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Category Archives: Your Say

Men’s stuff and the joy of aging

By Sir ScotchMistery

As a bloke, I’ve never been a party to a conversation between two women except perhaps on the periphery and I was brought up not listening to other people’s conversations. My mother always said it was rude, and since she was generally correct about everything else I have always accepted that as fact.

Men define themselves on meeting, by their societal role. “G’day mate, how are you?” Followed almost immediately by “what do you do?” In their answer, a man then defines himself in the newly established relationship, by the task which puts food on his table.

I am experiencing a major change in my situation because I decided that after 35 years, I no longer want to be party to the phone call at 7 o’clock at night by someone with a computer problem who feels that my time, whenever their calls arrive, belongs to them, by right.

I guess it would be a little bit different if there was an unspoken acceptance that at the end of a half hour call during which I’ve corrected the issue, that I would send them an invoice for the 30-minute phone call, but I have felt particularly uncomfortable asking for an email address or a credit card number. I’m not blaming the caller, please understand. If I had a few more balls I would just send the invoice, or ask for the credit card number and be done with it. But I haven’t – but that’s down to me.

She ‘who must be obeyed’ and myself, have, for some years, contemplated the idea of a change.

I love coffee. In fact, if there was a stronger word than love, that would probably describe me. I don’t only love drinking coffee I love exploring its history. I like to know about the beans. Where they originated. How they were picked. Who they were picked by. My preference is for coffees whose origins are “fair trade”, and where I can be relatively sure without taking long journeys, that the coffee beans were not picked by 7-year-old children.

I’ve just come back from my local favourite coffee joint, where Darian and I discussed the art of coffee, especially the effort he puts in to his “latte art”, producing from moment to moment such beauties as “a heart for all seasons”, “the blooming lotus”, “the summer seahorse” and my all-time favourite, “the split definitive”. Maybe you’ve seen some of these on your lattes in a busy city coffee shop. Maybe you’ve seen them and had no idea what they were. Maybe photographed them and sent them off on Twitter or one of those other social media conjunctions where people interact for a microsecond and then all memory of them is gone.

One of the great difficulties of writing in this format is the capacity to run off subject, or be seen to be dribbling, but the nature of a man’s conversation, not only with himself, but with those close to him and those unknown to him are by their very nature, fleeting. A man’s development of friendships, over years, changes as he ages.

Probably a year ago, I leaned over and said “G’day” to a chap who was drinking in that same favourite coffee joint. He was older than me by a few years, but unfortunately was equipped with a full head of grey hair unlike my own fleeting glimpse of what once was. I introduced myself, and noted that we had sat in the same coffee shop never more than 20 feet from each other, for some months and on that basis alone, we had something in common.

Since that day, John and I have joined together each morning to enjoy a cup of coffee and chat about the day’s politics, the state of our crazy nation, the nature of the staff at the coffee shop and a dozen other things that from time to time have arisen based on his reading of the AFR.

My conclusion has always been that anything owned by Murdoch was anathema, which generally means I hadn’t read what he had read. We eventually got around that by the simple expedient of him cutting out the article and bringing it along to coffee.

Frequently, the subject of “change of life” enters a conversation, and almost invariably the subject of the discussion is a woman we know. But as a 60-year-old, let me tell you; men have a change of life as well.

Finally, after all these years, my life as the go-to man for a computer problem is ending and my beginning as a local go-to coffee creator commences. I am leaving John with a mobile device so we can maintain contact, but the camaraderie of those mornings will not be there, and I will miss them dreadfully.

Yesterday I called in one of the members of a group I set up 5 years or more ago, for socially isolated, mature-aged gay men, and Grant came along after a couple of years of that running. Now he is not only a regular at our get togethers, he is a mainstay within the group. I explained what I was hoping he would do for me, which was join me for coffee, so that John knew he isn’t the only bloke around who drinks coffee on his own.

There was no intimation that John was gay, because he isn’t. It just wasn’t part of the invitation to Grant, who most assuredly, is. It was an invitation to one man, to meet another man, and perhaps in that meeting, foment another “stop by and chat” friendship, much as the one I have with both John and Grant, but at different points in my life.

They got on quite well by the look of it. I will leave John with Grant’s number and he can call if he wishes, but that is entirely up to him. I just can’t help wondering how different things would be, if there was no issue of sexuality in our community. I wonder how different things may have been if 40 years ago the church had stayed the fuck out of it, and hadn’t made homosexuality first, a crime, then later a state of difference between men. Being gay is neither a curse, nor a highlight. It’s just a thing, and if I’m not planning to sleep with someone, it shouldn’t even be an issue.

So, as I head off next Saturday night to the pub, in my new town, in my Hawaiian shirt and RM Williams moleskin trousers, and matching RM Williams elastic-sided boots, I will be quiet, but I won’t be hidden, and I won’t lie.

Such is the joy of aging, disgracefully or otherwise.

The good old days … when we could afford electricity

By Bob Rafto

One thing about the good old days is that if you remember them you are getting long in the tooth. (Now that’s a term you don’t hear much of these days and I suppose it belongs to the era of the good old days).

The good old days for me is the late sixties to the late seventies when I was young and reckless and trying to drown myself in decadence on the weekends (but that’s another story).

The good old days that I’m referring to are those days that the politicians are trying to drag us back to.

I would define the good old days as the post war era right up to the ’91 recession (we had to have) and again during the Howard years – with all the handouts and the property boom.

And I agree that we should go back to the good old days. They were prosperous, jobs were easy to get even at an unemployment rate of 8% which was about the norm (and didn’t Premier Peter Beattie get howled down when he stated he will get the Queensland unemployment rate down to 5% and he did achieve it … as did the rest of Australia).

The question that has to be asked is; “What underpinned the good old days which made them good?”

A complex question to be sure and I’m not qualified to give a definitive answer, however, the glaring contrast of the good old days and to the present is that there was no privatisation of public utilities and infrastructure.

The politicians told us to expect lower prices when they privatised our asset,s and instead we have witnessed price gouging. One only has to look at the electricity sector for evidence of that. Another question that has to be asked is; “How much cheaper would electricity be if it was in government’s hands?”

Not only has privatisation of our utilities been an utter dismal failure, I would venture to say it has been a drag on the economy, and to illustrate this point let’s look at the electricity sector. It has been chopped up into pieces with middle-men and retailers laying claim to these pieces and they’re all trying to maximise profits.

Without these middle-men – and since the government does not need to make an excessive profit – the price of electricity at an estimation would drop by 25% or more. (It’s a ‘guesstimation’, of course)..

Now if the average household bill is $500 a quarter, deduct 25% off this of privatisation’s profits, and this equates to a saving of $125 (or $500 a year).

I said privatisation is a drag on the economy, that household saving of $500 a year would undoubtedly would be spent in local shops and businesses – like in the good old days – but now instead these excessive profits are lining the pockets of the electricity companies and their shareholders. And that is a drag on the wider economy.

The only way we can get back to the good old days is to buy back all the public utilities that have been privatised and that will lead to lower prices and consumers will have more money to spend across the board and that will undoubtedly lead to more employment and other benefits.

Venezuela unearthed: uncovering the western media deception

By Christian Marx

Once again mainstream media is lying and omitting key information in the ongoing situation in Venezuela. The manufactured narrative is all about blaming the Maduro government for the food shortages. However the real truth is buried under a mountain of US centric propaganda. Independent media is far closer to the truth.

