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January 2011



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
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Australia Day celebrates racism and genocide

If Wikileaks teaches us anything it is that our leaders lie. And lie. And lie.

Australia Day will be no different. Bourgeois cliches about the lucky country (what irony!) and our great nation will compete with bullshit about our brave soldiers overseas and how we all in  this together. 

It’s time for some truth about our genocidal and racist history. As George Orwell said, and Wikileaks emphasises, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

White Australia has a black history.

For 65000 years Aboriginal people lived here in harmony with themselves and the environment.  Australia Day does not recognise that proud history and prior stewardship. It whitewashes this history by celebrating the arrival of a bunch of neocolonialists and their convicts and guards a mere 223 years ago.

Australia is built on the bones of aboriginal people.

Our country is trapped in its genocidal history. Henry Reynolds estimates that, between 1788 and 1920, 20,000 Aboriginal people fell defending their land in an ongoing war against the invaders. The Indigenous population dropped from 300,000 at the time of the invasion to 70,000 130 years later.

Many of these people died because of disease, but they also died as a result of the consequences that flow from genocide and dispossession – poverty, alienation, loss of social structure, alcoholism, racism, lack of food, stolen generations to name a few.

Genocide against Aboriginal people is one theme that runs through the history of the last 223 years. The failure to recognise that genocide is another ongoing theme.

 The myth of Australia Day – of Australia as some sort of peacefully settled country – reflects the white bourgeoisie’s attempts to airbrush its brutal role from history.  It is also about lulling working people into a mistaken belief they have an interest in the present economic system, that we are all in this big one happy family together.  

Aborigines were not passive victims of the white invasion. In and around Sydney, for example, Pemulwuy was a famous freedom fighter defending his land and life. From 1790 to 1802 he waged a sporadic, and then more concerted, guerrilla war against the white invaders.

In 1801 Governor King ordered that Aborigines around Parramatta, Georges River and Prospect could be shot on sight. Late in the year he offered a reward for Pemulwuy’s death or capture. That ‘worked’. Pemulwuy’s killers decapitated him and sent his head to England in alcohol.

There are many other Indigenous freedom fighters we whites ignore; fighters who in a less racist society would be honoured for the correctness of their stance and the courage of their resistance. Where are our monuments to these fallen heroes?

It was Marx who wrote that the tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the mind of the living. This is true in two senses for Aborigines.

First the consequences of the invasion continue today. The war against Aborigines, what I describe as genocide, has fundamentally alienated Aboriginal people from their land, their identity, their culture and themselves. For example there is a shocking 17-year gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

The second aspect of being trapped by the past is that the policies of dispossession and genocide are being implemented even today.

We invaded the Northern Territory in 2007 to further the destruction of our Indigenous people’s links to their land and culture. 1788 is being repeated today.

Disgracefully the Rudd and Gillard Labor Governments continued Howard’s racist Northern Territory intervention, an invasion clearly aimed at further dispossession of aboriginal people and their complete subjugation to the dictates of their white masters around grog, what they can buy, how much they can spend and whose land it really is.

The Stolen Generations represented an attempt to wipe out Aborigines through forced assimilation. The Bringing Them Home Report on the Stolen Generations says that the past is very much with us today, in the continuing devastation of the lives of Indigenous Australians. The report clearly recognises our actions, in removing children from their parents in order to wipe out the Aboriginal race, as genocide. It says:

Systematic racial discrimination and genocide must not be trivialised and Australia’s obligation under international law to make reparations must not be ignored.

Far from being socially divisive, reparations are essential to the process of reconciliation.

I would suggest to ‘left-wing’ Labor Party Minister Macklin that she re-read the report and implement its recommendations: recommendations that for years festered in the bowels of John Howard’s mind and have remained undigested in the constipation that is the ALP.

Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations was symbolism substituting for action.  It is clear that Rudd and now Gillard have no intention of taking the apology its next logical step,a step Roland Wilson urged in his Stolen Generations report – reparations for this attempted genocide.

