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The Wheat and the Chessboard

Image courtesy of abc.net.au

Image courtesy of abc.net.au

As this government goes from bad to worse it appears that they have no vision. Sadly they do, suggests regular guest writer Sean Stinson. Their plan is simple: slash and burn. 

They certainly are out of control if that is their aim.

Sean urges that the momentum from the March in March needs to be not only maintained, but taken to a higher level.

So it looks like there is going to be a March in May. I’d have to say I’m a little apprehensive – or maybe just lacking in confidence. The March in March was an unprecedented display of people power, with over 100 000 of us taking to the streets across the country, and although largely ignored by mainstream media, it’s something our grassroots movement can be rightly proud of. Can we do it bigger and better in May?

The only shadow of doubt I have is that March was perhaps some kind of social anomaly, a novelty which may not bear repetition. Nonetheless I remain hopeful. I have hope because I know it takes a special commitment to participate in a public protest. I am no role model. Until March I hadn’t been to a protest since Iraq II. Back then it was to send a message to the government that we wanted no part in Bush’s unjust war. Twelve years on and we are protesting a whole range of issues. We want compassion and open borders. We want gender equality. We want protection for our oceans, forests and aquifers. We want jobs, education and healthcare. We want our government to direct its focus away from continued reliance on fossil fuels and to get behind a clean energy industry that has the potential create massive employment with minimal ecological impact. (Seriously, who hasn’t thought about this?). Some have criticised the March in March for having a lack of focus. I could not disagree more. Our message is loud and clear: The Abbott Government is not acting for the common good of the free and sovereign people of Australia.

Some have argued that this government never really had a plan beyond winning the election and punishing Labor. I think otherwise. We’ve seen six months of economic slash and burn. Their actions to date have been to talk down the economy to justify savage cuts in public spending, while talking up the ‘issues’ (carbon tax, mining tax, boats) to fuel public opinion. Driven by the blind ideology of market supremacy, they plan to sell off all our public assets, carve up our natural resources and sell them to the highest (foreign) bidder, while attacking wages and conditions at home to effectively create a new class of working poor. It is Thatcherism plain and simple, and we all know how that worked out.

Don’t be fooled. Operation Sovereign Borders is a fireworks display. Royal commissions and Knights and Dames are political noise. MYEFO was the official launch for another political lie. Apparently we now have a $667bn gross debt. (“Product image for illustration purposes only. Actual product may vary”). The actual figure is $123bn, which in a $1.5tr economy amounts to about approximately 8.2% of GDP – I wish my personal debt was as low. Abbott says he wants to raise defence spending to a whopping 2% of GDP, while Hockey tells us we can’t afford Medicare. Where is the sense in this?

You should be concerned. This government is out of control. Legalising hate-speech (repealing section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act), repealing the Future of Financial Advice laws, and dissolving the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission were not policies anyone voted for at the last election. Nor was signing off on preferential trade agreements giving foreign corporations the right to challenge our laws and sue our government for lost profits. We are starting to see responses from all sectors of the community and there is a foul mood in the air. This government has really managed to piss off a lot of people in just six months in office. It’s not news that the ‘haves’ in our society suddenly outnumber the ‘have nots’; it’s been that way for centuries. The news is that Abbott and his mates have gone too far in too short a time and people are waking up to them. The government stinks, and the peasants are revolting [sic].

Revolutions throughout history have been violent and bloody. Fortunately we don’t need a revolution, because we already live in a democracy. What we do need is to send a strong and clear message to the government and let them know just who is in charge. Governments have a mandate to govern for the good of the people, not to outsource responsibility to free markets, and certainly not to take away our liberties. We are already seeing our rights eroded at state level. Victoria and Queensland have both passed new laws threatening freedom of assembly and freedom of association. There is a wave of rightwing thuggery spreading like cancer though our whole political system, and we need to put an end to it now. We can’t afford to wait till the next election. At the rate we’re going in three years time there may be nothing left to save. To borrow a few words from a fellow flag waving leftie, we need another Protest in April, a May Moratorium, a campaign of Justice in June and July, Action in August, a Solidarity Walk in September, Opposition in October, Say No in November, and a Double Dissolution in December.