First for those who are unaware of the current problem of food shortages in Venezuela and its recent history, here is a brief outline. Since the right wing government fell in 1998 and Hugo Chavez became the democratically elected president, the wealthy 1% and their CIA allies have continuously tried to destroy the government. Chavez himself was kidnapped by the rabid right in 2002. They could not tolerate his support for the poor and were concerned their profits were at risk. This coup d`etat lasted for less than 48 hours, with the majority of the army, being loyal to the socialist government.

This latest food crisis is entirely the making of wealthy right-wing business owners in Venezuela, intentionally starving their own people, in order to sell their stock at higher prices to neighbouring countries. It has also been revealed that many opposition controlled, foreign offshore companies have been re-directing imports of food from the public sector to the private sector.

The propaganda from western media is sadly a regular occurrence whenever a socialist government is under attack around the world. Blatant lies and misinformation are the order of the day. Corporate owned media will do everything in their power to try and dissuade the people of their own countries to dismiss socialism. Why? Because if the majority knew the truth and how much socialism has benefitted the poor and the middle class in South America, the majority would demand the system of Neoliberalism is abolished in Western countries.

One just has to see the blatant smear campaign against Western politicians who dare fight for the rights of the many against the few. The disgusting smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn was blatant, particularly from the convicted phone hacker and war monger, Rupert Murdoch. Imagine the lies being told about foreign countries, if the media is so dishonest in covering even the left wing leaders of the West!

Fearless investigative journalists such as Abby Martin have made an effort to go into Venezuela itself and do some real research. Meanwhile the usual group of sock puppets, pump out opinion pieces from their computers in the U.S and Australia, having never even set foot in Venezuela.

Western media also continue to avoid reporting on the four fundamental improvements to the lives of Venezuelans. These are healthcare, housing, education and civil rights. In a country racked by US Imperialist intervention and right wing sabotage, these gains are remarkable and put our own countries to shame. For example, while increased housing and healthcare are on the rise in Latin American countries such as Venezuela, our own country, Australia is actively trying to destroy universal healthcare and our subsidized housing is now virtually nonexistent.

Once again, the capitalist/Neoliberal paradigm is one of obfuscation, smears and the omission of facts. The western press has been spinning these lies and deceptions from Vietnam to Chile, and increasingly even in their own countries against left wing leaders who want to tackle the corrupt status quo and the evil geed of the 1%. It is high time that corporate owned media was put out of its misery. Their blatant bias and extreme Neoliberal agenda will seal their own demise. Thank goodness for the internet and Independent, citizen funded media. Truth is the mightiest hammer. Seek it out and bin the highly paid liars of the establishment!

Christian Marx is a political and social activist interested in making the world a fairer place. He has a Bachelor of Social Science and has a keen interest in sociology, politics and history. He was one of the organizers of the March in March rallies in Melbourne and is the founder of the progressive news and information page, “Don`t Look At This Page”, and is also a co-founder of “The Global Revolution” website.

The curious incident of the bigot in the Senate

By Damian Smith

I’ve been reluctant to comment on Pauline Hanson’s noisome remarks regarding autism and schooling. Like wildfire her vacuous bigotry requires oxygen and I am loath give her the attention she so desperately desires.

However, there are times when one must stare into the abyss.

I have what was once known as Asperger’s Syndrome, now coalesced into the all-encompassing autism spectrum.

I’m one of what Hanson calls ‘those people’.

I’ve built my career around being on the spectrum, on de-stigmatising a condition that doesn’t render you inferior – just different. I’ve tried to make myself an example of achievement, that being on the spectrum doesn’t limit you and can in fact empower you, that you can be ‘normal’ if you want to be, but more importantly that there’s no need to be normal at all.

And in this capacity it is incumbent on me to retort.

I also went to a public school. One with something of a reputation. A school that stands to gain a lot from the Gonski program.

School was a brutal experience. Aside from the regulation systemic bullying, there were the problems stemming from lack of funding. Our classes would regularly contain over thirty students, sometimes two to a desk. Half of our classrooms were temporary demountables, lacking heating in the winter and pushing 35 degrees in the summer.

Hardly ideal conditions for learning in the formative years of your life.

In this post-apocalyptic hellscape of a high school were students held back? Were students denied the attention because of the disruption of their peers? Of course they were.

Were the students causing these disruptions the ones with special needs? Absolutely not.

In my experience it wasn’t the special needs students who were the problem at all.

The problem was the idiots.

The racists, the xenophobes and homophobes; the kids who were terrified of anything different, who translated that terror into anger and violence.

Does this sound familiar, Senator Hanson?

The disruptions in maths class did not stem from an autistic tantrum. A child with autism can find comfort in numbers, in the honesty of mathematics. He doesn’t yell and throw paper demanding to know when he’ll need to use algebra in ‘real life’ (hint: it’s always). That was left to the so called ‘normal kids’.

No class was ever cancelled because of an autistic child not grasping the fall of the Wiemar Republic, however there were classes cancelled because a group of boorish thugs stole a Muslim student’s taqiyah and passed it around while chanting ‘we grew here, you flew here’ (the student in question was born in Randwick).

No science class was held back for an autistic student needing to ‘feel good about himself’ but a biology lesson resulted in a class wide detention when a student was pelted with sheep hearts because his peers suspected he might be gay (he wasn’t, he just participated in Rock Eisteddfod).

So from my admittedly anecdotal experience is it the special needs students who are holding the rest back? No. It’s the ones who were weaned on ignorance and hate who were the problem. The ones whose parents praised One Nation during its first inception, before Pauline Hanson’s myopic monomania had resolved into a weathervane for things she’d read on breitbart.com that morning and leaned more towards a general hatred for the greater humanity.

But now, more than ever, there is a pressing need for those with special needs to actually feel … special. Because when they look at Pauline Hanson they see a bully winning. They see that the student who doesn’t get the point of the lesson and vindictively disrupts the rest of the class can grow up and become a senator.

I’ve never held back anyone’s education. I value knowledge and learning above all, and I encourage it in everyone. But our students are being held back by those that don’t prize learning, those that see education as a chore and a prison sentence and lash out at anyone seen to be enjoying the experience.

Those like Pauline Hanson.

So take it from me, Senator Hanson. Autistic kids aren’t a detriment to the standards of education in this country. I should know. I lived it. But if I ever need an opinion on dropping out of school at 15 because of unprotected sex you’ll be the first person I call.

Pauline says segregate, I say integrate. Who would you trust?

By Jane Salmon

Piling on against Hanson is hard to resist. She’s under-educated and holds the entire nation back.

There is not a vulnerable or minority group she hasn’t tried to isolate or turn the white middle Australian bogan pack on. This is more of the same.

However, disability parents owe her thanks for this high profile discussion.

Our family has operated on the knife edge of this debate for at least 13 years.

My kids have been excluded and included along public/private funding lines and along resource lines from playgroup to preschool to primary and high schools.

The needs of the specific child are usually overlooked. Stereotyping occurs.

Each child is different. Some have more to gain from autism specific settings. Others need the challenges of the mainstream with extra teacher supports.

My kids have varying degrees of ASD. Like their father and paternal uncles and cousins. (this wasn’t known at the outset). My genes contributed the learning challenges like dyslexia and moodiness. It’s quite a package.

Upon diagnosis, we got told to collect our massive cash deposit from the local WASP school (that had already accepted them) and bugger off. They could not access federal funding for intellectual disabilities we were told. I went into shock.

