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Category Archives: Your Say

The corrupt cat of capitalism

It’s out of the bag …. the corrupt cat of capitalism … this corporate Tom has caught its last mouse. With the Banking Royal Commission drawing to a close, there is speculation whether there will be charges laid against certain heads of banking for fraudulent activities. Now there is a speculation!

But now, thanks to social media exposing in dribs and drabs, with personal story and video evidence shot on phones and mini-cams, all those corporate crimes that could once be hidden under cloak of “old-boy” conspiracy or cassock of the confessional … or simply from a lack of reporting in the once monopoly of the mainstream media … the full-light of day has hit their upturned, open-mouthed and shamed faces! Caught “polishing the silver”.

Knowing as we do now, that one doesn’t even get a foot-in-the-door for these high-echelon jobs without a certificate from a recognised “top end of town” private school education … The same goes for appointments to the high court judiciary and most of the Govt’ authorities … old school chums … as they say. I cannot recall many white-collar crims from so high position getting a stretch in chokey from one of their old class-mates. Sure, Alan Bond got a stretch … but then he never was “one of theirs”, always was a “pretender” … common chappy … doncha know? In contrast, there was Chris Skase … an old Caufield Grammar Boy … He didn’t go down because he was crook with a bad case of “running asthma” … I believe … and he got a ticket to run to Spain to live out his days in delightful shame … the upper middle-classes do have a conscience after all. And then there was “The Goanna” (Kerry Packer) and all those drugs and that gold that was pinched from a safe somewhere … but then the law never could work out quite who he was … we could at a pinch … but hey! … who are we?

Of course Rupert confessed to having the “most humble day of his life” and he got away with the lot on the strength of that head bowing moment and was saved from the total ignominy of a “pie-in-face” moment by the quick actions of his (now ex) wife who, if there was justice in the alimony courts, must have increased her payment by as much as 25% for that one little action … there are some sins that can never be forgiven!

But let’s not dwell on past crimes and criminals. Let us get back to this Banking Royal Commission that almost never happened because those “in-house” financial representatives of the upper-middle criminal class, the LNP, did their damnest to stop it! So now we have the exposed crimes, the exposed criminals and the final act of law is about to be delivered …

Will the law be seen to be done? That is the question.

Most of us have dealings with these large corporations and utilities and institutions. Corporations like banking, energy supply, telecommunications, petroleum suppliers, public transport, health, education, food and household supermarkets … all the usual accoutrements that allow a society to function smoothly … in short, our very existence relies upon the honesty of these suppliers to deliver products to our household. But I reckon you could almost guarantee to a private corporation that they are all involved like the banking/financial sector in some sort of covert corrupt practices.

They learned it on the playing fields of their private schools, you could say. The bills that come into my household from many of those corporations are so convoluted, with clauses and plans and contracts so loquaciously legalese verbose that it would take Mr Squiggle to draw a positive and knowing conclusion from the tangle!

I have sat at the end of the phone trying to get a clear and concise plan for my internet/phone use from one of the major Telcos for hours at a time and to no avail … every other Pilipino “Hamish” or “Louise” or “Kevin” call-centre person telling me a different thing and every bill that comes in more confusing than the last … and the same with many utilities and corporate accounts … and if there is one thing common to every small-time crook and swindler, from a front-bar Rolex seller to a front of the house shonky used car salesman, it is their capacity to confuse their intended target … hence the convoluted accounts and plans and contracts of all those above corporations … They are all crooked! And there is not one, I’d warrant, if brought before a Royal Commission that would not be found to be operating some sort of subversive swindle involving robbing blind either their customers or the government.

Which brings us to that other arm of corporate criminality: The LNP.

Now this here’s a little bewdy, folks … only a dozen or two owners … never used on Sundays and always ready to start-up and drive away! … drive away investigations, commissions, ICACs and/or any look into corporate crime that could involve themselves or their members in name dropping in low places or a connection with stuffed, brown-paper bags full of “folding greens” … you could call the LNP the “Vegans of Venality” … they live off the “green stuff” … and the only reason they seek office, every person Jack/Jill of them is to line the pockets of their own family or their old chums in the corporate sector. No other reason … no ideal of “for the benefit of the State” … no hand on heart for “the greater good” of the citizens of the state … just one downright, honest to their God objective: “Rob the f#ckers blind” … before they are temporarily voted from office and can re-organise their sucker troops to give them the keys to the treasury once more.

The Liberal Party started here in SA, you know … you can go to their State Branch website and see there that they trace their roots back to the “National Defence League” … a nice little coterie of “chums” like the original Downer and co. George Fife and his “confidential clerk” Charles Flaxman … they were all privy to the shenanigans of the South Australia Company that led the charge to form the party that professed the same rapacious and deceitful policies that the LNP professes today! Nothing has changed … neither the criminal intent, the fraud, the vicious treatment of the poor, weak and vulnerable … it is all there in the denied (by them) history … the foundations laid down at the same time they laid the foundations of the large, private schools so prevalent to their twisted educations … they can’t hide from history any longer, the text books are being re-written.

When corporations rob, they do it with sweets, when they steal, they do it with charm and when they kill, they do it with hired help … and when they want the whole grubby mess covered up, they do it under the cover of their old school tie.

Corporations, politicians, high judiciary, heads of authorities … all stacked to the gilded rafters with a “consciousness of kind” camaraderie.

But now … the cat is out of the bag … where will it run to? Watch this social media space!

What does a minute’s silence mean?

It means, “shut the f*ck up!”

It means, make no noise!

It means let me think for a minute. Let me reflect.

It does not mean blow bugles and beat drums. It does not mean raise flags and banners, sing songs of victory and glory and righteous pride.

Noise is the enemy of silence.

Pomp and ceremony are the enemy of reflection, of thinking, of genuine not confected emotions.

Nauseating pomp and excruciating ceremony and all the commercialism that these are cocooned in, do nothing more than mock the genuine sentiment that brought about this, the most eloquent form of expression, the moment of silence.

There is no more powerful, no more phosphorescent sign of hypocrisy than the three-word-slogan -because that’s what sentences too often uttered become – than the catchcry, “lest we forget!” It is an insult to those who have died and an insult to those who have survived; those who see the bombs – our bombs! – scorching the planet to its core, who hear the groans of pain and agony, of despair, of despondency, of the savage loss of their loved ones, of their homes, their farms, everything they hold dear and are wondering what is the point of this three-word-slogan?

Lest we forget what? What exactly?

And who is this “we?”

“We” that is the common man and woman has never caused a single war. Never!

The common man and woman looks at their children and grandchildren, their siblings, their ageing mums and dads, uncles, aunts, cousins, neighbours, tomatoes and zucchini growing in their vegie patch and rejoice. They need nothing more. That is their ultimate, their heaven. War is the very last thing they want. They do not start it and they do not impose it. No common man or woman wants to lose a jot of it and if the politicians were just common men and women, they’d make sure that this heaven is nurtured and nourished.

All politicians. In all countries.

But politicians are not are they? They are not common men and women, I mean. They are certainly not there to nurture and nourish an earthly Heaven, one that is populated by men and women, with hearts and minds and bodies that age and ache as they do. Men and women who are unequivocally mortal and with very short lives.

Politicians despite what they tell us are there to serve those who have no respect for all those things that make up a common man and woman’s Heaven.

Lest we forget?

“We” have forgotten, “we” forget and “we” do not learn because nothing, in effect, ever changes.

From the days of the 300 Spartans to this very moment, nothing has changed, nothing has been learnt, nothing shall be remembered.

Nothing promotes war than parades of phalanxes of current and past soldiers, of soldiers’ children and grandchildren, with glistening steel raised high, of shining medals, of over-starched uniforms and over-polished, boisterous boots. Nothing speaks more clearly of the powerlessness of the ordinary man and woman and the absolute and indomitable power of the elite, the war mongers.

Nothing extinguishes humility as effectively as pride. Monuments, the budgets of which can lift a nation out of poverty, give shelter to the homeless, treatment to the sick, untold wisdom to the students are monuments of pride.

And Pride is a path to ruin.

Nothing will change other than the faces of the sanctimonious politicians who stand straight as an insouciant post with their right arm rising to a salute.

The last post, bugled and sung and acted out over and over again for all eternity. Speech after sententious speech, rhetoric trying to rival Pericles’ Funeral Oration, flows out of their mouth with emotions so hollow, so vacuous, so insincere that hardly a single syllable of those speeches will be heard, or heeded or remembered a minute after they’ve been uttered. Not the words, not the dramaturgy, not the histrionics.

Dissembling and dissimulating at their most monstrous, at their most grotesque.

If “we” are to remember anything, it is that politicians lie, politicians are oily, unctuous beasts; that politicians send us to wars, wars that we have not caused and wars that we do not want, wars that are anything but silent, anything but harbingers of peace or nurturers of our earthly Heaven.

If “we” are to remember anything it is that we shouldn’t fictionalise wars. That we shouldn’t mythologise it, that we shouldn’t romanticise it, that we shouldn’t clog History with wars and heroes and victims of wars. There are no moral lessons in wars, only immoral ones.

Thucydides, a soldier himself, tells us that he wrote the History of the Peloponnesian War so as to see what war does to morality. What he could learn about man’s character and how it’s affected by war. What he saw displeased him enormously. War destroyed morality, morality being the most crucial part of man’s character.

“We” do not want Trump’s parade, or that of North Korea, among many, many others.

“We” want the war mongers, the greedy and the gluttonous powerful, those deluded enough to think that money and power will give them physical immortality, those who think that making funeral orations in front of cameras give them a moral advantage over their political adversaries, to stop.

Just stop!

“We” want them to be silent and to reflect and to let us reflect.

That’s what “we” want!

Murdoch strikes at democracy

By Stephen Fitzgerald

The first German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, said there were two sights the public should not see: The making of laws and the making of sausages. To this list of enduringly nauseating spectacles we should add one more: The political machinations of media moguls. It’s called “one-sided censorship.” So, it only goes half way towards removing freedom of speech but, it goes all the way to undermining democracy.

The headlines read: “Murdoch press a threat to democracy: Cameron”. Senator Cameron said he would take a motion to Labor caucus seeking to widen the existing inquiry into the media to look specifically at News Limited’s “absolute hatred” of Labor.

Going after Labor leaders is one of Rupert’s favourite pastimes. Rather than hunting lions in Africa or tigers on the Punjab – That’s way too dangerous and way too hard and goes nowhere towards right wing corporate control and exploitation of society.

