…in effect themselves, as THEY or their agents were on the board and commission of every administration post in the settlement, or had the ear of every official resident in the settlement, and then the “surveyed” land purchased at that knockdown price was immediately offered to those migrant German settlers at TEN POUNDS AN ACRE!!. An outrageous opportunity that had to be stopped by the British Authorities once Pastor Kavel protested on the penury it would place the German settlers in.

Such criminal opportunists are called “The Founding Fathers” of the state, and when their wings were clipped by the arrival of a more reputable court of petty sessions and legal advocates, they immediately set to organise a lobby group to place ministers and representatives in the Legislative Council of the new Parliament to manipulate the laws, on their behalf. This is when “The National Defence League” was born as a deformed mutation of a rapacious and cruel, lying and thieving conservative political party representing those monopolies that saw great advantage in profiteering in commerce rather than loyalty to country, for while they spruiked enthusiasm for Federation, it was not solely for the good of national unity, but more for the control of shipping of commerce and profit of their enterprises.

The National Defence League recruited members with deceit and subterfuge, relying on subtle eloquence of language to sway the more gullible to back their enterprises, a fore-runner in conception to The IPA and in eventual existence to The Liberal Party. This “party of patriot profiteers” preached the same rhetoric on taxation, the same rhetoric on minimum wages, the same rhetoric on property rights and enterprise as its most modern evolution, this most modern evocation of an age-old swindle: The LNP – Read here.

On taxation, it abhorred the idea of a Land Tax that encouraged the breaking up of the huge estates of those original land-grabs by claiming that the tax was in effect an imposition on the “poor widows” the “hard-working small-farmers” and the working men of the country. The idea of a minimum wage denied the right of the employer “who created employment” of owning his choice of who and when and how many to employ and would curtail his “capacity to manage his own costs”. The Customs Tax between the states created a tariff that slowed the exchange of commodities between markets and disadvantaged the local producer, hence the benefits of Federation…NOT for the people en-masse, but for the profit margin that could be gained.

A profit margin that excluded ANY consideration of the native peoples. THEY were considered an inconvenient and unfortunate inclusion in the original decree of intent of the Letters Patent, that had to be provoked and coerced into confrontation so that a police or military “reprimand” could put their tribes down and keep them suppressed.

This was managed by driving thousands of stock deep into their hunting grounds and tribal territory, replete with wagons and drays and shepherds and their chattels, ruining the Aborigine’s food and freshwater sources. Pushing the boundaries of tolerance to such a point that confrontation was inevitable…I leave the reader to imagine the damage done when thousands of sheep and hundreds of cattle are driven through virgin territory and water places.

Then when confrontation was inevitable, we see the appearance of the troopers meeting spear and waddy carrying warriors with a barrage of bullets…NOT from old powder and shot muzzle-loading muskets, but rather with the surreptitiously imported most modern breech-loading Snider-Enfield or Martini-Henry rifles…a massacre!

Another method of genocide was to encourage disease contagion by admitting contact with infected persons from newly arrived migrants from Europe and elsewhere, knowing FULL WELL from the recorded experiences of the Spanish in Sth. America and the invaders of the territories of the Nth American Indians, what the “kill rate” was among those natives previously untouched by such volatile contagions as smallpox, measles, whooping cough and other insidious diseases.

Of course, all this killing and genocide was done “at arms length” from the sight of the proud administrators whose hands were “kept clean” by claiming accidental “oversight by subordinates” or “administrative mistakes” like when the medical inspectors were quickly withdrawn from quarantine inspections of newly arrived migrant ships after the first few months when it was discovered that deadly contagious diseases were coming in with the first ships…and such migrant single men were soon in contact with native women…one can see the glint in the eye of the “tied-hands” of those Speculator-Administrators when this opportune solution was dropped straight into their laps…a “gift from God” too good to pass up…and so the deed was done…call it what you will, thousands of the Kaurna, young and old, died by contagion of these diseases, as then did their right of ownership of their lands…it was genocide by ANY name.

What started out as a province of speculative adventure of cashed-up cowboys ended up by the turn of the twentieth century as a conglomeration of venture capitalists with the same interests as capitalists the world over..: “While all rivers glisten in different colours, a sewer everywhere looks the same.” Their criminal activities worked with the same percentage profit margin expectations and with the same principle of “Private profit-Public Risk”…and don’t give me that old chestnut of it being a symptom and accepted practice of the times, as that original Decree signed off by both the British Parliament AND the King of England made specific provision and clause for certain social and humanitarian statutes that were both sworn to loyally on their “Christian faith” and then immediately abandoned!

No…it is time enough to no longer tolerate the liars and fabricators of this false history, a fraud of monumental proportion. If we as a nation wish to stand tall and proud of what we WILL WANT to achieve in the future, we must let go of that brutal and rubbish history taught more as political propaganda than social education and damn well write anew in words of sincerity and inclusion a new dialogue with the truth of multicultural society and indigenous ownership of country EMBOSSED ONTO the document of a new constitution…:

“ALL EQUAL UNDER THE SUN”

[Addendum 20/5/2019: It is with a sad heart but a conceding regret that I have to accept that so many from my working-class have betrayed their fellows and sold out to their Lords and Masters for the crumbs from their tables…What was once a proud and courageous “fraternity” has now become no more than a Beggar’s Banquet…]

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The Parable of the Patsy

Every day I care for three big warmblood horses. Every day I take them out to the paddock or groom them and change their rugs and feed them…I know them well after around twenty years of attending those horses. They can be dangerous things, horses… if you move too sudden around them, if you do something on their “blind-side” or if you treat them harshly…they will remember and they will repay you when you least expect it! And when just one rear leg is as big as a person and is all muscle… they can be deadly. Best to know what you are dealing with and act accordingly.

Take the mare, for instance, she was my horse when I used to ride…I don’t ride anymore, but she was originally broken in by a man who trained racehorses and he broke the horses in with a method of harsh discipline instead of the more favoured to me of; “conciliatory persuasion”…so she became a handful when I had to take her out after I stopped regular riding.

I believe she developed a hatred toward males due to that person’s methodology of horse breaking. I would go to the gate and she’d be there looking like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. I’d hook the lead-rope on the halter and then open the gate, and she’d come barrelling out like it was the Marrabel Rodeo, all bucking and double-barrelling trying to get away…and I’ll give any budding horse handler out there a bit of sage advice for when you get such a horse acting like that. Two things: Hang in there as close to its front forequarter/front leg as possible and whatever you do; DON’T LET GO OF THAT LEAD-ROPE!!

I got to thinking about the above analogy when I was responding to someone on twitter who complained about me saying that the best use for old LNP ministers was not to give them soft postings in ambassadorships, but to just get rid of the bastards…and as for Howard, we could indeed use HIM by filling his pockets full of sand and use him for a bit of sand-bagging come the next flood! There were those “forgiving” types that saw my lack of sympathy as a cruelty, rather than a condemnation, hence this article.

Let’s get this straight…Many of these old LNP “warhorses” were killers…killers in the exact meaning of the word. Howard was a killer in both a domestic sense with the policies he put in place concerning the indigenous peoples and with the plight of the refugees he abandoned to their fate, and in the illegal war, he conducted in collusion with some allies in the Middle East…and so were some other LNP ministers. Those robo-debt collections have resulted in many suicides and death by abandonment, as has the de-funded health system. You can dig around the internet to find statistics and “kill-rates” on the separate insidious actions by these killers: just Google “Democide” for a quick overview of domestic policy deaths.

So now we get many people in this nation so easily willing to “forgive and forget” those guilty parties and even to consider using the “experience gained” by those persons in positions of influence…AGAIN!  No, no…no forgiving and no forgetting…we don’t need a bunch of comfortably well-off patsies telling us what ought to be done with these killers… they need to be investigated and brought to trial.

It happened under Rudd with his lousy “Church Gate” interviews, his “piety vanity” where he left in place so many LNP appointed sleepers and they screwed him and Gillard AND the rest of us over, and then there were the Murdoch/BCA “moles”;… the “Cardinals” that white-anted both administrations and left after the damage done to take up juicy positions in the private sector. We know who were the rats, and we don’t need telling who needs condemnation or contrition.

Malcolm X explained these patsy “killer apologists” well:

The same is happening today, where we have the patsy placators coming along after the bastards have been voted out pleading the case for their “consciousness of kind” equals. ”Don’t be too hard on them” they complain or “that’s just trolling abuse”, and the best one: “We got to be better than this.” The bastards are killers…KILLERS! and the patsies say we gotta be better than this… ”Show example” is another, yeah! I’ll show an example: give me a horse-whip and ten minutes alone and I’LL show example!

Because there IS a class war going on. It has been going on for many, many decades. Look around you and you can see the damage done with the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, the rapine and plunder of our country’s resources and environment. Closer to home; the homeless, the long term unemployed, either too old or too unskilled or damaged. THEY are the “political prisoners” of a capitalist agenda.

Look to the mortgage belt homeowners and the aged, struggling to stay in their homes, working two or three jobs just to make ends meet while the bankers and so many LNP pollies swan around with bulging property portfolios in ostentatious luxury. These mortgagees are the “hostages” that capital trades with to gain political advantage in times of democratic elections. Oh, there is a class war going on all right, and it is being fought out right under our noses. If any think it is going to be won without a hard fight, a long fight played out in the political arena, on the streets and here on social media .. then they are either too blind or too naive to be aware … or they too are just another patsy.

So, no, I don’t want those “House Negroes” coming behind any radical call for investigation and enquiry into the actions of those many traitors in the conservative echelons of our State, after all, if I was to run an enterprise that drove many to suicide or harm because of the actions of my management principles in that enterprise, I’d have to answer for my failure of duty of care … so why do those ministers not also have to take responsibility?

Let the law do the required action and let the laws punish the guilty parties… Yes, let the law be done AND be SEEEEN to be done and let the citizen body look to oversee just how efficient the law goes about its required job.

Proverb:

“Look not to the foe’s eyes for a hint of remorse, but rather look to disarm the weapons from his hands…then, he is yours.”

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The Argument for Absurdity

There was a reason for the growth, in the middle of the 20th century for the genre of “Absurd Theatre”. The realisation or belief that many ideals nurtured from a millennia or two of perceived reality no longer served a world reeling from two enormous wars and the systematic mechanisation of the killing machines in those conflicts … against such brutality, one’s life seemed meaningless and neither a binding faith in religion or social fairness mattered one iota!

The “Theatre of the Absurd” rose from the ashes of wasted humankind … it preached, along with cynicism in the fantasy philosophy of economic fairness and social cohesiveness, in a purpose in life a possibility of confronting ourselves and creating a new consciousness of a belief in a new paradigm of society. The universal destruction throughout Europe with both wars and the extreme and brutal loss of life affected everyone. There arose in the arts a search to reconstruct meaning and rational in the everyday lives of so many citizens.

Samuel Beckett’s; “Waiting for Godot” heralded in a new concept of absurdist reality … Tom Stoppard’s later production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” … is considered another later absurdist play.

These two plays are a good example of how the theatre is the best-suited genre to show how people are separated from the reality of their position in society by placing the central characters in a situation of isolation from the “real world” around them … They then act out a false reality that is, however, true and relevant to their particular immediacy … So do the two characters in “Godot” debate reasons for the person they await in not turning up, then move on to various subjects pertinent to their state … reality is suspended and an absurd existential world opens up … and we; the audience just watch as the drama unfolds before our eyes.

Such a world of vague uncertainty is what now exists in the political realities of our State. So many varying ideals of religion or philosophy have come kicking and screaming out at us from vested interests or fanatical groups that there appears little room for logic and reason to pull up a chair!