Should we pretend to be Catholic? I found that the reputation of Catholic educators was too mixed to take that risk.

Then we got told to mainstream at a local school with few trained aides or teachers trained in behavioural and additional learning support.

We fought for segregation in a public system support class 4 suburbs away.  This expensive but rather bland option was wonderful, a cocoon. We were all on the same page. Parents paid for music therapy as an extra. We were a cohort and a unified lobby. (We were also a threat to the department).

Then after 2 years, the NSW Dept Education demanded we switch back to mainstream. The kids had potential. They must go to special school (with their videos, pottery and colouring in) or mix it with neurotypicals. Nothing in between was available.

So it was back to the local primary school where we drowned. For about 4 years.

Some teachers were superb. Basically, the kids survived on good will. Others were unimaginative, rigid and lazy. A large proportion of parents were stand offish or resentful. No birthday parties for us.

Fortunately the enlightened souls mucked in.  When I got Stage 3 cancer and people treated us with kindness. Breast cancer is easier to connect with than autism.

The education system continued to rearrange itself. Funding models & policies were altered. Aides disappeared as undertrained behaviour support specialists came in. Spot funding for trendy courses and apps came and went.

The P&C paid for remedial classes. We raffled up a bloody storm. When Mum died, I donated $20k. Cheaper than private school, right?

Now we are in a big high school and back on the knife edge. Should B2 retreat to a behaviour school (public or private)? Can he grow into a school with 1600 kids? Will external therapies be enough?

Teaching the system to look at the child not the label is important. Each has a unique set of strengths and capacities.

B1 is thriving. He has a strong work ethic and strong interests. Teaching careers advisors to look at the real person is a current challenge. Some keep holding him back.we mop up any bullying as it occurs.

Can B2 cut it? We’re still not sure. Stay tuned.

To begin with, cosy and small specialist support classes were what we needed. Moving to the mainstream away from this community was overwhelming and ironically isolating. Later, after a lot of teacher resources were soaked up, they began to thrive. They rose to many of the challenges.

We might be on track to create productive little taxpayers.

However the determinant should not be funding. Quality options should be available in quality.

Empathy and respect must be taught in the mainstream. Integration does that.

And each kid is different.

Ben's Graduation Speech | Autism Speaks

Ben has autism and, in his graduation speech, thanked his classmates for being accepting…

Posted by Autism Speaks on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Jane Caro is right. This debate is really about teacher training, teacher supports, flexible options and class sizes.

Bogans like Hanson would have benefitted from the Finnish model of education where teachers explore innovation, hold Masters degrees, command good wages and enjoy respect.

Gonski won’t work unless the full disability education is funded.

Under Gonski 2.0 my local school loses a quarter of a million a year. I pray to God that this funding is diverted away from rich private schools towards inclusive or specialist schools in low SES areas.

Turnbull and the private school lobby are indeed ruining educational progress in this country. Redistribution is necessary.

As usual, we need a more nuanced debate. If kids need special schools or support classes, let them be good. If they need more support in the mainstream, tolerate a few tanties to create the taxpayers of the future. The potential of the entire country is at stake.

We all rise of the same tide: with or without floaties.

As Father Bob says, “Who Cares Wins”.

This article was originally published on Independent Australia as Hanson’s autism remarks miss the point of NDIS, Gonski and so much more.

Union support: where would we be without it?

I see that some posters on Twitter are pushing the anti-union theme because of John Setka’s comments on the ABCC inspectors. I don’t know which ones are LNP trolls, or which ones are disgruntled workers. And by “worker”, I mean anyone who is on a survival/adequate wage. For even if you are a contractor, working your own tradie business or whatever, your calculation of hourly rate is predicated upon the union negotiated basic wage PLUS.

I was a contractor carpenter for many years after the big building companies closed their doors to trade employment and became Building Project Managers. I would work my hourly rate on what was once the union agreement rate hourly wage PLUS extras like fuel, travel time and material costs etc. But it was those union negotiated “living wage” rates that kicked us all off and gave us a base rate as a platform to charge from.

Sure, I had fights with the unions in my younger days, I was with the “Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners” – or “the jockey club” as we used to call it – a right-wing bunch of boss’s arse-lickers if ever there was some … good to see them gone, Sure, we fight with our unions just like we fight with our family members, with our parents, with brothers and sisters … but we never desert them to struggle on alone if or when they are in need of help. We fight, sometimes like cats and dogs, but we stick together. We have to; our children need family to give them outreach, security of familiar ideas and surroundings. We need unions to secure conditions and wages so we need not beg nor live in fear of eviction, so we can live an honourable life, with our family growing up around us.

Every Anzac Day we will honour those who fought and fell or were wounded, captured and scarred in all the wars this nation has fought in. I don’t have the figures in front of me, but we can guarantee the great majority that fronted those battles didn’t come from the Alma Mater of Abbott, Pyne, Murdoch or Forrest or Rinehart et al. Some did – and more power to them – but the great majority that signed-up and fronted and held the line and in the case of Kokoda, advanced against those Imperial powers that would crush the spirit and dishonour the soul of Australia were from the farms, the factory floors and the suburbs and streets of the working classes of Australia. THEY were the unionists, the men and women who stood shoulder to shoulder against them who usurp the rights, covert the honour and plunder the reserves of a nation – any nation – they are without shame. They are the ones who stay behind and count their money while sending other’s sons and daughters to fight their wars.

There is the story from the time of Saint Peter who, when faced with the prospect of death in ancient Rome for his beliefs, fled away at night down the Appian Way. There, on the outskirts of Rome, he evidently met Christ going in the opposite direction. “Quo vadis?”(wither goest thou?) … to which Christ answered; “since you are running away, I am going to Rome to be crucified once more.” The rest is (manufactured) history.

Do we, as a nation, well-fed, well-clothed and living in one of the best countries on this earth, in a spirit of vexatious spite, curse and destroy that very spirit of comradery and fraternity that is at the heart of ALL true unionism, and cowardly turn from our duty to our children and our children’s children and do we have to witness the shame of the metaphor of seeing our parents and grandparents once more going to “the front” to fight our battles for us?

Better we curse our name and die of shame! Quo vadis?

 

Hanson displays her ignorance – again

By Jane Salmon

In suggesting that ‘autistic kids should be removed from mainstream classes,’ Pauline Hanson has reached a new low.

The view Hanson reflects is one of ignorant prejudice, scarcity and austerity.

Yep, my tackers with ASD are sometimes disruptive or especially emotional. They have painful struggles. This is easing with time, skill, therapy and care.

By embracing students with additional needs we all grow. We grow in empathy and we grow more taxpayers.

Teachers need the skills and training to support all kids who go under the radar in mainstream (as well as those who are diagnosed). Our kids have potential whether in the mainstream, support classes or special schools.

Too often the potential of PWD is wasted. Colouring-in and DVDs are no substitute for growing into the challenges of a mainstream cohort. Students with additional needs deserve stimulus and opportunity as well as specialised help.

That was the vision of Gonski for Disability. A whole generation is missing out on this. It benefits everyone.

The Finnish education model creates a global brains trust.

Our system creates a workforce that is less innovative, less capable and less competitive on a global scale.

We need to skill up, not down, if we are to meet the challenges of modernity and artificial intelligence.