Land rights at present are a sop to big business and the wider racist mentality that aborigines will steal our backyards.

I have been struck  by another solution, encapsulated in a Midnight Oil song called Beds are Burning. Peter Garrett sang:

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share
The time has come
A fact’s a fact
It belongs to them
Let’s give it back

Exactly Peter. Let’s pursue real land rights in the context of fundamental reconciliation, because reconciliation is about more than a half-hearted apology aimed at disguising the lack of action.

For overseas readers, Garret is now a committed member of the Rudd Labor Ministry and such words no longer pass his lips.  He has sold out.  It is not the man who changes the system but the system that changes the man.  Or maybe it is a case of the host taking over the parasite.

Like the warriors of old, Aborigines today will need to fight for justice. Appealing to the good nature of all Australians will not work. Relying on Gillard and Macklin will not work.

Now is the time to mobilise Aboriginal people and their millions of supporters to force the ‘Labor’ Government to recompense the stolen generation, withdraw the troops and others from the Northern Territory, introduce land rights that recognise prior ownership and set up a system of compensation for the loss of sovereignty.

Aborigines have never ceded sovereignty to the colonial invaders. There must be a treaty recognising prior ownership and all the legal, social and financial responsibilities that flow from that. Just as importantly there has to be aboriginal management of aboriginal affairs.

None of this will be won by petitions, or electing aboriginal people to Parliament, or relying on Labor. As Tunisia shows, only struggle from below offers the chance of changing the world.

That means to me uniting the struggle for aboriginal liberation with the struggle for the liberation of all humanity – the fight for socialism.

Australia Day perpetuates our founding myths and enslaves our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. In the spirit of true reconciliation let’s abolish this celebration of genocide. Let’s instead celebrate the 65000 years of indigenous history and stewardship of this land.  And pay the rent.



Comment from Peter
Time January 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Sorry, but I can’t agree with the premise that one culture is superior to another and that its members deserve anything more than anyone else because of wrongs done to prior generations of people.

If that was the case, endless future generations of white australians should be able to claim compensation from England for shipping their ancestors here in chains in the first place.

Each new generation needs to be treated equally regardless of their parents racial background or other means or attributes. That means no special favours for either. If that means death duties and the nationalisation of private schools, then so be it.

Comment from John
Time January 23, 2011 at 7:59 am

Ah, the prior wrongs argument. These are wrongs done in the past and which continue their legacy.

How can their be ‘equality’ in your terms if one group is chained up?

These are not just past wrongs – not only does their legacy continue but we are continuing to commit the same wrongs today.

This represents, to put it in your terms, the view that white anglo capitalist culture is superior to Aboriginal culture.

Comment from Calligula
Time January 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm

“Australia is built on the bones of aboriginal people”
Now, now.
Start with first principles –
Australia was established on the morals of the Rum Corps.
The bones shortly followed but they weren’t all aboriginal nor did all white ancestors add to the pile.

Like most military invasions/occupations of valuable and strategic land the less principled of the invaders just used the native population for practice while they built up the SOPs and capability they’d need in future.
Unfortunately Australia was first garrisoned mostly by misfits, psychopaths and proper bastards and not much has changed since.

The rest of your tome, fair enough – but I’d like to know when someone is going to latch on to the fact that it ain’t just original Australians that the bludgers in our parliaments are screwing crosseyed.
I’ve just finished writing about what Beattie did to the constitution of Qld based on what the Nats did when in power previously.

How, might I ask, short of open revolt, can a majority do the right thing for a disenfranchised, marginalised minority if the majority are in exactly the same boat themselves?
See –

Comment from Walter
Time January 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm

You cannot simply blame the Rum Corps calligula. It was British government decisions and I actually agree with John’s posting here.

New Zealand did not suffer the same genocide, nor did Canada and South Africa. It was the policy of the English to wipe out the Aboriginal people and we, as the fortunate recipients of that, should pay and make restorations for that.

We all wouldn’t be living in a wealthy, open country if not for the slaughters and land grabs.

