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Things are Desperate - a Last Chance at Change Through Politics

Hi Everyone,

This is a call to arms. The science and other evidence is now without doubt - we are in the final days of our civilisation, whatever it might be called by history; it is hardly Western Civilisation anymore, since the destruction of nature (and I would argue human values, and quite possibly humans) has extended now across the globe.

We have environmentalists who, mostly in small groups, have been fighting the enslaught against nature since industrialism began. They have had their successes, but the rate of destruction is too fast and vicious, and their efforts are overwhelmed.

There is one example that has recently prompted me to post this call. At Stanley one company (with more soon to join) are buying farmland and mining the water i.e extracting the water which is supposed to be for farming and selling it as though it is their own private property. This is not like mining gold, extracting water in this way extracts it from all the neighbours as well. And now more companies/selfish individuals look likely to join the extraction, adding to the problem.

The local community resisted this and took the fight to VCAT, then to the supreme court, then to the appeal court. They lost, and $90,000 worth of costs have been awarded against the community (see here see also: The Guardian on this).

What has failed here? Firstly local democracy: the local council and local community banned the extraction. VCAT allowed it. The second failure: the legal system: even if the outcome was fair, the cost of justice is too high - how can individuals and communities possibly fight such expensive battles, even in this case much pro-bono work was provided to get to the court. The final failure is political again: at state and national level. It is reported to me that neither of the main political parties are even prepared to meet with the residents of the community to discuss changing the law around water mining.

This is our system - change is stifled politically, and by an over-expensive justice system. So what is to be done? Previously on this site I have suggested starting alternative local 'shadow' parliaments, but calls for this have not been taken up. The permaculture community have a philosophy that people should not waste energy on the current system, but rather put their energy into the building the replacement. This is a view I have much sympathy with, but I fear the current system will not leave much to work with.

So what to do? I think at this stage it might be worth one last-ditch effort at political reform before the collapse becomes unrecoverable (collapse both environmentally and financially). Can we call for a new Party, one which is a union of all the little environmental groups, the civic groups and all the individuals that want to save nature and mankind? The trade union movement has failed us. It is pro-growth, seeking short-term outcomes (jobs) for its members cutting down the forests and building more monstrous buildings. So we need a new union - and we need it urgently to bring about radical reform. Even if the new Union of Australians (for want of a better name) does not achieve power, it may gain enough seats (or threaten loss of seats) to change policy.

So here is the call - who is with me? No-one can do this on their own. As we have learned from history, the only way everyday people can stand against power is to do it together, otherwise they are crushed - as we truly are being crushed now by the never-ending greed and power lust that has been unleashed over the past 200 - 500 years and is serving the interests of a small minority - as it ever has.

Ps: The photo above is supposed to be the St Kildan's leaving their Island - perhaps the last traditional community to be removed from the land in the process of the Scottish highland and lowland clearances. Something I will write more about shortly.

Image icon Scottish men in poverty46.77 KB


Hi Matthew, you know will get behind anything like this. We also need to work on communcations between Australians to reduce the power of the corporate media. I like the Union of Australians name!

Thanks Sheila, that is encouraging.

I was thinking this really should have been the domain of the Australian Greens - but they have been around for a long time now, and the problems seem to be growing. If anyone has any lessons to learn from the experience of the Greens, please post them up. It would interesting to learn why they have not engaged Australians. and are not engaging them now when there is so much frustration at the levels of traffic, of seeing our much beloved city and suburb changing before our eyes - the loss of trees on St Kilda Boulevard is just one little example, even at Seaford Road intersection there has been massive tree removal of quite old trees for Sky Rail, the loss of which now blights the whole neighbourhood. Not the mention the thousand other things that are happening that require urgent action (fracking, water mining, native forest logging etc).

In for a penny.......... Thanks Matthew, a very interesting concept, I like it. And I agree with your sentiments, it's now or never. Climate change has ramped right up in the last 5 years and I believe governments, the Feds in particular, don't understand the ramifications of what's in the wind. This year alone we've, here at Tongala, had the hottest January and April on record while February and March were well above the norm. I also believe that we may be facing another extended dry period, I hope I'm wrong. Count me in!

Thanks John,
I will keep you updated if there is enough interest to pursue this.

The Greens (after Bob Brown) are too concerned with virtue signalling (e.g. mass immigration support) to vote for anymore. There is a minor party - Sustainable Australia - that seems to tick all the boxes as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks Observer - yes, that party seems ok. It advertises that Dick Smith just joined. The policies - at a quick glance - seem quite reasonable. So perhaps the best we can do is encourage people to support this party?. No point in re-inventing the wheel, or fracturing the sector into smaller, and perhaps less effective, parts.

I am thinking that a union of environmental, civic and other groups - along with individuals - could work more like the the trade union movement used to - that is it can come up with its own policies democratically and throw support behind one or the other political party. Thus the union might choose to back Sustainable Australia, and help support and promote it, without being involved directly in politics itself. This might be an appropriate pathway, as environmentalists, civic groups, etc are usually busy enough saving what they can of the environment, seeing people are getting meals, etc, and don't necessarily want to (or have time to) be involved as politicians.