An emboldened Morrison Government means that Labor under an Albanese Leadership will respond very differently to what we are used to. How we respond to Labor under Albo’s leadership is something we should discuss. For one, Bothism has got to go!
It’s About the Long Game
In an interview with the Guardian this week, Labor leader, Anthony Albanese gave us an insight into how Labor will respond in the current political environment. Our response to that is crucial. What he put forward and the space we are in at the moment, impacts on how this will play out for Labor. Our response to Labor, as they navigate the worker hating evangelist gobshite with no visible agenda, is crucial.
Firstly, despite plenty of doubts, particularly on Twitter, Albanese firmly plants his feet as a progressive with a progressive history.
“I’m a progressive. I’ve been active for a very long period of time, and I’m determined to get a positive outcome in 2022 … because I passionately believe that only Labor governments make a positive difference to people’s lives in a long-term way and in a transformative way. (Anthony Albanese)
Albanese said it’s about the long game. About kicking with the wind in the last quarter. For soccer fans like me, it’s about slowing the game in the first half. Then deploying tactical in the second half when the other side is tired. The point is by the second half the other team will be chasing the ball and our team will be scoring goals.
Another area fairly hyped up on Twitter, is aided by apparent “left friendly newspapers” such as the Guardian. The Guardian proudly publish their inside jokes in their articles such as calling Labor’s decision making in opposition to a Government with right-wing power in both houses as, “bitch and fold”. This is about Labor’s decision making around various bills. In addition, this isn’t helped by the ongoing and tiresome campaign from the Greens. The Greens deceitfully depict Labor as voting against something, when that something is a stunt. They know 100% Labor will not break Senate procedure.
Albanese’s response to this is:
“There will be a whole range of things that we do from time to time that people will wonder why we are doing them. We can’t focus on the day or the week, we have to focus on the term, and at the end of the day if you are not in government then you can’t change things in a progressive way.” (Anthony Albanese)
One reason why there has been so much anger on ‘the left of political punters on social media; is for years now, the agenda of ‘Bothism’ has been allowed to manifest. Labor has a responsibility to slay this beast. We also (as leftists) have a responsibility to not feed it.
The Bothism Agenda
One reason we are in this mess is a lot of people who sit on the left want a Labor Government, but they think they deserve better than the Labor party. This is a Party they have judged from the opposition. Or despite now two changes of leadership will judge on the basis of a hung parliament six years ago. A Party that doesn’t have the power to be judged on their implemented platform. A party who has not had the luxury of having power in both houses as democracy has wished upon us for the conservative agenda to be implemented right now.
The hung parliament of Gillard and the internal conflict of Rudd/Gillard Rudd, was a real antecedent for the Bothism agenda to grow. Seeing this opportunity, since Rudd/Gillard the agenda to fracture the left has become quite prominent. This is a right-wing agenda to encourage people to “not vote majors” knowing most minor & Independents preference the Liberals.
We have seen in action, particularly in Queensland, where I felt my Senate ticket might catch fire! It overflowed with right-wing evil filling the page. Besides Labor and the Greens, there were absolutely no other progressive choices. The other parties or individuals ranged from conservative to the absolute fruitcake variety ego maniac right-wing nationalist who wants a good old fashioned gun totin’ shoot up in towns.
The Right-Wing Agenda Enabled by The Left
The problem is there are many on the left of politics who believe the Bothism agenda is a positive thing to ‘strengthen the left’ by holding the major left party to account. When in fact, it is a right-wing agenda to split the left and it is working out quite fine for the conservatives who hate us.
Ask yourself why it is also the preferred approach of Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer, if it ‘strengthens the left.’
Therefore, there are major players on “the left” of politics who have embraced the Bothism agenda. In the space of social media….really, who can blame some people? On Twitter and Blogs, it is a very easy way to gather thousands of followers and gain prominence in the #Auspol space.
In the anti-Liberal sections of Facebook groups and pages, the Bothism agenda attacking Labor has become so entrenched, particularly by Greens, non-party aligned Socialists, Climate Change activists, Sustainability activists and various Welfare and general Left Politics groups, that many Labor people are retreating away from these groups and forming closed Labor groups.
