Anti-Shorten: The ALP is still selling bullshit

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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.

Continue reading “Anti-Shorten: The ALP is still selling bullshit”

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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 – Last Drinks in (the workers) Paradise?

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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

Ergon workers defy Qld ALP’s Debt Action Plan

bundaberg workers strike

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.

Continue reading “Ergon workers defy Qld ALP’s Debt Action Plan”

6 thoughts on facing the (possible) eve of another economic meltdown

FURY ROAD

 

Predicting the future is often a mug’s game but we can be fairly confident that 2016 we see the conditions for capitalism, both in Australia and globally, worsen. At the very least the mining boom is grinding to an end and perhaps there will be another global meltdown. What will this mean? Depending on the size of the malfunction it will (probably) mean rising poverty, homelessness, unemployment (though currently employment in Australia is surprisingly high) and general misery and declining wages, government spending (as revenues drop), wealth levels and good vibes. This will (probably) all manifest in impacts on life expectancy, mental health, identity based-conflicts, state repression, social cohesion… all this in a world already marked by war, violence, inequality, alienation and ecological disaster. A grim prospect unless we can collectively change our destiny.

Continue reading “6 thoughts on facing the (possible) eve of another economic meltdown”

#qldworkersparadise : Sunny times for the working class in Qld under Labor?

President of Queensland Council of Unions John Battams with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Labour Day
President of Queensland Council of Unions John Battams with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Labour Day

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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Last Week at the Royal Commission #turc #standwithjohn

The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption continued last week in Canberra. The media attention it has received (vastly overshadowed by the Speaker of the House saying ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ and a debate if booing an Indigenous man for displaying pride in Indigenous culture is racist or not) has focused on three related arrests. These arrests need to be separated out. Tuungafasi Manase and Fihi Kivalu have been arrested for a matter of personal criminal corruption. John Lomax on the other hand has been arrested for simply being a successful union official:

Police will allege that Lomax forced a Canberra painter to sign a union enterprise bargaining agreement in April last year.

The owner believed he would be blocked from working in the ACT and NSW if he did not sign.

It is understood police will allege the owner suffered a financial loss as a result because he had to pay his workers $26 an hour when he could have paid as low as $17. (Inman 2015)

Continue reading “Last Week at the Royal Commission #turc #standwithjohn”