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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A History Talks issue 2,Vol 1 by John Tognolini


Jack Mundey being arrested during the Green Bans in The Rocks, Sydney 1973.
Inspired by The History Channel's The People Speak. I’ve decided to make a regular weekly selection of quotations. This series was inspired by the production of The American The People Speak. Quotes are the primary sources of history. They are the flesh and blood of history. The selection below are from my own research.  My quotes are not just on Australia but are from all over the world.

John Tognolini 30-12-12

Ecologists with a socialist perspective, and socialists with and ecologist perspective must form a coalition to tackle the wide-ranging problems relating to human survival. Such survival is based on a way of living in harmony with the rest of nature. My dream and that of hundreds of thousands, or millions, might then come true, a socialist world with a human face, an ecological heart and egalitarian body.
Jack Mundey Beyond the Green Bans, (Sydney 1981 page 148)

"Bread and work and love, the poor man’s trinity, and by all three needs they chain him down." Christina Stead 1902-1983 Seven Poor Men of Sydney

 "It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message that surrounds it." John Pilger

"My experience in the First World War and now the Second World War [his son Barney was killed in the Battle of Singapore] changed my outlook on things. It is hard to believe that there is a God. I feel the Bible is a book written by man but for the purpose of preying on a person’s conscience, and to confuse him. Anyone who taken part in a bayonet charge (and I have) [Gallipoli], and has managed to retain his proper senses, must doubt the truth of the Bible and the powers of God, if one exists. And considering the many hundreds of different religions that there are in this world of ours, and the fact that many religions have caused terrible wars and hatreds throughout the world, and that many religions that have hoarded tremendous wealth and property while people inside and outside religion are starving , it is difficult to remain a believer. No Sir, there is no God, it is only a myth."
Albert Facey 1894-1982 A Fortunate Life
Noam Chomsky’s Australian Visit for East Timor in 1995
Noam Chomsky's press conference in Sydney. I covered it for Green Left Weekly and Radio Skid Row, Noam covered a range of topics. This is a full transcript of gathering. I asked the first question.
John/Togs Tognolini
“Noam Chomsky: The floor is yours.
Togs: I’ve got a question about the history of East Timor during World War Two and the Australian role in it. Do you think there is element of hypocrisy in it, with the Victory in the Pacific celebrations carried out this year, and is the role of East Timor going to be absent?
Noam: We are going to be seeing an orgy of hypocrisy this year as the whole history of the Pacific War is completely rewritten and reshaped to fit later needs. It's fair to predict you're not going to read much this year about what United States-Japanese relations actually were up until Pearl Harbour.
I'd be interested to see how much is publicised about US support for Japanese aggression all the way through. The business community supported it. Joseph Grew, the ambassador to Japan, an influential diplomat, was supporting Japanese aggressions-rather the way many people in Australia today are referring to the Indonesian aggression in East Timor: you know, it may not be very pretty, but it's good for business and ultimately the best thing.
This went on almost up to Pearl Harbour. The great atrocity at PearlHarbour, ``the day that will live in infamy'', was certainly a crime, in fact a war crime. But remember what it was.
It was an attack by the Japanese on two military bases in colonies the US had recently stolen from their inhabitants, in the case of the Philippines in extraordinarily brutal fashion, killing hundreds of thousands people; in the case of Hawaii just by deceit and power play.
Attacks on military bases in colonies that have been stolen from their inhabitants doubtless are crimes, but in the annals of crime in this century, they don't rank very high.

