The Guardian March 14, 2001

Creeping fascism

Step by step, authorities are undermining the democratic rights that 
Australians have enjoyed for the last century. Surveillance is being 
extended to almost all areas of activity and work and this is being 
accompanied by close cooperation between police and special forces in other 

These developments were made clear at the international policing conference 
held last week in Adelaide.

Police are scanning what are said to be "miles" of film taken by various 
means at the S11 demonstrations last year. It is certain that the main 
purpose is to identify and list every person who participated in this anti-
corporate demonstration. Victoria's police commissioner, Neil Comrie, 
described the demonstrations as "crimes".

But surveillance does not stop with demonstrations. More and more cameras 
are being installed in streets, shopping malls and in individual shops and 
workplaces. It is always claimed that they are being installed to stop 
crime but they can also be used to stop the activities of anyone who might 
act against the interests of the corporations and the government.

Another very serious development is the establishment of a national DNA 
database. A Bill to establish this database has already been submitted to 
parliament by the government with the support of the ALP. It will give 
Federal government authorities power to compel people to give DNA samples. 
Once on the database every individual is tabbed for life. Sooner or later 
the compulsion will be extended to everyone. The information will be made 
available to State authorities and with the massive corruption that 
prevails in high places it is also certain that it will find its way into 
the hands of corporations that also have the facilities to process and use 
such information.

The Guardian has already reported the legislation introduced by the 
Federal government to enable troops to be used in civil matters. The excuse 
given was the necessity to prevent terrorist acts during the Olympic Games 
but, once on the books, the legislation will not be repealed. The general 
militarisation of society is being pushed assiduously by Howard and others.

There are stories coming to light that American troops are in Australia and 
some other countries engaged in training Australian special forces in urban 
warfare. We have seen the use of troops in other countries against the 
people of those countries. It is a development that is coming to the 
streets near you.

Are the detention centres at Port Headland and Woomera, at present housing 
refugees, the concentration camps of the future?

Another part of the repression is the Federal government's Workplace 
Relations Act that has the aim of shackling the trade union movement and 
the possibility of resisting by strike action the heavy assault taking 
place on workers' rights and work conditions. Many of the gains made by the 
trade union movement in the past are being systematically swept away. The 
latest employer crime is the sacking of workers and the theft of their 
entitlements. But trade unions are finding it difficult to stage the 
necessary strong actions to fight against these developments.

There are other restrictions taking place that could be listed.

Capitalism is moving more and more into crisis. The latest economic 
developments in Australia are signs of this.

There is serious talk of "recession", even "depression" in the United 
States and Japan, the world's two major capitalist economies.

Furthermore, the corporate plans for worldwide globalisation under their 
control is meeting more and more resistance. The policies of privatisation, 
deregulation, attacks on health and education are creating a mess. Private 
is not better!

However, the corporations are not about to move over and change their 
policies. Their response will be to suppress the opposition and those who 
are putting forward and demanding the adoption of alternative policies.

The shock administered to the Liberal-National Party coalition in the WA 
and Queensland elections will also force the government parties to 
manoeuvre and try and find ways to bolster their position. It is likely to 
take the form of even more rightwing policies, spiced by rhetoric as 
Pauline Hanson has been doing. Put all this together and we have creeping 
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