Dave Eden on Karl Marx

BushTelegraph:

Dave Eden is an original thinker and analyses our unknown unknowns concerning Marx. It is a critique of Left thinking on Neo-Liberalism (‘bad people do bad things’). Ian Curr, May 2015

Originally posted on Queensland School of Continental Philosophy:

Dave Eden is an Independent Researcher and Political Activist. His Research Interests circle around the critique of political economy. Whilst he has held research and teaching positions at various universities, he is also an active participant in public and non-institutional educational initiatives, including the Brisbane Free University and 4ZZZ Community Radio Station.

On May 7th Dave delivered a lecture on Marx’s Capital: all of it.

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Gambia opens arms to Rohingya’s Muslims

Rohingya migrants, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, queue up as they wait to have their identification recorded inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia’s Aceh Province May 21, 2015 (Reuters Photo) Gambian government has … Continue reading

Public Guardian: bread and circuses

"Officers will apply the principles of natural justice
and good administrative decision-making processes.
As far as is possible in the circumstances, officers will
consult with family members and other relevant
people or organisations and gather relevant documentary
evidence pertaining to the allegation." -- Public Guardian

On Thursday 16 October 2104 at 10 am I arrived at the Sunnybank home of my friend, Mr Ross Taylor, an elderly gentleman. I had told Mr Taylor through other friends (Bernie and Rosslyn) to expect me. The front gate was not properly locked; I found his two dogs (Harry and Phoebe) waiting behind the glass doors. I could see Mr Taylor’s hat hanging up on the hat stand. Mr Taylor never leaves home without his hat. I went to the nearby Sunnybank plaza looking for Ross Taylor.

I asked people at the shopping centre who knew him if they had seen him. I returned to the house and rang Bernie.

I checked the doors to the house. They were locked as were the windows. Mr Neville and I discussed where Ross could be. Later that night I received a call from Bernie saying that Ross had still not returned home.

He told me that Rosslyn, his carer, had come home from work and Ross was not there. This concerned me because of the way Ross had been treated by the public trustee acting against his own clients interests in matters of fraudsters, Brian Laver and Will Marcus who had taken advantage of Ross. Whoever took Ross had left his two dogs at the glass front door. They had not locked the front gate properly.

CONDUCT OF Office of Public Guardian
Below are contemporaneous notes of my visit to the OPG on Friday 17 October 2014:

At 3pm on Friday 17 October 2014 I made a visit to the Office of the Public Guardian at Brisbane magistrates court (level 3 ) 363 George St Brisbane. On arrival at the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) I signed the register and spoke to the receptionist and asked to speak to the public guardian about Ross Taylor’s whereabouts.

After several minutes wait, the receptionist returned saying that I should go to OPG’s South Brisbane office and gave me an address on a post-it note. I said I wish to make a complaint, that all I wanted to find out is where Ross Taylor is.

After another delay I spoke with the complaints officer (Megan) who told me that the regional manager was dealing with the matter and was with the public trustee and could not be contacted.

I said I was not leaving without finding out where Ross Taylor is and to make sure he is alright. I gave Complaints officer, Megan, my details and told her that I had tried to contact Kevin Martin (OPG) and Kelly (OPG) earlier in the day but had received no response, only voice messages. I told Megan I had made a written request to find out where Ross Taylor is. Megan asked me if a person was living in Ross’s house.

I said that I was not going to be cross-examined. Megan told me that she would not help me unless I answered her questions. I told her my contact details. The complaints officer left.

At 3.20 I rang the Public Trustee, Mark Crofton, and left a message. The Public Trustee is responsible for Ross Taylor’s financial affairs. I then rang a solicitor to ask for his advice. He said that I should try to persuade them to tell me where Ross is and failing that to make an urgent application to QCAT.

At about 3.40pm a man came to the counter and said that the regional manager Therese Craig would ring me on Monday. He did not identify himself so I asked his name. He said that he was Brian Norman, the office manager, and that he could make no further comment.

