NUMBER 13 SUMMER 2003/2004
the US occupation of Iraq lacks moral and legal legitimacy in the eyes
of the Middle East as well as Iraqis and the growing guerrilla
resistance to all groups seen as supporting the US presence is turning
100,000 of the best trained and equipped fighting force in the world
into an inept tool of oppression with plummeting morale. But an exit
strategy that involves the creation of a genuinely independent,
nationalist and Islamic democracy would defeat the Bush
administration’s objective of getting control of Iraqi oil through
DENIS KENNY outlines the typology of competing conceptions of history – mythos (inherited wisdom handed down orally), logos (literally ‘the word’ through which timeless truths could be discovered), chronos (which introduced the idea of an evolving universe through time), and telos (recognising that harmonising the conflicting forces which impinge on modern life requires rejection of cognitive reliance on timeless truths so that humans can take full creative responsibility for the environment they are creating).
IAN McAULEY argues there is a tendency for the ‘left’ in Australia to blame the US for home-grown policy failures, particularly when the US is run by a bellicose, crony capitalist and incompetent government. While Howard has a shared vision with Bush of a social landscape with many gated communities (such as private health insurance and the occasional poor house in the form of the redefinition of health care as charity rather than a collective good) the source of our problems is closer to home and it requires the ‘left’ to do more to shake the Labor party out of its torpor.
Greens Senator KERRY NETTLE says that lies are nothing new in politics but they were usually used to cover past mistakes. Now lies are used to promote predetermined policy agendas such as the nonexistent WMDs ‘justifying’ the invasion of Iraq. Political leaders like Howard and Bush who are prepared to use this technique will only be beaten by conviction politicians prepared to offer hope rather than a paler version of fear-mongering.
JOO-CHEON THAM argues that corporate entities have no direct claim to political representation in a democracy and should not be allowed to contribute to election campaign funds. Even normalisation of corporate contributions in which corporations give to both sides of politics is harmful because it has contributed to the ‘policy convergence’ of the major political parties.
PATRICIA RANALD points out that a number of conservative economists have argued that the proposed free trade agreement between Australia and the US is unlikely to bring economic benefits to Australia. She contends that Howard wants AUSFTA in order to achieve the US model of deregulation and privatisation in Australia.
ANN CURTHOYS: explores the purpose of history and the reasons for different interpretations of the past.
COLIN TATZ: looks back at Australia’s early policy of aboriginal integration with the white community, asks whether it was genocide and concludes it depends on whether the policy had the ultimate intention that aborigines disappear as an identity.
TONY WARD proposes some less costly alternatives to detention for asylum seekers without undermining Australia’s security.
IAN LOWE assesses the prospects for human survival over the next 100 years.
HUGH SADDLER says Australia lacks an energy policy directed to Australia’s unique circumstances and based on independent policy research.
MARK DIESENDORF and ANDREA SHARAM debate the relative merits of wind farming and energy efficiency in order to minimise greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power and the market/ planning frameworks which best serve the environmental objective.
DAVID HAYWARD and PETER EWER look at Victoria, compare the record of the Kennett government with that of the Bracks government and find it is very hard to tell the difference, apart from the democratisation of the upper house.
MICHAEL JACOBS and ADAM LENT provide a British Fabian Society perspective on how social democratic governments should approach the challenge of globalisation by recognising its benefits and seeking to reform the key multilateral institutions so that globalisation is managed rather than resisted.
REVIEWS: Gunter Minnerup: The Clash of Fundamentalisms by Tariq Ali. John Spoehr: Power Play; the fight for control of the world’s electricity by Sharon Beder. Peter Holding: The Age of Consent by George Monbiot.
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