IN today’s Sunday Phage, reporter John Elder, who must be sorely in need of a bath, tells of his week embedded with the City Square rabble. He slept with them, he ate with them, he communed with them – and now he wants you know the image presented by the profit-driven media, a category that no longer includes Fairfax publications, was scandalously, slanderously wrong. Yes, there were dreadlocks and green hair aplenty, and “the poor skin of hardcore green and socialist-left protesters”, but the untold story was of all the normal, meek and mild Melbournians who turned out for a better world. That was the angle every other media outfit missed, and Elder feels obliged to set the record straight by quoting a representative sampling of the “many … who decided to stand against the police [and] were not part of the abusive shouting contingent that dominated the media coverage.”
Given that Elder spent the week in their company, his lack of curiosity about the upstanding citizens he quotes is, well, par for the course at The Age.
Take Nicola Paris, for example, whom Elder describes only as “a former nanny and now full-time activist”. She is a bit more than that, having shipped out three years in a row as the resident vegan cook aboard the Sea Shepherd. As for being a laid-back, no-trouble sort of gal, WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert might tell another story, having fired Paris after her staffer was arrested for taking part in a violent scuffle with police outside the office of then-Science Minister Julie Bishop. (Memo to Elder: when even the Greens regard you as a ratbag, you’re a ratbag absolutely.)
Then there is psychologist Jane Morton, 58, who is “ ‘Just someone having a quiet professional life … part of the 99 per cent who wants a safe future for their kids’.''
The only problem with that worthy goal is Morton’s belief it can be achieved only by shutting down the LaTrobe Valley and banning the use and export of coal after 2020. She advances the cause by cluttering the entrance to local member Martin Ferguson’s office and editing voluminous position papers on the need to shut down the carboniferous economy yesterday.
After that, there is still time in Morton’s “quiet professional life” to indulge her interest in other worthy causes, which she lists on her Facebook page. There are a lot of them: Rising Tide North America, Six De6rees, The Story of Stuff Project, Beyond Zero Emissions, Friends of the Earth International, The Transition Decade 2010 - 2020, Avaaz, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, OurSay Australia, Wikileaks, friends don't let friends vote for Tony Abbott, 10:10 Western Australia, Occupy Melbourne, Join me and take online action now for Aussie forests - No Harvey No!, Stop the Machine! Create a New World, Farms Not Fossil Fuels - No New Coal Mine In Bacchus Marsh, The Global Mail, ACF: Protecting the Kimberley, Tar Sands Action, Your ABC. Worth fighting for, Climate Reality, NewsStand: Standing Up for Fair and Diverse News, Black Saturday Community Organiser Arrested by 'Baillieu\Ryan' Government for Defending the Last Remaining Green Forests in Toolangi / SAVE Sylvia Creek Toolangi / Community / MyEnvironment Inc - My Environment, urban support for rural communities fighting coal and coal seam gas development, Stop the National Schools Chaplaincy Program, Peaceful Uprising, 10,000,000 Strong for Comprehensive Climate Legislation, Democracy Now!, Huon Valley Environment Centre, Petition International Criminal Court to Investigate Sri Lanka's war crimes against Tamils., Yarra Climate Action Now, Save The Kimberley, GetUp!, The Oil Drum, 'Better Access' to Psychologists, Support decriminalisation of Homosexuality at UN!, Boycott Network 10 and their Ultra Right-wing Andrew Bolt show, Saving the Nature of the Kimberley, Footprints for Peace, Free Kids Inhalers from Coal Cares, Say Yes Australia, No Fracking Way, Virginia Rising: Stop Mountain Top Coal Removal Now, IPS Inter Press Service News Agency, Christine Milne, Save The Murray, A Climate for Change, Protect Native Forests for Climate Security, Presidential Pardon for Tim Dechristopher, Climate Summit 2011, Stop HRL - No new coal power for Victoria, Unfriend Coal, 100% Renewable, Camp for Climate Action Australia, Appalachia Rising, The Psychological Flexibility Group, Janet Rice for Footscray, PNC: Stop Funding Mountaintop Removal, HELP!!! Recognise Indigenous Australians in the Australian Constitution, Stop Native Forest Fueled Electricity in Australia, Amnesty International NYC Women Human Rights Action Team, causes.com, Union of Concerned Scientists, Perfect Connection Golf Swing, League of Conservation Voters, HANDS OFF COUNTRY - Help us to save a beautifull place of Australia!, Australian Student Environment Network, 1,000,000 Strong Against Offshore Drilling, 350.org, Coal Free Future Project, Australia Needs a Carbon Tax, Everest Women 7 Summits Eco-Action, Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, International Youth Climate Movement, Camp for Climate Action, Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Finally, the gently quoted Fran Murrell, who swears, “'I'm not a youthful radical. I'm from a nice middle-class family concerned with our food supply” – especially food grown and marketed by capitalism’s earth-raping tractor panzers. As Fran puts it, “Business extremism endangers us all. We live on a finite planet and yet have an economic system that collapses without continuous growth.”
It took about 15 minutes to Google the backgrounds of those harmless, altruistic souls. Given that Elder was on hand for a week in which his fellow campers enjoyed free and unlimited internet access courtesy of the nearby Westin Hotel, whose WiFi network the protesters hacked, you might think he would have found a moment between the singing and chanting, the assemblies and vegan curries, to do, you know, just a little research.