I said that I did not understand – all I wanted to know was where Ross is and if he was all right. Brian Norman told me that Ross is alive and well. I said that I am Ross’s friend and wished to find out for myself; that I had visited Ross on Thursday and found that he was not at home.

I told him that Ross was expecting me and I was concerned that he might be upset. Brian Norman said that he could not help me. I said that I did not understand and left. At 4pm I received a call from the Public Trustee’s office (Clinton Myles) who told me that he had been instructed by Mark Crofton to give me a call and let me know who was dealing with the matter. He told me that Ian Spalding (OPG) was handling Ross’s case and gave me his phone number. At 4:16pm I rang Ian Spalding and received a voice message.

I left a message. Soon after I rang Tim Brown (OPG) and received a voice message. I left another message. None of the OPG staff ever responded to my messages of concern either by phone or in writing. On Monday 20 October 2014 at about 10 am, I attended the Office of Public Guardian with another of Ross’s friends, Bernie. I asked to speak with Ms Therese Craig. I waited for some time. While waiting I attempted to ring Ms Craig without any luck. Finally I received a call from Ms Craig and placed the call on speakerphone so that Ms Craig could converse with Bernie who is Ross’s main point of contact. Ms Craig told me Ross’s whereabouts and that he was permitted visitors but was not permitted to leave the facility.

After a long period I was informed Mr Taylor was being held at the RSL Care facility. Reasons were not given. Later I received an email from Lisa Pool OPG which said that Ross had been taken to RSL Care to better look after his needs. The email said that Ross was high care and that is why he was transferred to the dementia facility at Alexandra Headlands. So I made complaints in person and in writing to the Public Guardian Officers, Tim Brown and Therese Craig.

Tim Brown refused to give reasons for their actions and refused to tell me when I could expect a written response to my complaint and my concerns. Therese Craig said that they would respond to my concerns by 31 October 2014. Ms Craig did not honour her promise.

It is now seven months on and Ross is still locked up in the RSL facility over 100 kilometres from his friends and support.

Justice denied a second time
On 19 May 2015 I rang Patrick Gonzalves, Deputy Registrar QCAT and raised yet again objection to the forced removal of Carl Ross Taylor by the Public Guardian from his home at 433 Mains Road Sunnybank on 24 October 2014. I had repeated my objections before 3 hearings of the tribunal, the last being on 30 January 2015. This is what I have to say to the deputy registrar of QCAT, Patrick Gonzalves:

You advised me on the evening of 19 May 2015 at 5pm that the Public Guardian provided a report dated 27 April 2015 to the tribunal. You said that you did not have the report in your possession and could not tell me of its contents because it was being considered by the tribunal. You informed me that the tribunal had no obligation to give me notice of it or that the tribunal was considering it.

I have received no information from the Public Guardian regarding the report dated 27 April 2015.

Why has the tribunal failed to advise me that it is considering a report?

Rules of natural justice demand that a party to an action be informed of decisions by the tribunal.

I have not been consulted as to the content of any report nor as to any actions taken by them to review the Ross Taylor’s abduction from his house.

The Public Guardian has failed to consult with me or any other friends of Carl Ross Taylor in this matter as to the nature or content of their report.

Neither the Public Guardian nor QCAT have learnt anything about rules of natural justice, they ignore them.

… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man,
the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who
once upon a time handed out military command, high civil 
office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and 
anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses 
              - (Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81)

Ombudsman's letter regarding Ross Taylor

I complained to the Queensland Ombudsman about the conduct of the Public Guardian. The Ombudsman’s reply: APPEAL to the Office of Public Guardian (sic). THERE is no justice in an Appeal from Caesar to Caesar

Ian Curr
May 2015

Please Note: Publishing the name of ‘an adult’ under a QCAT order may be a contempt of court.

Tambourine Mountain’s Judith Wright Festival Takes Off!

