All posts by Workers BushTelegraph

Workers BushTelegraph discusses current and past events, books and film with the aim of sharing worker political education and consciousness. WBT poses 3 questions: who owns the land, workers control of production and democratic rights.

العودة The Return العودة

“We travel like other people, but we return to nowhere … we have a country of words” – Mahmoud Darwish

They began by shooting the militants; then they shot the children throwing stones; and when that was not enough, they began shooting the medics; and finally they are shooting the journos. Israeli snipers have shot over 36,000 Palestinians since the March of Return began in 2018. With such a savage repressive state it throws into question: will non-violent resistance will be enough in the Palestinian struggle for Return?

Shireen Abu Aqleh was assassinated by Israeli occupation forces
This experienced was journalist wearing a blue helmet and vest with ”PRESS” written over it and was murdered by Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday 11 May 2022.

Journalists on the scene explained how Israeli snipers targeted their colleagues. The first three bullets fired at the scene were misses then one hit a male journalist (in the back) then when Shireen shouted that he was hit, she was killed with a bullet beneath the ear. Her colleague was transfixed fully expecting to be the next person shot. But a Palestinian climbed over the rock wall behind her and tried to give assistance. Then they fired at him. Why? The Israelis in the jeep nearby were likely to have been the murderers. And remember they were in Jenin where Israeli bombs fell like rain only a few years before, levelling the refugee camps. What did they expect? That people would not resist? Even children understood these cowardly acts fully funded by the US government. Now the US congress are voting almost unanimously to send arms to Ukraine even tough there is a shortage of baby food in the US ATM.

So people marched with Shireen’s coffin from Jenin to Jerusalem, thousands joining them on the way. So Israeli police deploy shock troops, stun grenades, tear gas, smoke bombs. It is not enough. So the settlers go to the empty homes of the mourners and put in their own furniture and occupy the buildings of the Palestinians. This is colonialism supported by the US, supported by the UK, supported by all the settler states, including Australia. Shame on you all!

But shame is not enough. Nor is the International Criminal Court under the influence of American liberals.

Our condolences go out to the sisters, brothers, and comrades in the struggle of five million people who struggle for the right of return to Palestine.

Ian Curr
14 May 2022

Songs
Phil Monsour – I left my heart in Palestine
Allie Sherlock & Three Buskateers – Dreams

 The Return - العودة

Political Music

This week on the Paradigm Shift is a special episode where you get to hear the fruits of Andy’s labour digging through the 4ZZZ CD library. I spent a while digitising old CDs that had fallen through the cracks and today on the show play a selection of mostly forgotten political songs from the compact disc era!

Exodus and the Wailers – Traffic jam

Ken Boothe – Is it because I’m black?

Steve Towson – The Ogoni 9

H-Block 101 – Koka-colonisation

Strange Tenants – Soldier boy

Dead Prez – We need a revolution

Scripted Dialects – Star Wars

Penelope Swales – Bougainville

Judy Small – What was her name?

Ani Difanco and Utah Phillips – The most dangerous woman

Emmylou Harris – The pearl

Nina Hagen and Lene Lovich – Don’t kill the animals

May Day special

This week’s show is a May Day workers special. Andy asks Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford some existential questions about the role of unions in 2022, plus offer some musings of my own on what makes a working class analysis actually useful. And some great union songs!

Playlist
Mat Ward The workers united will never be defeated
Evan Greer Picketline song
Wurst NurseDedication doesn’t pay the rent
A Commoners Revolt The martyrs eight
Jenny Pineapple Rock against work

Transcript
https://otter.ai/u/hAjixclD5ubx3UGfQnD51Kr3ouc

Palestinian Nakba Rally and March

FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2022 AT 5:30 PM

Palestinian Nakba rally and march

King George Square

May 15 1948 is the anniversary of the Nakba, the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. This year we will join in solidarity with the Palestinian people to mark the anniversary on the 13th of May at 5.30pm in King George Square

Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, made 750,000 to one million indigenous Palestinians into refugees to establish a Jewish-majority state in Palestine.

Today, more than 7 million Palestinian refugees are living in exile, while 5 million Palestinians live under the control of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

Join us on the 74th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba to say NO to Israel’s ongoing, intensifying Nakba and its war crimes, and to demand the right of the Palestinian refugees to return home.

We acknowledge that we’ll be gathering on the stolen lands of the Yuggera and Turrbal peoples, whose sovereignty over these lands was never ceded.

The strange case of Mohammed el Halabi

A Palestinian man jailed in Gaza by the Israeli authorities on the basis that he streamed $50 million from the Australian Government to Hamas, a organization labeled as being a terrorist group by both Israeli and Australian governments. Despite an audit by DFAT the Israelis continued to detain Mohamed el Halabi even though he has the full support of World Visions founder here in Australia, Kim Costello, the brother of the former treasurer of Australia, Peter Costello.

Nikita – Amnesty International (click CC for subtitles to overcome poor sound)

One can only conclude that Israeli authorities just pick up whom they wish and make up fictitious charges that could never be upheld in a properly constitued court of law. How does a young Palestinian man funnel money from the Australian Government to a terrorist organization? How fanciful is that?

The other aspect of this case is that it is not an isolated incident. Similar allegations were made against APHEDA (Union Aid Abroad) which had received $11 million from the Australian government and it was alleged by both right wing politicians both in Australia and Israel that Union Aid Abroad was funding Hamas instead of providing monies for agricultural projects in Gaza to grow fresh food.

Once again an audit was conducted. And despite that, the funding of Union Aid Abroad funding was pulled. This is ludicrous. This highlights the conduct of Australian, Israeli and United States governments that in concert with each other are attempting to withdraw all funding from NGOs and welfare organizations, which were set up because Palestinian land was stolen during Al Nakba in 1948. They set up these welfare organizations to assist the refugee Palestinians from their own houses.

Many Palestinians still carry the key to their residences which have been stolen by settlers under the full support of the Israeli military. So once again, we see the the colonial settler states implement illegal policies and then claim that they are not ‘failed democracies’. Full democratic rights need to be restored to the 800,000 Palestinians who have been made political prisoners in their own land since the Six Day War in 1967.

Free Free Mohamed El Halabi. Free Palestine from the river to the sea.

Ian Curr
2 April 2022

Resisting arms dealer Thales in Brisbane

Friday 25th March 2022

Thales rocket used by Indonesian military against West Papuans

Last Easter, a group of people from ‘Wage Peace’ went to the Thales factory/warehouse at Pinkenba. Jim Dowling was charged with “unauthorised high risk activity” for climbing on a roof and holding a banner near their large THALES sign.

Thales boasts that it is the 8th largest arms dealer in the world. They have received over a billion dollars from the Australian government since 2018.

They manufacture here in Australia Bushmaster Armoured (and armed) vehicles which they also export to Indonesia. It is known that these vehicles have been use in the killing of West Papuans.
They also manufacture bombs and bullets at their plant at Benalla.

