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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.

Fields of Deceit

“For the farmer sows his fields

Of barley, oats or wheat.

While the lawyer reaps fortune

From fields of deceit.”

Brian Pascoe leaned forward in the soft leather chair with one arm on the lawyer’s desk and the other hand on his knee. His brow was knitted and he felt his anger raising as he listened to the lawyers’ dissertation.

“She’s got you on those points, Brian. First, you admit you’ve come home drunk and second you admit to striking the children … ”

“But not both at the same time … bloody hell. Yes, I’ve come home drunk at times … not blind drunk mind … and then only after some event, like winning the district grand final say, or something like that … but I didn’t come home drunk and drag the kids out of bed and thump them if that’s what you mean … oh I’ve given ’em a “clip around the ear’ole” a couple of times for mucking about … ”

Brian listened to his voice as he rambled on and he was amazed that here he was defending his behaviour as a father when he was certain that he hadn’t done anything wrong! The lawyer tossed several pages of statement onto his desk and sighed as if in frustration of ever having these clients understand the finer points of law.

“I know, I know Brian … but still the facts remain. Look, it’s an old trick of evidence, I’ve used it myself at times. You take separate pieces of fact, they may be totally estranged from each other, and you bring them together to make one picture … ” The lawyer spoke with the enthusiasm of someone who obviously enjoyed the game of law … “Like two negatives of photographs … one of a person and one of a background” … he held his arms up in front of them both at eye level with his hands flat and moved them in a scissor motion … “you bring them together and you have the person standing against the background … you see” his eyes were bright. “It’s an illusion of evidence … and you can’t deny either frame … clever eh?”

He sat back and threw his hands up in acknowledgement. Brian Pascoe looked over the desk at the lawyer through narrowing eyes, he was beginning to feel out of his depth in a system that disgusted him and although it was HIS lawyer in front of him he felt a revulsion creep over his feelings.

“You people have got it all sown up, haven’t you?” He said quietly.

“What do you mean?” the lawyer looked surprised.

“Never mind.” Brian waved it aside “What’s the third accusation she’s got on me?”

“You struck her,” the lawyer read from the form.

Brian looked down at his crossed legs with the foot “tapping” at the air.

“I … I gave her a back-hander once.” Brian recalled.

“Rather vicious of you?” the lawyer pried.

Brian recalled the fight in the kitchen when they were arguing, she was only a few inches from his face yelling abuse at him and when he was about to turn away, she swung to hit him on the head and he automatically flung his arm in response and struck her on the face. she gasped and wept then … he felt his stomach knot up … he felt it knot up now … but the pride in him, the male in him did not, could not allow him to take advantage, even in her absence, of the situation …

“Yes,” Brian replied, “it was.”

The lawyer raised his eyebrow.

“Well, you’ve got to realise she has those facts on her side.” He lifted his fingers up to count them off “A … you have come home drunk … B … you have hit the children … and C … you did strike her. Brian was about to interject but the lawyer held up his hand. “Hold on, Brian, hold on … those are the facts that will be presented to the magistrate, you won’t be allowed to interject to explain in a broken-voiced, hesitant way … as a matter of legal point, I’d advise against it if what you just said to me is the best you can do … all excuses will be irrelevant, those are the facts, like the negatives of the photographs I told you about, the final picture is the one the family court will see and if you can excuse me saying; a picture paints a thousand words.”

The lawyer finished breathless, for although he was young, he already had the look of frail professionalism. There was a silence in the room, it was a room of heavy furniture, dark furniture with heavy antiques and red-bound books leaning from the walls. The lawyer was exasperated at the naivety of his client.

Brian placed his hands in his lap. He was an honest man, a hard working farmer whose shoulders had carried the burdens of work till they were broad and strong. His hands were large and hard from the raw materials that were his workload. He could see deeply into the world of his work, but he was too short-sighted for the trickery of a school of thought that would slander a man and manipulate the fact, and present the mixture as truth … and as the lawyer asserted … be blessed for it! Brian looked down at his gnarled hands, there he saw the evidence of his honesty, there was the result of his concern for his children: well-being. Anger rose to his lips.

“No, bugger it, Mr Crompton.” He spat out “I won’t accept that, I’ll fight that if only to clear my name. I’ll not accept those lies, I’ll not have it insinuated that I was a bad father … they’re lies.” He stabbed a finger at the document … his face red “no matter how clever they’re put into words and I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it” … he pounded the desk with his big fist … the lawyer gazed at the clenched fist with the knuckles all white. He sighed.

