All posts by C.F. Black

Dr C.F. Black is the author of the legal text - The Land is the Source of the Law: A Dialogic Encounter with an Indigenous Jurisprudence. (2011) Dr Black is an Indigenous Australia from the Kombumerri and Munaljahlai Clans of South East Qld. She has had extensive experience in issues relating to Indigenous legal theory both locally, nationally and internationally. Her present interests relate to global politics and Visual Jurisprudence. Her next book address these issues through the use of the narrative, poetry and discourse.

A Punkspat: The Geo-politics of the New South Ripple

Rev. Dr. William Barber and Kane from the Sacrificial Poets

Rev. Dr. William Barber and Kane from the Sacrificial Poets

The South in our discussion mainly relates to lands in the southern hemisphere but at the same time they are influenced by theories from the Global South. I however wonder if we should include the important influence from the American deep south, after all the oppressed peoples in those States are mainly suffering from the intergenerational trauma of their ancestors being torn from the South. Nor can we exclude the pervasive influence of the Civil Rights movement on the political thought of the South. To designate the American South as only belonging to the Northern political theory sphere, I would argue is a misrepresentation of the peoples. Rather it is a reflection of the experience of the South caught in the borders of the North. And we must remember much of the movement was influenced by Ghandi. So it was perhaps one of the most famous South South theoretical transfers.

So I would suggest that we also consider the political activities in the Deep South in the Moral Monday rallies which are lead by the charismatic black reverend William Barber and are slowly but surely gaining momentum across North Carolina. The important element in this demonstration is the use of the word ‘moral’ in an era of blatant gluttony by the 1% of the global population. I would suggest that the most pressing issue is a moral issue in which we must consider the future of the young and not leave behind a pre French Revolutionary lifestyle of social division in which up to 90% of the population were peasants.  But most importantly in relation to that era we must remember that five years before the revolution the Icelandic volcano caused havoc that bought about famine and refugees. The impact unravelled Europe and caused revolution that spread to the Americas.  Once again we are seeing the aftermath of an Icelandic eruption of 2010/11 followed by austerity measures.  We still don’t really know the continuing environmental and economic impact of that eruption, but Europe does seem to be on the verge of something. However, we must also remember how many people from The South are caught up within those borders as refugees and their voices must not be dismissed in our discussions due to their geo-positioning.

I would also like to develop this point of geo-positioning. This may seem like popularism by some, but as Naomi Kline argues, it is up to social commentators to realize that leadership and social protest is no longer the way it used to be. ‘Bring me your leader’ is for the old boys. Even major Venture Capitalists such as Julie Meyer are trying to educate the Goliath industries that the – top down ‘big stick’ – approaches are ineffective, if they want to harness innovation which is born of the internet generation. We must remember the Goliaths were not born of the internet but came to it late in life and are therefore not hardwired to the intellectual and ‘savvy’ way of operating in an networked business landscape. A disadvantage as we have seen with the US intelligence industry. It may be able to put us all in a surveillance cage but there are a lot of up and coming keyhole pickers with a moral conscience out there and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this up and coming generation of cyberpunks who actually care.

So our understanding of the South, on one hand, may need to take into account the ‘domestic south’ in influential countries like the US. And on the other the surveillance cage we are all in now. As Assange warned this is the last ‘free generation’ before the surveillance becomes all pervasive. And as Julie Meyer recommends we need to consider the new types of social contracts we want before technology leads us into unchartered waters.

If anything there is a dissolving of the hemispheres in the internet generation which sees itself more laterally and borderless including those without access who appear to use the mobile phone in a similar way. Life is beyond physical borders or maps and instead we may be seeing the rise of generations that relate to their local space with a global perspective, rather than a hemisphere dominated and nation bound mentality of the 1%. The 1% goliaths may have power for now, but it is slowly with the help of Nature and her unpredictable behaviour moving the other way and perhaps this is the very reason surveillance has become global because that is actually were we are heading or have arrived.

However, we also have another geo political dilemma in that the BRICS nations are made up of countries that consider themselves as part of the Global South, and they are the new Goliaths of the planet in search of riches just as much as the Westerner, but perhaps a bit more politically savvy in the way they do it. So my contribution at the beginning of this discussion relates to geo-positioning and the rising moral protests coming out of The New South of the USA and its ripple effect across the domestic South within the BRICS nations.

Having said all that however, I do think there is something deeper going on which relates to land, for you find that in the Southern hemisphere the South is the place of privilege, in that they are more developed e.g. South Africa, Chile, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand as against say Senegal, Bolivia or Vanuatu.  Whilst in the Northern hemisphere it is the North which is less privileged e.g. the Arctic Circle, Siberia, the Far North of Canada. Therefore which way do our theories flow, which way will they ripple out?

Photo source: Justin Valas on Flicker for noncommercial reuse

A Revolution for Free!

Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy. Photo Credit: Carl Gardner via Compfight Creative Commons

Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy. Photo Credit: Carl Gardner via Compfight Creative Commons

As we mark the 50th the anniversary of The Great March on Washington, and move closer to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, and in my own country of Australia, the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Yirrikala Bark Petition for Indigenous rights. I therefore cannot but help think history may record 2013 as a watershed year that is looked back in history as a defining moment in the political history of the West. This historical event is the beginning of the young Westerners cleaning up their own political back yards. It is as though in my mind this year marks ‘key events’ that may trigger a consciousness amongst the young people that have had enough of the bullying by their governments in holding the globe ransom to their overzealous beliefs in their own righteousness.

James Douglass in his book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters brings to the readers attention that ‘the Unspeakable’ is the manifestation of evil on the globe at the behest of powerful ‘unknowns’ in the United States, who 50 years ago orchestrated the assassinations of JFK and the subsequent assassinations of Martin Luther, Malcolm X and finally Bobby Kennedy.

The use of the generic term of ‘the Unspeakable’ allows for a distancing of individual blame to that of a – sickness of heart – which pervades Western rulers and their sense of righteousness, then and now. A sickness which some youth can no longer tolerate, as it is their future which is being destroyed politically, economically, and worst of all, climatically, by this evil.

Oliver Stone in support of Douglass is also on his own mission to educate the American youth about their history that allows this evil to thrive. He is horrified by the ignorance of the average American and so has directed and written the series The Untold History of America. Such valiant attempts gives one the impression that they are looking for the reincarnation of at least one of the ‘golden’ four to step forth from the modern generation of youth. This desire is a bit like a desire for a messianic resurrection of a saviour.

Can I put forth however, that instead of a golden haired or black hair boy, what instead we have is a gender crossing Chelsea! Both the mythologist in me as well as the satirical black-humour from my Indigenous heritage cannot but help make associations which perhaps the fact driven elders above might overlook.

Let me begin by saying, what I see in the evil of the Unspeakable is a combination of the homophobic cross-dressing Edgar J. Hoover and the ludicrous obsession with money which allows the public to still sanction the continued million dollar payments to heads of failed banks. Therefore the heroes who take on this force no longer look like a Hollywood-Kennedy or sound like the magnificent orators; Martin or Malcolm, but rather look more like penniless nerds and grrl power. That is the enemy of the unspeakable is actually the alter ego of the above. On one hand we have Bradley proudly declaring he is Chelsea – none of that cupboard gay stuff for him – and the Assanges and Snowdens dumping their credit cards and relying on mobile phones and friends to help them free the Free World from its cyber chains.

What these three men/woman have done is to cyber-picked the backdoors of the great and powerful; looked inside and caught them with their pants down and promptly photo’d, digitalized and duplication in 3D copy the crown jewels, and sent them out into the universe of cyberspace all for free. And I think that is the most revolutionary act of all. It was free! And that’s what the money addicted nations and their bullies can’t abide, its was given away for free!

The source of this youthful clean up job, which is predominantly in the North, has come from the South and surprisingly from the odd-bod country Australia that suffers from an identity crisis, in that it thinks it is in the North when in fact it is in the South. It therefore, is not surprising that this southern bastion of northern values has thrown up another odd bod in Julian Assange. Julian and his fellow young hackers learnt very early how the little backdoors of the cyber world worked. And in true Aussie style after viewing the content of Pax Americana realized it was a whole lot of the guff about ‘bringing democracy’ to the downtrodden. The rise of Wikileaks in turn allowed American youth to take on ‘the Unspeakable’ and its manifestations of evil as Manning saw in the now infamous Bagdad tapes and Snowden saw as a cyber matrix within which all Americans live. A cyber matrix which when we look closer however is not funded by the North, but in fact those countries who identify with the Global South.

GEOPOLITICAL MARJONG BOARD

BRICS as we are all aware on a subliminal level will redefine the geopolitics of the world and so The Global South, might be reconfigured to East or West of the Great Wall of Chinese Economic dominance which is running laterally through the globe rather than horizontally. But then again as China prefers to economically coerce nation states into being tribute states, the definition of where each nation state finds themself on the global map might be something quite different. However, one thing is for sure, Australia will no longer be a favoured nation of a Pax Americana world, but rather a tribute state of a BRICS cultural and population dominated globe. Pax Americana can run around snooping on everyone if it wishes to waste its resources that way, but we all know who is funding the credit card the US is using to pay the bills. But there is something else we didn’t know.

Having read Cyberwar: The Next Threat to National Security and What to do About (2010) it by Richard Clarke and Robert Knake, and had Clarke not been the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counterterrorism under four presidents, I would have thought I was reading a George Clooney script.

The extent of Chinese government hacking against U.S., European, and Japanese industries and research facilities is without precedent in the history of espionage. Exabytes of data have been copied from universities, industrial labs, and government facilities. The secrets behind everything from pharmaceuticals formulas to bioengineering designs, to nanotechnology, to weapons system to everyday industrial products have been taken by the People’s Liberation Army and by private hacking groups and given to China Inc. (Clarke and Knake, 2010, p.59)

A nation couldn’t be that stupid to let this happen, but it could be that arrogant to miss the obvious! And that is the flaw of the ‘the Unspeakable’ – its arrogance!

