Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

128 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. On these pages, over the years, I have been berating the ALP for its determination to lurch ever further to the right and consequent abandonment of any remaining shreds of genuine “left” values or policies.

    There is an argument that goes along the lines: we have to be even more fascist than the LNP so that we can be elected and then, only once we have been elected on that basis, we can institute policies that reflect “labor values”.

    We saw this particularly in ALP treatment of refugees both in policy and politically at the last election (but it extends to things like privatization of public services, lameness over climate change, asset sales, and adoption of free-market fundamentalism generally).

    I tend to agree with Malcolm Fraser’s view that “the ALP and LNP are beyond reform”, and my criticism is not designed to try to change the ALP for the better but rather to get as many people as possible to accept that reality so that we might get a better alternative.

    As we saw in Scotland recently, give the people a GENUINE (“left”) alternative to the neo-liberal/fascist duopoly and they will vote for it in droves.

    This post – from the “left” pro-SNP – website “Wings Over Scotland” makes the same argument and backs it up with polling from an MSM outlet (which completely misses the point of its own polling).

    A “left” victory is there for the taking but the operatives of the ALP (and to some extent they are supported in this by the operatives of the LNP) are determined to leave that space uninhabited in our electoral landscape.

    It seems to me that the same thing also applies to the US and Canada, and NZ to a very slightly lesser extent.

  2. @Megan

    I absolutely agree with everything you say here. The ALP and LNP are indeed beyond reform. People do want a genuine party left or even middle-of-the-road party to vote for; not these two corporatised, crypto-fascist, bully-boy parties we have now. (Yes, I know I am channeling Neil from the Young Ones.)

    Our very conservative electorates are afraid of the “left” tag and to some extent of the “green” tag. This is a shame IMO but I won’t go into my reasons now. People here are familiar enough with my thinking.

    I hope The Greens will eventually rise to be our premier major party. All it will take is one or two salutary catastrophes unambiguously attributable to global warming and 90% of the population will go, “WTF! The Greens were right all along! Of course I knew it, I told you I knew it!” (People will employ soothing self-deception to get over the cognitive dissonance of having been wrong for so many years.)

    Mind you, as soon as this happens the ALP and LNP will try to reposition themselves and make out that they were pro-green all along. We must never allow that. We must never forget their terminal moral turpitude on the climate, on refugees and on a host of other matters.

  3. I’m confused: did someone say Bishop jumped the shark? Or Bishop was the shark? Either way, Fanning moved pretty smartly after the initial confrontation, putting the sort of distance between him and it that PM Tony Abbott could only dream of. See here for picture of shark not hunting surfer.

  4. Is Peter Dutton going to apologise for his intemperate remarks concerning senator Sarah Hanson-Young—he called her “an embarrassment to the country”—which he made after she revealed that she was being spied on when checking Nauru’s off-shore detention of asylum seekers? It was a mighty rude whack at HY, prematurely and without foundation, as recent evidence has made exceptionally clear. Wilson Security apologised. It is pretty rough to say that a sitting senator is “an embarrassment to the country”, especially for her saying something which was borne out as factually correct. I’d say that if I were searching for a minister who is “an embarrassment to the country”, I would find a surfeit of riches, nuggets of fools gold all.

  5. @Megan

    And with our preferential voting system we have a chance of getting a new party. You can vote for the party you want, and give your preference to the ALP as a “better than the Libs” fall back position. In countries like the UK, all a new party would so is split the left vote and ensure endless tory rule. This is what happened in South Africa, where two opposition parties could not hope to defeat the National Party during the apartheid era.

    But don’t we regularly throw up new parties? Democrats, Greens? Why don’t they succeed in the lower house if Labor is failing? And wouldn’t any new left party have to get the support of organised labour?

    I’m feeling like throwing my hands in the air because its all too hard.

  6. Has anyone noticed how much Yanis Varoufakis and Bernie Fraser look alike? I contend that they are the same person. If anyone has seen them together in the same room please say so.

  7. @John Brookes

    You can vote for the party you want, and give your preference to the ALP as a “better than the Libs” fall back position.

    No you can’t.

    The ALP is NOT “better than the Libs”, that’s the point. They are – putting it at the highest – exactly as bad as the Libs, and deliberately so.

    In Scotland, the SNP represented the broad traditional ‘left’ (universal healthcare for example, against the duopoly position of free-market fundamentalism) and absolutely wiped out those parties.

    The Democrats were doing very well here in Australia until they got into bed (literally in one sense) with the fascist duopoly, and the Greens are looking worrying in that regard too.

  8. @John Brookes
    Both the Dems, and the Greens, have been around for a while; of course, the Dems imploded and ended the Don Chipp experiment of “keeping the bastards honest”, and look where that has got us, sadly.

    The Greens have been collecting votes from here and there, partly because of the antics of the big two parties, but also through the collapse of the policy space on dealing with Anthropogenic Global Warming, leaving a vacuum from centre-right (i.e. half of the ALP) to Genghis Khan territory (i.e. where PM Tony Abbott resides, or a bit left of that spot); further more, the ALP’s crab-like shift on material issues affecting their asylum seeker policy settings for boat arrivals reviled more than one punter, so they lost ground there as well.

    The difficulty for any relatively small political party in Australia is that one particular media baron simply pours scorn on them and mocks them without recourse in his papers; the rest of the media are too frequently caught up in the meta-politics, than interviewing actual politicians we voted into power. It’s a hard slog to get cut-through on national media when there are two dogs bigger and surlier than you are.

    The Greens have matured as a party, hopefully through learning the lessons of how to negotiate the Australian version of political discourse; it will be fascinating to see if they can increase the number of ministers, and to whose detriment that is.

  9. I was reading some of John’s older posts on property rights, but comments were closed on those posts. So I’ll post a thought here.

    What if we think of all resources as initially being owned by “the future”. Now future individuals, by definition, don’t actually exist… so this is something of an abstract concept, but it leads to some interesting places.

    For example, there is a sense that all active claims of ownership began originally with some injustice–some theft. This model captures that very clearly in that any initial acquisition of a resource can now be considered a mild form of theft. What’s especially interesting about this is that an act of theft, I believe, brings with it an obligation–an obligation to return the stolen item along with some interest. In other words, the mere act of living–which requires the use (theft) of resources from the future–implies a moral obligation to leave the world a better place.

    Also, this model does not require any odd exceptions–e.g. the lockean proviso–to justify the redistribution of property after the initial allocation. The ideal redistribution method and means might still be–and might always be–impossible to determine, but the justification is cleaner.

  10. To finish off with a news item appropriate for the heading of the thread:

    “Krugman told CNN Sunday that he may have “overestimated the competence of the Greek government.”

    “(The Greek government) thought they could simply demand better terms without having any backup plan,” he told the news channel in an interview. “So, certainly this is a shock.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/greece-debt-crisis-live-nobel-prize-winning-economist-paul-krugman-admits-he-overestimated-the-competence-of-the-greek-government-10401092.html

  11. @Donald Oats

    I disagree on the point about Murdoch (and, by extension the rest of our febrile establishment ‘media’ landscape).

    When a non-duopoly politician stands up to them people pay attention. Murdoch is the wizened old man behind the curtain, but the Greens have decided to play dead just as they were about to pull aside the curtain.

    I’m still trying to find out why – and I don’t have an answer yet – but it seems to me that they have been infiltrated by a class of “advisors”, especially media and policy, who might kindly be labelled ALP inclined. It is precisely the type of malady the post I linked to at #1 discusses.

    Australia has banned accepting any UNHCR refugees from anywhere in the whole world for the last 9 months. I have been trying to get a comment from anyone in the Greens on this issue for the last few weeks and I have been totally ignored. I can’t even get a response on “Twitter”. Nothing.

    The Greens may be scared of Murdoch, but if so they have lost any standing as anything other than a lite-sub-branch of the ALP. And I suspect they have deliberately decided to take that course.

    Please Greens – prove me wrong??!!

  12. @Rick R

    ” Now future individuals, by definition, don’t actually exist… so this is something of an abstract concept, but it leads to some interesting places.”