I am reminded of the mathematical problem of the wheat and the chessboard, and wonder if this simple formula could not also be applied to taking back our country? Imagine if everyone who marched in March brought someone else along in May, be it a friend, family member, work colleague or a stranger. Do you see where I’m going with this? We’ll take to the streets in regular protests calling for equality, sustainability and accountability. And if we are serious, by December we will be over a million strong, and then we will call for a dismissal. Maybe even a long overdue Bill of Rights.

 

38 comments

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  1. Shelley Blanchard

    Yes!!! I completely agree

  2. geoffreyengland

    Admirable sentiments and I am with you 100% on this.
    WE are way too meek as a nation. perhaps too laid back. we watch other nations protesting on our screens, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Ukraine, the list is endless. Yet we as a nation seem to love being distracted with glittering empty baubles, and even hollower slogans. Couch potatoes.
    I say this, get off your backsides and protest. Loud and unambiguous. Tell Abbott what you think of him and his rape of Australia for his and his masters’ enrichment…. being there will make it so.

  3. rangermike1

    These “Idiots” (and I do not apply that word lightly) are at present, taking us all into the depth of despair. Abbott has NO Idea and is just following a distant dream from out of the ether. He has NO Idea and has proved to be a Leaders Askhole. May we soon be rid of the likes of them before they destroy this Country.

  4. Tim

    I don’t think a March in May is going to work like the March one. If you start running it every month, will dwindle quickly. Better one in August, so that people don’t feel that the marches are something being done by rote. The March in March was, for many of us home bodies, a gut instinct, spontaneous thing. Comparisons to what is happening in Egypt, Syria etc isn’t really the same thing considering the degree of violence and death that is going on there. Our armed forces aren’t required to come out snd silence us,

  5. David Giles

    I have already got 2 more people to come to the March in May. It will be easy to treble the size of the march if we all commit to it. Keep spreading the word.

  6. RBE or we're FKD

    You’ve nailed it. Unfortunately what you’ve said only illustrates the tip of the iceberg. Look up things like: resource based economy, fractional reserve, birth certificate fraud, definition of a person, monetisation of signatures, modern money mechanics, agenda 21 etc. and see what you find.

    Our management system is by no means democratic, and democracy was never the be all and end all anyway. It’s an outdated idea in itself.

    What we must do is ensure quality of life and equal opportunities for absolutely everyone and we are technologically advanced enough to achieve such an accomplishment in five to ten years by my estimate if we work together.

    The only thing the current system runs on is fear. It’s a terrorist extortion racket by any definition. This way of doing things is no longer acceptable or tolerable.

  7. mikestasse

    The wheat on the chessboard metaphor is exactly the reason why the whole world is turning to shit really fast now…… everything is now doubling every 20 years or so…. the number of cars, houses, iPads, smart phones, hospitals, schools, greenhouse emissions, you name it….. and not least DEBT. Debt is actually doubling every ten years or so.

    We are in deep shit. marching won’t fix anything, we need a proper revolt, one that brings the entire system to its knees.

    It’s interesting that Tim brought up Syria and Egypt……. because that’s where collapse started. Food, water, and fuel shortages. That’s ‘all’ it takes.
    http://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/is-egypt-about-to-ignite-the-collapse/

  8. Paul Raymond Scahill

    Whether we march in May 2014 or not we must get up off our backsides and let Abbott and the rest of the garbage (read as pigs) know that we are not going to take anymore shit.. It is time now to show the Nazis that Australia belongs to Australians and not Poms, Lebanese and the like.

  9. Capable Cate

    Sean . . . my concern has been the March movement in Australia, lack of interest in participating in the World March in May, which I feel is vitally important, given we are part of the World, and the majority of our problems experienced now, are due to being controlled by the World economic controllers.
    Check out the FB page, which I believe is a movement that’s originated in Canada, and I think Anonymous is behind the campaign. It has had a massive response, and I find it embarrassing that Australians seem unwilling to be a part of it.
    Interested in your take on this. . . . https://www.facebook.com/events/569021309847180/611960335553277/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity
    Cate 🙂

  10. Kimberley

    Spot on! Every person and their dog must make it to March in May. We must put pressure on policy making now and steer our country away from total desecration. Unite! https://www.facebook.com/events/763869800290256/

  11. mars08

    …because we already live in a democracy.

    Yeh… about that…

    “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”

    ~Fr Edward Patrick Dowling

  12. Mic

    Despite the lack of media and the successful shutdown here in Australia, the OWS movement is still going strong around the world.

