Tony Abbott: the anti-Santamaria
Posted by John, December 1st, 2009 - under ALP, Australian Labor Party, Australian politics, Bob Santamaria, Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, Catholic church, Emissions Trading Scheme, Rudd Government, Rudd Labor, The Liberals, Tony Abbott.
Tony Abbott is a catholic conservative crusader. He has described Bob Santamaria, the family values and anti-communist warrior from the 30s onwards, as his first political mentor.
In fact, Abbot represents everything Santamaria despised. Well, not quite everything, because Santamaria and Abbott share the same crucible of catholic conservatism about the family and collectivism.
Santamaria, unlike Abbott, saw industrial capitalism as the problem of the time and viewed communism and fascism as responses to this greater evil.
He pined for a world of agrarian production - a feudal world of catholic caring and concern. For this reason Santamaria rejected individualism.
Abbott has borrowed elements of Santamaria’s family values and his Catholicism but ignored the essence of the man – his abiding contempt for industrialisation.
What irony then that Abbot’s partner in crime, Nick Minchin, said recently about action to address climate change:
For the extreme left it provides the opportunity to do what they’ve always wanted to do, to sort of de-industrialise the western world. You know the collapse of communism was a disaster for the left, and really they embraced environmentalism as their new religion.
Actually de-industrialisation was Santamaria’s goal. Indeed the only de-industrialisation on the horizon is the threat man-made global warming poses to the continued existence of humanity on the planet.
Of course Abbott doesn’t want a return to some sort of supposed feudal nirvana.
He is a proud pro-capitalist proselytiser and devotee of extreme individualism (and hence in reality an opponent of Santamaria).
For example Santamaria’s catholic workerism would have seen him oppose Work Choices. Here’s what Abbott wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald on 31 January 2007:
Santamaria was too sentimental about unions ever to have backed Work Choices but would have fully supported the strengthened alliance with the US. For the last decade of his life, he hoped against hope to see a new conservative movement based on the Nationals, traditionalist Liberals and the mostly Catholic Labor Right. The political migration of so many Catholics suggests the Democratic Labor Party is alive and well, after all, and living inside the Howard Government.
Abbott may have to settle for two out of three. Although some middle class sons and daughters of catholic workers may have migrated to the Liberals, the conservatives’ attacks on workers and their climate change denialism make them an unattractive choice for catholic laborists.
The end result may be, mirroring the creation of the Liberal National Party in Queensland, a merger of some sections of the Liberals and the Nationals around Australia. That is unlikely to succeed in seats like those held by Malcolm Turnbull or indeed by Abbott himself.
On climate change Abbott is caught between the claims of one section of capital – the coal cabal and the power prostitutes – and the wider clamouring of the bosses for Labor’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
Abbott has chosen the narrow interests of the polluters over the interests of capitalism as a whole.
This might make him unfit to govern in the eyes of the sensible bourgeoisie (but not the fruitcake faction around The Australian).
By giving in to some sections of capital at the expense of most capitalists in both the short and long term Abbott has failed the first test. The capitalist state is, on major issues, about ruling in the interests of capitalism, not just certain sections of it.
Labor’s Orwellian carbon pollution reduction scheme gives $123 billion to major sections of the polluting class.
That’s why the aluminium bosses love it.
Finance capital is an enthusiastic supporter because it means they can create fictitious capital from trading on permits, futures and other derivatives.
And that is the real story in all of this. The ruling class overwhelmingly supports Labor, not just on the ETS but most other policies as well.
They have found in Rudd a Howard clone who does not wedge society and constantly alienate large numbers of Australians.
This allows the bourgeoisie to have their policies implemented with only minor changes and without major societal disquiet and opposition.
That’s the bind for the Liberals. How do they win back the support of the ruling class as a class?
Certainly voting against the ETS won’t do that.