Why we don’t have a treaty is beyond any logic. The sad reality is if Aborigines had killed more whites, faught harder or not help feed the invaders, we might have a treaty.

Comment from juanR
Time January 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Apropos of Australia Day and all that sentimental looking back, allow me to throw in this bit and encourage you to look ahead instead.

“What will 2011 bring us? In the western world, thanks to ruthless political ideology and cruel opportunism, we will see the biggest roll back of the welfare state since its creation. Millions of people will be plunged into poverty. Their health, and the health of their children, will suffer – and not only in the short term, but for a generation to come.

It is fashionable today to hate the state. But we forget the contribution the state has made to our overall wellbeing. Material deprivation and mortality are closely linked. The idea that a classe dangereuse threatens our polity—an undeserving poor that needs to be kicked and harassed into work—is a myth that has gained currency in every era, fuelled by fear and mistrust among an insecure middle-class and fanned by governments desperate to maintain their tenuous grip on power. But the state has been critical to human survival. The connection between the notion of human welfare and state responsibility brought peace, competent administration, compulsory schooling, good housing, a public health system, nutrition, hygiene laws, investment in science, reliable health statistics, safe water, sanitation, and a new compassion that fostered solidarity and social protection.

State and society are inter-dependent. Doctors should energetically reject the arguments of those who ignore this history. We must be the vanguard of popular resistance to check this brutal philistinism.”

The Socialist Newsletter? No.

Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet, p14. Vol 377 January 1, 2011

Comment from Calligula
Time January 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Where do you come from?
Sorry mate but please get past schoolboy history.
Oz was set up on the cheap as a managed risk in the Great Game of world domination by a ruthless and ambitious emerging power, Great Britain.

I’d love to have a discussion with people out there who can get past the twaddle we’ve all been spoonfed since preschool but we’d have to acknowledge some time that we were all an important part of Empire once and have a perfect right to proudly stand on our digs now.

F’r instance most Aussies wouldn’t want to know how important our ‘boongs’ were raising horses, beef, leather and wool for the Indian Army but, by God, they did.

It has me completely stuffed, again for instance, how Aboriginal people can be such a vitally important part of our Northwestern defence while they’re still being treated as lepers by the ignorant.
It is not the ‘masters’ putting shit on our aboriginals. They are just letting the condition happen so’s that we honest citizens do that for them free of charge.

I wrote about the vital importance of other ethnic groups elsewhere often enough to cut grooves in this keyboard. Google me up and have a read.

Australia was once a dynamic place attracting allcomers.
They somehow achieved miracles while being put down by a basically constipated, corrupt regime that arose, as I said, from the ethical standards brought here by the British establishment.

Somehow, despite that, we all prevailed.
We did not need that idiot Hawke to tell us that we were a multi-national society.

But I’m only a dickhead Qlander with British, Scottish, Irish, Italian, Polish, Italian blood in my veins so my input probably doesn’t count.
And, sorry mate, I can generically blame the ‘Rum Corps’ by way of a political statement.
By ‘Rum Corps’ we mention a corrupt tontine that set first standards for the ethical conduct of the emerging society.
What began with corruption continues in ways more entrenched and widespread but, for those with open eyes or unfortunate to have been subject to it, just as gratuitously confident and overweeningly malicious.

Comment from Calligula
Time January 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Re my last –
Please read –
Especially –
NORFORCE is a unique organisation for many reasons. It has the largest area of operations of any military unit in the world today and is permanently assigned to a Joint Commander for ongoing surveillance operations in northern Australia . The unit relies heavily on the commitment and local knowledge of the population of northern Australia to fulfil its role. It has a high proportion of Aboriginal soldiers whose talents are fully utilised. NORFORCE remains well-equipped to undertake its tasks, which differ little whether the nation is at peace or at war. The Regiment continues to develop in terms of the acquisition of new equipment and facilities and, consequently, is continually enhancing its capabilities. NORFORCE continues to enjoy great support from the local population from which it draws its soldiers, and which is its very reason for existing.

