Saturday 4 July 2015

Rights! Heresy! Revolution! and The Sale of Sovereignty!

Australians were dubbed "a weird mob" many decades passed.  Until very recent years, compulsory voting was necessary in Australia because the populace were deemed so apathetic they couldn't be bothered to go to the polls on a Saturday.... at least not while the pub was still open!

While the population is aging, the attitudes of those of working age now (2015) is significantly departing from what it was in the mid-20th Century.

Critically, things that were typified as "Australian" in the late 1940s and 1950s could be summed up simply; a sense of national identity, a close kinship with fellow members of the British Commonwealth, and a healthy feeling of not taking ourselves too seriously.

Australia had become wealthy rapidly, and had "grown up". It had developed a comparatively affluent middle class, while simultaneously denying the existence of a de facto class structure with as many tears as tiers.  We deny it still, but that doesn't change the facts.

ONE THING that Australians have always been very big on is "a fair go".... yearafter year, after year.... we still cling to the ideal...

So, where am I going with this rambling essay ?   Three letters; "T" "P" "P".

For those who haven't noticed, we have had a singularly unsuccessful outcome from the decade just passed when it came to the so-called USA/Oz "Free Trade Agreement" (another 3-letter acronym... get used to that). We were sold a "pup" as the old saying goes.

Put simply, the idea of any FTA is to "level the playing field". To remove artificial barriers to trade such as tariffs, quotas or subsidies.  They are great, in theory....  Reality however is a very unforgiving stick with which to get beaten.

I've pretty well had the proverbial gutfull of my OWN Federal Government selling my country out from under my fellows and myself....

We knew various of our leaders had less spine than a jelly fish.

We knew that the "electoral farce" that passes for "democracy" here tends to favor whoever has the biggest bank roll (kinda like our Legal, not "justice", System).

We also knew that on more than one occasion, our "allies" (not just the USA, but the UK, France, etc.) have at some point played us for fools.  More than once they have decided that something they wanted was something best not done in their own backyards, so they used ours... Maralinga, Bikini Atoll.... and when we complained, they reacted badly... Whitlam dismissal.

We let the USA & UK lead us by the nose into a war that was not ever going to end well for anyone. Not once. Not twice. But thrice!

Before anyone reacts to that, I should emphasize that I support our troops, but not the fools that send them to fight and die.

So, what's this got to do with the "TPP" ?

You may want to read the details yourself (Yes, the "privileged few" and "fools with power" are the only "supporters".) ;

Disturbingly, even an "apologists view" highlights concerns that non-USA citizens are voicing.  That situation is only made worse when the same newspaper cites ; "[people] who believe in [National] sovereignty should be outraged that ISDS would shift power from [Nation's] courts".  Yes, the [...] bits are substitutions I made to make a point. In the original article, the focus at this point is on the USA, but the substitution of any group of [people]" from any "[Nation]" is part of the collateral damage that the TPP carries.

Now, I should point out that I like the "theory" of America, just as I like the "theory" of the "plucky Brit" and all that goes with being part of "The Empire" (even one on the wane). Critically, there are a LOT of things about both the USA and the UK to like, and a LOT of "normal people" (however you want to define that) in both countries.

So, this is NOT an exercise in "America bashing".  (Not even really about "corporate bashing".)

Consider:  As I type this on my American web site, using my Taiwanese designed & Chinese built laptop, in my cosy home in middle-class Australia, paid for by a pay packet from my corporate overlord, while collecting data from all over the British-invented WWW, hosted on the American-military invented Internet, the "irony" of the statements in this post are not lost on me....

However, "all that glisters is not golden", and not all amenities and conveniences are worth the price.

While writing this, I seriously considered; "If I emigrated to escape the fools in Canberra, where would I go?".  The sad truth is, even the country whose lobbyists and major corporations are behind this piece of mind-numbing insanity (the TPP), even THAT country (the USA) is no a safe haven nor even a place where democracy is "healthy". Their own populace and press are questioning the merits of this Hell-for-leather push to get this agreement into place!

Let me sum it up in a few simple dot-points.

  • Entrenches the ability for corporations to impose their Law on the Nation State
  • Grants sweeping powers to corporations to sue governments
  • Extends the ability for the export/imposition of American Law internationally
  • Prevents Nation States from creation of Laws to protect individual rights
  • Creates a pseudo-legal system outside International Law
  • Further neuters the UN as a force for promotion of "inalienable human rights"
  • Places Corporate profit above National interest

Even for the most rabid pro-American "USA! USA! USA!", extreme-right, gun toting "good ol' boy", this new "agreement" is bad news.... unless of course you're family is one of the "privileged few".

Back to the title of this post...

  • Heresy: Would Australia be better off becoming one or more additional states of the USA ?  People have fought and died to keep this a sovereign nation. (No, not like the American War of Independence. I know that!  And yes, I checked that article.... it wasn't April 1st!)

  • Revolution: How much more corporate oppression will Joe Citizen (key word there) accept before once more the rally to the flag to throw off the yoke of the oppressors ?  And if such a call went out, which side would the armed forces and Law enforcement groups take ?  More pointedly, would a "popular uprising" actually take hold in Australia ?

They took away (most of) our arms.  They limited or revoked our Rights to free speech and and freedom of assembly and association.  They eliminated avenues under the Law to defend ourselves.  Now they seek to export our remaining democratic rights to foreign corporations.

For the "TLDR;" brigade, it means that the "megacorp of most dystopian futures is on your doorstep, NOW". So what are you going to do about it ?

I for one, am voting with my wallet. Those of you who know me personally, know that this is (weirdly) "normal" for me, so I'm signing up for petitions and membership to lobby groups. It may be too late to stem the hemorrhaging of Rights completely, but if I do nothing, I have nobody to blame but myself when the worst case scenario finally comes to pass.

Question is, what will you do ?  Anything ?

If not, I hope you like our new corporate-and-unelected overlords...

As the men in my family have said (misquoting) for some generations now.... "I may not agree with you, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."

Footnote: As usual, courtesy of some of the noted points above, I have intentionally not named any parties, nor expressly cited or implied any wrongdoing under the Law.... primarily to steer clear of any libel or defamation lawsuits... All copyrighted material linked or referenced is the property of the relevant entities or persons.