As an example, the response from the average bucko in the street is that Bill Shorten is an idiot. Oh really, on what do you base that powerful observation? The response is always the same – “Because he is.” Whereas, the truth would be: “Because Rupert Murdoch told me so.” It only takes a little tiny bit of observation to work out who the idiots are in politics and, it’s not Bill Shorten, as the polls are now showing.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd launched an incendiary attack on Tony Abbott and News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, who he claims have undermined Australian democracy and contributed to the “orgy of political violence” that led to Malcolm Turnbull’s ousting.

Murdoch blew in to take a swipe at Turnbull for being too conservative and usher in the extreme right wing of the LNP. Right-wing media have given a megaphone to reactionary forces in the Liberal Party. ABC political editor Andrew Probyn outlined what look like the very plausible entrails of the evident involvement of Rupert Murdoch in the recent Liberal Party leadership spill.

I vaguely remember, somewhere back, Turnbull having a go at Murdoch. Now, would Murdoch really be that vindictive, that he would make a concerted effort, to get rid of our elected Prime Minister, because Malcolm wouldn’t play ball?  Yes, it’s diabolical.

In the U.S. the headlines read: “Corruption? Is Rupert Murdoch Hacking our Democracy?” Reagan exempted Murdoch from foreign ownership rules and eliminated the “Fairness Doctrine.” Rupert Murdoch then became the propaganda recruit for Reagan. A Reagan bitch or, was it the other way around?

Rupert Murdoch bought the Rockefeller mansion in New York for $44 million in cash. The fact that the house used to belong to a Rockefeller shows that Murdoch understands his spiritual ancestors and his role in the world. Every era needs an evil, heartless elitist it can blame its problems on and Rupert foots the bill for the James Bond villain.

If there’s one man in the world who might ever possibly build a device to control the weather and freeze us all unless the governments of the world pay him several hundred billion dollars and recognize Fox News’s copyright of the phrase “Fair and Balanced,” it would be Rupert.

The man has amassed a giant fortune and news empire through consistently pandering to the lowest common denominator and relentless shock journalism, in true William Randolph Hearst fashion. He got big in Britain by putting topless girls on page three of The Sun and the Daily Mirror. If you recall, he was unable to use this tactic in the U.S. They are not so easily titillated so he had to latch on to stuff like the non-existent killer bee threat to get a foothold.

Of course, he also owns the Fox networks, which have given the world some great TV shows, but mostly tasteless sitcoms and horrible reality shows about gold-digging idiot whores. And then there’s Fox News. Rupert must have gotten up one day and said, “I don’t like Labor, so I’m going to start my own news channel where I can hang shit on them all day. Excellent. It’s not really the politics of Fox News that are entirely objectionable as much as Murdoch’s ability to start up his own blatantly obvious propaganda news network.

With all the talk about evil corporations around today, and yesterday, even those clowns at Enron and the drop kicks on Wall Street couldn’t compete with a good old-fashioned robber baron like Murdoch. He’s a super-rich, selflish jerk who doesn’t even attempt to hide it. The only constant for Murdoch is power, money and self-interest.

“Thanks, Rupert. What, you don’t have enough already! You feel the need to suck the life out of society along with the rest of your parasitic cronies. We have independent and social media now and we see straight through you. Leave our democracy alone or we will switch you off.”

‘Click,’ Murdoch’s gone. It’s that easy.

Oh, for a government that values values

By Loz Lawrey

I constantly hear the word “values” bandied about in public debate. What are values?  The label commonly refers to moral and ethical principles or standards of behaviour, but what do the politicians who pepper their rhetoric with the term really mean by it?

If you google the term you’ll lose yourself in a plethora of examples and definitions of “core” and “personal” values, but according to Department Of Home Affairs Fact Sheet 07, “Life in Australia: Australian values” are:

  • respect for the freedom and dignity of the individuals
  • equality of men and women
  • freedom of religion
  • commitment to the rule of law
  • parliamentary democracy
  • a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play, compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good
  • equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background.

That sounds OK to me and resonates completely with my own progressive views. It reassures me that beneath all the bluster Australia just might be at heart a modern, forward-looking nation, doing its best to learn and grow with the times. But do the priorities and policies of the (currently Morrison) Coalition government reflect those values?

Most applicants for Australian visas are required to acknowledge this “Australian values statement” as part of entry application process:

Perhaps this requirement to understand and acknowledge our society’s values should also apply to those who seek public office, because it’s clear that some of our federal parliamentarians subscribe to values sets of their own, ones that bear no correlation to the Home Affairs definition. What are these people even doing serving as representatives of the people?

We’ve often heard Pauline Hanson bandy the term “Australian values” about (they’re “Judeo-Christian”, according to her) as she advocates for her divisive hate-driven white supremacist agenda.

Where do her priorities align with the Home Affairs template, if at all?

We’ve heard Peter Dutton wave the “values” flag as he has, on multiple occasions, sought to whip up communal antipathy towards Somali youth (“African “gangs”), Lebanese Muslims, refugees and anyone who dares to contradict him or call him out.

When he was Prime Minister, Tony Abbott (remember him?) would refer to “Team Australia” and its “values” whenever the ABC’s reporting irritated or embarrassed him. His own sense of self-importance would take a hit when the reportage mirrored the facts, rather than his simplistic sloganeering. Like Pauline Hanson, he also used “Australian values” to support a “ban the burka” (read “anti-Muslim”) motion put forward by Nationals MP George Christensen.

The war on welfare recipients conducted by the Coalition was hardly rolled out under the banner of “a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play, compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good”.

Values? “Equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background” clearly does not apply to those desperate refugees who came to us by boat. They get abuse and torture instead, as they are driven to insanity or suicide on Nauru by the Coalition’s calculated cruelty.

Shouldn’t values inform our public policy-making? Shouldn’t they be the overarching first principle of government? Sadly, “values” is now officially a weasel word, an often racist dog whistle of the political right. It is a useful tool in the conservative arsenal, a term that somehow implies an unearned moral superiority. It is often used to silence dissent and shut down debate. After all, who would dare argue with or call “values” into question?

We live in an age of spin, a time when political messaging often has more to do with expedience than honourable leadership. Our current Prime Minister (this week) happens to be a former marketing man, a salesman. He embodies the Coalition’s preference for salesmanship over substance. It never occurs to them that electoral rejection of their policies may be based on the shortcomings of the policies themselves rather than the way they were “sold” to voters. From their perspective, Barnaby Joyce’s skills as a “retail politician” made him an excellent Honourable Member and Deputy PM. (Pause for laughter).

Scott Morrison keeps saying things like “what Australians want is …” or “the Australian people want us to …” as if he actually knows what we, the Australian people, value.

He clearly does not. If he did, we’d have a clear policy for addressing climate change and reducing emissions. We would be endorsing renewable energy as the only way forward. We wouldn’t have the cruelty and abuse of offshore detention. We wouldn’t see the dismissal, with the Coalition’s customary contempt, of the concerns of Indigenous Australians. We wouldn’t have been subjected to a divisive plebiscite on same sex marriage.

And then there’s religion. Ay ay ay! What can we say? I intend no disrespect to people of faith. I believe that we are all people of faith one way or another, not just those who embrace Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, Guru Nanak, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other deity. At the end of the day, we all believe in something, even if it’s sport, sausage sizzles, Scientology or Dale Carnegie’s self-improvement for salesmen program.

We each live by our own understanding and concepts, regardless of how we came by them. The fact that so many belief-systems exist is surely the greatest argument for secular government and the separation of church and state there can be. A secular system is the only place, the only platform upon which many differing faiths can co-exist. Without it we’re living back in the time of the crusades and the inquisition, not here in 2018.

I have no problem with religion but I do object to the endorsement of homophobia as a “value” by religious institutions. A weasel word in itself, wrapped in the weasel-skin cloak of “religious freedom”, the term “values” is put forward as justification for an agenda of discrimination against a minority not on any proven, scientific or evidence-based grounds, but on outdated, archaic prejudice and bigotry which should have no place in the modern world.

According to Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies, however, “Church schools should NOT be forced to play by secular rules. It goes to the very heart of religious freedom that religious organisations should be able to operate according to their religious ethos.”

What is he actually saying? The subtext appears to be: “We religious folk are special. We are superior.

We can flout the laws of the land. We will use funding from secular taxpayers to promote our agenda of homophobia and social control. We will claim tax-exempt status while doing so.”

“Religious ethos.” Now there’s a weasel term! You could endorse any hateful agenda to divide and conquer with that one.

Scott Morrison became, just a few days ago, the latest in the conga line of inadequate Prime Ministers to lead what is apparently now known as the ATM government, a failed government which has now wasted years of Australia’s precious time.

In the name of “leadership” we have, over several years, been force-fed slogans and catch-cries, lies and misrepresentations. Ideology seems to be the problem. This Coalition ATM government simply does not subscribe to the values promoted by its own Department of Home Affairs.

The “public good”? “Mutual respect, tolerance, fair play, compassion”? Forget them, they are “leftist values”, part of a “leftist agenda”. Remember Peter Dutton’s warning that “a single act of compassion” could destroy the cordon of cruelty his government has erected in the name of “border security”?

“Leftist” or otherwise, our country deserves a government that values values. Not weasel pretend-values, not a list of definitions to be ignored but actual heartfelt real dinky di ones that truly define our aspiration to become the best, most humane society we can be.

Wentworth: Something right out of the classics!

By George Theodoridis

It’s Thucydides all over again, isn’t it? I mean, it’s so bloody obvious! Here, in this war we have the classic “Thucydides Trap” a phrase coined by Graham Tillett Allison Jr a professor and a national security officer in the US administration.

A phenomenon that has become a game the sort that John Varoufakis the Greek economist and erstwhile Minister of Finance in the Geek Gov’t, plays very well.

Indubitably so! A small State declares war on a larger State. It happens all the time, if indeed, not all the time.

In this game, Turnbull was a big State – so to speak and Dutton was a small but emerging State – so to speak.

Here are the Historiographer’s own words said in his History of the Peloponnesian War: “What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.”

Beware of rising powers if you’re too powerful. You frighten them and they get angry and declare wars against you.

OK, the end result re the Turnbull v Dutton war had a kink in its proceedings and neither Turnbull nor Dutton won, unlike the war (thirty blood shedding years of it!) between Athens and Sparta in which Sparta won unequivocally.