Unfortunately, sharing Labor memes and stories with Labor members or staunch Labor voters on Facebook is not helpful. It is up to Labor to come up with significant change around Social Media strategy to actually, sadly, counter ‘the left’ political punters on Social media.
The Social Media Bothism Narrative
These individuals and groups have enabled the “Bothism agenda” by feeding it. When it all boils down to it, politics is always, always about Capital vs Labour (and you sure as hell will feel this the next 3 years). Trying to find absolutely everything wrong with Labor and at times, hoping Labor is as bad as you want them to be (because you have other vested political interests), hurts a hell of a lot of vulnerable people who ‘the left’ is supposed to be there for in the long run.
There are prominent Twitter accounts who “Support Labor winning” but day in day out they promote Labor is no different to the Liberals. Ideologically and a study of our history, shows this view is ingrained in ignorance. It is an ignorance that has infected the collective trust in politics. Which once again, only helps the paternalistic Liberals.
Then we have Jan Fran, First Dog and Juice Media who enable this ignorance, particularly with new and young voters. Their formula to spread their Bothism message is always, “Liberals are shit but hey gotta say Labor is pretty shit too.” Well Bothism is also pretty shit. A Morrison Government is even more shit. How is the Morrison Government turning out for you so far?
Blogs or Flogs?
Then we have the Independent Media. The “media” we expect to give us the stories that Murdoch doesn’t. However, a lot of bloggers (not pointing to anyone in particular, because there are a lot of you) repeatedly publish articles completely misrepresenting Labor’s position and just harp on how crap Labor is. Again, who can blame them? The reader attraction is there. How easy is it to just scan some comments on Twitter, pick up on some reacts and do a big Hanson type rant about how shit Labor is? Written with no support for arguments, truth or substance. The pat on the backs come and its rinse and repeat.
The number of bloggers who have ingrained in people’s minds that Labor is anti-Welfare, anti-climate Change and pro-Capitalist are not only helping the Liberals but write from a place of pure ignorance, are outright lying and play into the bothism agenda of distrust and apathy. The problem with this is unless a person knows where they fit ideologically, they end up putting their faith in a right-wing Independent, Katter, Hanson or Palmer to name a few. They aren’t conservative, but they get the message via these articles, Facebook blogs etc (which are 2000 word rants) etc., that Labor doesn’t stand up for them either. Stop being part of the problem.
In saying that, Labor also needs to keep abreast of blogs and Independent ‘news’ sites and call them out as blogs or flogs. They should respond with shareable information if the content of these blogs is incorrect. Some articles reach thousands and thousands of people.
If I have upset any bloggers who constantly write from a bothism perspective and never have anything positive to say about Labor, bite me. I don’t care. Someone needs to say it.
The Stigma of a Laborist Slant
I had a heated exchange on Twitter the other day with another writer and I was accused on not being critical enough of the Labor Party. This person expressed contempt towards me, told me basically my writing was shit and wouldn’t know where to start picking it apart and also, that I am not an “Independent Blogger.”
Independent blogger to me, is I do not have anyone else control what I write about. I conduct independent research. I write from my own perspective. A blog is an opinion platform. I am an opinion writer and I am also an experienced researcher when I do not want to write opinion.
Also, I am not controlled by a writing agenda. I don’t ‘plan’ my writing, I am compelled to write. It isn’t something I can explain well. I just get to the stage where I have to put thoughts on paper. It is why you are reading quite a long post right now!
I do not and never will masquerade as a journalist, as some writers do.
Journalism is a Higher Education qualification. Whether you are a great journalist or not is irrelevant. It is a skill, a craft and it is a lot harder than me just sitting here behind my keyboard. I would not be so disrespectful to people who have earned a qualification to call myself a ‘journalist.’
As my site clearly states, I write with a Laborist slant. It is not a secret. The fact that a fellow writer and promoter from a major Independent Site castigated me for not attacking Labor enough, is surely part of the F’ing problem! Shunning and ridiculing pro-Labor opinion writers because you think pushing ignorant bothism is some high value, especially when Labor is in opposition, helps no one. You don’t see Bolt attacking Credlin for being too pro-Liberal.