    One can only think this way if one does not live in a world in which children babies and pregnant women, grandmothers and grandfathers are ‘real’ and not abstract concepts.

  13. @Julie Thomas

    I think you misread my original post. But either way, to clarify, I would say that human fetuses, babies, children etc are part of the set of “we the living” and the rather abstract idea I was talking about — the idea of “the future” owning all property — was not referring to anyone in the set of “we the living”.

  14. @Rick R

    Yeah probably, I do that quite often, jumping to conclusions has always been my favourite exercise, they say, and it is even more likely to be the case since I don’t know the context in which you say this, having not read the old posts.

    What about this then?

    “For example, there is a sense that all active claims of ownership began originally with some injustice–some theft.”

    Surely it is ‘true’ that all ownership begins with theft, and it is not just “a sense”.

  15. Just to indicate how corrupt capitalist politicians are, and the sort of social catastrophe they are unleashing…

    An interesting speech by young British MP – Mhairi Black.

    This is Australia’s future too unless we find an alternative economic strategy.

  16. An interesting view from a back copy of Monthly review. It is still very topical. It asks question closely related to the issues Megan canvases in her original post above: that is about the general ineffectiveness of organised labour in the current crisis. As I see it, the abandonment of labour values by Labor parties is part of this ineffectiveness.

    http://monthlyreview.org/2014/01/01/european-labor/

    Some quotes which lay out the problem as of 2014:

    “While the deepest and most serious economic crisis since the depression of the 1930s is unfolding, criticism of capitalism has more or less fallen silent. The trade union and labor movements no longer represent a general, credible alternative to a crisis-ridden capitalism generating mass unemployment, poverty, suffering, and misery in great parts of the European continent. To the degree unions have put forward alternative proposals, they have ignored strategies and shown neither the ability nor willingness to put to use the means of struggle necessary to gain ground. Trade unions at the European level have sharpened their rhetoric, but they have hesitated when it comes to the necessary mobilization to resist the attacks.

    How has this been possible in a part of the world that has hosted some of the strongest and most militant trade unions and labor movements in the world? Why have opposition and resistance not been stronger? And how did we come to the point where social-democratic governments in Greece, Spain, and Portugal have accounted for some of the most serious attacks on unions and the welfare state—until resistance from the population and frustrated voters ousted them from office and replaced them with right-wing governments even more faithful to financial capital?”

    “Much now suggests that the historical era of social democracy is over. This does not mean that political parties that call themselves Social Democratic (or Socialist, as they call themselves in southern Europe) will not be able to win elections and form governments, alone or with other parties. However, the role social democracy has played historically, as a political-party structure with a certain progressive social project, now seems to be irrevocably over. The original goals of social democracy—to develop democratic socialism through gradual reforms, place the economy under political control, and meet the economic and social needs of the great majority of the population—were given up a long time ago. Instead, what will be focused on is the role it played during its golden age—the age of welfare capitalism—as an intra-capitalist political party with a social project.”

    The article goes deeper into these problems and issues.

  17. @Donald Oats
    I think “punched the shark” should enter the lexicon as taking decisive action in a crisis. Eg “Abbott finally punched the shark and demanded Bronwyn Bishop’s resignation”.

  18. Note: There is a glitch at about 15 mins in this video where it just goes back and repeats itself.

  19. @totaram

    The first thing to do is to abandon the ALP (if you support them or make a formal vote that goes to them, even if it is only by putting LNP last).

    Let them know that they can’t just count on sliding into power on the back of your vote just because “Abbott would be worse” or you should “number every box and put LNP last”.

    I don’t think the Greens are – yet – a completely lost cause, but support should be very strongly conditional (as it should be for any political party but sadly no longer is for die-hard ALP supporters).

  20. @Megan
    Megan that article you linked to in your first post was very interesting. It reminded me of ALP actions over ‘allowing members a say in choosing the parliamentary leader’. So they gave members a say and they choose Albanese – whereupon the parliamentary party said ‘oh no we can’t have him’ and chose Shorten.

    Fair enough Albanese wasn’t exactly a radical alternative, but at least he was a little more left than Shorten.

  21. @Val

    allowing members a say in choosing the parliamentary leader

    That’s a say, not thesay.

    The members and parliamentary party each get 50% weight in deciding the new leader. This might or might not be the right balance, but Albo wasn’t vetoed by his colleagues.

  22. It seems like every few days we get a Fairfax, SBS or ABC story based on “…News Ltd has reported…”.

    And yet over the last 48 hours The Guardian has been running an exclusive based on leaked documents showing widespread fraud and low standards regarding their highly lucrative contracts for health services for refugees – and all other establishment media is silent.

    Similarly, they have all run dead on the disappearance of yet another refugee boat this week off WA.

    It fits the description of “conspiracy of silence”.

  23. @Megan
    The ABC has run three stories on the asylum seeker boat off WA since Monday. The last one was from 6:47pm last night, and reported that the police had refused to confirm the whereabouts of the boat or its passengers. You’re right about the Guardian exclusive, though.

  24. @Tim Macknay

    True, but when I said “run dead” what I mean is they don’t do any deeper journalism. They just report the basics and let the government get away with “operational matters…” without demanding answers.

    They’re not putting much effort into it. And now the boat has disappeared.

  25. Labor really is disappointing – Shorten’s nearly word for word repeat of Gillard’s regrettable “no Carbon Tax” statement shows just how lacking in conviction or courage Labor has become on the climate issue. He could have engaged in a vigorous defence of policy of Labor’s last government, and probably had good grounds for such defence, perhaps with suggestions for improvement – streets ahead of Direct Action and RET diminution of Abbott’s team even if it had it’s flaws. But it’s become a pattern – Rudd backed down when Turnbull lost the LNP leadership and bipartisanship vanished, like it wasn’t that great a moral challenge that he could negotiate with The Greens, and Gillard looked like it was never her idea and negotiated with The Greens out of desperation not conviction and never really fought for it after like it was something to be worth fighting for.

    Just seeing current Labor making a vigorous defence of Carbon pricing under Gillard would be newsworthy and I suspect that conviction and courage, even for a policy perceived to be unpopular, gains more respect than ducking for cover ever does. Especially so when most Australians do accept that climate is a serious issue.

  26. @Ken Fabian
    I agree with you last paragraph, but unfortunately the ALP has already ducked for cover on so-called carbon tax, pledging to never bring it back: they have a knee-jerk reaction to rule things out, and they’ve fallen for doing it from opposition. In opposition, the pressure isn’t on you to rule things out, it is on the government; the opposition can duck and weave, but ruling stuff out just constrains an opposition’s future strategies, without benefit. Furthermore, by ruling out a carbon tax, the ALP has given validity to the LNP’s line that the fixed carbon price was a tax. Oops.

  27. “Tow Backs” is about to become official ALP policy, too.

    Dead-set, I’m tempted to vote LNP at the next election just to give these fascists in the ALP a kick up the bum.

    Tempted…. but I won’t. But I’ll continue to ensure the ALP doesn’t get a vote from me.

    A few months ago here, some die-hard ALP zombie got terribly upset when I half-sarcastically suggested that the ALP could machine-gun refugees on the high seas and ALP fans would still vote for them anyway. Now we’re getting very close to actually sending refugees to their deaths as official ALP policy – and the ALP can still count on that core vote.

    I’m not looking forward to finding out just how ultra-right wing this country can become under the current duopoly.

  28. Suggestions for a new party that could be voted for in good conscience are ignoring the fact that a party is not created by voters but by members. The membership of political parties is falling almost as fast as union membership, which is falling almost as fast as membership of any voluntary sector organisation – see the latest ABS social survey. The commentators above are perhaps willing to do the drudgery of setting up their own parties, but they’re plainly not willing to join other people’s, in which they resemble the average Australian – which is why political parties are out of touch. Wishing that everybody else would do what I’m not willing to is not a political program. Rewriting the Four Yorkshireman skit as a lament for a lost era of political values is not a political program. What’s your logic model?

