Links I Liked - Update on How Change Happens. It’s now available as an audio book. I’m launching it in New Zealand and Australia over the next two weeks – see here for dat...
2 hours ago
"There are simplistic, bourgeois ideas about what causes rage in such (remote) communities - simplistic, naive, self-serving, urban, bourgeois view(s).. The jig is up."I'd forgotten how brilliant Peter Sutton's The Politics of Suffering book launch was. Marcia Langton is asking the questions and Peter Sutton providing the answers.
In my view this distinction, between the indigenous peoples living in a First World welfare state context and those who do not – is decisive, and is not properly comprehended when people think about “the survival of indigenous cultures and societies in a globalised world”. It may not be properly comprehended by Indigenous leaders contemplating the prospects of their people being able to retain their cultures in a changed and changing world.He then makes some remarks the “cultural vibrancy” he has observed in Third World countries such as PNG and contrasts this with the cultural disintegration he has observed in Australia. This latter aspect is not stressed in this essay but is a very strong theme in many of Pearson’s other essays, eg. Dr Charles Perkins Memorial Oration, ON THE HUMAN RIGHT TO MISERY, MASS INCARCERATION AND EARLY DEATH Delivered By NOEL PEARSON, October 2001
One choice is “to remain where we are”: attempting to retain our traditions and cultures whilst dependent upon passive welfare for our predominant livelihood. For the reasons advanced earlier, I would say this is not a choice at all. If we do, the social and cultural pauperisation of Indigenous society in Australia will continue unabated, and we will not establish the foundations necessary for cultural vitality and transmission to future generations. We therefore need to confront and demolish the mistaken policy that passive welfare can subsidise the pursuit of traditional lifestyles in remote communities.(1) I wasn't clear about Pearson's "Fourth World" terminology. However I found an article by Nicolas Rothwell which clarified the meaning:
The second choice is to “go back”: to maintain our cultural and linguistic diversity in the same way as the peoples of PNG are able to, or other such indigenous peoples throughout the Third World. But this is hardly possible. Indigenous Australians are now engulfed by the Australian economy and society, and it is impossible to see how territories could be established where the welfare state no longer reached, and traditional economies could be revived (this is not to say we cannot reform the welfare state within Indigenous regions). For one thing, my people would simply refuse this course in practice.
The third choice is to “go forward” and find solutions to a bicultural and bi- and multilingual future. That is Indigenous Australians must face the challenge that comes with culture and traditions no longer being linked with our economy in a relationship of coincidental necessity, but rather one of conscious choice. This is what I have in mind when I suggest a First World Indigenous people, rather than a Fourth World (1) people. Some of the elements and requirements are as follows. Firstly, it is about being able to retain distinct cultures, traditions and identity, whilst engaging in the wider world. Secondly, Indigenous Australians will need to ensure that the economic structure underpinning my people’s society is “real”. This will require fundamental reform to the welfare system affecting my people so that we are rid of passive welfare. It will also mean that our people gain their livelihood through a combination of all available forms of “real” economic activities – traditional, subsistence, modern – and this will include the need to be mobile through “orbits” into the wider world and perhaps back to home base again. Thirdly, education will be key to enable bicultural and multilingual facility and maintenance – as well as to enable economic mobility. Fourthly, we will need to deliberately and decisively shift our cultural knowledge from its oral foundations to written and digitised foundations. We will need fundamental traditionalists to be learned in our languages and cultures to fight for cultural scholarship and maintenance that can withstand whatever social and economic changes we will confront.
This is a bare sketch of the kinds of policies we will need if we are to survive as an indigenous people within a First World nation.
The programme I outlined is obviously not a separatist programme. I advocate restoration of social order and a real economy, education and proficiency in English that make my people socially and economically completely integrated, national unity and geographic mobility. There should be much common ground for Indigenous people who agree with me and conservative and economically liberal people.
But crafting a future for Aboriginal remote communities requires above all else a clear sight of what they are now. The communities are a welfare state and, thanks to Cape York activist Noel Pearson, the rotting effects of passive welfare provision in the Aboriginal realm are plain, and the virtues of work-for-welfare programs are accepted across the board. But the communities form a welfare zone with unusual, complicating characteristics. They have Third World living conditions but they are not in the Third World.Do Pearson’s three choices represent the real options available? I think they do. Which of the three choices do you support? Argue your case. Obviously I’m with Pearson – choice three.
Rather, they are in a much stranger place: a place quite hard to see and understand. We might call it the Fourth World: a deeply deprived space contained within the borders of a modern, prosperous First World state. Absolute poverty is not the limiting economic problem: a controlled, regular, yet inadequate supply of transferred money is, along with its inevitable outcome, relative poverty - a fate both grinding and comforting for those locked out of the productive economy. Capital formation is impossible under such circumstances, unless land use can be traded.
The inhabitants of this zone are welfare pensioners, who have subsisted for decades without strong incentives to acquire skills or seek jobs. In this Fourth World of the communities, there is a strong awareness of positional disadvantage: the men, women and children there know they are at the bottom of the social pyramid of Australian life, but they have no idea of how to change their status. The younger generation's members are encouraged to share the expectations of the wider society but geography and the lack of educational pathways prevent them from taking part in the outside world on even terms.
- Our fourth world
Aaron is dead.Aaron Swartz bio
Wanderers in this crazy world,
we have lost a mentor, a wise elder.
Hackers for right, we are one down,
we have lost one of our own.
Nurtures, careers, listeners, feeders,
we have lost a child.
Let us all weep.
timbl - source
We are like sailors who on the open sea must reconstruct their ship but are never able to start afresh from the bottom. Where a beam is taken away a new one must at once be put there, and for this the rest of the ship is used as support. In this way, by using the old beams and driftwood the ship can be shaped entirely anew, but only by gradual reconstructionI love the practice of Zig Engelmann's Direct Instruction but am not happy with his philosophical underpinnings as expressed in sections of Could John Stuart Mill Have Saved Our Schools? Engelmann and Carnine just seem to take extracts from a variety of philosophers and throw them together in a grab bag: some James, JS Mill, Peirce, Plato, Skinner, etc. In other places serious thinkers such as Dewey and Piaget are dismissed without a full consideration of their contribution.
- Otto Neurath
I have lived with violence all of my life. Many of my relatives have been either the victims or perpetrators of what is called grievous bodily harm, some of homicide. My own body is scarred by domestic violence. Some of this violence comes from our traditional way of life. When we lived in the desert we had no armies, police forces or courts. Every family had to defend itself. Everybody, male and female.
Men had the right to beat their wives. Young women had very few rights. Men had the right to kill those who they thought had broken the law. We all know this but won’t talk about it.
Things are now much worse because the good things about the old law are dying with the old wise ones who were born and raised in the desert and knew how the old law should work to make sure it was just. Now we have alcohol and drugs and our young people are confused and frightened. When they follow our old law they break the new, when they follow the new law they break the old. That is why the jails are full of our young men, and more and more, our young women.
We Aboriginal people have to acknowledge the truth. We can’t blame all of our problems on the white man. The best thing about acknowledging that we have our own traditional forms of violence is that this our problem which we can fix ourselves. We don't need to be told what to do by the white man.
In Alice Springs the courageous Aboriginal men of the Ingkintja Male Health Unit in Alice Springs admitted that there was too much violence and apologised to their women and children for the violence and decent enough to apologise.
Governments and human rights activists have ignored them. They are heroes who should be supported. I know Stephanie Jarrett to be decent, caring and hard working. I commend her work to you. We need to support those who tell the truth, acknowledge it and start solving our own problems.