The Canberra School

The Canberra School

Economists are extremists
of irrational faith,
acolytes of daily newsprint
parsing icons of inflation and recession
with fringe benefits
doctrines of gain through pain,
while wealth breeds wealth by stealth.

Keynes, Smith and Friedman –
Thatcher, Keating, Reagan,
the pedantic pantheons
and sacrifice of certainty.
Economists as pampered disciples,
their J curved recursive credos of trade and ego
hardening malleable hearts to stone,
resounding hollow in
less speculative souls.

I’d like to turn the tables in the temple,
and for every new presumption,
make them reimburse the poor.

Jinjirrie 1992

To our sisters on #IWD2011 – equal rights : stand with the oppressed not the oppressor : end imperialism : capitalism is not woman-friendly

Australia Links

“Are you really sure what the phrase ‘Aboriginal perspectives’ means? The first step in understanding, respecting and eventually incorporating Aboriginal perspectives is simply by understanding the nature of perspective.”
Doing the Trained Monkey Dance
Nation of unrepentant pirates costs $900m
Racist Facebook Hater of the week
Gillard arrives in US for busy tour

Ms Gillard will become the first foreign dignitary to address the new US congress and only the fourth Australian prime minister to ever do so.

Her speech is expected to commemorate 60 years of the ANZUS alliance.

The other big moment will be a meeting with Mr Obama, where the exit strategy for the Afghan war and the global economic recovery will be likely topics.

But Ms Gillard has already indicated she will steer clear of difficult territory, including Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

She will also discuss global security during talks with other senior administration figures, including secretary of state Hillary Clinton and the CIA director.

The global economy will dominate discussions with Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and the head of the World Bank.

There will also be dinner with former Labor leader and now US ambassador Kim Beazley, lunch with News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch and talks with UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Palestine / Israel Links

Egyptian diplomat says new leaders could ease travel restrictions on Gaza Palestinians
“It appears the policemen escalated the situation, and the suspects were dragged into the unrest. During the tumult some demonstrators incurred blows and violence unleashed by police.” The judge rejected the police’s request to expel the detainees from Sheikh Jarrah.
Protesting Israeli Diplomat Joins Sheikh Jarrah Demonstration
Palestinian with Jewish wife denied permanent visa : Son of Tul Karm’s Adel Hussein served in an IDF combat unit.
Yediot Finally Publishes Story of Kidnapping of Gaza Engineer
Liberal Senator calls for apology for Evian “hurt”
Choice of JStreet ‘mascot’ raises questions about Jewish identity
Saudis ban all demonstrations
Anglican bishop of Jerusalem sues Israel over visa refusal
Israel’s diplomats are spineless propagandists
Jewish people in the French capital live in the shadow of hatred
The right to live in Jaffa
The Israeli occupation echoes from Cairo: Amira Hass reminded that the Palestinians are under occupation when almost all Egyptians refuse to meet with her because she writes for an Israeli newspaper.
Kevin Rudd’s Jerusalem Press Conference

Steve Weizman, AFP: Without going into details Minister, did you in your talks with the Prime Minister raise your concerns about settlements.

Mr Rudd: I don’t go into those details, because my relationship with the Israeli Government is longstanding, with the Prime Minister it’s longstanding in various positions he and I have held over a long period of time. Therefore I leave those deliberations to themselves.

Of course, the wider question of settlements is a continuing issue in the international debate, as are the broader questions concerning the final status issues which I referred to before.

