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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Adelaide Festival of Ideas 2007: a counter discourse « Previous | |Next »
July 11, 2007

In her insightful comments in Pavlov's Cat on Paul Chadwick's remarks at the 'Digital Ink: the future of journalism', session of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas Kerryn Goldsworthy highlighted this remark made by Chadwick:

while people these days expect to be lied to by the newspapers, the emergence of blogging has enabled if not ensured the rapid investigation, exposure and exhaustive analysis of most such lies. Bloggers, he said, can and do quickly raise questions about conflicts of interest (both personal and business) in the MSM, 'and if you think Media Watch is tough ...!' There is, he said, 'a new transparency now abroad in old media, imposed upon it by new media.'

I've reworked this point about transparency into the idea of a critical discourse that is counter to that of the mass media.

A good example of this came from the talk on Sunday by Tracey Bunda entitled 'A way of understanding indigenous issues today'. She argued that new spaces need to be created to allow different indigenous voices to that of Noel Pearson and News Corp. This would contest News Corp's positioning of alternative critical views as the voices of "mad lefties" and "wild untamed blacks."

Some of these wild, untamed voices were those of strong Aboriginal women, and Bunda identified one as those Pat O'Shane. O'Shane's open letter to Kevin Rudd, was read by Bunda., and in it O'Shane addressing Kevin Rudd by saying that if Rudd wanted to distinguish himself as a true alternative Leader of the people of Australia ( including Indigenous Australians) then he needed to clarify issues for action. O'Shane identified the issues:

*Differentiating between Howard's land grab of Indigenous communities and the issue of child abuse;
*Making a distinction between Howard's political & economic agenda, and the real crisis of child abuse in communities;
*Removal of permits and the Commonwealth's control of the territory would enable Howard to place control of the mineral resources on Aboriginal lands into private hands;
*That solutions to the crisis of child abuse have been highlighted in a raft of domestic and international texts which do not promote deployment of police and the military as the front-line response: it requires a health, education, human services and housing response;
*That the Commonwealth has had the ability for decades to address this issue and has not had the political will. Let us be clear that Howard and Brough (not to mention Noel Pearson and Sue Gordon) are not the "Great White Hopes" for Aboriginal Communities.

O'Shane and the other voices of strong Aboriginal woman argued that the Howard Government's attack on self-determination was connected to future uranium mining and the increased mining exploration on lands occupied by indigenous people. Many of the Indigenous people opposed uranium mining and using indigenous land as a nuclear waste disposal site.

In response to a question from Wilma Mankiller about what would be the single most important indigenous policy change Bunda said that Aboriginal education is adequately resourced and then to ask what white practices need to occur for this to happen. What was needed from white friends and allies is a critical thinking that interrogates white values and beliefs associated with an ongoing colonial discourse. An indigenous future would be the children growing up in a world without racism.

Another example of a counter discourse is food politics as can be seen from these earlier posts here and here on public opinion and the excellent one by Kerryn Goldsworthy on Marion Nestles' What to Eat: Personal Responsibility vs Social Responsibility talk at Pavlov's Cat.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:13 PM |