“Well, Mr Pascoe, I’ll pass that information on to my opposite colleague and we’ll deliberate on the matter … but she’s a hard one I’ll tell you that for free!”

“The first and last thing I’ll get free from you,” Brian thought.

“Right” … he responded. “But you make sure they understand!” Brian waved his index finger in emphasis.

“Well, that’ll do for now” … the lawyer stood … “I’ll get in touch with the results.”

Brian left the office and stepped out into the busy street and the sunshine. “What a world,” he mumbled as he looked back to the name plate on the archway of the “Chambers”. “What a bloody world!”

The farm set in the open countryside seemed an age away from all the intrigue of the law. Brian couldn’t comprehend how it came to all this. What started out as a marriage separation ended up with him having to prove he wasn’t some kind of monster, child abuser, a drunkard, wife basher …

“Bloody hell, what next?!” He banged his flat hands against the steering wheel of the tractor. “What the hell can a man do?” he shouted up to the blue sky. There was of course no answer.

A fortnight passed before the lawyer got in touch with him for an appointment in the office. Brian paced over the carpet as the lawyer explained the terms of agreement coldly to him …

“ … and further to agree to drop all accusations of abuse against you, should you agree to sign over custody … ” the lawyer stopped short as Brian suddenly turned and strode up to his desk.

“Agree!” he shouted “They agree! … my oath they agree!” he nodded his head in satire and anger “My bloody oath they agree … as long as I sign away my children … sure they agree! … that’s blackmail!!” he rapped his fingertips on the desk top.

“Well,” the lawyer sighed “that’s how it stands at this moment … ” he shrugged.

Brian stood straight, his lips pressed tight together, he took a deep breath to steady himself, an age of oppression arose before his eyes.

“No it bloody well isn’t.” He spoke with controlled anger. He was trembling with temper. “Not in a pink fit it isn’t!”

“But I’ll tell you how it is me ol’china, an’ I’ll tell YOU for free … It’s doin’ the “Bobby Limb” every morning till it gets to be a habit and you forget what tired is, it’s when there’s too much work and not enough time and no-one to help and they keep piling on more till you’re bent double with responsibilities and prodded on to up-hold the lot. It’s when the crops failed or the sheep come down with some pox or other and it’s any excuse to die and the fridge can’t stay empty and kids need new shoes. It’s when the machinery needs to be overhauled and the wool cheques not in yet and the fence needs mendin’ because some bloody hoon’s crashed his car through it and pissed off an’ left you with another job to do. It’s when your hand’s gashed on the reaper’s teeth so it needs a dozen stitches and you have to work the bloody thing that same after-noon so the doctor gives you some painkillers and tells you to buy a ticket in “tatts”. It’s when you’re carrying some sort of physical injury big or small every fuckin’ day for years till you’re like some sort of sick animal. It’s the workin’ in the forty plus degree heat so you’re that beat when you get home but still get called “lazy” for not doing “your share” of the housework.

It’s when you’re old and your hands are like claws for the arthritis in them and the only thing you can carry is a bloody stick. It’s being accused of trying to keep them in their place so you throw your hand down on the table in exasperation of it all, your palm up so they can see the in-grained dirt and cuts and callouses and you say to “put your hand next to mine and tell me who knows their place!”. It’s society pointing the finger when the family goes bust and asks “what’s HE doing, why isn’t HE supporting his family?” It’s the presumption that he’s some commodity that’s there for the privilege of people to work till he drops and screw what ever’s left from the corpse … Well, the presumptions wrong. I’m no boozer, I’m no child abuser, I’m no wife beater and I’m not a bastard, Mr Crompton. I’m a working man, an honest man … ” he stood solidly before the desk, anger reflected in his stance.

The lawyer’s secretary gingerly opened the door of the office and poked her head in.

“Is everything alright, Mr Crompton?” she asked.

The lawyer ssh! sshed! her out with a grimace and a wave of his hand. He gazed hatefully over his rich desk at the farmer.

“Very heroic, Brian” … he paused for effect, then pushed the paper document toward him.

“Still … that’s their proposition, and I think you know the score,” he looked slyly out of his eyes, he wanted this resolved as quick and as cleanly as possible … these “hard-working” types set his teeth on edge … they were too rough and crude-thinking for his class.

