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

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#OMG20WTF A song and a quote the night before the Peoples’ March

Meaningful action, for revolutionaries, is whatever increases the confidence, the autonomy, the initiative, the participation, the solidarity, the equalitarian tendencies and the self -activity of the masses and whatever assists in their demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the masses, their apathy, their cynicism, their differentiation through hierarchy, their alienation, their reliance on others to do things for them and the degree to which they can therefore be manipulated by others – even by those allegedly acting on their behalf.

Solidarity.  As We See It  [cited 14 November 2014]. Available from https://libcom.org/library/as-we-see-it-solidarity-group.

Is the G20 the Austerity Summit? No actually…..

austerity

Is the G20 the Austerity Summit? No actually…..

Recently the following press release was put out by the BrisCAN (BrisCAN being one of the spaces organising against the G20). This press release framed the problems of the G20 as follows:

“G20 is austerity summit” claims protest organiser

BrisCAN spokesperson, Adrian Skerritt said: “The G20 meeting will disrupt the lives of Brisbane residents from November 8 to November 16. But it won’t end there. G20 policies will continue to disrupt our lives long after the meeting is over.”

The G20 forum is committed to shifting wealth from the majority of citizens to the incredibly rich. They will do globally what Newman and Abbott are doing locally – sell public assets, outsource and cuts to social services.”

“The G20 is the Austerity Summit” claimed Mr Skerritt.

“What they can’t achieve through their budgets and trade deals they will attempt to resolve through war. Look at Obama and Abbott’s new war in Iraq and Putin’s use of military force in the Ukraine.”

The rally and march on November 15 will condemn G20 policies that create poverty and inequality. The march will also champion the values that should drive economic and political decisions – justice, sustainability, indigenous sovereignty and democracy.

“BrisCAN is demanding a world with an economy that works for people and the planet, a world safe from the ravages of climate change and war, a world with good jobs, clean air and water and healthy communities” said Mr Skerritt.

The rally will assemble at 11am November 15 2014 at Emma Miller Place (Roma St) and subsequently march past the G20 summit to Musgrave Park.

What’s wrong with this? Two problems:

  1. Austerity is no longer the central plank of the strategy of multilateral organisations like the G20.
  2. It is wrong to conceive of the G20 as some nefarious exterior force set to fuck up our lives. Rather the G20 attempts to coordinate capital accumulation on a global level; the social relations of capitalist society already constitute our lives.[i]

Continue reading “Is the G20 the Austerity Summit? No actually…..”

‘Addressing these challenges requires ambition’: The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting

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…money only has one face, that of the boss.

                                                                        (Negri, 1991, p. 23)

Over the last few days a number of important meetings of the G20 have been held in Sydney. The main meetings have been the Finance and Central Bank Deputies meeting #2 (20th to 22nd February) and the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting (22nd to 23 Feb) but there has also been a joint round table between the B20( the Business 20) and G20 on Infrastructure and the launch of an OECD report Going for Growth as well as we can assume countless photo-ops, corridor conversations and long lunches – noticeably Christine Lagarde from the IMF is in town. All this should emphasize to us how the Leaders Forum is only one element in what seems to be a now year round series of events, meetings and discussion that work to constitute the G20 as the permanent and preeminent executive body of global capitalism.

Continue reading “‘Addressing these challenges requires ambition’: The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting”

Endlessly as Farce: The Media, G20 and Bullshit.

‘G20 Call to Arms: Anarchist mob’s plan for violent summit mayhem’ proclaims the headline of the Courier-Mail. Hello what’s this then? What it is is incredibly shit journalism. The report by Robyn Ironside and Thomas Chamberlin details a plan by the ‘Black Rose Syndicate’ to cause ‘chaos and mayhem’ at the 2014 G20 meeting and then a warning/ denunciation of this same syndicate as ‘a splinter group of activists “sinister with outside influence’(2013, p. 4)! How thrilling!  However the journalists only cited evidence is a Facebook post, whilst the warning about the Black Rose Syndicate seems to be an obvious piss-take. Its signed by the ‘Democratic Socialist Club of Sydney University…who I am pretty sure don’t exist. If anything the name is a reference to the Democratic Socialist Party who dissolved themselves in the Socialist Alliance but who always organized their on campus clubs under the name ‘Resistance’. This warning seems to be an attempt to send up through imitation some of the responses by socialist groups to the protests in 2006 around the G20 in Melbourne. Not only that it was posted on Indymedia on the 16th May 2013! If you go further and read the comments what do you find? Well in one comment a poster called BlackRoseSyndicate does make that comment that ‘we will be there at Brisbane for the G20 creating CAOS and Mayhem’. Hang on, that’s the very claim that has taken up the front page of the CM! Strewth (!) could the entire article be based on a six-month old post on the internet!

Next headline: Courier-Mail in beat-up bullshit story shocker!

 

Whilst this seems all very funny there is a very serious side to it.  Liberal democracies like to think of the media as some form of neutral Fourth Estate that works to ensure democratic debate and accountability. Here we see the media with its pants down – as an ‘Ideological State Apparatus’(Althusser, 2008) a form of machinery that whilst is separate from the state works to reinforce the broader ideas of the capitalist normality. This has important and perhaps dangerous effects.

We can except in the lead up to the actual G20 meeting more stories of this type. Whatever the actual motivations of the journalists we can assume the impact that they will have. Such stories work to intimidate the population and divide organizers and militants. The G20(Safety and Security) Bill 2013 gives the police extensive powers to arrest protesters and break up demonstrations. Under this legislation a protest is only a lawful assembly if  (amongst other reasons) ‘an offence is not committed under this Act by at least 2 persons who are acting in concert and participating in the assembly…a violent disruption offence is not committed by a person participating in the assembly’. The bogey-man of violent anarchists will be manufactured when ever the state needs to smash heads.

From past experiences we can assume that often protest organisers who are courting mainstream respectability, hoping to use the media to their own ends, or simply promoting their own organisations often fall for the bait of the media hype and quickly make public statements distancing themselves from those other protestors real or imagined that the state and the media are gunning for. This is an error. We don’t get to decide the dividing line between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ protestors, between ‘peaceful’ and ‘violent’ action. The state will do that and the media will declare it.  Any attempt to legitimise such a division is just setting all of us up to receive the wrong end of a baton.

There are real tactical and strategic divisions and debates to be had. There are statements and actions that may be errors – that may even be detrimental to developing struggles. (Probably in our context we should be more worried about careerists courting politicians than punks dressed as ninjas). But all who struggle deserve our solidarity. Hobgoblins dreamt up by the media shouldn’t be fed and the errors of the past not repeated.

 

Althusser, Louis. (2008). On Ideology. London  New York: Verso.

Ironside, Robyn, & Chamberlin, Thomas. (2013, 9th December 2013). G20 Call to Arms, The Courier Mail, pp. 1,4.