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2020 How to Kill Propaganda with Three Blows

One word can describe the last decade  – Division. It is creeping into every corner of our countries, of our communities and even our Christmas dinners. We have the power to change the next decade by doing three simple things.

And So This Is Christmas

A number of tweets on Christmas Day summed up the culture of division that has now seeped so insidiously it has manifested around our Christmas tables. Tweets about the uncomfortable division of political discussions at Christmas. A Trump-loving uncle took pleasure in mocking his niece. He called her sensitive Sally. In addition, her own father warned she could leave if she wanted to express her views about Trump.

Christmas dinner tables should be full of togetherness and happiness. However, political division is now shunning the very people we love dearly at that table.

Our small discussion was about if people will forget about Morrison’s actions during the fires and just vote for him anyway. There was not a lot of confidence from young people at my house, that voters will hold him to account next election. These last few weeks and the weeks or months ahead, will just be forgotten.

Propaganda and Division

Voters in Regional and rural areas will vote National anyway. The propaganda from the right can also kill the left. They target just one policy people don’t like, (or can be convinced not to like). This can erase all the positives the Left may bring. Therefore, shunned by a risk-averse voting public.

Anyway, who would want to risk change with the cacophony of the superficial politically-woke-show-pony “Labor is just as bad” fan club, feeding their fears like Milo out of the tin on a spoon of sugary comfort?

The fear-driven risk-averse and perfectionist risk-averse now permeate our political culture. Both groups believe they are “Doing what’s right”. As a result, everyone outside of this group is labelled “Sheep.”

Fear Driven Risk Averse

The Fear Driven Risk-Averse see through the lens of right-wing propaganda. They do not like what is going on around them. Undecided voters prefer paternalism over change. Protected from the evils of the opposition, from losing their jobs, from great big taxes, from foreigners, from terrorists and any assortment of manufactured monsters. As we consume more and more propaganda, newspapers are now more overt and bold. They layer this with television and radio repeating the key message of protection from (manufactured) monsters. Millions of dollars were poured into online advertising and television advertisements, just by one mining magnate turned politician – Clive Palmer.

Fear Driven Risk-Averse voters believe that, changing to Labor might be bad. It sounds scary, so it doesn’t matter how bad the right is. If they doubt themselves, they are pulled back by layers of ‘monsters’ and scary situations that jeopardise their very existence. We don’t want to risk it. Don’t vote Labor!”

Perfection Driven Risk Averse

The Perfection Driven Risk-Averse see through a lense lens of left-wing propaganda. The drivers of the Perfection Driven Risk Averse are perfect policy over flexible pragmatism. This is best summed up by a description of the policy seeking organisation in Shaun Crowe’s (@ShaunCrowe) excellent book, “Whitlam’s Children: Labor and The Greens in Australia.

“(Policy Seeking Organisations) give greater priority to the articulation and defence of their policies than either the maximisation of votes or the securing of office”

In short, the perfectionist quest simply have a perfect policy. This is the driver, rather than the act of implementing the policy itself. The Perfectionist Risk Averse, come from a perspective of ethical egoism and consequentialism (Wall, 2019). In turn, chasing the perfect model of society via stated aims, there will be unequal consequences throughout society. Some sections of society will feel a more detrimental consequence than others in the achievement of that aim.

(This is where I struggle with the Greens and other ‘non-aligned’ movement organisations who attack Labor. This approach aligns with the Australian Liberals who accept negative consequences for some sectors of society, for a ‘wider aim.’ Where the Labor party work hard to be flexible to mitigate negative consequences across all sectors of society. To achieve this, it is impossible to be perfect.)

Pragmatism is Weak and Tainted

The Perfection Risk-Averse reject any non-alignment with perfectionist politics. As a result, this group sees pragmatism as weak and tainted.  Although some people may share a common goal, it is this aspect that sees them turn away from Labor and actively fight against them.

Chants from this group are: Labor are not good enough, Labor are just as bad as the Liberals, Labor supports *insert horrible thing here*, Labor can’t win with that leader, we want a better leader, just find a cross between Gough and Abbott! How hard is it! How little talent they have! Labor wants to take away our rights, Labor needs to do better, Labor isn’t doing enough, Labor doesn’t stand up enough, Labor isn’t aggressive enough, Labor is weak, Labor doesn’t really care about workers, unemployed, the environment, Asylum Seekers, Pensioners, Indigenous rights, the homeless aaarrrrggghhh. If you want REAL change don’t vote Labor! (WTF??? How did Labor lose?)

The Rise of Propaganda

This political culture is generational in some rural and regional communities. This guarantees “the right” an automatic advantage of seats. In addition, this lens of left and right propaganda now sees many people in regional towns and cities voting “against their own interests” in droves.

This video Sally McManus posted yesterday, hits the nail on the head. I agree with George Monbiot that there is a formula to combat propaganda. However, to move forward with solutions, I think it’s important to recognise two types of propaganda that target major left parties. These are the Oligarchs who target the fear-driven risk-averse and the movement parties who target the perfectionist driven risk-averse.

In Australia, hard-working Australian voters were convinced by propaganda that Labor were anti-worker. As Monbiot states, the Oligarchs have discovered the formula of convincing the poor to vote for the very rich. It is imperative to also consider and discuss the impact that movement parties have on the election of a majority left government, such as the Australian Labor Party.

Movement Party Propaganda

Like all Propaganda, Movement party Propaganda has a political aim. Crowe’s book, discusses that this is to expose any gaps created by major parties. That is because major parties need to be flexible. Specifically, these are usually post-materialism aims and also to try to disrupt the very system itself.

There is significant discussion within Whitlam’s Children from both Labor and Greens’ interviewed about motive. Brown says that the Greens do not want to “Keep the Bastards honest, we want to replace them.” Bowen agrees this is the Green’s aim, along with numerous others interviewed. Interestingly, there are various discussions about gaining enough seats to form minority power of up to 25 seats (DiNatale). DiNatale also said that he would also consider a coalition with the Liberals. However, he added this was not likely, but he would not disregard it. Milne advocates for disruption to achieve a multi-party system.

