Monthly Archives: October 2011

#Occupy London – ‘sermon on the steps’

On Saturday Oct 29th. I was invited to take part as a Catholic Worker in the “Sermon on the Steps” of St. Paul’s Cathedral organised by Occupy London.Here’s some youtube of “Sermon on the Steps”….

Occupy London protected by ring of prayer….…otest

Here’s the Anglican Bishop of London and Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral contiuing to tie themsleves up in knots on Sunday morning…lenge

Here’s snap of Iraq/ Afghanistan veteran Ben Griifin and moi speaking out for Bradley Manning and Julian Assange at Occupy London

and here’s my Catholic Worker sermon…………..

Hi there

My name is Ciaorn O’Reilly. I’m from Giuseppe Conlon House in London, where we offer hospitality to destitute refugees without any recourse to benefits or legal status to work. Many of these folks have fled countries and economies that have been trashed by the institutions based in this Square Mile of London . There are no borders on capital as it swirls around the world but people are branded “illegal” fleeing the destruction it wreaks. At Giuseppe Conlon House we don’t accept any funding from the state and we don’t want any funding from the state. We are volunteers and our project is financed by donations.

We are part of the international Catholc Worker movement. Our folks have been down at Occupy Wall St. New York City, others feeding folks at Occupy L.A., other Catholic Workers are present at Occupy Des Mones and elsewhere. We are here because we are radical Christians and much of what you are doing here resonates with what we are doing at home and the practices of the early church.

The word “radical” is not a scarey word, it’s not a word left over from the 1960’s. The word “radical” is a Latin word. It means “to return to the roots”. Why do we need to be radical? Because our dissident movements get co-opted! They get co-opted by the temptations Jesus confronted in the desert – power, wealth and status.

The Christian movement has been around for 2,000 years – so that’s a lot of time in which to get co-opted. We had a pretty good run for the first 300 years, before the Roman Emperor Constantine legalised us, patronised us and co-opted us. Radical christianity had, and has, an anarchist orientation towards power and a pacifist oreintation towards violence. Jesus has no truck with violence and exploitation.

Pope Paul 6th said “If you want peace, work for justice!” And the flipside is true, if you want to maintain empires of exploitation you must prepare for war. There is a relationship between peace and justice. And there’s a relationship between violence and exploitation. There’s a relationship between these banks and institutions, principalities and powers in this Square Mile and the wars that grind on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere

The church does not have a monopoly on being co-opted. Punk, rap, feminism, trade unions, you name it all get co-opted. But there are always radicals in these traditions that you can work with on the basis of nonviolence and direct democracy. So here we all are outside St. Paul’s Cathedral threatened with state violence and church eviction for speaking truth to powers of the Suare Mile. What the Cathedral folks forget is that the image of God is to be found in human beings, that’s what makes us all sacred. The image of God is not found in big buildings. The church is only relevant in how it midwives the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of peace and justice. What is the church doing here in this place is it enhancing the Kingdom or the City?

Why those in power find this encampment, your presence, so abhorent is that you are exercising active citizenship not playing your designated role as passive consumers in this Square Mile. A “Shock Doctrine” place that has historcally been cleared of residents and citizenship. Those in power don’t want you to be active citizens, they want you to be passive consumers. They want you to think that the only freedom you have is at the point of consumption. The freedom to choose between Coke and Pepsi, Nike and Reebock…don’t entertain the thought that you have any freedom at work or in your community or on your campus. They don’t even want your active support for their wars any more. All they want is your silence and sedation, your resignation. This camp is a movement of a holy spirit at the centre of empire against the spirits of resignation, cynicism that facilitate war and global exploitation.