“You do realise of course, if she presses these accusations, they could well be taken out of the civil court and into the criminal court,” he added drily.

A lonely pang of hopelessness swept away Brian’s pride, he looked into the hard, cold face of his lawyer. A realisation came over him: This was no field of labour that he was in, this wasn’t a situation he could physically work his way through, this was a field of deceit and his armour of honesty and simplicity was no match for the law’s duplicity. His defence was silently swept away like a child’s castle on the evening tide. He sat wearily down in the plump cushioned chair, a fatalistic sigh escaped his lips …

“What do you advise, Mr Crompton?”

Brian sat before the form that would give his wife custody of their children. On his right sat his wife’s lawyer, then his wife. Beside them and a little back sat his wife’s father and mother, “good people the parents”, he thought, he always got on well with the old couple. On his left sat his lawyer and before him sat the court official. Brian stared down at the document in resentful awe. The official pointed with his finger to a dotted line.

“Just sign there, Mr Pascoe,” he said softly.

Brian hesitated. Both his lawyer and the wife’s lawyer placed their fingers simultaneously on the space to sign. Brian held the pen over the space, there was silence in the room as if in anticipation of some great event. Anger welled up in Brian’s heart. “Bastards! Bastards!” he was thinking as he lowered the pen. He didn’t want to sign, it was all wrong; “a document to control lives, it shouldn’t be so. A piece of paper over flesh and blood, no! it wasn’t right.” He started to write his name with his hand but his heart kept screaming: “No! No!” as the pen moved over the paper. Once before he signed a similar document in marriage, with similar people around him and now it had come to this. He fought to hold back tears of bitterness and sadness in his eyes as he finished the flourish of his family name. He dropped the pen and fell back into his chair.

“Yippee! Yippee!” his ex-wife jumped up in elation, like a child. “I’ve won!, I’ve won!” she cried and clapped her hands together in glee.

The lawyers looked at each other and rolled their eyes and her father winced. He leant over and touched his daughter on the arm as if to quieten her.

“Jilly,” he said softly, “Jilly, I don’t think”, he glanced at the ashen faced Brian sitting there … “I don’t think you realize what Brian has signed away.”

He spoke as if to quieten the woman’s ecstatic outburst, but she just shot him a glance as if to kill and he shrunk back red faced and then, hesitatingly turned his face away. Brian sat there for a moment longer while the official straightened the papers and was about to dismiss them all. Brian suddenly pushed himself back and stood up, the chair fell backwards onto the floor, he ignored it and strode impatiently to the door. He could feel the tears sting his lids even as he passed out of the room and let the big panelled doors swing to and all down the cold empty corridor he could hear Jilly’s voice crying shrilly: “I’ve won, I’ve won, I’ve won.”

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From the hand to the mind

Dalla mano alla mente … (From the hand to the mind).

The trade-guild artists.

Manifesto …

Having come to the conclusion that middle-class politics cannot, through it’s servile impotency in honouring capital gain over social necessity, or will not, through its abandonment of the poor, the vulnerable and the under-educated in first preference for its own priorities, improve the ambitions of many people seeking a fairer and more equal distribution of social equality and comforts of mind in our nation … I have decided to try to use my interest in artistic expression to bring social change so desperately needed to the people and the streets of our nation … I am going to inaugurate a collective of retired tradespeople who have in their retirement applied themselves to interpret their physical working lives with their artistic endeavours … I call this collective: “The Trade-Guild Artists” … its motto (in Italian … [I am Italian]: “Dalla mano alla mente”.

Our direction is one from lived experience in working in our respective trade professions for a living and from such a background moving to interpret those lived moments when more than a simple shout or expletive could explain our frustrations or bewilderment of a given incident or drama … We, of the trades, have been on the “front-line” of construction, caring, delivery of services and needs for millennia. Time we take our rightful place to give better interpretation of those seen things that need a skilled hand to deliver to a keen mind the intricacies of movement and colour of life to a blank page or canvas.

Having myself been a long-time admirer of the “social realism” style of painted/sculptured/written art, in a Diego Rivera or Albert Camus style … and others, I envisage a movement intent on delivering strong, determined and resolute impressions and characters to the eyes, ears and minds of those absorbing our intentions … whether those characters be imperfect of body, impure of thought or unchaste of character, they will be honest of attitude and intention … there will be little mistake in that.