Thanks to the Dowling family, Ciaron O’Reilly and Andy Paine for their resistance against the weapons manufacturer Thales based here in Brisbane (Meanjin). Jim Dowling had this to say outside Brisbane magistrates Court on 24 Mar 2022 :

Transcript of Interview with Jim Dowling, Ciaron O’Reilly and Franz by Andy Paine (apologies for errors in transcript … you can listen to interview on FB or on Soundcloud’s – 4PR Voice of the People.

Andy 

Welcome to ‘wage peace’ live on Facebook. We are here at the Brisbane Magistrates Court, a group of supporters and Jim Dowling here who is facing court today, for last year, disrupting Thales war machine facility here in Brisbane, up on the roof there and brought attention to what’s being done by this company in our neighboring Pacific and around the world. Jim, how are you feeling today?

Jim Dowling 

Yeah, pretty good to be standing up against the answer. It’s the thing to do. Right stuff or do stuff always merchant to death making a fortune out of war, and it’s pushing it.

Andy 

So can you tell us what happened last year? What’s brought you here?

Well, there’s a campaign against the arms trade in Brisbane last year. Quite a big campaign, they had an arms convention at the Southbank Convention Center. And before that, leading up to that we had lots of protests and different arms dealers members, the government’s giving $300 billion over 10 years to the art industry in Australia. To build it up to become one of the top 10 dealers in the world. That’s a noble goal (sarcasm). I will come out of the top 10. So we went to some of these places. We are two Thales at Pinkenba. They’vegot a factory there where they service ‘Bushmasters’. Bushmasters are armed personnel carriers which they sold a 100 to the Australian Government. They’s I’ve also sold a large number to Indonesia,  that they’ve been using them to kill West Papuans.

Jim Dowling 

So we were particularly focusing on the Indonesian connection. And there’s we’ve got pictures of rockets, which they also make, which have been used to bomb the West Papuans. So we’ve got evidence of this; Thales rockets collected by West Papuans.

And so last year, group of us went out there to their little factory and held banners and placards and I climbed on the roof and held a banner next to their to the sign saying ‘Making a killing in West Papua’ Thales.  So for that I was charged with this law called unregulated high risk activity, even though there’s absolutely no risk is very low, and there’s a fence all around the top of the roof. And anyhow, they bought in this floor to stop people have sailing off bridges and jumping and parachutes of buildings and stuff. By now they’re using against protesters, just because they can.

Jim Dowling 

So anyhow, we’re here today to continue the resistance to the arm trade, to say no to merchants of deaths. And further resisting this silly challenge. Yeah, resisting these murderous arms dealers.

Andy 

So not the first time here at the magistrate’s court resisting war, is it?

Jim Dowling 

Now there are quite a few times. Yeah, since the early 80s. Yeah.

Andy 

And what to you is the importance of doing these kinds of actions to resist war?

Jim Dowling 

Well, when I was in the WatchHouse recently, a copper said to me: “You’ll never change the world, mate”. And I used that as an opportunity quote famous quote, “I’m just making damn sure the world’s not going to change m, mate”.

 So you know, if we give up all hope, and we don’t resist violence and death making then you know, there’s not much, much of a life. We’ve got a quote on our wall and it says, Martin Luther King Jr. Says, “The day we remain silent about the things that matter, is the day we slowly die.”

So that’s why I’m here today to speak up, and to speak out about death making to do my little act of resistance in the hope that it will have an effect and every lttle act has some effect. If you’re being part of the system and not doing anything that has an effect. Not such a great effect. And if you’re resisting it having an effect as well. So I’m just doing my own resist, as we all are here today.

Andy 

All right. Anything else you want to say to the people of internet?

Jim Dowling 

Well, yeah, I got something. When Julian Assange was arrested, he’s been in custody for over 10 years in one way or another … if you ever watched the footage of him being dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy. We can him clearly say, “you can resist , you can resist! and I’d like to say that you can resist

Andy 

All right. Thanks, Jim. We will keep everybody on Facebook updated on how the trial guys I think I spotted Ciaron O’Reilly, he might have say a few words.

Ciaron O’Reilly 

Just reflecting on that, Jim 44 years ago when I was 17, just around the corner, when we were arrested, by the Queensland Police are expressing opposition to the mining and export of uranium, and the possibilities of nuclear war. And today, of course, we’re on the verge of a war back in Europe. And so obviously, Jim is in strife today with the courts, because in solidarity of the people in West copper, and we’re both very involved with the solidarity struggle, especially in the 90s of people in East Timor  … Timor Leste. And in the early years of that, it felt very much like this, just a handful of us. And today, of course, Timor is at least free of Indonesian military occupation. And, you know, we hope that that will be the future for West Papa.

And everything seems pretty cozy and civilized here in the center of empire. But the company is operating in this environment like Thales, create chaos and fascism, and assassination and torture and death just north of here in West Papa, it’s very hard to bring that reality into the apathy and comfort of George Street, Brisbane Australia, It is great that Jim’s kept this up for the last 44 years. And there’s an old saying that ‘the future belongs to the remnant come out of slavery’. And unfortunately, a lot of people are enslaved to consumerism and the mainstream media, not you Andy, in a kind of … a kind of zombification of civil society. Standing out here, pretty countercultural sign, trying to talk to people and engaging. Some people walking off jobs that they hate  … any questions.

Andy 

I will say we spoke about land forces last year, there’s a lot of resistance in Brisbane against the weapons trade with the land forces convention on weapons convention. And that will be on again in early October. And so if you are watching this video, and think, Hey, I don’t like war and weapons makers, then you too, can be part of the resistance … come along to ‘disrupt land forces’, it’ll be another big gathering of people trying to challenge the weapons industry and the billions of dollars of profit and the billions of dollars in government subsidies that they get, and say, keep following ‘wage peace’ or ‘disrupt land forces’ and you’ll find out the info of how you can get off your screen and come down and join in or if you’re at our place around the country, I can join in with other groups around the country, of course, lots of groups resisting the war machine. And we do need everybody … if peace is going to have a chance and we need at least as many people as there are organizing for war. And the military has very deep pockets to pay people which we don’t have. So we need the committed people to show up. We’ve got  Christine over here chatting to a bystander. Anybody else here want to have a chat to live video?

Quality supporters here, Franz does have his Papuan support group shirt on. We are here in solidarity with West Papuans people because Thales weapons, kill people all over the world and are involved in all kinds of conflicts and all kinds of dodgy deals. But for us in Australia, West Papua was very important. Franz, you want to say briefly why you think West Papa is important to stand up for?