  29. Chiris, I’ve been a party member, and your story is plain wrong. Ordinary members do NOT count in any meaningful zense, regardless of numbers.

  30. Technically, yes, a party is created by its members. It gets to government by its voters, and that’s the difficulty here. We don’t want a situation in which every voter is a member of a political party, for as members they can’t really vote for a different party, can they? It follows then, that it is not desirably for all voters to be members of a political party, as it would stick sand in the gears of democracy.

    So, we have voters, and we have party members. Most of the larger parties were created around some core principles and ideas: it isn’t likely that these principles will automatically satisfy the vast majority of voters, perhaps not even all of the party members either. Once a party starts jettisoning its principles though, voters are entitled to take stock and to decide if that is sufficient reason to switch their preference to another party. There seems little point in becoming a member of a party when it is ditching the principles you want it it to live by.

    When it comes to the vexed issue of asylum seekers who arrive by boat, the key principle should be to always act in accordance with full regard and accordance of their human rights, indeed with the international obligations Australia has agreed to obey. There is still plenty of scope in the eventual design of asylum seeker policy without needing to traduce human rights. If the ALP, with all of the resources at its disposal, cannot craft a workable policy which respects human rights, then they shouldn’t expect voters to go along with that just so they can beat Tony.

    Sometimes the principle really matters.

  31. @Donald Oats
    I can’t really see the sense in your first paragraph. Why would it matter if every voter was a member of a political party? It’s true that people would generally vote for the party of which they are a member (although they can’t be forced to, because the secret ballot makes party rules on this point unenforceable). But so what? People would presumably be members of a party because they agree with its values and/or policies. If the party in government had policies that were unpopular, it would shed members as well as votes. But it’s a moot point, there has never been, and never will be (at least under our present system of more-or-less liberal democracy) a time when all voters are members of a political party.

  32. Hey guys,

    HSchool econ is my limits. Can someone help me understand why a raise in GST is preferable over a carbon (dioxide equivalent) tax. If we need x amount of dollars, why not price carbon so it produces x dollars, perhaps with redistribution. Does this not solve multiple problems for the same price?

    When they say GST is an efficient tax, is that simply because it is ?impossible? to avoid, rather than income tax which has loopholes, or is there more to it? I imagine income tax is largely automated so why would an increase in GST (rather than an increase in the medicare levy or income tax) be more efficient?

    Thanks

  33. Can someone help me understand why a raise in GST is preferable over a carbon (dioxide equivalent) tax.

    “Efficiency” here is all about avoiding deadweight losses, which come about because the shift in supply and demand curves with the new higher prices and lower profitablity means that less is produced and less is consumed than it would otherwise. Net utility loss.

    When you draw the graphs you can see that the deadweight loss of a tax varies:
    + linearly with the fraction of the economy it’s applied to
    + with the square of the tax rate
    … which means you get less deadweight losses if you tax lots of things a little than if you tax a few things a lot. This is real economics, btw, it’s why funding your government through only taxing a single thing [historical examples: land, salt, rice] doesn’t work hugely well.

    [but flipside: the difference between “taxing 90% of the economy at 1%” and “100% of the economy at 0.9%” is not huge, and other effects come into play.]

  34. @Megan
    Megan please no don’t even joke about voting for the LNP. I despair when people like you and Fran talk about voting for the LNP/not voting.

  35. @Megan

    Of course we can’t vote for the ALP if we have any morality. But to talk of voting for the LNP is even worse. Surely, I have seen you write, “Don’t vote for the duopoly.”

    The Greens say:

    “Q: I want to vote Green, and I can’t stand either of the big parties. What should I do?

    A: Vote 1 for the Green candidate, then number the like minded minor-party and independent candidates in the order of your choice, finally numbering your least preferred candidate last. If you leave any boxes blank, your vote doesn’t count.”

    This implies that in Federal elections there is no optional preferential voting. This still seems to be the case so far as I can see. This system eventually forces your preference to one of the duopoly parties unless neither wins the seat in question.

    This heavily predisposes the system to the current duopoly unless a great mass of people can overcome their indoctrination. As we saw in Greece, people usually overcome their indoctrination into the system of capitalist “democracy” about the time they lose their jobs and houses and start starving. As it has come for the people of Greece this time will also come for the people of Australia. It’s the inevitable end-point of the capitalist system.

    There will be a few metropoles of obscene wealth surrounded by a sea of 10 billion in poverty if a transformation of our system does not happen in time. This setup will not be sustainable politically or ecologically and will collapse into anarchy and barbarism. The “Maddaddam” novels of Margaret Atwood, sans the fantasy and magical realist elements, are a good prediction of where all this is headed.

  36. News from France

    The Government there is going full steam ahead to protect the environment – including removing Nuclear Power Plants and replacing with renewables.

    Also, rough translation … €10,000 for every old diesel car traded for a new e-car (cash for clunkers revisited) … ban on house sales if the house does not meet minimum energy saving standards … support for e-charging stations

    Looks like Tony “coal for humanity” will be very lonely at the Paris Conference and with BS going for a climate change election – my bet is Tony has to go early for an election to be safe.

  37. Not much media response to the revealing admission from RBA Governor Glen Stephens that economic growth levels of 3 – 3.5% as a minimum to soak up new labour market entrants seems to have gone missing. I thought it very telling that this new reality had reached Australia and the normally cautious RBA boss.

  38. Here is a typical example of how the sectarian leftists split up progressive movements:

    From John Passant’s Blog…

    Furthermore, anyone who thinks that any federal referendum held today that involves Aboriginal issues has any chance of being passed in this country today is deluding themselves.

    They substitute their megaphone rhetoric for real development of social forces. This quote could come from any one of our campus-based Trots.

    Real socialists should be doing what they can to ensure that any referendum is passed with a massive majority.

  39. John Brookes :
    @Megan
    And with our preferential voting system we have a chance of getting a new party.

    Regarding that, here’s the link to Chicken Nation’s “You Can’t Waste Your Vote” cartoon, which should be spread wide and far before every election.

  40. @Sancho

    That’s excellent and should be seen and understood by far more people.

    But, there is no way in the world I am going to allow my vote to end up with either the ALP or LNP. I can do this in the Senate without “wasting” my vote, but in the House of Reps – because we don’t have optional preferential voting – that means I am forced to “waste” my vote.

    But, just as in the cartoon – as these “wasted” votes pile up – it “might” make the elected (or narrowly unelected) candidate pay more attention.

  41. The difficulty for any relatively small political party in Australia is that one particular media baron simply pours scorn on them and mocks them without recourse in his papers; the rest of the media are too frequently caught up in the meta-politics, than interviewing actual politicians we voted into power. It’s a hard slog to get cut-through on national media when there are two dogs bigger and surlier than you are.

    The hypothesis that Australia’s politics cannot be radically transformed without major changes to its media has not been definitively tested. Perhaps it’s true, perhaps it’s not; we don’t have enough information to be sure.

    As we saw in Scotland recently, give the people a GENUINE (“left”) alternative to the neo-liberal/fascist duopoly and they will vote for it in droves.

    A “left” victory is there for the taking but the operatives of the ALP (and to some extent they are supported in this by the operatives of the LNP) are determined to leave that space uninhabited in our electoral landscape.

    … People do want a genuine party left or even middle-of-the-road party to vote for; not these two corporatised, crypto-fascist, bully-boy parties we have now. …

    The hypothesis that the appearance of an unambiguously left-wing party standing for election on a platform of unambiguously left-wing policies would be enough by itself to produce a radical transformation of Australian politics has been tested, repeatedly, and demonstrated to be false. The strategy has been tried more than once and no radical transformation of Australian politics has resulted.

    … The commentators above are perhaps willing to do the drudgery of setting up their own parties …

    Do you really think so? I see no evidence of it.

  42. The Overton window isn’t static, though. The people writing policy for the last fifty years were products of the Cold War, and there’s little effect any more in pointing a trembling finger at the USSR every time a left-wing idea is floated. Even young Americans are becoming comfortable with the term “socialism”, possibly due to their desolate economic futures under the current capitalist format.

