Attacking Abbott – the politics of despair
There was a new book released recently which from reviews lays mercilessly into Tony Abbott; much like the ALP laid mercilessly into John Howard before and after he swept to power in 1996, courtesy of the Labor Party’s disgraceful right wing policies and actions under Hawke and Keating.
It shows the bankruptcy of the capitalist left that all it has to offer is a diatribe against Abbott. ‘Labor might be bad but Abbott is worse’ is how the argument is put. So vote Labor. Hardly a ringing endorsement when what major sections of Australian society want is progressive change.
Let’s make no mistake. Abbott is a social conservative, a homophobe, a misogynist, a family first racist, a warmonger and a neoliberal. But so too is Julia Gillard.
Tony Abbott wants offshore processing of refugees. So to does Labor, but from a position that is to the right of the Liberals.
Abbott wants to turn back the boats. So too does Gillard Labor with its Malaysian solution.
Abbott wants to continue the repression of women. So too does Gillard Labor with its failure to support and pay for community sector pay rises to address gender bias in wage setting.
Tony Abbott believes the family is the bedrock of society. So too does Julia Gillard.
Tony Abbott opposes gay marriage. So too does Julia Gillard.
Tony Abbott wants to attack public service jobs and wages. That is what Gillard Labor are doing through their Orwellian ‘efficiency’ dividend and real wage cuts with offers to public servants of just 9 percent pay increases over 3 years, well below the 4.5 percent employee cost of living increases.
Tony Abbott wants to refine industrial relations but keep the framework of the Fair Work legislation. So too does labor. But both agree on the basics of the current approach – restrict the capacity to strike, keep the Australian Building and Construction Commission to handcuff the strongest and potentially most militants unions and fine unions millions for ‘illegal’ strikes.
Tony Abbott wants to keep the troops in Afghanistan. Labor are doing that. The ALP are also turning the country into a base for US regional operations against China.
Tony Abbott wants to return the budget to surplus. So too does Labor. Both have a deficit fetish.
Tony Abbott wants direct action (code for doing nothing) on climate change. Labor wants a carbon tax (code for doing nothing really) on climate change.
Tony Abbot wants to keep and extend the Northern Territory intervention. That is what Labor are doing.
Tony Abbott wants to further the transfer on wealth from workers to capital. That is what Labor are doing.
By all means criticise Tony Abbott for his conservatism and neoliberalism. But let’s be clear. Tony Abbott is likely to become Australia’s next Prime Minister because Labor’s reactionary policies give credence to his.
The way to fight Abbott is not just to bag him out. It is to build any fight back that might arise today against Labor.