And that war too, like the one that’s been going one within the LNP for Zeus only knows how long, was an internecine war: Greeks against Greeks, Libs against Libs. The Greeks lost back in 5thC BC as will the Libs, whatever the result in Wentworth tomorrow.

I love a good war where no blood is shed. Brain cell to-brain cell, moral stand to-moral stand. Two bands of warriors throwing mud pies at each other, the one with the least number of mud pies covering their faces wins. It will be the Libs.

Thucydides said that he wanted to write about the war (one in which he participated by the way) because he wanted to see what happens to men’s morals during a war.

He didn’t like what he saw.

All men shed their morals during the battle. That’s the first victim of war. Morals are left back by the home’s hearth, next to the baby and the young wife, next to the elderly mother and father, next to the statue of the god you favour.

And it’s the case with all wars. I mean wars, not little tiffs and scraps and exchanges of insults.

Wars.

Like the one between the mild-mannered Libs (I am told as I write, that there is such a species, examples of John Hewson and even Fraser are proffered) and the wild-mannered Libs (not the slightest doubt about their existence) of which one lot will lose and one will win.

In maths, when we multiply two minuses (and in my “leftie” mind, all right-wingers are minuses, albeit one lot, in this game is less so than the other) we end up with a positive. I must admit though I just don’t know what a positive in this multiplication of minuses will look like.

The Greeks v Greeks scenario brought about a dictatorship in Athens – Athens, the heart, head and womb of Democracy and the cradle of civilization, a rule by thirty tyrants, the word meaning extreme conservatives, far right, in today’s parlance.

In a place like Athens, it wouldn’t last long and it didn’t survive beyond eight months; and that was the positive. Athens lost the war, was ruled conservatively for eight moths but this tyranny gave them the incentive to collect their wits their courage and what manpower they had left, fought the tyrants, killed them and regained their Democracy. (It’s a bugger when one thinks of the fact that this Democracy is what, in the end, condemned their most prominent and most wise man, Socrates to death but that’s another story of another war).

Whatever the result then of today’s by-election, one thing is certain: the Libs will lose; which will ineluctably bring about another “loss,” the one in their mates’ ranks, that of the Nationals, where Mr Barnaby Joyce will most probably accomplish his obsessed fantasy, that of regaining the leadership of that party, having toppled its current leader, Michael McCormack after which, Joyce ought to change his name to either Lazarus or Barrabas!

Which Libs will have the least number of mud pies on their face? To a leftie like me, it matters not. A win-win situation because we lefties see this result as a sure precursor of the Libs losing the Federal election next May. But we often count our chickens prematurely.

One can hope that the least “minus” lot does have the fewer mud pies spread across their faces but this isn’t a battle of two sides; it is one where there are at least four opponents and these may or may not bring an unexpected result but they could bring about a different political make up and a moral chemistry `a whole different vibe – in the subsequent Parliament.

Many issues that solicit moral circumspection, such as climate change, taxation, Adani, the shift of the Oz embassy to Jerusalem, religious freedom, will be given – I suggest – the requisite amount of cogitation and have those previously exercised excesses curbed considerably if either Kerryn Phelps or Tim Murray win.

And then there is also the other mud-slinger, the one who, like the god Apollo, slings from afar, the one who has lost the original war, the leadership of the Liberal Party and of the country, Mr Malcolm Bligh Turnbull.

His sling is a tweet and he’s enjoining the honourable denizens of Wentworth to beware about the lot that run the party now, after his assassination.

And then there is also his son, Alex Turnbull, who leaves no mud pie unslung. “Teach them a lesson!” He exhorts the very same denizens.

Finally, I’d like to remind the gamers what had happened to the conspirators of Caesar’s assassination on that fatal Ides of March, in 44BC and what followed that bloody event: A mountain of blood and gore rose up from it and it swallowed up the Roman Republic and all its benign and orderly legislature from which new event followed the emergence of a most malevolent savagery, trying desperately and brutally to manage an uncontrollable empire.

And so, I’m off to the war ground.

I’m taking my own pies – meat ones – and sauce and my own beer.

Whoever loses, for a leftie like me, it’ll be a fun show!

To woo or not to woo?

By George Theodoridis

It seems to me that we have a pronounced, a phosphorescently obvious reluctance to employ women; and by “we” I don’t just mean we, the men, though I must admit we, the men, are by far the greater culprits of this reluctance but women also, some of whom surprise me with the vehemence of their reluctance; and it isn’t simply a reluctance, it is, when one looks a little closer, an utter refusal, actually. These women, I notice, are not mere agnostics to the view that women are just as capable, just as likely to be as excellent at their work as are their male counterparts, or even just as ordinary,  just as harsh and hard-hearted and just as banal and indistinguished as men; or to the view that women should be represented in at least equal numbers and – Oh, Zeus forfend! – with equal recognition and equal pay! Nor are they merely agnostic as to the view that women have the inalienable right to be given equal opportunity during the selection process. No, these women are in fact, anti-gender equality and anti-gender balance.

And if you don’t hear their assertion that “men can do it better!” in these very words, you will certainly hear it and feel it in the tone and sentiment behind their own phraseology: “I’m not interested in gender, I’m not interested in quotas, I am only interested in merit!” What they do not utter but you can hear the words bouncing off the walls of your brain is, “but men have balls!”

They insist that when they go about selecting the people who will sit at their board or at the various offices in their organisation, they look not at the gender of the applicants but at their merit as it relates to that position. That’s what they’re adamant about. Nor do they look at – these women will assert – anything else, like race, colour, religion, and other distinguishing marks about the body of the applicant.

And then, when one has a quick look at the phalanx of the men who surround them – all looking like they’ve been pushed out of the same factory and from the same mould and sees that this “merit” thing which their selectors said they so lovingly hunted for is glaringly absent, one is very tempted to ask them what wooing tactic or tactics they employed that has caused this ear-smashing bellowing consequence of “men, not merit?” and the screeching refrain, “we want balls, not vaginas and certainly not brains nor hearts!”

What method did they use?

That of the peacock, perhaps, spreading his colourful feathers across and doing a mating dance. In other words, was this selection process a case of hormonal needs.

Perhaps they’ve used Orwell’s anti-dictionary where ‘merit’ is defined as ‘wickedness’.

Or perhaps it was the old IQ compatibility test: S/he is smarter than me so I won’t choose him/her.

Or, were they inspired by the wooing tactic of some crass, barbarous, bullying, shock jock.

Or by Trump’s “angry clown method” of “I had one beer!”

Merit!

The whole of Plato’s Republic is a search on an accurate definition of merit, of justice, of wisdom. The oracle of Delphi had pronounced him the wisest, the most meritorious man in the whole of Athens and, at his trial, his accusers turned that word to mean smartarse. “You’re a smartarse,” they shouted at him. “A conceited smartarse, going about our streets addling the minds of our youth!”

Socrates objected: “I was wondering why the oracle declared me the wisest man in Athens so I went around asking all those whom we call wise and discovered that though they, themselves said they were wise, they were, in fact, dumb. Then I thought about it,” he continued in his apology, “and discovered that the reason the oracle said I’m the wisest man in this city is because I was wise enough to know that I know nothing; wise enough to know that I am not wise!”

He was sentenced to death for being such a smartarse.

Merit, true merit, is often mistaken for smartarsedness.

This reluctance to employ the female of our species stands of course in stark contrast to the gusto and the alacrity with which we – we, men, in particular – abandon the splendid benefits of peace – serenity, laughter, love, the cooing and gargling of babies, the sound of birds, the armfuls of our harvest, the warm bed in winter, the cool gentle waters of a creek and rush off to the brutal killing fields of war.

Oddly enough we are loathe to create a board room in a corporation or a cabinet of a political party, or in the Presbytery of a religious body based on equal numbers of sex but that reluctance turns into untamed gusto and alacrity when it comes to deciding on our marching off to war; or to incarcerating children and their parents under the most brutal, inhumane conditions, or to removing those children from their parents, stealing whole generations of them and having them live lives of orphanage for the entirety of their existence. The same disposition of reluctance rules us when it comes to our treatment of the most vulnerable in our society, people who are often put into that state of vulnerability because of this disposition of reluctance on our part.

Merit?

The first known and quite arguably the best ever satirist, Aristophanes, saw all this “reluctance v alacrity” game being played out in his 5th century BC society of Athens – Athens, the womb of civilization and the beating (though, at times a little too tentatively) heart of Democracy – and he, Aristophanes, didn’t like it. So he wrote a couple of plays to express this quite profound disgust of his. The one is called “Women of Parliament” and the other “Lysistrata,” both hilarious, both scathingly poignant, both are excoriating accounts of the character of the men who made the stupid laws of his country and who loved sending the youth off to endless and mindless war. Their reluctance of having any women interfere with matters of importance relating to the running of the city and the alacrity with which they placed the city on a war footing.

It was a melancholy sight for anyone with a heart, which like that of Aristophanes, was endowed with the sentiment to feel melancholy.

Reluctance and its antonym, alacrity fought each other ruthlessly before the satirist’s very eyes so he put it up on his stage for all to see. This was a contest which was as glaringly obvious and as shamefully destructive then as it is now, some two and a half thousand years later because it seems that we did not heed Aristophanes’ warnings and the warnings of many others around him, before him and after him – and here we are now, still shouting the catch-cry, “men do it better!”

Lysistrata came first. In 411BC, at the most gruesome peak of what was called The Peloponnesian War, a war that was indubitably a “man’s war” because it was the men who declared it and the women who hated it he wrote a play that has women take over the treasury (then held in the Parthenon) and keeping the males away from it until they signed a peace treaty of their own words.

It is a play by which Aristophanes shows his men where he thinks they keep their brains. They are kept, he suggested, in their testicles and consequently, they think by them and consequently that is why they go to war with such gusto and alacrity. Men think with their balls!

Not so the women, Aristophanes says. The women think with their brains. I admit that am certainly and shamelessly oversimplifying the play and the author’s intent but that is its essence: Men are mindless, and women are mindful. One lot thinks with their balls, the other with their brains.

Lysistrata, a middle-class intelligent woman gathers all the women she can get together from all over Greece, including Sparta with whom Athens is at war and convinces them all to deprive the men of sex until the men from all sides of the war sign a peace treaty. Peace came in no time.

Thirteen years later, in 391, when the war was well and truly over with the devastation of Athens and the final exit of the Spartan dictators from the Athenian parliament, the Athenian men began to behave in the same “balls-brains” way.