Dare one speak words of Anguish,
Under such a tempered sky,
Rather heed to those that break,
Tho’ speak not … but sigh.

A Work of Art … or … The Art of Work?

The motivation for this piece came from four flat-box displays of ladies embraided cotton/lace handkerchiefs. I had purchased them some years before at a garage sale for the pitiful sum of fifty cents each box … one from Nth. Ireland, two from Switzerland and the other from China. Looking at them in their tissued, flat boxes, with the delicate lace-edges folded into diamonds or squares, the brilliant white contrasted with the small embraided flowers and sundry delicate patterns, I thought them too, too beautiful to be used other than as a display … So I made four frames and placed those “works of art” behind glass to be admired rather than soiled. I could imagine the girls or women hard-at-work, worrying over those pieces of cloth … Pieces of work became pieces of art … hence the title of this article!

I am an artisan (carpenter) … my father was an artisan (stone-mason) … the people who made those hankies were artisans, a multitude of people producing, constructing, moulding, knitting and on and on are artisans … coming from the French; “without art”.
Getting back to my father; the stone-mason … in his employment around Adelaide he built many stone walls and such. He built that curving weather wall along the Glenelg foreshore … by the sideshows … (it is gone now ). He told me years later that if I was to go to one particular place along that wall, I could see, shaped within the stone work, a map of Italy, with all the provinces in varying shades of stone, built cunningly into the wall! … indeed; a cunning stunt! … Artisan becomes artist!

So perhaps it could be proposed: Who stationed “artists” and “artisans” in their prospective environs? What are the boundaries of these environs, i.e. when does artisan become artist and vice-versa? Can art be interpreted as the “one-off” piece of deliberate intent? If an artisan uses his craft skills to produce a “one-off” article for decoration or beauty, does that one piece become a work of art? Likewise, if the artist takes a “one-off” work and by reproductive prints, mass-produces many images, does that work then become craft?

Are there then any boundaries to “art”? … does art exist in itself? Or is it an adjunct to physical existence … and not a separate construction of the imagination? … And if it was, then surely every wicked creation, every insidious act could also be construed as a “work of art” alongside sublime desire! … for wasn’t it Alexander the Great who volunteered that “war, is the greatest art”?

Perhaps the boundary between art and the artisan can be judged as; artisan being a measure of one’s craft skills, whereas art ; the measured, skillfull baring of one’s soul! … while there is chance of ridicule in the former, there is every chance of absolute condemnation in the latter … How deeply we choose to express one or the other is perhaps a judgement on one’s personal strength of character.

Can everybody be an artist … or is there art for everybody? I’m certain the answer is; yes, to both … although there may not be a market for everybody’s “art”! There is a risk of mockery in too much display and, I’m sure many of us are aware that the road between flattery and mockery is very short and very straight! But here again, the depth of soul-baring would, I’m sure, lift that sublime piece towering above the dross, such is the power of sincerity and in the end, there being so many avenues of material, visual or musical expression these days, the Andy Warhol claim of 15 minutes of fame may just be around the corner for all of us … The big question is: Would you want it?

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No Pasaran!

“NO PASARAN! … The cry went out, “The Fascists are about!, “No Pasaran! … and so the war began.”

That is the start of an early draft of what I hoped would be a rousting piece of rhyming poetry I wanted to write just these last couple of days … You can see by the syllabic construction of that phrase: “No pasaran” that it has a natural “beat” a rhythmic sequence like a marching foot-fall or the beat of a drum … Perhaps, if it were loud enough … the beat of a human heart. It is a natural for building on … almost like a Sousa march.

No Pasaran:

“Credit for that (no pasaran) goes to the fiery Spanish Communist party leader Dolores Ibárruri (1895-1989), whose popular nickname was “La Pasionaria” (“The Passion Flower”).

On July 18, 1936, mutinous Spanish Army troops led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco invaded the Spanish mainland from Morocco, with the goal of overthrowing Spain’s elected Republican government. This was the beginning of the bloody Spanish Civil War.

The next day, July 19, 1936, Ibárruri made a brief but eloquent speech on Radio-Madrid.

She urged her fellow citizens to put aside their other political differences and join together to fight against Franco’s fascist forces.