    We’re about due for the pendulum to swing back toward the left, and Di Natale seems to be stepping the Greens slightly right to get in its path.

    I’m an optimist, of course. But it’s that or wallow in despair.

  43. Yanis Varoufakis: Why I Voted ‘Yes’:

    …Last Wednesday I had no other choice but to vote with a thunderous NO. Mine came to stand beside the NO that 61.5% of our compatriots answered to a capitulation under the infamous TINA (there is no alternative). I have denied this for the past 35 years in all 4 continents where I have lived. Today, tonight, those two measures, which I had myself proposed on February, are introduced to the Greek Parliament in a manner that I had never imagined; a manner which adds no credit to the government of SYRIZA.

    My disagreement with the way we handled the negotiations after the referendum is essential. And yet, my main goal is to protect the unity of SYRIZA, to support A.Tsipras, and to stand behind E.Takalotos. I have already explained all that in my article with the title Why I voted NO published in EfSyn . Accordingly, today I will vote YES, for two measures that I, myself, had proposed, albeit under radically different conditions and requirements.

    Unfortunately I am certain that my vote will not be of any help to the government towards our common goals. And that is because the EuroSummit “prior actions’ deal was designed to fail. I will, however offer my vote with the hope that my comrades will gain some time, and that we, all of us, united, will plan a new resistance to autocracy, misanthropy, and the (facilitated) acceleration and deepening of the crisis.

    (i) This morning, while participating at the Financial Committee of the parliament, I ascertained that no colleague of mine, not even the Minister of Justice, agreed with the new civil code. It was a sad spectacle.

    There is a technical term for that kind of reasoning: Piss-Weak.

  44. @Megan
    It’s not entirely wasted, for the more votes that go to your number one preference, the better funded they get to be, even if the vote ultimately selects your second to last choice (be it LNP or ALP). So, whatever the scenario, I’ll push my vote to Greens first, then … and then the two major parties at the end. To quote from the Australian Electoral Commission:

    The amount of election funding payable is calculated by multiplying the number of formal first preference votes received by the rate of payment applicable at the time. This rate is indexed every six months in line with increases in the Consumer Price Index.

  45. ALP cynicism is a truly wondrous thing.

    It turns out that “Labor 4 Refugees” is actually nothing of the sort. It is, and obviously has always been, a stooge outfit of the ‘right’ designed to take any real steam out of the segment of ALP supporters demanding humane treatment of refugees.

    Is there anyone with a functioning brain-cell and a shred of humanity who still supports the ALP?

    The aim for those on the other side had been to amend the party’s platform to leave no ambiguity about Labor’s opposition. For those on the side of Marles and Shorten, the goal is to prevent the issue being raised at all tomorrow, when refugee policy will be discussed.

    Speaking to New Matilda today, Co-Convenor of Labor for Refugees Shane Prince, refused to confirm whether the group would even move a motion calling on the party to take an anti-turn back stand.

    Instead, Prince argued that as turn backs were a breach of international law the party platform was in fact already opposed to them.

    The draft platform prepared for the conference says Labor will treat asylum seekers in accordance with Australia’s international obligations.

    “Something we have to weigh up is whether we have to move such a motion to make something abundantly clear which we say is already abundantly clear,” Prince said.

    “We’re not in the business of moving motions just for the sake of doing it. What we do not want to do, for obvious reasons, is to move a motion that then fails.

    “Because that will confuse the party, it will lead to internal divisions on an ongoing basis, and it will be used as an argument to say that the platform allows turn backs and we say it doesn’t. We don’t want division within the party.”

    After weeks of teasing – fed to and promulgated by the establishment media – that humane treatment of refugees, and particularly opposition to ‘tow-backs’, was going to be a big issue at the ALP conference it turns out that the “whatever it takes” crowd is and always has been running this script from the outset.

    Sick.

  46. @Collin Street

    Thanks CS,

    I really misunderstood the meaning of efficiency here. I don’t intend to spend much time educating myself on economics (many other priorities) but I hope you will be willing to answer many more ignorant/silly questions.

  47. keep it up Megan. i read everything you write: you tell it like i would if i harboured enough hope for the future to be angry about the present. its nice to see. yrs, alf. venison (fwiw).

  48. @Ivor

    A wide range of views is a good thing; you don’t have to read any of the comments here.

    I agree with Megan in principle, but I wouldn’t die for those principles because they might change.

    I think what is happening with the ALP is a very good thing for my project to change the hearts, minds and votes of at least some of my red-neck neighbours.

    The ideas are a great conversation starter at the Post Office and the pub, and possibly will lead to the conclusion that the LNP are really really useless and that anything, even Labor, would be better.

    Voting for the Greens would be even better but there seems to be some sort of very real irrational phobia against that!

  49. @Megan

    Thanks for linking to that.

    The description I would use is not ‘piss-weak’ but ‘missing something vital’. Vanis Yaroufakis writes ‘my main goal is to protect the unity of SYRIZA, to support A.Tsipras, and to stand behind E.Tsakalotos’; but he gives no explanation of why that is his main goal. (He does write that he explained this in an earlier article, but this is not so; the earlier article also contains the statement that the unity of SYRIZA is the main goal but it also gives no explanation of why that should be so.)

    Organisations (including political parties) are tools. It makes good sense to take care of your tools and protect them from damage; but it’s a means to an end, never a goal in itself. Sacrificing your tools to achieve their purpose may make sense; sacrificing the purpose to protect the tools doesn’t.

  50. @J-D

    One has to be a bit careful when inducing people to be followers, for ethical reasons as well as the problem of unforeseen consequences. So before the last state election here in Qld, I was very much not telling anyone who asked who to vote for. I took the line that one should vote for anyone you like but put the LNP last.

    Forgot to talk about what is to like in a party or candidate and recently I found out that one young mum had been going to vote Green but had actually voted for Family First because she thought they would be even ‘better’ than the Greens. Face palm.

    So there are people, young people mostly who have been too apathetic and turned off by political stuff to take any notice of what has been going on but they are now interested and I do realise that I may not have much chance of changing the votes of the rusted on rednecks but they seem to be less angry than in previous years.

    People have been seriously misinformed and uninformed which is most of the problem. The web of false beliefs that exist about the wicked ways and nefarious aims of the hard left are very thick and tightly knit and it is the small things that seem to be convincing to some people.

    This actually happened; there is one lady who knits golly dolls (those dolls that are modelled on black face entertainers from the US and used to be called ‘golly wogs’) and puts them in the craft shop. But the person who rents us the shop front quite seriously said “You can’t put them in there!”

    I said why not? He said because those things are banned; you’ll be charged with racial abuse or something. He was serious and he’s clearly above average intelligence given his occupation, so that’s not the reason he chooses to believe this nonsense about the way the far or hard left are trying to change our way of life.

    I did convince him that it really would not be a problem if we just call them gollies or golly dollies and that there was no law that had been passed to make it illegal; it was just that there is no good reason to call a doll a word that some black people think is insulting. Unless he wanted to upset sensitive black people and why would you do that?

    I didn’t manage to convince him that it was okay to sing “baa baa black sheep” though. He knew that had happened.

  51. @Julie Thomas

    Focus.

    Policy is one thing, but civil discussion is another.

    Calling people

    – fascists,
    – die-hard ALP zombies,
    – stooge outfits,

    is not civil discussion. It is a deliberate attempt at self seeking attention grabbing knowing that more mature people will not drag themselves down to this level.

    It is also fraudulent because those who raille against existing mass parties never state which party they belong to. This is cowardice.

    Megan is an example of all that is wrong with these people. They are more interested in splitting progressive movments into fragments than pusuing real democratic social changes.

    They spin hate.

  52. @Ivor

    I have to say the flaw in your argument is the implicit assumption that the contemporary Labor Party is a progressive movement. It is not. Its policies are now far too reactionary for any label of that kind to apply.

    I think it is reasonable to say to people, “Look, if you want progressive polices you will now have to vote for the Greens, Green Left or International S*o*c*i*a*l*i*s*t*s and so on.