This time Aristophanes writes his Women in Parliament in which he has the women dressing up as men and flooding the Parliament – a place sanctified by and for men – and there legislate laws that make living fair for all. “Men wanting to visit whores must, henceforth, first visit the ugly ones and then the pretty ones,” is one of the new laws enacted by these women. Fair enough!

It’s a stern warning to men by the satirist of the day: If you love sex so much, don’t go to war!

A glorious line is uttered by Judith Dench, playing M, in Tomorrow Never Dies, some two and a half thousand years later:

Admiral Roebuck: “With all due respect, M, sometimes I don’t think you have the balls for this job.”

M: “Perhaps. The advantage is that I don’t have to think with them all the time.”

Wooing is a tactic used for mating. How we woo, how we try to convince people – men or women – to join us in our firm, or in our political party, or in our church, our boardroom or our bedroom determines what sort of person we end up with.

Men or women, when they are in too great a majority, they can and often do constitute a power which they can use against the minority. Lord Acton put it well: “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely,” words that have become a well-worn aphorism, one which Orwell dramatised so brilliantly with his Napoleon in Animal Farm.

… Or did they woo the way the three witches in McBeth did? So as to hand a “hollow crown” to someone, a sinecure?

So the LNP want to help the unemployed. What could possibly go wrong?

By Nick Chugg

The latest “brilliant” brain-fart to escape Scott Morrison’s (or as I prefer to refer to him – ScumMo) orifice is a doozy.

As many LNP members have stated, we currently have the smartest most qualified party to ever grace the halls of Australian parliament.

Of course, according to Scotty, the LNP’s latest attack on the unemployed is all about “helping” them to get work and earn money. What could possibly be wrong with the LNP’s self-described “brilliance”?

Channel 9 reported the LNP’s latest attack on the unemployed. Of course, ScumMo coined it in more “double-speak” terminology – “helping” the unemployed. The grand plan is that unemployed people who refuse to take-on fruit picking work will have their “dole” cut for 4 weeks. (Sorry, Channel 9 – it is called ‘social security’ – not ‘the dole’ – and it is a right under social security law).

Firstly, one has to wonder how the LNP have managed to get around social security law and stop social security payments as a form of punishment. Particularly as social security is a right, inscribed into Australian law.

So, what will be the impacts of withdrawing a person’s social security payments for 4 weeks? Well firstly they would be unable to pay their rent or mortgage. Secondly, they will be unable to buy food and pay for any utilities and services such as power, water, gas, insurance, registrations, qualifications, transport, etc. The minimum outcome from stopping a person’s social security payments for 4 weeks is HOMELESSNESS! Homelessness is already a massive issue in Australia and adding to this problem is only going to make it worse. Although it may help the LNP’s mates and their share portfolios by filling up all the PRIVATE prisons the LNP have approved! Our society requires people to have money just to survive. So people without any money will be forced in to begging or crime just to survive. Combined this with the moves of LNP state governments to make begging and homelessness ILLEGAL, and you can clearly see ScumMo and the LNP truly have these people’s best interests in mind – NOT!!

It will certainly help the LNP’s unemployment figures as homeless people are unable to claim social security benefits (you need a permanent residential address to claim social security benefits).

With our current crop of LNP MPs being the smartest and most qualified to ever govern Australia we have to assume they are completely aware of ALL the negative ramifications of this evil, twisted, dysfunctional policy. The LNP seems to be masters of ignoring all academic, considered policies from sociologists, psychologists, ‘welfare’ specialists, NGOs and entities that actually deal with the unemployed. There are still 2 million unemployed and under-employed Australian’s fighting for <250,000 available jobs – of which 25% of those jobs are for highly qualified people with 5+ experience. Unfortunately, creating sufficient jobs for unemployed and underemployed Australians or enabling people to survive in our casualised workforce and society just seems beyond the “brilliance” of the LNP.

So let us assume a person decides to try and work picking fruit, rather than becoming homeless.

With less than 1% of rental properties being suitable for someone receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance, and no ability to save even a minor deposit what happens when an unemployed person force to do fruit-picking needs to find accommodation? What happens when they return to an urban centre to find work again after the 2-6 weeks of fruit-picking is over? As most fruit-picking jobs pay less than the minimum wage how will someone doing temporary work be able to afford two lots of rent? As surely under the current housing and rental crisis no one would want to give up their current rental properties! People on minimum wage are already in rental and mortgage stress, so what are the ramifications for someone on less than the minimum wage having to pay lots of rent, or rent and a mortgage?

Have you actually calculated how many people will end up homeless, ScumMo?

Remember this is the very same LNP which wants unemployed people to move to places where there is a greater chance of finding employment. Under social security law, if you move to a region with higher unemployment (and cheaper rent) you can have your social security cancelled for 13 weeks!

People on social security are already living well below the poverty line. How will they afford transport and relocation costs? Particularly as they have no savings.

So, are ScumMo and the LNP going to pay for their rent on their existing accommodation, relocation costs and transport, when people are forced to move into a rural area for a few weeks work; while the fruit picking lasts? It appears ScumMo is unaware of the rental crisis going on in Australia (most likely ignoring the state of play), where ~1% of Australian rentals are suitable for someone who is on social security. Also, landlords are reticent to rent out their properties to people who are working casually. Nor can casuals get loans or mortgages. Will the LNP provide monetary assistance to people they force to move to rural areas for fruit-picking?

So, is ScumMo going to guarantee landlord’s rental payments while he forces the unemployed to go and fruit-pick in rural areas? Will ScumMo also provide accommodation, schooling and/or childcare for unemployed single parents? Will ScumMo provide suitable accommodation or pay for pet-sitting while unemployed people are forced to travel to rural areas to pick fruit for a few weeks while the work lasts? Or will the unemployed have to share a mattress on the floor with their children and pets, sharing a room with 4-16 other people? (As is currently the case with many people picking fruit).

Of course, said fruit pickers will get a $280/night for accommodation, $188 per day for their food allowance and free childcare and pet care, just like all our politicians? Lol

Will ScumMo guarantee a minimum wage for every unemployed person forced to go and pick fruit? I doubt it, as the LNP currently allow people on internships to be paid far less than the minimum wage; and those forced into ‘work-for-the-dole’ programs, to not be paid at all for their work! The current stories from people on working visas and working-holiday visas to Australia tell a story of chronic underpayment, abuse, substandard accommodation, substandard food, and constant intimidation and threats. Here are just a couple of the many recent stories regarding the abuse of fruit-pickers and seasonal workers in Australia:

One-third of backpackers paid half the legal minimum wage, study finds

Aussies are being ripped off more than ever before, study shows

ScumMo, only 2 days ago you were spruiking you wanted to help people on social security. ScumMo, you and your criminal LNP cronies really are some bizarre form of bipolar, schizophrenic, evil, DUMB, psychopathic numpties.

On climate change, ‘we will adapt’: LNP

By Stephen Fitz

Record breaking hurricane slams Florida. Increased global temperature equates to energy in the atmosphere, equates to extremes in weather, ocean expansion, ice melt and rising sea-levels.

The Liberal Party’s rejection of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, and the subsequent climate change denial is a lie. The word on the street is that the Liberal National Party’s intention, all along, has been that we will adapt to climate change and do nothing else about it.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has launched a bid to secure further donations of as much as $400 million. With $100 million of that earmarked to double the funds set aside for the reef restoration and adaption plan.

“Adaptation plan” What they are saying is, the reef needs to adapt to increased global temperature. No mention of taking remedial action to prevent climate change. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation have shown their hand. They don’t care about rising temperatures … the reef can adapt!

The resistance by the LNP government tells us they have no intention of taking action to prevent climate change and their denial and inaction proves that. Their thinking is the same. Bring on climate change, we will adapt. Screw the electorate, screw Australia and screw the planet and don’t bother trying to fix the problem.

The Liberal government has lied to us by omission. Their intention all along has been to adapt and do nothing about reducing the cause of global temperature increase. Do nothing about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Along with big business they would throw us to the wolves and they need to be exposed for that betrayal.

Traditionally, right wing conservative government ideology is to cling to the status quo. Extreme right-wing governments have no intention of taking action to limit increasing global temperatures. They have lied about their denial of climate change and, one again, their intention all along has been to adapt to extremes in weather and sea level rises. This also plays into the hands of the fossil fuel industry as Morrison backs coal in defiance of the IPCC report.

The United Nations (UN) has urged if people want action on climate change, in some countries, that will require a change of government. In Australia that will mean evicting the extreme right-wing Morrison/Abbot/Dutton LNP government to the political wilderness and in America removing the right-wing Republican government. 35 million Americans experiencing utter devastation from unprecedented hurricanes in the Carolinas and Florida will agree.

Australians experiencing severe state-wide droughts, tornados in Queensland, extreme bush fires conditions, month early cyclones off Queensland, unprecedented extreme weather patterns and the hottest year on record will also agree that something needs to be done.

So, there we have it, the UN the IPCC and the scientists who have prepared 6,000 research papers, on the subject, are urging action on climate change. We have been told that we need to remove extreme right-wing governments to be replaced by more progressive thinking governments prepared to take up the challenge.

The solution then for this new government and, mechanism to gain across the board public support, would be a positive response. This aims at atmospheric Co2 management including, in particular, carbon capture at point of emission, removing Co2 from the atmosphere, reforestation, incentive-based emission reduction guidelines, electricity storage and support for alternative energy.

This has been promised by the Labor if they win the next election. Both government and big business need to take affirmative action on behalf of each and every one of us. If the fossil fuel industry wishes to survive they need to participate and work towards reducing or eliminating their carbon footprint.

‘Political Correctness’ and ‘Cultural Marxism’ – Why the Right is Wrong: A Response to Kevin Donnelly

Above:  Conservative Social Commentator, Kevin Donnelly is a high-profile ‘public intellectual’ – best known for his opinions on Education.  Donnelly also regularly challenges multi-culturalism and radical views on ‘gender fluidity’.  Like many Conservatives, he criticises so-called ‘Cultural Marxism’, (arguably capitalising on fear and ignorance). He argues that ‘Cultural Marxism’ is a threat to Western Civilisation and the legacy of the Enlightenment.  But Donnelly’s opinions deserve to be challenged – For the sake of ‘genuine pluralism’; and for the sake of clarity when it comes to understanding the modern Left.

