It has been twenty years since the Wharf Dispute between Patrick Stevedores and the Coalition Government on one side and the Maritime Union of Australia, the Trade Unions and supporters on the other. This was the last set piece national confrontation between Capital and Labour over a specific industrial dispute to happen in Australia. In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Nick Southall about the Maritime Defence Committee. The latter was formed by comrades outside of the industry to provide meaningful support for the struggle. What happened during the dispute and are there implications for class struggle today?
In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) grabs a recorder and heads to the Labour Day rally. He interviews friends and comrades about the rally, what they think the impact of #ChangeTheRules has been, and if there is any opportunity to broaden and open up struggle? Due to a moments hestitation he didn’t try to interview Sally McManus as she walked past.
— Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy Union (@CFMEU) March 9, 2018
In this episode of Living The Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) tries to start an analysis of the Trump administration’s trade and tariff policy. Why has the Australian Left been so paralysed over this question? What sense can we make of it? How do we understand the policies of the state in the broader dynamics of world capitalism?
In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Vanamali Hermans (@VChristabel) about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Whilst billed as ‘the most significant economic and social reform since the introduction of Medicare in the 1970s’ Vanamali shows how the NDIS often means the reduction in services for those with disabilities and bureaucratic hellishness. We discuss why this is so, the compounding issue of inequality in regional health delivery and the struggles and strategies both developing and possible. This is the first of possibly a few episodes on the NDIS.
Due to incurable idiocy Dave’s levels are still too low. (Sorry)
Bill Shorten, the leader of the ALP opposition, strode the stages of the National Press Club and delivered a speech that The Australian described as ‘Corybn-like’ and a ‘populist pitch to low-income earners, unionists and left-wing voters’ (Brown, Chambers, and Additional reporting: Sarah Jane-Tasker 2018). But before we break out the red flags and rally around Comrade Bill we should pause and stop: for the content of Shorten’s speech was actually terrible, a continuation of the ALP tradition of class appeasement and compromise and wrapped in mystifications about the nature of capitalism, wages and class. It was the exact opposite of the approach that we need.
Those of us who want to overcome capitalism aren’t in competition with the ALP. The ALP is just another faction for capital in the political apparatus: it is one of our enemies. Our project and theirs are radically different. However, the ALP has a long history of sowing mystifications – that is reinforcing the ideology that strengthens capitalism. This is part of its historic role of acting to integrate the working class within capitalism.[i] These mystifications have two key claims:
That the ALP and elections can address the major sources of misery for the majority of people
That the causes of our misery are from errors or problems that can be solved within the boundaries of the capitalist mode of production.
Rather than being swept up in the appearance of some kind of radicalism or broadly pro-worker rhetoric it is necessary to be razor-sharp and expose all that is wrong with the approach of the ALP. As Humphrey McQueen has written the ALP is ‘fog-bound within capitalism’ (1977, 345). The point of critiquing the ideas of the ALP is not to change their minds but rather to help dispel the fog of illusions that threaten to cloud ours.
In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk with Tad Tietze (@Dr_Tad) about the idea of antipolitics he developed with Elizabeth Humphrys(@liz_beths). We talk about what politics is and how it relates to capitalism and the state. Tad argues that politics is increasingly detached from society and what this means and how communism as ‘the real movement’ can and should related to politics. Tad argues that this analysis has serious and devastating implications for what we call The Left and Activism. We debate if there is any role, before the emergence of social movements, for the agency of anticapitalists.
Welcome to 2018! In this episode Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) look into the swirling mists of the crystal ball of class struggle and try to work out what’s going on in 2018 and what happened in 2017. It’s a wide ranging chat about race, class, Invasion Day, strikes that didn’t happen and plebiscites. Will the experiments in radical social democracy continue to gain traction? What’s #changetherules all about? What plans do thinkers for capital have if any at all? Is capital accumulation chugging along nicely or is a debt fuelled financial crisis about to explode? What about bananacoin? All this and more!