Archive for 'Social Democracy'
Earlier on Monday I sent an article about Jeremy Corbyn and an offer of a weekly column to various MSM outlets here to help them connect with the big social democratic audience in Australia. I will catalogue the responses and non-responses over time.
While I think it is fantastic that the likes of Jeremy Corbyn are raising a whole range of issues from taxing the rich to re-nationalising public goods, from cutting billion from defence spending to supporting refugees and recognising Palestine, and by doing that giving hope to the millions disenfranchised by the tweedledee and tweedledum of neoliberal politics, we need to be clear that the real problem is capitalism, not just who manages it and how they do so. In the long term the only way we can win a better society is by us, the vast majority, uniting to overthrow capitalism and organising production democratically to satisfy human need.
Until an anti-austerity mass movement and its political expression arise we will continue to have bad government after bad government in Australia. That new formation will I suspect only happen when we decide to take action as the working class against whoever is in power, the Liberals or Labor.
A social democratic desire among workers for improved living standards and services is both systemic, arising from the forced sale of our labour power to survive, and historical. The reality that workers’ living standards are falling relatively, and may have to do so from capital’s point of view in real terms, conflicts with the very real yearning of workers for a better world of full employment, improved wages and conditions and good schools, hospitals and transport. In Australia at the moment that yearning finds expression not in strikes and demonstrations for these outcomes – strikes are at near historic lows – but in the yo-yo of electoral change from neoliberal Labor to the neoliberal Liberals to neoliberal Labor.
So while the reality may be, as I have argued elsewhere, that it makes no difference which Labor leader is selling us the shit sandwich of neoliberalism, in the short term it does. The swing to Labor under the newly recycled Rudd expresses workers’ hopes for a better world. Time, and the reality of capitalism, will destroy that illusion but at the moment many of us appear spell bound by the magician whose tricks give us hope.
It is false hope to be sure but it will take workers time and the experience of Rudd in power for longer than a few weeks second time round to understand that.
If the UK Public Accounts Committee can question Starbucks, Amazon and Google about their tax affairs, and then condemn them for not paying any tax in Britain, we can do it here in Australia.
A thoroughgoing investigation into the tax affairs of big business is needed to see just what they get up to and whether they are paying a fair share of tax in Australia. After all, what has big business got to hide? Over to you Senators Rhiannon and Cameron.
The Slipper scandal will drag on for a while. Labor could well survive with his support and that of Craig Thomson till an election in 2013. Then they will get annihilated because of the Slipper syndrome, power without principle, rule for the rich.
Maybe we could find a more fitting eulogy. How does this sound? This is the way Labor’s world ends, this is the way their world ends, this is the way their world ends, not with a bang but a slipper. Labor are indeed the hollow men and women.
I’ll miss Larvatus Prodeo and the cogent arguments it often gave for social democratic thought and policy. But for me the need to communicate socialist ideas to a wider audience continues and I can see no better way of doing that than through this blog and my activity as a member of Socialist Alternative.
Without a fight of any sort by unions the LNP in Queensland will rule the roost and ride roughshod over wages, conditions and jobs. But with a fight the cocky bastards could be sent back to their lair, licking their wounds and giving workers some breathing space.
Labor’s neoliberalism is a shit sandwich. It is not the leader selling us the shit sandwich who is the problem. It is the shit sandwich.