Libya Links

SAS and MI6 officers released by Libya’s rebel commanders
White House chief of staff sceptical about Libyan no-fly zones
Obama’s Libyan Abdication

Wikileaks Links


Other Links

Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns to Drug Therapy
NATO allies warn US on too much defense scrimping – While the Pentagon tightens its financial belt, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has hinted at reducing American troop levels in Europe. However, Washington must reconcile a smaller force with traditional NATO obligations.
America Is Not Broke : just morally bankrupt
Put merchants of death out of business

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, is pushing for the arms embargo slapped on China after the Tiananmen Square massacre to be scrapped on the grounds that relations with Beijing need to be nurtured for strategic reasons. Proving that she suffers from the same lack of scruples as other top players in New Labour, she is more concerned with drumming up business for the arms industry than in China’s oppression of Uighurs in Xinjiang or Buddhists in Tibet. Proving, too, that mollycoddling the arms industry transcends party lines in British politics, David Cameron toured the Persian Gulf last month with a few of his country’s leading arms traders. Critics of the trade are “completely at odds with reality”, the prime minister thundered.
It is right that a fresh ban on weapons sales to Libya has now been introduced. But we know that such bans can be lifted on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Feminism and choice

Feminism helped me gain an education, power, and equal opportunity to men (still some way to go here in Australia). I have been able to choose my own life, my careers, my directions, my appearance, whether or not to breed and with whom, my words and thoughts without some patriarchal monster or dogma condoned by society deciding for me.

I don’t feel obliged to pursue behavioural individual or group models touted by others – thanks to my feminist mother I learned to rely on my own rational brain. I remember the first lesson my mother gave me in feminism – she showed me her old watch, which lacked the second hand typical for men’s watches. Why was it not important for women to tell the time precisely as well as men?

It is up to individual women to choose what they want to wear and whether they want to wear things to please themselves, men, purveyors of social discipline or any combination of these. The Quran’s original intention in instructing women to cover up outside the domestic domain was intended to define status and protect women – ironically in western countries, such traditional islamic garb now puts some women at risk and subject to criticism even by some who label themselves feminists. The obsession with dress reflects a pervasive materialism – what of women who attract men because of the depth of their intelligence and wit – should they hide those lights under a bushel as well in order to forestall crass male predations? Should women who hold views which conflict with those who champion burning the burkha be pilloried into submission?

If women are to be supported in their choices whatever they may be, then it is the assumptions of those who interfer with the expressions of those choices which deserve scrutiny.

IWD in Johnny’s Days of “Post Feminism”

Antiwar DrumBorn out of a strike by women textile workers in the US, in 1908, for better pay and working conditions, International Women’s Day has a long tradition of protest and political activism. The first IWD was held in 1911 in Germany, Austria and Denmark, and called for the vote and political and economic rights for women. In Australia, the first IWD was held in the Sydney Domain in 1928. Equal pay for equal work, an eight-hour day, no piecework and the basic wage for the unemployed were among the key demands.

Today IWD is a celebration of what we’ve achieved – and continues to be an important part of raising the issues that face women today. On average, women receive only two-thirds of the wages of men. Indigenous women still suffer systemic racism and denial of their basic rights. Accessible child-care is still not publicly provided. Women still suffer violence in their homes and on the streets. Migrant women, particularly those from non-English speaking backgrounds still face racism and super-exploitation. Women still do not have control of their reproduction: abortion is still illegal and expensive. Lesbian women still face entrenched homophobia and discrimination. Women still do the majority of the unpaid work in the home. Women are still stereotyped and objectified in the mainstream media – a primary factor in the increasing rates of eating disorders amongst young women.

For all these reasons, and so many more, International Women’s Day remains an important opportunity to raise our demands for equality and justice. John Howard says that “young women are in a post-feminist period” – but until we are in a post-sexist period, feminism will be as necessary and as relevant as ever. So prove John Howard wrong this International Women’s Day – join the protest and raise your voice for justice!