Franz 

Yeah, well, they’re our closest neighbor. And they’ve been suffering for such a long time, you know, 60 years of persecution, invasion, still fighting for their freedom. And we not only trained the Indonesian military still who are going, persecute and kill West papuans, but we also sell them weapons. We’ve been doing that for a very long time. Weapons that are used to kill West Papuans in their own home. Our our weapons are built on this soil. So it’s a very, very important issue that not many people seem to talk about and to know much about. So yeah, I’m hoping to shine a light on

Andy
It is a war in our backyard. Only 100 kilometers from Australia’s coast. And yeah, we see so much about conflicts when the media deems them newsworthy on our news conflicts in faraway places. But the ones nearby don’t get covered. Of course, not just West Papua. We’re in the Asia Pacific region. We’ve also seen Myanma taken by a military coup and so many people have forgotten about that. We’ve had a conflictsd in the Pacific, in Fiji and all around the parts of the empire of Indonesia.

And, of course, the the mining companies that use the military to enforce their environmental destruction as well, some of these mining companies based in Australia with large arms in Australia, and they’re in West Papua, Indonesia, other parts of the world: Malaysia … using the military to enforce their destruction of our planet. And that’s the other thing that we need to call out the military for, especially as we come to face climate crisis. What role does the military play in this? Which which the answer is a lot? Anyway, that’s about it for us on Facebook Live this morning, stay tuned to ‘wage peace’. And you’ll find out how Jim goes in his trial … we are expecting him at the very least to give a very good speech in court. Plenty of experience of it and he’s never wanted to back down in the face of the legal authorities and say, it’s so important to show solidarity with those people who’ve stepped out taking a risk for peace and also to be those people … people who don’t just go along with the status quo which for so many people is so destructive, say tuning out now from ‘wage peace’, but see you at the next action.

Transcript by Ian Curr

Please correct any errors in the comments section down below.

*** STOP PRESS *** 25 march 2022

“Dear friends, once again police dropped charges for resistance to the arms trade, specifically Thales.
A small group of us vigiled outside the Brisbane court for an hour with a banner reading Put the Arms dealers on Trial and other placards. Once I got upstairs the Prosecutor informed me she would be dropping charges. A shame in some ways as I was looking forward to exposing the insidious nature of the Arms industry and its Brisbane connection, especially arming the Indonesian military to oppress West Papuans.”

Peace movement rallies outside Dutton’s Luncheon in Brisbane

I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service, and during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. – Major General Smedley D. Butler in 1931.

On 18 March 2022 outside the Hilton Hotel there was a rally for Peace organised by Just Peace while Minister for Defence, Peter Dutton, was speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce at a $2,000 luncheon inside the Hilton Hotel Brisbane. Here is what people at the rally had to say.

Here we are today, meeting gathering on Aboriginal land, land that was never seated. And we are also gathering at a venue that the defence minister, Mr. Dutton will be addressing a lunch of representatives of military corporations, military corporations, who are the ones who are really the only winners in war and militarism.

As we speak, millions of people have been displaced from their homes, in Ukraine, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen.

We’re meeting here today to say war is not the answer. We must, we must find another way. Because we’re on the brink of world war three. It’s a very sobering thought. And yet the escalation of militarism that’s going on around the world today can only lead us to a very, very dangerous point.

St Mary’s Choir at Peace Rally outside Brisbane Hilton

So thank you all for coming today to protest the defence minister, whipping up war and playing into the hands of the weapons corporations whose shares are going through the roof right at this moment. (Shame)

We have some great representatives of the Brisbane community here to speak today. And I’d like to start off the speaking order. With Ross Gwyther. Ross is one of the representatives from Queensland Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), a national network of unions, faith organizations, community groups, political groups. So Ross is going to speak to you and then we’ve got about half a dozen people lined up to speak after us so welcome Ross.

Annette Brownlie
Just Peace
18 Mar 2022

__oOo__

IPAN Talk at Dutton Rally  March 18 2022

Ross Gwyther

I would like to start by expressing our solidarity with indigenous peoples of Australian in their long struggle for justice, for a treaty and for recognition of their continuing sovereignty over this land.

I would also like to express, as part of the Australian peace movement, that we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and Russia. We are united in our common demands Peace in Ukraine – for Russia Out! NATO Out!

We in IPAN have called for an immediate ceasefire and genuine negotiations between Ukraine and Russia to bring peace and justice to the people of Ukraine.   The working people of Ukraine have the right to self-determination and sovereignty, to determine their country’s future.  They suffer as pawns in a proxy war between the United States, NATO and Russia.  The invasion of the Ukraine is unacceptable in international law.  And equally, we need to condemn the continued military expansion of NATO which precipitated this crisis.

Why are we gathering here today? 

Well we are here because Defence Minister and cheer-leader for war, Peter Dutton, is at a lunch function here at the Hilton Hotel.

We are here because the American Chamber of Commerce are lunching with him today.  They boast that they look for “opportunities for businesses to enter the national security supply chain or enhance their engagement across key areas including cyber, space, AI, and quantum?”

We are here because there are probably some representatives at this lunch of the five biggest big US weapons  manufacturers – like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman.  They  together sell $200 billion worth of arms each year.

We are here because the President in Australia of the second biggest of these multinationals, Boeing, is non other than the former Defence Minister, Brendon Nelson – another cheer leader for war and destruction.

But we are also here to stop those weapons manufacturing corporations, along with the other parts of big corporate America, enmesh us in Australia even more firmly into the war fighting strategies of the United States.   The decisions that lead to that, happen not in the halls of parliament  or in Government offices. The decisions are made in the boardrooms and lunchrooms where political leaders are feted and dined by the big end of town.  This lunch at the Hilton epitomises that decision making process.

I would like to quote a famous speech by Major General Smedley D. Butler in 1931.  He was one of the most decorated Marines in American History.  He said

I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service, and during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen 16 Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.

In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

We in Australia are being dragged into that world.  There are three different outcomes that this close connection between the Australian Government and the US weapons industry has led to:

Firstly there is an on-going campaign to demonize China.  A campaign to treat China as our enemy.  A campaign to threaten and intimidate China.  It is being led and promoted by the United States military industrial complex.  But they are using our  Australian Government and Australian people as pawns in this contention.

We know what happens to pawns.  Those of us who play chess are very aware.  Pawns are the first pieces to be moved on the chess board.  They are the first to be sacrificed.  They do not count for nearly as much as the other pieces in the “back line” of the chess board.  Our Federal Government – and it has to be said at this time the Federal ALP as well, are willing accomplices in us being used as pawns by American corporations trying desperately to stop the social and economic rise of China.   IF we continue this path, it can only end very badly.  Because it can only end in war.

The second outcome we have seen is building concrete alliances against China.   We have the QUAD alliance – Japan, India, the United States and Australia.  This alliance will add fuel to the fire of 800 US bases around the world, with close to 200 thousand US troops stationed at these bases – bases that mostly are encircling Russia and China.   Bases that have no purpose in defending the continental United States.

Now we have AUKUS – Australia, United Kingdom and United States – an agreement for Australia to obtain nuclear propelled submarines, as well as stationing more troops, ships and planes in Australia, upgrading the already considerable spying capabilities of Pine Gap and North West Cape.