The Catholic Worker movement began in New York City at a time like this – the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Our founders Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin didn’t go for big solutions, they didn’t lobby the rich and powerful, they did what you are doing today. They set goals, and as the Wobblies would say, “started building the new society in the shell of the old”. And here we are 80 years later, still practising the acts of mercy in response to poverty and nonviolent resistance in response to war. Such practices are eternal. These banks, these Mayors CEO’s and Prime Ministers, this capitalist system are transitory

Going to jail for nonviolent resistance is an occupational hazard in the Catholic Worker movement. I have been in many jails, in a number of jurisdictions, over the last 30 years. The first night I spent in a jail, I was sharing a cell with a career armed robber who told me “People will stop robbing banks, when banks stop robbing people!” That’s pretty insightful and where would you get such an insight but from the margins? It observes that there are two sorts of crime in our world – wholesale killing, thieving and dealing in dangerous substances and retail. Those who deal in wholesale crime are the governments and corporations, those who deal in retail crime merely mimic the rich and powerful.

This nonvolent experiment in justice and peace outside St. Paul’s cathedral, like so many others including Jesus community, may end in the violence of the state sweeping down upon it. But that won’t be the end as it wasn’t for Jesus community. Already our brothers and sisters have been batoned, maced, tasered and arrested in the U.S. and Australia. Our brother Scott Olsen remains in a critical condition in an Oakland/ California hospital.

What is needed now, and always, is nonviolent resistance and the solidarity that sustains it. I truly believe if 1% of the 2 million people who marched in this country 2003 against the war on Iraq had gone into nonviolent resistance to the point of imprisonment – in the spirit if Ghandi and Martin Luther King – and the other 99% who marched had proactively supported them….we could have stopped that war. We still can!

So there are some folks here sleeping rough, some who will be arrested and some who will be injured. We need to surround them throughout these experiences designed to intiimidate and defeat with proactive solidarity, so they come out of those resistance experiences stronger than they went into them.

We need to support our resisters, casualties and prisoners.
Free Bradley Manning, Free Julian Asssange and Free Michael Lyons.
Thanx and solidarity

Ciaron O’Reilly

“The poor tell us who we are,
The prophets tell us who we could be,
So we hide the poor,
And kill the prophets.”
Phil Berrigan


BDS Victory: Alstom loses Saudi Haramain Railway contract worth $10B

BDS Victory: Alstom loses Saudi Haramain Railway contract worth $10B The BDS National Committee (BNC) has declared a long sought-after victory as Alstom lost the bid for the second phase of the Saudi Haramain Railway project, worth $10 billion … Continue reading


Try Out Your Voice

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“I am strong because I am weak. I’m beautiful because I know my flaws. I’m a lover because I am a fighter. I’m fearless because I have been afraid. I’m wise because I have been foolish. & I can laugh … Continue reading


17 Group Wed the 2nd of November

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The next Meeting of the 17 Group will be held on Wednesday the 2nd of November in unit 6 at 20 Drury St West End at 7pm on the rather unusual topic: “Why are there histories of reading? Some thoughts … Continue reading


Occupy your life

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By Andy Paine Around the world, the “Occupy” movement has captured people’s imaginations, leading countless people in thousands of cities into city squares to make a statement about their dissatisfaction with the state of our society, especially the distribution of … Continue reading


Day small boy pissed in Queen’s wake

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I ride your river under the bridge I take your boat out to the reach Cos I love that engine roar But I still don’t know what I’m here for. —The Go Betweens ‘Streets of Your Town’ A harried mum … Continue reading


‘This is what democracy looks like’

The banks are made of marble, there’s a guard at every door, their vaults are stuffed with silver that  workers sweated for The #Occupy movement is based on a democratic system of consensus. This creates collective control of the occupation … Continue reading


Refugee Action Collective: Organising meeting with special guest speaker

REFUGEE ACTION COLLECTIVE, QLD Organising meeting with special guest speaker MEETING IS ON THE 26th OF OCTOBER, NOT THE 16th After our successful rally last Saturday to commemorate the SIEV-X disaster of 10 years ago, the Refugee Action Collective invites … Continue reading


UN rights office calls for Gaddafi death probe – What about death probe on 60,000 civilians

UN rights office calls for Gaddafi death probe – How about a death probe on 60,000 Libyan civilians killed in daily NATO bombing for the last 6 months? UN rights officer suddenly concerned about AN extra-judicial killing? Drone attacks on … Continue reading


Who’s afraid of Volume Two?

