Some members of the radical right deem “militant revolution” as the only method for transforming the Australian system, and certain splinter groups subscribe beyond that notion, believing it will occur within our lifetime. The latter group, often described as the lunatic fringe (and with good reason) believe all out guerrilla warfare, which is essential for revolution, is achievable in the streets and cities of 21st century Australia. But the man who wrote the book on militant revolution, Che Guevara, knew otherwise. Che Guevara laid the cold, hard facts out plainly from his very first page.
Militant revolutions rely on the will of the people. It is the people and their collective will who win a revolution, not just the “resistance fighters.” Without majority support of the people the resistance fighters will not be supplied, will not be fed, will not be hidden, will not be encouraged, will not be manned, will not be supported. The people give birth to the resistance army; they protect and nourish it: the army does not protect the people.
But that’s cart before the horse stuff. To reach a point of birthing a resistance army, let alone supporting an armed revolution, the situation requires many people to be upset with the status quo. Not 50% of the people, not 60 or even 75%. The supporting figure would be in the 90% range and those people would have to be really furious, hungry most likely, starving, or desperate in some other way. All hope vanquished.
Severe conditions and very high numbers of support are essential because even when such conditions are present, many will play it safe rather than support or supply the actions of a challenging group of revolutionaries. In the 90% range, a third would directly help a revolutionary force in a small but significant way. Less than a tenth of that figure would risk their families to hide anyone.
With this in mind, think of present day Australia. Out of 23 million people, not too many slip thru the government safety nets of health, welfare and other social services. Not many citizens drop down dead of starvation. The overwhelming majority are content. Australia is arguably the best county in the world to be in, even if you are poor, or especially if you are poor. Most Australians are grateful for their freedom, real or perceived. The nation as a whole is very far from being dissatisfied to the point of militant revolution. Our 230 political representatives know this, and to them, the very notion of militant revolution in Australia is laughable.
Australia is not Syria, not Egypt, it’s not Northern Island. Australia is a nation on a patio and it will remain this way indefinitely. The government of the day, be it Labour or Liberal, will forever make sure of this. Their existence depends upon it. The system demands it.
“Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel” – so sayeth Che Guevara.
Still, as we throw another mung bean burger on the barbie, and the rupture of tiny alcohol bubbles fuel yet another jocular Facebook posting about militant revolutionists interfering with our football game, from the safety and comfort of this particular patio The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights springs to mind. Article 19 in particular, which states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Article 19 is a UN resolution, not a treaty, and therefore does not, in its entirety, legally bind UN members to enforce its contents.
By contrast, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty. It was enforced by the UN in March 1976. Committed parties are obliged to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial.
Australia signed the ICCPR in 1972 and ratified the deal 8 years later. The first Australian Human Rights Commission was established in 1981. The ICCPR was made a reference point for its functions but was never made a part of Australian law.
We the people, merrily waltzing away here in “The Land Down Under”, may not realise that Australia (unlike The United States) does not have explicit freedom of speech in any constitutional or statutory declaration of rights. (The exception is political speech which is protected from criminal prosecution at common law, a shield basically against government prosecution, but not a shield against private or civil law prosecution).
In 2005, under the cloak of anti-terrorism laws, ye olde Tory tart himself, John Howard reintroduced sedition laws. The Attorney-General in 2005 was Philip Ruddock, who said: “The offence [sedition] is one if the person urges by force or violence the overthrowing of a government, or interfering with an election, or encouraging other people to use – or groups of people to use – force or violence against other groups.” A statement that any surgical lawyer could cut a thousand ways.
Most countries have sedition laws, mainly in legislation and occasionally at common law. Certainly Australia’s sedition laws are rarely used, but they are there. The law exists and can be spun into action on a case by case basis. Be in no doubt that our 230 MPs have the power to enforce sedition laws anytime, to suppress any person or group or entity, including the media, and to initiate prosecution.
Australia’s political clique publicly subscribes to the idea that we the people be allowed to exercise our natural rights and voluntarily gather whenever we desire to do so, providing, of course, our actions do not compromise the freedom of others. It is this latter point which the clique discuss behind closed doors with a high rate of perspiration: How to further violate the liberty of 23 million people and contain their right to speak freely using the spin “Your actions will compromise the freedom of others.” Tricky, but our political clique is up to it. The Senate passes a bill requiring all mass gatherings to be permitted. No tickee, no shirtee. For example – “The protestors were not granted a permit to march today because of a number of concerns around the issues of public safety, and the disruption to local schools and businesses in the area. I want to assure them, however, that their grievances have been heard and that Australia is a great country where free speech still means unrestricted speech.”
Somewhere in the mix, the fearless leader will be made available for a sound grab: “It is important to respect peoples’ right to discover their own limits.” Especially in the realm of abstraction.
Australia’s political clique has all points covered. They are prepared for the unlikelihood of a militant revolution, and on red alert for any uprising that could lead to a bloodless revolution. Peaceful protestors have been dragged off to Australian jails yelling and screaming infringements of their freedom of speech all the way to the gaol. Difficult to argue an infringement of rights when those rights don’t exist in the Australian constitution. Such peaceful protestors are generally fined for “offensive behaviour,” with jail terms for repeat offences. When a government starts jailing its people for “offensive behaviour,” it is a slippery slope towards tyranny.
Freedom of speech does not mean we are free to chat about sport. It means we have the freedom to say and do some very controversial things. We the people are lulled into believing we enjoy such freedom in Australia, but the between the lines banter is: freedom until we decide otherwise.
There exists current Australian laws which gives federal police the power to bring felony charges against any person who engages in public demonstrations or protests without a permit. When a person or persons want to protest freely in Australia, they have to be pre-approved to do so, and must conduct their free speech protest in a “designated zone.” When it comes to curtailing the freedom of we 23 million people, our small clique of 230 representatives somehow find a way to work together.
Free speech if you must first seek permission to use it is not free at all.
The great domain of the internet is another matter entirely. A public space where subscribers of a bloodless revolution can gather to exchange and discuss ideas with anyone, even if they don’t have the proper “permits”. Arguably, it is the last great bastion of hope for we the people.
Australia’s political clique are continually exasperated at the ineffectiveness of their efforts to gag and suppress online activity. The internet continues to mock Court Orders which fundamentally need a designated zone in which to enforce said Orders. The internet is borderless. Technically, the Court has the power to order any person, any entity to do or abstain from doing any act or thing. It has the power to order any act or thing to be done or left undone. That certain issues persist around enforcing certain orders on the internet is not lost on our political clique. There is no way to stop overseas sites from publishing information or to stop people here from visiting sites over there. Any government at any time can weave and spin a reason to close its physical borders, no one in, no one out. But there is not an army anywhere on earth capable of marching to the centre of the internet and shutting it down (just ask Julian Assange).
The word “revolution” is arguably the most heroic word on earth and has undoubtedly enjoyed a renaissance in the hearts and minds of we the people since September 7.
However, the Australian militant revolution will not be televised. It is a fiction in the minds of the lunatic fringe. To those pseudo soldiers prancing around the bush with broomsticks, engaged in pointless drills that will ultimately lead to pie, chips and gravy in a jail or old folks home for the criminally deluded, best of luck. The only threat you impose is encouraging revolutionised Australians to have children and educate them to consume and die.
By contrast, 2013 Australia is the only Westernised democracy in the world to have genuine potential for spawning a bloodless revolution. When it comes it will come rolling with tremendous and unstoppable force along the length and breadth of the only route possible: The Information Super Highway.
Perhaps it has already begun.
I, Johnny Green, do not disclaim anything about this article. I’m quite proud of it really.