26 December 2005

Sydney riots III, beaches & exclusionism

Ubiquitous Exclusionism in Australia
The recent violent riots in Sydney attracted international attention. Often the incident was treated as a racist aberration of one section of the Australian population against another. The fact that the progrom was just a spike in a continuous theatre of operation was understated.
Only in 1992 did Australia come around recognising that the land grab of the Southern Land was not an 'empty land', but actually inhabited by indigenous Australians. Once settled, the White Australia policy sought "The total exclusion of undesirable alien races". The official policy, backed by all mainstream parties and the unions aimed at excluding non-white people from taking part.

While once the slogan was for an 'inclusive' "Australia for the Australians", the reality today is that more and more are excluded from the 'pie'. Radical redistribution and the trend to hog resources are ubiquitous in Australian society. Violence can be committed with a beer bottle, a pen, a keystroke or simply with a decision. Systemic violence does not have the 'sex-appeal' of a 'mob on rampage'. All participate in the system, but especially the 'haves' decide who is "one of us".

Recent research found that the Anglo-Saxon population in Sydney, living in the "wealthy areas in city's east and north, such as Woollahra and Mosman" are the most 'intolerant', holding 'extreme attitudes' about 'race'.

Sydney is held to be synonymous with an "…epidemic of consumerism, money-hunger and affluenza… In Sydney, more than any other part of Australia, a person's worth is measured by money. Money and what it can buy have become the great dividers, the symbols that mark out the winners from the losers." The 'invisible hand' excludes the losers and puts them 'in their place.'

The affluent act metropolitan in their exclusive Australian 'village atmosphere', wishing they could be in Tuscany, N.Y. or Zurich engaging in some more compulsive acquisitive behaviour.

Another report about Melbourne also states that the gap between the haves and have-nots has grown. "Financial comfort" is clinging to the metropolis and poverty is "increasingly suburbanised". "Howard's Battlers" dwell in low income sub-urbia and the suburbs are full of "mortgage stressors". The poorest struggle to survive in the "rust belt regions" with the "worst levels of youth unemployment."

The 'lock it up for the locals' is by no way confined to the well to do. Parochialism runs through most of the social strata and demography. Keeping out international tourism from 'our NSW beaches' so that a man can still drive his 4WD on it, kill a few sharks and empty the dogs. Friendly, myopic bullies abusing public national parks for racing, killing, etc.

On the well-to-do side there are numerous examples of excluding others from their beaches. ( For non-Australians it might be mentioned, that the beaches are the only true public spaces: 'Life's a beach' around here.)In 1998 Baywatch intended to film a few episodes at Avalon beach. The response was: "…It's our beach and how dare anyone who doesn't live around here get any benefit from it or interfere in any way with our enjoyment of it". The well to do WASPS stated a clear: NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). Other Australians are excluded with 'building standards' and market prices, as the "boat is full".

Bondi beach managed to keep "Westies" (the non-affluent,from the hot inland suburbs) out by preventing public transport to the place being built. "The locals love living by an international icon. They just don't seem to like outsiders actually visiting the place."

With time and different constellations, 'the other' who is to be excluded, shifts. Tags like: 'dark', 'coloured', 'foreigners', other 'races', other religion, other cultures or other ethnicities change. The key is that a certain group holds and enlarges power and wealth, implicitly denying access to privatised resources for the 'others'. Once all owners, foreigners, tourists and willing business people are excluded, the fight starts inside the group to gain 'lion shares' and power. In the end they can just turn against each other on a 'dog eat dog' island.

The effects of such ubiquitous exclusionism are damaging to the whole country. The illusion of locking oneself up on a 'self-sufficient' island from the world is delusionary. The managed absence of a civil society encourages progroms to spike in greater quality and quantity and finally even towards the 'top'. The international reputation for a 'tourist country' should not be underestimated. The high economic and political costs of reserving it all for a few to use up quickly are enormous.
Riots I
Riots II
2005 Cronulla riots, Wikipedia

Update 0714
"This Sunday, every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support Leb and Wog bashing day” SBS Documentary

ABC Four Corners - Riot and Revenge video

Combating Racism, Reclaiming Patriotism, Dr Tim Soutphommasane speech, Race Discrimination Commissioner, 29.07.2015


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