There is a deliberate movement to create such an uncertain political state by the corporate world to make the general voting public untrusting in social ideals that demand a “change of rules” of government priorities from corporate management style of trickle-down economics that rewards the top echelon of wealth to a system of social benefit economics that gives greater priority to social equality in work / care / wealth to lift the lower suffering demographic to a decent standard of living.

Coupled with a fast destructing environment, the realities of life; work/play seem to have been shanghaied by an extreme fantasy world that only exists within the digital spectrum of the internet and the “smart-phone”. Alongside the somewhat banal entertainments of so many facile self-promotion and product promotions on Instagram and other forms of social media app’s, is the more insidious access to targeted fraud and bullying … or just the good old-fashioned threatening emails!

What we have to ask ourselves is whether we want to continue down this road of cynical disbelief in a capacity to re-create a social system based on fair distribution of sovereign wealth of the nation to many more of the nation through deliberately sculptured policy, or do we want to instead hide underneath a blanket of false reality marketed by the controlling influences of corporate power?

I believe we have to momentarily suspend the cynicism and let be put in place the foundation of a democratic socialism that will change the structure and core of governance. I believe we have to STOP the conversation of “how can we afford to . . .” and start the discussion of “How can we afford NOT to . . . “ .

In a recent article; “The Tradesmen’s Return”, I proposed that the best managers for governance ought to be taken from that vast pool of skilled people well-experienced in all the machinery of production. Again, I propose that this philosophy be incrementally adopted within the ranks of Labor so that those with appropriate skills AND training AND experience be the ones selected to run for office. There can only be positives in the adoption of this notion and we will surely be spared those grossly incompetent buffoons that are now peppered throughout our Parliament!

Lastly, as for example, I would direct your attention to that great absurdist novel; “Catch 22” … at a particular point where the characters “Orr” and “Yossarian” (much like the two people in Beckett’s “Godot”) seriously discuss in totally surreal terms Orr’s hatred for another officer in the corps .. : (From Wikipedia).

“Orr seems to take offence at Appleby, who is patriotic and a conformist. Appleby is also a renowned table tennis player in the squadron, “who won every game he started until the night Orr got tipsy on gin and juice and smashed open Appleby’s forehead with his paddle after Appleby had smashed back each of Orr’s first five serves. … Pandemonium broke loose.” While Orr is a small man, Appleby is large, strong and athletic, and so is able to get a hold of Orr and almost “smite him dead”. However, Yossarian intervened and “took Orr away from him.” Yossarian fights Appleby instead; this is the first instance in the novel of Yossarian’s protectiveness of Orr. The next day, Orr informs Yossarian that Appleby has “flies in his eyes”:

“Oh, they’re there, all right,” Orr had assured him about the flies in Appleby’s eyes after Yossarian’s fistfight with Appleby in the officers’ club, “although he probably doesn’t even know it. That’s why he can’t see things as they really are.”
“How come he doesn’t know it?’ inquired Yossarian.
“Because he’s got flies in his eyes,” Orr explained with exaggerated patience. “How can he see he’s got flies in his eyes if he’s got flies in his eyes?”

Logical .. of course … but totally absurd … I remember an Ernest Hemmingway bi-line in reporting on the conflict in China in WW2 … where Hemingway tells a Chinese general what was the opinion of the British military brass of the Chinese army .. to which the Chinese general replies..: “Do you know why the British General wears a monocle? .. no? … So he will never have to understand more than what he sees”.

Let us enjoy the absurd as a genre of entertainment, but I believe we ought to step away from such in our real world and seek to re-establish logic and reason in governance.

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The Tradesmen’s Return

“Trades-unions, composed of the workmen in the different trades, were recognized in the time of the (first Roman) monarchy, and no effort was ever made to dissolve them, until they began to exert a political influence.” … R. W. Husband … Source: The Classical Weekly, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Oct. 9, 1916) …

By the time of the return to Roman Imperial governance with Julius Caesar, these Unions or Guilds were banned by decree … seen as “dangerous to public order” … It is now time for them to return WITH political power to RESTORE public order.

Over the last millennia, while the Aristocracy, then the Military, then the Oligarchical upper-middle classes have fooled about with their power base, debauching, slaughtering and fiddling both populations and economies, till we see evidence of their gormless incompetence literally screwing up the entire environment of our planet, driving a huge percentage of its denizens into refugee status and yet STILL proclaiming brazenly from all its various media platforms that THEY … and THEY ALONE are the best managers of political and economic outcomes.

WHAT AN ABSOLUTE EFFING LOAD OF BULLSHIT!!

Look at just the century past… At the start of the century, we had the last remnants of the inbred aristocracy drag us into their world war of pride and pomp and ceremony that claimed the lives of millions of young people … and then with the next world war, we get the rising middle-classes dragging us into their war of economic opportunity that claimed the lives of millions more people … and since then, we have had an unending parade of greater or lesser conflicts for in most cases nothing more than political/economic or religious (the high priests of capitalism) ideology.

All these “players” that want to drive their peoples or other nation’s citizens into a game of monopoly control of either cheap labour or cheap raw commodities, come from the one central class… the non-producing, non-productive middle/upper-middle classes … NOT the trades, NOT the farmers or producers, NOT the service/health carers classes… ALL… if not in the actual position, then in aspiration toward the upper-middle classes.

It is time to put an end to this madness.

The representative bodies and unions of the producing classes have both the right and the capability to govern and manage production and economies. The rise in numbers of the educated working classes to sustain and improve the functioning capabilities of a society BEYOND personal individual grandiose statements, would result in an improved social status for ALL citizens of The State.

This is not just a pipe dream, an attempt at persuasion toward socialism or communism. We can now look to see which Nation States that exist as an example of civil governance that best caters for its particular peoples. We do not need to copy in exact detail those governments .. indeed, such would be foolhardy, some having enormous population control challenges, some having long histories of conflict with bordering neighbour nations .. etc. What we here in Australia need to look to is that ideal which gives the average citizen access to infrastructure, education, health and secure employment that offers the dignity of life and security of lifestyle. We are definitely NOT getting either from the continued raping of our resources and working young and those whose health situation is vulnerable.

The trade/working class representative unions, united with a return of The Trade Guilds for the independent sub-contractors, joining with the genuine “On the Land” farmers and producers .. along with engineering and scientific research bodies can lift the nation out of the greedy clutches of an anachronistic strangulation of the conservative upper-middle-class oligarchs, who have secured for their own riches, their own wants, the machinery of State. Their rusted and seized intellects no longer have the spark of imagination to set in motion a new world opportunity of “Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty”….Theirs is no more than a dark dungeon of despair.

“Away with all pests!”

There is a measure of undeniable certainty by which to gauge the honest intent of a person’s capability to envisage, oversee and manage a situation, particularly if that situation requires knowledge of planning, supply, needs-based and results. That person may not need to oversee the entire go-to-whoa job, but they do need to have a practical insight to envision or to pass over to others WITH PROVEN ABILITY to manage the project. This is where “coal-face” experience is vital. It is in the space between proposal and approval that the “job-skills” of a government come into their own.

The upper-middle and even some of the old middle-class management styles are both inadequate and incapable of seeing long-term requirements of infrastructure needs above their “consciousness of kind” colleagues who lobby them incessantly for financial or political favour that benefits only their own class but is paid for and in the long run suffered by the producing classes.

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Kapitan Kemp’s Diary

An Easter interlude …

This story has two connections … The first is the idea for the setting which came from a contribution in a WW2 official government publication; “As You Were” … one of many such publications put out during and after the second world war from the Australian military … The writer was T.G.Hungerford … the article was “Last Entry in Red” (As You Were; 1950). I have shifted the setting for the tale to the retreating German army and the Russian front.

The second connection is from a story told to me by an acquaintance many years ago about her father and his best friend, who signed onto the Czechoslovakian resistance in the 2nd WW as sixteen year old boys … the incident described in the story below about the young boys happened to the father.

It went like this …

Kapitan Kemp’s Diary

My name is David Groetz, I am a teacher of German at the college. A week ago my neighbour at the units where I live stopped me outside my door as I came home from work.

“Ah, Mr Groetz!” He touched my sleeve.

“Yes?”, I didn’t remember his name.

“Mr Groetz … excuse me … I have a little problem … a bit of translating I would ask you to do … seeing as it’s in your line of work, so to speak.”

He was an old man so I obliged him to look at the “bit of translating”.

“You see,” he commenced as he handed me a slim note-book, very old and rather damaged. “It is from the war … yes … I took it from the hand of a soldier that I had shot … yes … in an attack of course.” he hastened to reassure me “I was with the advancing Russian army chasing the Nazi retreat.” he explained.

I eyed him wearily. I wasn’t keen to get caught up in another war epic, so I sighed and placed the slim note-pad on the table while I prepared a coffee in my unit to which we had both adjourned.

“Why do you wish to translate it?” I asked.

“Curiosity” … the old man shrugged, “that is all … curiosity and … I am growing old and a small thing puzzles me about the soldier I took that note-book from.”

“You are puzzled by a dead man after all these years” I gazed at him quizzically.

“Yes … I tell you … ”

He sat and clasped his hands together in front of him on the table.

“I was a corporal with the Soviet army and we were chasing the German retreat out of Russia. Myself and my platoon advanced upon this post, an old foresters hut within a clearing in the forest. As we crept up to it, one of the sentries gave a cry and we attacked with grenades … I came in from the left flank and took up a position behind a thick stump of a tree Just as I did so, this soldier, the Kapitan, ran out of the door close to me and turned away from me.

“Stoi !” I yelled … “Halt!” but he just looked at me, turned away and ran … now this is the queer thing … he ran not to cover, but rather to the centre of the clearing, out in the open!”

“Halt” I shouted again but he kept running toward the centre of the clearing, so I opened fire and he stumbled but kept on going forward the most … most sad, hopeless expression on his face and finally he fell, almost relieved, I couldn’t help but think, into this sward of … of “fialki” we call them … white violets … and as I ran up to him I saw that he, with his last strength, sort of embrace an armful of these violets and as I stood over him I heard him murmur with his dying breath, “Liebling … mien liebling.” I took this note-book from his hand there and then … I have always wondered if that captain was mad or if there is a clue in the note-pad, for he had no gun on him, only that book … and he looked so very determined when he ran toward those violets.”

I raised my eyebrows appropriately at my neighbour’s story and said very well, I will look at it and translate that which is readable.

“I know it seems a trivial thing … yes … but … I am an old man now,” he sighed as he passed through the door “and I feel I must know about that captain and the answer, maybe is in that book.”

The writing in the note-pad was very faded, in most places illegible. But I thumbed through it just to satisfy my neighbour. It was toward the last few pages of transcript that I found a reference to the flowers that the captain had died in. I translated those last few pages for the old man so:

From Kapitan Kemp’s Diary

Monday:

Violets!, violets! can you imagine that mein liebling, violets as pure as the snow they break through! who would have thought this cursed Russian countryside could produce something so beautiful. They reminded me immediately of you my dear, after all, you share their name: “Viola” – violets. I say your name to myself so as to relish your memory and hope for the time when I will see you again … perhaps now that the flowers have bloomed maybe spring is here enough for us to get out of this place. The men are of high morale considering the circumstances … I have my orders to hold the ground at all costs and to remain until further orders come through. It is not Berlin here … but …

Tuesday:

Things must be moving fast at the front which is god knows where by now. At night the sky is a veritable bonfire. The men are jumpy, but on the whole, disciplined, although Sergeant Richter reported some rations missing, he suspects one of the two young boys (Klaus and Dieter) of taking them. He wants them disciplined, but I have my doubts it is they at all. I will look into it, I tell him and he grudgingly dismissed himself. I worry about Richter, he always seems to find trouble among the men.

