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The Canberra Club

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  1. Dave Groves

    October 4, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    Bob, you have done and continue to do a great job (and for those who wonder, no I am not a member of “the Greens”).

    I have only met you the once, but your honesty and humanity impressed me and that is what lingers.

    You should be proud of your great works and devotion to our planet and our people.

    It is heartening for me to know that our state and our world is a better place from your efforts.


  2. Adam Burling

    October 4, 2005 at 5:08 am

    10 good reasons why young people should enter politics

    Senator Bob Brown gave Greens’ rejoinder to Mark Latham’s lecture at the University of Melbourne on Mon 3rd Oct.

    A quarter of a century ago, in our blackest days when the bulldozers were in the Franklin River valley, I wrote “10 good reasons why the Franklin River should be saved”. Now the river is safe, a beautiful region of the world and its wildlife remains alive and the economic and employment bonuses for the West Coast of Tasmania keep rolling in. It is a good feeling. If I could go back I might add an eleventh point: never give in to despair.

    Now, here’s 10 good reasons why we should all get into politics:

    1. Democracy is the golden glue of humankind’s future on the planet. Democracy with its very simple idea of distributing power – that we are all equal – is not just a good recipe for local elections; it is the key ingredient to peace on Earth. Go out and defend it, be an active part of it, take your share of it.

    2. True democracy means ‘one person, one vote, one value’. While ‘one person, one vote’ is written into our Constitution, the ‘one value’ part is not. We have to fight for each person’s vote to be of equal value. No one is barred from the arena of that fight, so join in – even if it puts demands on your own constitution.

    3. The alternatives to democracy are plutocracy, autocracy or theocracy – that is rule by the rich, by a dictator or by those who mistakenly believe they are acting on behalf of god (they are always mistaken). Of these, the first is the most subtle and insidious and most liable to strangle democracy on a global scale. Power is inversely proportional to poverty. Money is power. So for example, there is good reason why corporations should not have the peasants’ recourse to libel laws. The problem already is the unfair power of the rich to buy advertising space, have dinner with the Prime Minister, and to lobby Cabinet. All those are features of a plutocracy.

    4. There are two options here: go into a life which above all values shares; that is, join the plutocracy. Or join the Greens where we, above all, share values such as true democracy, human compassion and a defence of the Earth’s ecosystems which sustain all life.

    5. Get out of the consumerist rut and into politics. The bonus is real personal fulfilment. Next time you see an ad telling you that this or that produce will make you a more desirable person, revolt. Spend the money on membership of a community campaign organization or join the Greens instead. Real happiness comes from sharing your wealth, in particular, your skills, your compassion and your care for the future of people on our planet. Besides, consumerism will short sheet you. It is ‘me now’. But thinking about ‘them later’ is much more rewarding.

    6. The Greens differ from the old parties in having a long term vision. Here is our fundamental, simple, yet revolutionary question to all political decisions: “will people 100 years from now thank us for this?”. If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not sure’, don’t do it. This brings in what I call the smile factor. Imagine people just like ourselves looking back in 2105 at all of us now, and what we’re doing to this planet Earth. It’s a pretty bleak and aggravating scene. But let that bleak mob see the rise of a political movement which insists on the 100 years rule – on treating them as ourselves – and you will see a smile come onto their faces. When we can see our grandchildren smiling back, we can smile forwards. It’s a great feeling.

    7. If you think the whole ‘rotten, infested’ lump of politics can’t be changed, read a little history. I suggest you catch up on the victory of the suffragettes, the abolition of slavery, or the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. None of those breakthroughs came from giving up or copping out of politics. All of them involved committed people, just like us, getting involved in and transforming the hopelessly unfair, rotten, stinking politics of their day.

    8. Avoid extremism, whether it be of the sort that entertains violence, hates human diversity or more subtly, arrests and deports people who advocate peace.

    9. On the other hand, don’t be bound by rules which cut across basic human and Earthly rights such as clean air, and water, uncontaminated foods and respect for the planet’s future.

    10. Have fun. Don’t panic. Assume there is time to save the world. For as America’s great social revolutionary of a century ago, Emma Goldman, said, “I don’t want your revolution if I can’t dance.”

    Oh and here’s one area in which I agree with Mark Latham:

    11. Don’t join the old parties. Their ways are irremediable. Especially, don’t listen to Granma Labor when she says “why my little red dearie, come and change me from inside.” Join the Greens instead.

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