    In a free-speech democracy, anyone is entitled to pass a personal judgement on any political party. Megan is entitled to say what she thinks of the Labor Party. She is not under any obligation to soft-pedal her criticisms for fear of offending your (rather dictatorial) demands for some spurious “left” unity. I say spurious because the Labor Party is simply not a party of the Left anymore, if it ever was. It’s always been a capitalist-accommodationist party in essence. In late stage capitalism, it is simply now showing its true colours as any genuine Marxian thinker would precisely expect it to.

  53. @Ivor

    Yeah well, progressives might want to set some examples for the right about how a decent person responds to what they judge to be ‘abuse’.

    You want censorship in this case because …. and I’m focusing, but all I’m getting is the idea that you are cranky for some reason and judging Megan on the basis of personal attributes that I would not have thought to make about her, and being a bit of a drama queen myself and the sort of person who jumps to conclusions, I’m dubious about judging what behaviour is attention seeking and so suspect.

    And, I’m not a member of any party and never have been. I marched for peace and love in the ’70’s and even got arrested – for resisting arrest would you believe but I was underage so just got a suspended sentence in children’s court – but I never registered to vote until I had to one day when the man turned up at the door. So now I’m worried that I am not really a progressive. 😦

    I think progressive movements will only succeed when we can be cohesive and tolerate diverse views and I think that any right wing people who read Megan’s comments – sorry to talk about you Megan – will only be impressed at the fact that ‘teh left’ can have disagreements about how to get where we are going because we basically agree on the values that we are aiming for. No?

  54. @Ikonoclast

    I think it is reasonable to say to people, “Look, if you want progressive polices you will now have to vote for the Greens, Green Left or International S*o*c*i*a*l*i*s*t*s and so on.

    You can recommend people vote for the IS organisation if you like, but they can’t actually follow that recommendation, for two reasons:
    (a) the IS organisation ceased to exist under that name in 2008, when it merged with two other groups to form an organisation called Solidarity;
    (b) IS didn’t, and Solidarity doesn’t, run candidates in elections.

  55. @Julie Thomas

    False accusations of censorship impress no one.

    Good manners is not censorship.

    If this individual conducted itself like this is a staff room or workplace they wouldbe shown the door.

    They would then be in the corridor crying their hearts out about “censorship”. The last refuge of scoundrals.

  56. @Ikonoclast

    But I know so many people who are in the ALP who are geniune and active progressives.

    So your point ends here.

    If you really think that Megan can express views in those terms, then why shouldn’t other people express their views about her in equivalent terms.

    Good manners prevents them. So why should the foul mouth be the sole megaphone of sectarian diatribe?

  57. According to Samuel Johnson “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”, and he wasn’t referring to patriotism in general but to the false use of that term by cynical manipulators for their own gain – especially by getting elected to power. Which is kind of germane to the topic at hand.

  58. @Ivor

    “I know so many people who are in the ALP who are genuine and active progressives.” – Ivor.

    That may well be. However, I would ask the questions;

    (1) Why cannot they get the Labor Party to have truly progressive policies on matters like refugees, climate change and ownership of the means of production?

    (2) Are they indeed an (ignored) minority in the ALP?

    (3) When will they realise that the ALP is not a progressive party but capitalist-accomodationist party?

    And you ought to know, in the scheme of things, a “foul mouth” (your term not mine) is a very minor sin. It might not be the best style of rhetoric but it is minor compared to the real obscenities of duopoly party policy in this country. You are worried about “foul mouths” but are you worried about the concentration camps being run in Australia’s name in Nauru and elsewhere? Now, I do indeed assume you are concerned. That being the case I wonder why you compare the most minor of sins, a “foul mouth” (so-called) with a concentration camp. You ought to be worried about the real moral issues, not what is such a quintessentially petite-bourgeois obsession, namely worrying about whether people “speak nice” or not.

  59. Jungney, Donald – the announcement that an ETS and strong renewables targets are going to be Labor policy did surprise me. Let’s see what they actually take to the next election but I remain disappointed at a sustained history of being ineffectual on climate, especially given how often the LNP leads with their jaws, just asking for something to connect. Labor spokespeople don’t seem well read or well briefed about these issues and aren’t showing themselves to be quick on their feet in debate. Even saying ‘that doesn’t sound right, can we get a fact check’ on Q&A seems preferable to letting an Alan Jones or equivalent throw up imaginary numbers without challenge.

    I think it’s wishful thinking that we’ll get ambitious climate policies through a rise of The Greens to mainstream power although it will help a lot in my opinion if they grab a long running balance of power position; it needs the mainstream political parties seeing the problem as real and so serious that tactical dodging and deception can’t replace actual policy commitment. I keep thinking new media models, perhaps some kind of news and current affairs search engines with reliability and credibility indexing or something even more novel. Informed people are more likely to be offerred better policy.

  60. @Ikonoclast

    You obviously have different standards to me.

    Your three diversionary questions are not relevant and anyway have simple answers.

    There is no petite-bourgeois obsession.

    You do not defeat capitalism by shouting at it, and people cannot make up for their own lonely failures by resorting to filthy politics and foul mouthings.

  61. Megan,

    “It turns out that “Labor 4 Refugees” is actually nothing of the sort….
    Speaking to New Matilda today, Co-Convenor of Labor for Refugees Shane Prince, refused to confirm whether the group would even move a motion calling on the party to take an anti-turn back stand.
    Instead, Prince argued that as turn backs were a breach of international law the party platform was in fact already opposed to them.”

    I think there are some good people in the ALP who are speaking out on the refugee issue. I think it is a really big problem at the moment.

    Robert Manne wrote an article a while ago about how the refugee issue can’t be allowed to dominate as the Liberal party don’t have any proper climate change policies at all. I think this is not the right approach, as a good climate change policy should not support turning our backs on some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Plus, the current high numbers of refugees in the
    world at 50 million has been affected by climate change, which was one of the causes of the Arab Spring and the subsequent civil wars and violence in the Middle East.

    On the other hand, I also think it is not entirely fair that refugees who take boats are resettled faster than refugees who wait in camps to be resettled. Some refugees can wait in camps for twenty years and still not get resettled (some don’t want to be resettled and just want to stay in camps until they can go home, like some Palestinian displaced people).

    But now at 50 million, we have the highest number of refugees since WW2, and it took until 1968 to resettle all the refugees from WW2.

    But I think you are wrong to be dismissive of everyone in Labor, when we met with our MP Lisa Chesters she said she and I think some others were trying to get Bill Shorten as Labor leader to offer to host an international conference on refugees following the next election. I think an international summit is a good idea as really there needs to be a global plan to temporarily or permanently resettle such high numbers of refugees.

  62. @Ivor

    We now see that the Labor conference has voted down the attempt to stop Shorten’s “Turn Back the Boats Too” policy. Thus we see proven (once again) that Labor as a party is totally morally bankrupt (though not all the individuals in it necessarily are). I am not surprised. My very low expectations of Labor were fulfilled yet again. It’s peculiar how certain people can see that concentration camps are concentration camps except when they implement them themselves. What a grievous lack of moral, historical and political insight.

    BTW, on the other matter, you don’t defeat capitalism with accommodationist policies. Labor is most assuredly petite-bourgeois when it is not being something considerably worse as it was at its conference today.

  63. @Ikonoclast

    The outcome of policy always depends on the membership. This is dominated by the right because of childish abstention deliberately encouraged by looney-left sectarians and all those middle class do-gooders, mavericks and blogging warriors who are missing-in-action where it counts.

    So I blame you.

  64. @ZM

    …it is not entirely fair that refugees who take boats are resettled faster than refugees who wait in camps to be resettled

    That’s not really a correct description of the reality.

    Australia has now had an absolute ban on accepting ANY UNHCR refugees at all, from anywhere – including refugee camps – since last October. The ALP is silent on this atrocity of course.

    There are reports that a Transfield concentration camp guard had his throat slit last night and his body dumped off a bridge on Manus. This is an ALP concentration camp.

