Archive for 'Australian Labor Party'
My article ‘The Minerals Resource Rent Tax: The Australian Labor Party and the continuity of change’ has been published
My article ‘The Minerals Resource Rent Tax: The Australian Labor Party and the continuity of change’ has been published in (2014) 27 (1) Accounting Research Journal 19. If you have University Library access you can have a read if your library has subscribed. It borrows from the ideas of Tom Bramble and Rick Kuhn about […]
This is not about saying join this or that socialist group although I do think groups like Socialist Alternative are worth having a look at. It is about asking Labor members and supporters who want to understand the degeneration of their party to do so in the context of its managerial role in Australian capitalism and to see that degeneration as part and parcel of that role.
Those demanding “modernisation” of the Australian Labor Party want a party like the Democrats in the United States writes Rick Kuhn in Red Flag. Shorten’s reforms reinforce the long term trend towards such a party, in which union officials have minimal influence but union funds are gratefully received, and party leaders don’t need to spend much time justifying their actions when they sink the boot into workers.
The question of Labor linking or not linking to the trade union bureaucracy is the wrong one. The real question is how to build a workers’ party committed to socialist revolution. That task for the revolutionary left involves becoming the place those people in Labor and near it and even more so outside it who want to build a better world turn to and join in that fight. Labor’s neoliberalism and inhumanity help open up that possibility.
The process of change from Henry to the RSPT to the MRRT can best be understood, not just in the context of bad design, but, building on the work of Bramble and Kuhn, in the context of the Australian Labor Party as a capitalist workers’ party. I argue that it is this tension in the ALP, the shift in its internal balance further towards capital and the lack of class struggle that has seen Labor preside over what the father of rent tax in Australia, Ross Garnaut, describes as a ‘problematic’ tax.
It looks to me as if profit and competition are the barriers to addressing climate change. If that is the case then only a democratic revolution of workers to run society to satisfy human need can address climate change. As the banners at some environmental demonstrations and eco-socialist conferences say ‘System Change, not Climate Change.’
This vote for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party was a stage managed political fashion parade. Members got to vote on which model of neoliberalism they preferred. The models often held hands as they strutted the catwalk mouthing the same platitudes. Not policies, note, but platitudes.
The spin from Labor is that disunity cost them the election. This is fantasy land stuff. If only they had all united behind rabid neoliberalism then Labor would still be in power. Yeah, right. I have a bridge in Sydney to sell you too.
The disunity theme means that the real reasons – Labor’s massive shift to the right economically and socially over the last 3 decades and the collapse of class struggle over that period – can be and will be ignored by the neoliberals who are the ALP.
There is an alternative. Its name is struggle.
The Australian Labor Party is a capitalist workers’ party. It is this tension in the ALP, the shift in its internal balance further towards capital and the lack of class struggle that has seen Labor preside over a flawed tax,
This is me at Kim Carr’s launch at the ANU of his new book on why you should sell your soul to the devil and join the ALP.