The third outcome we hear just last week – Brisbane may well be a  nuclear submarine base on the east coast of Australia.   The people of Brisbane will become a prime nuclear target. 

The Quad and AUKUS agreements are imitations of NATO in the Asia Pacific.  Do we want the Asia-Pacific to be turned into a war zone of contention by big powers, constantly threatening the people and countries in this region?  Do we want Australia to be complicit in more wars of aggression?

How do we deal with these three terrible outcomes of the sorts of decisions and agreements made at lunches like the one we stand outside of now?   There is only one course that will turn this juggernaut around.  That is the course of continuing  to build a broad mass anti-war, peace movement.  We in the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network encourage to join with others in collectively building this dialog amongst the people. 

In Brisbane there are some very active and supportive member groups of IPAN – from the Quakers, to Friends of the Earth, to the Union of Australian Women, to unions such as the  MUA and  ETU, as well as many others.  If you would like to join IPAN, which now has over 50 peace, faith, community and trade unions as affiliates, come and speak to us after, and sign the contact sheet.

Together and united, we can win this struggle!. 

Ross Gwyther
IPAN
18 Mar 2022

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Dutton luncheon rally speech – Kristin Perissinotto

I would first like to acknowledge that we are on stolen land of the Jagera and Turabul People and that their sovereignty was never ceded. The Electrical Trades Union fully supports the Uluru Statement From The Heart and an enshrined voice for First Nations in the constitution – an initiative the current government doesn’t and apparently won’t support. And the reason for this is that the Liberal National government has no regard for genuine support for the community. 

They’re focussed on fear mongering propaganda that tells their voter base that we need billions of dollars worth of military equipment instead of spending on women’s safety, community programs, support for refugees and people seeking asylum, affordable housing, and services that legitimately serve the community. 

This government doesn’t consult. This government doesn’t support. This government doesn’t ask. This government tells. Peter Dutton is in this building right now TELLING an audience about a business opportunity. He got a few tips from Scotty from Marketing and he’s talking about how much money big businesses can make through militarisation. Dutton is in there right now liaising with reps from huge corporations that manufacture military equipment. Weapons that kill and equipment that enables killing. And he’s doing that in our name. 

What he and the LNP haven’t spent any time doing is finding out  whether or not we might WANT a nuclear future, whether we want a naval base in our backyard. Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison have been warning us about uncertainty in the region and increased risk, going back to the old Liberal playbook and using the catch cry of national security – but they won’t talk about the increased risk that nuclear poses.

They want to talk about the jobs the proposed naval base will provide, but they won’t talk about who will get those jobs, they won’t talk about how many jobs it will be, and they won’t talk about which businesses will benefit from the base. 

They’ll put fear in us about a vague threat of ‘China’ without providing any context or genuine information. They’ll tell us that riding on the coattails of the US will protect us, but they won’t say from what. The term ‘national security’ has been said so many times that Peter Dutton is probably muttering it in his sleep. It’s a marketing phrase – an election cry. It’s not a promise or a commitment, far from it. 

Because when the Libs talk about national security, they’re talking about keeping refugees out. People who have been displaced from what they deem the ‘unwelcome’ countries like Afghanistan. The ongoing terror in Afghanistan is just one example of Australia’s alliance with the US in action. We have blood on our hands when it comes to the lost lives of innocent Afghan people. And the government dragged its feet when it came to accepting refugees. 

When the Libs talk about national security, they’re talking about deporting visa holders who have been jailed due to traffic violations. Visa holders who haven’t lived in their home countries since they were children have been sent back to a strange land after being released from prison. First Nations People have been among the 4000 people deported by this government, many while Peter Dutton was at the helm.

When the Libs talk about national security, they are ignoring the real insecurity faced by Australians. Families who have no home. People who have to choose between putting petrol in their cars or food on the table. Workers who’ve had no choice but to work for exploitative labour hire companies, often working for less than the employee beside them. Sometimes unable to qualify for a home loan due to their insecure employment. These companies can fire workers with an hour’s notice. The LNP MADE that possible with the Building Code. The LNP has enabled insecurity. 

And the biggest insecurity of all: the climate. The LNP have made no genuine moves toward climate action in this country. The government continues to increase the spend on military equipment, but has dedicated very little to climate action and a renewable future.

Dutton and his LNP cronies are capitalising on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to pedal propaganda about securing our country. There are so many layers to unpack about how disturbing this is, but I’ll just focus on one.

It’s been very  interesting, watching the manner in which our government reacts to the invasion of Ukraine. It’s a horrific thing of course, and every unionist stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. But where is this outpouring from the government in relation to ongoing wars in other countries? I mentioned Afghanistan earlier – how quickly did that disappear from our news cycle? How quickly did that drop off the agenda of taking points from the prime minister? How often has the occupation of Palestine been in mainstream media since 1967, the first year of the aphartied? All we’ve heard in months is a vague tweet from Scott Morrison’s media advisor about the warm phonecall he had with the Israeli leader. 

Where’s the outrage when a country of people who are not christian, who are not white, live in terror and war? The people of Ukraine who look and live like many of us are given support, sympathy, and resources. The refugees from countries in the Middle East are criminalised for exercising their legal right to seek asylum in what they think is going to be a welcoming and multicultural country. 

War is fodder for this government. A marketing tactic. A sales opportunity for big businesses. A dog whistle for white nationalist voters. This government doesn’t care about security – national or otherwise. They care about winning an election. And the next one, and the next one. 

Kristin Perisonotto
ETU
18 Mar 2022

Empire of Lies

Interview with Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, Martin Arnold, on war in Ukraine.

SPEAKERS

Martin Arnold (Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest),
Ian Curr (4PR – Voice of the People).

Ian Curr 

Can you please introduce yourself?

Martin Arnold 

Good day. I’m Martin Arnold. I’m a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest. And I’m very concerned about what I would call Ukraine’s Kremlin problem. I could talk to you inexpertly, but at length, about things from 1721 to 1990. But I and the listener are more concerned about current issues in Ukraine.

Ian Curr 

Before we get into those current issues, could you tell our listeners a little bit about your association with Ukraine?

Martin Arnold

Well, I met up at Coorparoo state school in grade six with a Ukrainian lad, not knowing the Ukrainian language, Ukrainian religion. We are still friends Marko Pavlyshyn and I after all these years, and eventually, at a time when the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was short of priests, they would say, I became a Ukrainian, Greek Catholic priest. And for a long time, until 2008. In fact, I would explain to everybody almost straight away that although I’m a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, I’m a Queenslander and with with German ancestors and English, and Scottish.

Martin Arnold 

Q. Is Putin the unilateral source of aggression in Ukraine?

Martin Arnold 

I would say that the Putin government has wanted to destabilize the Ukrainian government, and increase its sphere of influence throughout what it describes as the former Soviet Union. I think there are a few people, Ukrainians, who are sympathetic; I suppose Yanukovych would be the name that springs to mind. But yes, I guess, the great bulk of the   … I’m sorry, what was the term you used?  Aggression?