By Humphrey McQueen Many a Marxist who embarks on Capital sticks with volume I because it deals with the class struggle. Few proceed through the other three volumes, doing little more than dip into volume III for the chapters on … Continue reading


#OccupyBrisbane Rally today! 12 noon

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ya estan matando a Chilenos and now they are killing Chileans in the Greek sports stadiums too they are showing how they define spoils justice live to fight fight to live ‘To the Victor belongs the Spoils‘ by Daniel del … Continue reading


Enoggera Five

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Thursday 20TH October Two people who sat in front of a truck involved in construction work at Enoggera Army base in Brisbane, are due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court for a hearing today. Jim Dowling and Culley Palmer blocked … Continue reading

Behold the Siamese twins of the Queensland police force

By Ross Fitzgerald

On 17 January 1930, during a general discussion about the conservative Queensland government’s industrial conciliation and arbitration act amendment bill in the Brisbane Domain Paterson addressed a lunch-time gathering on the relationship between the law and the working class.1 He was arrested two days later on a charge of sedition, brought against him by AE Moore’s country and progressive national party state government. Had Fred Paterson been found guilty, he would have been unable to practice law. An impoverished law student is an unlikely target for such political harassment.

However, this was the beginning of the depression. The world’s capitalist economies had plunged into crisis and, despite its lack of a manufacturing base, the Queensland economy was severely affected. As well, the communist party (CPA) had begun to behave much more militantly, and was being portrayed in the media as being poised to strike, viper-like, at the bosom of Australia’s well-being. Sensitive to any criticism of the social and economic system, the state government was supposedly acting to protect itself. The subject of Paterson’s address in the domain, ‘the law and the working class’, specifically brought the legal system into the area of critical public discussion.

To conservative members of the Queensland political and legal fraternity, such ‘seditious’ utterances from an intending lawyer created grave misgivings. Fred Paterson was arrested on 19 January 1930 just a few weeks before his final bar examination, which he failed.2 Up to this point, he had always passed his law exams with ease. In his memoirs, recorded shortly before his death in 1977, he candidly admitted that his failure in one exam paper at the time may have been deserved in that his defence of himself at the sedition trial completely occupied his time: ‘I am prepared to admit that my failure in one paper … may have been a just decision. I had neglected my law studies to prepare my defence’.

The charge against him was that in the Brisbane Domain on 12 January, 1930 he advisedly spoke and published seditious words, namely:

If the workers shed a little blood in their own interests as they did for the capitalists in the war they will be emancipated. They should take the law into their own hands. Although I hope that I will not have to shed any of my own blood, if the necessity arises, I am willing to do so in conjunction with the workers as a whole. But before I do so the workers will have to be thoroughly organised to have a successful issue. There was no harm in the spilling of blood in the late war in the capitalist’s interests so why could it not be spilt in the worker’s interests, who could not be much worse off than they are now?

During his trial on 16 April 1930, Paterson sat at the bar table.5 The crown prosecutor, FW (Fred) O’Rourke, called two young constables, ET Rooney and P Collins, as witnesses to the alleged seditious utterance. To secure a conviction for sedition under Queensland law, the evidence had to be given by at least two witnesses. The two policemen who allegedly witnessed Paterson’s speech both recounted over 200 consecutive words without a word of difference and without the aid of notes. The words complained of were, the officers stated, used in the domain when the industrial conciliation and arbitration act amendment bill was being discussed. Several other constables were present, but none made any notes.

In reply to a question from the crown prosecutor, Collins said that he did not form the opinion that Paterson was trying to break the law. Paterson neither confirmed nor denied that he had uttered the words. His defence rested on the proposition that no individual, let alone a pair of constables who had allegedly not attended the meeting with the deliberate intention of charging him, could listen to an hour-long speech and recall a select ‘seditious’ passage word for word, yet at the same time not be able to repeat accurately any other statements made before or after the offending remarks.6 Paterson said in court:

Sedition is a serious crime, next on the criminal code to treason, yet the crown comes along here with the most unreliable evidence … Would any of you, the jury, go to a political meeting and on returning home remember the exact words used without the aid of notes? … The original Siamese twins were born together, lived together, ate together, slept together, but the police variety think together.

