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John Passant

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More zombie politicians than you can poke a stick at

It’s been the week for zombie politicians. First there was John Howard, back from political death, spruiking his book and reigniting his fight with that other deadun, Peter Costello.

Not only that but Jeff Kennett chimed in with a dig at Howard for some mildly critical comments the former Prime Minister made about the former Victorian Premier.

What’s with all these former conservative politicians back in the limelight? Is there some sort of voodoo conference on bringing these political corpses back to life?

But it gets worse. According to Georgina Robinson in an article called “MPs like ‘zombies’ under Rudd, says Labor senator”  in The Age, Labor Party Senator Doug Cameron ‘likened the final months of the Rudd government to having a “political lobotomy”, and blamed tight party control for the party’s slide in the latest opinion polls.’

Backbenchers had became zombies under Rudd’s leadership, he said.

Cameron is wrong. This is ever the role of Labor politicians, on the backbench or elsewhere. Actually Labor politicians have been political zombies for years – the loyal handmaidens of capital. Sometimes that has involved a passing recognition of workers; mostly not.

Cameron is worried, from an ALP hack’s point of view, about the growth of the Greens as a left wing alternative to Labor. the latest opinion poll shows a drop in Federal labor support of 4 percent to almost an all time low of 35 percent. The Greens picked up 2 of that 4 percent and now have 14 percent support.

Here’s Robinson again, quoting Cameron:

“It would be absolutely cynical to say that the threat from the left to the party is not real and the Greens are in a position to actually speak effectively to progressive people who are looking for a vision and a strong strategy for progressive policies,” he said.

Cameron mentions gay marriage and calls for a conscience vote. Labor PM Julia Gillard has ruled it out.

Cameron also mentions the emissions trading scheme. The backdown on the ETS was  a ‘terrible strategic mistake.’

That decision of course was driven by Gillard who has all the vision of Mr Magoo and the political principles of Richard Nixon.

Gillard had a telling response for Cameron.

“We come from a political party that believes we are strengthened by being members of a team and the way the team works is we have those discussions internally and work things through through our own processes,” she said.

That is true as far as it goes. Of course the right wing has almost always dominated the party so Gillard can be fairly confident she’ll never have to follow caucus solidarity on an issue she disagrees with fundamentally.

But before we all start agreeing with Doug about how right wing Labor is, and it is, let’s look at Cameron’s own record.

As  leader of the Amalgamated Metal Workers’ Union before he got bumped into parliament, Cameron argued for a compact of cooperation with the bosses. That should have lots of left wing activists wanting to join Cameron’s Labor Party. Not.

The national officers of Cameron’s union destroyed Craig Johnston as Victorian state secretary because he and his team, Workers’ First, defended members’ interests and stood up to the bosses.

Cameron has been a class collaborator. That is why he is now a Senator. He and the rest of what passes for the left in the ALP have become the victims of their worship at the altar of profit.

Cameron is complaining because he wants to win back left votes.

Let me give you some gratuitous advice Senator. The best way to win back those votes might actually be to adopt and implement left wing policies instead of at best being a smokescreen for reaction and at worst its willing accomplice.

 You could for example leave the ALP – a bastion of conservatism in government since its early days – and start some sort of left wing social democratic party. But you won’t do that; your position as a Senator is dependent on you toeing the ALP line.

Cameron wants to distinguish himself from the Labor reactionaries by raising the possibility of a conscience vote on gay marriage. Gillard has stomped on him for that.

There is a deeper issue here. The ability of social democracy to deliver meaningful and progressive reforms in a time of little social surplus – destroyed by the tendency of the rate of profit to fall as a consequence of the way capitalism is organised – is zilch, zero, nothing.

So Cameron has concentrated on social issues and a cap and trade system for helping to address climate change that would have delivered billions to the big polluters.

Cameron’s call, and weak attempt to signal the first strands of ‘left’ resistance in the ALP to the right, is a subterfuge. The Labor Party, and with it the likes of Doug Cameron, are the servants of capital.

The real task of the left today is to build an organisation of revolutionaries committed to a new society of freedom and justice, where the political zombies current and past are dead, buried and cremated.



Comment from Auntie Rhoberta
Time October 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

John, ‘That decision of course was driven by Gillard who has all the vision of Mr Magoo and the political principles of Richard Nixon.’, is priceless!

Comment from Arjay
Time October 26, 2010 at 8:07 am

This should not be an argument of left V’s right in some ideological class war.It should be about what’s fair.

This is the lowest ebb of Govt/Public Admins I’ve seen in our political history.Govt is totally dysunctional.They do not Govern for the people,or do what’s in the best interest of the “common good”.

The free market is dominated by large corporations who despise competition.J D Rockerfeller,”Competition is a sin.”

Comment from Legal Eagle
Time October 26, 2010 at 8:08 am

What’s with all these former conservative politicians back in the limelight? Is there some sort of voodoo conference on bringing these political corpses back to life?

Gold. That is all.

Comment from Bazz
Time October 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Conservative zomies ? Who could be more the walking dead than Paul Keating ?

Cameron says his call for queer marriage is “Progressive ” ?
Is that the measure of the Labour Party ?

Comment from Arjay
Time October 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Yes Bazz.Paul Keating sold off the Commonwealth Bank which used to create some of the money to equal our GDP + inflation.It was debt free money that paid for infrastructure and services.

Those who create this new money for GDP, own our increase in productivity.We therefore will never escape this debt slavery .$8500 per working person is created by the banking system from nothing in Aust.

This is why banks are the most powerful institutions on the planet and they produce nothing of tangible worth.

It is akin to you stealing from your neighbour and loaning this stolen money back to him at interest. The revolution has begun.

Comment from Byron
Time October 28, 2010 at 9:16 am

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