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“It’s not so much the money . . . “

Do you remember that most identifying line from the Australian classic movie “Sunday Too Far Away”?  Surely one of the most culturally branded films to come out of that glorious era! And the line that was most quoted from that film:  –

“It wasn’t so much the money, it was the bloody insult!”

That story-line epitomised the staunch camaraderie of the shearers striking against the threat of a cut to their wages and the arrival of scab labour. There could be no better description of the mind-set of those times. I remember the sixties and seventies strikes well, where workers would consider the insult to their status and hard-won conditions over any monetary considerations.

But now, with this Barnaby Affair and all the rest of the immoral rorting, we hear the reverse cry of:

“It’s not so much the insult, it’s the bloody money!”

Oh dear! How the mighty have fallen … and when Freethinker makes the observation that until the Aussie workers find themselves without food on the table etc, they will not know the need for revolution. And he rightfully blames the influence of the corporatising of education, where the emphasis on financial considerations are preached over and above moral and ethical necessities. I will include his relevant quotation from Noam Chomsky:

“The educational system in the US was a highly predictable victim of the neoliberal reaction, guided by the maxim of “private affluence and public squalor.” Funding for public education has sharply declined. As higher education is driven to a business model in accord with neoliberal doctrine, administrative bureaucracy has sharply increased at the expense of faculty and students. Cost-cutting leads to hyper-exploitation of the more vulnerable, creating a new precariat of graduate students and adjuncts surviving on a bare pittance, replacing tenured faculty.” (Noam Chomsky).

One can almost trace a direct line from the beginnings of “monetary policy” philosophy back in the 80s where Milton Friedman influenced the Thatcher / Reagan administrations on the supposed infallibility of his stupid theories, and the over-flow of such idiocy, as with many foolish ideas, like those of Hayek and others, found their way to Australia and into academic instruction.

Not only has a cruel economic ‘bottom line’ social condition made its impression on our nation, we are now seeing the beginnings of such cruelty creeping like an allied infection into the architecture of the cities, if we can believe a report just recently on the ABC web-page.

” But if, as urban sociologist Robert Park wrote, in making the city we make ourselves, one might wonder what collective self-conception has produced a city covered in metal spikes, illuminated by blue lights, buzzing with high-frequencies — paranoid, anxious and hostile, by design.

With his artwork, Semple aims to break down the barriers that impede social life. His latest campaign, calling on people to photograph and share examples of what he calls “design crimes”, is an attempt to document the impact this kind of design has on our urban landscape.

“Very slowly, bus stops get perches so you can’t really sit on them, spikes appear [and] there’s a lot more sound being used now,” Semple says.

“Some councils are actually playing frequencies that are targeted at young people’s ears and it stops teenagers congregating.”

“When we talk about hostile design, hostile architecture, make no mistake — there are groups of people spending time, effort and money commissioning this stuff and designing it to be as brutal as possible against human beings.”

This hard-arsed attitude to us and our very brothers and sisters has to stop! Along with the corruption of ethics and our social moral base … not calling for bans on sexuality, gambling or other everyday amusements, but at least some control on those who use such everyday humanist activities for base profit, particularly political profit!

Let’s leave the salacious intrigues between consenting adults to consenting adults, but put barriers on those who use such as their profit accruing advantage … political or business. We have reached a point, surely, where things cannot be allowed to sink any lower!

For while individual citizens’ sleaze and decadent behaviour can survive within the darker corners of the mass of society, with only the occasional light being shone upon its depraved activities, these continual displays of corruption, rorting and public exhibitions by our highest representatives of civil governance of gross personal behaviour have to be brought to an end.

This is a further example of why there must be consideration for a changing of the guard when it comes to that class of leadership.

These representatives of the middle-classes that have held the reins of governance for so long have reached their “use-by date” and have to be superannuated out of civil leadership.

Their methodology of economic solutions to social problems is dated, their methodology of education for self-indulgent individualist identity in a multi-ethnic community is dated, their “my way or the highway” policing of so many and varied ethnic and indigenous groups is a harrowing nightmare as is their lock-down method for the solutions on refugees, immigration and temporary import labour.

They are an anachronism, a spent ideology and a spent force for imaginative governance … no longer, since the days of rule by aristocracy, are they the ‘solution”.

THEY are now the problem!

We can see a new style of governance coming to fruition in Sth Australia, with the emphasis by Jay Wetherill’s Labor government huge expansions in new, renewable energy technologies and other down to earth practicalities that have and will further boost community employment and involvement.