This is the first of what I hope to be two essays in response to Kevin Donnelly

By Dr Tristan Ewins

Australian Catholic University based public intellectual,  Dr Kevin Donnelly has established himself as one of Australia’s most prominent big ‘C’ Conservative voices: and undoubtedly as an important influence on the ethos of the governing Liberal Party.  This essay is a progressive response to Donnelly’s book, ‘How Political Correctness is Destroying Australia – Enemies Within and Without’.   (probably to be followed by a second essay into the future)

As part of the so-called ‘Culture Wars’ in Australia, Conservatives have decried what they call the ‘Black Armband’ view of the nation’s history, (Historian, Geoffrey Blainey’s term): a view of Australia’s complicity in imperialism and colonialism; and a past Conservatism which disadvantaged minorities.  Instead, Donnelly and those like him emphasise a narrative of Australia’s broad liberal and Christian traditions, (and even of how liberalism developed in tandem with the broader Enlightenment tradition).  Donnelly argues that these have involved pluralism, freedom and intellectual rigour.  

What is ‘Cultural Marxism’ anyway?  Double Standards in our ‘Historic Memory’

While most on the ‘broad Australian Left’ could probably still fit comfortably into the ‘liberal left’ category, Donnelly and other big ‘C’ Conservative thinkers see something more ‘sinister’ at work. The term ‘Cultural Marxism’ is increasingly thrown around with abandon. (Donnelly seems to prefer that to the use of the alternative term, ‘Critical Theory’)  He cites ‘the Left’s’ ‘Long March through the Institutions’ as leading to ‘Politically Correct’ thinking in schools and universities; and more broadly in popular culture.  Importantly; this so-called ‘Politically-Correct’ (PC) outlook often has a tendency to emphasise gender, sexuality, culture and race, (a shift from ‘old left’ emphasis on social class and a critique of capitalism).

Despite most of the ‘broad Australian Left’ arguably identifying as ‘liberal left’, ‘Marxism’ in particular is cited as the ‘bogeyman’.  The reasons for this are obvious: to capitalise on fear, ignorance and confusion. 

Many Conservatives identify ‘Marxism’ as an ‘unbearable evil’;  even though most of them cannot pin-point what the term actually means.  Donnelly refers to Pol Pot and Stalin amongst others as examples of ‘Marxism’.

A more thorough investigation might have identified the place of US bombing in Laos –  in facilitating social collapse, and the consequent rise of Pol Pot,  (this is before mentioning the place of Pinochet’s coup and the mass murder in Chile 1972; the Assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador, 1980; and of the massacre of over half a million Leftists and labour movement activists by Suharto in 1960s Indonesia; or other ‘Cold War atrocities’).

Also, the place of Western intervention in giving rise to an outlook of utter desperation amongst the Bolsheviks in the period spanning 1917 through the 1920s – could accompany a more thorough investigation.  As would the place of the First World War – which set the scene for Russian social collapse, and itself resulted in approximately 20 million deaths.    

Bolshevism specifically degenerated into Stalinism. Other Marxist thinkers such as Karl Kautsky and Julius Martov identified the effective likelihood of this, and the damage consequently done to the broader socialist cause – relatively early on during the Bolshevik Revolution.

Marx himself had identified the threat of ‘Bonapartism’. – whereby a political leader consolidated themselves above social classes and other interests. (That could apply to both Napoleon Bonaparte AND to Louis Napoleon Bonaparte III; and finally to Stalin himself).  Arguably Stalinism – and the Cult of Personality around Stalin – saw this taken to a level previously unthinkable.  Even before Stalin’s rise, ‘Jacobin’ strategies of revolutionary Terror were also an important factor – but that was not the whole story.

To consider the prevailing ‘selectivity’ in our ‘historic memory’: Trotsky’s march against Anarchist dissident Sailors at Kronstadt in 1921 might be compared in nature to Winston Churchill’s sinking of the anchored French Fleet during World War II (July 1940) – following the French surrender to Germany.  While the Bolsheviks responded to what they saw as an existential threat to the Revolution, Churchill considered a scenario (Nazi capture of the French fleet) which could have turned the tide of the War in Hitler’s favour. In Churchill’s case over 1000 French sailors (until then Allied to Britain) were killed. In the case of Kronstadt total causalities were over 10,000, (considering both sides).

(As an aside; If the Bolsheviks had heeded the voice of Rosa Luxemburg (in 1918) a maintenance of liberties may have provided an ‘outlet’ through which the whole situation may have been avoided in the first place in Russia.  But in reality, now we will never know.)

Both acts could be questioned morally.  It could also be argued that desperate circumstances lead to ethically challenging dilemmas, to put it mildly. What is often missing with ‘Conservative critiques’ as usual – is intellectual and moral consistency.  Critics of Trotsky, for instance (and I am not a Trotskyist), are often silent when it comes to other ‘fateful decisions’ such as that of Churchill.  Dissident Marxist critiques of Bolshevism and Stalinism (eg: Kautsky, Martov, Luxemburg) are also largely absent from popular memory. It should not be like this.

Donnelly points to the ‘Frankfurt School’ as the source of the so-called ‘Cultural Marxist’ movement.  The ‘Frankfurt School’ began as an intellectual movement in interwar Germany, before migrating to the US in for fear of Nazism. (Some ‘Critical Theorists’ were to re-establish themselves in Europe following the defeat of Hitler).  Forming the ‘First Generation’ of Critical Theory; thinkers such as Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Eric Fromm and Herbert Marcuse, while retaining a critical disposition against fascism, could not delude themselves about the direction of the USSR under Stalin.

Also, the prospects for the organised working class and traditional socialism had appeared increasingly questionable as fascism rose in Europe.

‘The Frankfurt School’ increasingly became synonymous with ‘Critical Theory’.  Broadly speaking; ‘Critical Theory’ developed a critique of Western culture and an emphasis on minority perspectives and rights.  Some self-identifying ‘Critical Theorists’ tended to suppose that the ‘traditional’ socialist movement’s ‘historical moment’ had passed.

In other words – that the working class had largely been co-opted; in part because of the role of popular culture, to which you could also add other factors, including religion and nationalism. In more recent decades, the decline of ‘Fordism’, factory labour and so on in many countries – has seen an accompanying decline of organised labour as well.

Nonetheless, Marcuse – with his work, ‘One Dimensional Man’ (originally published in 1964) – focused on the socialist project as one of ‘radical negation’ – of ‘a Great Refusal’ (of capitalism) involving ‘minority’ perspectives, including racial minorities, women, students and so on.  This was a break with the traditional (Marxist) view of socialism arising primarily from ‘a Dialectic of Class Struggle’.

Marcuse especially was influential in the late 1960s with the wave of ‘student uprisings’ which swept Europe, (and the rise of the ‘New Left’). Marcuse was notable in rejecting modern society’s emphasis on an outlook of ‘social closure’ for which there is no room for deep criticism or negation; an outlook for which ‘the system delivers the goods’ and should not be questioned. “Democracy”  was becoming increasingly tokenistic and shallow on account of its manipulation; a tendency which continues still.

But importantly, some examples of ‘Critical Theory’ are radically at odds with Donnelly’s caricatures.

‘Second Generation’ Critical Theorist’, Jurgen Habermas argued about ‘Legitimation Crisis’; a decline and perhaps even collapse of public confidence in the State and other institutions.  For example, the perceived legitimacy of the State (and indeed capitalism itself) – could suffer in the wake of attacks on welfare, and other hard-won gains of working people, such as labour market regulation and workers’ rights and liberties.  (all the more so where Social Democratic and ‘Left’ parties actually refuse any ‘consensus’ around austerity, and other policies harmful to the working class and the disadvantaged)

Habermas also argued about the conflict between ‘System’ and ‘Life-World’  – a consideration of capitalism’s economic-system-imperatives; its priorities; and the way these conflict with peoples’ ‘quality of life –, especially for the working class.  ‘System’ effectively ‘colonises’ ‘life-world’; becomes detached from the real-world needs of human beings. Economic insecurity and increasing intensity in the processes of exploitation are part of this.  (eg: falling  wage share of the economy; less free time; increasing class ‘stratification’ or ‘bifurcation’)

Drawing in part from Habermas: Arguably, democracy is increasingly reduced to ‘administration’ in the interests of capitalism.  Real pluralism is ‘hollowed out’.   And the inability of governments to resolve the economic and social crises which follow intensify the consequent crises of legitimacy.  As an aside: the ‘Identity Politics’ which Donnelly opposes so strongly – actually helps maintain an illusion of greater pluralism.  This outcome is ironic in light of Marcuse’s original vision of a ‘Great Refusal’. All the oppressed of the world need solidarity more than ever.  But to paraphrase Marcuse; objectively, without this ‘Identity Politics’ society and politics would have been better-exposed as being otherwise ‘One Dimensional’.

Also importantly: democratic socialism more broadly is part of what we might call ‘The Western Tradition’.  (which Donnelly argues he is defending)  Capitalism increasingly puts the gains of democratic socialism – including labour rights, broader liberties, the mixed economy, progressive tax, the social wage and the welfare state – under threat.   

But rather than ‘rejecting’ the Enlightenment project, Habermas instead refers to it as ‘unfinished’.  So without rejecting ‘Modernity’ and ‘Enlightenment’, Habermas defends the potential for what he calls ‘Communicative Action’ and the achievement of a ‘Perfect Speech Situation’.  (that is, perfectly free and rational exchange and engagement without distortions or coercion; And hence: social actors striving for agreement on the substance of human liberation through Reason and Ethics-inspired dialogue).

There is more than so-called ‘Cultural Marxism’ on today’s Left; Past Conservative and ‘Centrist’ traditions also opposed hard economic Liberalism

There is a different emerging tradition on the Left, also, that is worth mentioning. ‘Agonistic’ ‘Post-Marxists’ such as Chantal Mouffe assume enduring pluralism and a permanent place for dissent. That enduring pluralism is at the heart of their perspective. In other words: they assume consensus will not ensue.  Indeed, for many either it is thought to be overly-optimistic to seek that consensus – or maybe even it is undesirable.

There is also the question of class struggle; which can be exclusive of communicative action and any ‘Perfect Speech Situation’ in contexts driven by interest. When capitalists have been increasingly (and successfully) dictating terms in response to various economic crises from the 1970s onward – they are not necessarily interested in dialogue which involves compromise.  (unless forced)

Crucially, though – in practice, both Habermas and the Agonist democrats assume a need for pluralism, liberty and engagement.  The examples they provide ‘fly in the face’ of Donnelly’s characterisation of ‘the modern Left’ and ‘Politically-Correct-enforced-conformity’. 