    We can, and should, be adhering to our obligations under the Refugee Convention and that would include taking in as many refugees as possible regardless of whether they are currently in a camp or try to come here by boat to seek asylum. The argument about taking one over the other might have more weight if we were already fulfilling our entire immigration numbers (about 200,000 annually) solely with refugees from camps, and even then I couldn’t accept turning a boat back to sea with desperate people aboard.

    The ALP has very deliberately adopted the Abbott/LNP policy on treating refugees inhumanely. They are completely free to do that and their supporters are entirely free to keep supporting them regardless of that, but they can’t pretend they haven’t taken that policy as their own.

    I find it deeply disgusting that this party pretends to have any “values” whatsoever.

  65. @Megan

    I find it deeply disgusting that this party pretends to have any “values” whatsoever.

    If a party did exactly the same things but described itself as having no values whatsoever, would you find that any less deeply disgusting?

  66. @Ivor

    So those who refuse to join a completely flawed and morally bankrupt organisation are to blame for that organisation’s behaviour? I guess you would want that inscribed on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s tombstone.

  67. @Ikonoclast

    Society is completely flawed and morally bankrupt.

    Capitalism is completely flawed and morally bankrupt.

    Free trade is completely flawed and morally bankrupt.

    Fossil fuels are completely flawed and morally bankrupt.

    Western culture is completely flawed and morally banrupt.

    How many tombstones do you want?

    What tune do you want to sing?

    Are you a member of society?

  68. @Ivor

    Megan:

    Australia has now had an absolute ban on accepting ANY UNHCR refugees at all, from anywhere – including refugee camps – since last October.

    Notice the quality of her evidence.

    The actual situation is described here:

    Dept Immigration

    In essence:

    Australia’s fundamental obligation under the Refugees Convention is to not return a person
    to a country where there is a real risk that they may be killed, tortured or suffer cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    There is also provision:

    Complementary protection may be provided to people who are not refugees as defined by the Refugees Convention but who face a real risk of significant harm if they were to be returned to their home country.

    Finally:

    While a substantial proportion of places remains available in the programme for vulnerable refugees offshore, most of whom are referred by the UNHCR.

    The situation for boat people is mandatory detention. For this group the UNHCR says:

    All asylum seekers entering Australian territory by boat continue to face mandatory, indefinite and non-reviewable detention at centres on Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, in conditions described by UNHCR as unsafe and in violation of international standards.

    Abbot’s government reduced the humanitarian programme from 20,000 resettlement places in the fiscal year 2012-2013 to 13,750 places in 2014-2015, of which 6,000 are expected to be available for UNHCR-referred refugees. In September 2014, Australia and Cambodia signed a memorandum of understanding for the relocation of recognized refugees from Nauru to Cambodia.

    You can search under Australia on the UNHCR website.

  69. Megan:

    Australia has now had an absolute ban on accepting ANY UNHCR refugees at all, from anywhere – including refugee camps – since last October.

    Notice the quality of her evidence.

    The actual situation is described here:

    Dept Immigration

    In essence:

    Australia’s fundamental obligation under the Refugees Convention is to not return a person
    to a country where there is a real risk that they may be killed, tortured or suffer cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    There is also provision:

    Complementary protection may be provided to people who are not refugees as defined by the Refugees Convention but who face a real risk of significant harm if they were to be returned to their home country.

    Finally:

    While a substantial proportion of places remains available in the programme for vulnerable refugees offshore, most of whom are referred by the UNHCR.

    The situation for boat people is mandatory detention. For this group the UNHCR says:

    All asylum seekers entering Australian territory by boat continue to face mandatory, indefinite and non-reviewable detention at centres on Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, in conditions described by UNHCR as unsafe and in violation of international standards.

    Abbot’s government reduced the humanitarian programme from 20,000 resettlement places in the fiscal year 2012-2013 to 13,750 places in 2014-2015, of which 6,000 are expected to be available for UNHCR-referred refugees. In September 2014, Australia and Cambodia signed a memorandum of understanding for the relocation of recognized refugees from Nauru to Cambodia.

    You can search under Australia on the UNHCR website.

  70. @Ivor

    You are a tribalist. You cannot admit when your own “tribe” has done and is doing wrong grave moral wrong. “My political tribe right or wrong!” is your motto.

    “The Labor national conference has voted down a motion to reject the policy of turning back asylum seeker boats after an emotional and passionate debate.” – ABC News

    So we can see Ivor you are in favour of sending people back to their deaths and also in favour putting people and even children in concentration camps. This is the centrepiece of ALP refugee policy and you support the ALP so you support this.

    You have zero moral credibility. I am not going to bother replying to you again.

  71. @Ikonoclast

    I am not a tribalist.

    I am not in favour of sending people to their deaths.

    I am not in favour of putting anyone in concentration camps.

    You are not qualified to judge.

  72. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/07/10/nine-month-pause-unhcr-referrals

    The federal government has been blocking United Nations-approved refugees from its resettlement waiting list for the past nine months, according to a high level source.

    The government instigated a pause on accepting new referrals from the UN’s refugee agency from October last year, and which was due to be lifted on January 31, according to documents obtained by AAP under freedom of information laws.

    But now a high level source familiar with the matter has told AAP the suspension actually remained in place until June 30 and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is still awaiting official confirmation that the decision’s been reversed.

    Former immigration minister Scott Morrison initiated the referral ban, which wasn’t publicly revealed.

    “While the decision has been communicated to UNHCR headquarters, the minister has asked expressly that it not be made public and as a result should be treated with appropriate sensitivity,” an immigration department official wrote in an email when the pause was put in place.

    Mr Morrison announced last November Australia would not take any more asylum seekers who had applied for resettlement through the UNHCR office in Indonesia after July 1, 2014.

    At the time he said the processing ban didn’t extend to UNHCR applicants in other countries.

    According to a department talking points document, a pause on adding to the offshore humanitarian program waiting list was necessary because it was already under significant pressure with 75,000 unfinalised applications – including from 50,000 people with relatives in Australia seeking family reunions.

    Recent violence in Iraq and Syria had led to high demand and there had also been an increase from Burmese and African applicants, the department said. Australia resettled a total of 13,750 refugees in 2014.

    Comment is being sought from now Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and the UNHCR.

    I wish I had a better source, but I’ll trust this over the Department of Inhumanity and Death any day.

    Anyone in favour of supporting the ALP is, by definition, supporting a party that put people in concentration camps, sent people to their deaths and now wants to tow refugee boats out to sea.

    Children in concentration camps – put their by the ALP – are being abused.

    But if anyone criticises this statement of fact they are bizarrely a “sectarian” and an idiot.

  73. @Ikonoclast

    If Ivor is trying to recruit “left” or “progressives” into the ALP, I think he’s going about it the wrong way.

    On the other hand, if he is trying to discipline me or anyone else into silent obsequious obedience to the ALP line, he’s kidding himself.

    The ALP is a fascist clown outfit and today died on the issue of humanity toward refugees.

    Never mind though, tomorrow the big issue will drown out that minor event: gay marriage – the most pressing moral and political challenge we face as a nation.

  74. @Megan

    I agree. Julian Burnside got it right.

    SPEECH TO THE LABOR NATIONAL CONFERENCE

    “What I have to say to you today is not what I would have expected to say.

    I do not expect you to agree with me.

    Let me start by saying that in my view the current Prime Minister is the worst in our history. The current Government is probably the worst in our history.

    But we also have the least effective Opposition in living memory.

    It will not be news to you that a lot of people – at least those who think about their vote instead of voting out of habit – must be wondering whether either of the major parties is worth voting for. In my opinion, they aren’t.

    There was a time when Labor stood for something. If it still stands for anything, it has been conspicuously quiet on the matter.

    On asylum seekers, Labor’s record is patchy and getting worse. In the 2013 election campaign Labor tried to out-promise the Coalition on the cruelty with which it would treat boat people.

    I know that asylum seeker policy might be seen as a niche issue, but we are now at the stage that it calls in question the character of the nation.

    Labor’s refugee platform speaks in high-sounding terms of fairness and humanity, but it stays silent on the fact of deliberate, intentional cruelty to boat people.