We are seeing the beginnings of a style of “Street-level Governance”. No longer can governance be the personal property of a “held at arm’s length” elitist strata of suits and private-schooled ponces, pontificating from elitist suburbs on how the poor and vulnerable should bow and scrape to their betters … work harder and longer in several part-time or casual jobs just to make ends meet.

It won’t be long before we end up under this LNP govt’ with pensioners back to eating pet food just to survive!

We now have a drowning, panicking government that one is too scared to get near to, lest one is dragged down in their madness to grasp onto any rescuing body to hold its head above the water-line. Never has there been a worse conglomeration of corporate corrupt ministers in charge of the nation.

Time to take education, man-power management and corporate regulation from the entrepreneurial/speculative middle-classes and hand it to that strata most experienced in production and delivery of essential goods and services … the educated blue-collar working class.

Let us paraphrase that line from the movie:

”It has never been so much about the money, but more about the f#cking insult!!”

Time to change the rules! Time to change the ruling class!


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  1. Joseph Carli

    ” Anarchy and the capital…:

    It is a strange coincidence
    that in the same years, in which Caesar was creating beyond the Alps
    a work to last for ever, there was enacted in Rome one of the most
    extravagant political farces that was ever produced upon the stage
    of the world’s history. The new regent of the commonwealth
    did not rule, but shut himself up in his house and sulked in silence.
    The former half-deposed government likewise did not rule, but sighed,
    sometimes in private amidst the confidential circles of the villas,
    sometimes in chorus in the senate-house. The portion of the burgesses
    which had still at heart freedom and order was disgusted
    with the reign of confusion, but utterly without leaders
    and counsel it maintained a passive attitude-not merely avoiding
    all political activity, but keeping aloof, as far as possible,
    from the political Sodom itself.”

    History of Rome ..Theodore Mommsen.

    Time to act…Change the rulers to change the rules!!

  2. Freethinker

    Excellent article, Joe.
    Neoliberalism was introduced in South America well before Regan, it was introduced in Uruguay at the end of the 1950’s perhaps with the idea of “testing”the ideology and tune up it according to their agenda.
    Uruguay was an ideal place to test it, there was a good level of standard of living, and a political landscaping similar to USA and UK with two main parties and 3 or 4 small ones.
    The only thing that they have not taken into consideration was the determination and unity of the unions including blue and white collars, students and public servants.
    You mentioned Chomsky and in one of his articles we can see that the problem with the “two big parties” is not only in USA, UK, Uruguay and Australia.
    He said, quote:
    “Both political parties have moved to the right during the neoliberal period. Today’s New Democrats are pretty much what used to be called “moderate Republicans.” The “political revolution” that Bernie Sanders called for, rightly, would not have greatly surprised Dwight Eisenhower.

    The fate of the minimum wage illustrates what has been happening. Through the periods of high and egalitarian growth in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the minimum wage—which sets a floor for other wages—tracked productivity. That ended with the onset of neoliberal doctrine. Since then, the minimum wage has stagnated (in real value). Had it continued as before, it would probably be close to $20 per hour. Today, it is considered a political revolution to raise it to $15.”
    ― Noam Chomsky

    When in Uruguay the neoliberalism policies beginning to take effect the unrest on the working classes and later on the white collar classes.
    This unrest motivated the moderate left politicians in both big parties to walk out of their parties and form a broad front with the socialist, communists, social democrats, and progressive independent politicians.
    The broad front and the union force caused worries on the elite and capitalist and force was used by the government to stop civilian protest and strikes.
    I remember being an active part during a 3 month strike by the textile workers. We did not have nothing to lose, we were unable to go any lower in our financial status so we arrived to the conclusion that if was going to go down so will be the company and the investors.
    We won.
    Political persecution, and open corruption resulted on the start of the Movimiento de Liberación Nacional-Tupamaros which started the revolt.
    Dictatorship was the result (courtesy of USA) and after come back to democracy and 2 governments by the 2 large parties the last 3 elections were won by the Broad Front with leaders ex members of the Tupamaros.

    This show, that if we manage to have in Australia progressive politicians in both parties (specially in the ALP) that are prepared to put the country and his people first, the party second and their job security last to form a progressive front there will be hope.

    Are we going to see in Australia politicians and union members with the determination to making changes?
    Are we going to see an ACT prepared and backed by their members to go in strikes to defend their interests and specially their dignity?
    I am not sure that will happen soon, too many people still having a good life and will not sacrifice it for others.