This month is the centenary of Judith Wrights birth – if you are in Brisbane, think about hoing up to Mt Tamborine for one of the many events they are holding there – If not, or as well, have a read of a short piece penned by Humphrey McQueen, reminding us about the real things we should be celebrating in Australia, rather than the jingoistic drums of war that Brendon Nelson would have us listen to … http://www.surplusvalue.org.au/McQueen/current_politics/current_politics_judith_wright_100_yrs.htm

Ross.

curtis-falls-tamborine-mountain
Tamborine Mountain is keen to celebrate the work and life of one of its most renowned residents.

Many local groups are having events in May to celebrate the centennial of the birth of Judith, which is on 31st May.

Judith lived on the Mountain from the late 40s to the early 70s. This period covered her happy partnership with Jack McKinney (author, philosopher and gardener), and the birth, childhood and early teen years of their daughter Meredith.

Judith was both a poet and a social activist. Some of her memorable poems are ‘South of My Days’, ‘Lyrebirds’, ‘Brush Turkey’, ‘The Flood’ and many poems inspired by her personal life, like ‘Woman to Man’ and ‘Woman to Child’.   The natural world was a huge inspiration. Her various flame tree and forest poems, and many others, were directly inspired by her Tamborine Mountain years. You’ll get a shock of recognition if you read them.

Judith Wright’s Tamborine years were also the start of her social activism. She campaigned for the Barrier Reef and Fraser Island, and later went on to be active in Indigenous rights issues, marching in a Reconciliation event in Canberra in 2000, just a few weeks before her death. She wrote (with H.C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs) We Call for a Treaty, a key document in the history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Australia. The extent of her public activities is huge.   All her life, she was an anti-war campaigner, partly sparked by Jack’s experiences in World War I.

Events include:

1 May Judith Juke box (Library): 10.30am-4.30pm. Local actor and musician margy Rose performs an all-day recitation of Judith’s poetry.

4 and 11 May U3A short course: Judith Wright and her poetry (Masonic Lodge): 2.30 pm. Lots of time to enjoy your favourite poems. Book via grahameandhelen45@gmail.com.

7 May Talented Women and other poets (regular Library poetry group): 2 pm.Discusses her poetry.

14 May Good Afternoon (regular library event): 2 pm.Panel discussion: is JW’s writing and poetry still relevant in 2015?

21 May Knoll Stroll with Judith (commencing at the library):  10 am.Join us for a leisurely walk in the steps of JW.

22 May The Burning Glass: Friday Night Philosophers Club (Zamia Theatre): 7.30 pm.A panel of speakers from near and far discusses Judith’s activism and her poetry, with lots of audience input.

23-30 May Tamborine Mountain Little Theatre (Zamia Theatre): Hearts Ablaze, a locally-written play commemorating Judith and Jack’s life on Tamborine Mountain. Starring Margy Rose, Linda Simister, Will Bligh. Four performances over two weekends. Book at http://www.tmlt.com.au.

27 May Jane Austen book group (regular library event): 2 pm. Discusses JW autobiography Half a Lifetime.

31 May Community Centenary Birthday Picnic: time and venue TBA.

Somalian refugee Abdi Aden tells his story of survival

When I think back to my year in Bucharest I realise that I was learning to be a refugee.

I arrived in the city — the capital of Romania, in Eastern Europe — in 1991. I was 16. With my parents and sister gone, I’d raided the cache of money in our house in ­Mogadishu and bought a ticket to Cairo then Bucharest, where I moved from house to house. You are not a refugee ­simply because you have no home and no country. No, you become a refugee little by little.

It’s not that things become more hopeless with each passing day, it is that you adapt to the hardship and, in a way — this will sound mad — you become an expert in hardship. You learn to sniff out relief, a free meal, a place of shelter that is available only for a day, and from kilometres away you seem almost to pick up the scent of kind people, perhaps of your faith, perhaps not, who are prepared to provide you with a coat and a big furry hat.

