On the 7th of April Elizabeth Farrelly (2016), writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, launched a stinging attack on the right-wing think tank the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA). Judging from the response on social media her column has been well-received by much of the Left: from left-liberals and social democrats to anti-capitalists. However whilst I have no sympathy for the IPA the argument that Farrelly makes is both deeply wrong and also a fine example of the common-sense of the Australian Left: that the state we are in is due to the nefarious influence of bad people and bad ideas.
In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk about the meltdown of politics in Queensland and the failure of the ALP government to carry out a coherent plan to address the decline in capital accumulation and facilitate social reproduction. Rob Pyne resigning from Labor(#corbynofcairns ?), candidates sending dicks pics and the shared anti-political language of both sides of the referendum campaign show a political class in freefall and deeply out of touch with the concerns of everyday people.
Should we care? Or just point and laugh? What is the relationship of the political to capitalism on a whole and to our struggle against it? How much of this is this a broader and global phenomenon and what can it tell us about life in Queensland?
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Articles we refer to include:
Humphrey McQueen – Queensland: a state of mind
Andy Paine – Rewriting the political script
Mario Tronti – The Political (1979)
Mike Beggs – The Void Stares Back
On the 20th January workers at Ergon Bundaberg Depot walked off their jobs in protest at proposed plans to cut positions and increase outsourcing. This followed a similar action in Atherton the previous Friday. Whilst this industrial action has received little news coverage it is of incredible importance. It is the articulation of a group of workers’ collective self-interest in a way that actually points to the deep flaws in the ALP state government’s attempt to manage the challenge of funding social reproduction and honouring the state’s debts (in the context of the end of the mining boom which is a symptom of the Global Recession). What this struggle shows us is that under the layers of mystification debt is ultimately about class struggles: debt hinges on the struggle between the ability of capital to secure the future of its profits via the imposition of work and discipline today and our collective ability to refuse it and assert our dignity and desires.
In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) and Rob talk about how the provision of welfare and social services are changing. We chat about the concept of social reproduction, the welfare state and its evolution and critically investigate new developments. As the mining boom ends, the world teeters on a the edge of another economic meltdown and states struggle with increasing amounts of debt we ask what’s going on with welfare and how can we struggle on this terrain in ways that point to a better life and a better society.
Material referred to includes:
Back ground on Debt and Social Reproduction can be found at Australia you’re standing in it part 2: Debt & Social Reproduction
An earlier show on the struggle of No Shelter! A Collective Against Gendered Violence can be found here
For an inspiring historical of the unemployed struggling over the conditions of welfare see The WOW factor: Wollongong’s unemployed and the dispossession of class and history
On this show (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk about what is going on in Queensland under the ALP. We look at the attempt to fund social reproduction and stimulate capital accumulation in the conditions of the end of the mining boom whilst trying to manufacture social peace.
Special attention is given to the Advance Queensland initiative.
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OXI! Fantastic! But what now? As always we must start from the position that it is impossible to really know from afar what is going on – especially on the ground where it really matters. It is ridonculous to give advice [edit: sectarian comment removed] . Kevin Ovenden’s journalism both at Left Flank and on Facebook has been invaluable. He is our John Reed. Still we are compelled to try to think on the run and to try to work out what this moment is teaching us about our world so we can improve our efforts to transform it. So here are some hypotheses arising from my observations at a distance of the struggle in Greece. They are for discussion and debate. Continue reading “#oxi2015 5 hypotheses arising from the struggle in Greece”
At this moment it certainly appears, it certainly feels, that everything hangs on what happens in Greece. But it is almost impossible to tell from this distance what is actually going on. Those of us who have never been to Greece, who can’t speak Greek don’t have a clue. Even those of us who are reading obsessively are seeing some things but we are missing most things. The fractured nature of the Left (for a lack of a better term) means that there is a tendency to try to seek out those in Greece who fit with our already existing ideological proclivities and amplify what they say. There is also the constant problem, one I don’t think I can escape, that our already existing biases means that we see what we want to see and learn lessons that we already know. And nothing is more foolish or full of hubris than those non-Greek Left organisations issuing statements, judgements and handing down the correct line from a distance – especially because these groups often have no to marginal influence in the places they actually exist.
But that all said something is happening and it behoves us to look at the struggle as it unfolds in all its complexity and see if there are lessons to be learnt.