Continuing our consideration of Critical Theory:  To assert the centrality of Habermas to Critical Theory is also to assert that the broad Critical Theory tradition cannot be boiled down to post-modern and deconstructionist rejection of Modernity, Enlightenment, Reason; or what might be called ‘the Western Tradition’. ‘Post-Modernism’ itself also has meant radically different things to different people.

While some people claim it as a rejection of ‘Modernity’ and its assumptions, Australian social theorist Peter Beilharz (in ‘Postmodern Socialism: Romanticism, City, State’)  suggested it might be constructed as ‘the critical moment in Modernity’.

Here ‘Modernity’ refers to societies and economies of increasing scale and complexity; developing further with industrialisation, and with themes of Enlightenment, Reason, and so on. We’re talking about a frame which in a way is inclusive of certain tendencies in socialist, liberal and capitalist traditions – even though these are historically in conflict with one another as well.

Again we are in highly-contested terrain.

It might be noted, though, that there is also a now-mostly-forgotten tradition – a tradition historically associated with the Catholic working class – a tradition which styled itself as ‘Centrist’.  (Though notably, those such as Giddens and Blair have also tried to resuscitate a kind of ‘Centrism’)  Yet intellectuals such as Donnelly have apparently chosen to ‘side’ with big ‘L’ Economic Liberalism and big ‘C’ Cultural and Political Conservatism.   (if this is not so, Donnelly does a good job of hiding or avoiding it)  

The old-style ‘Centrism’ emphasised ‘corporatism’, welfare state, and some labour rights including labour market regulation. Today, Giddens and Blair identify as ‘Social Democrats’ or ‘The Radical Centre’.

But looking back to the original ‘Centrism’: amongst some, there was a clear authoritarianism. Some ‘Centrist’ leaders such as the ‘Christian Social’ President of Austria, Engelbert Dollfuss – beginning with his seizure of power and dissolution of a democratically-elected Socialist government in 1934 – historically chose to side with a kind of fascism;  (ironically, not long before the formalisation of the ‘Axis’ of Germany and Italy, Dolfuss sought the protection of Mussolini from Hitler – in return for the suppression of Social Democracy!).

‘Corporatism’ –including state mediation – or forcible suppression – of class conflict and differences– was itself part of the broad fascist tradition; though arguably different kinds of ‘corporatism’ (eg: re Swedish Social Democracy) were much more ‘democracy-friendly’; or even co-existed with a kind of ‘democratic class struggle’ (see: Walter Korpi), (the ‘Accords’ under the Federal Labor Government in 1980s and early 1990s Australia could also be considered corporatist ; not fascist in the sense of Dollfuss ; but compromising the interests of the working class on a number of fronts).  Importantly: though a right-wing authoritarian and fascist, Dollfuss was not a Nazi.  Indeed he opposed Hitler and was assassinated by Nazi agents.

Today – to overcome an ensuing negative electoral response to austerity and other associated attacks, fear of ‘Political Correctness’ is played-upon.  This means  ‘papering over’ the contradictions which could ‘get in the way’ of preserving right-wing footholds amidst the working class – parts of which feel ‘abandoned’ by ‘self-styled social democratic’ parties for whom issues of economic inequality and exploitation have been largely ‘relegated to the Too-Hard Basket’.

To elaborate: in this context, modern-day Conservatives attempt to make inroads into traditional social democratic working class support bases.  They exploit often-exaggerated discussions around ‘Political-Correctness’; with the assistance of the monopoly mass media. This is in a context where much of the working class is relatively conservative on culture compared with the so-called ‘cultural Left’.

In light of the tendency of Critical Theorists to emphasise what they saw as the almost-totalitarian nature of modern popular culture and capitalism in achieving ‘systemic closure’, it is ironic that today some Conservatives see its own perspective as a totalitarian, ‘politically correct’ threat to everything laudable in Western Civilisation.  In reality, today’s Left is highly plural.  While some still identify with the theoretical lineage of Marxism, many (perhaps most) post-modernists and deconstructionists do not identify as ‘Marxist’ at all. 

That said, it would be dishonest to simply ‘deny’ ‘The Cultural Turn’ and the transformation of what passes for progressive politics. The point is to establish that the retreat of a ‘more-traditional’ socialism has not been ‘total’ ; that ‘culture’ and ‘economics’ need not and should not be considered exclusive of each other ; and for much of the Left economics and social class still matters ; though the project of an alternative democratic socialist economic project  in ‘The West’ has arguably been mainly in retreat since the 1970s.  To some extent, it has been a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Much More to Marxism than The Conservatives Understand

Donnelly’s emphasis on ‘Stalinist Dystopias’ and ‘Political Correctness’ also side-steps the matter of Marxism’s original ‘Cultural Project’.   For Marx – and many who followed him (including, for instance, Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg and Julius Martov) economic abundance under Socialism was not to lead to surveillance, Terror, Cult of Personality,  labour militarisation and labour conscription (In short: Oppression) – but rather to cultural and social opportunity arising from material plenty, including free time.  For instance, this might mean freedom to partake in Art and Philosophy –  amongst other pursuits.

To take the example of Austrian Social Democracy (or ‘Austro-Marxism’) in the 1917-1934 period: this meant promotion of working-class culture including sport, radio stations and libraries; and involving amenities for working class people.  This included impressive public housing estates, including hot running water, communal pools and communal laundry facilities. (rare for the time).

And even before this timeframe; going back to the original theorists of Marxist orthodoxy during the height of the Second International and earlier (ie: pre-WWI):  this might even have meant assisting people in seeking after the highest truths for their own sake.   In addition to ‘freedom from oppression’ that also includes ‘enabling freedom’: empowerment for the purpose of self-realisation.  Understood thus the tensions between collectivism and individualism can also be mediated, and socialism can provide opportunities for individual self-realisation which do not arise under capitalism.

To conclude: Donnelly portrays a Left that has nothing ‘positive’ to say about ‘Western Civilisation’. He totally misses the whole point made by thinkers like Marcuse – that societies which refuse to accommodate debate whereby a significantly-different kind of future can be envisaged and communicated – are not genuinely free!  This must also involve the inclusion of dissenting social movements in public debate. But also, the idea of a ‘teleology’ (or ‘necessary direction’) of history – as presumed by orthodox Marxists – is questioned amongst today’s Left.  Following the lead of ‘Post-Marxists’ and ‘Agonists’, the future is considered by some a matter of ‘collective will formation’, strategy and choice. (indeed, a matter of ‘counter-hegemony’, or the mobilisation of the broad social forces necessary to facilitate change)  Hence as part of a pluralist agenda, we ought to strive for a tolerant Left; though still: radical democrats ought not to be naïve or complacent in the face of existential threats to democracy. (eg: the resurgence of fascism in Europe).

Also, arguably capitalism has always been ‘repressive’, ‘regressive’ and in some senses even ‘progressive’ – at the same time and in different ways.  As Marx argued in ‘The Communist Manifesto’ (1848):  Capitalism unleashed an unprecedented wave of economic growth and innovation; (establishing the preconditions for socialism).  At the same time, capitalism has involved waste, exploitation, excesses, and warped priorities. These conditions gave rise to various movements; for Socialism – but also the Centrism which we have mentioned, and more recently environmental movements.

So in that context: For today’s socialists, the socialist project should still be about ‘radical negation’ in the sense of class struggle (and broader struggle) against the exploitation, warped priorities, injustices and excesses of capitalism.

But socialism can be about affirmation also.  We can acknowledge the progressive economic contributions of capitalism: and of ‘modernity’ considered more broadly.   And along with the original Marxist Social Democrats – who trail-blazed in their pursuit of Free, Equal and Universal Suffrage as early as the 19th Century (when almost all others neglected that cause as ‘too radical’) – we need not reject the place for some kind of parliamentary democracy and far-reaching liberties.  Most definitely we should also be striving to extend the reach of democracy; including economic democracy – whether through the restoration of a robust mixed economy; or through workers and consumers’ co-operatives; or through other avenues such as ‘wage-earner funds’ and comparable projects.   

While the perspective of ‘class’ should not be considered ‘sufficient and exhaustive in its own right’; We should not shy away from ‘class struggle’ in the broad sense. We should embrace the fight for social justice; for economic security and distributive justice; and a fulfilling life for everyone.  Again, that does not have to mean rejecting the very humanity of individual capitalists; (we must avoid the ‘brutalisation’ of politics where we can). It does mean questioning the morality and outcomes of capitalist social and economic relations. 

Finally: we should work to decouple the view of liberties and capitalism- whereby they are seen somehow as ‘essentially and inextricably linked’; (to the exclusion of socialism).  In fact, ‘liberty’ and ‘capitalism’ are often in tension and conflict with one another and depending on the specific expression, the causes of liberty and socialism can be mutually sympathetic.

The cause of democratic socialism is not forever exhausted, but ‘hope’ requires of us that we take a stand.  Donnelly’s narrative on so-called ‘Political Correctness’, and his ‘beating up’ of the bogeyman of ‘Cultural Marxism’ – is part of the problem.  So too is the abandonment of the cause of economic justice by significant sections of the self-identifying Left.

As an Australian Labor Party member of approximately 25 years, it is painful but necessary to acknowledge that for decades Labor has been at the heart of a range of policies which have undermined certain rights of labour, as well as the mixed economy, and at times the welfare state.

Importantly – the Trans-Pacific Partnership has recently been endorsed by the Federal Labor Opposition: a move which could leave governments open to being sued by foreign corporations should they facilitate policies (eg: on the rights of labour) which affect company profits. Even in Victoria under Daniel Andrews of the Socialist Left we see ‘Public-Private Partnerships’ and ‘Asset Recycling’;  (‘code’ for privatisation).

It is those kinds of scenarios that leave the broad Left vulnerable to Conservative and Far-Right strategies of ‘divide and conquer’.

We should have learned that lesson by now.