    Despite the lack of genuine aggressors, the u.s. has always spent too much on its war machine. One day’s worth of the u.s. military budget could wipe out poverty in the entire “third world”.

    Do we really expect Abbott, who is so far to the right as to be falling off the edge of the scale, to think otherwise?

    Mars08: We don’t live in a democracy. We have a pretend democracy with one gigantic party masquerading as two.

  13. Don Winther

    We must act with and for equality, sustainability and accountability and not violence. Abbott loves a bit of violence ( punching things ) so give him nothing. Tell Abbott to stop selling our Country. Arrogance is not Australian. Is he an Aussie? He didnt work until he was 34, wasn’t any good at it so got into politics and is no good at that either. He is an idiot and has no heart for Australia.
    Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars ! Not the meat pies so much but it is Australia.
    He has opened the doors to let every thing out but nothing in. What is he and his mates up to?

  14. Don Winther

    Australian politics is just a get rich scheme. They are all free loading, left and right.

  15. Stephen Tardrew

    AMIN a laudable and critically important message.

    I have been involved in marches and protests before and they certainly can have a profound effect. It takes time and conviction however the issues are moral and the outcome is incredible poverty, inequality and a completely compromised environment if we do not act. This is without considering the unfolding oligarchy of entrenched corporate power.

    This is it people. If we realize we are on the cusp of real and substantial damage to the planet, and that the clock is ticking, then there is no option than to use all means available to us. There are tipping points for the environment and economy.

    When I say “THIS IS IT” I mean it literally as we have a small window of opportunity to turn this lot around. All the climate models have to do is underestimate, say methane emotions from thawing permafrost, and we are toast. Is it really worth the chance.

    It may be the other way round but at the moment we need to consider more drastic scenarios to halt possible negative feedback.

    If you understand the science of global warming and the endless greed of the oligarchs then you my friends have no choice. And this must be our message.

    We should quit the equivocation and get to work.

    Ignoring global warming, relying upon unemployment and austerity to cover the deficit, signing secret trade agreements, dehumanizing refugees is immoral and selfish bastardry.

    Never used caps before. First time for everything.

  16. Fed up

    Yes we have to keep marching, no choice. We also need to ensure we have a solid message to impart, We need that audit released first, at least.

    We need to know what we are fighting for. We need to know the reasons.

    Not sure that May might be too early.

  17. contriteshadow

    Before MarchInMarch, the last time I protested was over thirty years ago. Desperate times. Thank you, for this thoughtful and passionate piece that lists so many of the reasons I marched. And I totally agree that LNP has an agenda. I believe the reason they’re implementing it so swiftly is because they suspected most Aussies wouldn’t stand for it…well, we did stand, and walked out our doors, and marched in the streets. I disagree with your math, though. I’ve set myself the task of bringing nine friends next time.

    And I still haven’t found a grassroots movement that started with so many people. Anyone?

    What part of “We have no confidence in you,” did they not understand?;-)

  18. mikestasse

    Problem is…… governments are no longer in charge. We lost our democracy years ago when the corporations took over the job of ‘governing’. The oligarchs have their arms up the pollies’ arses, and they make the lips move with their fingers. All lies. You can march all you like……. the corporations weren’t elected, you can’t toss them out, and they don’t give a shit about us…. they just laugh at us.

  19. Stephen Tardrew

    I ain’t lyin down for no one.

  20. clarissa

    I reckon we should march every month and this article is spot on and a breath of fresh air in everything it says. Giving up and thinking that Corporations don’t give a toss about us is too damn easy, that is exactly what they want and will have if we think like that, fear is their motto, they want you to think that there is no way out, I don’t want to accept their terms and let them ruin our country in no time. No way Jose, I believe in the power of the people and I will be in, bringing more people with me each time. However, this does need to happen very soon as the rate of destruction and disregard to what took others so many decades to build is bloody alarming. Let us stay connected through our outrage and what we still have as freedom of speech and communication.

  21. Stephen Tardrew

    mitkestasse: Having lived through a lifetime of doomsayers I think we are being driven by evolution and not human imperatives. However it is incumbent upon us to see that we, to some reasonable degree, survive using a broad range of tools available. Solutions may yet come from unforeseen scientific discoveries. Seeing that science is moving along at breakneck speed there are many possibilities.