“Young men, prepare for combat!,” she said. “Women … fight alongside your men in order to defend the lives and freedom of your sons … All workers, all anti-fascists must now look upon each other as brothers in arms.”

It was to be built on the words spoken by that Spanish lady; “La Passionaria” … “No Pasaran!” (They shall not pass!) in the time of the Spanish civil war. But while I had the words almost down pat in my head, the rhythm kinda sorted and the rolling theme just about right … I could not put it down on paper … I started, but I bulked at the actual printing out what I had now questioned in my mind the veracity of the honesty of the poem.

Because of course, Franco did break through their barricades … he did “pass” their fighters and their walls … with the help of the other fascista in Germany and Italy … Franco’s only hope, the fascist cowards only hope of success is to gang-up on their opposition … they did break through the barricades and take control of the country … and they mocked and sneered at the cry of resistance of “NO PASARAN!” … The right wing still mock and sneer at what they disparagingly call “leftie rantings” … but they do not , cannot know the real meaning behind those words; “No Pasaran” … they do not have the depth of understanding the cultural collective of the working people of not just one country, but the entire world … not one election, but a whole democracy … not just one moment in time, but through all time … the entire span of human recorded history … ”No pasaran” strikes a deeper cord in the worker’s heart than just a cry of resistance with arms … it is a barricade against the attempted conquest of ALL vulnerable peoples, a cry of resistance to reject the tyrannical fascist / corporate mindset from the very heart of a people … it is a rejection of the selfish, oafish, cruel nature of exploitation that would set citizen against citizen, brother against sister, one ethnic group against another and use religion, that over-arching drug-of-least-resistance to enact violence and hatred against all.

NO PASARAN!

NO PASARAN! … They WILL NOT pass! They will NEVER be part of our lives! They will NEVER be accepted into our hearts! … and they can never become a part of our country.

But there now is a weakness in the wall … a blind-spot that the right-wing has found and is exploiting to entrap the more gullible and naive of the working class to trust them to lead the nation … The entrepreneurial middle class has taken a leaf out of Greek mythology and used a “Trojan Horse” to break through the innermost defence to plant their disease of divide and rule within the heart of the nation. It has used the stupid to attract the stupid, much like one uses a cut piece of bait from the one fish to attract and catch another of the same species. The Right-wing has used those now familiar fools so clumsy in their knowledge of politics and social needs, but so rat-cunning in their use of phrasing of tongue so that it appeals to the most gullible … the almost incoherent imbecility as appealing to the most uneducated knowledgeable group as also to the most educated knowledgeable “don’t-want-to-see” group … one may be more savvy than the other , but in the end both as dangerous and as gullible as each other.

I penned an article calling for: “A Revolution against the Middle-Classes” … in which I claimed that history has shown that once the Entrepreneurial / Speculative (MARK THAT; the Entrepreneurial / Speculative ) middle-classes gained control of political governance, it spelt the beginning of the end for not only the economy of a nation, but OF THE NATION ITSELF! … I do not demur from that claim … unfortunately, a few folk seem to take such an accusation on a whole class as a personal attack upon themselves … why? … I can only presume some sort of personal interest in the claim … perhaps as a kind of “gate-keeper” of that philosophy. But whatever it was, it has cost me in blogging cred with some people … I expect no better with this article … and it tells me just how far the middle-class virus has penetrated into our everyday lives when a large section of the voting public will trust, without question, lying, tax avoiding wealthy dilettantes to rule the nation.

There was an interview with Richard Flannigan on ABC tele a while back … It traced his career as a struggling and now successful writer … I admire Richard Flannigan immensely. I like his honest approach to his art and also his social conscience that he infuses into his writing. He spoke in answer to a query on a career in writing; “if the writing out of his stories diminishes the writer inside?” He answered in the affirmative, quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald in his piece called “The Crack-up”, who reiterated his thoughts … but there is another angle to that “emptying of the spirit” … there is another “breaking of the heart” of anyone who creates art from their heart.

There is a moment in the creation of art, where the artist, of whatever skill or ethnic group, of whatever genre, must ask themselves; “For whom am I creating this?” they must ask themselves that or they might as well keep the image or process to themselves and go their way (for the “true artist”, the “honest artist” creates their art for their fellow peoples; “everything comes from without, not within”), leaving the vacuum to be filled by some other nature. Of course, the problem for the creative artist is that driving urge to create that forces one to go to the workshop and produce that piece just to stop it rolling around inside the head like a ball-bearing in a tin-can … to, as Henry Lawson once said; “I had to write it down or burst!”.

