Monthly Archives: October 2007

12 months of Paradigm Oz

It is 12 months since Paradigm Oz started, the point at which I had planned to evaluate my experiment.


12 months ago Paradigm Oz was planned as a news agency to be based on Palm Island. My partner and I had been working with a few Palm Islanders in the previous year developing proposals for sustainable housing projects for Palm Island. We had been running the website, which wasn’t really a blog because it didn’t invite comments. served the purpose of building a network around our work as well as being an information resource on the issues we were pursuing, in particular sustainable housing and this blog was supposed to be the next step in the same direction.

Because of various issues, in particular our continuing battles with the Queensland Adult Guardianship regime we never ended up moving to Palm Island. Apart from our own problems, key people we were working with on Palm found themselves burning out.

So in the end I decided to continue with Oz as a personal blog as an experiment, just to see what would happen.

I have found the blogging experience quite unfulfilling without the base of an active organisation as was and as Paradigm Oz was originally envisioned.

I have no agenda to promote or publicise so my writing has become somewhat purposeless. I have figured that my opinions and perspectives may be interesting to some. But in the end, so what?

It is this one dimensional nature of the written language that I have found most dissatisfying about producing a blog.

The dominant methodology of learning in our institutions from pre-school to Phd is written text. While we may read about many things from many perspectives, our monotonous one dimensional pavlovian experience is that of perceiving text – marks on paper or a screen generating electro/chemical reactions in our brain that generate perceptions of shape that trigger pre-existing concepts.

Written texts are not a direct experience of the reality of their subject matter.They are an experience of a representation of the subject matter, a secondary learning characterised by the monotonous experience of text triggered conceptual recall. Writing just reminds us of our own preconceptions and is incapable of teaching anything beyond them.

However a multi-dimensional education methodology based on direct experience of the reality being studied gives new concepts (rather than just networking existing concepts) for which often the student must afterwards find the language (or music or art) to explain it rather than discovering the concept through language in the first instance.

So, on reflection of the last 12 months of Paradigm Oz, it has been a succesful experiment in that I have figured out a bit about the mechanics of the blogosphere but it has been a failure in terms of building any organisational or educational momentum, which was my underlying reason for experimenting with a blog. I can still see enormous possibilities in education and organisation but I will have to change my blogging paradigm beyond detatched commentary for this to occur. This is my challenge for the next twelve months – stay tuned!


p.s. at the time of writing Paradigm Oz has had 12, 544 visits in the last year, nearly 10,000 0f those visits have been since July.


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Maori and peace activists rounded up in N.Z. anti terror operation

tame-iti.jpg                                                           Maori Sovereignty activist Tame Iti was one of the 17 people arrested yesterday.  Background on Tame Iti here

Yesterday New Zealand Police broke into several houses, raided a Maori community and arrested 17 people including peace activists and charged them with various firearms offences.

The raids were the culmination of a police operation which had been underway for some time including surveilance and phone tapping. The operation was co-ordinated through the prime minister’s office and is the first time the N.Z. suppression of terrorism act has been used.  According to police they had uncovered a terrorist training camp and a terrorist plot.

The story on  “Stuff”

I don’t know enough of the Maori struggle to give any substantial comment on this development.  However I do know enough about terrorism hysteria and neo-fascism to say the new international anti-terrorism regimes are desperately intent on finding targets to justify their existence, creating hypothetical and just plain false hypotheses to investigate and prosecute. 

I also know enough of the nature of the colonial state to say it will always use the force of the police to repress indigenous power when it begins to threaten colonial interests.

Tame Iti has been previously charged for the ceremonial use of firearms in accordance with tribal protocol.   From nga korero o te wa ……

“Mr Iti had been found guilty of two counts of possessing a firearm in a public place after he fired a shotgun during welcomes for the Waitangi Tribunal at Ruatoki in January 2005.

The court said the prosecution failed to prove any criminal harm from Iti’s action.

Mr Iti says the case was brought because of the grandstanding of former ACT MP Stephen Franks, and he has no grudge against the police for taking it.

“Tuhoe tikanga or any other iwi hapu tikanga always will be in conflict. As long as the judicial system continues to marginalise indigenous people of this country, we always will be in in conflict with it,” Mr Iti says.

He says over the past 15 years he has discharged shotguns on Tuhoe marae in front of a prime minister, a governor general and a police commissioner with no complaints.”


Filed under international, justice, Uncategorized, war

John Howard’s referendum on assimilation


Yesterday John Howard announced that he will, if re-elected, hold a referendum to amend the preamble of the Australian constitution to include a “statement of reconciliation” and to “recognise indigenous Australians”

The first thing to note about the proposed change to the constitution is that it is legally meaningless. The preamble of the constitution contains no specifics and is not a basis for any legal framework. It is just a – preamble. It cannot be referred to to make or amend laws as the rest of the constitution can.

The key legal issues of land rights, customary law and sovereignty will not be included in Howard’s (or copy-cat Rudd’s) “acknowledgement”.

Howard’s media comments today included recognising Aboriginal people as the first “inhabitants” of Australia, which even James Cook and Joseph Banks “acknowledged” on the Endeavor voyage. But like Cook and Banks, Howard is incapable of acknowledging indigenous sovereignty or customary law, not even considering the possibility of “prior” sovereignty.

John Howard says constitutional change would include indigenous Australia’s “special, but not separate place within a reconciled and indivisible nation.”

Since the 1967 referendum allowing Aboriginal people to be recorded in the census and empowering the federal government to make laws about Aboriginal people, white Australia has been prepared to accept Aboriginal people as equal citizens; equal to white people, equal subjects of the crown. The racial discrimination laws of the 1970s gave full rights of white Australia to people of all cultures, and outlawed the removal of these “equal” rights, but they did not acknowledge any indigenous rights such as Aboriginal land rights or Aboriginal customary law which are not rights enjoyed by all Australians. The anti discrimination laws are also Terra Nullius assimilation laws.

When Eddie Mabo proved to the High Court that his family owned their block of land since before Captain Cook the court accommodated this in terms of English common law. It refused to acknowledge any legal rights or interests inherent in Torres Strait customary land law and how it connects to all other areas of life. White land law gave white notion of land rights (native title) and black law remained invisible and repressed.

The Howard government has thwarted any possibility of land rights by wrecking native title law, has essentially outlawed customary law and has very recently opposed the U.N. declaration on indigenous rights. What is left for Howard to “recognise”?

Having smashed all legal acknowledgement of indigenous rights this constitutional amendment will be a celebration of the victory of white supremacy, an arrogant assertion that indigenous people now have nowhere to go except into the white mainstream. This is certainly not reconciliation.


Filed under Aboriginal, australia, history, justice, politics, reconciliation, society

Hearts and minds

As readers may know I am an occaisional writer for the greenish leaning “Dead Roo” blog. I have also begun writing for  “Leftrights”, a leftish leaning blog.

My first post on Leftwrites is entitled “The Eurocentrism of Australian Socialism”

Here is my most recent comment on that discussion……

The point of real connection with Aboriginal Australia is spirituality, not ideology. It is about the heart not the head.

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Free Burma!

Today is international bloggers day for Burma. 

Thousands of bloggers around the world are simultaneously publishing posts entitled “Free Burma”.  More information here –

Free Burma!

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