Thursday, 10 November 2011

11.11.11 - War, Gough, Occupy, Cosmic Opportunism

I don't support war with the sole exception of self-defense.  World War 1, The Great War, was not our war as Australians and yet at the time our society was so culturally and legally tied to The British Empire that Australians felt it was their war.  On this day 93 years ago the Armistice was signed and WW1 ended.  This image I borrowed from Wikipedia depicts the cover of the NYT on Nov 11 1918.

One of my Grandfathers was a WW1 veteran.  A country boy from Narrabri he was at Gallipoli (an honour that carries great kudos in Australia), actually he was there only very briefly.  He had contracted a non-specific venereal disease in Cairo and was evacuated from Gallipoli to a hospital ship and sent home.  An ignominious story that heavily contradicts the family legend.  My other Grandfather was a trade union leader, Secretary of the Boiler Maker's Union, Member of the NSW Upper House in the famous Jack Lang Labor Government, in the Official Stand at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and he was imprisoned during WW1 for actively protesting with his Unionists against conscription.  (He was English by birth having grown up in the destitute suburbs of Leeds in Yorkshire.)  Anyone hazard a guess whose legacy I want to carry?

On November the 11th 1975 the then Governer-General, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Gough Whitlam Labor Government, creating the greatest controversy and the most dramatic event in Australian political history.  Here I really wish I could insert a clip showing the incredible Robyn Archer singing her song "The Jubilee Cakewalk" but you are going to have to put up with my (probably inaccurate) 30 year old memory of the lyrics...  My apologies to Robyn Archer for any errors, it has been a VERY long time since I heard anyone other than me sing the song.

Well the Queen is having a Jubilee and I don't begrudge her that.
But when I think of what her power did to my country I don't feel like raising my hat
When a white-haired old bugger name of Sir John Kerr
Sacked the Labor Government in the name of her
Old money bags Fraser refused supply and the Governor-General waved bye bye
To socialism, the Governor-General waved bye bye.

I've very fond memories of the Queen she's one of the few I've seen
As an antipodean child of nine I was taken to the race track made to stand in line
Now it was very hot and I had cause to faint
She's a benevolent monarch it's not her fault it ain't
But if our democracy is in the political shit she's not responsible for it
Or is she?  She's not responsible for it.

Now she's given him a title, the Companion of Honour is he.
But anything of honour in the things that he did would be very difficult to see
I didn't set out to call the Queen a creep but you can tell a lady by the companions she keeps
And if our democracy is in the political shit she's not responsible for it
Or is she?  She's not responsible for it.

Well I voted once and I voted twice but majority vote melted away like ice
Old money bags Fraser refused supply and the Governor-General waved bye bye
To socialism, the Governor-General waved bye bye he caused a schism 
The Governor-General said exactly what I'd like to say to him
Bye bye Governor-General, Bye Bye.

I was only a kid when this happened... I still remember exactly where I was when I found out.  I was on a bus outside the Registry Office between Hyde Park and St Mary's Cathedral and my friend Miranda told me the news.

Today has been declared an international worldwide Occupy the Streets day of demonstration but there doesn't seem to be much going on here in Sydney.  There is an informal discussion this afternoon and I am considering attending (except I am saving my precious limited energy and endurance for going out later tonight and I don't think I can do both.)

Still in acknowledgment of my support of the Occupy movement I wrote the following comment on the Occupy Sydney Website.

How can we not support the Occupy Movement?
I believe there is a gross inequity in the distribution of wealth in our society. I watch the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and I know it is wrong.
The global recession has caused corporations to tighten their belts (read; get more work out of less people under lower standard working conditions) and yet the very top of the tree continues to reap huge profits. Government doesn’t help because their principle concern is always getting re-elected and the top of the tree has the power to heavily influence an election.
If I don’t stand up to be counted I have no right to complain and I think we should be complaining LOUD AND LONG!
How can we not support the Occupy movement? It is OUR movement after all. 

Finally, a queenie little chap on TV told me that today is cosmically significant and so it is a good time to put out into the universe the positive wishes for what you want to attract so here is my wish list (in deference to Mildred Ratched I am wishing BIG)

  • I want the world to be happier, healthier, and wealthier (read - wealth shared more fairly)
  • I want war and religion to get off the center of the stage (Play John Lennon's Imagine to express my thoughts on this matter)
  • I want my health back 
  • I want to love and to be loved in return
  • I want a safe comfortable environment in which to live long-term
  • I want to not have as many things to worry about
  • I want many varied opportunities for laughter
  • I want to spend time with interesting, caring, socially conscious people
  • I want you all to have your wishes come true too.
I am hoping to post this as close to the 11th hour on this the 11th day of the 11th month in the 11th year... I who was born on the 29th (11) for whom 11 has always been my favourite and most lucky number.  

Happy elevenses to you and yours - may the magic be real!


  1. I think you're awesome. :)

    When I am rich and famous...I will come to Australia and visit you. And we'll talk about all the ways that we're going to change the world for the better. :)

  2. Great post! I remember the day Gough got it in the neck too, I was at Circular Quay waiting for the ferry and read the headlines at the newsstand.

    Happy elevenses to you too - I hope your wishes do come true, even the ones that seem impossible. Magic happens and the universe is a wonderful place.

  3. *big smile* Cane Girl, I can think of few things I would enjoy more than spending some time solving the world's problems with you!

    Carinthia - it was a big day for us and a big day for Australia. I think spending more time with you will go towards making two of my wishes come true already!

  4. I came here after reading your "elevator speech" at #OAH on FB. I really agree with you that it's important for those of us involved in Occupy to say WHY and articulate what we want.

    Are you interested in using what you already wrote (that I just "liked" on FB) and some of what you have above about what you want, and how you see this being carried through in the Occupy movement? That would be posted on the #Occupy at Home blog? On the personal level, and/or on how individuals can see these lists of personal needs/desires made into a larger movement for all?

  5. Sharon - I would love to put something together for #Occupyathome!