Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kanabia and Eureka













Everything in the world is on the internet, plus a little more, like the official home of the 'massive, socially progressive nation of Kanabia', whose nerdy creator has nicked the flag of Australia's Eureka rebellion and painted it red, black, and gold, to represent 'libertarian communism'.

The Eureka rebellion occurred in 1854, and might be considered Australia's equivalent of the conflicts created by the Chartist movement in Britain. Miners demanding universal suffrage built a stockade in Ballarat, a town in central Victoria, and took on the army. They came off second best, but are remembered as heroes today by the left, the trade union movement and, unfortunately, the far right, which is happy to present them as simple-minded 'Aussie patriots' who would enjoy kicking some wog arse on Cronulla's golden sands. The government has gotten in on the act and poured money into a Eureka Museum in Ballarat. A cousin of mine works there and he sent me a Eureka flag; I was going to bring it to a May Day demo in Auckland, until friends began asking 'Why have you got that dodgy flag in your room?' They recognised it from Romper Stomper, the film where a young and skinny Russell Crowe puts in an all-too-convincing performance as the leader of a gang of skinheads.

Perhaps one of the reasons the flag looks a little odd to some on the Kiwi left, who don't know the story of Eureka, is the way that it uses blue and white, traditionally colours of the right. The flag of Kanabia is more politically correct, I suppose, but the aesthete in me can't help admiring the beautiful simplicity of the original Eureka flag, Tory colours notwithstanding. It makes every other southern cross-based flag look pretty ordinary.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Martin said...

Lol, Kanabia's a nerd.

1:27 am  
Blogger Mark K said...

Kanabia's flag looks to these Australian eyes like an Aboriginal version of the Eureka flag – not something I find entirely happy. Why yellow anyway? Is that for the petty bourgeois element in anarchism?

And what is with the far right's use of the flag? I literally don't understand it. Non-British Australian white nationalism? Guess it's important not to take sides between the Irish and the Brits for a lot of 'true blue' nuckledraggers. Considering 99% of the Eureka miners were immigrants and at least one of them was black, I wish they'd fuck off and stick to their celtic crosses and, of course, union flags.

2:33 pm  

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