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One Step Forward, Twenty Steps Back

Well, the ALP finally appears to have finally realised that its not the 1950s anymore, and that everyone no longer eats Vegemite, considers Aborigines “fauna”, and checks to see if there are any Reds under the bed before enjoying a good snooze, as it has finally incorporated equal marriage rights into its platform. Funny, with all this economic “modernisation” (i.e. preparing the way for austerity capitalism) they are always blathering about, you might expect their social policy to have “modernised” along with the times more quickly, given the solid and consistent majority support for equal marriage rights in recent years. However, with perhaps the only worthwhile reform to have been reluctantly made by Labor during the whole Gillard administration, it then does what is characteristic of the modern day Labor Party, and takes enormous retrograde steps backwards- and approves the sale of uranium to India, a surefire way to ensure global stability and cease the evil of nuclear weapon proliferation. Not to speak of the callous inhumanity of Labor’s refugee policy, which almost makes John HoWARd appear like a bleeding heart softie for refugees. Ah yes, the Labor Party, moving forward into a bright future by proving itself to be just as loyal a servant of the ruling class as the Liberals. Well done, old chaps!

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2 responses to “One Step Forward, Twenty Steps Back

  1. The Ragged Man ⋅

    Ruling class? I don’t know if there is much of a ruling class per say in Australia. I mean, you could say the top earners, but that’s the way capitalism works. I find the ideal of Communism noble; however the sad fact is that it is a system which is designed to become stagnant in time. Collectivism, on the other hand, is probably the best solution to inequality between citizens. See, the issue isn’t that there are those who are earning more are marginalizing those who earn less. The issue is the fact that nobody has a respect for another beyond the small circle of people they know. If individuals acted in the nation’s and their fellow’s best interests, all would be well.

  2. Hey, thanks for commenting. You’re the first to do so! I started this blog at least six months ago, did a few posts, got bored and haven’t had the time to commit to it yet. But anyway, regarding the ruling class. Their is a ruling class in every society, except perhaps for a few pockets here and there, in the entire world. While their composition can vary, they generally involve politicians, top bureaucrats, big business, CEO’s of big companies (i.e. big four banks, Gina Reinhardt, etc) billionares, people with hundreds of millions of dollars, heads of top educational institutions (universities, schools) military leaders, and so on. You could call them the 1%, because that is about how many people are in the ruling class in Australia, the US, etc. If you want to read a book about what elements of one ruling class (such as wealthy industrialists like the German steel magnate Fritz Thyssen) did in a similar severe economic crisis as the one we are facing today, I suggest reading Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin. If you want a more local perspectives on who exactly are the Australian ruling class, I believe Class and Struggle in Australia (edited by Rick Kuhn, published 2005) would be a good place to start. If by Communism you mean Stalinism, then obviously I am opposed to anything remotely resembling that vile inhumane system. If you mean by it a society characterised by liberty, equality, fraternity, with a strong element of common (not state owned) ownership of the means of production, a classless and stateless society of freedom and abundance, then yes I am for it. That was the classical idea shared by all socialists, communists, and anarchists, to different degrees, though they disagreed on how exactly one could advance toward that goal (some favoured market systems that weren’t capitalist, such as the anarchist Proudhon, who adovcated for a system of worker-run cooperatives, free credit, social organisation on the basis of a decentralised federalism. This form of social organisation was something close to what Thomas Jefferson favoured at one time, except more inclusive and democratic) in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was only with Stalin’s rise that this conception changed. Lenin and Trotsky, for all their failures, justifications for repression, and overly statified conception of what a socialist economy should be like, did not risk their lives, spend decades fighting against Tsarist oppression, and showing genuine bravery in the face of horrifically brutally White armies that almost crushed the Reds entirely, just so that something like Stalinism could triumph. The Russian Revolution is something to talk about for another day, because their were genuine achievements that came out of it, and which the Bolsheviks intitally supported and backed, but later came to sacrifice, surrender, and overcentralise power in their hands as liberty and democracy were subordinated to the need to beat the Whites in the Civil War. Regarding Collectivism, if by the mainstream idea of sacrificing your individual personality, absorbing it into a greater whole, then I disagree with that, because your own freedom and liberty are not contrary to society, but are a complement to it- I am in a favour of a society of free individuals. You cannot really have free individuals, abstracted from everybody else (the idea liberalism holds), if you live in an unfree society. If by Collectivism you mean something like what the anarchist Bakunin advocated, which was a radically democratic and libertarian conception of social organisation, then I sympathise with quite a lot of that. The nation is an imaginary abstraction, merely lines on a map- it is not something rock solid or made of flesh an blood, hence it is an imaginary institution- although an abstraction backed up and enforced by militaries and border police across the globe. I think it is possible to have respect for others beyond a small circle, but I would partially agree that, although in a broad sense we can sympathise with the plight that millions regularly face, close relations with fellow human beings are usually based on those who live close by and whom we are friendly/get along with. Hence, a greater degree of decentralisation in the political and economic realms can give people more self-determination over their own lives and directly empower communities, instead of orders being recieved top down from a giant Centre or overcentralised business/state bureaucracy. Regarding our fellows best interests, we should certainly try to be concerned to some degree over the freedom and dignity others have, but that does not mean we have to self-abnegate ourselves- (I am not a monk or Jesus, nor do I desire to be) the free and full flourishing of an individual is essential to a free and full flowering of society. Historians have noted that we who live in the ‘liberal’ democracies (i.e. capitalist states, and the rights we do have have been achieved by popular struggle, democratic and militant mass movements, etc, not handed down to us by enlightened liberals) have achieved political rights to some degree, but still lack comprehensive economic (the means to live and prosper) and social (the ability to be oneself, autonomy, individual self-determination and collective self-determination mediated through a radically democratic, and consequently libertarian and inclusive, association, federation, polity, whatever you want to call it, but a form of social organisation beyond capitalism and the state.) These have existed historically, to some degree, both in the distant past and the more recent, where the kind of social structures I am talking about have been thrown up, and more limited forms exist everywhere, even in Australia (like cooperatives, democratic associations, etc). For a discussion on whether libertarian socialism can be as libertarian and democratic as I claim, or even be possible at all, check out this link, http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/secI1.html

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