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 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 against anti-Chinese Racism

In this episode, Jon (@JonPiccini) has a long delayed conversation with Shan Windscript (@ShanWindy), Phd student at University of Melbourne and organiser, who has played key roles in the fight for casual workers in the tertiary sector and the rights of international students. We talk about how the Coronavirus has served to weaponise long standing fears about China in Australia, how supporting movements for change in Hong Kong is not incompatible with working for political and economic rights on the mainland, and how Shan’s research on the inner lives of everyday activists in Maoist China undermines attempts to present the present CCP regime as omnipotent.

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Shan’s writing includes

Can Chinese Students Abroad Speak? Asserting Political Agency amid Australian Nationalist Anxiety

How to Write a Diary in Mao’s New China: Guidebooks in the Crafting of Socialist Subjectivities

Music by RE-Tros

Living The Dream with a Green New Deal

In this episode of Living The Dream Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) catch up with Tash Heenan (@tashellenheenan) and Jeremy Poxon (@JeremyPoxon) to discuss the Green New Deal. Jon, Tash and Jeremy are partisans of the Green New Deal, seeing it as a way of addressing immediate concerns and opening pathways to more radical transformations whilst Dave remains something of a half-reformed ultra-left curmudgeon who can do nothing more than yell ‘but the value-form’ at worried passer-bys.

We chat about what a Green New Deal may or may not be, if it is an attempt to save or destroy capitalism, its relationship or not with creating communism, the hard limits the environmental crisis imposes, the disappearance of the commons as a concept, and a whole lot more.

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Writings we reference include:

Australia Needs A Green New Deal, Not More Centrism

We need a Blak New Deal to fight the climate crisis

A Red Deal

Three Ways a Green New Deal Can Promote Life Over Capital

Responsible minerals sourcing for renewable energy

Trade Unions for Energy Democracy

Between the Devil and the Green New Deal

Music by Meatraffle

Living the Dream with ScoMo

Now that the hot-takes have gone cold and are stale as bricks @JonPiccini and @withsobersenses take out their artisanal slow-cooker take on the recent Australian Federal election. Why did we get it so wrong? Why did #changetherules suck? What will a Morrison Coalition government look like and what does it mean for our strategy?

CW: This show contains a discussion of misogyny and domestic violence.

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Stuff we mention includes:

Elizabeth Humphrys – We Live in Anti-Political Times

Amy Thomas – Federal election 2019: What the hell just happened? Five arguments

Jeremy Poxon, Tash Heenan & Jon Piccini – Australia Needs A Green New Deal, Not More Centrism

Music by Class War

Living The Dream during #Ausvotes2019

[Edit – the audio file was replaces at 4pm 15/5/2019]

In this episode Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) try to work out if we have anything useful to say about an election that is all hype but actually a snoozefest. What does it tell us about the state of Australian society, what can anticapitalists draw from it? Are we about the #Changetherules or will Clive Palmer be leading us into a Kangaroo Reich? What happens the morning after?

We also address some criticisms we have received and try to muddle through some blindspots in our thinking.

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Stuff we mention includes:

Whiteness and Class Struggle

Anti-politics and how to watch election night

Fully Automated Luxury Communism? | Ash Sarkar meets Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi

Whiteness Again

Sojourner Truth Organisation: Understanding and Fighting White Supremacy

Floodcast 10 Petition Me Daddy

Living The Dream reads On Fairness by Sally McManus

In this episode Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) review ACTU Secretary Sally McManus’ book On Fairness.We try to dig in to how McManus fails to understand the actual dynamics of capitalism – rather blaming bad people and bad ideas for the problems we face. This means the book points us in the wrong direction. Rather we need to address the core dynamics in our society if we want to fight exploitation and oppression today and struggle for and create a society where we can live lives worth living.

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You can find Jon’s article on Labor, Trade Unions and the White Australia Policy here:

            A White Working Man’s Country

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