    How many Labor MPs have even been to Manus Island or Nauru? When was the last time a Labor parliamentarian went to Manus Island or Nauru? How much do Labor parliamentarians know about the shocking conditions in offshore detention? Labor has not used its position to expose the cruelty and hypocrisy of the Government’s position.

    The Coalition’s rhetoric says they are worried about asylum seekers drowning in an attempt to reach Australia, so they punish the ones who don’t drown. It is an intentionally hard line. It is a hard line which depends on a cruelty.

    To an outsider, the only difference between the two major parties is this: the Coalition treat boat people and boasts about it; Labor would mistreat boat people, but is ashamed of it.

    A voter recently wrote to 45 Federal MPs asking two simple questions:

    “In your personal opinion, are asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat treated humanely?

    “Do you consider that people who arrive in Australia informally and seek asylum should be called ‘illegal’?”

    Nineteen of the MPs were Labor MPs. Fourteen of the Labor MPs ignored the letter. They didn’t even acknowledge getting it.

    One of them forwarded the letter to Richard Marles (the Shadow Immigration Minister) which is a strange thing to do when a personal opinion was asked for. But it didn’t matter because although Marles replied, his reply did not answer the questions.

    Four other Labor MPs responded to the letter but did not answer the questions. They did say it was important to treat boat people with compassion and fairness, in a dignified humane way. Well, maybe Labor could advance those ideas publicly.

    Do any of you have any idea how cruelly people are treated in offshore detention?

    If you understand how shocking things are on Manus and Nauru the answers to that voter’s letters might have been different.

    But how many Labor MPs have been to Manus or Nauru? When was the last time any Labor MP visited Manus or Nauru?

    Either you have not bothered to find out the facts, or you know the facts and don’t care. Either way, Labor should be ashamed of itself.

    The Opposition has a chance to be the second-loudest voice in the country. So why are you so quiet about these things?

    Labor supported the Australian Border Force Act, which makes it a criminal offence to disclose anything about conditions in detention, including instances of child sex abuse.

    There is a defence in section 48, which permits disclosure for the purpose of reducing a serious risk to the life or health of a person. But Labor’s Shadow Minister seemed to be unaware of section 48, and instead defended the legislation by pointing to the more onerous provisions of the whistle-blower legislation.

    The only available inference is that Labor supported the legislation without understanding it, and without regard to the obvious chilling effects which the legislation is bound to have.

    If Labor actually believes that people in detention should be treated with dignity and compassion, it should not have supported the Australian Border Force Act.

    But that’s the problem: viewed from outside, it looks as though Labor does not actually believe in its own rhetoric. In fact, it looks as though Labor does not believe in anything much at all.

    If that is where today’s Labor Party stands, it will not long survive.

    Labor today looks like a weak centre-right party which does not believe in itself. A party that believes in nothing except power will end up with nothing at all.

    If Labor refuses to stand up for the principles it espouses, to articulate them and then argue for them, it forfeits its right to any political support.”

    Perfect words by Julian Burnside which sum up what Labor is now.

  75. @J-D

    “How to defeat capitalism”?

    Colonise it? Asset strip it – take all the ideas that this ideology and its adherents have used to force their preferences on other people, and show these ideas to be only useful for economic man, not any other individual or institution on the planet.

    Tell a story about progress and progressives that makes it obvious Capitalism and Conservatism are regressive and only for those who enjoy stealing from differently abled people.

    Ask regressives why they focus so much on the behaviour of the poor and needy and exaggerate the negatives in this group but they focus on the imaginary benefits of working for the rich and greedy and why they go to such lengths to excuse these people of their sins.

    Don’t be like them and don’t exclude individuals because you don’t like the way they behave in society; it’s not your society; it’s not your progress; it’s ours and there are many paths and different ways to achieve our goal.

    Ivor I still can’t see any rational basis for your emotional response to Megan’s words; are you too angry to be rational? It happens you know.

    There is an article at The Conversation by Sarah Joseph that you might like to read. I can’t comment there; my account is locked because apparently I violated community standards by abusing some person who really deserved it. So unfair.

  76. @Julie Thomas

    At the height of feudal and theocratic power in the Middle Ages, it would have seemed impossible to defeat those powers even if one could conceive of their defeat and any different kind of order. As it turned out, it took something like 500 years.

    Depending on how you date its beginnings, capitalism has to date lasted roughly about 250 years. Shifts to radically new systems play out over long historical periods. Capitalism really does not have to be defeated. It will defeat itself. It is a self-defeating, self-limiting system. It is an unsustainable model both ecologically and in political economy terms. In fact, capitalism is already obsolete. Developments have already occurred which will render bourgeois representative democracy and market economics obsolete. I will write on these matters when we get another sandpit.

    Those who are mired in the current paradigm (bourgeois representative democracy and market economics) are just like the benighted souls of the middle ages. They can conceive of no other system than their own and believe that their current system (feudalism then and capitalism now) is the end and apotheosis of all history. History has shown no system is indefinitely stable. Capitalism in turn will give way to a different system. The signs are already here if you can read them. As I say I will write of these matters when we get a new sandpit.

  77. @alfred venison

    Probably, I would have to ask Cory the mod who locked my account, nicely and perhaps apologise and that seems to be something I can’t force myself to choose to do. And the regular commenters seem to me to be doing very well without me. 🙂

    Icon, I read John Ralston Saul some time ago and was totally impressed with his critique of both capitalist and socialist ideologies as being merely ways of dividing up ‘wealth’. My memory of what he said, and the bit that I took as being the most salient point was that buddhism is the only existing real ideology because it incorporates the reduction of desire as fundamental for any complete human system or society.

    I agree that it – capitalism – is already dying. Many pundits have been predicting that but what is to take its place is still in the process of becoming or emerging or self-organising onto a new attractor state – the paradigm shift in econ is a big part of this transition or shift – but the recognition that complexity is the question and the answer now seems to be nearly mainstream in some societies.

    Did you read that statement by the Business Council President, Catherine Livingstone? There is very little response from the commentariat about this radical claim.

    “”We are experiencing what physicists would call a ‘phases change’ in our economic environment, where previously held assumptions about causal factors and relationships no longer seem to hold,” Ms Livingstone said.

    And as you say, the emerging new paradigm or attractor state will be one in which constant growth – but growth of what? – is part of the process.

  78. and ..I’m listening to Nick Cater I think it is on “Outsiders” saying that Shorten will lose because the educated left and the ‘hard right’ of the ALP will never be able to get along.

    Is that going to be true?

  79. @Megan

    Using “if”s to insert deliberate lies is anathema.

    Trying to play the victim is pathetic.

    And to call the ALP a “fascist clown outfit” means you are a rude and crude inveterate sectarian.

    You cannot provide evidence, just sectarian diatribe and while slandering the ALP you have kept your own group hidden.

    Pure cowardice.

  80. @Ikonoclast

    It looks as if what you’re saying is that you needn’t do anything and you don’t propose to do anything, but long after we’re all dead you’ll be proved right.

    I know that nothing lasts forever. Everybody dies. Capitalism will not last forever, the human species will not last forever, the planet Earth will not last forever. Knowing these things, however, does not help me make choices about how to act now, during my own life.

    The thought that one day this world will be a different place seems to be one that gives you comfort. Although I know it’s true that one day this world will be a different place, I don’t draw comfort from the thought, because I know that the range of possibilities includes those where things get worse as well as those where things get better.

  81. Julie Thomas can respond or not to that part of your question directed to her, but, for my two bits worth, capitalism is moribund, J-D, the burning question is whether it will be superseded by democratic socialism or corporatist feudalism. the nation state is on the skids too & whether or not it will survive capitalism is unclear at this time. in my opinion rationality, as we have known it since the birth of capitalism & the modern nation state, will not survive the displacement of print literacy – its forms of knowing & the centrality of the social/institutional supports that have perpetuated it – by the emergent electronically mediated oral culture of the internet. a period of warring states, rolling climate disasters & death on a massive scale is looming. magical thinking is on the rise – subversion of democratic processes by corporate money is on the rise – mass deception by corporate propaganda masquerading as news is on the rise – deliberate subversion of democracy by governments is on the rise – legalistic privileging of corporations against nation states is on the rise – corporate banking bankrupting nation states for the benefit of corporate investors is on the rise – &c., &c., &c. the goal should be to do everything within our power to assist the replacement of capitalism by democratic socialism while doing everything in our power to forestall the replacement of capitalism with corporatist feudalism. -a.v.