    The future is the one thing we cannot predict accurately though statistical modelling gives us some idea of the possibilities. I was involved in the alternative lifestyle movement in Nimbin, built my own house and reached a degree of self-sufficiency, however we discovered our future will unavoidably be built upon technology so it was more important to participate and help control the beast than isolate from it.

    Self-reliance is a myth since we are inevitably tribal creatures with an innate sense of community and cooperation. That is how societies evolve. Regardless we need to do this together because billions of people are living in poverty while we have the resources to feed them and the solution will only come from cooperative ventures involving technology.

    Yes we need to challenge the current greed based economic rationalist paradigm removing power from a bunch of elitist self-serving oligarchs and the only way to do that is in community of active participants.

    Yes global warming is a great threat however there is a lot of game play to go yet.

    There are many people working on viable alternatives that will help shape the future. They are there if you look. We need to build a variety of meta-theoretical models for sustainable future which is what The Earth Institute and Stanford University, amongst others, CASSE, The Millennium Project, Jacques Fresco, and a whole bunch of scientist and engineers, too many to be referenced here, are doing.

    In fact diversity is a far better solution than mono-lifestyle self-sufficiency on its own. We need diversity and experimentation.

  22. Douglas Evans

    March in March was an uplifting experience. However, like the Occupy movement (remember that) it was entirely without effect other than in the comments columns of a few blogs (where they both generated a mass of activity – for a while). March in May, if it occurs will be tiny by comparison with the original. Without a political program (which issues in which order), a political voice or any means of spreading the message to anyone other than those who are already convinced, such outpourings of general frustration have very little effect. They require a tremendous amount of effort to organize and achieve nothing (other than reassuring those who march that they are not alone) unless they reflect political power. March in March did not reflect political power. Time is very short, reinventing the wheel is a luxury we can’t afford. If you are serious and actually want something to happen as a result of your commitment to action, choose your issues. Find the political party, NGO or community group that best reflects your concerns. Join it (or them). Decide how much time you can give on a regular basis and get active in trying to drive change via the endless grind of door knocking, letter boxing, fund raising, lobbying, policy writing, targeted protest, etc. Far more effective for twenty or thirty people with a shared issue of wide relevance to protest weekly for a protracted period on the footpath outside the electoral office of a vulnerable politician than for 100,000 to march once or twice in support of a long list of complaints. I’ve done both and it’s clear to me which was most useful. I marched in March – it was fun. I also spent a few hours cold calling folks in WA for an Environmental NGO in the run up to the WA senate re-run asking them to consider the environment when they voted. Not as much fun but given that Ludlam was re-elected, definitely more useful.

  23. Barry Tucker

    I wonder how many are aware of the extent of the changes, the abolitions, the cancelling of funding, etc, under Abbott. I came across this huge list:

    https://t.co/4yLf9IQdFQ

    I don’t know who produced that list or how to find later copies of it, if there will be any.

    Sally McManus is keeping a similar list at:

    http://t.co/MBbcWQAnzz

  24. Douglas Evans

    I’ve just thought of the perfect example of the difference between symbolic and effective action that I was trying to illustrate in my last comment. While we are wittering on about the power of March in March the IPA have raised almost all the money they need to fund a book on climate change containing a litany of lies and disinformation with contributions from the entire star-studded cast of global deniers and conspiracy theorists. According to the mass mail-out email from that evil old idiot Ian Plimer we are unlikely to find it on the shelves of our local bookshop. It will be sent direct to Federal parliamentarians, journalists and others with a bit of leverage. They are fund raising for it with a public lecture on May 1 by (notorious climate change ‘denier’) Dr Patrick Michaels. According to my most recent missive from the IPA:

    “Dr Michaels is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C., and was previously a Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. He earned his PhD in climatology in 1979, and since that time has been published extensively in scientific journals on the topic. He is the author of many important books on climate change, including Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know, and is a prolific media commentator.

    In this recent article for Forbes Dr Michaels explained why many climate scientists have allowed themselves to be compromised by government funding. In The Washington Times in December he wrote this important piece on why green energy is over-hyped and doesn’t deserve subsidies from taxpayers.

