Are we all Corbynistas now?

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Everyone is very excited about Jeremy Corbyn losing the election (except perhaps Van Badham). Since it was expected by the great and good that he would be crushed by the Tories the momentum of the campaign and the impressive increase in Labour’s vote share and seats won have thrown more disorder into a world political situation already rich with it. Like many I have been enjoying the schadenfreude of it all as all the morons who would pretend to rule us are shown to be the morons they are.

But more than this there is a real excitement about the result. I saw on Facebook that Craig posted a particularly apt quote from the end Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism:

The very oppressive pervasiveness of capitalist realism means that even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again. (Fisher 2009, 80-81)

Not losing as badly as we were told Labour would lose seems almost like a victory. Certainly, it has thrown the May government into crisis. When you have been down this long…

But what does it all mean? I’ve got no special insight into Corbyn or his campaign. Rather I want to take the opportunity to place in one spot my thoughts on the febrile debate that is going on amongst friends and comrades in Australia: does Corybn’s ‘success’ mean that a similar electoral strategy based around a revived social democratic program is a promising path for anticapitalists? I want to respond in a way to that doesn’t see us all collapsing into either some opportunistic and doomed electoral project nor some ‘sub-Debordian’ (to quote James Butler) rigid denunciation that forecloses the possibility of something novel happening. This has been promoted by a number of discussions with comrades such as with Karen (who is in Socialist Alliance) and with Tadeusz Tietze (whose work on anti-politics with Liz Humphrys(2013, 2015) has been influential on me). (Note: I do not engage with their arguments directly nor obliquely here and what I have written should not be seen as a specific critique of their positions – it is a clarification of my own thinking). I also want to take account of how developments in Brisbane have shifted my view.

 

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Continue reading “Are we all Corbynistas now?”

Living The Dream under The Accord

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In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) are joined by Liz Humphrys (@liz_beths) who torpedos the hagiography of the ALP Hawke-Keating government. Whilst the talking heads of the ALP like Van Badham and Wayne Swan argue over if the Hawke-Keating government was mainly excellent with a few flaws or really excellent with none, Liz’s ground breaking work on the Accord shows how the latter was the central plank of the implementation of neo-liberalism in Australia and the method of delivering an epoch defining defeat to the working class and the decomposition of our power. Not one for pointless pessimism Liz also gives us some key insights from this history that can help us recompose a viable anticapitalist project today.

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Liz’s work can be found at:

An Integral State

 Left Flank

How Labour Made Neoliberalism (with Damien Cahill)

 

And we take umbrage at these confused musings of and about Australian Laborism:

Australian Labor led centre-left parties into neoliberalism. Can they lead it out?

Labour has a chance if it replaces Corbyn. Look at Australia in 1983

The Hawke-Keating agenda was Laborism, not neoliberalism, and is still a guiding light

 

For those interested in the subject matter of this podcast the Brisbane Labour History Association is presenting the Alex Macdonald lecture: Labor, labour and Australia in the 1980s feature historian Frank Bongiorno 7th June 5.30 for 6.00pm at the QCU Building, 16 Peel St,, South Brisbane.

This podcast contains music from Painters and Dockers that encapsulates the feel of Australia in the 1980s

Living The Dream in the Trade Union Movement

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May Day in Wollongong circa 2000 photo by Sharon Pusell

In this episode of Living the Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Godfrey Moase (@gemoase) the General Branch Assistant Secretary of the National Union of Workers. Godfrey had a number of criticisms of our last show . We talk about these and Godfrey also addresses the broader strategic and tactical possibilities for anticapitalist struggle and how they relate to trade unions.

