THE

RATBAG
AUSTRALIA’s BEST WORST ZINE - PUBLISHED MONTHLY - FREE

IN THIS ISSUE:

RATBAG ZINE

 Australia’s Invasion Day Vs NZ’s Reconciliatory Waitangi Day  John Pilger’s Utopia - An ISJA Overview: By Ray Jackson, ISJA (Sydney)  History - 1946 Pilbara strike - Australia’s longest strike. . 

Scurrilous doggerel, seditious malarkey and informative gonzo journalism since 2013 Want to contribute? Got feedback? Just mad as hell and want to share it? ratbagzine@gmail.com

#3

AUSTRALIA’s BEST WORST ZINE - PUBLISHED MONTHLY - FREE
Sick of the poor choice between the barely concealed right wing Neo-con media juggernaut on one hand or the unashamedly biased to their viewpoint micro party socialist propaganda kicking around on the other side of the fence we have created RATBAG. The aim of RATBAG is not to sway your thoughts one way or the other, it is to share some though provoking articles that are out there in circulation in the public domain and also to create a bit of space for the publishing original alternative content. We wish to be inclusive of all, so please do feel free to email us your article about what ever is on your mind! Political content is fine but RATBAG is not the organ of any political grouping. Nor will be publish any hate-based articles and the like – We suggest you call Howard Sattler.

CONTENTS:
Australia’s Invasion Day Vs NZ’s Reconciliatory Waitangi Day John Pilger’s Utopia An ISJA Overview, And Other Comments By: Ray Jackson, ISJA (Sydney) 1946 Pilbara strike Australia’s longest strike Backcover: Madrid Police Stomp On An Antifascist
http://thefreeonline.wordpress.com /2013/11/30/spain-30-antifascists-held-new-law-fines-up-to600000-euros-for-demos/

ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine

Page 2

Australia’s Invasion Day Vs NZ’s Reconciliatory Waitangi Day

As the 26th of January – Australia’s national holiday for getting completely shit faced pissed and also to collectively continue to refuse to acknowledge that it is actually marks a day of Invasion for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – rapidity approaches it is important to look for a better way for the bulk than just to mindlessly continue with what has always been done. It would seem bizarre for even many Australians to look objectively at the facts of this date – that we hold a ‘national day of celebration’ on the date which simply remembers the first day of the British Empire in 1788 dispossessing Aboriginal people in order to found a penal colony which was to serve as a deliberately induced hell on Earth for a few outright (but useful) villains plus the majority of the convicts being the starving poor of England’s lowest classes - and in years to soon come Irish political prisoners, English Chartists, orphaned children and a medley of others arrested by the Empire. Certainly other nations celebrate truly grand days - the French celebrate the people of Paris rising up against the tyranny of an absolute monarch and storming the Bastille at the very start of the 1789 French Revolution, the modern Global Empire Good-ole US of A celebrate their 1776 Independence Day (Or the founding of their Empire as separate and rival to the now redundant British Empire) and Mexico’s Grito de Dolores (‘Shout of Dolores’) celebrates Mexico defeating the colonialist Spanish Empire and hence gaining independence in 1810. Yet we celebrate the start of the dispossession of a whole continent and the founding of a prison.
ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine Page 3