Ian Curr 

‘(Was) Putin the unilateral source of the aggression in Ukraine?’

And when you said Yanukovych you’re talking about a former president of Ukraine?

Martin Arnold 

 I am. Yanukovych was  President of Ukraine until 2008 (2014 sic), I think when he left Kyiv in response to large public protests about his government’s refusal to implement an act of concord with the European Union; not to become part of the European Union, but just to become a corporate cooperating member, which people saw as an opposition to it if people increasingly saw this as an attempt to keep Ukraine within the Russian sphere of influence, which before Putin came to power was not I think that was particularly objected to be (a) crying wish to be independent, but it had traditional ties with Russia, but Putin’s government has been ‘revanchist‘ (= one who advocates or fights for the recovery of lost territory or status).

Ian Curr 

You mentioned there, that the European Union is heavily dependent on Russia for energy. So 46% of its coal and uranium comes from Russia. 41% of its gas (comes from RF), and 27% is oil that comes from Russian Federation.

So why would the EU want to antagonize Russia?

Martin Arnold 

Well, it doesn’t. Like Ukraine, the European Union hopes for peace, hopes to avoid  Russian Federation invasion. And, indeed, this has been a cause for, perhaps, increased the hesitance of Berlin and Paris governments from being as enthusiastic as they might be about Ukrainian independence. But it seems to me that it would be a good thing for the Greens in Europe to make a political decision and to say about energy sources and to say, oil and gas from the Russian Federation, we need to replace that with green energy as soon as possible.

Ian Curr 

Well on that, war is a great waster of fossil fuels. So that’s one reason why a war should be the last thing on the agenda, because it would mean a terrible waste of fossil fuels.

Now, when you say that the EU doesn’t wish to antagonize Russia, in the last 30 years, NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which comprises European states, they have advanced 800 miles (1300 kms) towards the Russian border in the last 30 years since the downfall of the Soviet Union.

So isn’t that an aggression?

Martin Arnold 

Let me try to answer indirectly first, I think that Mr. Putin’s raising of this demand that Ukraine should never become a member of NATO, at this time, is a bit of a furphy. The Ukrainian or Georgian membership of NATO in the near future is not on the line. NATO is very hesitant about accepting Ukraine or Georgia as a member of NATO because of the very fact that they are involved in this dispute. There is already so yes, the NATO has not expanded in the last what 15 years, and is not likely to do so in the near future. So for Putin to demand that NATO’s should renounce its its constitution, which allows other people to join this. You know what it said? A mutual defense pact is asking we as I leave the listener to think for is does that indirect answer to some extent your cover the question?

Ian Curr 

(Perhaps) We can get more into it through this means: In 2015, the there were a number of parties to the Minsk agreement. And that was in response to the fact that in 2014, there was a real crisis in Ukraine. And the parties (were) Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine. Now, what is the US and the UK doing by constantly talking up the conflict? You know, we’ve had, really, by any measure, a whole deluge since last October (2021), where there’s this talking about the amassing of troops on the Russian and Ukraine border. And we’re hearing all about talk, and it’s coming from the United States, security organizations, it’s coming in the UK, through the most mainstream publications, even the the London Review of Books (Did I invade? Do you exist? James Meek) is talking it up. So surely, the parties to the dispute? You know, under the Minsk agreement, surely they should be the ones who sought out the problem?

Martin Arnold 

The Minsk agreements were an attempt to seek peace in what most Ukrainians and their government would say would be a de facto Russian occupation of parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblast. So the

Ian Curr 

This is in the South and the Southeast, is that right?

Martin Arnold 

In the east, yes. They’re part of the highly industrialized part of Ukraine. And in 2014, there was talk amongst people of Luhansk and Donetsk about, you know, perhaps we would do better as an autonomous region of Ukraine rather than rather than as a full member or an ordinary member of the Ukrainian Federation. But my understanding is that amongst the people of Luhansk and Donetsk, who are not in the occupied zones portions are amongst the most patriotic in the country. They see the the the incursion as (being) on their land! That this is not a an attempt to free the people of Donetsk and Luhansk from oppression but an attempt to incorporate them effectively in the Russian Federation.

Ian Curr 

Why would Putin mobilize a vast force on the border of Russia and Ukraine out of the blue?

Martin Arnold 

It was connected with his demand that Ukraine should never join NATO  … should agree never to joining NATO. It I think that the purpose of but, to some extent, I guess this this was a military exercise, its troops want to have a military exercise, but it’s a military exercise in such a way that it could involve all sorts of invasion of the other country, annexed country rather than a military exercise around Moscow, say, for example, which would not immediately involve invasion of another country. Sorry, I’ve lost my train of thought. …

Ian Curr 

In 2021, which is the date you remember, there was an operation called ‘Defender Spring’, conducted by the United States and NATO, involving 28,000 troops in coordination with US naval operations in the Black Sea, which is to the south of the Crimea. And, of course, for the Russians, the Black Sea is absolutely a core strategic interest, because it provides them with southern warm water ports. From the Soviet Union on Russia has always had a very major interest in that area. So the NATO can, and the US conducted these exercises around the Black Sea. So maybe that is one reason why Putin would come out and start doing his own exercises in his own country, you know, like he is not conducting these exercises inside Ukraine. However, the US and NATO have conducted exercises in the Crimea, and in part of Ukraine itself. So what I’m really getting at is here is… Is the expansion of NATO non-negotiable?

Martin Arnold 

Ukrainians would still dearly love to be a neutral state. However, as Putin’s aggression continues, they and their government have lost faith in Putin’s intention, assurances that he does not intend to invade Ukraine or to annex Ukraine or to annex parts of Ukraine any more than he has already done. I should say that the Black Sea is also a strategic great strategic interest to the Ukrainian government. Like part of the the difficulty of the RF’s  occupation of Crimea is that it now has forces on both sides of the main waterway of Ukraine. So it has been imperative to from the Ukrainian government’s point of view for freedom of shipping through these through this strait which previously, which previously … this some river mouth, I should say.

Ian Curr 

So when you say, occupation of Crimea,  section of the Crimea was gifted by the Ukrainian government to the Russian Federation under a lease arrangement. So both strategic interests, that of Russia and of Ukraine were protected there.

Martin Arnold 

No, no, I wouldn’t put it that way…. In the 1990s, the Ukrainian government hoped for a peace dividend. And it renounced the use of nuclear weapons in return from an agreement from the Russian Federation, and other states that they would respect Ukrainian integrity and sovereignty. There was also an old, quite big Soviet naval base in Crimea.  Ukraine found itself in possession of this naval base, which it didn’t want, wish to spend money on, on maintaining. And for that reason, it leased it to the Russian Federation, which did I, I’m sure we deeply regret that decision. Lau but of course, this was in the time of before, before Putin came to power, good relations with the Russian Federation. Yeah, I guess that answers the question to

Ian Curr 

The Ukrainian economy was very strongly reliant upon the Russians because, for example, nearly 50% of all of its electricity needs came from the old Soviet nuclear power plants. And then, I think, in 2008, the Ukrainian government signed an agreement with Westinghouse for their plants to be supplied by uranium, and for them to be upgraded. That then alleviated their dependence upon Russia for electricity.

