g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Tue Jul 15 18:39:13 MDT 2003
Yesterday (Tuesday) was something of a weird day. On Monday night I had
watched an interview with a Koran spokesperson about the emergency
developing in this region around the threatened interdiction of Koran
ships. In some ways the interview was surreal. The Korean spoke poor
English and his body language was outside the norms for Eurocentiric
The interviewer began by seemingly smiling, almost sneering at the
Korean. There was a strong undertow of racial superiority at work. Good
Old Anglo Australia was happy in its white colonial fantasies, now taking
contemporary shape under the aegis of American global imperialism.
Then the Korean explicitly threatened to attack Australia with nuclear
weapons if Australia participated in the stopping of Korean ships. The
attitude of the interview changed immediately. He was on to a real scoop,
but that was not what motivated him. I think fear crept into the equation
for the first time.
In any case I asked everyone around me "Did he say what I thought he said?"
They all confirmed it and I trotted off to bed and me thinking that Tuesday
was going to be a sensational day. I was all geared up for the buzz around
the coffee breaks. Strangers would come up to me, I was confident, and I
would fill them in with the meaning of imperialism. I even had a look at
Horowitz' From Yalta to Vietnam.
I was ready.
But Tuesday cam and went. There was noting on the radio. There was no
banner headline. No one asked me anything. Nobody talked about the
Wednesday now and I cannot believe it. Did it happen?
In the run up to the war in Iraq, everyone was going on about the dangers
posed to Australia by Saddam's WMD. The Govt was distributing anti-terror
kits. The radio was full of the dangers of Islamic Fundamentalism.
A real threat emerged - and nothing.
The answer came to me as I thought back to a time when I was at university
and I walked into the student union in Belfast. A young English student
came up to me agitated about Cuba and something called a missile crisis. I
remember clearly laughing at him and saying "Where the fuck's Cuba?" That
I thought rated on a par with some of Oscar's best sallies. Later I called
the student a "wanker" and an "eejit" to my friends, when we all had a good
laugh at the hysterical English. Years later I was to find out who the
real "eejit" was.
So what is the connection? Well again the answer lies with the
bourgeoisie. When a real threat emerges because they have overplayed their
hands and done something incredibly stupid, they go quiet. They do so to
prevent the working class seizing hold of the idea that the master class is
stupid and has initiated a process which could lead to mutual destruction.
We are in just such a period now. Australia is locked into "All the Way
with the USA", and we are only just beginning to find out the full cost of
that. Alliance with a big power was always supposed to be a guarantee of
our way of life. Now the current alliance is a source of real and present
danger - But silence everywhere.
A former Tory Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, has been the lone voice
attacking the new shape that the alliance with the USA is taking. The Cold
War taught the Labor Party not to dare to be independent in the arena of
Foreign Policy. So only the right can pull Howard back from the brink.
It is a wonderful world at the moment. We are approaching a World War
scenario and the peace movement seems unable to get its act together.
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