So all attacks on Labor are not from some innocent place of policy concern. There is a real political drive to gain power, even if that (in the unlikely event) means forming a coalition with the Liberals.

The Left Targeting The Left

Movement Organisations and Movement parties express propaganda through grassroots via symbols, visual and vocal, social media and via disruption. In addition, they do not seek to clarify broader aims or policy operationalisation; but allow others to interpret meaning via symbols and slogans (symbolic interactionism).

This does come in various forms and various movements. Movement organisations and parties do attack right-wing Government’s via this method and in many instances such as Unions, there is a lot of truth in the movement’s activism. However, In the instance of application to oppose a major left party, with a political motivation to replace the major party for political power, the approach should be seriously considered.

Movement Party Propaganda in Action

I speak directly about Queensland. Specifically about my experience in one regional electorate. However, the examples below were coordinated. Here are three examples:

1. The Greens campaigned in the last Queensland Election that the Labor Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk was corrupt. However, the spectre of Newman kept this at bay. Unfortunately, Labor lost a seat to PHON (Mirani). At the booths, some people definitely retorted about “not voting for that corrupt bitch.” Queensland Labor may not be so lucky to win government in 2020 if the same campaign tactics are repeated.

2. The Stop Adani campaign. The Bob Brown convoy. Targeting Labor threads and suffocating the comments in Stop Adani (even on posts about cancer care). Importantly, attacking regional QLD every day for four years. Every day for four years, if that wasn’t clear. The announcement Greens would cease coal and bragging they would force Shorten to shut down coal three weeks before the election (see above for non-clarification of specifics and interpretivism). This was very vocal in areas of high concentration of mining, with nothing else in place required to make mine workers and non-mine workers feel confident or secure, as these areas already experience high unemployment, particularly youth unemployment.

3. Greens members attending Labor functions and “Bird Dogging” the event. This occurred at Andrew Leigh’s Banking Royal Commission community forum in Capricornia. The local Greens hijacked the forum. They pushed Stop Adani. They insisted on taking the floor. Painfully, they yelled out in the audience how Greens were the “original unionists”. They loudly made bold claims and how “Labor had destroyed the Fair Work Act to disadvantaged workers.” As well, at “Change the Rules” events, Greens approached people and said, “how awful Labor is and how the Greens are the only ones fully committed to changing the rules.”

Purists to the Left of Me – Tories to the Right

So, not only is the propaganda machine pumping out bullets from the right, hitting the major left, the minority left are throwing smoke bombs at the major left. Both have a political motivation for power and both motivations are about undermining Labor and preventing Labor from gaining power. One on a grand scale and one enough to try to “disrupt the system.”

To people who are not politically aligned, thinking about their vote, it does have an impact. It is layers and layers from both sides that the major left party cannot be trusted. Emotional contagion is a powerful thing.

This is not unique to Australia. We saw it with Fox News in the USA firing Propaganda bullets at Hilary and Bernie Bros throwing smoke bombs at Hilary. In the UK we saw the right-wing propaganda firing propaganda bullets at Corbyn and the Lib-Dems throwing smoke bombs at Corbyn. In fact, Smoke bombs were thrown internally within UKLabour itself!

This is the world we created. We read it and believe it unchallenged. We participate in it.

A Leader Alone is Not Enough

The difficulty is, I don’t believe that even the most perfect, charismatic major Left leader in the world can conquer this alone. Monbiot also refers to this in his video.

A very wise older Labor member, who is very active in volunteering in the community described politicians to me once. He simply said, there are anti-community politicians and pro-community politicians. Monbiot, proposed a similar community-based view via grassroots to fight propaganda.

In the decade ahead, each and every one of us has the power to end the politics that have divided us. We must insist that our respective parties do the same. We can do this by doing three simple things.

Three Simple Things

1. Be Pro-Community – Grasp a positive idea and write to local leaders and ask them to support it. Start a petition for that idea specific to your community. Ask people in your community to support your idea.

2. Become digitally aware – Start a Google doc, Web page or a free WordPress blog, and seriously combat propaganda from both the Oligarchs and the movement organisations and parties. Detail the claim and research your heart out and provide information and facts from Hansard, Senate Committees, official documents. Seek clarification from the source and the target where possible, read widely, including the processes of Parliament. Take into consideration, the disparate aims of achieving perfect policy and if flexibility is required to achieve power to make any progress at all.

Challenge your own findings for rigour. Ensure they are defensible. Challenge all media, mainstream media, Independent Media, Blogs, Facebook posts, Facebook Groups, Tweets gaining traction and memes. Share your findings. Talk openly about your findings to real-life friends and family.

3. Challenge and be prepared to be challenged – Stand up to propagandists on both the Left and the Right. Famous not so famous and wanna-be famous. Blue Ticks to Fred the 9 digit troll. Friend, Family or Foe. Armed with facts from item 2, you can do this with confidence. Be prepared for backlash. Be prepared to disagree with people you always just agree with or agree with to keep the peace. If you lose friendships because of truth-telling, just remind them your aim is to kill propaganda and you will fight it, with or without them. Ask them if they are helping the right, or hindering the left?

Control of All Spaces

Monbiot believes we need a concentrated effort against right-wing propaganda. The spaces they can control are in the mainstream media. Although the right-wing propaganda co-ordinators use social media to advantage the right-wing of politics, globally; on the other hand, they are also against it. That is because they cannot control it. We have seen members of the Liberals condemn Twitter frequently in recent times. The Prime Minister even claiming that Policy won’t be decided by those on Twitter.