And so that you can see that there was an attempt to break free of any kind of dependence on the Russian Federation. But Ukraine is dependent on the Russian Federation, as is Europe, because at the moment, most of the energy supplies that feed Europe comes through Ukraine. And of course, the Russians have been trying to overcome that by sending gas down through the Baltic Sea. But that that hasn’t been completed yet. So still, the Ukrainian state is very dependent upon both Russia and the European countries for royalty payments. So it can’t just isolate itself without looking at these economic realities is what I’m saying. So a lot of the moves that are being made, some of them may be clumsy, but they’re response to the hard reality of economic times. On the most part, the people are very poor, even though they’re quite an advanced country. They have actually mentioned a lot of heavy industry, from the old Soviet days. So there’s peaceful things that are being done, which could be upset if Ukraine makes a wrong move, so to speak. And that’s why I asked the question about NATO expansion, is that, you know, the sovereignty of Ukraine is not just dependent upon the Kremlin. And what it does, it’s also dependent upon what NATO and the United States does. So you know, it’s a tricky situation for the Ukrainian government to be in.

Martin Arnold 

Yes. One commentator thought that the best response Kiev and NATO could have given to his (Putin’s) demand that Ukraine never join NATO would be to decline to answer. Practically. This is not on the cards for the moment and leaping ahead, I think the economic situation … I’m not an economist. But I imagine that the best thing that NATO could do for Ukraine is to say, to say not in response to Mr. Putin demands, but generally that there are no plans at the moment for any countries to join NATO further. And for the European this thing the European Union could do would be to say, well, we will accelerate attempts to integrate Ukraine into the European Union. I think this would have this would have a greater deterrent effect on the Soviet … I guess, I don’t know quite why I think this, I somehow suspect this would have a greater deterrent effect on Mr. Putin’s invading Ukraine, then Ukraine being put on the list to join NATO.

Ian Curr 

Okay, now, that ends my series of questions relating to the Tariq Ali essay. Now, I have some of my own questions that I’m very curious about in the second half of this interview.

The State of Israel is a sort of a natural ally of Ukraine. But there is a real contradiction in that, because, before the second world war during the Second World War, and afterwards, there has been a strong anti-Semitic sentiment in Ukraine. And so, if Israel comes out now and supports the US and NATO and says, Look, we’re going to oppose Putin. It gets caught in this bind. It’s, it’s supporting a country, which is one of has one of the worst records of anti-Semitism in the world.

Martin Arnold  

How do you measure one of the worst records of anti-semitism in the world?

Ian Curr 

They helped kill Jewish people

Martin Arnold 

it’s a sort of a rhetorical question. Ukraine certainly had a larger proportion of Jewish residents than Russia. I don’t know if Ukrainian anti-semitism was worse or more than anti-semitism amongst Russians or Poles or Germans, or at least those Germans who sympathize with Hitler …

Ian Curr 

Well, I say it expressed itself in World War Two by Ukraine being divided in that a section of the country supported Hitler against the Ukrainians that didn’t want to have any part of fascism.

Martin Arnold 

You’re perhaps thinking of Stepan Bandera’s government as you speak about this?

Ian Curr 

I’m not talking about the government, I’m talking about the people. Of course, you would expect Russian people of Russian culture language to be anti-fascist. And the reason why they’re anti-fascist is because of their experience during the Second World War, where they lost over 22 million people. So you would expect that …

Martin Arnold 

Ukraine, I think suffered worse than Russia. In terms of deaths in this second World War, the Jewish population was almost eradicated. The fighting happened more on Ukrainian territory than on Russian territory. That’s one observation

Ian Curr 

There is a slight anomaly in what you’re saying there in that Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union then. So the, the Nazi forces were fighting on Ukrainian territory, they were fighting the communists led by Stalin. So you know, that’s that that was the situation and, you know, they lost a lot of people.

Martin Arnold 

Yeah, but you we’ve, this is part of part of, I guess, a kind of trick that goes back before even Putin, you know, to assimilate Russia with the Soviet Union. So, the Soviet Union is, according to its constitution … this federation of republics … It suited Russian dominance of the Soviet Union to allow people in the West to say, instead of the Soviet Union to say, Russia, our great ally Russia, in in the fight against fascism …

Ian Curr 

but we shouldn’t forget that in the Soviet bloc … Okay. Russia was the largest … but Ukraine was the second largest, by far.

Martin Arnold 

Well, yeah. And that’s why I’m saying that it suffered hugely, worse than Russia in the Second World War. I have read accounts of outrageous behavior by Ukrainians. I have read accounts of some Ukrainians also thinking that the Nazis might be better than the Stalinists. And soon changing their mind by and large, after they encountered the Nazis, because in the Slavic countries, it rapidly became obvious that the Nazis regarded the Slavic peoples as second class citizens. They weren’t non-people like Jews and Gypsies. But they were subject people and what, so no Pole, no Ukrainian, none of the Slavic peoples was enamored of this kind of arrangement.

Ian Curr 

There has been a historical divide in Ukraine between the West and Central areas, and which tend to be more nationalistic, and the east and southeast, the Donbass regions, which are Russian speaking and more sympathetic to (the) Russians.  So, It you know, when you talk about the Ukrainian people, you often refer to it as sort of just one block. But, you know, like in every population, there’s a lot of diversity and it’s very marked regionally. And if you look at the elections from 2000 onwards, you’ll see that if the government in Kyiv is sympathetic to Russian Federation, you get the people in the Donbass region tend to vote for it. And the people in the in the central and the western area, they vote against it. And so, you know, you get that difference of opinion within Ukraine itself. So what I’m maybe suggesting is that Ukraine crisis is not a NATO, US, Russian crisis at all. It’s a Ukraine crisis, where there’s a civil war going on within the country.

Martin Arnold 

Ukraine since well, since it achieved independence, really, for the first time since 1750. In in 1990, has strenuously adopted a policy that those who live in Ukraine are Ukrainians. In one sense of course, there are Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian fluently. There are Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian occasionally, there are Ukrainians who don’t speak Ukrainian at all. In this respect, perhaps you could see an analogy with Ireland, you know, there are lots of Irish people, I think, who are pretty weak on this command of Irish. No more or less Irish for that. In terms of ethnicity, you know, there are there are Tartars there are people who say I’m just Ukrainian. There are people who say, I’m mostly Russian, but I have a Ukrainian grandmother, or people who say I’m Jewish people who say, people identify in various ways within Ukraine as different having different ethnicities. I don’t think that people in eastern Ukraine …. Well, I would, I would bet my bottom dollar that people in Western Ukraine do not wish to become part of Putin’s Russian Federation. if faced with a choice of that, or identification with the European Union, they would choose the latter. But yeah, Eastern or Western. Ukrainians would like to have close relations with all their neighbors. It just seems difficult at the moment with the Russian Federation.