For myself. an amateur at best, a scribbler at worst … many times I have asked that question of myself … which brings me back to the start of this piece where I stated (and I have to say that there have been many times lately) where I have not wanted to put down created characters and incidents … not wanted to share those experiences with my fellow citizens … so disappointed have I been in their pathetic aspiration toward material comforts that they have abandoned their sense of honesty and good-will toward others … and when I have pushed myself to do that, I have felt a great disappointment in “exposing” the characters that I do love (even when at times fictional) and the situations that I do treasure. I have felt I have let them down or used them in a most venal way … I feel “dirtied” by the experience … quite disappointing.

But, of course, there are many others who must feel the same way … I would call them friends and I would willingly, gladly share experiences with them … for they too would, I suspect like myself, hold true to their hearts that universal cry of revolution that has rung down the ages, despite many attempts to be smothered by a suffocating “mummyism” of middle-class servility.

“So raise the Scarlet Standard high
within its shade we live and die
though cowards flinch and traitors sneer
we’ll keep the red flag flying here.”

NO PASARAN!

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The Silence of the Lambs

Many years ago, in my days as the bachelor tradie in my twenties, I was subbied as a contractor to do “shut-down maintenance” on the old Metro Meats abattoir at Old Noarlunga over the Christmas holiday break. It was my job as the carpenter to fix and make good a list of jobs from office doors to the replacement of thick wooden slats on the sheep slaughter conveyor line.

In the progression from one sector of that place to another … from admin’ offices to different sections of the “factory”, I got to know other trades involved in the maintenance schedule and they explained the workings of their particular section … like the cattle killing box and the equipment used and the hydraulics that handled the carcass etc … I won’t go into it here … it is a brutal procedure even in its necessity. I was proudly told that the time from the beast entering the killing pen to the cold room was so short that some carcasses could still be seen quivering with nerves reaction after being skinned and on their way to the cold-room.

But it was the sheep killing system that most intrigued me … the wooden slats that I had to replace were on this twin conveyor system set in a “V”, where two “belts” of these wooden slats, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom to let the trapped legs go through when the animal was driven onto it, so that the slats carried the animal in a least resistance method with it’s legs penned and the animal’s body supported by this “V” combination toward the person who then slit the animal’s throat … a concise, predictable and perhaps considering the requirements of the deed, a neat conclusion. And given that what we have heard about the absolute brutality of live sheep export these last months, the quick dispatching of those beasts in the most “humane” manner would be the most acceptable method.

There was a day toward the end of the contract where I stood in the approximate centre of the killing-floor operations and did a 360-degree turnaround to just absorb the complete methodology of operations … it sent a chill down my spine, and I thought of those pics one sees of the Nazi years of concentration camps, where the human hand and mind exercises its natural bent toward the most efficient method of “getting a job done”. I saw the mechanised procedures as a metaphor of the politics of management and while I was unsophisticated then, I can now look back and compare that killing floor of flesh and blood with the kind of “killing floor” of right-wing economic rationalism, where a large section of the working population is “sacrificed” to the profit-motive of banking corporations and now has no chance to become an owner of their own home, yet is still driven at breakneck speed with deluded illusions of perhaps … perhaps being able to one day … one day … and those managers of corporate business and politics, in their concern to not ( very much like those animals to slaughter ) create nervous apprehension or awareness in the populace of their hopeless inevitability, lest they get too excited and cause themselves and society damage.

There is so much “killing” being done, one must become insensitive to the slaughter, both on the abattoir floor and the economic houses of the world .. There must be a brutalisation of both the butcher of the animals and the financial speculator toward their environment … there MUST be.

The manager of operations, when I went to sign off on the last day of the job, sat back in his chair and asked me my personal opinion of what I thought of the efficiency of the operation … I answered truthfully that it seemed to work in a most efficient, streamlined way … and then he asked if I would like to stay on in a full-time position as a maintenance staffer …

I politely declined, claiming (again, truthfully AND thankfully) other pressing engagements. And I have to add, that all the while I worked there, in whatever capacity, and although the abattoir was completely shut down so that the only sounds were the mechanical clatter of maintenance work being carried out, I was continually haunted by what I imagined was the cacophony of bellowing of the fearful animals being sent to slaughter … yet there I was at those very conveyor belts that carried the poor things to their inevitable doom with nothing about me but silence … the silence of the lambs.