    Dr Michaels will be speaking about the exaggerated claims, bad science and harmful policies being advocated in the name of climate change. Don’t miss your chance to hear from Dr Patrick Michaels in person during his Australian tour. He will be in Melbourne at:

    5.00pm for 5.30pm
    Thursday 1 May
    At CQ Functions
    113 Queen Street, Melbourne

    This event is complimentary for IPA members and $15 for non-members. Bookings are essential as places are limited.”

    Now which action (IPA book or March in March) do you think will most strongly affect progress towards action on global warming?

  25. mikestasse

    Stephen Tardrew……… the doomsayers have been warning us for FORTY years we were heading to “here”. And nobody ever did anything. We sleepwalked our way to collapse. Who was it who said the smartest species will go extinct from its own stupidity…???

  26. randalstella

    We need to find out fast: are Labor friend or foe? Why are they not expressing the concerns expressed daily in these columns; concerns about very basic aspects to functionally open and public-spirited governance?
    Are they trying, and the MSM are so suppressive the messages are not getting through? We hear about the reactionary menaces Labor has and had as Senators from WA: (Bullock now; Bishop retiring). We hear about some useless reactionary squabble among themselves over the “memoir” of that strange Dick-Tracy-land denizen, Bob Carr.
    But we hear so very little on the unprecedented destructiveness of the regime that Labor are supposed to be opposing. Why? Is Labor going to be Abbott-lite?
    Do they have any future as a progressive force in Aust. politics? Why do we get no real answer even when we contact them directly?

  27. randalstella

    Thanks Mike

  28. Moth

    There is no confusion about what MiM stood for or what Occupy stood for. In both cases they are what has been coined the Progressive Coalition.

    In short, progressives are, by their sheer nature, loosely associated. Yet we are witnessing an ultra-conservative backlash to a world too modern for their liking. The Progressive Coalition are a unity on a number of basic – humanistic – values that we all share that our current governments and certain industries do not share. So much so that these groups are abhorrent to basic egalitarianism, community and progressive principles.

    We are united because small, powerful, self-serving groups undermine the basic standard of living that we should collectively aspire to.

    Of course most media will ignore it. We are talking about media that worked hard to produce propaganda to get this government in. They are not about to point out that more than 100,000 were so motivated against the policies of this government that they scarified their personal time to march on the streets of Australia.

    If the values of MiM meant anything to you, you must continue, because each one of us is the inertia behind this momentum. We must get louder or else risk giving up our reefs, our forests, the quality of our public schools and hospitals; basically give up the country we thought we lived in. We must maintain the values we stand for.

  29. Moth

    I tried to include a picture from MiM, but it didn’t attach. This is the link to it.

  30. diannaart

    Excellent article.

    We need do everything we can; march, lobby, phone-calls, letters, signing up with other activists. Remember the MiM succeeded only as far as it received publicity – not far enough.

    We have a dangerous government that is steadily implementing the IPA’s dream list, take a look and see how many far-right goals have either been completed or nearly completed:

    http://ipa-wishlist.com/the-list

  31. Sean

    Thanks diannaart, and thanks also for your previous comments which I quoted above, and which pretty much form the basis of my argument. To all the naysayers, you are welcome to stay home, since it will probably be raining anyway. 🙂

  32. diannaart

    Back atcha Sean.

    🙂

    I started out gloomy and now, thanks to you, Truthie and others am feeling I am coming back to life.

  33. Stephen Tardrew

    mikestasse:
    April 11, 2014 • 10:24 am

    That may well be the case. What is to say we are not an intermediate species that will require a series of crises to evolve and adapt and it could well be that general artificial intelligence could provide the logical foundations for a coherent and rational future based upon sustainability.

    A lot of the future may well be lived in virtual reality and therefore the ego stimulus of the international holiday set may be doomed to extinction. Evolution is a complex process and though the underlying principles seem simple the dynamic play between self-interest and communitarian cooperation will play out in ways we cannot yet conceive.

    The paradoxes of physics seem to supervene upon phenomenal reality so to some extend paradox itself plays a role in sentient development. One critical question remains why magic and mythological subjectivism evolves before logical rational thinking?

    We are still beginners with much to learn. I share your angst however the process is much deeper than any individuals conception of the truth.

  34. mars08

    Evolution is a complex
    process and though the underlying
    principles seem simple the dynamic
    play between self-interest and
    communitarian cooperation will play
    out in ways we cannot yet conceive.

    In the meantime we hope that the ruling apes start to wise up…

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