We have four peasant soldiers in the unit and they are a very morose lot, they say they can feel death approaching … fools … they call death: HE. “He’s around about”, one of them would say mysteriously nodding his woolly head or, “He’s coming for sure”, when we’d get a barrage of artillery. I had to command them to “shut-up” that kind of talk. Just then some artillery howled away over-head toward the distance:

“Those’ll be ours” I lied to boost their morale, but the sergeant just looked at me strangely so I said, “eh, sergeant?”

“Yes”, he replied quietly, “ours … yes sir,” but I don’t think the men really believed me.

The violets are springing up in a big patch in the middle of the clearing … they look truly wonderful … like the terrace garden in that little park at the end of our street … Ach! that I could be there with you now. Dieter and Klaus couldn’t have stolen the rations, they are too simple, too honest both with me and with each other, like twins, mere boys … maybe sixteen, no more than …

Wednesday:

Enemy snipers have moved forward, one of our peasant soldiers shot dead yesterday, means their front is approaching, still no word from H.Q. The men are nervous, it’s the waiting, waiting that gets at them, at me too, not sleeping much at all. A message from Post 12 on my left flank half a kilometer away they are getting short of supplies, could I afford to send a few? Am getting low ourselves, can’t get to the bottom of this thieving business … have secretly assigned corporal Schmidt to observe the store surreptitiously night and day! Sent what food I could spare back with the messenger … shouldn’t weigh him down in the snow!

Every evening I am going over to the patch of violets … “the Kapitans’ flowers”, I have heard the men giggle behind my back, but I don’t mind, indeed it is just that … my violets … my Viola! I go there and kneel next to them on one knee and slowly sweep my hand through … they are so soft and yielding … tonight as I was there thinking of you my darling, one of the young boys … Klaus … came and stood behind me and addressed me so that I almost got a fright, but I kept my balance.

“Sir,” he called softly (I think he respects my solitude … he is a good boy).

“Yes”, I replied without turning.

“The men were wondering if they … we, could have permission to tune in to a home broadcast tonight … Sir.”

He stood rigid to attention there … those others must have sent him as they know I have a soft spot for the “children” as I call them sometimes. Ordinarily I would never permit such a thing, the ordeal would be too upsetting, hearing songs and talk from back home while stuck here at the front. but tonight for some reason I acquiesced.

Tonight I feel for the first time I will never see you again … forgive me this cowardice.

Thursday:

What a cursed day! That bloody radio program last night did just as I suspected it would; it upset the whole camp, it was all I could do to call the men to order this morning. It started out alright, with a bit of news and a few “bar room” songs that had the men stomping their feet and singing along, I even wished I had a few steins of beer to give out … and a few buxom barmaids to serve them!! But then after a pause in the music for a bit of talk, a new song came over. The woman singing, I have to admit had, if not a wonderful voice, a voice very coaxing, very gentle, almost caressing tone about her, and the words and music crept deep into my mind, my heart, and the men quieted down with that song and no-one looked to each other anymore, they all gazed down at the little fire we have in the middle of the floor.

Oh! her voice, it was like yours my love, like yours, like my mothers, like … like … all the women I have heard … like home … ya, like home … maybe soon eh?.

Corporal Schmidt reported on who is stealing the supplies. He noticed the soldier creep quietly out from the sing-along with the radio and go outside … he followed him and saw him take a portion of the rations to a hiding place just away a bit in the woods. The thief is Sergeant Richter! Yes, surprise, surprise, although he has the eyes for it. And he would have seen the young boys punished for it! A cruel man. I shall have to deal with him soon.

More Violets! Yes even more. I think of that song the woman sung last night: “My legs grow strong, My pack is light!” Yes, my heart too is light at the mere thought of you, Viola, are you waiting for me like Lili Marlene? .

Friday:

Things go from bad to worse. No sleep at all last night. Although same could be said for most of this week. I am at my wit’s end, and the men feel it. Still no orders from HQ. … is there still a HQ.? … are we forgotten here? … But must stay … only cowards and the stupid desert their posts. And seeing as I’m not about to become a fool, and I pray God for courage, I shall stay, but feel now there is little hope. The war seems all around us, the night is forever ablaze! Shall I ever touch your soft skin again as I touch the violets Will you ever yield to my love as do the violets to my hand? I day-dream often of my family, but then wince away the memory, for I have my duty here although my heart has already fled away.

Sadness, waste. Dieter is dead. Sent a patrol out to scout for the enemy front and they were ambushed. Dieter was shot in the stomach and fell screaming at Klaus’s feet. Sergeant Richter tried to get Klaus to take cover but he would not leave Dieters side. They returned in an awful state with a few others minor wounded.

“I told him Captain,” Richter explained. “We must go … we have to leave him, we are under fire! But he would not leave his side, bloody fool could’ve got us all killed … ya … ya. I know Dieter wasn’t dead, but we couldn’t carry him in his condition and we couldn’t stay.”

“Well, what did you do?” I asked

“Me? … Nothing … not I, sir.” Richter shrugged, and then turned his gaze slowly to the boy … god, only a boy. “He did it” Richter said softly.

“Did what?” I demanded fiercely.

Richter just put his index finger slowly to his, temple and made a gesture with his thumb. Klaus just stood there in shock … only a god-damned boy …

“With his rifle?” I asked.

“Nien … Sir … ” Richter wet his lips “I gave him my Luger.”

I looked at Klaus just standing there, a boy, they send us mere boys to be brutalised so … I lost my temper at the futility of it all and grabbed Richter by the throat and thrust him against the wall.

“You … you made the boy do what you … a grown man … an experienced soldier and commander should have done” I was speechless with rage … “You made him kill his friend while you looked on … lent him your Luger … lent – him – your – bloody – Luger! … his best friend for gods sake! … ” and I shook him and shook him and I think I might have throttled him if I had not heard a sobbing sound coming from Klaus that caught my anger and brought me around. I let go of the sergeant slowly and turned to look at Klaus who was standing loosely to attention and his shoulders shaking and trying his hardest not to cry … The boys had signed up together … just a boy …

“We had to go, Captain … ” the sergeant continued, still fallen against the boxes where I had pushed him. “We had to go … and besides,Sir … besides .. he too is … is now … a soldier … Sir.”

I turned quickly to address this thief, but words would not come to my mouth. I dismissed him to get him out of my sight. Klaus I kept a while longer.

I did not go tonight to the violets.

Saturday:

All is over, I can hear small arms fire out at the enemy front and to my left flank, presumably the other post I sent the food to. Speaking of which, I finally dealt with Sergeant Richter. I discover from one of the men that he was going to desert us and also that he had been selling our scarce rations for money for this adventure. I could have shot him myself, but this would have unnerved the men so I wrote a dispatch to the commander of the post on my left flank:

“Commander, the man who delivers this dispatch to you is named Sergeant Richter. He is a liar, a thief and a coward. Execute him immediately” … I signed it; “Captain Kemp.” and I put my official seal on the envelope. I called Sergeant Richter.

“Here, sergeant.” I kept my face stony, but it was giving me pleasure, though I hate to admit it.

“Take this dispatch to the commander of post 12. See that he receives it personally.”

“But, sir.” He shifted his feet anxiously. “It is getting toward evening” he cowered. I raised my eyebrow.

“What I mean Sir.” he shifted ground. “Seeing as it’s getting dark and it will be night by the time I turn around to come back … would it be alright for me to stay there the night?” I laughed to myself cruelly … I laughed;

“Why, yes … yes sergeant … you will stay there the night.” and I saluted him off.

As I write this I am becoming more and more sure we have been forgotten by H.Q. and I am almost of the opinion that we should pull back toward our own lines. Yes! I feel certain of it as I write this. Indeed, I will finish this entry then give the order to abandon post! Yes mein liebling, soon now I will come home to you, I promise. I will be there in time for the spring and together we will touch the violets, and maybe also then you will yield to my love … All I now ask is to have the chance to see you again, just for the joy, please God, please, plea … ”

End of diary.

(translator – Groetz)

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Kids, cultural differences and Willy Wilson’s ferrets

WARNING: This yarn contains verbal imagery of acts of violence committed by a group of 8-9 year-old kids with a chemistry set, home-made bows and arrows and “Greek Fire”, making slanderous and insulting graffiti on a kid’s club-house wall, a train, ferrets in a rabbit warren and a half-house brick … continue at your own risk!

When one reflects on some of those past acts of terrorism it seems the culprits of a certain “terrorism raid” were teens from 14yrs … backed by “adults” … Jeesus … how frightening! … It would have scared the bejeesus out of us as kids, so when my big brother, with the help of his ‘Junior Chemistry Set’ purchased by the adults in the family for a Chrissy pressy, discovered that if one mixed sulphur with some salt-petre … we would have been raided by ASIO these days.

AND we had a “plot” to scare the rival gang across the gully; The O’Niels with a cunning assembly of inflated party balloons and some of the “Ingredient X” and following a scary demonstration of our recently discovered knowledge of gunpowder, were going to float the “Greek Fire” across to their grass fort and wreak havoc and let slip the dogs of “war” … nyahhahahahaha!!

Unfortunately, the one dexterous user of the bow and arrow (constructed of wild-olive branches and bamboo arrows, the feather fletches from grandma’s pet turkey’s arse stuck on with wattle-gum); John O’Niel shot long and true and burst two of the balloons and so sabotaged the entire plot! … party balloons were hard to come by in those days!

But anyway, we made a big show of what they could expect … one day … so help me god!

Only flaw in the plan was that we all grew up and set about to inflict pre-pubescent “terrorism” on the girls that fell within our limits of wandering …

But truth be known, even there, we were no match for a greater plan of a greater scheme of things and our small band of tremulous but heroic boy-warriors were soon overwhelmed by that power bigger than all of us … and I will never forget those last words of Karl Hebble as he finally succumbed to that fatal feminine wound …

“I will” …

On “our side” of the gully, up the hill a ways, there was a ruin of a house … or rather, not really a ruin, but the remnants of an intention to build .. it perhaps was one of those ill-fated projects that get started by one of the party “in expectation of” … but is then abandoned when things go awry … I know of a few such stories … quite sad, really … I’ll tell you about them someday …

Anyway, we closed off the windows and doors in this one-roomed ‘fort” and we started a “club” … and we called it “The Kit Kat Klub” … I don’t know for the life of me where we got that name … all I can think of is perhaps that old sit-com; “The Private World of Dobie Gilles” (perhaps!).

But the “eternal enemy” from across the gully … no! … not the O’Niels this time, but those German immigrants; the Skrypeks and the Leuchells broke in and graffitied our club name there on the wall too: “The Shit Kat Klub” … bastards!!

The first thing to do was to get out the old chemistry set!

It was then that we learned of the abyss that divided Catholicism from the proddos’ … WE would never have written the word; “shit” on any wall … THAT would be a “cardinal sin”! … just seeing the word there, I remember made me blush … but also perhaps, dangerously, awoke in me a curiosity for the power of the word.

Yes … growing up with only half a clue as to what is really going on in the adult world maybe a good thing. And speaking of girls when you are growing up … I remember this little plump girl used to hang around us down the beach all those long hot summers … Cyglinda … or Ziggy as we used to call her. it was amazing how in the space of only a couple of summers, she had lost that puppy-fat … or rather it had moved to all the right places and those scraggly locks of wispy hair had grown to blonde tresses to be admired … amazing!!