Comment from Arjay
Time January 24, 2011 at 5:32 am

Actually Calligulla the Rum Corp evolved because of the shortage of money coming from England.One person blames massive corruption in England so the military imported rum and made a handsome profit using rum as the medium of exchange.Now the British elites got pissed off because they were not getting a cut from the convict labour,so they sent Governor Bligh out to make the colony more efficient and start paying.

Bligh as we all know was a tyrant and the soldiers revolted.In the early days they couldn’t have had the facilities to produce decent rum otherwise the soldiers would not have had a monopoly on rum.

The corruption was not just in the colonies, it was also back in the motherland.

So our currency should not be called $ but rum.

Comment from Walter
Time January 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Calligula, before you get so side-tracked you end up in the Arctic – this is what John posted:
“Australia is built on the bones of aboriginal people. Our country is trapped in its genocidal history. Henry Reynolds estimates that, between 1788 and 1920, 20,000 Aboriginal people fell defending their land in an ongoing war against the invaders. The Indigenous population dropped from 300,000 at the time of the invasion to 70,000 130 years later.”

That is what I was commenting on, not some damn NORFORCE or Bob Howke or your lineage!

The fact is, the British committed genocide against our aboriginal people – yet different outcomes happened in New Zealand, South Africa and other outposts of the Empire.

This is because of the way the Brits viewed aboriginals and their ‘worth’ – terra nullas says it all.

Australia Day celebrates the destruction of another people and their many nations and cultures. It is crap. When Mark Taylor gets awarded Aust of the Year, you know you live in an immature, racist place.

Comment from Calligula
Time January 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Arjay –
The NSW Corps was a ‘special unit’ specifically raised to garrison the new colony.
There are a few ways at looking at why insufficient currency was available (like no standard currency available in England at the time) in NSW and why booze (generically termed rum) and other portable non perishables supplemented barter in transactions there – but what made the NSW Corps the Rum Corps was the low standard of their cadres and their propensity to monopolise such commerce as existed while operating ‘business models’ that would be perfectly familiar now both to the Mafia and to Woolworths.

The tontine, a concept I first read about in “The Timeless Land” trilogy.
Eleanor Dark’s work describes the predatory, almost cannibalistic aspect of relationships within the colony ‘management’ in that a colleague’s/business partner’s death not only meant promotion within the military but also profit through the shareout of the deceased Corpsman’s interest in the tontine.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the resultant tyranny and corruption became so much a feature of the new colony that it tainted every aspect of life and continued as an underlying feature of Australian governance until the present day.

As for much maligned Billy Bligh – who paid the price more than once for not suffering dishonest fools gladly – it is interesting how our schoolboy histories treat him with contempt.

Do you see Arjay how there might be something wrong with, some ulterior motive behind an official history that brands a corruption fighter and whistleblower, an honest man, so completely shabbily.

Our ‘official histories’ are full of such mistruths – especially about our first people and those who weren’t afraid to be different from the rest of the pack of invasive curs.

Comment from Calligula
Time January 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm

John –
The only way white to coffee coloured Aussies will ever get around to paying the rent is by rending apart the logjam in the way of progress toward a charter of rights that is equitable for All Australians.

I read what Walter said about treaties but the day for a treaty as such is long past. (What, have an Aboriginal Australian serviceman/policeman/politician? sign a treaty after he’s already a citizen AND sworn the Oath of Allegiance?)

By now you must have figured I’m convinced that it is not only the Aboriginal people copping it badly – the day for that is gone as well. As JuanR has so ably indicated the oligarchy has been amassing the forces of mass detriment for some while (has to be bad when the Lancet notices).

Perhaps it’s because myself and family have watched the south to north migration flow ever northwards past our front door in twice yearly bursts for years that I’m convinced it ain’t a search for an easy life causing the phenomenon.
These are marginalized and disenfranchised people being evicted by elitists from increasingly dysfunctional unsustainable urban locations.

