Are we all Corbynistas now?

corb

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.

 

corbyn optomism

Continue reading “Are we all Corbynistas now?”

Living The Dream under The Accord

hawke

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

shorter working week
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)

Living The Dream in 2017

2017
Invasion Day 2017 – Brendon Qu

In this episode of Living The Dream  Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) go through the entrails with an inverted periscope to try to see what we should expect for 2017. We chat about Invasion Day and the rising tide of Indigenous struggles, the Centrelink debacle, anti-Road protests and more. We are pretty optimistic about the year ahead and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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Articles, people and groups we mentioned or are relevant:

Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance –WAR

Celeste Liddle

Amy McQuire

Police Clash With Flag-Burning Protesters At Invasion Day March In Sydney

White Purity

The Safety Pin and the Swastika

How the Centrelink debt debacle failure rate is much worse than we all thought

Adani coalmine activists gear up to fight: ‘This will dwarf the Franklin blockade’

‘Leave our land alone’: Queensland traditional owners vow to fight Adani’s Carmichael coalmine – video

Cottle, A. (2011), ‘The Colour-line and the Third Period: A Comparative Analysis of American and Australian Communism and the Question of Race, 1928-1934’, American Communist History, vol 10, no 2 , pp 119 – 131.

Working for the Class: The Praxis of the Wollongong Out of Workers’ Union

Anti Poverty Network SA

unite  

We play music from A.B. Original and DISPOSSESSED They are rad – support them.

Four female members of ILGWU Local 221 drinking coffee as they picket
Kheel Center Four female members of ILGWU Local 221 drinking coffee as they picket https://www.flickr.com/photos/kheelcenter/5279669440 CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

In this episode of Living The Dream, Dave (@withsobersenses ) chats with Carmen about the Workplace Organising 101 training she recently provided in Brisbane. Carmen talks about the purpose and structure of this training, its relationship to anarcho-syndicalism and reflects critically on the contribution it can play to developing our collective power and overcoming capitalism.

Organisations mentioned include:

Brisbane IWW

Freie Arbeiterinnen- und Arbeiter-Union (FAU)

Music by Dolly Parton and Marianne Faithful

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Living The Dream has an #altright time in Melbourne

altright-melbourne
#altright type displays famous political irony

In this episode of Living the Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Kieran (@Kieran Bennett) about a recent Melbourne counter-rally to a Trump celebration rally  ostensibly organised by #altright types and attended by local fascists and neo-Nazis. From here Kieran lets us know who is who in the fascist zoo in Australia, the social phenomena behind the far-right and we discuss what a relevant anti-capitalist practice might be that can defeat the fascists and offer a genuine emancipatory alternative to the issues that we all face.

Kieran blogs at Kieran’s Review and is a member (of the perhaps soon to be rebranded) Anarchist Affinity

Articles and things  we refer to include:

Angry Workers of the World

Ghassan Hage – Recalling Anti-racism

Ben Hillier –  ‘All that is holy was profaned’: the year that was, and the politics we need (Ben recommends you also read ‘Post-truth politics’ isn’t peak populism, it’s peak liberal capitalism and suggests that my read of his argument is wrong.)

Campaign Against Racism and Fascism

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Do We Need To Talk About Donald? Living the Dream on the US Election

trump-kids

In this episode of Living The Dream Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk about the US Election and the phenomenon of Donald Trump. We aren’t interest so much is speculations about what is going on in the US but rather what the different ways Trump and Clinton are talked about in Australia tells us about what is going on in Australia.

Articles we refer to include:

Debating Deplorables: How the Left Can (and Cannot) Win Trump Voters

Sympathy for the Devil?

Theses on the New European Fascism

Time to hail Hillary Clinton – and face down the testosterone left

How the working class became white

Sweet ’16: Notes on the US Election

Music from Deadmoon and the Immortal Mice Men

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#SandersofSthBrisbane ? Council elections, social movements & the #RighttotheCity

Rad Art by Anna Carlson
Rad Art by Anna Carlson

#SandersofSthBrisbane ? Council elections, social movements & #theRighttotheCity

 

In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@JonPiccini ) and Dave (@withsobersenses) chat with Anna – all-round good egg and comrade pivotal to Radio Reversal and Brisbane Free University – about the successful Brisbane City Council election campaign of Jonathan Sri , the opposition to the West Village development and the emergence of struggles around the Right to the City. What’s going on, how do all these pieces fit together and what do they tell us about struggles within-against-and-beyond capitalism for lives of dignity?

Listen here:

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Related Reading

David Harvey – The Right to The City

The Economics of West Village

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 8.58.56 PM

 

(Queensland Government 2016, 37)

 

Queensland Government. 2016. “2016-17 Queensland Budget Papers.”

 

The Institute of Public Affairs really isn’t the problem…

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Tim Wilson former IPA policy director, former Australian Human Rights Commissioner and possibly the next Member for Goldstein

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.

Continue reading “The Institute of Public Affairs really isn’t the problem…”

Living the Dream – Last Drinks in (the workers) Paradise?

qld pic
State Of Queensland (Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning)

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:

The State Infrastructure Plan

Humphrey McQueen – Queensland: a state of mind

Kathleen McLeod – “I Will Protect You With My Body” The Case For A Radical Sanctuary Movement To Protect Asylum Seekers In Australia

Andy Paine – Rewriting the political script

Chris O’Kane – State Violence, State Control: Marxist State Theory and the Critique of Political Economy

Mario Tronti – The Political (1979)

Left Flank and An Integral State

Mike Beggs – The Void Stares Back

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