You accept the status of a beggar. You search out other beggars from your homeland, and comfort each other, listen to stories of escape. “Did you ever meet Mahdi (or Farxaan, Fowli, Habane, Guhaad)? He made it to Vienna. It cost him 500 Romanian leu [$160]. He went in a truck with a compartment underneath.” And stories of people who went even further, to Anchorage, Alaska, after travelling across Russia to Vladivostok — amazing!

And of people who one day gave up and jumped off a bridge into the Danube. You become ready to do things so dangerous that you wonder if you have gone mad and don’t yet understand that you’re mad. Some Somalis hide underneath trains and hang on for 10 hours as the train speeds towards Germany, and if they happen to fall asleep or lose their strength they are found the next day on the railway lines, so much as is left of them.

I am sorry to say that you learn to tell lies, too, when it is unavoidable, just as I did in Somalia, where my education as a refugee began. Back there, people might ask me if I was from the Rahanweyn clan, intending to kill me if I said yes. So I would say that I was not Rahanweyn, except for one time, when my pride refused to let me lie and I was taken ­prisoner. Do you see the lesson? Your pride can kill you. In your education as a refugee, telling the truth on every occasion is not only unwise, it is suicide. But I ask you to believe that such lies do not make an untrustworthy person of me. The number one rule is this: Stay alive. Things might get better one day.

That day came when I persuaded a man who owed my father a favour to agree to let me fly as his son to Melbourne, promising him money I did not have. After takeoff I confessed and on our arrival he walked away. I rang a contact I had been given in the refugee community. Once again, I moved from house to house. I became a nomad of the city.

After almost three months in Melbourne, I had a lot of experience of the refugee scene. It was really three communities: those who ­desperately wanted to remain in Australia and spent every day worrying themselves half to death; those who expected to be thrown out of Australia and had given up worrying about it; and those who were very confident that they would be given permanent residency in time and didn’t worry at all. Each of these communities was made up of a number of nationalities: Somalis; Kurds from Turkey, Kurds from Iraq, Kurds from Iran, Kurds from nowhere; Iraqis; Iranians; Sudanese; Ethiopians; Eritreans; ­Burmese; Cambodians; Chinese; Vietnamese; Afghanis. And more.

The members of each nationality believed that they had suffered more than the members of every other nationality. The Iraqis would think: This woman from Sudan, some bad guys set fire to her village and shot a few people. So what? In my village they killed everyone except me. Each group of refugees kept count of the visas that had been given out to other groups. Often ­people got jealous if one group was getting more visas than another. They’d say: “The ­Australian government loves the Iranians. You’re from Iran, they give you a visa if you feel a little bit depressed. We Ethiopians, we just about have to hang ourselves before they pay any attention. The Iranians can go to hell.”

All this jealousy and anger — I didn’t want anything to do with it. Nothing. I hated the tribal and clan rivalries in Somalia, and I hated what went on here. I can truthfully say that I gave every Somali my support in his or her struggle for a new life. I was happy, very happy, when someone succeeded in getting a temporary protection visa or permanency. Many of the Somalis were big-hearted, generous people, and I tried to hang around them more than those who had hours and hours of complaints. I thought: I was spared death, I was saved, I should be dead. Have I come all this way to ­Melbourne, Australia, to argue and complain? Is that why I was spared?

If you were a refugee and you were waiting to learn from the Immigration people if you could stay, you had all sorts of ideas. You’d say to ­yourself: “OK, probably they will kick me out, too bad, I’ll just go back to Somalia.” Or you might say: “OK, if they don’t want me, who cares? I’ll go to New Zealand somehow. Maybe they want me there.” Or you might have this idea: “OK, I’ll hide in the desert and live with the Aboriginal people.” But there was really only one thing you wanted, and one thing you were hoping for,

and that was a letter from the ­Australian government that said: “Sure, you can stay. You can get a job. This country can be your country, so relax.” That was your prayer.