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Rupert the Bastard!

The problem I see with the toleration of the person in question in this article is the perception that he is a worthy political/social/economic commentator. WHY? … Why is this person considered such … Why is he courted as he himself courts leaders of state and industry? … Why is his opinion of any credit? … He was a spoilt brat as a child, he inherited a media empire of which he contributed nothing to it’s creation until he inherited it from his family …

In my own state, where he operated a paper, he was nothing but a vile, vicious and vindictive peddler of innuendo and vitriol … His attacks upon Don Dunstan and his wife, Adele Kohl are legendary for their spiteful vileness … Many who post here are familiar with such treachery from this person. He owns a huge media corporation, you say … and that allows him an insight into the peccadilloes of the human condition … so what? … SO WHAT!!? … any brothel owner with half a dozen operations under his control would, I dare say, have as much if not more “insight” into the weird and wonderful peccadilloes of the human condition.

This person is not worthy of the “type-face” given to his opinion … I ask: Is his political opinion as savvy as a Noam Chomsky? … Is his economic opinion as savvy as a Picketty? … Are his social policy opinions as respected as the parents of the girl whose phone he encouraged to be hacked? … NO! To all three … yet he gets quoted, he gets air-time … he gets to “influence” certain national leaders … he gets tolerated and yet this person lauded the military invasion of places where crimes against humanity have been horribly committed. He is not an innocent bystander in those things … he is a player!

Here’s a challenge … promote a campaign to have this person brought before The Hague international criminal courts … Promote a campaign to have him charged for the complicit and deliberate involvement in those wars that brought so much death and destruction to so many men, women and children … there are his own words to condemn him … there are a multitude of gloating articles from his worthless creatures to implicate him!

Promote the campaign, seize the moment and let us be rid of this meddlesome sleaze!

Every now and then, in the annals of civilisation, there appears amongst the human community a creature, a person so unbecoming to the spirit of humanity that history winces a tearful eye at its mention … He appears as an indelible blot, as a stain of indecency to the human condition that one has to wonder on the genetics of its creation … for surely, history will say: “Here is one from the loins of Lucifer himself!”

We have such a one amongst us in the person of the above article. If one was to trawl through the depths of depravity of the Roman Empire under the reign of Tiberius or even Caligula, one would recognise the imprint of such a person with a level of cruelty equal to Sejanus … or Caligula himself! … Show his hand and you see the claw of Moloch … show his mouth and you hear the howl of Hades … show his eyes and you see a depth of an abyss so black and so deep that it will swallow the cries of a million betrayed souls! This is not a letter of hatred of a human, but rather a curse of evil personified!

When I saw at the Leveson inquiry, the abandonment of his loyal troops in an effort to save his own worthless hide … and heard him utter those words, so recognisable as worthy of contrition in an honourable man, yet fell like a seasoned liar’s spittle from his lips: “This has been the most humble day of my life” … truly … truly … is there not one person reading this who did not retch inside at the gross effrontery … the vile indecency to apply to fellow humanity for the forgiveness and sympathy that he has so many times, in so many situations in as many ways as there are multiplications of a host of numbers … denied to even innocent children?

There is no place on this earth for such pomposity … no safe harbour for such self-promoted buffoonery … no confessional for so many cruelties … time will take him, the creatures and bacteria of the earth will absorb him. But human history will never forgive him or his family name and his “humbleness” will NEVER absolve him.

 

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Is it time to reconsider a Communist political agenda for Australia?

Communism in Australia has for a long time had to share the stocks with that old mock of shame of: “The love that dare not speak its name” … being held up as almost heinous a crime as sexual predatory behaviour. But why? After all, it is no more than another political possibility in management of a country.

Consider these latest scandals concerning the banking/financial sector … The crimes were of the grubbiest, the most mean in both penny-pinching and spirit of the most elderly and the most vulnerable … and then there is those other associated arms of corporate conglomeration: The energy sector, communications and allied device manufacturers, there is the minerals industry with the coal lobby going flat out trying to both delay the closing down of a dirty industry until the biggest players can off-load their stranded assets or to corrupt an already corrupt political group to “keep the home fires burning” and delay much needed climate change legislation … there is the corp-agriculture sector with it’s mega hedge-fund management takeovers of water licences and working with the banks toward pricing the smaller family farms out of business … there is the mega online retail and marketing business going flat-strap with minimal employment or wages/conditions killing the small and big high-street retailers and putting all those employees out of work.

