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?
Recently I posed twelve questions to help myself understand the events of recent weeks and help think through what has happened and where we are all going. This is my first attempt to answer them. I doubt I will answer – in writing – all twelve.
The answers I provide are necessarily subjective and partial. I only attended the vigil twice. I welcome disagreement and corrections. However I think that subjective and qualitative reflections on collective experience are a vital part of how we understand them.
I think there were three separate elements: the decision by staff at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to not discharge Asha on the basis that Nauru didn’t qualify as somewhere safe to return to; the vigil which became a blockade of sorts faced with the possibility of Border Force taking Asha; and the wave of symbolic actions and stunts where people proclaimed #LetTheStay with the aim of generating and circulating imagery in the media (social and otherwise).
The decision by the Lady Cilentro Children’s Hospital to not discharge the infant Nepalese refugee Asha back to Nauru and the emergence of a vigil in solidarity was an important and inspiring event. The experience of it was radically different from the protest-politics-as-usual that typify the activist repertoire in Brisbane. Now that Asha has been discharged into community detention, and is facing a very uncertain and probably deeply unpleasant future, there is a desire to make sense of what has happened, what is going on and what does it mean?
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.
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.
In this episode of Living the Dream we look at the recent Qld election and try to grapple with what it all means, what the new ALP government is planning to do, what the challenges facing capital accumulation are and where the lines of antagonism may be.
In part four of our three part series on the Qld election we talk about what can we expect after the votes have been counted and what does this mean for emancipatory politics, where can we draw our hope and power from and what do we mean by ‘we’ anyway?