Please believe me when I say I’m not being elitist when I suggest that a fair few of these dislocated are feral enough to cause a world of grief to even the most self-sufficient Aboriginal person once they start arriving up there ‘on country’.
It’ll be like the First Fleet arriving all over again but with more booze, more drugs, more weapons and disease.

And other than accepting a scenario of increased disruption to all peaceful lifestyle escalating to affray, rebellion and vigilante action the only choice we have is to recognize the causes of this and act plurry damn quick.

We need a Charter of Rights and consequential constitutional amendments yesterday.
We need a true “user pays” revenue stream – which means the grossest users/squeezers in this common-wealth get to pay first.

Now I have my ideas who might be the biggest users/squeezers around the ridges but I wouldn’t mind betting that John had a current list somewhere fairly eliminating those who for some strange reason presently pay the highest proportion of their incomes as tax.

Ah – the long standing influence of the Rum Corps.

Comment from Calligula
Time January 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Walt –
Who is this Mark Taylor?
Is he more important than Hawkie?

Why do you think outcomes for natives were different in other ‘outposts of Empire’?
Can assure you the Poms set the Scotch and Irish agin ‘em all – just that some fought back with a little more resources than our people could muster.
Go read more history from books with more maps and less colour pikkies please Walt.

Did you know the seppos sent their General Phil Sheridan here so the Poms could teach the US Army how to commit genocide?
Yes I know they were bastards and the seppos were keen to learn from the best.

What is wrong with supporting John’s article by pointing out that not only are Aus Aboriginals still being victimized by a society that all the same recruits them in trust to defend our borders?
I make the point that these citizens swore the Oath of Allegiance
Citizens – get it.
About the only point I disagree with John is on the legal point that a nation does not and cannot co-sign a treaty; cannot, as such, treat with, its own citizens – such would be absurd.
Of course Aboriginal nations could combine, secede and then attempt to treat with state and commonwealth but what a barristerfest that’d be.
Then when negotiations broke down we’d have more seppo generals here ‘observing’ the response.

Comment from Calligula
Time January 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Well there you go Walter –
A senior academician/historian gets on the radio with Flip Adams last night to corroborate what I’d been telling you.

The colonization of this benighted place was a risk managed el-cheapo project intending to become a substantial link in world domination.

We can now forget the shame of being nothing but the descendants of convicts and take on our shoulders something infinitely worse – we are the descendants of imperialist warmongers whose intention was to subsume the world to one will.
It would be best for us to remember that England succeeded for some time – “The sun never set”, etc – but only for a time.

Australia, though, still chasing the farts of another failing empire and still treating all too many including our Original People so abominably – just keeps plugging along relying upon the ignorance and apathy of its populace to support by inaction the quasi-legitimacy of its regimes.

Pingback from En Passant » Australia day and reaction
Time January 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm

[…] Readers might also like to look at Australia day celebrates racism and genocide. […]

Comment from musicartstar
Time January 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Much of what Calligula says is true and interesting, but one expression is worth claryifying..

The word “Boongs” is (was) a common aussie word (and subject of racist jokes).. but in my research i discovered that it was a word from the Eora (Sydney tribe) language. Literally translated it means “anus” (or arsehole). Makes me glad its not used as much now as it used to be..

Also, IMHO, the “user-pays” concept went too far when it started applying to social security and essential services. If we are truly a “commonwealth” then the excess should be shared – and the poor not counted as “users”.

Good to see some real discussion going on with this important and abused subject!

Comment from Calligula
Time January 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Dear Musicartstar –
Bless you.
Please forgive ‘Boongs’. Sometimes old words need be used to break through apathy.

And you are absolutely spot-on about Commonwealth.
But in the same way that ‘they’ used to say about ‘Boongs’ – ‘they’(the whites) will have to get up off their arses before that (social justice) happens.
But ‘they’ think their raffle winners somehow become royalty once elected – that they’re empowered to dictate.
The combo makes for intense frustration; Ja?

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