Victoria Rollinson (@Vic_Rollinson), also has frequent Tweet threads about the weaknesses of mainstream journalism, including concerns about ‘insiders’ and objective fact telling. Ronni Salt (@RonniSalt) and Jommy Tee (@Jommy_Tee) are increasingly exposing issues that require serious investigation. They have been first to expose issues such as Grassgate and Watergate that lead to mainstream media following up and claiming the credit. There are also others on Social Media, including blogs who do some great work, exposing falsehoods, hypocrisy, largesse, greed, lies, impacts of political systems and departments on the disadvantaged and corruption.

Carl Stevens sums the above up nicely here:

 

What Political Parties Can Do

For a concentrated effort to kill Right-Wing Propaganda, Movement Party Propaganda against the major left also must cease. Importantly, if they are really “Gough’s Children’ as they claim to be; they would respect that IT’S TIME.

It’s Time for Greens, Movement Organisations and ad-hoc movement groups on social media to decide if their pursuit of perfect policy or disrupting the system is more important than getting rid of the Evangelical-worker-hating-poverty-creating-economy-destroying-lazy-ineffective-climate-denying-privatisation seeking-gluttony of Conservatism that is in power right now.

They need to stop the propaganda of fear and division, and the idea that flexibility and pragmatism are a weakness to progress. Crucially, fierce debates need to occur amongst themselves if perfect policy is indeed perfect if it has no chance at all.

They need to unite against the inaction of the right and support Labor’s way forward with regional jobs, climate action, national rail and other worker-centric announcements that may be yet to come. There is no joy for anyone living in poverty or without a job, in the game of who can wedge Labor the hardest.

The Labor Party, unfortunately, does need to work within the system. They need to make themselves available to every single major news organisation and speak to all potential voters via all mediums.

Worker-Centric Policy is paramount in this time of impending global change with threats of climate and automation. They need to lead us solidly and very clearly, with no complicated aims, through to gain power to steer us through these challenging times.

Digital Literacy

All Left Parties in opposition or in State Power, must make it a priority to encourage or fund digital literacy programs. If they can do neither, the Federal Leadership must be proactive in promoting this via their own channels.

The Labor Party has the power and the technology to create tools to counter claims from all types of propaganda. Speak loud and speak often, via text and video. Importantly, be bold enough to respond to claims made via comments on Social Media. Make it known that truth-telling in Democracy is paramount and false claims and misrepresentations will no longer be tolerated by the voting public.

Bye Bye – The Decade the Fake News Died

In a concentrated effort from every single person on the left side of politics, it is possible to have 2020 as the decade where propaganda and fake news has gone to die.

It is possible. We created the world of enabling the culture of propaganda by buying into it and participating in it. Creating a new world where propaganda is unable to thrive should be an ultimate goal.

We cannot survive the impending global changes and threats under austerity and increasingly authoritarian type rule. Stay Strong.

References

Crowe, Shaun & Gallop, Geoff. 2018, Whitlam’s Children: Labor and the Greens in Australia Melbourne University Publishing, Victoria

Wall, Steven, (2029) “Perfectionism in Moral and Political Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

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61 comments

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  1. wam

    I began with no expectation of a good read but I was so pleasantly surprised by you understanding of why labor lost the probable government. Senile bob’s caravan under the control of the pragmatic money oriented boys of the greens not only frightened the coal workers but set up shorten as anti-jobs. A meme for all workers scared of losing there jobs and made shorten toxic, sadly very toxic in the Bs of tassie, and set the best slogan the lnp have ever had. A slogan repeated hundreds of times every day on every media outlet and is highlighted by that lazy incompetent Anthony Green. After xmas with scummo supporters and climate deniers this is exciting to me but sorry if it is inane nonsense to you.(there is no need for anyone to correct if my conclusions are jumped to please let me enjoy )
    It took the diludbransimkims 10 years to admit senile boobby’s xmas 2009 disaster and I thought another 10 years for his purpose of his caravan to bubble towards the surface.

  2. Terence Mills

    A Trump loving uncle…..

    These people worry me and remind me of the Wizard of Oz – the important thing is to always look behind the curtain.

  3. crypt0

    “Voters in Regional and rural areas will vote National anyway. ”
    I expect so, notwithstanding the state of the Murray Darling river system, the lack of any climate change or energy policies and all the rest.
    If Australia was ever going to show that it is capable of thinking for itself, surely it would have happened at the “climate change” election last May.
    Never happened, doubtful that it ever will.
    Rupert and Clive have got Australia figured out to a tee.

  4. corvus boreus

    Had Trump-uncle had better vocab he could’ve called ‘sensitive Sally’ a ‘superficial politically-woke-show-pony’.
    That would’ve put her firmly in her place without the unnecessary provocation of social division.

  5. Niko Leka

    Curious. The ALP are the most risk-adverse party of all time. That explains why they betrayed the refugee movement in 2009 after they won the election in 2007 with support from it. That explains why they’re too afraid to say No to Adani. Its not the voters they are afraid of. It’s their masters.

  6. DrakeN

    Niko Leka,

    Precisely that .

  7. Clare De Mayo

    Thank you Niko. I am amazed that it is possible to twist Monbiot’s excellent analysis, turn it virtually on its head, concoct another enemy to suit one’s own agenda and then, bald-faced and unabashed, pretend he said exactly what you said. If ‘Labor’ (or the ‘left’ according to the author, ROFL at that one) want to govern, they have to do more than demand they are the only ones who deserve it.

  8. Trish Corry

    How have I turned his suggestions on it’s head when his suggestions are in the article? You either agree with increased local grassroots politics and digital literacy or you don’t. I’m happy to discuss why you feel this “enemy” is something I’ve concocted when there is a plethora of research on perfectionist politics, purist politics, postmaterialism and political ethics that support all my claims. I think if the Greens and Labor were hypothetically a coalition and PHON were hypothetically taking the space of Greens and other movements and had the same behaviour and motives as them, and this attributed to a a factor in preventing a Labor/Greens coalition forming Government, and LNP winning you would probably agree with it. Also, as usual, comments on this site are completely the opposite to FB groups and Twitter. Also Monbiot gave no analysis of minor left party factors. That’s the entire point of the article. It’s not just all on the right wing.