My firstborn with ASD in Year 10 recently undertook a standard school occupational test. This child was segregated in an autism support class to start off. He often skips classes; volunteering to set up assembly, doing light and sound, going to TAFE automotive lessons, enjoying woodwork, doing group projects in the library. His citizenship is terrific. The Principal says he helps keep the school of 1600 running. I think having challenges as a family has taught him about what matters.

The occupational testers acknowledged that he wants to go straight into the workforce as a train timetabler or busdriver. However the same testers suggested that his Plan B should be something like aeronautical engineering. And both the Automotive Instructor at TAFE and the Modern History teacher have BEGGED for him to stay on for the HSC although he has chosen advanced maths, physics, chemistry, engineering.

I couldn’t be happier.

The struggle to cross from support classes to the mainstream has paid off. The special diet, the therapies, TLC and fuss have paid for themselves if he becomes a useful taxpayer.

Hanson is missing the point of the NDIS and much else. She misses empathy.  She misses the value of us all rising on the same tide of opportunity.

We grow as a group.

Imagine if Hanson had enjoyed access to expert teachers interested in her intellectual and emotional development.

The Universal Basic Income: No poverty. Dignity for all.

By Keith Davis

Why are some Capitalists looking at the concept of replacing our Welfare System with a Universal Basic Income?

Well, it is not because they are natural allies of the poor, or altruistic benefactors of those citizens who have to rely on welfare benefits to try and survive. It is because they want to know where their own next dollar is going to come from.

As the divide between rich and poor widens, as more and more people are thrown out of work, and as automation takes over from humans in many workplaces, there is no longer a guaranteed ever-growing pool of happy consumers out there with the capacity to … spend, spend, spend.

In other words, the people who manufacture and sell consumer products are starting to look ahead, and they are worried because the number of people with the spare cash to spend on products and services is starting to decline. Peoples’ pockets are starting to feel the grand pinch and household debt is flying higher than Virgin Galactic.

Capitalists believe in economic growth. For that economic growth to roll around and reach ever higher levels the people who manufacture things or supply services require other people to buy those things. Things like televisions, fridges, cars, houses, mobile phones, computers, online media access, holiday units, and airline tickets.

The Capitalists and Economists want people to not only buy all of those things, they want people to throw out many of those things after only a year or so of use and buy a whole new bigger and better range of those same old things.

But what has all of this got to do with the Universal Basic Income? As it happens it has an awful lot to do with it. There are many figures bandied about internationally and locally for how much the Universal Basic Income should be. I’m proposing an average figure of $30,000 to $40,000 per citizen per year.

Now let’s think about how much the welfare system costs Australia each year.

Remember that this Welfare System covers the whole range of benefits and tax breaks that are out there – Negative Gearing Benefits, Business Subsidies, Rich Peoples’ Tax Dodges, Government Protection for Non-Tax-Paying Corporations, Family Tax Benefits, Unemployment Benefits and other pensions, and we might as well throw in the extent to which Politicians’ Perks are subsidised by the populace. All of those things add up to Welfare.

To that incredible National Welfare System Bill now add the cost of Government funding to all those organisations who are connected to the National Welfare System. As an example the Unemployment Industry of JobActive Providers costs over 5 billion dollars alone.

But think past that and add on all the costs of all the Community Groups beavering away to pick up and support every human and every business that falls through the cracks. We’re getting up to Himalayan heights of expended dosh here and I’d love to see a gifted economist, which I’m not, dive in and come up with a real-world figure for our Welfare system expenditure – and then compare that figure to the annual spend of a Universal Basic Income.

Under the Universal Basic Income scheme I am proposing that each and every Australian citizen 18 years old or higher receives a flat out yearly payment of $30,000 to $40,000. No other Government payment or subsidy is given to anyone, and I mean anyone, for any other reason. You get your Universal Income Grant and that’s it. Period.

The scheme is modified to the extent that the more you earn over that level then you will be subject to a sliding scale that diminishes your amount of dollars received. It might mean that a millionaire, subject to the sliding scale, still gets $50 per week but so what, they are citizens too.

And here is what would then happen …

There would no longer be a welfare system in Australia – though there would need to be a support network in place for youth, and for any citizens in the unfortunate situation of not being able to look after themselves.

Poverty, as a blight on our social landscape, would be eradicated. And as an added bonus – the Government would have to cease demonising the disadvantaged people in our society.

The ludicrous government-funded unemployment Industry of JobActive Providers would disappear.

A Universal Basic Income is an egalitarian scheme. Every Australian would have access to it and there would be no ‘us’ and ‘them’.

But would there be people around who would abuse the scheme?

Yes, of course there would be. We currently have many highly paid corporate CEOs running around doing little else but demolishing their companies and their shareholders’ expectations – and I imagine that these bludgers on the system would continue to do that while pulling in their own share of Universal Basic Income dollars. But … apart from getting ACA to door-stop them, what can you do?

So I can well understand why some capitalists and economists are starting to support the value of a Universal Basic Income, because the implementation of such a scheme would allow even the poor to buy the things that the capitalists want to sell – the fridges, televisions, etc.

The poor, the unemployed, and the disadvantaged would also, and this one is far more important than any silly unending economic growth mantra, would be able to live their lives above the poverty line and with a modicum of dignity. How good would that be?

A universal basic income would be good for everybody

By Neil Hogan

If there was a universal basic income there would be no more unemployed, no more people on welfare, no more pensioners. There would be workers and non-workers, and no more demonising people on welfare as dole bludgers, no problems about what the retirement age should be, and the size of the Dept. of Human Services (or “Inhuman Services” as I like to call it) would be greatly reduced, if not abolished.

All those people above the age of 50 looking for work because they can’t exist on Newstart, but can’t for the life of them gain any employment whatsoever might then decide to be a part of the grey nomad scene and set off on the great journey to explore this big beautiful country of ours and that in itself would be good for the tourism industry Australia wide as well as adding to the economies of all the places they travel through.

While the life of a grey nomad isn’t for everyone, other people might think it’s time to start a small business of their own knowing that they have the security of the universal basic income and who knows just how inventive some people might be in creating a regular income from something that is too small for big business to get involved with.

Volunteering in the local community or even in far off places could also see an increase in involvement of those happy to live on the universal basic income and that would be good for everyone concerned and help to create a happier society in which to live.

Governments could still set about trying to create jobs and growth, I say “trying” because the current government has no idea how to do that, and those not happy existing on the universal basic income could set about gaining the expertise they need to to fill those positions.

Businesses might then think it’s a good idea to actually take on apprentices again as an apprentice’s wage would only be a small addition to the universal basic income, think about that for a minute and see if there would still be a need to bring in so many people on 457 visas.

Of course for this to happen businesses and high income earners would have to start paying their fair share of taxes and the tax department could actually employ more people to make sure that actually happens. And wouldn’t that be a good idea?

Can Australia really afford the ‘luxury’ of a Coalition government?

By Terence Mills

Call that a debt explosion … This is a real debt explosion!

Over the weekend Australia’s gross debt reached a record $500 billion – that’s half a trillion dollars – representing a massive loan repayment obligation for future generations of Australians and highlighting the monumental hypocrisy of the Coalition.

When gross debt reached $250 billion in 2012 the then opposition were howling about Labor’s ‘Debt and Deficit Disaster’. Joe Hockey – at the 2013 election – was bemoaning the massive imposition on future generations due to Labor’s debt catastrophe which he considered would put at risk the sovereignty of the Australian economy. But look at what’s happened since the Coalition came to office: gross debt has been increasing by $1.66 billion a month faster than under Labor and has grown by $381.7 million a week or $54.5 million a day quicker under the Coalition.