Ziggy became Cyglinda … once again and where only a couple of years ago she had thrown Davey Parker over her shoulder in a full toss for giving her lip, there walked with demure poise an attractive young lady!

Ah yes … Cyglinda … her old man was, I believe a unrepentant Hitlerite … He had a white scar ran around his neck, about 1/2″ wide where he claimed a Polish officer, when he was captured as a German soldier, had cut his throat and left him in the snow … He survived, as was apparent … and thrived on Emma Street .

Emma Street held a sort of local “infamy”, in that it was the scene of a fateful train collision where two people, a man and his wife were killed. There were no bells or wig-wag signals there and the train came suddenly onto the crossing from between a cutting.

It wasn’t so dangerous in the days of steam locomotives, as the noise and smoke from the engine gave warning … but with the onset of the old “Red-Hen” diesel electric trains, they were much quieter.

The train-line came out of a cutting onto a high embankment that fell away on both sides. The road wound into the gully past Langdon’s and Willy Wilson’s place, curved around the base and ascended the side of the hill straight onto the Emma Street crossing.

It was there every night, the grandmother of the four children of those parents killed, would walk to the crossing with the children to meet the parents on the other side and then they would all get into the car for the ride home just up The Cove Road a ways … so they were there when the car was hit and they must have saw their parents killed. It was talked about for years. The crossing was closed after that accident.

I must have been about nine or ten years old then. I remember hearing the crash while we were racing our bitzas down Paringa Avenue hill … it wasn’t a crash!, but more of a whoomph! … and someone said;

‘Was that a crash?” … but then it was silent so we went back to our bitzas … until the sirens came and then we ran toward the station and we could see the “Red-Hen” train stopped just at Emma Street crossing and we knew it was an accident.

When I got there, I could see these two bodies laid out on the ground with sheets covering them … but the sheets were not long enough to cover the entire body, so the feet stuck out the bottom … It was a man and a woman … the man had black patent-leather shoes and his feet were leaning away from each other in a ‘V’ … The woman had stockings on and one apricot “pump” shoe on her right foot, there was only the one shoe … but in their haste to make the bodies half decent, they had put the ladies shoe on the wrong foot, and it hung there by the toes … and I had this almost unstoppable urge to go and put the shoe (an apricot one with a white petal with a bright pearl centre fixed at the tongue) on the correct foot … of course, I didn’t.

I was staring at this strange and to me, unsightly anomaly; transfixed by this one disorderly item when the world came crashing in with Willy Wilson’s pitched voice calling my name … I looked to where he was standing at the bottom of the high embankment on which we stood .

“Is it an accident? “ he asked in all innocence.

“Yes!” I replied

“Anyone hurt?”

“Yes.”

“Oh … Hey! … I’m going ferret’n tomorra … wanna come?” … I had turned back to the bodies there and was once again held by the offending shoe … and that was the funny thing, it was the shoe that worried me more than the two people dead there … very strange!

“D’you wanna come!!” Willie called again … an as I turned away a big copper appeared on the scene and called for us kids to clear off out of it …

“Someone get these kids out of here!” he yelled … ”C’mon … get out of it you kids … bugger off!”

We turned and ran away and I remembered Willy, so I called back to him …

“OK … yeah! … tomorra at my place … OK?” … and I could see my mother coming with that cross look on her face so I ducked past Hogben’s place across the paddock to home. But I tell you what … those ferrets of Willy’s were an out of control lot … and he didn’t know that much about the fine art of ferreting and that turned out to be one big adventure!

I was telling you about Willie Wilson and his ferrets … Willie Wilson kept ferrets, he used them for trapping rabbits in any of the multitude of warrens dotted about the hills where I grew up before the Mixxy got a hold … I’m talking back in the late fifties or so. A lot of people kept ferrets for that purpose in those days … there was a front-bar trade in fresh bunny-meat back then … along with local caught fish like snook and such, that you could buy off the catchers down at the Seacliff Hotel … I know, ’cause my old man used to come home of a Thursday evening, pay-day, with a smile on his face, a good half-dozen clinking away in his kit-bag, a big bar of Cadbury’s chocolate in his rough hands and a roll of newspaper-wrapped fresh produce under his arm … every Thursday night, like clockwork … that’s how it went in those days … before age, homesickness for the old country and the drink got a hold on him … that’s how it went in those days …

Willie Wilson kept ferrets, so did the Oxfords … and the O’Niels … not the ones on the corner, but down by the station … The O’Niels on the corner … one; John, grew up to become a copper in forensics and he had to deal with those “Snowtown Murders” … it done for him … I’ll tell you about him one day. They kept ferrets to catch rabbits … the ferrets were clean, but the cages would sometimes stink to high heaven! … Tex, Marlene Oxford’s long time beau kept the cages clean … I’ll tell you about him too someday. Tex knew how to hunt with ferrets … Willie was just learning … it was a slow job with Willie … he was young, he was keen.

I can only recall going “ferreting” with Willie once … just after that Emma St. crossing crash that I told you about … The day was cold, it was wet and the whole episode was a disaster for both ferreting and friendship. There were four of us … Davey Parker, Bruce Irving, myself and Willie. We took turns carrying the cage with the ferrets … we hiked right up to the top of the long gully, not far from the old Linwood Quarry, where one of the O’Niel men (there were four families, not related , in the district) got his coat caught in the crusher feeder and was killed there … I can just remember the wife coming to our place and my Mother comforting her with some prayers … I suppose it was a catholic thing.

There is an art to catching rabbits with ferrets … Willie did not yet have that art … all he did was to block as many holes as he had nets, bury in the rest and then let the ferret down one hole … if all goes well, the rabbits will flee the ferret and get caught in any one of the nets as they run out of the warren … the biggest worry, is that if the ferret is hungry, it will trap and kill a rabbit down in the warren and remain there till it eats it to it’s hearts content. Then all you can do is to try to smoke it out or wait.

That’s what must have happened … after the rabbits stopped coming out, the ferret remained. Willie tried to smoke it out with setting fire to some paper in one of the holes, but all it did was to sear the ferrets nose and made it flee back down the warren … and it rained … and it rained, and rained, and rained some more till we all looked like a picture of one of those groups of American Indian’s sitting under their blankets on the prairie … except we didn’t have blankets, just wet skin, cold hands and it was getting dark and we lost our patience and our kid-tempers and told Willie where he could stick his ferret IF it EVER came out and to our dying shame, we deserted him there and then.

Not my most glorious moment, but there is only so much the patience of a child can stand, especially when we could see more rabbits hopping about the dusky hill-sides than what we caught with the stupid ferret!

The last I heard of Willie Wilson , and that was many, many years ago, was from aforementioned Bruce … He mentioned he had bumped into Willie at the old “Vincent Hotel” there on Mosely Square, Glenelg.

“He was hard up for some dough and he said in all confidence that he had been “casing” this jeweller shop down Jetty Road, and he had a plan all worked out on how to rob the place … I told him I didn’t want to know … truth is; I thought he was full of bullshit at the time” Bruce took a healthy drought from his pint of beer.

“And then?” I asked.

“Well … I was wrong … he did rob the shop … or rather … he TRIED to rob the shop … ”

Now … bear with me dear reader and let us ‘workshop’ through what Bruce told me:

It seems that Willy’s “well thought out plan” consisted of an early hours raid on the shop with the help of an airline bag with half a house-brick secreted inside it. The object of the brick was to penetrate the plate-glass shop-front, the airline bag was to transport the swag away … devilishly clever, what?

But … (there’s always a but in these plans).

Scene: Willie stands in front of the jeweller shop, it is three am. No-one is about … he takes the half-brick from the bag and flings it toward the window …

STOP! …

Let us apply the filmatic application of slow motion to the following scene: We are at the moment where the brick has just left the grip of Willy’s right hand … At that very moment, a police car on it’s regular neighbourhood patrol turns the corner into Jetty Road two shops down from the Jeweller … The lights attract Willy’s gaze and he turns his head (we’re still in slow motion, mind) toward the source … the police officer in the passengers seat likewise turns his gaze toward a person in the moment of executing an unexpected action on the sidewalk of number one fifty six Jetty Road Glenelg … The half-brick continues it’s unstoppable course toward the plate glass … cause and effect is inevitable.

The upshot (if we return to real time) was that the patrol car had pulled up, apprehended and escorted Willy to the back seat of the police car while the last shards of the plate-glass window was still tinkling onto the sidewalk … cruel fate.

And that was that for Willy Wilson as far as I can report. I have heard no more.

Just a notion of an idea

A couple of weeks back I put up a story here; “The Seven Weeping Men of Sedan” … I wrote that piece along with another local-centred story … that I would like to put up here, but it stretches out to nearly 7000 words … a tad too long for one posting and when broken up, short stories, being short stories, tend to suffer from the separation … It is a romance that I wanted to locate locally using local names and identifying landmarks that I feel demonstrate the Australian quirkiness of names … places like The Bulldog Run … The Sleeper Track … The Seven Sisters Junction, etc … I wanted to use these places as a background for the developing love story of the young couple. I wanted the story to show how a story grows from a point of location to a moment of … or perhaps a lifetime of commitment to each other … sure … in this cynical age of everyone for themselves, romantic love can be seen as a fantasy … a youthful delusion best grown out of … and I can see from my own experience of grown children, the idea of romance of any kind today is looked upon with the curled lip of scepticism … But I don’t know … I think there is still a little bit of room for the desire of close affection and loyalty … and (can I say it ) … Love … right into old age.

Here is the story if you want to read it.

I had a notion of an idea for those stories to be the basis … along with my pieces of local history, to lay a foundation for the construction of a new direction for the town of Sedan … here in the Murray Mallee.

Sedan is just another of those slowly dilapidating towns hanging on by the skin of its teeth in what was once a thriving farming area of the Germanic pioneers, but is now a fringe marginal farming district. Climate change has made the averages of cropping/stock yields turn from good to medium to now marginal … and in doing so has brought about a shift in perception for those who inherit the old farms from a career in agriculture to a more reliable income in the Barossa wine industry or other pursuits. So the old cottages have been let go for too long and much infrastructure neglected … from a once thriving centre with numerous businesses catering to a large labour force to now only three functioning operations.

It is crumbling.

I wanted to shift the perception from a sighted ruin of a town to one jam-packed with history and mystery … Ideally located between two major tourist draw-cards of The Barossa and the Murray River. Sedan has the history and the silent, brooding nature of those Germanic Pioneers to provide the mystery and the mythology for a interesting stop-over to any travelling through the town.

Sedan is different than most country towns in that rather than just one “drive through” main street, it is located at a crossroad north, south, east and west … traffic to and from the river district of that section of the Murray River has to pass through Sedan … and where you have crossroads, some traffic has to stop … and once stopped, people have a tendency to look about their position … and there you have them!  You just have to have the attraction to hold them.

And that is where The Sedan Hotel comes in.

Of the three remaining businesses operating in Sedan, only the hotel has the capacity to attract and hold the public … the other two being service places for passing travellers. I took that story of the weeping men of Sedan to the mine-hosts of that hotel and explained my ambition and the methodology for ascertaining the possible success of such a plan that I thought would be of benefit to all in the town … It was to leave several copies in A4 loose leaf – tied at the corners with soft cord – on the bar top just to see if there was interest at all in the notion of a different storyline for the town, ie; would there be enough interest locally and with the hotel managers to create an aura of mystery and mythology of the district to push the envelope further up the chain of command to the progress association and thence to the local council for further promotion.