Hell, even I read Andrew Bolt and watch Credlin, because it is important to understand the conservative argument. Sorry, but sitting on the fence flogging both majors is a cop-out, enables bothism, ignorance and apathy and it helps no one.
Sites such as The Saturday Paper and The Monthly are actual journalistic sites. These are not blog sites. (PS Paddy Manning is the BEST!)
To break Bothism, start questioning Independent blog articles. Many independent articles are written from the position that Labor is inherently bad. They are writers like me, sitting at home behind a keyboard with no journalistic qualifications. They have political leanings to minor left or Independents.
Question if it’s the whole story. Ask in comments for a link to Hansard. A good blogger will comply. This includes the ‘new style of blog’ that is a 2000 word rant from an anti-Labor leftist in Facebook groups.
You will find by reading Hansard, it’s almost always never the full story. Do this with memes and tweets you see as well. Stop just accepting Labor are bastards. Not once have I researched an issue and found that to be the case. It’s normally due to political power in Parliament. At times, the necessity to follow a particular parliamentary procedure. An example of mendacious claims about Labor can be found here.
Hell, if you see something you are not sure of, pick up a phone and phone a Labor MP or Senator. If you see anything you find doubtful, even contact me if you like and I will get the information for you.
You can see by the above, that there are those on the left who feed the Bothism agenda and that reaches an audience Murdoch does not use and that only benefits the Liberals.
I’m not saying don’t be critical of Labor. But at least try to find facts. Also, speak up in comments if you think it’s political opportunism and not the full story. Real criticism and real solutions add to progress. Faux anger based on political opportunism or harvesting likes divides us and regresses us.
Bothism a Negative Emotional Contagion
The Bothism agenda is an insidious negative emotional contagion. We need to bear in mind that not everyone is politically engaged. One example is The Greens in the last QLD state election campaigned that the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was corrupt resulted in people not voting “for that corrupt bitch” and voted Hanson. This campaign was fully endorsed by the Greens. They ran this knowing Pauline Hanson is an actual real threat in Queensland. We need more people who do not want Pauline Hanson or the LNP in power to stand up to the Greens. We need to insist they explain why they would run such a campaign when Pauline Hanson is actually a threat and the LNP are just slightly less worse.
Federally, we have seen a three-year campaign by the Greens and other climate activist groups (who mind you, the QLD LNP and the Hanson candidates here absolutely LOVE YOU so much it makes me ill), who have predominantly attacked Labor over the Adani issue. Stop Adani was a campaign created by a Green for the last QLD state election to win three seats in inner-city Brisbane. These seats included Labor’s, Jackie Trad. (Who is a complete Goddess BTW!). One candidate said to me how they were so impressed how well it took off. So we had to cop three years of it. We had our towns invaded upsetting people. This was to see a Morrison Government returned, who they never held to account in the first place.
We End Up with the Liberals
Many think I detest the Greens because I am some type of psycho rusted-on Labor bitch. (There is nothing wrong with that for others out there 🙂 !) I detest the Greens because their constant attacks on Labor help the Liberals. Then we end up with the Liberals which sees vulnerable people pushed down further and further. The Greens don’t get that one day can be a very long time for disadvantaged people, let alone three bloody years of a Liberal Government making life harder for them.
The Anti-Labor Message Gets Through
Labor’s position on Adani was always that they could only work within the law. This is all the Greens would be able to do if they held office. Now after this has caused a tremendous amount of mass fear in QLD and parts of NSW over mass job losses and they played out a campaign for change that goes against every single change management theory in the book; Adani may still fall over. The Greens could have supported Labor knowing that when Labor was in office, that Labor would act on Climate Change. But hey, what is another three years of destructive conservative Government, and screwing over every Labor candidate north or Gympie, if it just might mean you win Melbourne Ports off Labor?
As we can see from the above, the anti-Labor messages got through, but people don’t always put all pieces of the puzzle together in their busy lives. A headline or a meme is absorbed as people scroll and they don’t take a blind bit of notice who posted it. But the message sticks. It sticks all the way to the ballot box. Labor has to do something about this urgently.