Before the 2013 election, Coalition MPs were scathing on Labor debt levels, paying no heed to the challenges of the global financial crisis (GFC) — the worst economic downturn in 80 years.

Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce were apoplectic about the interest payments of $6 billion a year depriving the people of Australia funding for schools and hospitals due to Labor’s delinquent and uncontrolled borrowing and drunken sailors were allegedly everywhere in Labor’s ranks when it came to profligate spending by a debauched government.

Interest payments are now $16 billion for this financial year and will be even higher next year and if global interest rate move upward, as it seems they may, the situation could be even worse.

But haven’t we been told constantly by our mainstream media that the Coalition are much better economic managers than Labor? Just last week, Turnbull said – when avoiding questions in Question Time – that the Coalition were committed to fixing Labor’s legacy of debt and dysfunction. This falsehood would soon be exposed if our major media outlets were doing there job but today’s Australian doesn’t even consider the debt explosion worthy of mention and the usual suspects who would be front and centre screeching doom and destruction if Labor were in office have nothing to say.

The debt ceiling has had to be lifted to make room for the record debt and yet the Coalition remain committed to their big-business tax cuts which, in May last year, Treasury secretary John Fraser told a Senate hearing would cost $48.2 billion over the 2016-27 period. But Mr Morrison has revised that figure to $65.4 billion for the decade (2017-28). This means that it will cost Australians $5.4 billion in extra interest for the government to borrow the money required to pay for its huge tax handout — the equivalent of $220 for every man, woman and child in the country.

Can Australia really afford the ‘luxury’ of a Coalition government?

 

Media’s fatal gambit

By Christian Marx

With the announcement that Channel 10 had gone into administration, many in the media were in deep shock. This author was not shocked at all. In fact, I was surprised this hadn’t happened much sooner.

There are many and varied reasons why mainstream media is collapsing: The internet, online streaming, endless repeats of 30 year old programs, terrible reality shows, and a declining revenue base from advertisers. However, arguably the biggest factor is the fact that the media largely omit massive amounts of information in their news coverage.

This happens for a number of reasons. The first and primary reason is that all mainstream media is corporate owned and ultimately serves the personal and business interests of their owners. It seeks to push a far-right discourse, particularly on economic matters. For example, how many programs are there a week on the unemployed and the so-called “dole bludgers”? These “exposes” are a dime a dozen. We never get a hard-hitting investigation on the top ten tax dodgers in the country!

The power brokers work hand in glove with big business interests. Not surprisingly, as they are part of the same club. Far-right economic policies (such as austerity), attacks on the vulnerable, neo-liberal economics are the order of the day, and the gospel according to television programmers.

Fortunately, their propaganda machine is beginning to show some very large cracks.

This was glaringly apparent during the election campaign and final outcome in the United Kingdom. Jeremy Corbyn was mercilessly savaged and smeared relentlessly. Phrases such as ‘being dirty’, ‘scruffy’, a ‘dangerous Marxist’, and even an ‘IRA terrorist sympathizer’ were used.. Rich words coming from the press when Theresa May is now in bed with a little known terrorist group from Ireland. Of course, media won`t talk about this though! That narrative is not for public ears!

Mainstream media has made a fatal error: They no longer control the information flow yet behave as though they do. For those under 50 (and increasingly even older cohort groups) television and newspapers are superfluous … rags that are good to clean the windows with. The lies and spin are now so bad, even those who are more trusting now need to verify their information via the internet. This is why, during the election in the UK, the public began doing their own research, not satisfied with the media lies and spin.

The UK has been almost destroyed by Tory economics over the past 35 years. The wreckage is easy to see. The National Health System is at breaking point, millions are now getting food from the food banks, and the final insult was the proposed dementia tax on the elderly. Not content with smashing the poor via a bedroom tax (those who were living in a house with multiple bedrooms were slugged with a tax if no one was using the bedroom!).

The empty slogans are ridiculous. “Strong and stable”!(?) … My god, tens of millions are below the poverty line while the elite continue to steal the rug out from under the poor and the middle-class. Theresa May should get out of her ivory tower and just walk the streets of London … full of homeless and malnourished children. Their media spin of attacking the most vulnerable backfired.

Did the poor remove funding from the National Health System? No, it was the parasitic 1%, lobbying both “New Labour and the Tories” to put a razor to all social services.

Australia too is constantly bombarded with attacks on the poor, immigrants, almost everyone except the real criminals. Those who run and control the system are the real parasites. The definition of a parasite is one that cannot be detected … one that burrows itself into the organism and leeches off the host. Yes, the real parasites are those who own and control the media and the large corporations and work in tandem with both major political parties. Difficult questions are never asked.

Journalists are no better. If they do not tow the neo-liberal and US centric foreign affairs propaganda, they are usually sacked or marginalized and ridiculed. Real hard-hitting journalism is left up to grass roots organizations such as Democracy Now. Even The Guardian was shameful in its reporting of Jeremy Corbyn; certainly not what one would expect from an “independent” media outlet.

Unfortunately’ the order of the day is sock-puppets such as Andrew Bolt and Rita Panahi. These people are not journalists, merely corporate mouthpieces that spruik the will and views of the rich and powerful. Facebook news and information pages such as DLATP (Don`t Look At This Page) expose these charlatans. Fortunately there are hundreds of thousands of pages such as DLATP, and people are networking among themselves across the globe via Twitter, Facebook and blogs. They see the lies and spin and will no longer tolerate the misinformation.

Ultimately mainstream media has hastened its demise. They have a credibility problem that won`t go away. The future of news and investigative journalism will be grassroots, low-cost digital media. Mainstream media made a fatal error and now they will sow the seeds of their own irrelevancy and destruction. Ultimately, truth is the mightiest hammer!

Christian Marx is a political and social activist interested in making the world a fairer place. He has a Bachelor of Social Science and has a keen interest in sociology, politics and history. He was one of the organizers of the March in March rallies in Melbourne and is the founder of the progressive news and information page, “Don`t Look At This Page”, and is also a co-founder of “The Global Revolution” website.

The Horror! … The Horror! …

Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novella by Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story’s narrator Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames, London, England. This setting provides the frame for Marlow’s story of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz, which enables Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness.

Central to Conrad’s work is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilised people and those described as savages“ ( Wikipedia).

Conrad’s novella was used to very good effect as the base story for the Francis Coppola film Apocalypse Now – but set in Vietnam  – a truly memorable and frightening film … one of the greats of cinema. The opening theme and song from The Doors, an unforgettable moment.

“In the most general sense, libertarianism is a political philosophy that affirms the rights of individuals to liberty, to acquire, keep, and exchange their holdings, and considers the protection of individual rights the primary role for the state. This entry is on libertarianism in the narrower sense of the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things …

Libertarianism can be understood as a basic moral principle or as a derivative one …” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

Capitalist Extinction Theory and the God Salvation

Was watching this chappy from the fossil fuel lobby on Lateline the other week extolling the benefits, nay, duty to “emerging economies” of using Australian “clean coal” to raise their peoples out of poverty with the proven technology of coal burning power stations which in turn – because of the Australian “clean coal” – reduce carbon emissions accordingly..

On the same program at the same time was the revelation of the decline of the Great Barrier Reef with bleaching and pollutants. This did not seem to be the concern of the coal lobby, as they claimed there had not been a coal spillage on the reef nor were they responsible for the run-off of waste and nutrients into the reef waters.

