Originally posted on Thinkers’ Podium on the 3rd of September, 2007.
“Hitler got the fascists sexually aroused. Flags, nations, armies, banks get a lot of people aroused…” – Gilles Deleuze.
The Green Left Weekly that gets emailed to my blog-related email account (who in Paramatta was it that signed me up?) is telling me not to be afraid to protest at the APEC meeting this weekend. Even if someone were to offer me a lift interstate and magically get me off the hook with regards to my daily responsibilities, I wouldn’t go.
Not that I think that the content of the APEC meeting (specifically our Government’s participation) is going to be particularly good, it’s just I like pick my protests based on their capacity to get a point across. APEC protesters don’t get listened to. Even if the media gave them a fair go they simply don’t have the resonance, or an well-informed informed or consistent message to get across to the public.
Their campaign isn’t like the 2003 Australian protests against the Iraq war. That campaign had a more or less consistent message, and it had resonance in spades. It wasn’t tainted by the confected outrage of a jaded group of the usual suspects.
I want an alternative to what is being sold at APEC, but I don’t want the Democratic Socialist Party’s (DSP) alternative. More importantly, I want alternatives delivered more effectively.
I want more thought-out alternatives to be sold on the floor of APEC to a captive audience of attendees. I don’t want these alternatives desperately thrown at them from a distance by a dis-empowered citizenry. The public shouldn’t be fronting up to global decision making as beggars.
However, I do respect the right of the likes of the DSP to peacefully protest and to do so without persecution, defamation or being subjected to violence. No matter how much conservative Australia may be aroused by the prospect of violating these people.
Let’s not delude ourselves. Coverage of these types of events by the conservative punditocracy are rarely fair-minded, are often exaggerated, are mostly dishonest, and in many instances are plain sadistic.
Take a look at this piece of hyperbolic fantasy by Alan Jones. How quickly the discussion turns from protesters towards terrorism. What a bizarre non-sequitur! Also note how quickly after said segue he turns to the straw man of people not believing that terrorism exists. The likes of Alan Jones harp on about terrorism and exaggerate the risk whenever they can and that’s the criticism that Jones so dishonestly dodges.
It’s an obvious act of dishonesty this straw man. When you actually bother to think about it that is (and let’s face it, Jones has a demographic to cater to), how can he claim his (and Howard’s) critics deny the existence of terrorism when they accuse him of exaggerating it? Accusations of exaggeration presuppose that there is something (i.e. terrorism) to exaggerate in the first place.
But enough of Jones’ inept grasp of reason. This is about what gets his type (I mean the modern conservative extremist, thank you very much) aroused.
“There is no reason why these people should be allowed to march.”
(Alan Jones, 2007)
Clearly Alan Jones abhors democracy. I’m sure that goes down well with his black shirt demographic.
“Where are the views of the rest of the community represented in what the Commissioner in waiting is going to do?“
(Alan Jones, 2007)
The “rest of the community” has its voice (heck it could counter protest) and has its democratically elected representatives to represent its views. The police aren’t there to directly enforce a movement’s political will, or at least they aren’t supposed to do so in a democracy. Orwellian police state yes, Australia 2007 no (or at least preferably “no”).
“How about listening to the law abiders, not the law breakers… [blah, blah, blah]“
(Alan Jones, 2007)
See what I mean about dishonest and unfair? The protest hasn’t even happened and magically they are already sentenced by the right honorable Alan Jones as law breakers. Imagine Alan Jones’ utopia; a place where people are guilty without even having a trial (or an opportunity to commit the crime). Somehow I don’t think Alan Jones gives a shit about rule of law.
The stark reality is that Jones’ audience don’t give the proverbial rat’s about the rule of law either. They don’t abide the idea of a lawful, democratic society. What they care for is the forceful persecution of their political enemies. Even if those political enemies haven’t done anything wrong yet (or indeed even if they aren’t even going to do anything wrong).
Now that Alan Jones (apparently a prognosticating mutant) has done his Minority Report, edicts can be delivered.
“Tell them that our police and security services are not going to be made frontline fodder for their violence.“
(Alan Jones, 2007)
The violence that Alan Jones predicts that they are all guilty of of course. Not violence he can demonstrate, as it hasn’t happened yet. It’s all decided in the court of Jones’ rather over-fertilized imagination.
“And if there’s a 600,000 dollar water cannon which we’ve purchased, use it.
If it can knock protesters off their feet, if they defy the law in numbers, use it.
Because it’s clear that whether the march is sanctioned or not, in open defiance they’ll come.“
(Alan Jones, 2007)
Now this bit of Orwellian double think is breathtaking (in a conservative lunatic, auto-erotic asphyxiation kind of way, if the words of Deleuze hold true). Basically what he is saying is that if the protest is legally sanctioned, then they will all be protesting in a fashion that has already been determined to be illegal. I.e., if it is made legal, then it will happen illegally. This makes no sense.
Further to this, given that they have magically broken the law, the police should brutalise them! The law-abiding Joneses of the world, want the police to mug protesters for participating in a legally sanctioned protest, all without a shred of evidence, but rather just upon some terribly contorted logic.
Imagine if we applied this apology for reasoning elsewhere.
If you make it legal for people to start their car, they’ll start their cars illegally. Look, someone’s starting their car! TASER THEM!
You can replace “start their car” with any bugbear you want an army of thuggish talk-back radio listeners to get in a fit about.
Of course before Australians continue to entertain these kinds of sado-erotic fantasies, they should be aware that this kind of rough-play does come with consequences. At the risk of providing pornography for these types (if it were any more graphic I likely wouldn’t show it), I think people need a visual reminder.
(John Filo, 1970)
That’s un-armed Kent State student Jeffrey Miller dead on the ground who apparently was a threat to the national guard called in to deal with violent protesters. Jeffery was never proved to have been an actual threat so as to justify his death, but then the national guard weren’t singling people out for being shot. Of course, if we use Jones’ heuristic, he was a violent law breaker and the action of the state is all lemon-peachy. Another death to get off on, listeners.
There is doubt being cast on the justification for this man’s death of course, that’s natural. But just this year an audio recording of part of the shootings popped up to re-open old wounds. I’m not sure if any of this proves anything, but it should give people pause for though.
Of course, if you buy into Alan Jones’ minority report style heuristic of determining guilt, you probably won’t seriously consider things like consequences and facts. You’d be too distracted, being aroused by the prospect of brutalizing your fellow Australian.
Fortunately, most of you aren’t like that.
So when you inevitably come across media coverage of the APEC protests this weekend, keep in mind that a lot of it is just pornography for violent media consumers of an anti-democratic perversion. Keep that in mind when the pornographers of totalitarianism spew invective upon anyone else for that matter.
This post dedicated to raptured blogger, Art Vandelay.