Re: [-empyre-] Re: sedition and nationalism
thanks Danny ..
giving the international historical context in any discussion on the
latest Australian sedition legislation can only be useful.
The US the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed in 1798 - dangerous
aliens. Apparently these laws were similar (but not as stringent) as
laws passed at a similar time in Britain and Canada (supposedly) in
response to the threat of subversion by agents of the Revolutionary
French government - it has been argued they were actually used to
suppress the Republican Party. During the Red Scare (US) (1919-20)
the attorney general a used the Sedition Act and the Espionage Act
(1917) to launch a campaign against radicals and left-wing
organizations. Under these two laws 1500 people were arrested for
In Britain the common law offence of sedition has a notorious history
of suppressing political dissent and radical criticisms targeting the
It could be argued that laws of sedition generally, far from
preserving the tranquility of the State have the effect of inducing
discontent and insurrection and to stir up opposition to the
Government - eg Gandhi under British control
Interestingly, the last trial and acquittal of the common law offence
of sedition in Britain dated back to 1947. The last prosecution was
in 1972 but the charge withdrawn. It was seen as obsolescent - and
would inhibit free discussion of public affairs.
In 1986 sedition laws in Canada were repealed to reflect how out of
date and politicised they had become.
Not sure what the case was with Australia but it possibly followed
the UK direction.
and Australia now? is this merely a return to self protectionist
nationalism that we have seen in the past?
On 12/02/2006, at 10:24 PM, Danny Butt wrote:
If, as people working in the arts on international mailing lists,
we're talking about what it means to make work that might be termed
"seditious", then I think we need to be open to learning from all
kinds of expertise outside the particular nation-state that we
might be in. The function of sedition laws themselves is to try and
maintain a nationalist ideal of the public good that is divorced
from e.g. international human rights frameworks. The irony is that
the term sedition was not magically invented in Australia (or the
United States) but is a cultural export that exists throughout (at
least) the British Empire. So in that sense, rather than a "legal
definition of sedition in Australian law" being a pre-requisite for
the discussion, I think it's a distraction from the deeper
questions around our orientation to nationalism and creative
practice, and strategies for survival that have a lot of
similarities that we can learn from.
I cant see it, sorry? Neither of the americans have any
Australian law and I am completely disinterested in anything they
say about american sedition when there is so much to discuss about
Not relevent to this discussion. The incompetancies of the
system have no bearing on issues in Australian art practices.
So we need a legal definition of "sedition" as defined in
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