And the US was apparently willing to make a deal with Japan if Japan would allow the US the same kind of access in China that it was gaining. That's what it looks like from the diplomatic records.
Nor will you hear a lot about the decision of the British in 1932 to close off the empire, which included Australia at that time, to Japanese exports for the simple reason that Britain could no longer compete with the Japanese. So free market ideology was naturally thrown out the window: it's only OK when you're going to win. If you're going to lose, you call the game off. That was one of the factors that led to the war.
Japan's crimes, which were vicious, didn't arouse much opposition in the West. The same was true in Europe. Both the State Department and the British Foreign Office….we now have plenty of declassified records…. were rather ambivalent about Hitler, in fact rather supportive of him. Up until 1937, the US State Department, European division, described Hitler as a moderate whom we have to support. He stands between extremists of left and right, and unless we support Hitler, the masses might rise and try to steal what's not theirs….the same sort of thing you hear in support of every monster and killer and murderer in subsequent years.
The British were even worse. Lord Halifax went to Germany around 1937-1938. He explained to Hitler, We understand your moderate position; the British were coming around to approval of it and so forth. Even after the Battle of Britain, even after the British had been attacked and bombed by the Germans, in internal Foreign Office records the main critique of the Stalin-Hitler Pact was that it probably gives too much power to the Russians.

With regard to Australia and East Timor, I hope that the Australians will be honest enough to describe what happened. Australia attacked Timor. It might have escaped the war if they hadn't. Macau, for example, was not [attacked by the Japanese]. Portugal was a fascist country and sort of a quasi-ally of the Japanese. They might have left Timor alone, as they left Macau alone.
But Australia attacked 10 days or so after Pearl Harbour, and that brought Timor into the war. Japan then invaded and there were a couple of hundred Australian commandos who fought a courageous battle and probably kept Japan from a possible attack on Australia. Michelle Turner's oral history on this came out recently, about Australians who were fighting there, and some of them point out frankly that if it hadn't been for the assistance of the Timorese, they would have been killed. Which means that Australia may have well been protected from invasion by the blood of Timorese.
The official Australian estimate is around 40,000 killed. Jim Dunn has looked into this intensively and estimates about 60,000 Timorese killed.
Most of them were killed after the Australians withdrew in 1943. At that point the Japanese really went wild and attacked what they called collaborators with the Australians, certainly tens of thousands of Timorese. You can decide how much that means to Australians. I would think it would mean something, and paying back this debt by supporting the Indonesian invasion is not one of the prettiest parts of modern history.”

 "Now take my case. I’m twenty-nine and have two brothers—one in the Liberal Party and one serving six years for rape and arson. My sister Peg is on the streets and Dad lives off her earnings. Mum is pregnant by the boarder and because of this Dad won’t marry her. Last night I got engaged to an ex-prostitute and I wish to be fair to her: should I tell her about my brother in the Liberal Party."
David Ireland 1927- The Unknown Industrial Prisoner

 "Prime Minster Howard I’ve heard You met George Bush and the Pope too, I understand, Oh I liked the Pope much better, I only had to kiss his hand."
L’Amour Denis Kevans 1939-2005

"The Labour Party [ALP], starting with a band of inspired Socialists, degenerated into a vast machine for capturing political power, but did not know how to use the power when attained except for the profit of individuals[...] Such is the history of all Labour organisations in Australia, and not because they are Australian , but because they are Labour..."
Victor Gordon Childe 1892-1957, How Labour Governs

"The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism. It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. "
Major General Smedley Butler,1881-1940

 [Battler]" a conscientious person working against many odds to make a living; one whose life is a constant struggle.’ Battlers maybe men or women; black or white. They rarely deal with racism (the negative side of our tradition) because they sympathise with anyone facing adversity or unfair criticism. The term ‘battler’ is a state of mind-a traditional attitude which goes back to the convict era, when the battler was on a flogging to nothing but fiddled around the rules and held his masters in contempt. The battlers are aware that they are being lied to by....politicians; and they suspect that Keating’s warning that Australia could become a banana republic is in fact, happening before their eyes."

Frank Hardy 1917-1994. Retreat Australia Fair 1990

 ”I may be a f--kwit but I’m not a liar, I was a believer.”

Jamie Packer, giving evidence under oath, about the failed One Tel’s ormer managing director Jodie Rich.
28-11-05 Sydney Morning Herald

“Australia where is it?”.

Brendan Behan 1923-1964
Sydney Morning Herald 29-11-58
 

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