And you hid that hope deep, deep in your heart. Even when refugees were waiting for a visa and they saw things about Australia that drove them crazy, like the stupid game of cricket, or if the refugees came from a very traditional country, very strict, and were always making a tut-tut sound with their tongues when they saw girls and women wearing hardly any clothes out in the street, what those refugees wanted more than anything was that letter from the ­Australian government that said: “Sure, you can stay.”

Once you’ve been a refugee, once you’ve been homeless and hunted, far from the care of anyone who loves you, then you are a refugee for life. You might become a very comfortable refugee — you might have your own house in a lovely suburb, money in your pocket, your mother just down the road — but you will still be a refugee.

Mohammad, a Somali guy I know, said: “Australians are like children. They have never seen anything bad.” It’s not true that Australians are like children exactly, but Mohammad was right in a way. In this country, apart from the people who came here as refugees, the only ­people who have ever known what it is to be hunted, made homeless, murdered in a casual way, are the Australian black people, the ­Aborigines. And I can guarantee you they have never forgotten what it is to be a refugee.

It took me years to understand even a small part of what an Australian who is born here knows in his bones, deep in his heart. It would be the same if a native Australian came to ­Somalia. He might live in Somalia for decades and carefully study everything in Somali culture — he might learn 20 dialects of Somali — and still he would be a stranger. Even today, ­Australians will say to me: “You must have been so happy to get out of that hellhole and find safety in ­Australia.” “Sure!” I say. But let me tell you the truth. I still love Somalia. The bloodshed, the violence, the drug-maddened soldiers with their guns, the poverty — all of that is horrible, but I love Somalia all the same.

I got permanent residency and became a community worker, but these days most of my work is as an inspirational speaker. I talk to audiences of all sorts, including lots of school kids. They ask: “Abdi, does it make you cry to see refugees packed into detention centres?” And “Abdi, what do you feel when refugees are treated like criminals?” I try to explain that refugees have been with us for thousands of years. Even in primitive times, tribes were forced to make journeys when drought and natural disasters drove them from their traditional homes.

Since nation states came into being, wars have ­created great crowds of refugees. They pack their belongings and take to the road, ­hoping for a new life in a new land. Often they’re not welcome. Think of the Jewish ­people, and their long, long struggle for acceptance. The thing is, you can’t expect a person who is hunted in his own land, or starved, or unable to make a living, to simply say: “OK, time for me to die.” We have refugees because human beings want to remain alive. That’s not unreasonable.

War is an industry, and it’s easy to run. Young men will always be attracted to AK-47 rifles. Young men, some of them, many of them, will always feel empowered when they know that they have been given the right to murder. Of course they will. They grow up without jobs, without a future, then suddenly they have more power than they ever imagined. They have a gun. But the industry of war doesn’t produce anything except corpses. Families yearn to escape. They don’t want to live in a country where murder goes on all day every day. Or if not murder then it is poverty that drives people onto the road.

And they think of the countries where ­people live in freedom, where people earn a good wage; countries where children can go to school for 12 years, then maybe to university. They think of Big Europe, of America, of ­Canada, of Australia. The Dream Lands. For most of these people, their journey will end in a camp, in worse poverty than they fled. Some, including me, against all odds, will reach Big Europe, Australia, Canada, America.

I’m still talking. The audience is still listening. I say: “There are millions of refugees in the world today, and millions more people still living in their own ravaged lands who wish to take to the road, and will, one day. Australia cannot take in hundreds of thousands of refugees each year — millions over a decade. I understand that. But nor can we say to the refugees on the road, on the seas: ‘You have no right even to try to reach Australia.’ These people do have a right to try. They have a right to their dreams. And I think we can find more imaginative things to say to them than: ‘Don’t even try. We will punish you if you do. We will keep you in camps that will cripple your brain. We will make you sorry you ever dreamt of Australia.’”

