Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Sydney STW Coalition Press Release on Cheney’s Visit

cheney-demo.jpgFriends, yes, Dead Eye is in town, and the War Criminal is generating protests, traffic gridlock and mayhem all around my city. The taxidriver I had today reported that it was chaos in the CBD. The radio news reports the controversy that our New South Wales (NSW) state law was changed so that Cheney’s Secret Servicemen could bring along their guns. Gun ownership in Australia is a privilege, not a right, and I’m glad guns are not freely available, and that we do not have an NRA-equivalent association here. Here’s a report from the Sydney Morning Herald today. In Tokyo too, the arch war criminal has been far from popular.


Protestors call on police to support the right to march
February 22, 2007

The Stop the War Coalition is concerned that Sydney is being shut down as US Vice-President Dick Cheney arrives in Sydney this evening.

NSW police today advised Stop the War Coalition that it is opposing a protest and march from going ahead saying that it will cause “unacceptable traffic disruption”. Rather than facilitate the march police are considering going to court to seek an injunction to stop the protest.

We do not think that half the city should be shut down because a war criminal is in town. Why should working people be inconvenienced by the enormous security operation that is presently underway. That’s what’s causing the traffic disruption, not the protestors, as the police are trying to allege.

Why has the NSW government acquiesced to the Howard government to give permission to US security forces to carry live weapons in our city?

Why is the NSW counter-terrorism unit being instructed to deal with peace activists?

Are we considered the threat, and if so, what does this say about the state government’s commitment to freedom of speech, let alone the democratic right of assembly?

The city will be closed off to protests and traffic. Army Black Hawk helicopters are buzzing through the city. The NSW government is permitting armed US bodyguards to roam the streets – what will it be like when US President George Bush comes to town later this year? Are our democratic rights being sacrificed to the war-mad US alliance?

Stop the War Coalition, in negotiations with the police, offered to alter the rally route to assist with police logistics, however this was rejected.

The protest tonight is aimed at highlighting the majority of Australians opposition to the war in Iraq, and to demand that David Hicks be released from the gulag in Guantanamo Bay. The protest tonight is at 5.30pm at Town Hall. The protest tomorrow, Friday, begins at 8am, corner of Essex and George Streets, the Rocks, near the Shangli-La Hotel where Cheney will address the Australian American Leadership Dialogue at 9.30am.

3 comments on “Sydney STW Coalition Press Release on Cheney’s Visit

  1. Jack
    23 February, 2007


    Enjoying catching up on your blog. I wanted to present a perspective for you based on your comment about guns. Do you know that the purpose of our Second Amendment was to combat the very thing that many on the left are complaining about? The American left is staunchly against gun ownership, but gun ownership was written into our Constitution for one reason–as a guarantee of freedom and liberty–a safeguard against tyranny. In spite of many on the left to discredit this man and rewrite what he did or didn’t say, Tench Coxe, a political leader of the time stated: “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” You see, the founders of our democracy had lived under a monarchy, a tyrannical government, and knew that the peasantry were always made subject to the king by way of greater force. Swords were not allowed the peasantry in fuedal systems, and plowshares were a poor substitute. In the game of paper, rock, scissors, the government owned all. Even though it is now symbolic, our nation has held our government in check and subject to the will of the people, BY the people because of our right to keep and bear arms. The rise in fascism, theocracy, or any other kind of tyrannical form of government is preceded by the disarming of the populace–either literal or symbolically.

    Our Bill of Rights is a wonderful work with each part being contingent upon its individual parts for its strength as a whole. Dismantle part of the foundation and the structure crumbles. We have those in this country who would take out pieces to suit their ideology on both the left and the right. This is something neither our current left or right seems to understand (its not taught in our public education system).

    In your nation (I lived there for years and feel its a part of me too!) if your government decided to usher in an age of absolute military rule, your citizenry could do nothing about it. No thanks to our leftist politicians, at least ours still has a fighting chance :) ha!


  2. Jack
    23 February, 2007

    Hi Ann, quickie question. Have you heard of ?

    Someone had recommended it to me to keep track of my blog conversations. It has been very neat so far.

    Just wanted to let you know about it.


  3. peoplesgeography
    23 February, 2007

    Jack, thought this might catch your eye. You enunciate the other side of the argument well and I am not unsympathetic with the libertarian reasons for gun ownership. It depends upon a variety of different factors and contexts, mine is not an absolutist position on this. ie its a proclivity, not an ideological position. In the case of tyranny, I would advocate citizenry taking up arms to defend themselves. But in our society I see no reasonable rationale for widespread gun ownership and I am concerned that it militarises a society and its culture. More later, feel free to put in a rejoinder.

    Thanks very much for the Co.Comment link, very useful indeed! I’ll try it–as you know, WordPress helpfully tracks comments but only on other WP sites. THis is great to keep track across the board.

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

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-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

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to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"