Across the ditch – In New Zealand, a land also founded on the dispossession of a native people, they do things quite differently – and much for the better, with Waitangi Day, which is held on the date of the signing of the treaty of Waitangi. It wasn’t always this way though. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840. The Treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, guaranteed Māori rights to their land and gave Māori the rights of British subjects. Of course the Brits being the Brits, when the Treaty began to be just too darn bothersome they changed their minds, with a Imperialist tool in the shape of a certain Chief Justice James Prendergast, who under British colonial law declared the Treaty to be a 'legal nullity' in 1877. The first steps to have a Waitangi Day to be added to the existing schedule of national holidays began in 1957, when such was first added to the NZ Labor Party’s objectives. It was not until 1971 when the shadow minister of Māori Affairs, Matiu Rata, introduced a private member's bill to make Waitangi Day a national holiday. The ruling conservative government of course did not approve. It took the 1972 election of the third Labour government for it to be announced that from 1974 Waitangi Day would be a national holiday. Along with being a widely celebrated day, Waitangi Day is a key date in regards to modern Maori protesting. Several hundred protesters often gather at Waitangi to reflect the longstanding frustrations Māori have fostered since the Treaty's signing. Although not part of the Government celebrations, Māori sovereignty activists often fly the Tino Rangatiratanga flag (see below) from the flagstaff. Of course the mere holding of Waitangi Day not an all in one reconciliatory fix-all – there is still much of the Treaty to be worked through along with more societal matters such as the repercussions of dispossession and endemic racism, but rather than ignore – or merely acknowledge - a past injustice as Australia does, New Zealand is willing to experience Waitangi Day as focus point of the ongoing reconciliatory and justice discussions.

The Tino Rangatiratanga From a Māori language term that can be interpreted as 'absolute sovereignty'

The Australian nation as a group of people would do well to follow the NZ example and move on from a day of no significant discussion - except the chanting of jingoistic ocker slogans and clichés - to a certainly at times challenging yet genuine day of reconciliation and righting the balance of justice for Aboriginal and Torrez Strait peoples.
ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine Page 4

John Pilger’s Utopia - An ISJA Overview, And Other Comments. (ISJA: Indigenous Social Justice Association (Sydney) “The film review below by Julian Drape proves to us all that indeed John Pilger is back in town with his latest gut-wrenching expose of the terrible and vile conditions of Aboriginal life once the 'white-blindfold' has been removed from the general public's eyes to clearly see and know the truth, the black invasion historical truth. This may be new to some but every politician in this country, past and present, is very well aware of these deplorable, even criminal, conditions, that have been wrought on us by the invasion and its aftermath. The reply to the question from John of why little of a positive nature has been done in the NT over some 50 years clearly shows the utter contempt most, if not all, politicians have to addressing the plight of our people, In the NT especially. As we are only too well aware, their answer, after 50 years of abject and constant failure, was to enforce the horrendous, soul-destroying and invasive assault on the human rights of the NT Aborigines, along with the most blatant land grab of the NT Aboriginal communities since the invasion began! Under the NT lands right act, 1976, initiated by Gough Whitlam but made law by Malcolm Fraser, the initial stolen lands were returned to the traditional owners. This current land grab is a double jeopardy being a double theft of Aboriginal lands. We must never forget that what one government can give, can be more easily taken away by another. That is why we need the Racial Discrimination Act (to be watered down soon by the Abbott government) and a bill of rights to better protect our rights in these areas. Additions to the Australian/British constitution of our sovereign rights would also help against such government theft.

ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine

Page 5

Any informed person of sound and moral mind following the Aboriginal history since the invasion will find no surprises by viewing Utopia, they will already be aware of the horror shown by Pilger. As Julian Drape says "there is not a lot that is genuinely new" in the documentary. Even so that does not mean that Pilger should not have made it. Our survival history in all its squalor must be seen again and again until there is a real groundswell of righteous indignation that in such a rich country we Aborigines are living at a third world level. The fact that the film was commissioned in England, the historic invader, speaks volumes on the low social morals of the governments in these stolen lands. I was appalled and angry when I first read Pilger's book, 'the secret country, back in the early 90's. John was highlighting during that time the criminality of deaths in custody, especially the son and brother of the Murray family, Eddie Murray, who was murdered by the Wee Waa Police of 1981. After several coronial inquests, including the royal commission into aboriginal deaths in custody, none were prepared to charge the police officers involved with murder or even a lesser crime despite the glaring facts of the event. The struggles of the death in custody families, including Arthur and Leila Murray, both now deceased, who fought for justice for over 30 years.