The next day I was embroiled on Twitter with a supposed “Professor” (a Libertarian) about the fatalistic acceptance of coral “dying and coral renewal” because, as he explained; “… it’s the way nature works … I’ve seen it happening many times over the years”, and then went on to reveal what I believed from the start that; “I don’t see climate change because climate change is not happening.”

And there we have it: There is no damage to the atmosphere from burning coal and if there was, Mother Nature will easily adjust. There is no damage to the reef that would not happen anyway over time and if there is, it will renew itself. In short, there is nothing catastrophic happening at all to the climate, to the environment, to bio-diversity of species, or to the interconnectivity of the above to humanity that is not a normal, natural evolution and if there was, Mother Nature – who is bigger than all of us – will fix it with a tad of adjustment. Sure, some of us on the planet will suffer, (But hey! It sure as hell won’t be us in the first world, nudge nudge) and so the Libertarian juggernaut rolls on.

“ …the belief (in luck) comprises at least two distinguishable elements—which are to be taken as two different phases of the same fundamental habit of thought, or as the same psychological factor in two successive phases of its evolution. The fact that these two elements are successive phases of the same general line of growth of belief does not hinder their coexisting in the habits of thought of any given individual. The more primitive form (or the more archaic phase) is an incipient animistic belief, or an animistic sense of relations and things, that imputes a quasi-personal character to facts. To the archaic man all the obtrusive and obviously consequential objects and facts in his environment have a quasi-personal individuality. They are conceived to be possessed of volition, or rather of propensities, which enter into the complex of causes and affect events in an inscrutable manner. The sporting man’s sense of luck and chance, or of fortuitous necessity, is an inarticulate or inchoate animism. It applies to objects and situations, often in a very vague way; but it is usually so far defined as to imply the possibility of propitiating, or of deceiving and cajoling, or otherwise disturbing the holding of propensities resident in the objects which constitute the apparatus and accessories of any game of skill or chance.”(Thorsten Veblen )

If it can’t be fixed, then adjust. If it can’t be saved, then it must be weak and doomed anyway. There is an ingrained fatalism of extinction theory in the capitalist free-market mantra backed by pseudo science and pseudo anthropology that is quite unhinged and frightening. It is a belief in keeping with economic Darwinism that any environment, species, culture, in like kind to any economic situation that cannot survive on its own “bottom line” justification does not deserve to stand at all! A kind of ‘everyman for themselves world and the devil take the hindermost, as if economic rationalism can be crossed with survival rationalism and succeed!’

“They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force—nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind—as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea—something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to” (Joseph Conrad; Heart of Darkness).

What can one say that would be persuasive enough to counter such absurd ambition? I have my doubts there is any. I doubt the cocooned persons who manage this barbarism and vandalism on our world could even hear the cries of a drowning child outside their double-glazed luxurious apartment full- height windows. Their idea of an extinction of a species or the loss of an environment as not a bad thing as it allows new ones to grow in its place is a kind of connection to the absurd monotheist principle of; “Dying being a ‘release’ from this temporal suffering life … this vale of tears” so one can live harmoniously, eternally under the one God in a confected, secure Heaven.

“The guiding habits of thought of a devout person move on the plane of an archaic scheme of life which has outlived much of its usefulness for the economic exigencies of the collective life of today. In so far as the economic organization fits the exigencies of the collective life of today, it has outlived the regime of status, and has no use and no place for a relation of personal subserviency. So far as concerns the economic efficiency of the community, the sentiment of personal fealty, and the general habit of mind of which that sentiment is an expression, are survivals which cumber the ground and hinder an adequate adjustment of human institutions to the existing situation. The habit of mind which best lends itself to the purposes of a peaceable, industrial community, is that matter-of-fact temper which recognizes the value of material facts simply as opaque items in the mechanical sequence. It is that frame of mind which does not instinctively impute an animistic propensity to things, nor resort to preternatural intervention as an explanation of perplexing phenomena, nor depend on an unseen hand to shape the course of events to human use. To meet the requirements of the highest economic efficiency under modern conditions, the world process must habitually be apprehended in terms of quantitative, dispassionate force and sequence” (Thorsten Veblen).

This distortion of environment reality is perhaps the extension of Mother Nature fixing things. This is perhaps the capitalist great white hope of “God Salvation” that will redeem all things and right all wrongs … as long as one is on the ‘good side’, and if we look closely at those major venture capitalists, many too many seem to be deeply ensconced within one or the other major religions. However, if one was to look closely at the complex arrangements of those manipulators of capitalist handles, one would be inclined to see more of a multitude of chancing of investments and the gamble of high return more in keeping with a Pagan system of worship of a multitude of gods, rather than all the eggs in the one monotheistic basket. For how can one juggle so many investments in both blue-chip and high risk across so many cultural and political borders without holding donative worship at many alters? Or is all financial speculation held in trust to the one supreme commander? Chancey stuff!

I quote:

“In this paper, I argue that the birth of monotheism was a major breakthrough in sociopolitical organization and that it had a returns to scale advantage relative to paganistic and polytheist religious traditions. That is, monotheist religions involve a strong degree of increasing returns to scale and the natural monopoly powers commensurate with it. Second, monotheistic faiths are unique in that they not only personalize the spiritual exchange relationship between the individual and the one deity, but due to the fact that this relationship extends into the afterlife as well, they also enhance individual accountability. On that basis, monotheistic faiths expand their adherents’ time horizon beyond biological life and impact the time discount between one’s lifetime and the after-life.

There are two implications of these features: First, due to the fact that institutions of monotheism possessed the ecclesiastical monopoly power to legitimize or undermine the temporal powers of the political elite, they helped produce political and ecclesiastical institutions that were powerful. In particular, the latter derived substantial Financial and political benefits from being associated with One God” (Murat Iyigun; Monotheism).

The Horror! … The Horror! …

A revolution against the middle-classes!

By Freefall852

A call to revolution!

My friends, we need a revolution! Not to overthrow the state, but to replace the political, administrative and social control from a subservient middle-class with a more homogeneous mix of blue-collar, blue-collar and more blue-collar people. I am not talking the stupid blue collar; the bogan idiocy, nor the racist, bigoted goons who wrap themselves in a jingoistic flag and usurp the name of “the people”, such trash will always be trash and more than likely aspirants for a middle-class lifestyle. “I want to be effluent, mum, effluent!”

Now is the time for those of the producing classes, the “hands-on” skilled-classes to take control of governance, training, and administration of our nation. Such responsibility can no longer be chanced in the hands of those more willing to serve mammon and the vested interests than the interests of a nation and its peoples. For every time one attends a community forum or council meeting, it seems one is met with obfuscation, legalistic blockage and administrative hurdles, not necessarily for the benefit of good governance, but more than not for the benefit of this or that group of speculators or old family interests. We need “good governance”, not a reward system for mates!

After all, it has always been the diligence and ingenuity of the producing classes who have advanced humanity through new discoveries or technology – never the financiers nor the indolent managers – but … they have always claimed reward and kudos for it!

From Victor Hugo, ‘Essays on Humanity‘:

“… The cleverness of the governing and the apathy of the governed have arranged and mixed things in such a manner that all those forms of princely nothingness have their place in human destiny; peace and war, the movement of armies and fleets, the recoil of the progress of civilization, depend on the cup of tea of Queen Anne or the fly-flap of the Bey of Algiers.

