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30 November 1979. Thought for the Week: "One measure of the physical capacity to produce was provided by the war when, while millions of people were engaged in combat, or activities sustaining combat, huge volumes of complex munitions, and ships and aircraft and transport vehicles were continuously produced and destroyed. In terms of consumer durables, the ships, aircraft, tanks, bombs, shells, small arms ammunition, etc., represent an enormous wealth of cars, pleasure craft, household goods and furnishings, domestic labour saving devices, and so on. Yet in America during the war the standard of living actually rose - because the distribution of income in relation to articles, which did not come on to the market - munitions of all kinds. So the 'cost' of carrying on a war is a financial measure of the capacity to produce. This clearly demonstrates that the economic problem is not the 'equitable' redistribution of an inadequate production, but the artificial restraints placed upon potential production, in the interests of 'management' - people management."
B.W. Monahan, in Alternative to Disaster (1972)
IS THE AYATOLLAH AN EXPENDABLE PAWN IN THE WORLD POWER GAME?
"Iran has enormous economic and political problems. It is a fragmented polity. At the moment, the dominant political force in the country is the religious movement led by Khomeini... but there are serious conflicts.... - Zalmay Khalilzad, in The Wall St. Journal, Nov. 14th
Zalmay Khalilzad is an assistant professor of
political science, and a member of the Institute of War and Peace studies
at Columbia University (U.S.A.). He has raised many queries about the
Ayatollah Khomeini, which have occurred to us. The Ayatollah Khomeini
controls large parts of Iran through a network of more than 1,500 committees
and some 60,000 mullahs; but there are serious conflicts, as Khalilzad
says, within the religious movement, and there are a number of other
political groups challenging Khomeini's control over Iran.
A particular security problem for Iran stems from the multiplicity of armed ethnic minorities - some of which have been in active revolt over past months: e.g. the Kurds. Who supplies them with arms? The Kurds even have tanks, and anti-aircraft guns!
The Communist Tudeh party, which has support in critical areas such as the oil facilities, is also challenging the Khomeini regime. There are still other groups, including Westernised moderates in the National Front who favour a social democratic system and who have the support of a significant number of technocrats, but which lack the military capability to challenge the current regime. All these challenges to the Khomeini Government are accompanied by disarray in the Iranian armed forces.
Given the unstable situation, allowing the Shah
into the United States might well have increased Khomeini's fear that
the United States is plotting with the Shah to take advantage of his
Government's difficulties. The Ayatollah is obsessed with fear of an
American sponsored military coup as conditions deteriorate within Iran.
The American Administration might try to defuse the present crisis by
making a reaffirmation that it has no intention of interfering in Iran's
internal affairs, nor in rendering aid to Khomeinis opponents nor in
furthering the return of the Shah to power. President Carter could try
such a placatory initiative in Iran.
Zalmay Khalizad observes that it is quite possible that Ayatollah Khomeini did not plan the takeover of the embassy in Iran. He has, however, used the situation to mobilise large segments of the population and to consolidate his weakening position. We have expected the Ayatollah to become more fanatical to hold his position, and agree that Khomeini's principal motive in holding the hostages, or rather in allowing them to be held, thus defying the United States, could be to buttress his own position of authority within Iran.
We can be sure that the Kremlin is watching all
the power play, swirling around the Ayatollah, intently. There could
be many opportunities for the Kremlin as he loses his grip, and the
armed services sink into disarray. We have always suspected that the
Ayatollah is intended to be but a temporary focus of power for a particular
purpose. He mobilised the anti-Shah forces within Iran; and he has seen
the rug pulled from under the Shah by the Americans, as was reported
earlier this year in On Target. There is no doubt in our mind
that Iran is being prepared for an eventual Marxist revolution.
MR. HAWKE DEFINES MERE EFFECTS OF FINANCE-ECONOMIC SYSTEM
'That (full employment) cement is crumbling and, as it crumbles, we can discern the beginnings of fracture in our society. Indeed, it is not difficult to perceive the emergence of two societies - the employed and the unemployed..." - Mr. R. Hawke, extract from Third A.B.C. Boyer Lecture. The Age - Melbourne November 26th.
Mr. Hawke, in this third A.B.C. Boyer Lecture, concentrated on two issues: the status of women, and the effects of technology. We have no intention of participating in the Women's Debate of the 1970's except to observe that we believe most women would prefer to be women. In fact there is an organisation of Christian, conservative women in Australia, the name of which is "Women Who Want to be Women".
As this is the United Nations Decade for Women, no doubt Mr. Hawke felt it appropriate to make an issue of the role of women in the workplace. We wonder what the attitude of most women would be if they were provided with a genuine choice concerning their role in society. If the economic necessity for a wife and mother to work were "magically" removed, would she still, out of choice, "prop up the economy and standard of living"? We have the greatest doubts.
Over one third of the "work force" in Australia now consists of women, and of this figure, over 40% are married. We have read, sympathetically, all of Mr. Hawke's assertions with respect to "discrimination" against women, and consider that these are to some extent, exaggerated. The truth is that there are many tasks for which women, because they ARE women, are not suited. One could talk and argue about this till the cows come home, and it is difficult to withhold the question: "if women really wanted to enter a man's world, why has it taken all these thousands of years for them to do so? On the other hand, we believe that there are many tasks for which men are not suited - because they are MEN.
There certainly has been discrimination against women in the past. Women were not allowed to own property in some societies. Women were not allowed to take part in government. Many anomalies like this. Silly things!
If women now want to enter the professions they can. There are very many clever women at the top of their chosen professions, in medicine, Law, politics, and in the business world. What irks us is that the Women's Liberation issue is exaggerated by the Lefties, and used to radicalise women. The present spate of Women's Conferences now taking place around Australia provides a good example of that: we reported on this recently in these pages.
Mr. Hawke is, rightly enough, praising the role of women in the work force. Our comment is that this, in itself, is an effect of the present finance economic system, and that their percentage, from choice, would be vastly less. Nothing will stop the continuing technological revolution. The League of Rights foretold this as long ago as the early 1950s in a brochure it issued at the time.
Indeed, Mr. Hawke is quite correct we believe,
when he speaks of the coming of two societies: the employed and the
unemployed. He does not suggest ways of dealing with the implications
apart from summit conferences of government, employer and trade organisations
etc. What are they going to do?
BRIEF COMMENTSDr. Michael Bialoguski, former Australian secret agent who was a central figure in the Petrov affair of 1954, has said that he does not accept one piece of Professor Antony Blunt's confession. Neither do we. There are many unanswered questions to the nasty business, which we shall probably never know. He also has described the incompetence of Australia's security head personnel at the time of the Petrov affair as "frightening". We wonder if it is still frightening? We have no reason to be convinced that our security forces understand the trained Communist mind; and we think that Dr. Bialoguski is right enough when he describes the permanent armed service officers, and senior public servants - the type of men from whom very many security personnel are chosen - as "babes in the woods".
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