As I said … the stories are there, the mystery is there as is the history … all it needs is mixing and marketing … and those stories were perhaps the blue-touch paper that could light up the imagination seeking for more!

But it was to no avail … there was little interest in even perusing the papers there on the bar by the clientele … I would have thought the title; “The seven Weeping Men of Sedan” would attract curiosity at least … a little of the; “’Allo, allo! What’s this then?” moment … but no … even the hotel managers showed little interest in anything different about their town than the irregular live music gig or a Christmas dress-up night or whatever … and that was it.

And that reflects the many situations I find on Twitter or social media blog, where any number of posts seek to enliven the imagination of the viewers is to little avail … I myself have posted hundreds of articles and stories that have drawn much criticism and some acclaim. I post such articles in a deliberate attempt to spark some emotional reaction from the reader … for to me that is what politics is all about: an emotional commitment to a cause … emotional connection, not analytical, not statistical … for they are but cold comforts … but pure unadulterated emotion … for that is what moves a nation … a populace … and it was that which was missing in my seeking from those stories I left anonymously on the bar-top.

Some here would blame the story … but I was told not many got even past the title page … and that was the attraction to persuade to read on. It failed … as some here also would have it that perhaps it was just; “Your stupid little anecdotes” … but to that I say every story paints a social picture … I like to think my stories contain more than just bland amusement … but like those story-tellers of old, there is a story behind the telling of the story … indeed, a “reminiscing” piece I hope Michael puts up here soon, is peppered with social observations of that period and those fellows I grew up with there behind the bathos and pathos of the piece ..

No story is worth its salt if it cannot connect with the reader … whether they like it or not! But then there is the question of a capacity or the dour lack of capability to have imagination enough to take an interest.

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The language of class control

Back in my first marriage, when I was “encouraged” to attend many spiritual “workshops” in that miasma of “new age” enlightenment, run, in the most part by self-proclaimed wanker gurus from the legion of reformed middle-class hippie escapees of the “Leafy Suburbs”, the formula for discussion was to take one’s turn of holding the “Talking Stick” and then and only then quietly and serenely make your point or tell your story to the group … I don’t think I need tell you the actual jargon-stacked sentences that preceded and followed each “talker” as they held that sacred icon of conversation: “The Stick” … I think the series; “Kath and Kim” demonstrated such contrived jargon with fair and considered accuracy.

In short, we can differentiate between the social classes by the methodology of conversation practice used. There seems to be a bias toward what the middle-class calls “polite manners” … “polite conversation” … where one waits one’s turn while the incumbent “converser” talks their talk to the very end of what THEY wish to talk about … no matter the length, tediousness or delusion of their conversation: “THEY have the right to be heard” … Whereas, in my experience in the building trade, any conversation of passionate expression held on site and carried over by habit to the front bar, has to be called out in a loud, firm voice, somewhat peppered with colourful expletives and colloqualisims … whilst in the action of doing work, that echoes between rooms and perhaps between floors of an empty building … the many conversations competing with other machinery sounds or even different conversations … so a regular cacophony of shouted points and counterpoints … layer upon layer … is the methodology of debate and this gets carried … as I said … over by force of habit and location into the front bar or back-yard BBQ where the surrounding noise of the other patrons/family groups or the several televisions playing different sports at the one time in a bar has to be competed with … THAT is the natural order of working class rhetoric and political debate … the pointed finger, the half eaten sausage on bread … between sips of wine or stubby … a kind of chaotic logic, where the most vitriolic voiced opinion will sometimes win the day, depending heavily on the passionate belief of the speaker … No nice manners here … and the proving of the point you wanted to make was encased in the solid belief in what you wanted to say … if you didn’t have the strength of voice to carry your convictions, you lost the conversation … simple as that!

And this is where the domination of the middle-class in matters of opinion and politics controls the MSM and the Parliamentary debate … it is no more than a continuity of that “well-mannered talking stick” holding the floor and delivering a one-sided, bias toward that class that has drawn up the rules-of-discussion, the conditions of loquatial intercourse, where the short-patience, the tumbling-out of thoughts in a sudden envision of idea and schematic implementation with an unruly manner, the speaking over another less enthralling speaker to get one’s point across while it is fresh in the mind, like a spring zephyr … and not to have it suffocated under the oppressive boredom of another’s sermon of mind-numbing middle-class impotent drudgery.

Now with social media, we hear those same middle-class voices calling for censorship on the more rudely expressors of political contradiction to satisfy that pompous, pontificating, self-righteous endless rambling to nowhere conversations of the middle-classes … SCREW ‘EM I say! … I had a gut-full back in that first marriage of waiting for the “talking stick” that had to do the rounds of pontificating and patronising jargon before it got to you, and I won’t now, as an experienced adult stand in some f#ckin’ middle-class mannerism queue waiting till they have finished their waffling chatter … a seemingly endless stream of obfuscation and fillerbustering … one might as well wait for the blowing of Gabriel’s Trumpet sounding the end of the world! … And by Keerist don’t they manipulate the “taking of turn” to have their say, using every methodology and trickery learned in debating class or from their cadgy mentors to hold on to that “right to be heard” until time or the subject matter is talked into oblivion … and so having succeeded by default in exhausting the subject where they had no capacity to actually do the job in the first place.

If we look back to the time of Barnaby Joyce’s faux pas with his paramour, we heard so many “finishing-school pontificators” demanding we “rude and noisy” people not criticise the minister on his degenerate behaviour, because: “It’s the rorting, not the rooting, you see?” … when all the time it was the betrayal of moral and ethical standards of the family and community that he represented … all the time! … And yet so much momentum was wasted of those flatulating commentators demanding we: ”Don’t call her/him names … it’s not fair … ” or wtte and now we see just how “fair” it was with that bastard colluding to run the Murray-Darling basin into the ground … literally! … Barnaby would’ve been castigated if not castrated if we had pinned him on the moral issue instead of the stupid pursuit of the rorting issue … a commonplace action amongst so many in his position … useless waffling middle-classes … a bunch of chatterers!

And really … it is no more than those medieval overlords forbidding the Irish to speak their Gaelic language, the forbidding by the mediaeval bishops of the translation of the Bible from Latin to English to stop any commons understanding of the religion, the attempts to squash the indigenous languages by stopping the spread or talking of such languages … by any other name … a tyranny! … WE … will speak in the language WE best know, WE best communicate with and which WE best understand! … The working classes don’t need middle-class lessons in debate or eloqution, for what eloquence we have lacked in the past, we will make up with our own vernacular … and believe me .. we have more than enough colourful colloqualisms to describe bastardry behaviour than the proverbial Inuit has to describe snow!

Time for the working classes, vulgar as we can be, with our shouty rhetoric, our noisy demands to be heard, our earned moment on the dias and deserved voices to call in united yell to those bastards who THINK they hold both the Right to rule and the Floor of the Parliament to have their pathetic whinge hold pride of place in the vocal annals of humankind.

Social media IS the “common voice” … IS the crude instrument, IS the majority voice of those who have the lungs to shout from social “room to room”, from “house to house” and from “floor to floor” the message that will not be heard if we have to wait our turn for that strangely elusive “talking stick” so gratuitously and patronisingly “gifted” to us from the middle-classes.

NO!! … Here we are and we now take the floor … and by the living Christ … you will hear what we have to say … and YOU’LL take your turn to remain silent till WE say it!

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Sunshine and Shadow

At sixty eight years, I am retired now from my trade as a carpenter … and yes, I draw on the aged pension … and no, I have no investment property, no portfolio of stocks or shares, I draw no extra dividends from any sort of financial investments … What you see is what you get I’m afraid. No, I am just your average retired boomer-generation tradie who started work at fourteen years old and finished at sixty-five … still functioning in health if lacking some of the more attractive physical attributes that are the markings of our youth … and I’ll leave THAT there!

No, I have no investment things at all … after all, what could a working person afford on a living wage that left little over at the end of a year except to take the family on a short holiday down the coast or to the alps (on a good year)? … that or in the family home we must bide. No, the working/producing classes of this nation have always been too busy earning a living wage from dawn to dusk in one work-platform or another, in sunshine and shadow, too busy and not wealthy enough to invest in anything more than home and family … two integral structures that support a healthy society that now appear to be more and more out of reach of this post-modern casualised workforce.

Yet, I see these “committees” of the LNP doing a travelling circus routine up and down the east coast, gathering together so many “self-funded retirees”(has there ever been more a misnomer? … ”self-funded!!” What! Do they print their own money?) outraged at losing so much soft/ill-gotten gain at the expense of the taxpayer … holding so much money and assets that is more than adequate than the average retired citizen ever earned on a “p-a-y-e” wage in their lifetime … and STILL wanting more? … and care little for the rest of the citizen body who struggle on like some flowers dying.

Where has all this hunger for wealth and greed come from? … All this financial insecurity so that one must aspire to the wealth of a Croesus before one reaches an age where they have time enough if not health enough to use it? If it is true that the lower strata of a society take example from the behaviour characteristics of those above them in status, then we have to look to that class that gives example and ethics to the rest of a nation.

And what do we find?

Given that the upper-middle classes control the financial houses of the nation, the politics of the nation, the security, policing and judicial authorities of the nation, the corporate boards, the public utility authority boards, the control of the major communications, health, education and river and water management boards of the nation … etc … and given that there is hardly ANY ONE of those above authorities, boards, banks and political institutions that have not been corrupted, out-sourced, damaged and in some cases sold off and destroyed … one is inclined to inquire: Just who the hell is in charge of this nation?

And of course … we need look no further for the answer than those self-promoting “Lounge-lizard Lotharios” growing fat on the proceeds of taxpayer funded junkets and property portfolios so generous that a legion of lobbyists, accountants, lawyers and journalists are kept in full-time employment making excuses for, securing the position and boosting of these loathsome leeches on the State body corporate … at least SOME are gainfully employed! These upper-middle class politicians, speculators and entrepreneurs now as thick on the ground as an Autumn frost on the slopes of mount Baw Baw.

Just WHO did buy all that gold that Costello sold off at a bargain basement price? … anyone YOU know? … and what did happen to all those gigalitres of water that DIDN”T run into the Murray-Darling Basin? … do YOU see any of it? … Did it just … evaporate into thin air? … and that bit about the Great Barrier Reef dying and the half-billion dollars paid to some obscure mob to “fix it” … and the continuing soap-opera of the NBN? … and why is my Telstra “Mobile Broadband” bill still one of the biggest monthly expenses when I still cannot get a half-decent/reliable broadband connection that gives above 5mbps download and our mobile phones can neither send nor receive calls or emails unless we run about the house, inside and outside trying to find that elusive “sweet-spot”? … and is the chaos of “private public transport”, aged care, disability care, electricity, fuel and general pollution still under control of the marvellous miracle of private ownership in the city? … it’s not out here in the regions, because we have little of those things that even resemble uniformity or usability! … out here in the sticks, it would almost appear that you are on your own and the devil take the hindmost!

So who are the “brilliant minds” and organisers running this cockamamie enterprise? … Oh! … that’s right … those same: private wealth, private educated, private enterprise but with public authority ponces who have risen like a chancre on the backs of the working/producing classes. Those same pustulant boils that ooze verbal slime from their lick-spittle lips that lie more proficiently than railway sleepers on the Indian Pacific stretch on the Nullabor Plain and work just about as often as the same.