History walks behind these fooleries, registering them. Knowing so many things, it is quite natural it should be ignorant of others.

If you are curious to ask the name of the English merchant who in 1612 first entered China by the north, of the worker in glass who in 1663 first established in France a manufactory of crystal, of the (shipping) pilot who in 1405 discovered the Canary Islands, of the Byzantine lute-maker who in the eighth century invented the organ and gave to music it’s grandest voice, of the Campanian mason who invented the clock by establishing at Rome on the temple of Quirinus the first sundial, of the Roman lighterman who invented the paving of towns by the construction of the Appian way in the year of 312 BC: of the Egyptian carpenter who devised the dovetail, one of the keys of architecture…of the Chaldean keeper of flocks who founded astronomy by his observations of the signs of the zodiac … “

And on it goes, the distortion of history to serve the interest of the “managers of education”. Sure, education must be managed, but in the interests of the whole of society, not just directed into cul-de-sacs suitable to the financial gain of this or that section of society.

But why are you learning this from me, a mere carpenter, a nobody, a minute cog in the juggernaut wheel of society? Because, my fellow workers, you’re never going to hear it from those who know better than to have you know too much! ”A little knowledge is dangerous” they warn, but we can now see that “a whole lot of knowledge is deadly!”. So leave us with our collective knowledge, after all it is not intellectually copyrighted …

To Quote Thorsten Veblen:

“The institution of a leisure class has an effect not only upon social structure but also upon the individual character of the members of society. So soon as a given proclivity or a given point of view has won acceptance as an authoritative standard or norm of life it will react upon the character of the members of the society which has accepted it as a norm. It will to some extent shape their habits of thought and will exercise a selective surveillance over the development of men’s aptitudes and inclinations. This effect is wrought partly by a coercive, educational adaptation of the habits of all individuals, partly by a selective elimination of the unfit individuals and lines of descent. Such human material as does not lend itself to the methods of life imposed by the accepted scheme suffers more or less elimination as well as repression. The principles of pecuniary emulation and of industrial exemption have in this way been erected into canons of life, and have become coercive factors of some importance in the situation to which men have to adapt themselves.

These two broad principles of conspicuous waste and industrial exemption affect the cultural development both by guiding men’s habits of thought, and so controlling the growth of institutions, and by selectively conserving certain traits of human nature that conduce to facility of life under the leisure-class scheme, and so controlling the effective temper of the community“ (Theory of the Leisure Class).

No longer can we serve under that sickly-sweet fondant of middle-class tackiness that has more an ear to the stock-market than to the street, that is more attuned to serving a insincere “Old School Tie” motto of ” Tempus celerius radio fugit”, or ”And Gladly Teche”, or “Postera Crescam Laude” … but enough! … let us instead reflect upon that old alma mater motto of everyone:  Non illigitimus carborundum!”, or it’s primary institution; “Non credus taurus excretum!”

But seriously …

If ever there was a signal of the decline and eventual destruction of a society, a culture and perhaps of a civilization itself, it is the rise in influence, financial control and political power of the middle-class. From ancient Greece and its Oligarchs and Rome’s Equestrian Order, to the height of the British Empire and it’s Captains of Industry … it will destroy the US too with their “Masters of the Universe” Wall Street bankers. I will confidently state that the decline and fall of every society which has reached its pinnacle of social, financial and civil administration skills, can be sheeted straight home to the rise in control and management of governance by the upper-middle-classes. It is both the zenith and nadir of a people’s achievement. Let us not be mistaken nor tricked; an “old school tie” reputation means more to these hustlers than loyalty to the nation it is sworn to serve.

But it won’t end there, with their incessant analysis into every corner and worry of our lives. It won’t be long before those bourgeois economic hypochondriacs have us in therapy or on a metaphorical echinichia oil for everything from fear of stock-market collapse to shopping malls emptying! Directing, as usual, all their monetary attention to what is most important in their lives; their bank balance. For with their media dominance, their design of indoctrination has led the most easily influenced into a trap of high credit, high consumption, and low taste in entertainment for those masses.

The insincere concern for the most vulnerable in society, through faux Christian charity programs can be evenly matched by the vicious snatching away of real, State financed programs for the long-term … seeing many of the vulnerable, ill, homeless and most in need as  “leaners” and in such a situation through a perceived fault or choosing of their own … the perception amongst the more wealthy of the middle-class being that they achieved their level of status through their own hard work and ingenuity. Yet you look at them; slovenly or loathsome, opportunist or plain criminal … liars or cheats, and you are certain that never in a lifetime of Sundays could they have obtained any position save crawling on their knees without a network of like-minded and like-supportative bastards!

The middle-class has corrupted nearly every corner of our lives, from simple, wholesome food to simple hard-won finances. They have corrupted our language through pedantic manipulation and twisting of the vernacular and idiosyncrasies of the mother-tongue into a perverted blancmange of tedious and boring grammatically correct doggerel.

Our songs have been debased from a voice in the street to a fully orchestrated 32 channel syrup of “pop queens” and “boy bands” to faux radicals, pumping out mass-produced crap that one can neither tap one’s foot to nor shake one’s fist with. The whole “of the people” structure has been bleached into a white-noise of acceptable, non-aggressive political theatre, our ambitions are being “managed”, as is our language, our finances and our cultural heritage … but then we have to at the same time thank Christ for their destruction of the environment, culture, social structures and all we hold dear, for now they, in their over-confidence and cocky indifference, have shown us the face of our enemy.

On the issue a declining middle-class, I have no sympathy. To me it is personal. I can recall the times when both the front-bar and the smoko room was the fermenting places for the last vestiges of oral story-telling for the working class. The greedy aspirations and economic rationalism of the middle-class has destroyed them both..

The front bar was the place to see and hear the liars and spielers, the pompous bastards and the braggadocio … and their stories reflected that personality. One could write of them freely … the smoko spot, be it in factory or in-situ on a building site was where one heard the deeper tales … the personal trysts of the tradies and their families … I have written many of them up.

Smoko, when I was a tradie, was inviolate; at around 10 o’clock there would be a general “down tools” and all would gather in one room or another and the camaraderie of the collective would gel. If anyone kept working on, there would be a general; “Hey! Cut it out. Smoko!” And that was the rule.

With the rise of the aspirant tradie, no more than a cheapo reflection of the bastard middle-class establishment, there was lost that “gathering”. With the snazzying up of the hotel front bars, until they almost cease to exist in the old format, there was a change of clientele to the “beige beautiful people”. All has been destroyed for the likes of our slimy prick PM, who shovels his dosh overseas to a tax haven like so many of his ilk.

Many of you may notice that the tales I write are of a certain age group. That is because it is at that age group that the stories have stopped in my mind. Oh sure, there are still stories both joyful and sad, but there is something so, so horribly banal and suburban about them now. There lacks the “heroic” … and the creeping bogan aspiration has “dirtied” the noble and honest and reduced the working-class from a proud, qualified expertise to a just-in-time, “multi skilled”, casually employed workforce, more desperate for money and more in need of camaraderie than ever before.

It is a sad state of affairs and I lay the blame to a greedy, manipulative middle-class, too insecure in their own minds to just let the affairs of humanity have a bit of a breather to tell their tale, and if I can be a tad poetic … sing their song!

I believe it is time to write a new “manifesto” for society.

The opportunist middle-class … time to rid ourselves of this pestilence!

Time for a social revolution!

