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<nettime> Re: ::fibreculture:: R is for Refuge...
Phil Graham on Fri, 31 Aug 2001 10:03:02 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: ::fibreculture:: R is for Refuge...

At 10:24 AM 30/08/2001 -0400, McKenzie Wark wrote:

>R is for Refuge...
>Migration is globalisation from below. If the overdeveloped world refuses 
>to trade with the underdeveloped world on fair terms, to forgive debt, to 
>extend loans on fair terms, to lift trade barriers against food and basic 
>manufactured goods, then there can only be an increase in the flow of 
>people seeking to get inside the barriers the overdeveloped world erects 
>to protect its interests.
>And yet putting up more barriers to trade, as some in the 
>'anti-globalisation' camp demand, will only lead to more asylum seekers. 
>The most telling human critique of globalisation is not the black-clad 
>protesters in Seattle or Genoa, it is the still, silent bodies of the 
>illegals, in ships, trucks or car boots, passing through the borders. The 
>placeless proletariat.

I can put up with the lack of historical analysis in the Hacker Manifesto 
(the "vectoral class" has always existed, at least since recorded history). 
I can also put up with the lack of social and technical analysis (try 
finding a tantalum capacitor in your desktop --- it's more likely you'll 
find tantalum components and wire in weaponry -- it stands up to high temps 
really well). I like the form of the MS. And while the central "vectoral" 
content has been done in a more sophisticated and delicate way by Jay Lemke 
in his work on "traversals" and time-scales in social systems, the idea is 
sound and needs to be foregrounded in the current conditions.

But why include the utterly unnecessary "free trade" mantras? 
"globalisation from below"; "lift trade barriers": what has that got to do 
with what is happening around the Tampa? Nothing, that's what. The people 
on the boat are from Afghanistan. Free trade and globalisation , I would 
imagine, are not the most pressing issues on their mind (the Taliban seems 
to be well-armed, if nothing else. They must be buying arms from somewhere 
--- have you not noticed how freely arms are traded -- everywhere?). In any 
case, all major wars through history have been a result of what is now 
being called "free" trade, not because of trade barriers or, heaven forbid, 
self sufficient social units, whether nations or neighbourhoods.

The crazed, frenetic, world-wide demands for "free trade" by politicians 
and industry are nothing more than admissions of weakness, paranoia, 
failure and childish dependency. Such demands display an utter ignorance of 
what is wrong with the world, and what has killed every civilization in 

The "placeless proletariat" (the people who manage to escape oppressive 
regimes are not generally "the proletariat", by the way) are not a critique 
of "globalisation"; they are the proof that "globalisation" is bullshit---a 
hollow, dead term used by political rhetoricians and corporatist to cover 
over every form of oppression and mass-profiteering. Humanity is not 
globalised; trade is *never* free or fair, especially under current 
conditions: the essence of trade is cheating. Only certain people benefit 
from being globally connected under current conditions, whether by money or 
other media. None of them are on the Tampa. Those people have nothing to do 
with "globalisation from below".

"Globalisation" is bullshit. It is euphemism.

The issues surrounding the Tampa -- I'm glad it is happening so that the 
rest of the world can see what kind of gutless inhumane scum have risen to 
the top of our political parties in Australia --- are racism, religious 
xenophobia, and political populism, in which the Australian press is 
totally complicit. We happily accommodate rich, genocidal criminals from 
Nazi Germany, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Milosevic's regime, and any number of 
other human travesties. We spend millions rescuing millionaires -- like 
that dickhead Tony Bullimore -- who ineptly sail yachts and balloons around 
the world. We spend billions "attracting overseas investors" who do nothing 
but rape the country and piss off with the profits, smashing industries and 
destroying the fabric of the country in the process. Yet when we get a few 
(10) thousand people arriving by boat, 85% of whom eventually meet our 
over-stringent requirements for refugee status after being locked in 
concentration camps for years (along with their children), there is mass 
hysteria. Ten thousand is roughly .0004 of Australia's population. The 438 
souls on the would Tampa represent a population increase of precisely 

And all you can talk about is "globalisation" and "free trade", as if the 
people on the Tampa would even make a ripple in a population that's 
supposed to be too small to "survive" (what?).

Christ! No wonder I get angry with your words. You're supposed to be 
intelligent and humane, and often show every ability and inclination to be 
so. Yet you constantly fall back on the latest fashion in political 
rhetoric at every opportunity. Why?

Phil G. (*really* apalled, not just at this, which set me off, but with the 
*whole* Australian political scene)
 From the New Improved South Afrikaan State

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