The cardboard effigy of Major Genral Michael Krause awaits combustion
at the Eureka Memorial in Ballarat 3 December 2012

Eureka Anarchy triumphs in Ballarat

Report of the commemoration of the 158th anniversary
of the Eureka rebellion, 3 December 2012

In the lantern light and under Eureka Stockade cenotaph, the cardboard effigy of Major General Michael Krause AM, door opener to the US Marines in Darwin, looked eerie and glum as if it was already a hungry ghost but still surprised by his sudden damnation.

"Inter-operative traitor", the text proclaimed to the darkness.

Now dawn is lightening the sky and the burning time had come. Radical burnings are key to the story of the Eureka rebellion of 1854 and fire would have its role this dawn.

I gather the crowd and introduce the subject. General Krause may be famous in military circles for his stellar career in Afghanistan, but outside of Darwin where he has been visible and vocal in association with his ushering in the US Marines to set up at Robertson Barracks, he might as well be a Martian.

"He is," i explain, "the very model of a modern major general. One whose work and career is so bound up in service with and for the US military that he can no longer distinguish between Australian national interest and the interest the of US empire.

"Bottom line for a national army is that it defends the nation from the invasion of foreign armies," i say.

"But Krause has done the contrary. He has eased the way for the occupation of Darwin by the US Marines. When they flew in armed to Darwin airport on 4 April 2012 and he was there in his emu feathered, Light Horse hat and 1st Brigade insignia, to shake their hands in welcome."

With tight control and management of both the media and the Marines, Krause has been able to slip the first rotation through without much notice. Thin edge of the wedge. 200 this year, 2500 within two years and more expected, maybe 7,500 within 10 years. No democratic process. Indefinite occupation. Invasion by stealth and deceit.

MajGen Krause smiles for media on departure of first rotation of US Marines 20 Sep 2012

We are gathered to bear witness to the deeper truth: that this is the biggest betrayal of the Australian defence since the 8th Division was hijacked by Churchill while on its way back from north Africa to defend Australia in 1941, to go defend and be captured in the fall of Singapore.

I speak with passion, gesturing and striding in the shadows, a cross between a crazy desert prophet and a vengeful wraith.

"May he be ashamed!

"Let the ancestor spirits, protectors of Australian rights and liberties hear our call.

"May Krause's name become infamy.

"May any sense of pride in his army career turn to ashes.

"And may toxic doubt undo his sleep forever."

With that i pour some metho into the base of the effigy, light it up from the rear and go kneel in front, camera in hand. In this ritual, the recorded image is all.

The cardboard hungry flames quickly blaze up in the front of the effigy. Too quickly for my camera which jams on some bum setting that i can't see in the dark. When i look up again Krause's face is a mask of all flame.

In less than a minute it is over. The emu feathered unslouched hat, which had taken me so long to fashion in cardboard, tumbles to the ground as a ball of fire.

Knocking off toff hats was a popular 18th century gesture of defiance to the arrogant, i recall. Like throwing down a gauntlet but more cheeky. I wonder what response will come, what the karma, just and sure, of this deed.

"No more US bases; no more US wars." i say by way of closure, waving a two finger peace sign to the audience.

"Hear, hear!" comes the response from the crowd.

As we move back to our circle to complete our dawn introductions, some are moved to thank me for my performance. But most are quiet, perhaps awe struck by the spectacle and my crazy passion.

Graeme Dunstan
10 December 2012

Krause effigy burns. photo Takver


Takver's Eureka158 Flickr pix

Eureka158 media

Index of past Eureka commemorations

Past campaigns of

Doing best we can.
For peace! For justice! For the Earth!

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