And it is this very kind of arrogance that finds ‘the Unspeakable’ being confronted by enemies who look like characters out of films like Midnight Cowboy or Fisher King. Who would have thought a gangly look-a-like comic super hero with silver hair and a broad Aussie accent would teamed up with a petit transsexual who even after three years in high security prisons and solitary confinement could articulate himself like Atticus Finch and take the high moral ground in relation to his actions. And then after being sentenced to a life time of imprisonment, pulls the hat trick of wanting transgender therapy based on his human rights, which will give the military more headaches than any leak every did. It is like Manning now Chelsea Manning is tapping into the American hysteria over same sex marriages and playing the hysteria for all it is worth. And now we have Snowden to follow up, once again able to outwit the most powerful nation in the world with the advice from the Aussie and his mates at Wikileaks. I mean landing on the doorstep of Russia and Putin calling it an ‘unwelcome Christmas present’? Christmas present? Doesn’t that ring warning bells and now we have him staying until Christmas! Now I don’t even think Woody Allen could come up with a script as good as that. I mean who is writing this reality show, it is all becoming too scripted.

And so the Global South has provided an unintended hero, the leader of the pack, in Julian. But what of his own country where he is treated like a common criminal? Well if China pulls the plug on the US credit card, mark my words in ‘true blue’ fashion Julian will overnight become a national hero. As China and her mates slowly but surely ingratiate themselves into everyone’s backyards through their wiz-bang gadgets and very cheap goodies which the silly souls that inhabit the West have greedily feed themselves on for the past decades as the third world exists on their donations. How embarrassing to know, we have for decades given food aid and fund small projects, while China now ready to step up to the table goes in and builds infrastructure, you know railways and roads for transporting goods.

I think the Unspeakable is being challenged at a very fundamental level if not at the mythological. A new type of mythological super hero is building momentum. And just like all good super heroes they are not overt bullish figures like Arnie as the Terminator or Downey Jr as Ironman, but in fact are nerds in real life. How the transgender issue will be treated I will leave that up to the feminist, but then again maybe that is the only way a women can get into the male dominated myth making world of the West!

The South therefore in my opinion is on the verge of realignment, not by its own volition but one forced upon it by geopolitical shifts of tectonic proportion. Pax Americana may appear to have sway with its nemesis of the Unspeakable driving it towards further unspeakable invasionary tactics, but there is a greater force out there and it is not the force of good or some Godlike benevolence, it is just the force of history; time is up for the West and it is now BRICS turn in the form of the Chinese century which will look nothing like the American or British century, it will be far more sophisticated and therefore far more dangerous for the complacent. So all I can say we are going to live in interesting times and I am glad Julian is from The South.

Dr C.F. Black is author of The Land is the Source of the Law.

Who are your moral heroes?

Christine Black

Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Griffith Center for Coastal Management, Griffith University, Brisbane

Greetings from Dr Christine Black

I have been asked to contribute to this conference through this intermediary of writing a few paragraphs to convey a message from Australia. As an Indigenous woman of the Kombumerri and Munaljahalai peoples I want to first acknowledge the spirits of your lands and those who have come before you and those who will come after you. Your continent is a powerful and vast land that has experienced continuous invasion like no other continent on this earth. And yet it prevails and gives your people life. We should all be thankful for what the land we walk upon each day gives to us personally. Furthermore your Indigenous Peoples have survived through all these invasions and have preserved and protected the ancient knowledge of your lands. To preserve a culture and law takes strength and moral fortitude. It is not preserved by technology but relationships, relationships between humans and their beloved land. Land teaches people how to live on it, and to understand the law of a land takes thousands of years of caring for land.

Australia has a unique responsibility to the world. That responsibility is to must preserve and perpetuate the oldest continuous culture and law in the world. This is a great honor bestowed upon Australians by providence.

It has also been my personal responsibility to continue and share that ancient knowledge and law. I have carried out this responsibility by writing a book on Indigenous legal theory entitled The Land is the Source of the Law: A Dialogic Encounter of an Indigenous Jurisprudence. (Routledge). This book is made up of many stories of how the law of sharing and caring is the most important moral compass a peoples can live by. That caring begins with caring for the Land and environment. The book is not just meant for academics, as the knowledge of our Senior Law People is for everyone to learn how important it is to understand that lawful behaviour comes from caring for Land and not just ourselves.

Question

I have also been asked to pose a question to the participants. I would therefore ask; who, in your opinion has demonstrated moral courage which others of the South could learn from? In other words who are your heroes and how can citizens of other nations in the South learn from their exemplar moral behavior.

¿Qui, en su opinión, ha demostrado coraje moral que otros del Sur puede aprender? ¿En otras palabras, que son sus héroes y cómo pueden los ciudadanos de otras naciones en el Sur de aprender de su comportamiento ejemplar moral?

A statement and question offered to participants of the symposium Diálogo Trans-Pacífico y Sur-Sur: Perspectivas Alternativas a la Cultura y Pensamiento Eurocéntrico y Noroccidental, University of Santiago, 8-9 January 2013