Example of Police Brutality - Jamie Jackson, 18, mid-being thrown to the ground and arrested by a police officer for attending the 2013 Sydney Mardi Gras. Their passing has not lessened the hunger for justice of the sisters and other family members for Eddie's murder. Over 400 other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are also seeking justice. At least now there has been some tentative movement in the willingness of coroners and magistrates, along with some very limited assistance from the state and territory directors of public prosecutions, to actually charge Police who become involved in death in custody events. Then s/s Chris Hurley of the Palm Island death of Mulrunji Doomadgee springs to mind (he was acquitted by an all-white Townsville jury) and the death by torture of Roberto Laudisio Curti just recently by Sydney City Police.

ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine

Page 6

After many months of legal deliberation the NSW DPP, Mr. Babb, decided that some of the officers involved in the torture and death of Roberto should indeed face a court of law but on much diminished charges. Other outstanding events concerning Mr. Babb include the death of Adam Salter by NSW police and the assault and failed cover-up by Ballina police against Cory Barker. A further item of interest for ISJA, if not Mr. Babb, is his shelving of charges being laid against the Kings Cross Police for their wildly erratic shootings of 2 youth and, still again, another cover-up. We want his decision reversed and the matter duly processed through a court of law. But to return to Pilger's latest social expose. We owe john Pilger and other like-minded film makers for their good works of putting these truths before us all to see, much thanks for their ongoing support. Utopia should be shown in all educational establishments from primary school on. Governments will not like nor accept that this be done, nor will the mining and pastoral industries as they have too much to lose by the removal of the whiteblindfold and strict justice being applied. One more final point. In his review Julian Draper informs us of comments made in the film by a white tour guide at the national war memorial in Canberra who provides a succinct analysis of what might really be going on. "I don't know why we don't embrace that history," he says when Pilger asks why the Frontier Wars aren't commemorated in Canberra. Maybe we're not overly proud of that history.". Not only not very proud but also because it is "too dark" and "'it might upset people with its myth-busting'," as one film distributor stated when asked why he, along with all the other distributors, refused to handle the showing of the film. The control of history by governments is most essential when ignorance becomes a white bliss. All world governments are guilty of the social crime of wanting to rewrite history as the death of Nelson Mandela testifies to and governments will contort their hold of their own particular history to suit their own rewrite to their required means and ends. Ongoing political debates continue, mostly by well-meaning supporters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, on two matters that must be of a concern and a deliberative choice of our own mobs. The first is our flag and its use. Most Aborigines I know and talk to about this issue agree that our flag is a separate flag, a land rights flag, and must not be incorporated into any other flag design. Amen to that.

ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine

Page 7

The second point is the inclusion of the Frontier Wars into the national war memorial. Again, when this issue is raised, there is very little interest in having the Frontier Wars enjoined to and swallowed up by the national memorial. We want our own memorial to the frontier wars and the other wars. it is our history and our wars. There must be no watering down or white-washing of that history by governments. As the Jews have their holocaust memorials to maintain the truth of the genocide of Jews so to we must have ours. And ours alone. There is too much bad history of sublimating our black and white invasion history to trust that task to governments. Those who fought in the mainly imperialist wars, with the singular exception of the fight against fascism in the second world war, of course must be included in the national memorial as a justified right.. but their history too is shameful but whilst their bravery and sacrifice can, and must, be extolled so to must the racist treatment given to them be shown and explained and must be forever condemned. We must have our own war memorial in our own agreed place. A place that is not shamefully hidden up a dirt track behind the national war memorial. John Pilger's Utopia clearly shows us why! And again, John, many thanks for your work and continued support. Go, see, learn, enjoy. There is strength in enlightenment.” Article by: Ray Jackson, President Indigenous Social Justice Association Link to Julian Drape’s Review of Utopia http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/john-pilgers-damning-new-film-aboutindigenous-australia-20131231-303tf.html Link to ISJA (Sydney) Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/IndigenousSocialJusticeAssociationSydney

ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine

Page 8

1946 Pilbara strike - Australia’s longest strike On May 1, 1946, 800 Aboriginal pastoral workers from 27 stations in Western Australia walked off the job for better pay and conditions. This was the first industrial action by Indigenous Australians since colonisation in 1788 and predates the famous Wave Hill strike in the Northern Territory by 20 years. The Pilbara strike lasted until 1949, making it the longest strike in Australia’s history. From the 1890s to the 1920s it was common for Aboriginal workers to be paid only in rations of food and clothing. During the 1920s some workers began to receive minimal wages. The 1936 Native Affairs Act legally compelled pastoralists to provide shelter and meet the medical needs of their workers, but this was never enforced by the government. Aboriginal stockmen were housed in corrugated iron humpies, without floors, lighting, sanitation, furniture or cooking facilities. It was illegal for the Aboriginal people to leave their place of employment, and it was even illegal to pay them wages equal to the white people’s. In 1942, there was a secret Aboriginal law meeting to discuss a strike proposal, an idea first discussed by white labourer and prospector Don McLeod and Aboriginal people Clancy McKenna, Dooley Bin Bin and Nyamal Elder Peter “Kangushot” Coppin from the Pilbara community who were instrumental in calling together the 1942 meeting. 200 law men from 23 Aboriginal groups gathered, and after six weeks a consensus was reached to begin a strike on May 1, the international day of workers’ struggle and the beginning of the shearing season, thereby putting maximum pressure on the squatters. However, the strike was postponed until after the Second World War had ended.

ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine

Page 9

On the stations there were no phones or radios and the Aboriginal workers couldn’t read or write English. Dooley was responsible for spreading word of the strike. He visited each station pretending to be a “visiting relative just passing through” to avoid any suspicion. Dooley distributed calendars to the workers on all stations, made from labels from jam tins, on which they marked off each passing day so they would all go out at the same time. On May 1 hundreds of Aboriginal workers left 20 stations, affecting 10,000 square kilometres of sheep farming country. They gathered at strike camps - Twelve Mile outside Port Hedland and Moolyella near Marble Bar - where they would spend much of the following three years. At its height, at least 800 people were on strike. The sheep stations were paralysed without Aboriginal labour. In order to survive, the strikers coordinated the collection of bush food and pearl shells and hunted kangaroos and goats to sell the skins. Many Aboriginal people got their first taste of economic independence. However, many Aboriginal strikers were jailed for their participation in the strike, some even put in chains for several days. Although the striking stockmen won award rates in 1949 many never returned to the stations. Measured against the workers’ initial demands, the 3-year Pilbara strike was not a complete victory. But the strike was of great historical significance, providing a powerful example of Aboriginal people’s resolve to struggle against their slave-like conditions. The struggle for equal wages was finally won in the wake of the 1966 Gurindji strike in Wave Hill, Northern Territory. The West Australian government awarded the Nyamal people the abandoned Yandeyarra pastoral lease in 1974 where they live to this day. From: http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/politics/1946-pilbara-strikeaustralias-longest-strike#ixzz2mnIChmXx

ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine

Page 10

Don McLeod in 1987 at the age of 79. An active unionist and also member of the Communist Party of Australia for a short period, Don McLeod was an Australian Worker's Union delegate at Port Hedland wharf who motivated support by the Australian labour movement. (Note: The AWU of the North West WA 1940s was not the ALP Right Wing beast it is today) For more on Don see – http://indigenousrights.net.au/person.asp?pID=975 Video: Don McLeod recounts his experience of meeting Hodge and their trip to 12 Mile strike camp to meet the other organisers - http://aso.gov.au/titles/documentaries/howwest-was-lost/clip2/ Don is also the author of the 1987 Book ‘How the West was lost’ http://www.roninfilms.com.au/feature/2232/how-west-was-lost-native-question.html

Funnies…

Real Estate…
Asbestos Shack Great Views ! $500,000
Lovely cottage feel
Roomy Site Home - Only $55 per Night or $550 per Week - Includes all site ammenities inc communal toilet We know you are desperate Page 11 ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine

AUSTRALIA’s BEST WORST ZINE - PUBLISHED MONTHLY - FREE
ratbagzine@gmail.com Free Monthly Zine Page 12