 

The patience of the predator

By freef’all852

Back in the days of my callous youth, when I would go hunting rabbits with my trusty .22 repeater rifle, I soon learned the basic rudiments of the predator vs the predated. For instance, if I came to a section of bush that showed all the signs but none of the movement of quarry, instead of waltzing out to the middle of the clearing and announcing my intentions to all and sundry, I would stand dead still, and breathe quietly and listen carefully … the intent of course was to place the opportunity of mistake on to the quarry, for as long as either of us remained quiet and still, neither would be discovered. But if one moved – and with myself being in the dominant position of power – this is where the nous of the hunter is put to the test. If there is one thing the predator must have in spades, it is patience.

If you but observe the tactics of a cat – with the experienced hunter – it is usually the quarry that loses patience first … and then …

“The leisure-class canon demands strict and comprehensive futility, the instinct of workmanship demands purposeful action. The leisure-class canon of decorum acts slowly and pervasively, by a selective elimination of all substantially useful or purposeful modes of action from the accredited scheme of life; the instinct of workmanship acts impulsively and may be satisfied, provisionally, with a proximate purpose. “

The managerial middle-class has perfected the principle of the patience of the predator. The impulsive nature of the ‘producing class’, with its inherent imperative of need and or requirement of immediate results, lures it into rash decision and opinion making. Such impulsiveness will often lead the general collective of this class into an economic or political trap. The managerial authority has – with privileged authority via proven historical experience – adopted the hunter’s prowess of seek out and destroy through a waiting game that radical or disobedient element which denies their uninterrupted governance. This is best achieved by adopting those methods learned down through the ages of strategy and cunning used in many diplomatic and military exploits, and then passed on through the filters of education to those selected out and best suited for such invidious managerial pursuits.

“As it finds expression in the life of the barbarian, prowess manifests itself in two main directions—force and fraud. In varying degrees these two forms of expression are similarly present in modern warfare, in the pecuniary occupations, and in sports and games. Both lines of aptitudes are cultivated and strengthened by the life of sport as well as by the more serious forms of emulative life. Strategy or cunning is an element invariably present in games, as also in warlike pursuits and in the chase. In all of these employments strategy tends to develop into finesse and chicanery. Chicanery, falsehood, browbeating, hold a well-secured place in the method of procedure of any athletic contest and in games generally.”

Well may it be attributed to the upper class of England to claim that: “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton”.

Of course all this may just be passing on of trivial information except for the current political games being played by the right-wing of the conservative LNP to search out and control the recognizable opposition that will cause them the most bother in the years to come. They have learned the sorry way the mistake of charging out into the clearing and “spraying bullets all around” and hitting no particular quarry except perhaps their own mates. A blue on blue! Now they wait … they are playing the long game … they are drawing out the quarry with strategy.; they propose debates with all the appearance of reasoned logic. ”Why not let the people discuss?”…”Why not encourage the unemployed to help themselves?”…” What is wrong with securing our borders ?” … Discuss.

With cunning they recruit marginal commentators to push their points by way of “free speech” … ”The other side of the debate” … “The right of another point of view” But these are just strategies of playing the waiting game. Waiting for the first to blink, to break-cover and panic, and then, their “dogs” in the MSM go for the throat, selecting the one vulnerable group or person, cut them out, marginalize them, demonize them and hold them up as example of justification for the action taken. Just like the stalking procedure of the big cats; lying in wait for their pre-selected victim.

“The habitual employment of an umpire, and the minute technical regulations governing the limits and details of permissible fraud and strategic advantage, sufficiently attest the fact that fraudulent practices and attempts to overreach one’s opponents are not unforeseen features of the game. In the nature of the case habituation to sports should conduce to a fuller development of the aptitude for fraud; and the prevalence in the community of that predatory temperament which inclines men to sports connotes a prevalence of sharp practice and callous disregard of the interests of others, individually and collectively. Resort to fraud, in any guise and under any legitimisation of law or custom, is an expression of a narrowly self-regarding habit of mind.“

The practice of the patience of the predator is used by the skilled managerial class throughout all walks of society as a method of control of those considered “out of control” or “unstable”. Every strata of management utilizes the “pause, wait and see” strategy to give as much time as required to destabilize and unsettle the victim, waiting for the first false move or mistake and then once off-guard, they pounce!

“The astute man, it may be remarked, is of no economic value to the community—unless it be for the purpose of sharp practice in dealings with other communities. His functioning is not a furtherance of the generic life process. At its best, in its direct economic bearing, it is a conversion of the economic substance of the collectivity to a growth alien to the collective life process—very much after the analogy of what in medicine would be called a benign tumor, with some tendency to transgress the uncertain line that divides the benign from the malign growths. The two barbarian traits, ferocity and astuteness, go to make up the predaceous temper or spiritual attitude. They are the expressions of a narrowly self-regarding habit of mind. Both are highly serviceable for individual expediency in a life looking to invidious success. Both also have a high aesthetic value. Both are fostered by the pecuniary culture. But both alike are of no use for the purposes of the collective life. “

Thankfully, they can be easily identified by their lack of real creativity or inventiveness in any given situation. They are totally predictable.

(All quotes are from Thorsten Veblen: “The Theory of the Leisure Class”).

This article was originally published on freefall852.wordpress.com.

Let’s take control

By Christian Marx

Right-wing media is failing in its attempt to manufacture consent. Jeremy Corbyn proved that even with the entire mainstream media against him (even the BBC) it is possible to smash through the lies and spin of Murdoch and his other 5 billionaire friends who control more than 80% of the U.K media.

People are finally starting to wake up to the fact that the 1% absolutely have a vested interest in pushing an extreme economic agenda that only benefits themselves.

While the media is weakening its grip, this ultimately will not be enough to topple their power. If people really want a fundamental change in the system, they must work twice as hard as their opposition. Turning up to rallies is not enough.

Here are a few tips if we are going to not only win, but fundamentally turn the tables of power:

  1. Get active. Share articles, letterbox drop information, put huge pressure on those in parliament (get a group of friends together and relentlessly target your local M.P, particularly on economic issues, such as attacking healthcare and education, pensions, unemployment benefits etc).
  2. Network. Go to meet ups and network with other activists. There are meetings every week in the city, particularly here in Melbourne. Even if you are not in a major city, get in contact with some of these organizations: Socialist Alternative, Socialist Alliance, Lock The Gate etc.
  3. Put up posters around your local neighbourhood. Create your own artwork even. If you are a little self conscious about doing this on your own, go with a friend.
  4. Unity is strength. Once others see how committed and passionate you are, they will want to get involved.
  5. Never let the system crush you. We all have our bad days, even me. But when I get upset or frustrated, I turn that anger into an energy and double my efforts.
  6. The overwhelming majority now know that this current capitalist system is broken. It can`t go on much longer the way it is. Jeremy Corbyn has proved this. He had no media support at all (besides alternative, non-corporate media) yet he was able to turn a predicted “massive defeat for Labour” into a record turnaround. The biggest reversal of fortune in political history, apparently (in the U.K.).
  7. WE CAN WIN THE FINAL BATTLE! But only if the majority of those who want a better future get active! Truth is the mightiest hammer. Lets spread it and mobilize! VIVA!

Christian Marx is a political and social activist interested in making the world a fairer place. He has a Bachelor of Social Science and has a keen interest in sociology, politics and history. He was one of the organizers of the March in March rallies in Melbourne and is the founder of the progressive news and information page, “Don`t Look At This Page”, and is also a co-founder of “The Global Revolution” website.

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