Don’t Allow Bothism to Divide Us
The reason I wrote this article is after reading Albo’s words in the Guardian the Bothism bandwagon will be clapping with glee & go full turbo. Expect the Greens to ramp up the “Labor voted with the Liberals” and other assorted mendacious attacks on the only party that can replace the Liberals.
I wanted to speak up because when it all boils down to it, it is always about Capital vs Labour. Bothism is the ignorance that only helps capital.
The Bothism bandwagon breeds ignorance & apathy. It promotes distrust in good Labor politicians who, since the dawn of time have delivered every single national reform we take for granted. The Liberals formed with the purpose to stand against the workers’ parties. That’s important.
So let’s not just sit back and watch the Bothism agenda divide the left anymore. It’s been going on far too long. Sure a lot of people enjoy big followers from bagging both majors, but after May 18 that needs a huge rethink. It’s time for more serious, in-depth discussions.
We will get rid of Morrison by not having a meltdown every time Labor supports something with amendments. In the current set up they literally have little power. Ignore the Greens who hand all power to right-wing nutters on XBench. More on that here:
It’s Time to Pick a Side Warts & All
What we are faced with right now is critical. The days of entertaining the idea that some minor party will form Government is over. The Morrison Government will be more destructive than Howard. It’s time to actually pick a side, warts and all. Because it’s always, always about Capital vs labour.
It’s good to see Labor speak out against the Greens political opportunism via Murray Watt.
It’s time we called out The Greens. Their self-indulgent stunts, like the Bob Brown convoy and their wedge tactics against Labor, are about getting themselves elected, even if it keeps the Libs and Nats in power. #StuntsNotChange pic.twitter.com/Q6Rf95e58S— Senator Murray Watt (@MurrayWatt) July 24, 2019
And Albo absolutely gives the Liberals a hiding in his speech about drought funding. It’s up to all of us, including Labor to find ways to share these videos or the points made.
Solidarity and Patience
The reason we need to pick a side of either major warts and all is the grumbling by those involved in the Bothism agenda has helped re-elect the Liberals. In Queensland increased the Hanson vote. The campaigns by the Greens targeting Labor, have helped re-elect the Liberals.
Labor should not have to fight “the Left”.
This has resulted in an emboldened agenda by the Liberals to come down hard on workers’ rights, workers’ pay and conditions and destroying safety nets such as aged pension and Medicare. Bothism destroys the positive emotional contagion needed to build a true Left movement.
A true Left movement in real solidarity is needed because sometimes a small opportunity, an education, a traineeship, a secure job, a living wage, a union defending your rights, access to a doctor, and the security of not going hungry or without heating or housing, changes lives. The Liberals make life extremely hard for the vulnerable and those who feel they can’t speak up, or have agency taken away by the Liberals to do so. Protecting the vulnerable is a key leftist value. Campaigning against the Labor party, the only party that can replace the Liberals; is not a leftist value. It absolutely works against the left.
Pushing Labor in Government is a completely different story. (I don’t mean lie about, I mean push) They have no constraints then.
True Progressive Reform
To change lives and to protect the vulnerable we need to get behind a leader who understands the worker and the vulnerable. And even you blokes working for the mines who voted Hanson & LNP that means you. The biggest threat to Blue-collar wages & safety are the Liberals.
Anthony Albanese will deliver a true progressive platform. Albo understands because he is a housing commission kid like me. One thing I know about Housing Commission kids is no matter how successful we become, that housing commission kid pipes up and reminds us who we are every day.
That housing commission kid, a kid who has benefited in life from Gough and Hawke reforms, and values these reforms, has stood for years in public office to protect everything the Liberals seek to destroy. He has used that lived experience to speak up for others. He understands us because he connects with a life most of us live or have lived.
That is why we should fight every single day for Anthony Albanese to be our next Prime Minister.
Solidarity & Patience my friends.
Cover pic courtesy of Young Labor
The Independent site mentioned in my article is NOT AIMN
This article originally published on The Red Window Blog
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