C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Friday, 17 July 2009


The title here doesn't refer to the excellent book (and film) of the same name, but rather, some stupidity from yesterday's Herald Sun:

THE mother of Daniel Valerio has broken 16 years of silence to condemn the State Government for failing to stop systemic child abuse.

Cheryle Butcher was 26 when her youngest son Daniel, 2, was fatally bashed by her de facto husband, Paul Aiton, in one of the most notorious child abuse cases in Australian history.

The case led to the introduction in Victoria of laws requiring police and health and teaching professionals to report suspected child abuse...

Ms Butcher, who said she had had counselling for years, said she blamed herself for Daniel's death.

But she believes she was also failed by an incompetent and poorly resourced child protection authority - a system she said was still failing children today.

"Yes, it was happening in my own house. I am the one who has to live with that knowledge for the rest of my life," she said.

"Unless you are me in that situation, I can't explain it. I had no help, no support...

"Nothing is being done, and kids are still dying. Don't let Daniel die in vain. Get some support systems, make counselling available, build refuges for women. As long as the Government keeps screwing up, it will keep happening."

So let's be clear here. If you're a woman with cow dung for brains, and partnered to a psychopath who is systematically abusing your child, it's the governments responsibility to magically become aware of this and fix everything. Right.

I don't like beating people with the stick of 'personal responsibility' - the concept is bunkum to somebody nurtured on Nietzsche and psychoanalysis - but this mother was complicit in the murder of her son. Governments cannot raise children - only parents, families, and communities can. To expect otherwise is itself a disgrace.

The resources Ms Butcher mentions - counselling, refuges - certainly exist. Any woman in Victoria can be provided with emergency accommodation if it helps her and her kids flee a violent situation. Yes, the resources are limited, and not necessarily brilliant. Yes, there are also some basic things expected of the woman (i.e. don't get shitfaced and assault staff, don't bring your psychopathic ex-partner into the refuge, etc). But the resources are there.

Finally, by way of clarification, I should be clear that I think the Victorian State Government, under both Bracks and Brumby, absolutely pathetic on issues of child protection, health, mental health, disability services, housing, and a range of other things. A large number of politicians and senior public servants ought to be sacked, if not shot, for their criminal neglect of Victoria's most vulnerable. Systems need to be rebuilt without the cronyism and backside-covering that infect Victoria's public service to its core. It does not follow from this, however, that the government can or should miraculously solve everything when you are turning a blind eye to the abuse of children.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Support terrorism

Your happy revolutionary has suffered great personal tragedy, and is in mourning.

But he hasn't given up.

Here's a couple of ditties to rouse yer:

Friday, 3 July 2009


Asked if Israel had targeted unarmed civilians, Chris Cobb-Smith, an artillery expert engaged by Amnesty, said it was "very difficult to come to any other conclusion".
Israeli troops forced Palestinians to stay in one room of their home while turning the rest of the house into a base and sniper position, "effectively using the families, both adults and children, as human shields and putting them at risk", Amnesty said.

Israeli forces killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in Gaza in attacks which breached the laws of war, Amnesty International concluded in a new 117-page report published today - the first comprehensive report to be published on the 22-day conflict earlier this year...“Israel’s failure to properly investigate its forces’ conduct in Gaza, including war crimes, and its continuing refusal to cooperate with the UN international independent fact-finding mission headed by Richard Goldstone, is evidence of its intention to avoid public scrutiny and accountability,” said Donatella Rovera, who headed a field research mission to Gaza and southern Israel during and after the conflict. (source)

Iran and the Left

A theme has developed in the wingnut media, namely, that 'the left' has neglected Iran. This is presumed to indicate either hypocrisy and double standard ('They always criticise Israel!') or tacit sympathy for Ahmedinejad, the Ayatollah, and the mad mullahs who run the regime.

The evidence for this charge lies solely in the claim that leftists have been mute on Iran. They probably have been mute in the News Ltd media, since they don't exist at all within Murdoch empire, but a quick click on the links of my blog, and about thirty seconds googling revealed anything other than silence or complicity when it comes to the Iranian autocracy:

Lenin's Tomb is probably the foremost socialist blog in the UK, if not the world, excluding the large group blogs. Bloggers Richard Seymour and Yoshie have repeatedly tackled the issue of Iran, the elections, and the uprisings. Significantly, this extensive coverage has also encompassed critique of the deceits and conceits perpetuated regarding this crisis by the ruling elites in the Anglophone media.

Slavoj Žižek has published a widely-circulated text supporting the protestors in Iran, and calling for the downfall of the current regime. From a rather different leftist perspective, Chomsky has given this interview on the subject.

In Australia, Mark Bahnisch made some cautious remarks in support of the dissenters. Quiggin looked at things with reference to Obama. Slack @ndy has compiled pro-protestor links, anti-regime, and has criticised a presumed concordance between Ahmedinejad and Chavez. Green Left Weekly expressed solidarity with the dissenters of Iran.

In the US and beyond, there has also been plenty of critical comment on the topic of Iran's sham elections and their aftermath. Minnesota-based Trot Renegade Eye lent his voice of solidarity. Counterpunch has been providing almost daily coverage, including these two pieces. AlterNet had provided a number of pieces on this topic, particularly attacking the lack of freedom of speech. Marxism.com has published multiple pieces int he past week or so - see the link here. Zmag has sharply attacked the democratic pretensions of the regime, as has Socialist Worker.

Now for some general remarks. The above pieces are all well worth reading. Many are sceptical about the possibility of the protestors effecting lasting change. Even greater scepticism is reserved for Ahmedinjad's opponent, Moussavi, whose 'reformist' credentials are regarding by many commenters as dubious, at best. (Interestingly, Žižek is an exception here). All the same, each and every piece is concerned with the welfare of the protestors, and none supports the existing regime in any respect whatsoever.

Another point worth noting is that, roughly speaking, the further left you go, the more decisive the statements you are likely to find in relation to Iraq. Centre-leftists and social democrats such as Bahnisch and Quiggin are far more equivocal than are the socialist and anarchist commenters above.

It goes without saying that everybody of value in the left supports the opverthrow of the existing Iranian regime, and wishes the demonstrators success in their task of liberating Iran.

Finally, the attempt by rightists to pretend that the left are somehow opposed or indifferent to the uprisings in Iran is sheer chutzpah, occasioned by years of controlling both politics and the mainstream press. Not only do these clowns attempt to falsify the past, they are now, increasingly, it seems, trying to distort history as it happens. They must presume that leftist audiences are as stupid and apathetic as their own. It is an ongoing fight to ensure that these deceptions are rectified.