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 disloyalty.
In Britain the common law offence of sedition has a notorious history of suppressing political dissent and radical criticisms targeting the government.
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 The last prosecution was in 1972 but the charge withdrawn.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In 1986 sedition laws in Canada were repealed to reflect how out of date and politicised they had become.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?

Gianni Wise

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.

-- wrote:

I cant see it, sorry? Neither of the americans have any background in
Australian law and I am completely disinterested in anything they have to
say about american sedition when there is so much to discuss about

Not relevent to this discussion. The incompetancies of the american legal
system have no bearing on issues in Australian art practices.

So we need a legal definition of "sedition" as defined in Australian law,
dont we?
empyre forum

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