If you want to know the actual names of all those who have sold our gold, our commodities, our utilities and services, downgraded or on-sold our national infrastructures – roads, transport, water usage, communications … who have undermined, destabilised and demoralised our national psyche, our national integrity, our national code of decency in human relations … who has corrupted and infected the operation of our Parliaments State and Federal, made our foreign relations intentions a laughing-stock on the world stage and in general delivered our once rightfully honourable nation to the feet of the gods of war and waste, then you need look no further than the “Who’s Who” of Australia past and present editions, the gilded names on the panels hung in the Board of Directors rooms of any number of corporations national or international, the LNP members of The Houses of Parliament or simply consult the charters of enlistment in those exclusive private schools and colleges of the nation … they’re ALL there.

Yet, will they come to the assistance of those whose living standards lay dying?

This .. OUR nation has been sold off piecemeal in both body and spirit, heart and soul, in sunshine and shadow by the upper-middle classes for their own and ONLY THEIR OWN benefit. It has NOT been the petty lower-middle classes of the skilled trades, it has NOT been the semi-professional workers or the small agricultural producers and family businesses … We have been betrayed by that class of society that has structured its own higher-echelon network to embrace those most suited to their deviousness and greed and excluded those from their ranks who show the first signs of honour and decency … these upper-middle classes are NOT the employers of Australian workers, rather, they are the “Judas Iscariots” selling the heart of our nation for a paltry thirty pieces of silver … leaving the working poor to be crucified on the cross of penury, sickness and homelessness … instead of honouring our national needs.

Now, with an election coming up, it is becoming time for all good people to come … NOT to the aid of that party of robber barons … but to the aid of our country, for while the spivs, spielers and speculators are come and gone with their ill gotten gains to some isolated tax-haven, the solid citizenry will still be here … as the song goes … ”in sunshine or in shadow” … after all, where else would we want to go … for this is our home.

Now every citizen who wants to be considered a decent citizen must look less to their own selfish needs and instead look to the health now and for the future of the nation.

AND VOTE THESE BASTARDS AND THEIR FILTHY LEECHING CONSPIRATORS OUT OF OUR LIVES AND OUR PARLIAMENT!

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The Golden Triangle: Private wealth – Private education – Public authority

Two of the most prestigious private colleges in Adelaide were originally initiated, set up and managed on the board of directors by one of the most egregious scoundrel land speculators of the early colony. This man’s cunning and outright audacity in coercing and manipulating the price of broad-acre real estate essential to the farming settler’s survival across some of the most valuable regions of the State are notoriously legendary.

Legendary, not in an honourable way, but rather in collusion with, but also in competition with those most grasping and greedy speculators of the day … : The South Australian Company, board of directors.

Charles Flaxman was employed and sent to the early settlement as George Fife Angas’s “Confidential Clerk” (By Charles Bright..avail’ from state library) … a position where he was to quietly obtain favourable and opportune parcels of prime broad-acre land for his master at a cut-price rate to secure a handsome profit for his master. THAT was the initial understanding of his employment. The old adage of; “Honour among thieves” was the friable cement that held the “confederacy” together … a situation that was destined to fail once Charles Flaxman saw the golden opportunity to secure his own percentage of parcels of that rich land for his own profit.

In those early days of settlement, South Australia was a property speculator’s dream, a paradise originally conceived as a property management Ponzi scheme where the sale of grabbed land with or without the indigenous owner’s permission … remember, this wasn’t an “official” British colony, so there was no closely regulated “Crown Land” control… no police force … was to be sold to the first migrants to the new colony and the money used to bring out more prospective land purchasers to buy more grabbed land … this went on until someone worked out that food was needed in a hurry or the new colony would starve to death! So the hardy farmers from the East German valleys were brought out to till the soils and provide stability for the money hungry speculators.

Even then it was a close call as the colony went into receivership only six years after the first founding, owing creditors in England over 300,000 pounds and the entire kit and caboodle was seized by the British Government in lieu of debts and the British taxpayer bailed out the entire failed enterprise .. an early example of “Private profit – Public Liability” … Except, the original instigators of the schamozzle were left “in-situ” to continue their speculation … except now, they had to form a lobby-group to push their enterprises through a real parliament … arise the: “National Defence League” … the incubus of the Liberal Party of Australia and “safe-harbour” for all the white-collar crooks and spielers in the nation.

And of them all, George Fife Angas and his “confidential clerk” were the brightest, “bravest”, and most devious of them all.

An example of Flaxman’s sharp intellect and swiftness of action can be demonstrated in his becoming aware of some prime land north of Adelaide in what is now The Barossa Valley. The German surveyor; Johann Menge made note of the water and soil quality of this wide valley so that it attracted the attention of Flaxman, always on the lookout for land parcels for his master. So taking the surveyor; Col’ William Light with him for company, he went on horse-back to surreptitiously inspect the country. Once there, he found another couple of land speculators in company with Johann Menge; a Mr. Torrens and companion who foolishly confessed to Flaxman an intention to claim the land once back in Adelaide, within the twisted rights of a perverted piece of legislation of what was called; “Special Surveys”, where a parcel of 4,000 acres of land could be claimed with a deposit of 4,000 pounds, which then allowed the “purchaser” right of purchase for the surrounding “surveyed land” of 12,000 acres for each block of 4,000 acres … once the price of land was then dropped from one pound per acre to 12/6 pence per acre … it became a speculator’s wet-dream!

On hearing of this intention from Mr. Torrens, Charles Flaxman excused himself from their company, pleading to set up camp away from them for the night, when in fact he left Col’ Light there and rode helter-skelter back to the Adelaide lands office to reach it just before closing time to submit his own claim to that very valley that Mr. Torrens thought he was entitled to … A legendary ride by a desperate entrepreneur … BUT .. there was a sting in the tail to his action… Because while he did claim that initial four parcels of land of 4,000 acres each, a total of 16,000 acres with the right of purchase for another surrounding 48 thousands of acres, he claimed three of them in George Angas’s name and ONE PARCEL of 4,000 acres in HIS OWN name … thereby securing a quarter of the total for his own profit … and not only did he double-cross his master by this covert action, he then had the audacity of forcing Angas, on the threat of dropping the entire claim (Angas was in England at this time) unless Angas paid also for HIS: Flaxman’s quarter share!! … The audacity of the man to play Angas at his own game was seen as the ultimate insult and though Angas did wincingly fork out the money, it broke the employment contract and started vitriolic litigation that lasted for many years.

So THIS was the sort of person that later desired to start a “Propriety School” for the education of the children of his peers in the colony … for all the like-minded, like attitude, like cunning members of his own class … a private school that would inculcate the intentions of gaining, securing and protecting their ill-gotten wealth. The fore-runner of those public-funded, private screened, profiteering poltroons of a future white-collar criminal class, that now holds by far majority major influence in our institutions of law-making, judiciary, corporate boards, government political appointments, politicians themselves and higher echelon authorities in the land … a corruption complete of every institution of governance by a coterie of like-minded philosophied religious/capitalist indoctrinated “consciousness of kind” pusillanimous buffoons that have steered this nation and a few others in the West to the situation we find ourselves in now … teetering on the verge of economic, physical, social and environmental breakdown … AND STILL having no desire or perhaps no idea of which way to go from here except to encourage feral bogan elements in our midst to clamour and cry for a new Fascist order to protect and secure those ill-gotten gains.

The entire private school system has to be blocked from any future funding by THE State Government and left to fund themselves. We, the people can no longer afford to pay for their private fantasies. They have to be left to grow up or get out!

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The Long Days Dying

When a ruling class, used to total dominance of governance, economics and military command has reached the end of its capacity and capability to perform those requirements listed above because of either complete corruption, debased ideology, or incompetent leadership … then one of two things can happen: The class in question steps aside and relinquishes control of civil governance to the next capable social class with the enthusiasm and drive necessary for the job, or it collapses further into its own debased corruption and fights and claws its way to the inevitable bitter and bloody end via a series of political/social pogroms against its own people until it is brought down in a violent civil war. This is the example of history.

In the case of huge shifts in such class changes, like the end of the Patriarchal Roman Republic, a massive civil war ended the careers and lives of many aristocratic families. Likewise with the European collapse of the aristocratic rule of many nations there over many epochs of history. The ruling elites of aristocracy became so corrupt and entrenched in their behaviour of prestige, confected worship and exaggerated affluence and pomposity, they failed to stay connected with the “working coal-face” of their societies and a rising middle-class ended up becoming their “estate pawnbrokers” until they were beholden to the very class they scorned as aspiring upstarts with little knowledge of the affairs of the aristocratic state and less knowledge of table etiquette!

But it wasn’t long once that middle-class gained knowledge and command of the “wheels of finance” that they then started to call the shots on governance of industry … THEIR (the middle-class) interests being once less for pomp and circumstance than crude wealth. Soon, a bargain suitable to both parties was “signed” where the aristocrats would parade around in their sartorial splendour and suck on their afternoon teas while the middle-classes would now “manage” the affairs of state.

We here in Australia witnessed a variety of this “cosy little arrangement” with the colluding of Fraser’s LNP coalition seeking out and conspiring with The British Crown representative in their foppish Governor General; John Kerr fomenting a coup against the democratically elected Labor government of the day.

This cosy little agreement did not just come about over tea and scones in a conservatory atmosphere, first there were many civil conflicts that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and the destruction of whole cities in the vain attempt of the aristocracy to show the world that they “still had it” when it came to battle and glory … except they didn’t … their corruption had reached even into their own delusions that ribbons, medals, and a flourish of golden epaulette would be enough to rout the enemy.

The fools died, as all fools die in their own vanity … in shame and disgrace … and so ended the era of aristocratic rule and the new era of middle-class governance and commerce began.

We peoples of the western, English language nations, have now lived under this rule of the middle-classes for more than two hundred years … in some cases; more than that number. But like the once mighty, unassailable aristocratic rulers, they too are now corrupted so completely in mind and body-corporate, that it has become time for that class to relinquish control of what they can no longer manage to the next class-in-line with both the enthusiasm and drive to take the nation to the next level of Social Concorde and fair governance …  the educated working/producing classes.

Of course, the self-deluded egos of the middle-classes, serenaded to such giddy heights on its own aggrandisement of its intellect through select school education, select corporate management and select positions of political favour, cannot see past its own long nose to the pustulance of corruption on the tip. It’s inflated “born to rule” hubris now mimicking the most extreme egregious examples of Aristocratic pomp and buffoonery with such ostentatious displays of gross wealth and opulence best described in the classic literature of “Trimalchio’s Feast” on those riches literally snatched from the arms and tireless efforts of the working class men, women and children of the world. Their greed, like the actual bodies of many of those gluttons of desire, knows neither restraint nor corpulent limits.

Now, having reached the limits of political, corporate and personal decadence, the middle-classes have run out of time and exhausted the patience of those they wish to rule … the Western democracies are hungering for good, reliable social governance, a situation now impossible under a class that has made its collective ambition to control as much wealth of both fiscal and commodity as possible under its embracing of the stupid and gullible temptation of a “Neo-liberal” monetary philosophy … developed by its own sons and daughters, enlarged by its own financial houses and put in place by its own politicians to the detriment and destitution of those very people they totally rely upon for the riches they both aspire to and adore!

The middle-classes are a spent force ethically, morally, socially and politically.

But rest assured, they will not go quietly … for even here in Australia, a country once proudly living under a secure “separation of powers” system that isolated certain essential authorities from the potentially corrupting influence of political lobbying, we now see this current Liberal / National Party, existing under what can only politely be called “governance” of the nation, going about systematically corrupting and planting persons of favour in all those vulnerable institutions for what can be considered no other reason than to enact both policy and institute laws that will brace that corrupt coalition against oversight and judgement of the people. The only way they are going to relinquish power could well be through civil disorder. Managed through those now corrupted institutions and given credible authority for those actions by both the planted operatives in the authorities inside government and then … most importantly AND most effectively … given absolution from guilt for such despicable actions by the blathering, educated to imbecility confederacy of more private-schooled middle-class aspirants and fellow travellers in the wider community.

