Vale Workers BushTelegraph (1996 – 2016) RIP


View from Mistake Mountains, S-E QLD

Past Comment
‘… I will never come back to this site, as your burgeoning sandstorms are exhausting me’ – [JG] , ‘does it really matter to me if WBT is a bit of a gossip rag full of sloppiness and inaccuracies?’ – [PG], ‘… not a story i’d want to hear!’ and ‘you’re a sexist white male!” – [E], ‘…but I still don’t really get what you are trying to say with your original post, Ian’ – [DE], ‘But now, from Peter Beattie down to grass-roots left activists, the broad church has reduced Aboriginal issues to sloganistic dot points in propaganda and policy generated wholly within non-Aboriginal discourse and consciousness’ – [JT], ‘… nobody will talk to you if you publish that” – [JM], ‘oh, i thought it (wbt) was being run by a collective of four or five’ – [A] , ‘Maybe “Worn Out” is a good name for a new blog. It has an inviting ring to it’ – [JB] … ‘You could end up like our leaders Jim (PFJ*) and Reg (JPF*) … 40 years of effort and nothing to show for it!’ – [JM] ‘i feel that it can only be seen to be intended to insult and to discredit briscan rather than to foster meaningful conversation in the “left”. i think the statement is hurtful Ian wasn’t even involved in BrisCAN!’ – [RT] ‘[R] is right of course, I find it hard not to agree that a public criticism of the left is not as beneficial as the left critiquing themselves openly amongst each other.’ – [I] ‘ … Some of us were born well after the historical defeats of the 70s. We don’t see any point in mourning battles that others lost for us nor are we chained to the analysis, language and modes of operating of those that lost these struggles.’ – DE

These are just a few accolades for WBT from Lefties ‘oh, they’re just trying to help’ [KH], and here is the best of the lot by a jewish friend from Med school:My finally point, philosopy (sic) of knowledge 101. A hypothesis must be falsifiable to have a truth claim. To prove your case, you need to seek out intelligent opinions that undermine it. There is a mountain of information about Israel, both pro and con. Keep delving. I am not an intellectual, just a stakeholder. I don’t envy the task ahead of you

WBT ‘failed’ because it never stimulated discourse or manage to solve the three questions it posed from the outset:

  1. Industrial question: The Master/servant relationship. The struggle for Worker Control.
  2. Ownership question: Who owns the land? (Rights to the city, Right to country) The struggle of indigenous people for land rights and social justice in Australia.
  3. Political question: This is the class struggle. Who owns the means of production? Who governs? How are Democratic Rights won and shared.

    Some stats from [WP
    ]: 488,391 reads; 5,046 comments (all moderated); 4,241 posts (> 50% original); 5.3 Gb of Images & Videos (>90% original); over 80,000 links compiled averaging 4 hours each night for 10 years. WBT had over 800 followers on WordPress (4ZZZ has 1,600). [NB: be skeptical of all computer generated stats.]

    Beginning of the end
    WBT began on 13 July 1996 when Israel bombed Lebanese people mercilessly and ended at the Aust-Israel Chamber of commerce lunch addressed by former premier, Peter Beattie, CEO Stolenwealth Games.

    However wbt was not entirely my own, not even my own idea (although I did come up with the three questions wbt posed). It was begun in the early 1990s by Vern Sunfords – a rank and file unionist in the Tax Office. Vern died in May 2006 at age 65. Vern came up with the name BushTelegraph and, what is more, put it into practice, circulating Workers BushTelegraph on our employer’s intranet email system for many years.For Vern, Workers Bush Telegraph was an underground publication. Vern even got to give evidence before the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission where he argued for the rights of clerical assistants (as they were then known). The CAs were the labourers of the clerical world, it was a time when ordinary people off the street were employed by the Public Service so long as you passed the test. I wrote a short story about them once called ‘No Wonderland for Alice‘.

And then there were the contributors, old and young, who taught me much over the those ten years.They included: Maggie, Trevor Berrill , John T, Ray, Steve, Hamish, Robin Taubenfeld, KC, Gary MacLennan, Ciaron, Paul, Pamela Curr, Lachlan Hurse, Sue Monk, Jim’s D & S, Dom, Ross, Emad, Humphrey, Marcial Parada, Viola Wilkins, Jim & Anne, Louay, Bernie D & N, Jumping Fences, J., Phil Monsour, Rosa Made, Andrea Walsh, Eliza, Andy, Camilla, Bilal, Katherine, Mervyn Langford, Jade Maree, Bogaine Spearim, Karen Fusi, Sam N, Sam W, Graeme, Gerry, Corey Marie and many more …wbt was made possible by their emails, articles, speeches, bulletins, notices & comments. Thanks. Write to if you wish to access wbt archives. Workers of all countries Unite!
A special thanks to LeftPress, All Born Equal Rights and Radical Times who hardly ever faltered in their support and for KH for putting up with me.

Good night & good luck,
Ian Curr

* JPF = Judean People’s Front * PFJ = Popular Front of JudeaPhoto: The WBT banner photo is the view east from the Mistake Mountains, shot by Ian Curr on a walk with comrades & friends in 1996.

WBT is dead, long live WBT!

Cover Drawing by Jenny Bluefields, ‘No Wonderland for Alice’ written by Ian Curr.

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