Bibliography

Beilharz, P. (1994), ‘Postmodern Socialism—Romanticism, City and State, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.
Donnelly, K (2018), How Political Correctness is Destroying Australia – Enemies Within and Without, Wilkinson Publishing,  Melbourne.
Eley, G. (2002), Forging Democracy, The History of the Left in Europe, 1850–2000, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Galili, Z. (1989), The Menshevik Leaders in the Russian Revolution—Social Realities and Political Strategies, Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
Gruber, H. (1991), Red Vienna—Experiment in Working-Class Culture 1919–1934, Oxford University Press, New York.
Hudis, P. and Anderson, K., eds, (2004), The Rosa Luxemburg Reader, Monthly Review Press, New York.
Kautsky, K. (1964), The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, University Of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.
Korpi, W. (1983), The Democratic Class Struggle, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.
Lenin, V.I. (1996), Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, Pluto Press, London.
Marcuse, H. (1968), One Dimensional Man, Sphere, London.
Marx, K. and Engels, F (1989), Selected Works I, Progress Publishers, Moscow.
Mouffe, C. (2005a), On the Political, Routledge, Abingdon.
Mouffe, C. (2005b), The Return of the Political, Verso, London.
Outhwaite, W (1994), Habermas – A Critical Introduction, Stanford, California.
Rabinbach, A. (1983), The Crisis of Austrian Socialism: From Red Vienna to Civil War, 1927–1934, University of Chicago Press, London.
Trotsky, L. (2007), Terrorism and Communism, Verso, New York.

From Aristophanes to Knight Or “Is something else going here?”

By George Theodoridis

It is a case -as it bloody nearly always is- of relevance deprivation and diminution, thanks mainly to the prodigious proliferation and ever burgeoning of social platforms and the largely bored hoi polloi, bored by celebrities who have nothing to offer but the empty, irrelevant minutiae of their lives. The celebrities, like the emperor in the famous tale by Hans C. Anderson, have shown the full nakedness of their existence.

So, they’re out and about -celebrities of all sorts- and they are using anything and everything they can, including cartoons, as platforms (already well lit up by their adoring hoi polloi,) to stand upon it and yell at us, “hey, look here! Here I am! This way! I am a celebrity, listen to my rants, watch my outrages! I can still perform! I’m still a celebrity. Someone give me another contract!”

This includes the cartoonists themselves, of course, the tennis players, the hollow-headed authors like Rawlings whose credentials as moral and art arbiters are questionable if, quite arguably, non-existent.

This is a cartoon by a satirist and all satirical messages, from those by the very first ever and arguably the very best ever, Aristophanes, (c. 446 – c. 386 BC) whose world was no better nor worse than ours, if political chicanery is the measure, to Knight (born c. 1960s) all satirical messages are about exaggeration, exaggeration about everything from the shape of one’s nose to the shape of one’s words, to the colour of their budgie smugglers and the pitch of their Hanson-like squealing. Cartoonists are satirists and the identifying first sign of a satirist is exaggeration. No exaggeration, no satirist. It’s that simple! The other sign is that they condemn or criticise, or ridicule someone in a powerful position, be it in the political sphere or in the social one. From fathers of children to fathers of the Church or the State. Aristophanes depicted most brutally politicians Cleon among many, a Military man, Lamachus among many and philosophers, Socrates, among many. Most brutally!

We can like that sort of thing or we can hate it and we can express that love or hate by any means we can. Cartoonists do it by drawing cartoons.

Knight is a satirist and he did his satirical work, not only on Serena but on many other people, and did it in his own inimitable style which we all know and -as I said- either love or hate, laugh at or spat the dummy at. I can’t remember any such similar bellowing noise and social media turbulence generated by any of his other drawings, all of them satirical, all of them critical of someone or other.

Serena mucked up badly. Knight portrayed that.

Here we have a glowing emblem of an athlete, an icon of the best of them, rightly adored and admired by millions, acting like a spoilt child, “spitting her dummy,” as Knight put it. Something that does not fit that icon. Not at all! She happens to be black. Her opponent was an American-Japanese. Both were women, both non-anglos. The umpire was a non-anglo too and would most definitely have felt the excruciating pains of racism -as have I and anyone with even the slightest difference in the spelling of their name or the shape or colour of the skin on their face. No doubt, Carlos Ramos, the umpire would have heard the word “dago” as I have heard the word “wog” (among many other equally vile epithets) countless of times and felt its mind-numbing, stomach-churning jab often. He would know the excruciating hurt that racism can cause and he -as do I- would try his utmost to avoid delivering racism to anyone.

It also so happens that he is a male.

Would this ridiculously outraged, bigoted crowd, feel better or as bad if the incident were reversed and it was Osaka on the receiving end of the umpire’s penalties?

What the fuck are they on about?

Knight did the same thing many times before and is unlike to stop now -probably especially now and probably especially because he is now a celebrity. He sees the bullshit and he calls it for what it is and he draws a cartoon about it, satirising it. The bullshit, that is.

The Herald reminds us of these cartoons, also by Knight: Tony Abbott depicted as Hannibal Lecter with the caption “Banned: Big ears, cannibal mask,” and a topless Kim Jong-un with the words “Blocked: Belly fat, Asian stereotype.”

I can only conclude that all these “celebrities” from all over the world who have added their penny’s worth, thinking it was worth a pound, commented on this issue because they are desperate to be seen again and to be read again and to be listened to again and to be re-admired and, so as to jog our memory about their vacuous existence. They did so because they saw this incident as a platform, a stage where they can jump on and once again play the prima donna or the primo uomo.

The rest of us, the non-celebrities, we are either rational enough to see that there’s nothing to see here or not rational enough and so we behave like gangs of cowardly thugs who put the boot into some who’s down. A boot, by the way, which I and as I said the umpire, have felt and still feel now, at times, most painfully. Being kicked like that leaves great scars on you, scars that can flay not only your body but also your soul, scares that never leave you.

And, let us not forget that the umpire is a male who sits high up, above a couple of females -in the form of an idea as well as in that of reality- and it is therefore unequivocally and duty bound, in fact, ok for us to put our boot into him!

And that the cartoonist, of course, is a male also and also with a power mightier than a sword, and therefore it is also unequivocally and duty bound in fact, ok for us to put our boot into him as well!

The other reason is that, as a gang, we love to hate. We love to kick, we love to shout and show outrage. It’s an easy thing to do and, to some sick minds, it’s also an entertaining thing and something that gives us the power we have lost in almost all other areas of our lives. We’ve been made lesser in worth and dignity than overloaded donkeys, so we “kick.” We kick at anything and anyone, given half an opportunity. Knight’s cartoon has all the makings of such an opportunity for us to exert some of the power that’s been taken away from us.

Are we saying that the umpire is racially prejudiced against blacks but not against yellows?  What sort of racial prejudice is that?

Are we saying that Knight has similar predilections to those of Carlos Ramos? WTF  ARE we really saying? Whom are we accusing of what exactly and why? Based on what evidence?

Racial history of the world is brought into the court. Questions about the umpire’s integrity are raised or comments are made about Serena’s glowing sportsmanship, or about the umpire’s inconsistency of awarding penalties and Zeus knows what else, are all proffered to the judge as evidence that something is dreadfully wrong here! But none of these questions and comments and exhibits should even be heard or seen by the judge or us the jury.

They are all irrelevant to what had happened in that court on that day. They have nothing to do with the participants playing that particular game of tennis. They are simply hollow drums beating wildly! Loud shouts of wannabe celebrities. Loud shouts of hollow heads. Blistered tongues talking bullshit like our Prime Minister is so keen to do almost non-stop!

None of it should persuade the Goddess Justice, who should be blindfolded and unable to be persuaded by anything outside that single event on that single day in that single court.

Racism, misogynism, prejudice of any sort is disgusting. Utterly unacceptable to a society that wants to call itself civilised. So is bigotry, even if our erstwhile attorney general, George Brandis is otherwise convinced. According to him, we have the right to be bigots… but not be racist!  

Well, Zeus be praised now it’s all made very clear!

Over sixty thousand years of Indigenous history of white torture has always and still is being treated with neglect, scorn and disdain but we’ve spent copious amounts of ink and intolerable decibels of noise arguing about the depiction by a cartoonist of a tantrum thrown by a tennis player. The hypocrisy is exasperating! The outrage is baffling.

Is it racism, sexism or is it cultural supremacism by the supreme supremacists we all know supremely well?

Just asking.

Serena has done wrong. The umpire penalised her.
END OF FUCKING STORY!

Henceforth it has become a boring ochlobabble!

Can we now shine our torch on the new champion, the new real sportsperson, the youth, the serene, the graceful and gracious, the true lover of tennis and not of vacuous notoriety, Naomi Osaka, please?

She beat the other player. She won the match. She did not yell or insult the umpire and -may the gods bless the young woman- she played by the rules, such a rare thing these days of spoilt sports and overpaid celebrities.

Yes, Naomi Osaka had won the match and the day. Three cheers for Naomi!

PLEASE?

Australia – Free Nation or Penal Colony

By Stephen Fitz

In L.A., I dropped in on friends of friends and the first greeting was “Oh, you’re from the country with no human rights?” My response was “And your government has a wonderful human rights record.” I stayed in a motel that night and pondered the average Americans view of Australia.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights UDHR is a declaration of freedom and, in the words of Malcolm Roberts “You can only have human progress if you have freedom” – Ignore human rights and you oppress that freedom.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an international document that states basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. No nation may rightfully deprive a person of a human right. Human rights are fundamental rights universal to all human beings and are considered to be the necessities of human existence. They are internationally recognised personal guarantees and freedoms that the Government cannot abridge, either by law or by judicial interpretation. The UDHR is generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law.

Australia was a key player and one of 8 nations involved in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. Australia is a co-founder and signatory to the UDHR and yet, here we are with no human rights protection written into Australian law? We should not have to battle through the High Court of Australia for fundamental human rights or the civil liberties embraced by our contemporaries, they should be automatic.

Examples of human rights oppression in Australia include: Anti-protest laws, invasion of privacy, freedom of press and censorship, right of assembly, anti-association laws, age discrimination, inhumane treatment of refugees, abuse of children in detention, our right to participate in government, protection of family and so on. These are violations of UDHR Articles 20-1, 13-1, 12, 3, 5, 19, 7, 16-3 and 25-2.

To stop the abuse, our rights need to be acknowledged by Government and then written into Australian law either through amendments to the Australian Constitution or an Australian Bill of Rights. As a Nation, maybe then, we can rejoice.

From the mouth of Malcolm Turnbull: “For Australia to flourish we need to be seen as the innovation nation”. This suggests being ahead of the times. To hold our heads up high, on the international stage, first, we need to step out of the dark ages and lose the penal colony mentality.

We should be seen as the country who leads the world in human rights issues and yet here we are… Until we change Australia will continue to be looked upon as the country that abuses its children, has no regard for human rights and has a disregard for international conventions. Besides being oppressive, it’s shameful.