  9. corvus boreus

    Maybe naïve but…
    If ‘threats of climate and automation’ are looming, shouldn’t cancelling a not-yet-dug but potentially climate-changing, automated-as-much-as-is-currently-technologically-possible, water-guzzling export-coal-hole like the Adani Carmichael project be an obvious easy step towards slowing-then-stopping our local contributions in accelerating the current global trajectory into evermore escalating climate related disasters?
    Then again, such a standpoint is largely dependent upon agreement with the increasingly urgent scientific warnings regarding the contributions of fossil-fuel emissions to the rapidly deteriorating health and stability of our planetary climate and environment.

  10. Clare De Mayo

    Well, it’s your point, but not Monbiot’s, though you try to make your case supported by his article. He says it IS the oligarchs. Sure, your can find sources to support your position, my point is that that is not Monbiot’s analysis. Your hypothetical shows you think Phon and the Greens or Socialist Alliance etc are the same thing, just of different persuasions, and I think that is a really blinded approach.

    Again, why do you immediately think that someone who doesn’t agree with you is automatically supporting the LNP? It’s Labor or death, it seems. And why should I be concerned that ‘as usual, comments on this site are completely the opposite to FB groups and Twitter.’ ???? What is your point? That this site draws a different audience? That you’re not preaching to the choir here? Or is it a veiled insult?

  11. Kaye Lee

    I wonder what the result of the election would have been if Labor had said we will immediately raise Newstart by $50 a week pending a broader inquiry into social security payments, we will close offshore detention centres, we will not endorse the opening of new coal mines and will phase out the export of thermal coal by 2030, we will make future government fleet purchases electric vehicles, we will stop the privatisation of government services and public utilities, we will put limits on election spending and political donations will be reported in real time, we will establish a federal ICAC that will have the power to investigate politicians and the awarding of contracts without tender, we will make water management a priority advised by experts rather than lobbyists, we will enable an Indigenous Voice to parliament, we will embark on a public housing expansion, and we will abide by the intention of the Freedom of Information act because Australians have a right to know what their government is doing.

    Being a maths person, I loved Labor’s policies re negative gearing, capital gains tax, franking credits etc. They made sense to me but I know, whenever I talk figures, people glaze over. They meant little to the majority of the population except those who were horrified that their ride on the gravy train might be slowed.

    If Labor is to win, they REALLY need some help on their messaging.

    “We are a society of altruists, but we are governed by psychopaths. To get out of the political mess we’re in, we need a new story that captures the minds of people across fault lines. If we can tap into our fundamental urge to cooperate — namely, by building generous, inclusive communities around the shared sphere of the commons — we can build a better world. With a new story to light the way, we just might make it there.”

    “Economics has ceased to be a rational science in the service of the “greater good” of society. It’s time to ditch neoliberal economics and create tools that address inequality and injustice.”

  12. ajogrady

    If the Greens are serious about winning seats WHY then do they not campaign aggressively to their natural constituants farmers and country people. They both presumably want to protect the environment. The Nationals would be hard pressed to find policies to argue against the Greens and the natural affinity they have with farmers and country people as a whole.

  13. Michael Taylor

    Good question, Kaye.

    As a Labor person, and as a person who had an outstanding boss in Julia Gillard, three things always disappointed me.

    The first was Julia’s decision to appease the rednecks. The LNP was forever trying to wedge her on border security, and it appears she played by their rules.

    The second was her willingness to let the the LNP and the Murdoch media dictate terms on a surplus. Rudd and Swan had shown how spending could stimulate the economy, yet Julia worried too much about what the media would say.

    Despite the above, everything else was A OK. So why couldn’t she get her message across? That’s point number three: she had the worst PR team on the planet.

  14. Clare De Mayo

    Yes Kaye, that would have been a party I would have supported wholeheartedly. Drawing a line in the sand and holding firm. And Michael, Julia certainly stumbled on those key things, as a refugee advocate, she lost me on the first.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Clare,

    I was so disappointed with her opposition to marriage equality. Why are we so scared to offend religious bigots? Even my very Catholic family members gave in before Labor did.

  16. Clare De Mayo

    I give her some latitude due to the constant personal harassment she endured daily (the Pinkering ‘cartoons’ sent to MPs etc) and the double standards applied to her (never forgiven for ‘stealing’ the leadership etc). But she caved at the wrong moments. Marriage equality was actually an administrative foregone conclusion, and could have been regarded as such. As a secular society she didn’t need to engage with it on any other level. I imagine though that her time in power was an extremely difficult one.

  17. Matters Not

    Re:

    ALP are the most risk-adverse party of all time.

    Does that ‘analysis’ include the suite of policies taken to the last election? You know – the one that Labor lost (rather than Morrison won).

    As for Monbiot’s excellent analysis, it seems to me that he offers something for every reader in the business of cherry-picking. Guaranteed citations to reinforce a wide variety of ideological positions. Nevertheless it’s worth a viewing and thus a good link.

    As for Gillard – wasn’t she the one who gave us Naplan? (Actually it was Rudd’s idea but the record may never show that.)

  18. Joe Carli

    Trish Corry replies @ 6.27pm…and almost immediately, like the maestro’s tapping with his baton..the “choir” stikes up it’s harmonies!

  19. Joe Carli

    I too, have reserved opinions about the true intent of The Greens…and as for Julia Gillard…I see that now there are those who, like the overzealous cleaner frustrated at the fine paints falling from the fresco, want to paint the whole picture over so as to “contain” the original image….: https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/julia-gillard-herself-the-nation-and-our-betrayal/ …sadly, due to the oh so obvious electoral fraud facillated by the AEC, the “oblivion” was not to be…
    But I would say that the most obvious enemies of left-wing politics are the “centralists”..always ready to act as apologists to and for the status quo…what we need now is more…MUCH MORE…blue-collar mob-rule!
    BRING ON THE HUE AND CRY!!

