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The storm will come

By Stephen Tardrew

Where is Australia’s Corbyn? Nowhere to be seen.

The neo-liberal right and left in Australia are stagnant, moribund and self-serving though Labor will shift the deck chairs nominally if elected. Nevertheless neo-liberal injustice and inequality will remain entrenched. The economic boom/bust cycle will make sure of that.

My disillusionment and frustration is palpable. Corbyn and the debacle in the US is putting a spotlight on the corporate oligarchic nature of neo-liberalism and its descent into unbridled injustice and inequality. Democracy be damned when they own the media and both parties lose any sense of perspective or critique of a thoroughly discredited paradigm.

Methinks the storm will come before the hopeful calm but unfortunately many will suffer for no reason other than the self-interest of the elites. The clock is ticking, not only for us, but for the whole world as the US war machine and its fawning acolytes, such as Australia, encourage chaos across the planet. The global reach of neo-liberalism is deeply disturbing.

Corbyn, at the moment, seems to be our only real progressive hope. Who in this country will rise to the challenge?

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) offers a serious non-disruptive alternative however, even though it has strong academic support, the political will to embrace change seems all but non-existent. One thing MMT does is prevent excessive boom/bust cycles and is therefore the architecture around which a party can build stability.

We progressives share this frustration and unfortunately a true leader demands a broad set of skills that require a thoroughly well honed intellect and broad understanding of a whole range of imperatives and most of all parliamentary experience. We can only live in hope. The alternative is deeply disturbing.

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  1. silkworm

    I was thinking of nominating Lee Rhiannon as Australia’s Jeremy Corbyn. She is the only one standing up to her own party’s accommodation of neoliberalism.


    agreed. The major parties offer no hope and both are responsible to=for the demise of the Australian economy and society. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

  3. Keitha Granville

    They are all rushing for the last chairs in the musical round. No-one wants to be seen as a loner – like the ones who still have any integrity left. Lee Rhiannon should have walked out of the party ages ago. Richard Di Natale had his own agenda from way back to be the middle ground Green , the consensus mainstream Green. Why ??? so he can be the same as all the rest.
    Get some backbone people, stick up for the things you believe in. If you can’t, get out of parliament and let someone else in.

  4. Jaquix

    You forgot the sterling job Bernie Sanders is doing for the USA. Absolutely fantastic the way he hammers away at Trump & Co. Offering the Americans a Plan B day after day. Corbyn riding a sudden wave of disillusionment from UK voters, bolstered by the young who supported Leave, but didn’t bother to vote in the referendum, now regretting it. Both he and Jeremy Corbyn are in their 70s.

  5. Anon E Mouse

    Well it won’t be Bill Shorten or the current lot of Lib Lite Labor powerbrokers.

  6. Florence nee Fedup

    Not sure that Shorten may not let us down but surprise many. Basic rule of politics is art of the possible. Gillard understood this. Compromises have to be made.

  7. Chris

    Yes, there is noone in Aus Labor who is a Corbyn – he is a one-off. The ONLY honest politician that I have seen in my 55 years. Despite a rabid media and a large contingent of distabilising Blairites, he still got a huge increase in the popular vote, particularly among the young. If Grenfell had happened in May, he may well be PM now.

    And that is the long game, having a major country finally pursue policies for the working poor, the 80% of us that have very little. Such a situation will not shame our current lot of neo-liberal phonies, they are beyond that. But it will signal to the rest of us that there is a better way.

    As Corbyn recently said, (Glastonbury) Nothing was given from above by the powerful, it was only ever gained from below by the masses of the people.

    Oh Jeremy Corbyn indeed.

    On MMT, many smart people know that taxes don’t fund Federal Government Spending. Everyone maintains the lie, including the public servants. Why? Because a Government that is not constrained in how its spends money would become too powerful in our current political system.

    Of course, Bill Shorten was chosen by the MPs, not the party – different in the UK. But, that still doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. You just need to join the party and influence the discussion about why we can’t have nice things. Wouldn’t take many of us.

  8. michael lacey

    When the wind is in your favour!

    A few weeks after the Russian revolution Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and the other leaders sat down and opened the new books that had been taken from the secret police ministry that they could finally open and they found that half the leadership of the Bolshevik party was working for the police. The conclusion they drew was when the wind is in your favour it does not matter.

    In the years before the Soviet Union imploded in 1989. Nobody not the Soviet secret police nor the CIA had any inkling this was going to happen it was impossible but it still happened change can move to the unthinkable to the immediate very quickly.

    America is talking about socialism again they did not do that before !

  9. John Boyd

    Corbyn is a bit of a phenomenon, the right person at the right time. But he is not perfect. He ran dead on Brexit for one thing. And you can’t necessarily engineer these things. It is a combination of personality and circumstances. There may be a Corbyn out there in Australia somewhere. What we have is Bill Shorten, who set out on day one to build a solid policy base from which to launch the campaign. Recall in the last election, the only LNP policy was to oppose Labor. He has stuck to the course, despite the gratuitously offensive and mindless criticism from all quarters. To those who parrot the pundits’ assertions that Labor has no policies, just have a look at the National Platform, and the 100 Policies, available on the ALP website. Disclaimer: I voted for Albanese, but I am comfortable with the process, and would be seriously annoyed if there was any move to roll Bill.

  10. stephengb2014

    John Boyd is correct,
    Yes I have criticised Bill Shorten as I have all politicians when I think they are wrong but my vote goes to the Party that presents the best policies for the country and the 80%.

    Since 1978 I have voted Labor consistently only because they have been the most likely to meet the criteria above.

    I am very conscious of politics and always have been, so I follow the news and commentaay of all our politicians with what I hope is an objective eye. I invariably check statements for varacity, so I say the following with some knowledge.

