Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Four More Things About the Sydney Riots

1. How's the state Labour Government react? Give itself a zillion extra powers, of course. I'm sure this will end well, with the powers only be used when necessary. They will be used in a non-discriminatory way, and they won't exacerbate things in any way.

2. Also the Australian government said that the new Labour laws would stop riots.

The Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, said claims that the new laws would spark Paris-style riots were hysterical. He even suggested that riots would occur if Australia did not embrace the laws.

"It's well known that France still has a very rigid labour market, and it's a consequence of those rigidities and the failure to bring about some flexibility in their labour market that is a major cause of what's occurring in Paris at the present time," Mr Andrews said.
Obviously individual agreement just haven't had their opportunity to use their magic power to make people happy.

3. In another life I was a feminist historian, and once you start analysing the role gender in history, you keep doing it in the present. The most obvious point is, like the riots in France, this rioting is a male act. I wonder what happened to the partners of these men when they got home? Because there is a role women seem to be playing in these riots. There are coded, and less coded, references to attacks on women as the justification for the attacks on middle eastern men. This particular idea about the relationship between gender and race isn't exactly new, and is pretty fucking dangerous.

4. Yesterday Checkpoint's introduction to their piece about the riots started "Australia's Prime Minister John Howard is calling for ethnic and religious tolerance after racial violence erupted." How would he recognise ethnic and religious tolerance if he tripped over it? I'm surprised he could even pronounce it.


  1. The Holy Spirit's message today on The Christian Prophet blog is that Muslims create a backlash against themselves by insisting on feeling separate and different.

  2. Anonymous9:20 am

    Well Mr Christian Prophet gives me the heebee jeebees.
    I find it really funny that the Dom Post editorial yesterday compared the riot at Cronulla beach to the riots in Los Angeles, Paris, and Redfern.

    It entirely buys in to the belief that somehow 'white' australians are being discriminated against by the system because of their skin colour, by comparing a bunch of people who are wanting to preserve their privilege, with those who are genuinely disenfranchised in their country. It's pretty stunning in its arrogance, but it is a reality in this country as well as Australia.

  3. I found most of the New Zealand media commentary completely lacking in analysis.

    In particular, The rioters were treated as one homogenous group - completely ignoring that there were two different groups of rioters. It was like they were afraid to mention race. It reminded me of something Gary Younge wrote about how in Britain people never referred to his race, he'd be the only black person in a room and people would describe him as the guy with the earring. If you don't mention race - racism goes away.

  4. Anonymous2:56 pm

    Thanks for posting all this enlightening stuff Maia.

    Remeber that bloody awful speech from the Aussie unionist at our Anti Howard demo?
    The one about troops saving East Timor and other "great Australian way of life" stuff - which included "barbecues on the beach"
    Meanwhile back here, the EPMU are "fighting" mass sackings of airline workers with crude appeals to nationalism - and little else.
    The sooner every filthy vesitge of nationalism is rooted out of the labour movement the better.

  5. Anonymous3:18 pm

    I saw the posters from this campaign around town:


    The slogan amounted to 'You can't trust those slack Chinese to fix OUR planes'. I really was surprised to see Kerry Bolton appears to be doing EPMU press releases these days.

    I guess the slogan 'Our business partner the New Zealand government is firing 600 of our own workers, isn't quite as catchy.

  6. Anonymous9:33 am

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