  20. Carl Marks

    Why is Queensland allowing foreign companies to takeover and harvest water when local communities are put on restrictions?

  21. Kaye Lee

    Joe,

    One would imagine that when an author posts an article here it is to invite discussion.

    MN,

    I am yet to find a politician who has a clue about what is important in education.

  22. Joe Carli

    In many acolytes cases..”imagine” being the operative action.

  23. Joe Carli

    ” I am yet to find a politician who has a clue about what is important in education.”….This would imply that YOU have a definate opinion about what constitutes “an education”….could you elucidate on just what that is if you don’t mind?…I am very interested…

  24. Kaye Lee

    A teacher should encourage curiosity and help instil a love of learning. They should help students develop the skills they need to assist in learning. They should give students the courage to try and the resilience to try again. They should recognise that people learn differently and, as far as possible, work with the individual to find the best way for them to maximise their potential – personal bests rather than age-related norms. They should help students develop communication skills, the ability to work in groups, and foster leadership potential. They should encourage creativity and initiative.

    I could go on, but that’s the general gist.

    I wouldn’t use the term “an education”. Learning is a lifetime pursuit.

  25. Michael Taylor

    Seeing that I commented after Trish commented, I guess that makes me part of the “choir”.

    I didn’t realise I was being monitored.

  26. Stephengb

    Trish Corry
    Good article and as you can see it sparked some interesting responses – for the record I think you have made some really good and salient points.

    Kate Lee
    What can I say – once again you hit the nail on the head at December 28, 2019 at 7:41 pm

  27. Joe Carli

    There are many contradictions in your descriptive paths to “learning”…and while I agree that learning is a lifetime pursuit, education of the child is not…there is only a narrow window where the basics on practical needs of the 3 R’s can and must be instilled…The contradiction in your quicky reply is that of the reality of a class of several dozens of students versus the individual attention needed to suit some children…hardly possible in the case of overcrowded classrooms of some schools…

    In a structure based on capital, manufacturing and consumerism, the needs of the State far over-ride the wants of the child…the object being to turn out a “commodity” education best suited to the future continuity of that system.

    I see education and art as fellow travellers…the fault of these times being that both are required to turn out a “product” at the end of the “creative phase”…education ; the “finished student”, employment ready…Art : a creative piece that can be marketted to a paying audience at the end ot the “creative phase”…when in truth and need, both ought to connect with the needs of the State and the citizen body through delivering NOT a consumerable product, but rather delivering an “emotional satisfactory” feeling…the ongoing creativity that extends from that shared emotion goes on to snowball into more creativity in a kind of chain-reaction…for example…how many creative playwrights have taken inspiration from The Bard?…and likewise musicians from the classical composers?…an inspiring depth of creative emotion goes such a long way, there may not even be an end to it at all!

  28. Kaye Lee

    “there is only a narrow window where the basics on practical needs of the 3 R’s can and must be instilled”

    I disagree Joe. Kids come to things at different times and in different ways. Education starts long before a child hits the crowded classrooms in schools. Good teachers can accommodate difference. The days of rote learning and chanting and regurgitating things that you don’t understand are past.

    Sadly, the socio-economic status of parents is often a general predictor of how a student may fare. That is something we must work harder to overcome.

  29. DrakeN

    Kaye Lee: “I wouldn’t use the term “an education”. Learning is a lifetime pursuit.”

    If only that applied to the whole of the population 🙁

    My long association with highly intelligent, extremely motivated people in my former employment clearly indicated that even amongst such a cohort, early indoctrination of the child can effectively retard both formal and informal learning.
    These were mainly folk who were brought up in the days of strict application of the “3 Rs”, whose first years at school were devoted to rote learning and the application of corporal punishment to ensure compliance.

    In such a group, it was only a few who were unable to slough their instilled obeisance to the ‘norms’ which had influenced their early years, but their irrationality in some of their fossilised behavioural patterns saw them experiencing considerable difficulties coping with the vagaries of wind and weather, human peccadilloes and bureaucratic obstinacy which could often collide in a single event.

    Knowing the rules was a necessity, knowing how to use them well required the mental and attitudinal flexibility which creates opportunities for ongoing learning and experience.
    It is unfortunate that such qualities are generally rather rare in human societies.

  30. DrakeN

    Joe Carli: “…there is only a narrow window where the basics on practical needs of the 3 R’s can and must be instilled…”

    shows your complete and total lack of any understanding of human reality as well as your arrogance at insisting that your “knowledge” exceeds that of an obviously well trained and experienced educator.

    Adult education of persons who were never exposed to earlier schooling is often very successful, especially where there is objective motivation.

  31. Stephengb

    I went to school from 1954 till 1965. I hated every minute of it, I had little or idea what I was supposed to do what was the point of it all.

    I was not untill I met a person who explained things to me one to one that I began to understand, by this time I was 22. The teacher who opened my eyes my ears, who taught me to ask questions and chalhenge the answers, gave me the greatest gift of my life.

    I did not realise it at the time but this man changed my life and gave me my life long love of learning, of the search for new facts and concepts and he gave me the gift of critical thinking.

    His was the gift of education.

  32. Rossleigh

    Once you take a step away from schools and ask yourself how you’d go about teaching anything, then you quickly realise that the only time you’d even consider teaching the way schools do is if you were forced to teach in an educational institution…

    Ok, that’s a bit of a rash generalisation, but there is a large element of truth to it. Would you, for example, ever try to teach anyone to drive by giving a lecture to a group of students about how to do it, then put them all in a car and then walk around trying to help those who’d crashed?

