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Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Wheat and the Chessboard

The Wheat and the Chessboard

The Wheat and the Chessboard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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