No … my fellow workers and producers … these leeches on the backs of the producers and workers of western democracy will not go quietly … in many cases, like the tick firmly clamped to a dog’s ear and growing fat on the extracted blood it sucks from it’s living host, they will have to be extracted one at a time from governance, authority, corporation and utility … extracted and made redundant with what can be said, using their own sculptured language.

“WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE”!

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Neoliberal Nihilism

For anyone to blurt out: “There is no such thing as society”, is to admit to a cynicism on the path to nihilism … But for a National Prime Minister to put such into words with a rider of attempted soft-soaping her belief like Margaret Thatcher did:

”And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no governments can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first.”

Is to flag intention to de-construct all those social frameworks put in place to stabilise a society for the collective good of humanity … To deconstruct it for the benefit of neoliberal, free-market opportunists. To destabilise and demoralise her own peoples for nothing more that a laissez faire capitalist economy, that will benefit the few percentage who can network to plunder the nations peoples and resources.

The economic rationalism of most western countries is nothing more than an expression of the cynical nihilism of that class of Right-wing people running those nations … From Europe/The UK to the USA to Australia and now many Asian nations, the infection of nihilistic cynicism has taken hold on the perception that only free-market economics can lift the people out of poverty. A delusion of stratospheric immensity … for how can the poor shrug off the burden of debt when it is their corporate inflicted indebtedness that is the very foundation of the vulgar wealth of those who promote such a philosophy?

How can the labourer get ahead when the master demands he cart more bags of produce on his already burdened shoulders, with the promise that the master will grow his business through the labourer’s hard work and thereby give the worker more work and so by percentage increase his earnings from his more work? … Does not the labourer have a limit to the capacity he can continue to work? … Does not a person have a limit to the hours they can work in a day, a week … a month, a year? … Yes, but then, that labourer can draw on their assets to increase their output and thereby increase their earnings … yes! One can put their spouse and their children to work … a whole family then being “supported” by the “innovativeness” of the Master and Capital … Indeed, there will then be no such a thing as society … there will in effect be only slavery!

This false philosophy of neoliberal nihilism has to end … not just because it drags whole sections of a population into poverty, but because it spreads through contagion the false belief that even the impoverished individual has command of his economic destiny through his own entrepreneurial speculation. I have yet to meet a worker who has built a corporate dynasty through only his own work with his one pair of hands … the employment of other workers at a percentage rate that enriches the employer through their labour is a trait of barbarism inherent from the days of archaic militarism, where a king will employ troops to guard his person, his claimed kingdom and his plundered wealth.

There is very little difference in the attitude of the Corporate Fascism of these times. The raw wealth of such organisations reaches far beyond the bank accounts of their shareholders, it reaches right into the guts of Conservative governments … it’s well-oiled fingers buying the favour of individual politicians in strategic portfolios to allow plunder and rapine of a nation’s commodities and peoples.

The Corporate Fascism of these times is legitimised through the age old system of selective and elite private school education, they are playing the “long game”, where the principles of neoliberal nihilism is inculcated into the tender minds of their wards so that at the time of graduation, a whole generation of “the enlightened” are released into the community with little intuition of human destiny, no residual knowledge of human history and very little concern for any but their own and their class enrichment! Theirs is a world of great self-belief and no faith in the collective belief of humanity … In their world, there is only their corporate class and losers … theirs is the distorted motto attributed to P.T. Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every minute” (in actual fact appropriately first said by a banker) … of course, excluding themselves from that demographic!

Time to pull the plug on this neoliberal nihilistic destruction … it has failed to lift the poor from poverty and instead, it has created a new demographic of the “working poor”; a conclusion inevitable from my explanation of the hard-working labourer above.

The worker can only lift themselves out of poverty if his wages are sufficient to cover his everyday needs and have a little left over to build the prospects of his family … but when private corporations gain control of the basic utilities needed in that living, like water, electricity, communications and health … and proceed to wring more and more profit from what should be a public service, and yet then use their corporate wealth to corrupt and bribe political representatives to restrict regulation on their criminal activities, then you have a totally corrupt and totally nihilistic governing class … neither fit to hold corporate responsibility nor morally and ethically fit to hold public office!

Australia now is in the clutches of both those infections … and like a bacteria that is immune to anti-biotics, it ravages the body social in its drive to prove Margaret Thatcher’s brutalist pusilamity that in her pathetic wrenching of power: “There is no such thing as society” … well, she is wrong … the neoliberal economists are wrong … the free-market acolytes are wrong … and their prophets of nihilism are mistaken, because there is in the heart of humanity a greater want than mere money … wretched mammon … Because in the heart of humanity there is a great room that can fit any amount of fellow humans into it and they have mutual needs and the one fantastic and unassailable desire …

The desire for respect and love.

And Neoliberal nihilism has neither weapon nor courage to destroy it.

Rather, it is time to arise one and all and destroy neoliberal nihilism!

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The end of stories

I can remember exactly when that feeling came over me that here was one of those moments when, through some “native intuition”, you can feel that it is the ending of an era … a passing of a moment in time when something important is being lost …

I was at my aged mother’s house doing some regular maintenance … I am a carpenter and her house, built by my Italian father just after the second world war, was a hotch-potch of scrounged materials and added-on-as-needed rooms that now, some sixty years later was a veritable endless loop of patch-up and maintain.

My mother was quite old at the time … she is deceased now … and I was there having a small lunch after doing the jobs … and it was at the moment when I was spreading some honey on a bit of toast that I remembered something ..

“Mum … do you remember telling us about that old chap back there in your Mallee days, who used to raid those honey-bee hives in the hollowed trees and he had a big square tin of honey and comb mixed that he used to give you and your brother and sisters a scoop of honey and comb in a twirled cone of wax-paper when you went past on your way to school?”

My mother was fussing around over at the kitchen sink as I asked … fussing over nothing in particular … as mothers seem to be able to do …

“Oh, yes … old Charlie Rhidoni … yes … I remember … ” She had looked up and now went back to whatever she was doing.

“Yeah … I suppose that’s him … if that’s his name” … I continued … ” You oughta jot that little story down so others can read of what life was like out there in the Mallee in those days.” … and I bit into my toast.

“Ah … nobody’s interested in those silly yarns anymore.” Mother absently remarked.

“I don’t know … ” I persisted … ”there are so many I remember you telling me of those days … like the Italian men at the charcoal burning camps near the Murray River during the war, where you met dad when he was interned there … and that old German man who carried a small pebble with him every time he crossed the river because he couldn’t swim … an’ … (here, I paused, hoping my mother would pick up and run with the yarn … but she didn’t) … and he did so because he said the little pebble represented his soul … and if the punt started to sink, he believed that if he could throw that stone to the closest bank and it reached the bank, he would be saved … but if it didn’t and fell in the river … he would drown … That’s a good one too!”

But my mother just kept at her business in the kitchen sink, neither acknowledging my enthusiasm nor exhibiting the slightest interest in my talking … so I had to catch her attention ..

“Mum … ?” I called to her gently.

“What? … Oh yes … they may have been interesting then, but people are busier with other things now … There’s mortgages and car payments and the cost of living and all that … even IF they have a regular job now … they don’t have time for some old stories of olden times … nobody’s got time anymore for old stories.”

And that was the end of that.

But as I sat there, I could feel like an essence of spirit was escaping from me … a losing of that muse of enthusiasm when YOU are the only one showing keenness in an idea and you have to let the feeling go. So I didn’t press on with the conversation … but I sure as hell could feel that at that particular moment, an era was passing from my grasp …

It saddens me at this moment to even write about that time … it gives an ache to my body … for now, my mother … both parents to be exact … and all those earlier generations I grew up with in those times … grandparents and their friends, Uncles and Aunts … have all gone and with them passed away a record in oral anecdote and short tale all those wonderful, colourful, terrible and tragic snippets of stories of when work, home and childbirth was an enormous struggle with life itself … just to survive … just to make ends meet … especially if you came from the place where my folk came from .. and so many others of that class of people.

So I have written them down … as close as I can remember them having been told to me … I have written them down, but now too, I am getting old … and being a recorder/writer of no note, I am certain those stories will die with me. There is not many in my immediate family holds great interest in either story, anecdote or the times and the people. It is like a whole episode of the past has been boxed and sealed off and put up on the dead-storage shelf to be forgotten.

I have written of that old man with his pebble crossing on the punt on the Murray River … I have written of the birth of my Aunty in a smaller punt on the river whilst my grandfather wrestled with the mid-wife who was trying to trick them out of the birth-endowment money from the government … I have written a story and tale of love affairs and loss in the Mallee … story after story of that generation who had so little that they would be willing to take a chance on WHATEVER came their way .. truly courageous folk hardened in the wars and a great depression .. Their everyday events taking on a almost mythological epic … like the story of old (now long deceased ) Alma suddenly breaking pregnancy waters at home with no-one around to help her with the birthing save her own thirteen year old son … who had to act as mid-wife to the birth of his brother … story after story … moment after moment … I cannot empty the pail for them … the stream of stories is unending …

For me, I will persevere while I can maintain this isolated enthusiasm … I work on alone.

But not for my mother … her enthusiasm for a past was being slowly squeezed dry .. where once there was enormous enthusiasm to write of the world around her, I could now see that the weight of social responsibilities in trying to raise six children in the city suburbs drained the last bit of creative energy from her and she sacrificed her story-telling ambitions for the duties of a hired domestic cleaner to wealthier ladies who could afford to pay (so little) for time to persue THEIR own pleasures. Here is a little of her writing.

I remember she paused at one moment in what she was doing at the kitchen sink and spoke out to her garden outside the window there .. and in that last mention of the subject, in that hiatus of forever, what she said sent a shiver through my soul and I could hear in the emptiness of her words the passing of time itself and a portend of the possibility of my own loss of connection to the past …

“No … no-body’s interested in those old things anymore … there comes a time, I suppose, for the end of stories … ”

The Vanishing Door

Though pleasant enough;

These days of wine and roses,

When the wash of an evening sunset

‘Purples the fleece’d horizon.’

And yet … yet … does this doubt seep

Over me, like the fevered shiver

Of an approaching cold.

I have everything … and yet the

Small freedoms I have traded

For some obscure security

Seem to hark back to me as whispers

From behind a wall … or door!

A vanishing door!

Through which passes every thought,

But I stay.

I see them vanish, but I stay.

Last night’s dreams … I’ve forgotten,

Yet, I still feel I enjoyed them so.

Gone, with my youthful memories,

Through the vanishing door.

And even the door soon will close forever.

But I fear; I will stay …

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The Seven Weeping Men of Sedan

A stinker of a day in the middle of winter … rain, rain, rain … from the moment I started out on the delivery run to Swan Reach and beyond till I came toward home. One of those steady, drenching rains that every farmer dreams about and every delivery driver hates! … Standing with the sack-truck at the door of a house that forgot or didn’t know you were coming that day … rain trickling down your collar, wet package, wet delivery docket … unsigned … and a long way home … love it … good luck to you farmers …

Coming down Sedan Hill in that foggy rain was a tricky thing, all those twists and turns, but once on the flats, it was usually plain sailing. But this day it was all squinty-eye and flapping windscreen-wipers.