Ian Curr 

You’re a priest, the Ukrainian priest and your parishes in the area of Wooloongabba. And I remember when the Gabba before the South East freeway was erected, and it had a strong Russian and Ukrainian presence in that. And a lot of the culture of that area was wrapped up in that … I remember and to this day, there’s, you have the Russian Hall there. And there have been a number of Russian, Ukrainian and Serbian churches in that whole area. And even so, the freeway even though it divided the community, it still was not totally successful in doing that. Now, in your own parish, of course, a war in Ukraine would have a devastating effect on the people, your parishioners. And what are the sentiments that you’re getting from them about the current crisis? Is it similar to what the Ukrainian government is saying where it’s saying that? Look, it’s it’s not such a big deal. We’ve lived with this for a long time. We think that that some of the pundits have overreacted, the President came out recently and even said we think talking up this crisis is not a very good thing for our country because … we’re losing billions of dollars, is it? So what’s the on the ground? What are the people saying?

Martin Arnold 

They’re concerned about their relatives in Ukraine. They’re concerned for the for the future .. concerned to try to have a resolution … yes, there is a kind of weariness I said somewhere recently, people are horrified at this further annexation of or occupation of these regions … official occupation of these parts of Donbass and Donetsk, I amended it to horrified isn’t quite the right word. Even people in Ukraine and even people like me, in you know, living outside Ukraine have been living with Putin’s. Irritation of Ukraine with occasional rises into actual aggression since after the first five or six years of his being in office, and so we’re not horrified. Exactly. We’re just saddened. And, yes, hope, hope for two to play our cards right, that our government can negotiate for the best result under the circumstances.

Ian Curr 

Recently, a group called the independent and peaceful Australian network sent an open letter to both the defense minister pain and to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, besieging them with de with a very close relationship that they have with the secretary of state from the United States is was visited recently with the Prime Minister of the of the UK, beseech them to make a call for peace. And they itemize some of the things that they want to see happen. Number one, the Minsk agreement, it should be worked out amongst the parties to the Minsk agreement in 2015. They say on no account, should there be any talk of nuclear weapons being used? They should put that off the table completely. That, that basically, they that in that in that letter, they’re trying to get the Prime Minister to rather than he and his defense minister, gotten to try to get them to tone down the rhetoric and to use their close relationships with these other with the United States and Britain to try to get them to tone down their rhetoric. Would you now, over 400 people have already signed that letter? Would you support a letter like that?

Martin Arnold 

I am. I think generally speaking, the it is unhelpful for defense ministers of third party countries, countries that are not well even countries which are connected your data to make statements on Foreign Relations, they should leave this to their foreign ministers and premiers. The I suppose I’d like to speak a little bit about the Minsk agreement by by recognizing these little parts of Luhansk these parts of Luhansk and Donetsk that are occupied by Russian Federation sympathizers If you could put it that way. And now actually, with Russian troops officially present in them. Mr. Putin has brought the Minsk accords to an end because the process of the Minsk accords was for our forces to withdraw from Luhansk and Donetsk and for the government in the key of government to arrange elections for an assembly which might vote for autonomy within the within Ukraine. That’s now come to an end. But yes, Ukraine looks for the support of, especially the large players in the North Atlantic and Europe. Berlin, Paris, London and Washington. And yes, certainly Ukraine. Yes, we certainly would welcome Mr. Blinken, Mr. Biden, prefacing all their statements with, of course, the NATO hopes for peace, as this would that this would be this will be, I think, an improvement of their rhetoric.

Ian Curr 

Just in closing, now, I’d like you to comment on the really broad issues here, rather than focusing just on Ukraine, because it’s, you know, no country is in isolation. Is it possible that what we’re witnessing is the decline of a great empire. And that empire is that of the United States. And the reason why there is that decline is because the economic powerhouses of the world now have shifted from the west to the east. The Chinese economy now is at least twice as large as the United States. Both it and the countries that surround it, that are engaged in that economic revolution, almost, that all the focus is moving from Europe to Asia. And so really, what we’re witnessing here is a rather unusual thing for a country such as our own, where we have fought and died in wars in Europe. And that will never happen again, Australia will never again, commit troops to a war in Europe. It’s because we’re not within the economic sphere. It’s not as important to us as Asia. So is it possible that this is really a total furphy, this crisis? You know, people saying there’s a possibility of another big war. Maybe it is a total furphy because the United States will never commit to defending Ukraine, and nor will the major economic giants of Europe because they are so dependent upon Russia for their energy.

Martin Arnold 

Well, to respond to the second part, first. Give me a moment to think. I suppose, responding again, indirectly. I gather from BBC World Service that Mr. Putin has now upped his call from asking that Ukraine should renounce joining NATO ever to Ukraine in addition becoming demilitarized. I leave it to the listener whether to think whether If Ukraine were to renounce not only its nuclear weapons, but all its armed forces, whether the Russian Federation would respect this and say, Oh, well, yes, of course, now we have a neutral Ukraine, which has no weapons, we will of course not, not take any more interest in its internal affairs.

Ian Curr 

From Putin’s point of view, that’s the logical thing to say, because it’s forever insisted that NATO not expand the east and that they, they wanted these buffer states, which they, because of Putin’s own incompetence, and the incompetence of Boris Yeltsin, in particular, they allowed NATO to move those 800 miles east, and, as you pointed out, even make states on their border members of NATO, you know, Latvia and Lithuania …

Martin Arnold 

the Russian television to Russia today. I just noticed yesterday on its website has a category there are two categories stood out to my attention. One was Russia and the post-Soviet space, and the second was: the world. It’s not an accident that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are amongst the staunchest supporters of Ukrainian independence. They know and Georgia for that matter, they know that there are people in the Putin himself, perhaps there are people in the Putin entourage who think that all of the old Soviet country should be in control in either alliance as a client state or in the direct control of Moscow.

Ian Curr 

Just a caution there about the accuracy of the BBC,  the BBC is not averse to politicizing it’s news service and commentary (mentions the invasion of Southern Ossetia). So you got to be pretty careful.

Martin Arnold 

Well, yes. I would like to speak to my friend Marco about the matter, you raise your speaking of the, at the 2014 15 agitation. But if these were Georgian fruits, I feel sure that they came under the inspiration of the Russian Federation.  George, you

Ian Curr 

But you just said Georgia supported Ukrainian independence.

Martin Arnold 

Well, I think that the, I guess I was speaking inaccurately, but I think the Georgian Government is having its own difficulties with the Russian Federation. It is, I can’t imagine it would say believe that if Putin got Ukraine, he would then give up on his his designs on Georgia. Hmm. But yeah …

Ian Curr 

It was the birthplace of Stalin.

Martin Arnold 

But to true to your general question, yeah.

Ian Curr 

Decline of empire.

