1. Please don’t go!
That was PM Scott Morrison’s advice to people wanting to attend the Black Lives Matter rallies being organised all around Australia.
Marcia Langton’s advice was “Go!” but with hand sanitiser, masks and observing 1.5 metres distancing.
Morrison was following medical advice from CMO Prof Brendan Murphy, who said the virus loves big gatherings, and it is possible for a single infected person to infect 30 or 40 or 50 other people at such an event. Murphy’s advice was taken up by the premiers of Victoria, NSW and Queensland.
In NSW the Police Commissioner applied for and was granted a Supreme Court injunction to stop the rallies.
The Police Commissioner indicated there could be arrests. One would presume that the organisers could face heavy fines.
In Queensland as far as I can make out the Premier left it to the Police Commissioner.
Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd:
“We don’t believe that this is necessarily in its own right, an event that requires a massive overt police presence, we’re there to walk with, support and protect those people,” he said.
- Mr Codd said police would prefer the protest did not occur tomorrow but realising that was unlikely had worked with the rally organisers on how best to facilitate it.
“It just isn’t practical … to suggest that we’re going to go through and start issuing offence notices to thousands of people,” he said.
In Queensland strictly speaking outdoor events are to be limited to 20 people.
In South Australia and WA official approval was given for the rally to take place.
Tim Costello said that if Morrison didn’t want people to march he should undertake to implement all of the recommendations of The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) (1987–1991).
There has been commentary on the previous Salon. Here’s Ambigulous on Victoria:
- Organisers in Melb say they will ignore pleas to call theirs off: from Premier, Chief Medical officer, police.
Vic COVID regulations say groups of less than 20 can gather.
Organisers advise that their marchers will gather in grouplets of 20 (keeping 1.5m apart within each grouplet), and grouplets should keep apart from other grouplets. Doesn’t sound like any protest march I’ve ever seen.
Police warn that “deliberate” flouting of the COVID regs can attract a $1600 fine.
With crowds of 20,000 that would yield a cool $32 million.
2. What really happened in Tiananmen Square
Yueran Zhang in Jacobin Magazine has the story on The Forgotten Socialists of Tiananmen Square:
- What the world remembers about the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were the students. But above all, it was a mass workers’ uprising for socialist democracy.
He says the default story remembered by the world is seriously wrong. It is a long piece but worth the read as we again pass the anniversary. Yueran Zhang says the workers were a more important factor in the unrest than the students and intellectuals, and had quite different aims:
- Many commentators have romanticized China’s 1980s as a decade of freedom, hope, pluralism, and idealism. However, a balanced assessment of the decade requires one to consider not only what was present during the decade, but also what was absent. Much of what those commentators love about the decade — the burgeoning influence of Western liberalism, the increased freedom of speech and expression, and the vitality of intellectual groups — was accompanied by the retreat of the working class from politics and the vanishing of socialist democratic ideals, which resulted from repression in the wake of the 1979 Democracy Wall Movement. In a sense, the “liberty” of 1980s China was born in the shadow of repression.
That repression lies in how the workers were treated within enterprises and generally.
- As workers’ congresses were deactivated, workers lost their limited power over decision-making in factories and directly experienced “bureaucratic dictatorship” at the point of production. With workers feeling oppressed, mistreated, stripped of their dignity, and faced with increasing power inequalities, managers had no choice but to resort to material incentives and bonuses to achieve labor discipline. The rise of workers’ living standards in the mid-1980s was thus a result of the systematic weakening of their power in the workplace. And in the late 1980s, as workers’ material gains were eaten away by inflation, their discontent grew.
So apart from a few leaders, the students and intellectuals were basically co-opted by the PRC. The workers, who wanted worker control at the enterprise level were severely punished and repressed. He says students neither understood nor cared about workers’ socialist democratic ideals.
- I have talked to dozens of people who studied at Beijing’s top universities in the late 1980s, almost all of whom participated in the movement. Today, as middle-class residents of Beijing, they believe that “political stability trumps everything.” They look back on their participation in 1989 as naïve and manipulated.
He believes this ‘divide and rule’ strategy sustains the PRC to this day.
3. Morrison as visionary and saviour
The bungle over the JobKeeper surplus has not really dented the government’s credibility. Some 55% of people want to use the $60 billion saved to extend or broaden the existing Covid support programs, but 45% overall and 57% of Coalition voters want to spend the money on paying down debt (ignoring the fact that borrowing money to pay down debt makes no sese at all).
On Leader attributes Morrison cleans up. An amazing 73% think he’s intelligent, 72% think he’s hard working and 70% a capable leader. Fully 66% think he’s good in a crisis, 65% think he understands the problems facing Australia, 56% think he’s trustworthy, and 51% think he’s more honest than most politicians. Indeed, 48% actually think he’s visionary.
If you look at Albanese’s numbers, there’s Morrison, daylight and then Albo, plugging away as an ‘also ran’.
It seems not to matter that The Australian government has officially given up on climate action, that it is going for gas in a big way facilitated by the ABC, on the mistaken belief that it is cheaper than renewables, significantly cleaner than new coal, and the only way of providing dispatchable power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.
Anyone who appoints dishonest climate denier like Angus Taylor to the energy portfolio, climate denier Keith Pitt as Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, and Michaelia Cash as minister for anything, let alone Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, is ignorant, has attributes and values quite contrary to what Essential Report found, and should be arraigned for crimes against the planet and humanity.
Solar and wind’s stunning cost advantage sparks call for mass coal closure
There’s more, much more, but that will do for now.
4. Murray-Darling Basin in trouble
Matthew Campbell takes a look at what’s happening for Bloomberg Green in Australia’s Water Is Vanishing:
Scorched by climate change and drained by industrial farms, the country’s most important river system is nearing collapse.
People making money include big industrial farmers, foreign investors and hedge funds that drive up the price of water. The Nationals in the Government can’t seem to represent the interests of their own constituency, while climate change is rapidly reducing stream flows.
Leaving aside the fish, we are looking at a system where three million people drink the water every day (apart from those now buying bottled water) and at a food bowl supplying a third of the country’s food production.