I was on the straight stretch coming toward Sedan … The window had fogged up a tad and I was wiping it with my hanky … was coming near the edge of town, there by Ziedel’s bridge when I saw a woman there at the bridge … she was leaning over the rail looking into the creek-bed …

“That’s weird,” I thought … out in the pouring rain … I pulled up on the road and wound the window down …

“You right?” I called out. She turned to me, and for all the world she looked far from alright. She looked terrified.

“My child!” … she called back. “I have lost my boy” … and she turned once again to lean over the rail to look into the creek-bed. I thought it somewhat strange as there was no water in the creek … it takes one hell of a storm to bring water this far from the hills in those dry-weather creeks on the flats.

“Perhaps he’s hiding under the bridge?” I thought to assist … ”And he doesn’t want to be found.”

The woman … aged about in her mid-twenties, attractive, with a full head of the most flaming red hair, just turned her terrified face to me and cried again in the same plaintive voice …

“My child! … I have lost my boy.”

“Just a minute, miss … I’ll pull over off the road and come give you a hand … ” I drove off the highway and parked the van … but when I got out to assist the woman, not a willing participant for someone of my portly bulk I apologise not! I couldn’t see her … I couldn’t see anyone in that driving rain. I looked around … I walked to the bridge … but there was no-one there … not a soul.

“Hello!” I called. ”Are you there?” … no answer … I was a tad flummoxed as to what to do. How did she just walk away? … I admit it was a heavy drenching rain that made even staring wide-eyed difficult, but how could I have missed her? … What more could I do? Actually, there was nothing I could do, now soaked as I was except get back in the van and drive away.

I did my round of deliveries and by the time I drove off the Swan Reach ferry heading back home, I was really pissed off! … My shirt was still clammy on my back against the driver’s seat … my hair still waxy and lank over my forehead … I wasn’t a cheery soul and when Sedan Hotel came in sight, it was with little hesitation that I pulled in for a quick shot of a warming fluid.

“Make it a double, China” I instructed the barman. “The old furnace needs a tad firing up.” He poured me a generous double of the old, crinkly-bottle of Beenleigh Rum with a wry smile. The atmosphere in the bar was sombre and dark … the day outside let little light through the windows and the electric light threw a dull illumination onto the bar top.

“Been out in the weather?” he motioned to my wet clothes as he rang up the till. I put the glass on the bar-mat and gave a shiver of satisfaction.

“Been out on the road, you mean” … I replied … ”this” and I plucked the damp shirt off my chest ”is the fault of one of your local ladies.” … I took another slug of that hotel’s wonderful libation.

“And what lady would that be?” the barman heaved his chest in a silent laugh.

“Redhead … out in the rain,” … I now sipped the rum … ”down at the bridge there just out of town.” I continued to fatten out the situation … ”Out in the bloody pouring rain looking for her kid,” I sneered.

There was a marked silence now in the bar, and several of the other male patrons suddenly looked to me … I felt I was being doubted …

“What? … what? … ” I opened my hands at them questioningly … ”How do you think I got so wet? You think I was kicking a footy down the road for fun or something?” I gulped the remainder of my drink and turned to go …

“Hold on …” the barman said. “A redhead? … at Ziedels bridge?” the barman quizzed me.

“I don’t know who’s bridge it is … but yes … a redhead … just there at the bridge as you come into town from the Barossa … a redhead, in the pouring rain … ” They all just stared at me … ”There at the bridge, calling out that she had lost her child … no! … hang on … her son! … that’s it … her son!” … You could’a heard a pin drop.

“My child … I’ve lost my boy!’ she called.”

I looked one to the other of the staring eyes. The barman broke the silence …

“Did she look like this woman?” And the barman placed a small, framed photograph on the bar in front of me … and there she was, sure as I saw her just a couple of hours ago … a beautiful young woman with the most wonderful locks of flaming red hair … THAT, I couldn’t miss … there was name under the portrait … I read it out quietly …

“Cherry Holmstrom” … I read … ”Cherry? … It sounds like a fruit rather than a name … but yes, that’s her alright.” I tapped the photo … ”Why … is she related to you or something?”

The barman placed the photo back into an enclave above the counter.

“Her name really was “Cherie” … but with that red hair and her sweet looks, she got called “Cherry” … as a kind of affectionate name by the local men.” The barman finished with a sad turning of his head.

“Was?“ I asked. “What do you mean; WAS? … has something happened to her since this morning?” I asked with I must admit an unbelieving chuckle on my lips … But you could have knocked me over with a feather when he answered …

“She’s been dead at least sixty years now.” And he stared dead-pan at me. “Sixty years ago today as a matter of fact.”

“Right,” I said quietly, looking from one of those locals to another in turn … ”Now it’s my turn to ask some questions … but first you better get me another of that drink I just had.” And I reached for my wallet.

The barman waved my proffered note away …

“This one’s on the house” and he placed a big, fat tumbler of ‘Crinkly ’ in front of me. He then leant toward me in a confiding manner … one arm on the bar and he spoke softly …

“Cherry was a local girl … you know .. ”and he gave me an exaggerated wink; “You see these other blokes here … ?” I counted them out … there were six of them … an even half dozen. “They all went out with her at one time or the other … on different days … but around the same time … and though they knew that Cherry was seeing other chaps, they didn’t let on to each other … You see, Cherry was one hell of a good looker and those sorts are a scarcity out in this part of the world … Oh there are any number of good, solid women, but Cherry … well … she was something special.”

I had been looking at those other old men there as the barman spoke, and I could see they all had eyes that looked as if they had been weeping … strange … I would have on any other day put it down to the dust in the air … except today it was this drenching rain.

“So all these blokes here were once the boyfriend of this Cherry?”

“Yes,” the barman answered.

“And they never confronted her or each other about the situation?” I asked.

“No … because, you see … they all loved her and they didn’t want to lose her … so when one said he was going to see his girl that night, though the other knew who it was and would ask: “And is that Cherry?” the one would answer: “No .. It’s her sister” and the other would nod in recognition of the denial … and so they all got to continue to go out with Cherry … and she was happy to accommodate them … each in his turn … and she would arrange to meet up with them at the “seven cross roads” junction … about a mile out on the east side of town. That’s how it eventually got to be named “The Seven Sisters” junction, because they all at one time or the other admitted to going out with “the sister” … you see.”

“But tell me,” I leaned in closer “Why are their eyes all red like that? … It looks like they have been crying … ?”

The barman looked to the men for what seemed a long time … then he turned to me …

“That’s probably because they have been weeping for the loss of her this last sixty years.”

I thought he was having me on … and I giggled a tad … but he looked dead-pan.

“Kevin!” the barman called to one of the men. “You went ‘walking’ with Cherry, didn’t you?”

“Too right.” The man called Kevin answered; “But not to the end of the road … ” And his eyes looked like they watered up a little at the thought. The barman went on to me with a soft tone …

“That’s because she chose another one of them and married him … she then became pregnant … like she was waiting for the right time … ”

“But hang on” … I countered “ I actually SAW that woman there at the bridge this morning. “I called to her and she replied that bit … about … about losing her child … her boy … I KNOW what I saw!” I insisted … then I settled … ”I know what I heard!”

“Yes … she lost her child with a miscarriage on the night of the storm.”

The barman decided he’d settle it … he called to one of the weeping men …

“Jack, mind the bar for a bit, will you?” And to me he whispered “C’mon … show me just where you saw the woman … ”

I finished the drink and we went to my van … The barman introduced himself as Frank and we shook hands on it … The rain was still bucketing down like it was never going to ease up …

On the way to the bridge, Frank told me of that night’s events sixty years ago:

“A wild, wild night with one of the worse storms in the district … much like this one … the rains in the hills being much heavier, sent a wall of storm water down the usually dry creek beds and Ziedel’s Bridge was washed away … the blokes from the town … those fellows you saw back there in the bar were all there at the bridge getting ready to set up road blocks against any traffic. But then they looked into the driving rain up the road … They could see a motorcycle’s light coming from the opposite side of the bridge down the road out of the driving rain …

“Who’s the fool riding out in this rain?” Clarrie yelled … and then they realised when they heard the familiar note of the exhaust of Cherry’s “BSA Bantam” motorcycle …

“It’s Cherry!” one of the men cried “for God’s sake warn her about the bridge!” … and they all ran toward her down the road, waving their arms … but whether it was the driving rain or the whipped up sleet, she didn’t see their warning and they watched helpless as she plunged onto the washed out bridge and into the raging torrent. All the men rushed to the bridge to rescue her …

They did eventually get her out, but she was pinned under her motorbike and the washed down debris for quite some time, so that she almost drowned. And when they finally got her onto the road, there was blood everywhere running from her lower body. They thought at first that she was injured from the accident, but it was a miscarriage she was having … she was losing her baby … for she was heavily pregnant at the time.

Cherie looked down at the blood in horror, for she immediately knew what was happening ..

“My child! … I’ve lost my boy!” she cried … and she kept crying over and over that she had lost her boy …

The men tried to comfort her, but she wouldn’t be and she tore from their arms and with a mighty effort, ran toward the bridge calling out: “I’ve lost my boy! … I’ve lost my child in the waters!” and she flung herself into the muddy, murky torrent … and this time the men couldn’t find her … and she drowned there along with her lost child … though in reality, she couldn’t have known then that it was a boy … though it did turn out to be that when they retrieved the body later … ”

We had arrived at the bridge and I stopped the van and pulled on the handbrake …

“Well, she must have been one hell of a woman to keep six blokes on the hop at the one time,” I snorted…” Here, Frank … put this cap on … it’s pissing down and you might as well keep that head dry.” And I handed Frank a cap … “I got this hoodie,” I said.

Frank was about to step out of the cabin … he paused and then said:

“Seven … there were seven men … There was the one she married and whose child died along with her that night.”

I was a little taken aback by his words.

“So who was the seventh?” I asked … Frank was already out of the van and he answered just before he closed the door …

“He was the biggest fool of them all, for it was he sent her out in that storm to go to the hotel to get him a flagon of wine … It was ME! … Me, the biggest fool of them all.” And Frank looked to me and he was weeping even more that those other six men back at the hotel … he then slammed the door shut.

I jumped out of the van, paused and did my hoodie jacket up and went to meet Frank at the back of the van … And I tell you as true as I stand here before you … he was gone! There was no-one there, and what was just a few hours ago a dry creek-bed was now a raging torrent … and the rain … the rain …

“Frank! … Frank!” I called … but there was no answer … then I saw that cap I had given him swirling in an eddy near the edge of the bridge … I sincerely believed he had lost his mind and jumped into the wild waters …

I panicked … I looked about wildly for a quick time then I remembered the others there at the hotel and I jumped back into the van and spun those wheels in my rush to get back to the pub to get help. I parked the van in the street, not even worrying about it. I rushed through the door into that bar expecting to see those half dozen dour fellows quietly sitting there … instead, I saw colour, light and a mixture of men and women laughing and drinking … a juke-box in the corner was playing a loud song …

I must have looked a sight standing there soaking wet, wild-eyed and in a state of shock, for the barmaid and several patrons looked at me with raised eyebrows …

“Hell man!” the barmaid exclaimed, “have YOU been sweatin’!” and they all laughed and laughed … and indeed, they had every right to, for when I looked to the windows, all I could see was sunshine … no rain … no wild afternoon … just laughter and sunshine …

I did a complete, slow three-sixty turn around of the room and just stared and stared while I tried to work out what I was seeing … Realising that there was something weirdly strange going on, I made some lame excuse saying I fell in the river while working my boat and quickly made my escape. I drove from that place with my mind very troubled and confused … but I drove and drove away like a man hunted … and even now, even if you doubt what I have just told you, I say it is as true as the day I was born …

I swear it!

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