Isocracy Annual General Meeting 2015

1. Committee reports and election of 2015-2016 representatives

2. Guest Speaker, Damien Kingsbury, at 6.30pm speaking on "Fixing Australian policy towards Asylum Seekers"

Damien is Professor of International Politics, Deakin University. Author or editor of more than twenty five academic books on regional politics and development.

3. Dinner afterwards at #1 Steamboat, 1 Lygon Street at 7.30pm

Global Islamophobia

Global Islamophobia Cover

Ben Debney, Deakin University, Australia

Book Review : George Morgan and Scott Poynting (eds) (2013) Global Islamophobia: Muslims and Moral Panic in the West.
London: Ashgate.

Previous to 2001, Islam was a mere flicker on the radar of popular xenophobic paranoia. A decade and a half and the world's first global moral panic later, this situation has changed entirely, apparently by design. As the editors of Global Islamophobia point out, the Terror Scare has elevated Muslims to 'transnational folk devil, foisting the logic of 'if you think for yourselves the terrorists win' on the public realm in the name of defending democratic values. The paradoxical character of the generally destructive effects of this Terror Scare on democratic culture remains hard to miss, not least given the rhetoric about western values that tends to accompany much of the debate.

Protracted scare‐mongering about global Islam has tended to frustrate attempts to understand the meaning of the 9/11 attacks and of their root causes. One might argue that this was its primary function, especially to the extent that blame‐shifting through playing the victim and victim‐blaming are characteristic facets of moral panics. Despite the well‐established link between western military aggression and burgeoning terrorism (for example, Edward Herman's The Real Terror Network; Noam Chomsky's Deterring Democracy), efforts to hold western governments, corporate media outlets and others to account for that aggression, and for the lies told to justify it politically, have been met with mixed success so far. This fact is reflected in the continuing currency of xenophobia and the tendency of purportedly accountable representatives everywhere to blame Islam for everything from global wealth inequality to military conflict to the burgeoning surveillance state.

End of Life Choices

voluntary euthanasia rights
Submission of the Isocracy, Inc., to the Legal and Social Issues Committee of the Victorian Parliament Concerning End of Life Choices

1. Status of the Submission

The Legislative Council has ordered teh Legal and Social Issues Committee to conduct in an inquiry in the need for laws in Victoria to allow citizens to make informed decisions concerning end of life choices.

This submission was prepared by Lev Lafayette on behalf of the the Isocracy Network, Inc. ("The Association"). The Isocracy Network is incorporated in the State of Victoria, Number A0054881M.

After The Revolution : The Libyan Civil War

Like any form of war, it is rare that revolutions unfold according to some preordained plan. This is because of course, there is usually several plans in operation, which just so happen to have a common interest. After the common interest is achieved, they will often turn on each other. This is particularly important for those who wish to establish a democracy after a dictatorship; unless the revolutionary constitution and new military provide a commitment to liberal and secular rights, the majority - without a familiarity with these concepts - may very well turn to theocracy, following the long-repressed religious leadership. Likewise a broad-based revolution really needs to be careful of its political preferences; being united with political opponents to overthrow a dictatorship is unhelpful if those opponents are worse that the dictator in question.

It is thus the outcomes of the civil war that becomes the deciding factor of what political system will rule a region after a revolution that has multiple participants, and this raises a matter of critical importance for social activists outside of the region of military struggle. The contemporary case of Libya is an illustrative example, starting from a review of the Gaddafi dictatorship, then the Libyan revolution, the current Libyan Civil War, and the relevance for similar countries.

Criminalisation is the Crime! Part II

Firing squadIn the previous part to Criminalisation is the Crime! I pointed to the central act of the State in understanding the nature of crime. That, for the majority of crimes resulting in incarceration, they are non-violent acts. In the case of the United States many of these offences relate to drugs, often just their mere possession or use. I also referred to the undeniable reality that some crime – indeed, much violent, physical and mental, crime – relates to complex biological and social factors. The danger in calling out a crime as a fact of biology or society is, or should be, apparent. Until we arrive at some future golden age of total knowledge the true content of criminality will elude us. This perhaps disspiriting observation should not, however, deter us from the task of peeling away the detritus of archaic understandings and customs.

We also observed, through the initial case study of Singapore (to which we will return), that the political nature of crime is one of the primary means of social control in the State’s arsenal. In its role as social arbiter, the State goes by many names: the Judiciary, jurisprudence, justice, the Courts, and so on. (All reflecting the Roman foundations of law, ius.) In the case of Singapore, the State wields the authority and power of law to mould society, punish miscreancy, and to ensure that the balance of power, between the State and the populace, is bent toward the former. This is not to single out Singapore as a singularity among the modern ‘democratic’ bureaucratic States. Indeed, Singapore falls into line within the spectrum of Anglo-American liberal democracies, albeit more overtly within the control of an authoritarian political dynasty (the Lee family and the populist party it has helmed since the 1960s, the People’s Action Party).