    BILL Shorten is begining to show signs the he may know MMT, Wayne Swan also, (but deffinately not Chris Bowen). The noise from Bill tells me that he has taken note of Corbyn and Sanders and I note that the issue of inequality is shining through.Wayne Swan is making it abundantly clear where his thoughts are, he is I believe very influential in Labor caucus.

    So fellow progressives, take heart our bashing away on Facebook and social media is indeed having an effect.

    S G B

  11. totaram

    Chris: “Because a Government that is not constrained in how its spends money would become too powerful in our current political system.”

    That is the convenient lie to justify the other lies about taxes, and budget deficits etc. Any policies built on the back of those other lies, will always be faulty and less than adequate for the majority of people. Ultimately, a fiat currency issuing govt. must use its power properly to provide its people the goods and services that are needed. That is the only problem I see with the policies put forward by the Labor party under Bill Shorten. However, those policies are far better than anything even remotely thought of by the coalition, who are basically trying to follow the IPA plan, but with some window dressing to hide the true nature of their actions.

  12. David Bruce

    Is neo-liberalism the same as, or similar to, national socialism? After I examined the Unidroit Treaty, some of the TPP reports and observing Trump, Theresa May and Tony Abbot, I can’t see any difference! I remember Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother saying she would quite like to see Mr Hitler running the UK, as long as he retained the Monarchy.

  13. Chris

    Totaram: I didn’t say it wasn’t false logic, but there is some truth in it. I can see my former colleagues in Treasury and Finance – they’d be aghast at a government that didn’t follow the established order of tax, borrow and spend.

  14. Chris

    Neo is simply new, and no, they are almost polar opposites.

    Re Hitler, history is almost always written by the victors. I have no time for the Monarchy in the UK (give us our land and money back), but truth seekers might want to delve into historian, David Irving, (aka the holocaust denier, even though he has never denied that jews were exterminated by the German military) who went to jail because he dug up the facts about Adolf Hitler that did not fit with prior historians’ accounts. It’s a deep dig, but rewarding nonetheless

  15. Florence nee Fedup

    I was bought up in the belief, one had to spend to make money. A stitch in time saves nine.
    IMHO still holds true. Money in the bank creates nothing.

    One spends to maintain, keep home in good shape. This saves money.

    One invests in infrastructure for the future. That includes human infrastructure, most important of all.

    All benefit from highly educated, skilled healthy workforce.

    Money is a medium of exchange. Has no real value within itself. Money needs to keep circulating to create wealth.

  16. Sharyn L

    I have asked myself the same question who is our equivalent and we don’t really have one…unless it’s Lee?

  17. Anon E Mouse

    Sally McManus is shaping up well. I also like Ged Kearney. But alas they are not in parliament.

  18. bobrafto

    A good read Stephen nice and concise,

  19. Egalitarian

    The modern young Australian thinks being radical is travelling to Gallipoli and getting drunk and yelling oui oui oui ! It’s up to our young to tackle the issues of their time? Too many heads are up their own arse!

  20. Joe Ab

    There is one party in Australia that will return us to a fair, egalitarian society with people as its core drivers a job guarantee coupled with a B.I.G (UBI) sound environment and social policies that allow all of us to share in our Common Wealth from MMT based government
    We are all sick of this 40 year experiment and the neocons know they’re losing the battle it’s time..

  21. Denis Bright in Brisbane

    Great sentiments, Stephen! Egalitarian’s comments are perfect as well. Let’s help mobilise the resistance to such misplaced hegemony. from P.M. Turnbull and the divided LNP Crew who are leading Australia to war and social choas by their associations with Donald Trump.

  22. Andreas Bimba

    Thanks again Stephen, yes indeed where is our Jeremy Corbyn and the plan to unwind the social injustice, cruelty and fraud of the last 30+ years of neoliberalism?

    Bill Shorten and the Labor Party although ‘less bad’ than the Liberals and Nationals who are just agents for the rich and powerful, fall well short of being a worthy progressive party. Will privatisations, the free trade agenda with low wage countries, the de-industrialisation of Australia, the sociopathic elements that have infiltrated our social safety net, government austerity and chronic underfunding of vital government services, high unemployment and underemployment, the tax evasion, the corruption, corporate domination, mass media propaganda, wage stagnation, wealth inequity, rising living costs, inadequate environmental protection, the two tier systems of justice, education and healthcare, the abuse of asylum seekers and so on; will all of this continue under Labor. Unfortunately the answer is yes but at a more moderate pace.

    The Greens are way ahead of Labor on all of these issues but also fall short in the vital area of macroeconomics by not formally accepting the policy advice of key MMT economists in regard to appropriate levels of fiscal stimulus and a Job Guarantee Program that are designed to ensure ongoing full employment. The additional government funding resources and human resources made available over what is currently utilised, if properly managed could also speed the essential transition to clean energy and environmental sustainability as well as providing a humane social support system, free education for all, affordable housing and similar.

    To be truthful Jeremy Corbyn also hasn’t publicly adopted the MMT economists approach but Bernie Sanders has with MMT economists Stephanie Kelton and Pavlina Tcherneva being his main macroeconomic policy advisors. I hope Bernie’s peoples revolution can gain the ascendancy in the U.S. Democratic Party and win the Presidency and clear majorities in both houses of Congress in the not to distant future. Perhaps Trump’s incompetence and greed will be decisive and help make more of the U.S. electorate turn to worthy progressive political representatives rather than the appalling Republicans.

    Interesting times but unfortunately the needless suffering of much of humanity and the existential danger to the earth’s biosphere are set to continue for quite a bit longer.

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