‘We can’t go any further’: exhaustion, refusal, and a careful strike

GONG COMMUNE

A short report on a recent nurses and midwives strike, based on interviews with striking workers by a Gong Commune member, written on Feb 15, 2022.

On February 15, nurses and midwives across New South Wales went on strike. The strike had 3 demands:

“- Immediately implement our shift-by-shift nursing and midwifery staffing claims for safe patient care
– Immediately commit to a fair pay rise above 2.5% and introduce a COVID-19 allowance.
– Withdraw the amendment to the Workers’ Compensation Act that would force workers to prove they contracted COVID-19 at work.”

Late on the eve of the strike, the Industrial Relations Commission had ordered the strike be called off after the state government had taken the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association to the commission. The order was defied and the strike went ahead across the state. Thousands of strikers and supporters turned out in Sydney at NSW Parliament…

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Living The Dream Whilst Leaving 2021

Recorded just before Xmas in this episode Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk about 2021. Unsurprisingly we talk a lot about the global pandemic and the attempts to manage it. We discuss the continual rise of an insurgent Right that seems to have become the pole for much of social rebellion at the same time large sections of the Left have further invested in fantasies of the state, the current condition of global capitalism beset by a logistics crisis, labour insubordinations and inflation and more!

Stuff we mention include

Conspiracy and Social Struggle – Wu Ming

The Specific Character of Today’s Crisis – Sergio Bologna

Immunodemocracy

Dear Agamben, I write to you – Donatella Di Cesare  

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Living the Dream with Anarchy and its Allies

In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with two anarchist comrades Tommy (@correnterosso ) and Charlie about Tommy’s recent article Anarchy and Its Allies: The United Front and the Groupings of Tendency and the related rise in anarcho-communist organisations in Australia.  We chat about how anarchism is developing and the current appeal of Platformism and Especifismo . Topics of discussion include the role a theoretical framework plays and where it comes from, class composition and the history of organisations, and the relationship of revolutionaries to class struggle.

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A key text mentioned is Social Anarchism and Organisation

Tommy is a member of Geelong Anarcho-Communists and says sorry for how they pronounced the group TMA

Charlie is a member of Black Flag Sydney

They recommend reading Red and Black Notes

You used to be able to find the archives of the Mutiny Zine at Jura but their website is having issues.

Music by Ernst Busch

Living The Dream After White Australia Ep3: White Nation

In this episode Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) continue their discussion about race, whiteness and Australia. This time they are reading Ghassan Hage’s classic of ‘90s Theory’ White Nation . We talk through his ideas about Whiteness, White Nationalism and fantasy, his critique of tolerance and multiculturalism and try to work out what these ideas give us and also what they miss. How does Hage’s work reflect the changes in Australian society, its internal conflicts and the ruptures and continuations in radical ideas?

We finish this episode with Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face – picked as an example of a particular kind of humour produced by 70s/80s multiculturalism. Since then we have discovered that Joe Dolce, a self-declared Leftist, has moved over to writing for Quadrant, largely it seems due as a reaction to cultural debates. So there you go.

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Living The Dream After White Australia Ep2: A New Britannia

In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) and Jon (@JonPiccini) discuss Humphrey McQueen’s A New Britannia. This is the first of three books we are reading as part of a series on race and capitalism in Australia,

We try to come to grips with his argument and its explanation of racism as arising from the specifics of class formation in Australia, how it challenged established Leftwing thought and its implications for today.

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We reference

Two Radical Legends: Russel Ward, Humphrey McQueen and the New Left Challenge in Australian Historiography

Music by Redgum

Living The Dream After White Australia Part 1

This is part 1 of our new reading series on race in Australia and the struggle against it. Over the next 3 or so months Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) will be reading A New Britannia by Humphrey McQueen, White Nation by Ghassan Hage and The White Possessive by Aileen Moreton-Robinson.  In this episode we set out why we are doing this, our thinking at this point in time and briefly discuss what the White Australia Policy was and wasn’t and the whys and whynots.

We encourage all our listeners to read with us and join us in the discussion.

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Correction: I mention Nelson Peery as being a member of DRUM/League of Revolutionary Black Workers. He wasn’t. You can find an interview with him about his life and works here

As for DRUM and the League you can find an interview with Darryl ‘Waistline’ Mitchell and Donald Abdul Roberts here

You should read Hard Crackers and its recent offshoot (split?) Gasoline and Grits too

Insurgent Notes has a special issue dedicate to the life and works of Noel Ignatiev

Music by Wyatt Waddell

Living The Dream with Full Employment

In this episode Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) have a chat with Anthony O’Donnell (@AnthonyODonne13), a Senior Lecturer from La Trobe and author of ‘Inventing Unemployment: Regulating Joblessness in Twentieth-Century Australia’. Anthony shows us how the category of Full Employment was invented and why and undermines the claim that the low levels of post-War unemployment were due to the magic powers of a white paper written under the Chifley Government rather than, say, the general dynamics of the boom. At the time it was low levels of unemployment that presented an issue for capitalism and the groundwork of the punitive regime the poor are subjected to today was developed then. Great stuff.

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Living The Dream with a Climate Emergency, COVID-19 and The Australian State

Cartoon by Alan Hardman

In this episode of Living The Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) talks with Anna Sturman (@anna_sturman) author of ‘Climate Emergency’, COVID-19 and the Australian capitalist state . Anna draws on the work of Nicos Poulantzas to present an understanding of the state, a diagnosis of the contemporary conjuncture of Australian capitalism and suggest ways that we can struggle for dignity and lives worth living.  We talk through the possibilities of the present, the opportunities for creating and using power and cut the Gordian Knot of  the great debate of 2019 – Jobs Guarantee or Universal Basic Income.

Music by Chumbawamba

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Living The Dream with a Workers’ Plan To Survive Covid-19 Crisis

In this episode of Living The Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Godfrey Moase (@gemoase) a director of the United Workers Union.

The UWU, a recent a fusion of the National Union of Workers and United Voice, has been receiving a lot of attention due to the industrial actions of its members, its claims to be revitalising internal democracy and its Workers’ Plan To Survive Covid-19 Crisis : a broad vision to address the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in a way that points beyond capitalism.

Here Godfrey explains the strategy and organisational direction of the UWU, gives a critique of the #changetherules defeat and presents what he thinks is a viable way forward to accumulate class power.

This interview with Tim Kennedy the National Secretary of the UWU in Jacobin is very useful: “We Can Use This Crisis to Reconceptualize the Economy” .

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Music by Meatraffle

Living The Dream in the time of COVID-19

If the unemployed are dole bludgers, what the fuck are the idle rich? -Redback Graphix remixed by Wendy Murray

In this episode of Living The Dream Dave @withsobersenses talks about the questions that COVID-19 is forcing us to confront – and then goes on to do an analysis of a report from Macquarie Wealth Management stating conventional capitalism is dying and finishes by looking at the latest developments in the provision of stimulus from the RBA and the Federal Government.

After recording this episode I found out that the story about dolphins in Venice wasn’t true. Bum.

Articles mentioned include:

The Age of Mass Protests: Understanding an Escalating Global Trend

Conventional capitalism is dying: Macquarie warns

Music by Cable Ties

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