Who stole justice?

By Stephen Fitz

I’m as deaf as a post but I hear the call “We want justice”. Here’s another little problem that haunts our precious society. Our adversarial legal system favours those with the most money. Like the LNP, it’s been manipulated and corrupted to favour corporates and the top end of town.

After reading the article in the Financial Review ‘Shadow lawyers’ barred from advising on Fair Work Commission cases the Law Society would have us believe that “justice system” and “legal system” are the same thing. They are not! It’s a deception. Justice is the result of a healthy legal system and does not happen if the legal system has been manipulated and corrupted. Banning defence lawyers from proceedings in the FWC supports this argument but in no way resolves the problem.

Since they have no real defence these unscrupulous lawyers use trickery, deception and theatre to protect their cosy little nest of clover worth $475 an hour. They have no shame, and no excuse, as they destroy the innocent for a hand full of dollars from the guilty who employ them. What is truly disturbing is that this goes a lot deeper …

The corruption of our legal system being condoned by those in authority, is a shameful disgrace and, is the worst possible form of social oppression. A legal system that shows bias towards money and power encourages unlawful and illegal activity to the detriment of society. The Australian public expect high standards from their elected representatives.

More importantly, we demand even higher standards again, in our state and federal jurisdictions and from our career public servants! We pay their way, we put a roof over their heads and we feed their children … It’s our right to be protected that supersedes all else and, their obligation to protect our legal system so that we not only have justice but also, that justice is seen to be served!

Don’t get me wrong, people are entitled to defence but, it’s not defence if it corrupts our law, clutters the legal process to the point where the truth is buried and then persecutes those seeking justice. Then it becomes a vicious attack on the individual and society.

If it’s any consolation – Knowing how the world works makes it easier to navigate.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivers immediate drought relief, delivering rain in NSW & Queensland

A satirical post by Alan Nicholas

Hitting the ground running, the 30th Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison delivers on his “immediate priority” to fix the drought, delivering a reasonable drizzle of rain on drought-stricken NSW. Bypassing his contentious party room, ScoMo spoke directly through prayer in a private conversation between himself, his god and the Bureau of Meteorology weather app.

When questioned as to why his prayers were not made or met sooner, PM Morisson pointed to the previous Labor government. “What we inherited from Labor when we took office in 2013 was a spiritual disaster,” specifying “we had a Labor Party worshipping volcano gods by goat sacrifice, strongly influenced by the Greens who believe in some far away sun god. An absolute basket case of spiritual mismanagement.”

A spokesperson for the Bureau of meteorology concurred that this was indeed an unexpected rain event prior to the seven-day forecast being released at 4:10pm a week earlier. “We at the bureau have faith in the power of prayer to create both major and minor rain events and faith that our funding will be renewed in the next federal mini budget.”

Labor leader Bill Shorten congratulated the Prime Minister on his election to the “top job” and on “making it rain”, before defending his parties record, “During the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governance we had strong growth in annual rainfall, but no one will ever know because they don’t read these articles all the way to THE END, do they?”

Population: It’s the environment, stupid

By William Bourke

Australia has a rich history of migration, with around 7 million permanent migrants calling Australia home in the 20th century alone. That’s 70,000 migrants per year – or a bumper ANZ Stadium crowd.

By the turn of the century, our population had reached 19 million and the Australian Bureau of Statistics had recently predicted we would reach about 25 million 2051. But now, over 30 years ahead of schedule, we are at that number. Why?

At the same time as cracking down on asylum seekers arriving by boat, John Howard cunningly increased overall annual permanent immigration from well under 100,000 per year to over 200,000 – around three times the 20th century average. We’re now feeling the impacts.

Given our fertility rate is just below two children per woman, immigration policy is our de facto population policy. Other than our humanitarian intake of under 20,000 per annum, immigration policy should of course be run for the benefit of Australian citizens. It should complement major policy objectives including secure jobs with wage rises, affordable housing, better urban planning and most importantly, a sustainable environment. But now, these public policy objectives are being made harder by too many people too soon.

The sad reality is that our record immigration intake is not for the benefit of everyday Australians or even the migrants themselves. It was really put in place to feed the ‘growth lobby’ of property developers, banks, retailers and other big business beneficiaries. It also helped John Howard – and all successive governments – to create the illusion of bigger jobs and GDP growth.

The cost of growth – most worryingly on our environment – have our scientists warning us loud and clear. But is any politician listening?

The latest federal government State of the Environment report, released last year, stated that Australia’s natural environment is being placed under acute strain from rapid population growth, and that it’s amongst the main drivers of environmental problems such as land-use change, habitat destruction, invasive species, and climate change.

There are few better policy solutions to help protect Australia’s environment than abandoning plans for a ‘big Australia’. We’re not just headed for 40 million by 2050. It’s 80 million by 2100, and so on.

When Julia Gillard took the Prime Ministership she immediately declared she does not believe in this big Australia and that the nation should not ”hurtle down the track towards a big population.” She added that we need to stop, take a breath and develop policies for a sustainable Australia. That means a population that our environment, our water, our soil, our roads and freeways, our busses, our trains and our services can sustain.

But Ms Gillard abandoned her very first promise to the Australian people and Labor buried the issue. This is despite being in government with The Greens, whose ongoing silence on the population issue is deafening.

Our annual intake has remained at around 200,000 per year, when returning it to the historic average of 70,000 seems prudent. I ask again. Even as we hurtle past 25 million, is any politician listening?

William Bourke is president of Sustainable Australia Party.

Human qualities v animal behaviour

By Stephen Fitz

Who knows what evil lurks within the hearts of men? It was in comic books and Marvel movies and there was mention of it in early editions of the Bible – so it’s been around for a while – dare I say it … “The battle between good and evil.” That’s being a bit bold so, let’s call it the battle between human qualities and animal behaviour. It strikes me that in a civilised society we would be promoting human qualities like empathy and sharing and trust and compassion and a fair go for everyone. I’m not seeing much of that in Australian federal politics right now. I’m seeing a Liberal Party blinded by power and greed at the expense of a society struggling to survive.

Maybe, there are some among us who haven’t evolved human qualities yet and are still struggling with deep rooted animal instinct … still driven by greed and a “all for me and nothing for you” mentality. If we wish to progress as a species and become more human, the animals among us need to be rounded up and, so they don’t feel rejected, perhaps shipped off to a military dictatorship where they will feel right at home. Hun Sen has already shared champaign and rolled out the red carpet for the Liberal government. A privileged life is waiting if you don’t mind walking in blood.

O.K., Malcolm Turnbull, Peter Dutton, Michaelia Cash and in fact the entire Liberal Party are the product of a corrupted system and manipulated democracy. In the words of Noam Chomsky; “Corporates lobby politicians for legislation that favours corporates and corporates donate to election funds in return for favours and corporates are experiencing record profits at our expense.” It’s called the money/power loop and that is how western capitalist democratic society is run. It runs on lies, deceit and corruption hidden from the people by mainstream media.

I had no idea what was happening, and like the majority, I was kept in the dark for so long. I’d heard about corporate and political collusion and corruption but, I have faith in human nature and, I needed proof. There are two things: “the facts” which are the truth, and then you have “I reckon” which, in academic circles, is considered to be the hallmark of an idiot. Well I’m no idiot and I reckon something really sucks. Something’s fundamentally wrong within western society and it’s being exposed by social and independent media as we speak. Yeah, shock horror to the boys and girls at the top!

Well, I heard about it, so I went looking for evidence on the court record to prove it, and here it is. The Turnbull government is corrupt and has been pandering to corporates at the expense of the Australian workforce. It boils down to the Liberal government believing they have a mandate to give corporates whatever they want and screw the rest of us. Something essential to the human condition are our hopes, our ideals, our aspirations and our dreams and when I found out what was going on well, they faded, along with innocence … You Bastards! Look what you have taken.

As an example of what corporates will do with government sponsorship look at what they did in America with the ensuing global financial crisis and the unimaginable suffering by the masses to make a few people filthy rich. You see they don’t care and, this is what corporates will do when they are off the leash. The first battle line, if you wish to protect society from the ravages of corporate greed, would be accountability, harsh penalties and well-informed voters. We can’t let these animals hold us back, we can’t let them stifle our humanity, and there are steps we need to take.

[1] Corruption can only be contained if exposed to investigation and a legal process. Something lacking at a federal level. I couldn’t believe it either – there is no federal corruption watchdog in Australia. With hard evidence of corruption and with the prompting of Transparency International and some prominent QCs, Bill Shorten has promised the establishment of a national independent commission against corruption (ICAC) if he wins the next election. So that’s a starting point.

[2] It’s our ABC, not theirs … “Turnbull government hits ABC with $84m funding freeze” (Sydney Morning Herald). Because they didn’t like the editorials – first of all the Liberal government makes Pauline Hanson a political prisoner and then they impose censorship – so much for democracy. Second step is to reinstate the ABC’s finances and promote editorial independence. Have a section on the ABC that runs through what’s happening on Australian Independent Media so that all Australians can be well-informed.

[3] Human rights equate to freedom. Take away human rights and you take away freedom. Australia is a co-founder and signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and yet, there is no provision for human rights protection in Australian Law. When it comes to corruption, someone always suffers so there is always an element of human rights abuse woven into it. The UDHR needs to be written into the Australian Constitution and a Human Rights Court set up, accessible to all Australians. We, the people of Australia, can tackle corruption head on.

[4] Gee, no human rights protection and no federal ICAC in the land of OZ! We are getting screwed! The public demand transparency in government – no more corrupted decisions behind closed doors. If a federal minister or senator is asked a question they don’t like, the strategy is to ignore you and stick their head in the sand. We want answers and no more lies and deceit by omission. If politicians are held to account and the decision-making process is open to scrutiny, we have more chance of a better outcome for the bulk of Australians.

If you are an elected representative engaged by corporates and the top end of town, you will try to block these steps like you have in the past. If you do that, you will be telegraphing to your constituents and the people of Australia that you are in it for yourself and you don’t care about the rest of us. You don’t care about crippling inequality and poverty. You are telling us you are full of lies and you are laughing at us behind our backs.

If you are a Liberal politician reading this right now – you will be telling us what a total wanker you truly are and, we don’t want you and your smug look. In which case, do us all a favour and get out of politics – never to be seen or heard of again. It’s time for the good people to make a move for humanity and put a leash on the evil bastards who are driven purely by animal greed.

 

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