Archive for the 'freedom' Category

Via Spiked: Authoritarians treat climate change debate as a disorder

An article by Brendan O’Neill in today’s Spiked Online discusses a conference on climate change denial about to be held at the University of Western England.

O’Neill says

In a sense, this vision of elite, brainy environmentalists on one side and a baying, insult-hurling crowd on the other speaks, however accidentally and however crudely, to an underlying truth: environmentalism remains a largely elitist project, beloved of politicians, priests and prudes keen to control people’s behaviour and curb our excessive lifestyles, and it rubs many ‘ordinary people’ up the wrong way. Of course much of the public goes along with the environmentalist ethos, bowing to the central idea that mankind is destructive and observing such rituals as sorting their rubbish, but they do so half-heartedly, recognising that, fundamentally, greens’ anti-consumerist, anti-reproduction, anti-travel arguments run counter to their own personal aspirations. Yet rather than recognise this frequently hidden divide between the green elite and the ‘baying crowd’ as one built on differences of opinion, on clashing aspirations, even on rational assessments by sections of the public that recycling is a waste of time, increasingly environmentalists pathologise it, turning it into evidence of their wisdom in contrast to the public’s mental instability.

I’d just observe again that IMO it’s important to divide authoritarian, reactionary, anti-human Greens from people who’d identify as Green but who aren’t opposed to human progress, and also from those who may hold ideas we disagree with but might actually be won over in debate.

Saying No to Hugo Chávez’s Baloney Revolution

Getting out there and defending social ownership has numerous challenges. One of them is the need to disown various past and present regimes in Third World backwaters that give the idea a bad name. There hadn’t been any new ones for a while, and then along came Hugo Chávez in Venezuela with his “Bolivarian Revolution” and “21st Century Socialism”.

This “process” has two main features – limiting democracy and freedom both for opponents and adherents, and using oil revenue to buy support. There are also various bits of window dressing but these are of secondary importance. Continue reading ‘Saying No to Hugo Chávez’s Baloney Revolution’

Stopping Australian Internet Censorship: Strategy Discussion #nocensorship #nocleanfeed

On Saturday January 10th, I went to a meeting of the Brisbane branch of the Digital Liberty Coalition, and came away with the job of drafting a leaflet for the next small public protest, planned for Australia Day.

The leaflet needs to reflect the strategy of the anti-censorship campaign. After the December 13th 2008 rallies in six capital cities, plus the one in Hobart a week later, some very useful debate about strategy and tactics cropped up. I want this article to bring that debate to as wide an audience as possible, and I want to use that debate to draft the leaflet. There are several different possible strategies, and we need to know what people think is the most effective one.

Using the terms “Clean Feed” and “filtering” instead of “censorship”

I brought up this topic at the meeting last night, after this comment about the December 13th 2008 rally in Melbourne:

Several speakers and posters referred to internet “filtering”.

That, like the “no cleanfeed” campaign name, reflects success of the enemy’s slick marketing strategy which has involved spending millions to spread the concept of “internet safety” – and similar doublespeak.

Other speakers did not mention filtering and spoke only of “censorship”. I suspect the organizers understand the point, and are trying to make the shift, but have not yet grasped the fact that making the shift itself requires open discussion/debate of the difference at rallies – ie take the opportunity of those speakers or posters referring to filtering to explain the purpose of a policy of never referring to filters, but only to censorship.

Also, such policies need to be debated at organizing meetings and formally adopted, so people fully understand (and can change) the tactics.

The Government’s tactics are based on getting people to assume that the Internet is dangerous and dirty, and that people need to Government to clean it up for them. I agree with the argument that using words like “clean feed” and “filter” put us on the back foot. I think that use of those words should be discouraged by people campaigning against the Government’s censorship plans.

Continue reading ‘Stopping Australian Internet Censorship: Strategy Discussion #nocensorship #nocleanfeed’

Round-ups of Saturday December 13th’s Anti-Censorship rallies #nocleanfeed

I’ve done a round-up of the Brisbane anti-Internet-censorship rally, which you can read if you click here. This week I’m going to trawl through the Internet and publish similar round-ups for each city’s rally. I’ll edit this post with links to each round-up. If anyone has any pictures, videos, articles etc they think need to be in the round-ups, please leave a comment here.

I’m putting links in each round-up to some of the comments already on this site, and to keza’s article on putting the blame for sexualising children squarely on Rudd, Hamilton etc, to spark some debate among anti-censorship people.

No censorship – leave our kids alone!

Collage of pics from the Adelaide Against Internet Censorship rally:

Who’s really molesting and “sexualising” our children????  Arthur’s comment in the Spiked special on Oz internet censorship thread resonated with me.  For some years, I’ve been repelled by the increasing spread of the idea that we should keep our children covered up.  I’m  almost beginning to wonder how long it will be before someone introduces the idea of a children’s burka!  When my kids were young, they could run naked on the beach.  Nowadays, that’s supposedly dangerous.

