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19 April 2017


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You are dead right about the nexus between old age and cynicism, Paul

An impartial observer might possibly suggest that while John Momis declares his sometimes sparing partner has 'given his all' to PNG it would appear he has chosen to overlook a number of reported real estate properties and personal opportunities enjoyed elsewhere and that apparently the PNG people don't seem to have a share in.

In response to Phil's conjecture, who knows what goes on behind the scenes?

I seem to remember Australia being let down a number of times by our US allies including undermining our stand against Indon aggression over West Papua and the later reported involvement of the ownership of the large mining assets at Freeport.

Ah! It's hard not to become cynical in one's senior years....ain't that right Phil?

Dear Phil,

I share your cynicism. Human motives are rarely pure and never simple. Paradoxically, many destabilisation processes use classic political and economic techniques reminiscent of Gramsci and Lukacs. These include faith based ideology and obscurantism.

Mussolini defined fascism as the union of corporate and governmental interests and much of this is prevalent in the resurgence of neoliberalism and concomitant increase in regulatory capture.

The following link provides access to an interesting article from the Idaho Observer:

It is interesting to see John Momis from Bougainville comment on Michael Somare’s political career and in particular their joint contributions to Papua New Guinea’s independence.

The nexus between the movement for independence and Bougainville is fascinating and deserves wider discussion and exposition.

Conventional wisdom has it that Australia had come under increasing pressure from the United Nations to decolonise Papua New Guinea in the 1960s. Russia and other regimes in the communist bloc were at the forefront of this push.

The communists had their own ideological reasons for backing this movement, much of it related to anti-capitalism whereby western powers were seen to be simply exploiting their colonial domains and the people there.

However, the more powerful impetus was related to ‘the winds of change’ that were sweeping the world in the 1960s.

These ‘winds’ were driven by the post-war generation intent upon usurping the old world order of their parents, which were seen to be socially conservative and repressive.

This new generation was intent upon liberating everything and anything in their line of fire. They were anti-war, anti-sexism, anti-racism and anti-capitalism.

A bumper sticker (remember them and what the hell was a bumper anyway?) summed it up in the succinct phrase ‘land rights for gay whales’.

Being a cynic with a devious mind I’ve always been suspicious about such simplistic and sweeping explanations.

Sometimes you have to dig a bit deeper to uncover the real motives. In most cases your arrival at the truth is often accompanied by the ring of a cash register.

Which brings us back to Bougainville and in particular to the extremely rich copper and gold mine that was being developed there just prior to independence.

The mine represented a potentially massive prize for a newly independent nation keen to support itself.

It was also a red flag to the rest of the world that here was a colonial estate with the potential to uncover even more untold riches.

In short, it was eminently exploitable, particularly if it became independent under an inexperienced, largely unprepared and financially naïve government.

This may sound fanciful but if you consider that other hot spot of anti-colonialism, Africa, the similarities become apparent. Those African colonies at the forefront of the movement were similarly endowed, if not in mineral wealth in other valuable resources.

So what I’m suggesting is that the real pressure to decolonise these places didn’t come from either the ideologically driven communist regimes or the plagues of hippies expounding love and freedom. Rather, the impetus came from hard-nosed capitalists alerted to new and vast areas of potential exploitation.

We all know the massive influence that business exerts on governments the world over and it is not a long bow to draw to extend this to organisations like the United Nations. If you doubt this for one moment think ‘globalisation’.

And, of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Those African states and Papua New Guinea have been exploited mercilessly by capital.

Those gullible elites in these countries who were quick to jump on the gravy train have been complicit in the economic rape.

Were people like Michael Somare and John Momis dupes who were naively drawn into this maelstrom of exploitation?

I guess that’s up to them to decide.

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