He added: ‘Behold the Siamese twins of the Queensland police force.

They were not born together, they do not eat together, they do not sleep together and probably they will not die together. But they remember exactly together, and they forget together’.8 After a retirement of less than fifteen minutes the jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and Paterson was discharged.9 As his eldest son, John Paterson, recalled, his 47 Fred Paterson father often remarked that the ‘not guilty’ verdict was returned in the sedition trial before the jury had had a free meal. This was uncommon in the years of the depression, as many jurors would delay giving their verdicts until after they were served the standard free hot luncheon or dinner.

The Brisbane Truth of 20 April 1930 headed its report on Paterson’s trial thus: ‘Police Siamese Twins. Rhodes Scholar Scathing Indictment of Crown Evidence, Acquitted of Sedition’. For years afterwards, the two unfortunate constables were known as ‘the Siamese twins’ of the Queensland police force. In what the Brisbane Truth referred to as a ‘sensational speech’ in his defence, Paterson told the jury:

We are living in a modern age, and I speak when the opportunity offers. If I am guilty ever of sedition I am prepared to take the consequences, but I am not guilty in this case … It is not I but the crown, and its method of giving evidence, which is on trial at the present time.

As prosecuting counsel, O’Rourke responded in court that Paterson had an idea that he had been singled out for ‘extinction’ by the crown, but ‘from his address to you it will be seen that he is a man who might easily be led away and who might use words not always advisedly’.12 The trial judge, chief justice Sir James Blair, gave what Paterson later called ‘a viciously vindictive summing up’, telling the jury that as trained witnesses the police officers would have no difficulty in remembering the words allegedly spoke in the domain that day. As he had previously had run-ins with him at the University of Queensland, Paterson wasn’t surprised at Blair’s vindictive summation to the jury.

The possibility of a conspiracy between the conservative state government and the Queensland bar association to prevent Fred Paterson from practising as a barrister must have crossed the minds of many who knew him. Indeed Paterson later argued that he had evidence from a former fellow student at Brisbane Grammar School, the prosecutor himself, that the trial was a set-up.

As Paterson put it:

The crown prosecutor was Fred O’Rourke, an ex-Brisbane Grammar School boy, and one who believed in the real liberal principles — liberal with the small “l” of the legal profession. On the day of the trial Fred O’Rourke asked me to attend his chambers. I did. He told me that the trial was purely a political trial; its aim was to get a conviction to prevent me from becoming a barrister.

Paterson’s claim about the political nature of his trial is lent extra credence when one considers the degree of complicity shortly afterwards between the agents of Moore’s state government and the federal conservative opposition in pursuit of the ALP federal treasurer, EG (‘Red Ted’) Theodore, over the Mungana mines allegations.


POST PRESSED INDIGENOUS BOOKS LAUNCH Tuesday November 8: 6.00 for 6.30 at the Talking Circle, The Queensland State Library, South Brisbane. (see separate attachment for map and directions) Post Pressed, e-content Management, and noted Indigenous scholar and researcher, Dr. Jackie … Continue reading


SIEV-X Commemorative Exhibition

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SIEV-X COMMEMORATIVE EVENT ——————————————————————————– Presented by the refugee artists represented in the SIEV-X art exhibition at ——————————————————————————– The Studio, State Library of Qld, Cultural Centre, south end of Victoria Bridge ——————————————————————————– When: 6.15 pm, Wednesday 19th October. Where: The Studio, … Continue reading


View from Grassy Knoll

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Following the lead of the Arab Spring, ordinary people around the world occupied squares near big companies — places like Wall Street, the London Stock Exchange, financial districts of Berlin, Toronto, Martin Place in Sydney, City Square in Melbourne and … Continue reading