Six months ago, police raided Bill Henson’s photography exhibition and took it down because it displayed photos of naked kids.  Rudd was in full support , maintaining that the photos were “revolting” and took away children’s “innocence”.

Excuse me!!  Who’s sexualising children here?  Who’s spreading the idea that naked children are sexually titillating?  Are people like Rudd and Hamilton (who agreed that the exhibition shoud be taken down) titillated by naked children??? What’s going on?

Continue reading ‘No censorship — leave our kids alone!’

Spiked special on Oz internet censorship

keza and Danu Poyner just got published on Spiked

Spiked: “Humanity is Underated”

spiked is an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms.

keza: Liberal Tyranny on the World Wide Web ( revised version of my article about Clive Hamilton)

Danu: ‘Digital Natives’ take on censorious Kevin

Continue reading ‘Spiked special on Oz internet censorship’

#nocleanfeed: Rally against Internet Censorship in Australia, Saturday December 13th 2008

On December 13th 2008, there will be rallies in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth to protest against the Government’s plans to censor the Internet in Australia. This video has all the details and also some advice about what to say when you’re talking to people who are worried about what kids might see online. Please spread this video and news about the rally far and wide.

Continue reading ‘#nocleanfeed: Rally against Internet Censorship in Australia, Saturday December 13th 2008’


If anyone is interested in planning the Brisbane rally against the Government’s plan to censor the Internet, there is a meeting on Sunday November 30 at 3.30pm at Post Office Square in town.

The rally itself is on Saturday December 13 at Brisbane Square, George St, at 11am. Brisbane Square is right opposite the end of the Queen Street Mall, just across George St.

For more info on rally planning go to the forums at

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Winning the war against Internet censorship

Below is an article by David Jackmanson (youngmarxist) which was published at OnLine Opinion last week.  If you go to the original article you can read the discussion which followed.

Continue reading ‘Winning the war against Internet censorship’

It was Clive Hamilton who launched the current attempt to censor the internet

Guess who really kick started the current push for mandatory ISP level filtering?  No, it wasn’t those wretched Christian fundamentalists, it was Clive Hamilton and the Australia Institute (of which Hamilton was executive director, until recently).

Continue reading ‘It was Clive Hamilton who launched the current attempt to censor the internet’

Against Australian Internet Censorship? We Must Change Our Arrogant, Flawed Strategy. #nocleanfeed

Mark Newton, a network engineer with Australian ISP Internode, is becoming very well-known as a result of his opposition to the Australian Government’s plans to censor the Internet. He’s published an article called “Filter Advocates Need To Check Their Facts” today at the ABCs website. I am sure that Newton knows far more than I ever will about computer networks, but if he knew much about politics, he would know that the facts are neither here nor there. His article has a superior, sneering tone all the way through it, and anyone who opposes Internet censorship in Australia needs to drop that attitude and work out how to actually win this argument.

Continue reading ‘Against Australian Internet Censorship? We Must Change Our Arrogant, Flawed Strategy. #nocleanfeed’

Defeating Australia’s Internet Censorship Plans

NO Censorship!!

Last December, in the middle of the political dead season, Australia’s Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, announced that the then-newly-elected Rudd Labor Government would start up a compulsory filter of the Internet. Back then, Senator Conroy laid down the line that we will hear again and again from the Government:

“Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of
the internet is like going down the Chinese road,” he said.

“If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.”

Continue reading ‘Defeating Australia’s Internet Censorship Plans’

“Academic Freedom” is a cop out by the fearful liberal-left

Academic Paul Norton has written an article at left social-democrat blog Larvatus Prodeo. It’s about the Senate’s Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee’s Inquiry into Academic Freedom, and specifically about a submission by the “Make Education Fair” campaign (pdf, over 4 1/2 Mb), which appears to be run by right-wing Young Liberals and the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation. Norton’s article is in response to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald of Friday October 10th, 2008, headlined “Academics Rally Against Young Liberal Witchhunt”.

Most of what Norton says about the Make Education Fair submission seems fairly true. While some of the examples may be true (there’s rarely enough proof to clearly say that bias is as bad as they say), it’s a reactionary document, which seems to push the idea that any sort of university course that questions the status quo is illegitimate in itself. It’s also poorly argued and appears to take quotes out of context to push its point.

But pointing that out is like shooting academics in a barrel where free wine and cheese are on offer. Norton’s argument against the Make Education Fair campaign is that it is a threat to academic freedom. This appears typical, as it is repeated in this article by Katharine Gelber, an academic at the University of New South Wales, and this page at, set up by the NTEU (the academics’ union).

Continue reading ‘“Academic Freedom” is a cop out by the fearful liberal-left’