Saturday, November 24, 2007

Goodbye and Good Riddance John Howard!

It is rare that we get to post such happy news on this blog: today, November 24, 2007, saw the defeat of the ruling Liberal Party in Australia and its infamous Prime Minister, John Howard. Howard had won four consecutive elections, and used his mandate for villainous ends as possibly the world's most extreme right wing political leader. From immediate support to the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, to atrocious abuses and hostility shown toward refugees, repeatedly condemned by UN agencies for his government's treatment of refugees and Aboriginals, to his anti-worker laws, Howard was a blight on the international political landscape and his humiliating defeat has not come too soon. One hopes that Australia will at least begin to alter its neo-colonial course.

Under Howard we have seen the effective re-colonization of the Northern Territory, the imposition of extreme surveillance and domination over Aboriginals who, were they to today form an independent nation-state of their own would most likely constitute the poorest country on earth. Under Howard Aboriginal misery swelled to unbelievable proportions, with staggering rates of unemployment, poor housing, and a life span that is on average 20 years less than that of white Australians. In the face of a history of abducting Aboriginal children, in what is clearly defined as genocide by the UN, Howard refused to so much as apologize, something that right wingers elsewhere have had little problem doing (with compensation added) as in the case of Howard's political friend, Stephen Harper, the Conservative Prime Minister of Canada. In response to the special misery suffered by Aboriginal Australians, Howard only worried about doing anything that could be perceived as "special treatment"...special treatment for the traditional owners of the land who remain ostracized and vilified as outsiders in their own homeland.

The new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd of the Labour Party, promised among other things to withdraw Australian combat troops from Iraq, to sign the Kyoto Protocol, and to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We hope that these will be done quickly.

Goodbye John Howard, and goodbye to another angry, old, white racist.

For a special collection of YouTube videos dealing with the politics of the Australian nation-state and Aboriginals, click on the image below:

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