    “When there are empty guts, the calls for revolt will be heard”

  3. helvityni

    In the country where many of the poorest vote for the Liberals, there will never be a revolution, there will be no protest marches either…

  4. Freethinker

    There will be helvityni, my country was the same, until all was lost.
    The problem here is that far to many people have it to good.
    I am in an nice area here in Tassie and many of my neighbors are tradesman or self employed builders.
    They have in the front yard large caravans that cost well over $60000, two vehicles, one a large 4WD another $60000 + one has a imported ute which cost $120000 plus a boat which also will be over $120000.
    Go and visit the caravan parks in you area and you will see the amount of money that are invested between the caravan and the towing vehicle, have a look how many motorhomes are on the road and caravan parks and they are owned by working class people no by a company CEO.
    The they that these people lost all and their kids asking for bread at the table things will change.
    Now these tradesman will never support a union, will never go in strike because they have to pay off the toys and their house.
    The thing that they do not realize is how quick things can change.

  5. Joseph Carli

    Whatever the situation, whatever the “realities’…it is clear that what we are seeing as “good governance” is a fat lie! What we are experiencing as Neo-Liberalism and Free-market ideology is an abject failure of mammoth proportions…Now, the nation can go on living this lie for as long as the ruling cabal is willing to prop up the impoverishment of welfare and the poor and vulnerable are willing to make excuses for their miserable standard of living and their miserable standards of “employment”…but in the end, like how rust will break the stoutest metal, so shall the back of our society break and the above description given so clearly by “Freethinker” of the results of political corruption in his country will be repeated, like so much history, in this country..The same ingredients, given the same conditions, will produce the same product.

    The trouble is; Freethinker, those “toys” would more than likely be leased or “on the tick”…I worked for some “wealthy” speculator builders..and in the crash of the 80’s, one lamented that he was “very vulnerable” because he had borrowed to the hilt and now his debts far out-weighted his assets and the bank could repossess.

  6. Joseph Carli


    “Samson Agonistes” By John Milton.

    “. . . Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him 40
    Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves,
    Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke.
    Yet stay; let me not rashly call in doubt
    Divine prediction. What if all foretold
    Had been fulfilled but through mine own default? 45
    Whom have I to complain of but myself,
    Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
    In what part lodged, how easily bereft me,
    Under the seal of silence could not keep,
    But weakly to a woman must reveal it, 50
    O’ercome with importunity and tears?
    O impotence of mind in body strong!
    But what is strength without a double share
    Of wisdom? . . . “

  7. Andreas Bimba

    What is a protest march? Just a gathering of people that is ignored or ridiculed by the mainstream mass media that under current circumstances changes nothing. What about a riot or an insurrection? Mostly the innocent suffer and it is impossible to cleanse a population by eliminating parts of it that you don’t like. For a start a civil war could arise. Like the Spanish Civil War, after the pits are filled with bodies you are left with the same imperfect people imposing their will on another group of people.

    Where I live many may be on a downward spiral of getting to the point when income is no longer sufficient to pay for basic necessities. These people are wracked with worry and a feeling of powerlessness. The closer you get to this point the fewer options for escape arise. Education is unaffordable and as you age you get slower and no employer wants to know you. Starting a business usually takes some capital that you no longer have and no bank will provide a loan. In any case more and more entrepreneurs are chasing less and less disposable income.

    80% of the workforce have an equivalent of a full time job and most of these are still doing OK. To most of them the game is to strive to get to the upper tier in an increasingly two tiered world. Negative gear a few properties, evade paying tax, top up that super, get the latest luxury SUV, put your kids in the best private school you can afford and network your way to a comfortable future. Narrow self interest and greed work – for the moment.

    I think Helvitni understands the Australian people very well. The recent Tasmanian election results confirm it but I can at least see a slow drift away from the appalling Liberals and Nationals and also from the duopoly in general, that brought us here.

  8. Joseph Carli

    I think we are reaching the end of an era…The “old school”; Murdoch and his allies are dying…literally..the LNP is almost an unwieldy anachronistic machine of self-interest, corporate ambition and self-destructive amateurs just trying to hold onto power.. Here in SA. , they are throwing everything at this election but they really have nothing to present that Jay Wetherill and Labor cannot trump with better policy…except fear. THAT is their “ace up the sleeve”…But I don’t think it will work on a state basis…we will see..the polls have them close with Xenephon a smaller percentage..but if the Lib’s take the prize, all is over for both the State and its citz’s for a long time..
    But as I said..I think the old era is passing, hard-copy papers no longer sway the voters and only the commercial TV media has the clout anymore..But we will see.

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