    I could go on in more detail, but I’m sure someone will tell me that that’s how they learnt to drive and if it was good enough then, it’s about time that we pretend that nothing ever changes and nobody ever realises that sometimes it’s good to change the way things are done…

    By the way, has anyone hear ever read about how long it took to make doctors realise that simply washing their hands would reduce the number of deaths after surgery?

  33. corvus boreus

    On education (since that’s where this has gone).
    DISCLAIMER: I am not. nor have I ever been, a qualified and/or professional educator.

    I may not be a teacher, but I sprung from the loins of two-such creatures.
    One thing that I absorbed about teaching, through the process of observational osmosis, is that frontline education is all too often subject to the whimsical dictates of echelon bureaucrats.
    Take ‘Cuisinaire rods’ ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisenaire_rods)
    For those not educated during the 70’s, these were a package of colour coded wooden rods (10mm x 10mm x ?mm) designed to be a multi-approach tool for the teaching of mathematics.
    Used properly (ie with decent supportive training) they provided a flexible approach to the teaching of basic mathematics (ie addition, multiplication and subtraction up into the hundreds and down to zero), as well as providing a basic grounding in the fundaments of right-angled geometry.
    I might add that the only real noticeable drawback at the time when they were released was a lack of numbering and associated words on the individual pieces to tie the physical objects into the broader mathematical and linguistic systems, but this defect has long since been rectified by the manufacturers.
    However, despite their utilitarian effectiveness, Cuisinaire rods fell out of fashion in the 1980s (possibly due to the difficulty of replacing 1cm x 1 cm x ?cm wooden prisms) and have been discarded by Australian educational authorities as teaching aid
    I would be willing to hazard a guess that Finland still uses the Cuisinaire system

  34. corvus boreus

    On the subject of entry-level/remedial education, I shall provide a few more tangible ecological basics (for those who struggle with abstract concepts concerning the proven ability of increased concentrations of certain invisible gases to allow the passage of broad-spectrum solar rays yet blanket the reflected heat) on other ways how human activities can affect micro/macro climate.

    Take them there trees (no, not literally).

    The temperature is generally cooler when standing under the full shade of a tree canopy than when standing under direct sunlight, or even under the shade of an umbrella or tin roof.
    This is because the leaves on a tree not only absorb both light and heat, they also diffuse it by utilising it as a catalysis for the photosynthetic process (aka carbon sequestration).

    In addition to this cooling property, the weight of the tree’s overall biomass is usually comprised of well over 50% water, meaning that trees are a significant contributing factor to rainfall generation, particularly in inland areas.

    Might be something to consider when contemplating further rapacious de-vegetation of already marginal environments?

  35. corvus boreus

    Ps, as an aside note, this concentration of moisture in vegetation is one of the reasons why fires often generate subsequent rainstorms, as not only do the rising complex particulates provide adhesion points for moisture condensation, but a hell of a lot of steam goes up into the sky before trees start to burn.

  36. corvus boreus

    As a positive practical political suggestion (since this is supposed to be a site for facilitating such);
    I propose that federal politicians be mandatorily subjected to a specially tailored ATAR equivalent test both at the start and finish of each parliamentary term.
    This test should comprise specially formulated modules covering the entire spectrum of relevant subjects and portfolios, with the results to be made available for public distribution.
    I reckon it would be not only satisfying but possibly beneficial to put our political representatives to a standardised test,
    Heck, it might even encourage a few of them to take up some form of adult education.

  37. Kaye Lee

    Could you imagine a mypolitician website like the myschools website ranking them on standardised testing? With those who fall in the bottom half being put on a program to elevate their ranking? They often suggest teachers should be paid based on the results of their students. Perhaps electorates should get funding based on how their politician does in the tests. If you elect a moron, bear the consequences.

    That is obviously ridiculous. As is every utterenace I hear from politicians about “get back to basics”.

  38. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    ‘can you imagine (?)’
    Me be mere myrmidon acolyte so me can do obedient imagining goodly.

  39. Matters Not

    Re:

    step away from schools and ask yourself …

    what function(s) they serve above and beyond the ‘educational’. Worth remembering that schools for the masses were not set up with any lofty educational aims in mind. Rather they were created to keep the offspring of the working class(es) off the streets. – particularly after children below a certain age were banned from working in the mines, the factories and the like. Someone or something (an institution) had to look after them (keep them from danger and crime) so that the parents could go off to work. It was the school that was charged with this custodial function over time which is now enshrined in law. Schooling is now compulsory. (Being educated isn’t.)

    A second important function of schooling is that of social role selection. At this time of the year, graduating students receive an ATAR (metaphorical) stamp on the forehead which means that some are judged worthy of doing course X, others of lesser ability only get a Y stamp and so on. By and large, the vast majority of students accept that judgement as being somehow legitimate and right (after all they were given the same chance) and they thus proceed accordingly. (Yes some reject that categorisation and find other ways to advance – but generally speaking the schooling’s social role selection function holds true.)

    There’s other functions that schooling has but that’s for another time.

  40. Matters Not

    cb re Cuisinaire rods – while they were less than perfect, at least the ‘rods’ introduced ‘concrete’ objects into many classroom re the teaching of mathematical concepts (relationships and all that). Certainly a big advance from the endless repetition of ‘tables’.

    Even today, many teachers think they are there to teach ‘facts’ and not develop ‘concepts’. Indeed, for far too many a concept is beyond them.

    (Want facts – just (literally) ask one of these (new) Google gadgets that the grand kids received before Christmas.)

  41. corvus boreus

    Matters Not,
    Kinda-pretty-much-agree.
    At a ‘common sense’ level it seems like Cuisinaire rods were/are a concrete, hands-on learning aid particularly helpful for assisting more autistic/artistic/practical-artisan-ish types who struggle with the abstract concepts of representative numerals and number-words, and learn better through direct visual or tactile representation/experimentation.
    And yes, like most good ideas, they have subsequently evolved to remedy observed deficiencies in the original design (eg the lack of accompanying interpretive numerals to help concurrently solidify the practice of symbolic numeracy).