Propaganda PledgeInternational Women’s Day 2007


Women Uniting for Justice
* Repay the stolen wages * Stop family violence *
* No more deaths in custody * End the occupation of Iraq *
* Repeal workchoices *

This Saturday (March 10) – 10am
Queens Park (cnr George & Elizabeth Sts, city)

Speakers include:
* Reverend Alex Gator – Aboriginal elder and activist
* Professor Boni Robertson – Professor of Indigenous Policy, Griffith University
* Salam El-merebi – Al-Nisa Youth Group
* Candace Wright – Amnesty Stop Violence Against Women Action Group
* Valda Graham – Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union
* Coral Wynter – Australia Venezuelan Solidarity Network
* Katrina Barben – International Women’s Day Collective and long-time abortion rights campaigner

Followed by a march through the city to join the Numberlie Dadjin (“All the Sisters”) Festival at the Jagera Arts Hall, Musgrave Park. The march route will be:
Queens Park > George St > Adelaide St > Edward St > Charlotte St > George St > Brisbane Square > Victoria Bridge > Melbourne St > Manning St > Musgrave Park

There will be a mini-bus accompanying the march (talk to organisers on the day if you would like a seat)

Don’t forget to bring your whistles, drums and any other noisemakers!

For more information:
Phone: 0400 720 757 (Kathy), 0407 63 117 (Katrina).

Islamic Feminism

IslamofemsSince the creation of Islam and until the feminist victories of the 20th century in western society, Islamic women enjoyed more expansive personal privileges than their Christian sisters. Not only were they able to seek divorce, they could inherit property, albeit a lesser proportion than their brothers, and pursue professions. Restrictive Shariah law and culture-specific traditions, invented and administered by males for the primary benefit of males, were a later addition to the teachings of the Koran. In parallel with cultural mores and interference with women’s rights and bodies entrenched in some Christian sects, well illustrated for example by those engendered by the male-dominated Catholic Church, these arbitrary additions have hindered the ability of many Muslim women to achieve their full and desired potentials within the framework of their faith.

“Islam is not a patriarchal religion, and we cannot accept that patriarchy continues to govern social relations in the framework of Islam.”

The Conclusions of the Second International Conference of Islamic Feminism held in November 06 in Spain defined areas where positive change within patriarchal Islamic cultures can be initiated for the benefit of women:

“We denounce the discriminatory family laws that are enforced in many countries with a Muslim majority.

We voice our commitment to continue the gender jihad for the recovery of the equalitarian message of Islam, the freedom of interpretation and conscience.

Islamic Feminism is an integral part of the Global Feminist Movement. We denounce all forms of violence against women that are justified in the name of Islam, such as honor crimes, domestic violence, mutilation of female genitalia, stoning and other forms of corporal punishment.

We call for the participation of women in all areas of society. Therefore, we are against all those cultural practices which are not truly Islamic and which inhibit this participation.

We announce the creation of the “Observatory of Islam and Gender” in Spain to be headquartered in Barcelona. This Observatory attempts to consolidate the work of the two International Conferences of Islamic Feminism, to serve as a common ground between intellectuals and Feminist organizations in the Islamic world, and to promote Islamic Feminism in Spain. The Observatory will serve the task of giving continuity to the International Conference of Islamic Feminism.”

Whilst we do not adher to any religious faith, we support all women in their peaceful quest for enlightenment and equality of opportunity and express our solidarity with feminists of all nations and creeds against that most oppressive and pervasive phenomenon affecting women – rightwing fundamentalism.

Fundamentalist movements are political movements with religious, ethnic, and/or nationalist imperatives. They construct a single version of a collective identity as the only true, authentic and valid one, and use it to impose their power and authority. They usually claim to be the representatives of authentic tradition, and they speak against the corrupting influence of modernity and ‘the West’. However, fundamentalists are far from pre-modern. To promote their project, they use all modern technological means available, from the media to weaponry. Furthermore, the vision they conjure up is a constructed and selective vision, rather than a revival of something in the past. Since 2000 the popular appeal of fundamentalisms has been growing across the world and different communities.

Feminists have particular concerns when it comes to fundamentalist movements. Although many women take part in fundamentalist movements, overall fundamentalist politics tend to constitute a threat to women’s freedom and autonomy and often their lives. Gender relations in general, and women in particular, are often used to symbolize the collectivity, its ‘culture and tradition’, its boundaries and its future reproduction.