Martin Arnold 

Yes. I wish I could conjure up the details. But I was talking to an economist friend by Michael Kennedy. The other day. And if I’m remembering his impression correctly, you know that the the per capita GDP in China is not is quite a bit less than per capita GDP in in the United States. Because it’s such a big population that it is it is. Has this enormous GDP which is a significant thing in itself, hey, but

Ian Curr 

Well, the economic miracle of China is that it took peasants who were terribly poor in the space of a couple of generations. It took them from a per capita income, you know, very low into, I think it’s now about 20,000. US dollars, whereas the per capita income of the United States is above 50 … to go from poverty, to, you know, to, to that level of income, in the space of a generation or two, is a remarkable achievement for the Chinese to get that. And so, and who’s to say that it won’t continue?

Martin Arnold 

Well, Michael Kennedy, perhaps you should have an interview with Michael, if you could, because he points out that, that many countries have gone through this cycle of transfer or from subsistence of subsistence laborers becoming involved in industrial, secondary industry labor. And there’s usually a point where this slows down quite, quite dramatically.

Ian Curr 

Of course, China is a capitalist country, it is dependent upon them going from industrial to tertiary (development). And that they have done that, you know, they have moved into that area of, you know, where they are really a powerhouse in the computing world, for example. They manufacture a lot of, not just hardware, they manufacture a lot of software as well. So and they it with their belt and road projects, to places like Kazakhstan, and places. You know, the road West, for China, the heavy industry is going to be in those in the ‘Stan’ countries, and they’re trying to go to the tertiary level of, of capitalist industrial progress. So that yes, yeah. So they’re going beyond what Michael’s saying they’re not, they’re no longer just going from subsistence to industrial. They they’ve gone past that.

Martin Arnold 

Well, yes. Perhaps you wouldn’t want to use this portion of the interview? Because I’ve been? Yeah, I agree with in the sense that I think China is a great superpower, hey, now. And in the period from 1990, until now, it seemed that the United States was the pre-eminent great superpower. That Germany, Britain, France, the EU, collectively, were was a was up a big economic unit, but didn’t have the, as a military and industrial center didn’t have the pre-eminence of the United States. And well, I don’t think it is a good thing that the Xi government is challenging, flat, free evidence. But I think it’s a good thing, that the United States is not pre evident on its own. It’s a good thing for well, it’s destabilizing for the world. But it’s a good thing for the world.

Ian Curr 

Well, given the shift. I think that it’s insane for the United States or NATO, to die on a hill in Ukraine, especially given the fact that they need Russia, Russia is where the Europe, Europeans get their energy from if they want to compete economically, with China, which is what they’re trying to do. They need Russia, they should not be looking for reasons to get into a fight with the Russian Federation.

Martin Arnold 

So far. This part I would include in the interview … so far the Ukrainian government, the key of government has not asked for any apart from minor, you know, troops, advisory kind of troops. Any foreign support. The President has used the phrase we will provide the boots on the ground. So, at the moment, there is a no requests from the Ukrainian government for any other any other government to actually provide troops for Ukraine?

Ian Curr 

Well, that’s an argument you’d have to take up with Tariq Ali, because he says that the US and Great Britain and NATO are supplying arms to Ukraine.

Martin Arnold 

Oh, yes. But we asked for support. Mostly, we have to buy them. But, yes, we’re willing to take that risk. But as for you know, we are hoping that by maintaining the possibility of a credible resistance, even if not an over an unsuccessful resistance to a major Russian invasion, by the fact that the occupation would be fiercely contested by the people. That and by the threat of economic sanctions by the West. The Russian Federation would hold off from any major incursion … that’s out.

Ian Curr 

Well, it would wreck the country.  Is there anything else you’d like to add? Martin?

Martin Arnold 

I’d like to thank you for your effort in trying to get me to order my thoughts a little bit on this matter.

Ian Curr 

Well, I’ve gone from knowing virtually nothing about Ukraine, only about Chernobyl is all I knew to to you know, really two weeks of study in the period of preparing for this interview, I’ve learned a lot and it’s a lot to be sympathetic to the people both at home in Ukraine and also here in the Wooloongabba. They, you know, hopefully it will not come to a war.

Martin Arnold 

Yes, yes, indeed.

War intervened …

The University of Queensland’s unambiguous support for the military industrial complex since the 1970s is still apparent 50 years later in the 2020s. On Wednesday 16 February, during O-week, a local group, Wage Peace, disrupted the UQ’s engineering department. However the rest of the campus was business as usual with corporate tents filling the area between the Main building and Sir Fred Schonell drive. Rock riffs pealed off across the sporting oval as students safely made the transition from high school to tertiary education.

In the early 1970s UQ students and staff responded by joining the anti-war movement outside the University and participated in the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. The University regiment headquarters were raided and files of new CMF soldiers destroyed. Someone tried to firebomb DuPont offices in nearby Toowong.

As the threat of new wars mount in the Ukraine and the South China sea and old one continue in neighbouring West Papua student disregard for these worrying events was evident. Refugee Solidarity Meanjin leaflets were tossed carelessly on the ground near the Admin building.

Yet, down in one of the engineering buildings, Wage Peace led by Margie, Larysa, Christine, Miriam and the crew held a two hour long lecture and tutorial on the truth of weapons companies’ involvement in universities. Their message was that State Capture was repurposing of the University into an institution which serves the military industrial complex.

The Engineering school at UQ always provided the most hostility to our marches in the 1970s. The Engineering students would throw water bombs at us from the Prentice Building. Perhaps those students grew up and became Professors who support the Boeing Corporation? I don’t know.

Boeing attack-helicopters are in West Papua shooting at farms and towns. The group states that Boeing just sold $40bn worth of jets to Indonesia.

“It’s not too hard to disrupt: just a foot in the door; ex-students (alumni), students with friends” – a spokesperson said, perhaps hopeful that others may follow.

It is too early to tell but there is no evidence of this, yet.

Song
Cuan Durkin and Allie Sherlock sing ‘When we were young’.

Thanks to #WagePeace #RadicalTimes

Street Marches 1967 – 1977

This film is a record of street marches that were banned by successive Queensland governments. In 1967 the Nicklin government tried to stop the anti-Vietnam war protests. Huge moratorium demonstrations marched through the city.

Then, ten years later, the Bjelke-Petersen government banned street marches to stop the anti-uranium movement from mobilising people to Hamilton No 4 wharf in Brisbane. The day of the political street march was over. Or was it?

‘Valley of Death’ – Brisbane 22 October 1977

The democratic rights struggles led to the largest mass defiance of a government in Australian history from September 1977 till July 1979. Over 2,000 people were arrested trying to march.

In 1977, the stated aim of this extra-parliamentary opposition was to bring down a repressive government that supported transnational mining companies (bauxite & uranium). The popular opposition was reflected in the campaign slogan ‘Joh Must Go‘ prominent in rallies and marches during that period.

Ian Curr
15 Feb 2022