  42. Joe Carli

    DrakeN…; ” shows your complete and total lack of any understanding of human reality as well as your arrogance ..” … you know what I am going to tell you to do Draken…you must be an experat at it by now..spare me the tiresome duty of informing you AGAIN!…just go and do it!

  43. jaq

    Joe Carli- are you or have you ever been a teacher?

    As a teacher having taught in public and private school, I must agree with Kaye. Teaching encompasses many things, but if parents are not teaching their kids resilience- once again it falls to the school- Ditto behavior, ditto manners ditto reading and writing, ditto learning how to cope in a new age. Don’t forget that although teachers may be in a one on one situation with their students, schools may dictate pedagogy which generally comes from people on high sitting at desks, who have no idea how to educated this generation of students. Now, you try and work out how best to teach a diverse class of 28- 32 students, some with special needs, some with parents who dont give a shit about their learning, with a closed curriculum which you are expected to go through term by term on order for the data of your school to look good.Plus the fact that children do not learn on an unwardcontinum . If that were the case we’d all be Einsteins by the time we reached 50. That’s one of the reasons standardized testing does not work. And NAPLAN ? By Year 9 students view it as a joke, one of the reason the results are so poor. Unfortunately education is subjected to the flotsam and jetsam of the government of the day, who have no bloody idea what it is actually like to teach in school. Teachers are burning out in 5 years now. We need good teachers too it must be said, but why work in an environment where you’re going to get sworn at by a 6 year old, or attacked by some parents because you havent given their kids an “A?”

    Clare, I agree wholeheartedly with your statements. I read articles here all the time, but any time I see Trish Correy as author I tend not to bother. Her simplistic view of,” if you don’t vote Labor you’re with the fascists,” just pisses me off.

    And Kaye, if Labor had actually had some gumption to do what you suggested, re refugees, Adani, Newstart, may I even suggest that Shorten would be PM now. I know so many people who said they just could not vote for Labor any more, its not funny. At the end of the day sitting on the fence just gets you ripped pants. Regardless of what lies Murdoch told- a positive message of a vision of the future and how these problems need to be handled is what many of us were hoping for. We didn’t get it. Its going to be tough, made worse by the criminal negligence being shown now, but somebody has to made the decision. Pussy footing around problems is just putting off the inevitable- this planet is dying, and we helped its demise. That’s a fact. We are the 5th biggest polluter on this planet thanks to coal. A fact. We have a government who instead of putting the royalties made by coal in order to invest in new technology we have greedy bastards with pockets to fill back, and a ALP leader helping them by sprucking coal. A fact. So what happens? You vote Green. At least they have policies to help us into this black reality.

    What is that quote?
    “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within”. ― Will Durant.

    Plans must be made. Plans for educating our young people for a reality that is coming far too quickly, plans for this country, that is being chewed up by coal, and water diversion and other countries stealing precious water. Labor is not that way forward. Its already dead. We have to be the change. We cant rely on politicians to do that for us.

  44. Joe Carli

    To complete my post from Dec 29, ;10.48 am….The narrow window that requires the child to have at least a good knowledge of the 3 R’s is dictated to by the future possibility ..and ..I..would say imperative requirement for any person to develope into a useful member of society with both a knowledge of capability and a confidence in their capabilities..of that student being apprenticed into either a trade or a social profession after their secondary education, to round out their general knowledge of how things work and how laying the “foundations” of social needs will create the form and structure of any tertiary education they proceed into for an advanced career.

    I base my observations on a working aquaintance in my trade with one ; Professor Igor Kluvanic (now deceased), who was recruited to set up the mathematics dept’ of Flinders University…He was from the once Czecoslavakia and taught and worked with pure mathematics…He was building an extension on his house at Brighton and while myself and my brickie mate ; Frank did the building construction, He..the Prof’..did any welding and electrical work needed on site..he could do this because one of the requirements when he finished secondary school in that communist state was that he had to learn a trade (electrical engineering) BEFORE he could go on to study his career in mathematics….

    There, is the simple yet pure distillation of social balance where the child progresses NOT to the chancey life based on a “just-in-time” dumb-arsed capital/consumer system, but rather to a nous of understanding of how to marry practical requirement to theoretical developement…It’s why China today is streaking ahead of the West in all areas of developement..it is why the Soviets could put a man in space first and then a space station in orbit WAY before the shit-for-brains capital based nations could do the dollar numbers to justify any kind of action at all!

    (btw..I did tell you to go and get effed, Drake..didn’t I?…good…now go and do it!)

  45. Joe Carli

    jaq..: ” Joe Carli- are you or have you ever been a teacher?”….why yes..of a sort..I have taught more than one lad in apprentice training under my mentorship..sometimes inheriting the bugger-ups of their secondary education…so they come to the job all disdain, sarcastic and couldn’t-give-a-toss…..a combination of patience and philosophy is needed to turn a potential delinquent into a competent tradie…and unlike the school teacher, who can pass on any “failed” child to the next year’s teacher, there is no other stop from the trade training for a difficult person..so the training HAS GOT TO WORK….it has to…or pity the child.

    Noe THAT is the end of the convers’ for me…cheerio.

  46. jaq

    Sorry Joe thats not teaching education- thats teaching a skill- a different thing entirely. They come to you because they want to earn a living, not because they have to. You are not judged on your ability to come up with the goods, as far as some crony who hasnt been in school since they were 17 has decided which marks are indicative of not the child’s ability to learn, but your ability to teach. Teacher’s dont “pass on any failed children ” they try their best aided by their insight to guide a child to what they need help with- at least the good ones do.

    Yeah, I’m not surprised you just buggered off.Patronising much?

  47. Kaye Lee

    Joe,

    Can you tell me what a “failed” child is?

    To quote you, “could you elucidate on just what that is if you don’t mind?…I am very interested…”

    It’s great that you have had apprentices with you to observe and learn your trade (and do the shit jobs for really cheap that the tradies don’t want to do).