Cooperatives : An Introduction

In the past the Isocracy Network has had some association with the cooperative movement. It is not without reason that we are meeting at the New International Bookshop, which is a cooperative (and we have a member on the bookshop board). At our 2012 Annual General Meeting our guest speaker was Race Matthews, the former state and federal minister and author of "Jobs of Our Own", who spoke on the cooperative movement. Tonight we have a representative of the Earthworker's Cooperative who will speak on the mission of that organisation in responding to climate change and helping the establishment of worker's cooperatives throughout Australia with sustainability-focussed industries.


A cooperative is defined as non-profit organisations and businesses that exist for the mutual benefit of the members. Some for-profit entities are very close to cooperatives; sole traders and partnerships are an example as the members (even in the case of one) receives equal benefit to all other members. Other non-profits are also close insofar that they have equitable management, or provide member benefits, such as trade unions, incorporated associations, charities etc.

Strict cooperatives can be differentiated by the people who equal membership and mutual benefit franchise system (a retailer cooperative), those who use a service (a consumer cooperative, leveraging economies of scale)., the people who work there (a worker's cooperative, using democratic-workplace management), the people who live at a location (a housing cooperative, a specialised consumer cooperative), with hybrid and multi-stakeholder combinations (e.g., a labour-managed credit union).

Isocracy Profiles: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein
It not unusual for a political theory and ideology such as Isocracy to be asked what individuals are inspirational or aligned to its point of view. To some degree caution is justified as (a) no single person agrees with everything that is proposed on the Isocracy pages (and vice-versa) and (b) often the person is deceased so it is perhaps a little unfair to claim their association without their consideration. At best one can go through the available works of a person and do a comparison. Nevertheless, as part of a series an attempt is made here to propose several individuals from the past who could be considered "at home" with the Isocracy Network.

One such person is Albert Einstein. Whilst most famously known for his cosmological studies in general and special relatively, he was also a person he commented a great deal on the social and political affairs of the day, rather than let his specialist field entirely dominate his world experience. Perhaps in a different forum, one could also consider his even more extensive commentary on religious philosophy.

The Half Worth Telling

By the 1840s, the United States had grown into both an empire and a world economic power- the second greatest industrial economy, in fact, in the world-all built on the back of cotton.

- Edward E Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (582)

In the present-day American self-image, slavery was one of those anachronisms inherited from the Old World, a backward evil that had to be excised, at great cost in lives, from a modernising, rapidly industrialising young democracy. Those living outside the slave states of the South were excused as Northern agrarians, merchants, or frontiersmen - men who made their living as free labour, and in doing so, the modern capitalist market-state. It is a complex though largely noble tale of the United States' difficult birth. Edward Baptist has reminded us of the half of the tale left untold - a half of the story that contains bitter truths about the origin of U.S. wealth, and with it, the American Dream.

Six Easy Pieces on Australian Politics from Malcolm Fraser

Last year I had the pleasure and the privilege to talk with former Prime Minster, Malcolm Fraser for a couple of hours thanks to taking a subject coordinated by former federal MP and Fraser's former chief of staff, Petro Georgio. Fraser severed as the Member for Wannon for 28 years and was prime minister of Australia between 1975 and 1983. He sadly passed away earlier this year, and when discussing this day recently, my friend Tom urged me to publish my account of Fraser's views and experience so others could, perhaps, benefit in some small way from the wisdom he imparted. How he has seen parliamentary and prime ministerial power and behaviour shifting in the decades since he left parliament in 1983 may be of interest to some. What follows is from my notes (cleaned up and systematised with the occasional flourish), and while some of this might seem fairly obvious, the degraded state of contemporary Australian politics attests to the fact that such fundamentals are no longer being adhered to.

The Left Politics of Jews

Left-wing activists hold placards and flags as they protest against the "Jewish state" bill near the Prime Minister residence in Jerusalem on November 29, 2014. Some of the placards call Benjamin Netanyahu a racist, and assert that he seeks democracy for Jews only. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A Review of Philip Mendes (2014), Jews and the Left. The Rise and Fall of a Political Alliance. Houndmills, England, Palgrave Macmillan, $134.95.

Associate Professor Philip Mendes is Director of the Social Inclusion and Social Policy Research Unit in the Department of Social Work at Melbourne's Monash University. He is well known and widely published as an author of several books on the politics of Jews, which include New Left, the Jews and the Vietnam War (1993), as well as joint editor, with Geoffrey Brahm Levey, of the book Jews and Australian Politics (2004). This book is probably intended as the writer's magnum opus, an elaborate treatment of Jewish politics on a world scale from the immediate post-revolutionary France to the present. The book refers to Left/Jewish involvement in 37 individual countries, including Australia, plus a small treatment of Asia, including individual Jews supporting Mao in China and the brief rule of David Marshall as the first Chief Minister of Singapore.


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