I want to say to the government: “Stopping the boats is no great feat. Think harder. This problem will be with us for decades to come. It will get bigger and bigger. Please, some imagination.” And I would say: “Maybe it’s better to be more generous than you have to be rather than less generous than you could be.”

And I tell the audiences about when I appeared on series two of Go Back to Where You Came From. This TV show on SBS takes a small group of Australian citizens — some very critical of asylum seekers — and flies them to places in the world where refugees come from. They learn first-hand about the conditions that drive people to seek a new life in another country.

People who have seen me on the show ask me: “Abdi, when people tell you to go back home, what do you say?” And this is my answer. I say: “No, thanks. Madmen with AKs will kill me.” And then I say: “Don’t you want me here? Really? With these good looks?”

Edited extract from Shining: The Story of a Lucky Man by Abdi Aden and Robert Hillman (HarperCollins ­Australia, $29.99), out May 25

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BFU presents Feminism, Art, Philosophy, Memory

When? Tuesday 26th May, 6.30pm Where? Carpark under Westpac Bank, 89-91 Boundary Street, West End. What? This Tuesday night, join local art thinkers Nicola Scott, Aleea Monsour and Tara Heffernan in a discussion on feminism in art and theatre, and … Continue reading

Jagera Hall handover

Book Launch: ‘The Drownings Argument’

Avid Reader Bookshop , 193 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane
Date: Thursday, 21, May, 2015
Time: 6:00:pm – 8:00:pm

Labor for Refugees invites you to join their guest speakers discussing The Drownings’ Argument – Australia’s Inhumanity: Offshore Processing of Asylum Seekers.

Edited by Robin Rothfield, The Drownings’ Argument is a collection of essays outlining the human rights abuses of current ALP and Coalition policies on refugees arriving by boat in Australia.

Let’s be very clear about this: every death at sea is a tragedy. No-one wants to see refugees die in their attempt to escape persecution, but the often-recited concern about refugees drowning is just hypocritical propaganda. People like Abbott and Morrison express their concern about refugees who drown. They are not sincere, but it provides a vaguely respectable excuse for harsh policies. I will say this plainly: when Abbott and Morrison say they are worried about refugees drowning on their way to Australia, they are lying: they are deceiving the public. It opens the way to mistreat asylum seekers who have not drowned, and helps them pursue the darker purpose of keeping refugees out.  Julian Burnside, QC

SPEAKERS

 Murray Watt is a senior Associate and solicitor at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers whose pro bono work includes fighting for Baby Ferouz’s right to recognition as an Australian citizen. He has been selected as the lead Queensland senate candidate for Federal Parliament.

Pamela Curr is campaign director of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, who writes articles for the ABC Drum, the Sydney Morning Herald,and Crikey.

Tony Kevin is an emeritus fellow of ANU and former Australian ambassador to Poland and Cambodia who has written extensively on asylum seekers and their rescue at sea.

Misha Coleman is the executive officer of the inaugural Australian Churches Refugee Task Force (ACRT) who co-authored the ACRT response to government policy on asylum seeker issues with Brisbane’s Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt. Formerly CEO of Anglican Overseas Aid, she is now a councillor and Greens representative who has served on the Yarra City Council since 2012.

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Avid Reader Bookshop , 193 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane, Queensland 4101 (AU).

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Nauruan police admit asylum seeker attacked

Confirmation is small consolation as yet another woman on Nauru is forced to accept that assaults will go uncharged. Nauru not safe – a place of persecution not protection paid for by Australia Pamela Curr ASRC Refugee Rights Advocate Let’s … Continue reading

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STAY AWAY from the Public Trustee

Having looked after my widowed and elderly mum for nearly 20 years and providing her with financial, physical and emotional support, my mum chose to leave most of estate, that I helped her to build, to overseas family. Without my … Continue reading