    I would like to hear how you would have handled this situation. A girl in my year 9 class who had potential wasn’t doing her maths homework. My policy was, after three times, I would send a note home for the parents to sign just to inform them so they could help encourage them. When the note didn’t come back, I took the kid aside to speak to her. She broke down and told me that her dad was an alcoholic who was pimping her out to his mates. Was she a “failed child”? Aside from informing the school counsellor, I offered to come in early to help her catch up with one-on-one before school lessons. She ended up doing ok.

    Or I could have just said fuck off, as appears to be your way of dealing with things.

  48. Joe Carli

    jaq..: ” Sorry Joe thats not teaching education- thats teaching a skill- a different thing entirely.”…..you do realise, I suppose..seeing as YOU’RE the one with the “edukation”…that you have performed an almost perfect non sequitor there..don’t you?…for if I teach an apprentice how to use a slide-rule to calculate the volume of concrete reguired for a foundation, or how to use a roofing square to calculate the cuts in the pitch of rafters in a roof or the riser and tread measurement on the stringer of a stair…that’s “skill teaching”…whereas if a class teacher teaches a student how to master trigonometry or to calculate using pi..or algebraic equations…THAT’S education….but in your case, I’d be inclined to say it was more a case of irony!

    I won’t respond to KL…she’s a nutter.

  49. Michael Taylor

    FFS Joe.

    If the best you can say to a reasoned response is “she’s a nutter” then there’s no hope for you.

  50. Matters Not

    MT – settle down! Kl, imbued with the missionary ideology (rescuing people from both real, potential and imagined damnations) which has historically characterised the teaching profession probably sees Joe as just another type of a dramaturgical challenge.

  51. jaq

    Well said Kaye.

    Again…Joe, why so angry all the time? What do you have to prove? And no, neither Kaye nor myself are nutters thanks. Educating a mind that has no experience of the world is not the same as teaching a skill- regardless of whether maths is involved or not because the cognitive ability of a child differs to one of a teeanger or a young adult for a start. I too had a child in my Year 5 class being abused by his father- he was a very intelligent engaged child who became more and more withdrawn and caused me to start asking questions until finally his mother was able to take him away from the father. Do you think he was a “failed child?” Do you think I failed him in that instance? I think that really once you start on ground that’s unfamiliar you really need to just stop. And name calling? Really?

  52. Joe Carli

    As an aside, an’ I know there are some here who will appreciate it, I’d like to tell youse about a moment of father/son tradie bonding we had this Xmas…My son came over for Chrissy dinner and I handed him a beer…Asahi beer as a matter of fact..and say!…not a bad drop…not bad at all!…but it wasn’t a screw top cap…”I need an opener” he said…luckily, just there on the shelf was my old fold-out carpenter’s 3 ft’ rule…I took it and used it like we always did back in the old days to flip the top off my beer and I then handed it to him and he did the same…as the cap spiralled into the lounge, we clinked the necks of the bottles…”MAAATE!” we cried in unison!

    Hey!…what happened to my other post just before this one?

  53. Kaye Lee

    One of my proud moments when first teaching was when my boss had to come and inspect me. I had the bottom year 10 class who, because of standardised testing, had to do the same curriculum as the top class. The topic that day was logarithms. So in walks my boss and asks one of the kids, what is a logarithm. My heart sank during the brief silence that followed, until the kid hesitantly replied “A power of ten?” I could have kissed him.

    He didn’t just know how to use logarithms (or a slide rule), he knew why they worked and that knowledge could then be applied further in other contexts.

    And as technology changed things like slide rules and log tables became redundant – we have calculators and computers now.

    Joe, I have great respect for tradespeople. They do things that I would not have a clue on how to begin. They are experts in their craft. I like to think that I was pretty good at my craft too.

  54. Joe Carli

    Kaye Lee…your little taunt above reminds me of a scene in that old film with Dustin Hoffman..: “Marathon Man”, where the soft-spoken ex-concentration camp “dentist” has Hoffman’s character strapped in the chair and he taunts him with placating analogies before he suddenly sticks his dental probe into an exposed nerve in the tooth…and then in the same calming voice and tone proceeds to placate his writhing patient with a balm of oil of cloves to soothe the pain…

    and yes..Kaye….I would agree YOU ARE good at your “craft”…one can tell by your retained congregation…you are very good!

  55. Kaye Lee

    Joe,

    You obviously have a huge chip on your shoulder which I would speculate comes from a bright kid who, for whatever reason, had to cut short his “formal” education (whatever that means). Your further study as an adult does not seem to have dulled that pain. That could be completely wrong. Just as wrong as your paranoia shown by your continual accusations that everyone is out to get you. Sometimes you just talk shit Joe.

  56. jaq

    Oh and Joe, the reason children in China do so well academically ( they also have the highest instances of child suicide in the world FYI) is simply that their PARENTS value education. A child that is brought up with a world view of learning and opportunities as a must and a positive, will do well- as in children whose parents read to them early are more than likely to have a broader vocabulary. Just as someone who is well educated would know that work and career opportunities change, and they need to find another outlet for work when theirs has dried up. THATS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

    And you dont need to be a professor to work that out.

  57. Joe Carli

    Jeez!..you’re a couple of miserable pricks!… 🙂 🙂

    and hey!..what happened to my longer earlier post..that was a timeless piece…was that your work, Mr CIA man, Roswell?…

  58. DrakeN

    Kaye Lee: ” Sometimes you just talk shit Joe.”

    “Sometimes” is a gross understatement.

    “You obviously have a huge chip on your shoulder…”

    A well balanced individual, he has chips on both shoulders…

    …as well as a massively inflated view of his own intelligence and relevance to the broader society.

  59. Michael Taylor

    Joe, nobody has touched your comment. It’s not in the deleted comments and it’s not in the spam file.

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