Then there is casual work contracts, pay-rates, conditions of employment IF and WHEN one gets a half decent or serious job that calls for your presence ON THE JOB for more than one hour a week … No-hour guaranteed employment contracts that keep a person hanging on the thread of a “promise” without commitment and then on a pay-rate that would drive Scrooge McDuck to shame! And don’t even mention super, sick, or holiday pay … and for the love of God DON’T GET PREGNANT!

Let’s be honest and realistic about this whole capitalist corporation political system … You could put ANY OF THOSE aforementioned corporations up before a Royal Commission and they would be as guilty as the banks with corruption, bribery, swindling, gouging and any other adjective that describes criminality that it is possible to think of or mention … and then we get people saying that Capitalism is the best you can expect as a social system.

And so we have the cheer squad for capitalist enterprise saying that this is the perfect platform for anyone to get a life and become one of the top earners … the top 1%; YOU … there in the crowd! … perhaps it is YOUR TURN for the spot on the dais of success! … Get real … get a life … There’s only one way to the top of the wealth pile if you don’t start with old family money or networks and that is by subterfuge of operating in a speculative, quasi criminal operation … like the above mentioned.

So, having got the “against” out of the way … let’s see what’s the positives for the possibility of a re-run of the communist manifesto.

Here are some examples of what the Communist Party saw as Policies for 1960:

Monopolies Dominate

Only 104 men from 60 millionaire families in Australia direct 249 companies whose capital is valued on the stock exchange at £2075 million, These monopolies — Coles, Myers, Woolworths, C.S.R., the banks and insurance companies, the breweries and others — dominate all spheres of Australian life. Starting on a loan from the Commonwealth Bank, in 10 years General Motors-Holden has returned to its American owners; $87 million in profits white increasing its assets by £70 million, Yet this company stands down 8,400 employees, causing them and their families dire distress in order to save a miserable £300,000.

Broken Hill Proprietary, Australia’s most powerful total monopoly, last year made a net profit of £15 million.”

Higher Living Standards and Security for the Working People

To combat the growing economic crisis, to increase purchasing power find jobs for the unemployed, the Communist Party calls for:

“Higher wages, a 35-hour working week, equal pay for women and higher rates for young workers.

Federal and State Government co-operation in stabilisation schemes for each farm industry, to provide a guaranteed price to all working producers covering the cost of production for an amount of produce up to that necessary to provide a living income.
Reduced taxation on low incomes and higher taxation on the wealthy. Abolition of all forms of indirect taxation or articles of mass consumption.

Curbs on profiteering monopolies such as legislation to prevent takeovers, strict price controls, capital gains and excess profits tax; reduction of interest rates on hire purchase, housing and farm loans, and nationalisation of the biggest monopolies such as B.H.P., G.M.H. and others.”

Here … it’s somewhere in this extraordinary index of papers, books and writings … I can’t find the exact doco again.

HEY! … I would say the above is just the solution we need TODAY! … and this was way back in 1960? … WTF!! … But there’s more!

“In foreign affairs, Australia has no independent voice. The Menzies government slavishly follows the plans of the American billionaire war planners, and offends and threatens our Asian neighbours.

The 200 million (pounds) spent each year on so-called “defence” enriches the monopolies but contributes very little, if anything, to the security of our nation.”

Need I go on? …

As many of us have lamented so many times on this blog and elsewhere that we are sick in the body of repeating ourselves and nothing happens … well, folks … there you have it … it’s been said since 1960 and before and still the monopolies rule, the corporations get richer and more powerful and the politicians keep marching out from under those same Latin-logo’d porticos and nothing changes. Now why do you reckon that is? … Perhaps those capitalist promoters are right: THIS is the best we are going to get, so wrap up the banners, take down the barricades and shut-the-f#ck-up!

COMMUNISM? … HAH! … who needs it? … I mean; look at China today … where has communism got them? Do they bow their heads ashamedly to a foreign yoke? And does Russia? Or even tiny little Cuba? But then here we are … on our f#ckin’ knees and baring our arse to be kicked down the road by anyone that has got the dosh to buy our politics …

Yes … welcome to the “real world”.

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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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