Refugee HUGE announcement- details still coming

The Prime Minister’s announcement toady to release people from detention centres to the community while their claims are processed is LOGICAL. This year 1500 were released from detention between February and June to suburban houses and church homes all over … Continue reading


Palestinian Prisioner Release – dancing in Gaza streets

Two high-profile prisoners — Marwan Barghouti, the influential Fatah leader, and Ahmed Sa’adat, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — will not be released as part of the swap deal, Yoram Cohen, the head of Israel’s … Continue reading


People Smugglers?

by Gerry Georgatos Hypocrisy never ceases to amaze and often serves to highlight immoral predicaments. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is concerned about the rights of a 14 year old Australian child who was arrested by entrapment for possession of marijuana … Continue reading


SIEV-X…and some were saved

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Sat 15 – Sun 23 October 10am – 5pm daily at The Studio State Library of Queensland two exhibitions to commemorate those who died at sea seeking refuge in Australia. They fled war and persecution in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, … Continue reading


Rank hypocrisy on Child detention

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As the Australian government provides high level support to the 14 year old Australian boy and his family in Indonesia, could they spare a thought for the 14 year old Indonesian boys locked up in Australia who have no parents … Continue reading


Post•War Reconstruction, Socialism, and Labor Unity

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Sixty-seven years ago today, Fred Paterson rose to his feet to make a speech in the Queensland House of Representatives. The Labor Government was in power. Joh Bjelke-Peterson, then a backbencher, famously said after hearing Fred’s speech (below):— “I am … Continue reading


An end to global war

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From Arab Spring we come singing for freedom’s sake strike up the banner, cry war no more rid us of this insane curse those warmongers are the worse our job is not to lead nor is it to be led … Continue reading


Refugee tribunal reflects political agenda: ex-diplomat

BURN THE BILL – Tuesday 11 October – 12noon – Treasury Place ( outside PM Gillard’s Melbourne office) Your chance to show what you think of the Migration Legislation Amendment (Offshore Processing and Or Measures) Bill . The Refugee Advocacy … Continue reading



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Indonesia is a transit country for asylum seekers whose destination is Australia, but unlike Australia, Indonesia has not ratified the UN Refugee Convention. Meanwhile the UNHCR has an office in Jakarta to process the asylum seeker applications; but the slow … Continue reading


Farms in default in Childers

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“It is not enough that some succeed, others must fail”— Gore Vidal The article in the newspaper clipping  shows the crisis in capitalism hits in towns big and small, in places that city papers rarely mention, towns that lie hidden, … Continue reading


Behind the Seams: The women who made Can’t Tear ‘Em™

On Sunday, 16th October at 2pm, Phuong Xuan Vo and Glenda Shugg, will be sharing their personal stories of life ‘behind the seams’ in the Can’t Tear ‘Em™ factory and beyond. Phuong is from Viet Nam, Glenda is Filipino and … Continue reading


OCCUPY Melb meets today

What: Occupy Melbourne Second Organising/Committees Meeting When: 1.30pm this Sunday 9 October WHERE: Eco Shout @ Ross House, Ground Floor, 247 Flinders Lane, CBD. (This is the block in between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets). Contact: Ben Convey 0413 208 134 … Continue reading


ENGLAND – Six Arrested Marking & Blockading 10 Downing St. on 10th. Anniversary of the War on Afghanistan!

Six Arrested Marking & Blockading 10 Downing St. on 10th. Anniversary of the War on Afghanistan! VIDEO (3 mins) PHOTOGRAPHS Six anti-war activists, associated with the pacifist Catholic Worker movement, were arrested Friday morning October 7th. after a nonviolent … Continue reading


Australian socialism and Aboriginal struggle — a critique.

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 by John Tracey I paint this essay with very broad brushstrokes. I am aware that there are many exceptions as well as different degrees amongst different groups regarding my various generalisations. This essay does not attempt to provide an accurate … Continue reading