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You can find some of Godfrey’s writings here:

Other things we mention include:

Music by The Sweatshop Union

(This podcast was recorded as ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie drenched Queensland)

MUA occupies Rio Tinto: lessons in our #righttothecity

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Credit: Queensland Unions

Anni and I were walking down Albert St after having lunch and talking shit and we ran straight into a foyer occupation by the Maritime Union of Australia. There were about 50 members there, and some others from the CFMEU and the ASU – I don’t know if the latter were officials or not but the bulk of the MUA were members. The occupation was a protest against Rio Tinto (whose office is in the building) crewing ships in Australian waters with non-Australian crews paid with lower wages than they would have to pay locals.[i]  As we got there the cops were assembling and were threatening to arrest people if they didn’t leave. The threat was that they would be locked in, arrested and charged with trespass. The crowd were standing tall and answering back to the cops – who were obviously flustered and made a few not so vailed threats ( ‘you will be arrested and I hope we can keep it all non-violent’.)

Continue reading “MUA occupies Rio Tinto: lessons in our #righttothecity”

Living The Dream after your #penaltyrates got cut

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In this episode Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk about the recent cuts to penalty rates by the Fair Work Commission . We dismiss the idea that this attack is actual just a product of ‘the Right’; rather it is a continuation of the 100+ year tradition of arbitration supported by the ALP and the mainstream of the ACTU in the context of the real contradictions of capital accumulation. We discuss the movement against penalty rate cut as well as the Big Steps walk off of early childcare educators and the challenges the class faces to recomposing our power and secure emancipation.

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Stuff we mention includes:

Mazel Tov Cocktail podcast

Fair Work Commission 4 yearly review of modern awards – Penalty Rates

Elizabeth Humphrys, ‘Australia Under The Accord (1983-1996)’

A Fiery Defence Of Sally McManus: Thank Civil Disobedience For The Gains Of Today

The problem with ‘Join your union’

In Defense Of The “Apex Gang”

Insights into Low Wage Growth in Australia

Top industrial judge resigns in disgust over ‘biased’ system
Music by Barrett Strong

Living the Dream whilst fighting for your #righttothecity

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Protest at West Village Picture: Jack Tran

In a special episode of Living The Dream, Max and Natalie (@DrNatOsborne) join Jon (@JonPiccini) to discuss radical happenings in Brisbane of late. We talk about the election of Jonathon Sri in the Brisbane City Council elections of last year, why Brisbane is experiencing such a strong wave of ‘right to the city’ activism and how these two interconnect. Musings on the interconnections between social movements and elections, the global and the local and culture and politics abound.

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South Brisbane Greens – https://www.facebook.com/SouthBrisbaneGreens/
Right to the City Brisbane – https://www.facebook.com/righttothecitybrisbane/
tactical urbanism – http://tacticalurbanismguide.com/
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance – https://www.facebook.com/WARcollective/
Jonathon Sri, Councillor for the Gabba – https://www.facebook.com/jonno.sri/
Henri Lefebvre – https://chisineu.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/lefebvre-henri-writings-on-cities.pdf

Music by the Mouldy Lovers – which was the painfully obvious choice.

#WTF2016 ? Living The Dream takes the down bound Trump Train out of here

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In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk about the weird as hell political environment of the Age of Trump. Was 2016 the worst year ever? Are we caught in the midst of a rising reactionary wave? And why do the failures of the liberal establishment feel to so many people to be failures of the Left? (And what is the Left? Are we the Left?) What’s with the amateur sociology about voting demographics that is everywhere now? Do we really have to choose between identity politics and Left economic populism? Where can we draw hope from and what about the historical experience of working class anti-racism? All this and more!

Articles/organisations we refer to include:

Behind the News with Doug Henwood

Hard Crackers  From A Small New England Town As Told To Noel Ignatiev

The Weimar Analogy

KING: There’s a huge education level drop-off with the Trump cabinet picks

Tsiolkas – The Second Coming The Politics Of Rage Won’t Let Us Listen To One Another

Many in Milwaukee Neighborhood Didn’t Vote — and Don’t Regret It

It Was My Primal Scream

Revolutionary Hillbilly: An Interview With Hy Thurman of the Young Patriots Organization

Ghassan Hage – Recalling anti-racism

Knives out for Hanson staffer Ashby, accused of profiting off candidates

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The great student swindle: how young people are being ripped off

Music by Sharon Jones and Dap-kings and Joe Pug

And watch this footage of this amazing  meeting between the Black Panthers and the Young Patriots.

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