  82. Just for the record, should the blindingly obvious have escaped anyone’s attention – I do not have a “group”.

  83. @J-D

    We may very well be talking about different set of things that ‘these things’ are but I think I try to do those things that I can – I try to walk the walk as well as talk the talk – and demonstrate to my neighbours who have learned to trust me despite me being everything that they have been hating during the dark years of neo-liberalism, that there are alternative ways to live and that people don’t need capitalism to be rich because we already are.

    Tell me what measure you want to use to measure the unmeasurable; what level of analysis should we use to talk about ‘defeat’? Can we not talk about war?

  84. I always had my suspicions as to Bronny’s background and this confirms them;

    Bishop shared – without attribution – Kabriel’s thoughts in her maiden speech. She told the House that the remedies employed by the Labor “collectivist” government were based on two assumptions:

    “… first, that the Australian people will accept a further restriction of their liberties in order that negative trends might be averted; and, second, that every solution requires an increase in the centralisation of power and more control of government.”

    On page two of Egoessentialism, Kabriel wrote: “Every major remedy is based on the assumption that (1) people will accept a restriction on their liberties in order that the trend might be averted and that (2) every solution requires the increase of centralised control and government.”

    Bishop then said: “The continuous rise in tax of every sort imaginable, government plans and controls restrict individual decision making. All result in the inability of small, new enterprises to establish themselves.”

    Again on page two of his manifesto, Kabriel writes: “The continuous rise in tax of every sort imaginable, the various plans and controls which restrict individual decision … all result in the inability of small, new enterprises establishing themselves.”

  85. @alfred venison

    Given that the goal you recommend is the goal of doing everything within our power to assist the replacement of capitalism by democratic socialism, what actions do you recommend as contributing to that?

  86. @Julie Thomas

    Ikonoclast posted a comment containing the statement, among others, that ‘you don’t defeat capitalism with accommodationist policies.’ It seems as if Ikonoclast recommends the defeat of capitalism as a desirable goal. I responded to Ikonoclast’s comment asking about actions that would contribute to that goal. Ikonoclast has (not) yet chosen to respond to my inquiry, but you did.

    Note that ‘defeat of capitalism’ was identifed as a goal (apparently) by Ikonoclast, not by me. I don’t know whether the defeat of capitalism is a goal for you. Which goal do you want to talk about? Which actions would you recommend as contributing towards that goal?

  87. Megan :
    Just for the record, should the blindingly obvious have escaped anyone’s attention – I do not have a “group”.

    Then you are even worse.

  88. @J-D

    Thanks for that. Now I understand the context and find that I agree with you and the idea of defeating capitalism is indeed something that Ikon suggested. So if we are using the language of conflict what comes next, since it is obvious that this thing that Labor has done, that is not approved of by some of us to a greater or lesser extent, will win the next election.

    This is a very confused thread; it may as well be a Sandpit.

  89. @Julie Thomas

    I find it confusing when I ask questions and the response is ‘I agree with you’.

    ‘Do you know what time the next bus comes?’ — ‘I agree with you.’
    ‘What colour was that bird that just flew by?’ — ‘I agree with you.’
    ‘Have you got change for five dollars?’ — ‘I agree with you.’

    Doesn’t fit, does it?

  90. The ALP further cemented its ultra-pro-Zionist credentials by denouncing BDS and resoundingly confirming it won’t change its policy on Palestine.

    All in all the ultra-right-fascist segment of the ALP has had a win this weekend. They have proven that anything to the ‘left’ of Tony Abbott can be doormats in the ALP. And willing doormats they are.

    Of course, we shouldn’t ignore their biggest victory – ensuring that gays will never be able to get married until at least 2020. Huge victory.

  91. @J-D

    Is it my problem when you are confused?

    I have enough of my own confusion to deal with to be offering you any comfort or advice.

    And… as for things fitting…. that concept – how things or people can fit in – is highly negotiable and open to different constructions but fitting in with society seems to be a problem for some types of people and I’d like it to be easier and less confusing.

  92. @Ivor

    In what sense is a person worse for not belonging to a grouping? It is dictatorial to explicitly or implicitly demand that a person belong to a group or grouping.

    Megan holds a view that the ALP is a reactionary party. I happen to agree. You want to dictate that a person or persons can’t hold that view and indeed you get personally abusive about it. The view is fully supportable as the ALP has endorsed concentration camp policy. It is quintessentially fascistic to support concentration camps.

  93. @J-D

    How do you defeat capitalism? You change your mind. You change your thinking. You work in tiny ways to change the minds and thinking of others. If enough people change their thinking on the matter then the system is defeated. Of course, that isn’t easy. It takes populations hundreds of years to change their thinking on important matters. It took many hundreds of years to overthrow feudal thinking and pre-scientific thinking in the West. Not everything has to happen in your lifetime. It’s not all about you.

  94. @J-D

    To quote the dictionary definition.

    “Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.”

    To “come to prominence” there must be earlier developments. Clearly, the way the British behaved overseas in the era of empire and imperialism was proto-fascistic in both spirit and action. These were proto-fascist developments growing out of British authoritarian nationalism projected abroad.

  95. @J-D

    I ought to expand a little. I commented earlier in a reply to Julie Thomas that capitalism would ultimately prove self-limiting and self-defeating. This has to do with its internal and external contradictions. The internal contradiction is the antagonism between capital and labour. The external contradiction is the antagonism between the capitalist system and the biosphere. The arguments about why these are insuperable issues for capitalism are quite complex and I would suggest you do some research on the matter. It probably won’t help if I give a potted theory here.

    Next, there is the issue of being mentally bound to a self-defeating system. The self-defeating system will indubitably begin to harm people and the environment but while people remain mentally bound to the system they will see no alternative. Thus the system will persist until it causes catastrophic harm and collapses. This catastrophic collapse can be prevented if people change their minds, change their way of thinking, in time for this to be useful for prevention.

    It’s a matter of reading early signs and early warnings. If people change their thinking so they can read these signs in time then they can still develop a new system and put it on a safer path. However, if they read the signs too late, then the catastrophic collapse of the self-defeating system becomes at some point inevitable.

    Finally, it’s not about my success. I am too obscure and untalented for that. There is a period when the great thinkers are lone voices in the wilderness. Later when they are proved correct, they are punished for it. But later still, their inescapable analysis becomes accepted wisdom and everyone claims and believes “Oh, we knew it all along.”

  96. @J-D

    Why question which dictionary? Judge the definition on its merits. Accept it, criticise it or propose an alternative definition.

  97. @Ikonoclast

    You deliberately misinterpret.

    It is not wrong – this was your statement. I just indicated that for Megan, given her project, this made her position worse.

    And to even suggest that I dictate is pure, outrageous calumny.

    What abuse are you talking about? When have you ever objected to:

    – fascists,
    – die-hard ALP zombies,
    – stooge outfits,
    – fascist clown outfit

    Do you think this is civil discussion?

    Why should someone unilaterally introducing streams of such foul abuse not be called to account particularly when they are not even a member?

    Only John Passant conducts themselves like Megan.

  98. @Ivor

    Megan is explicitly criticising the organisation and not targeting individuals. Implicit in her criticism is some criticism of some individuals but I do not recall her actually naming individuals except perhaps for professional politicians. Professional politicians enter that arena where trenchant political criticism of them from various quarters is common, legitimate and to be expected whether it is demonstrably correct or not.

    You are trying to dictate the terms of the debate and discourse. You are trying to rule certain terms simply “out of court” by “dictate” rather than engaging in rational debate and demonstrating , if possible, that the terms are inapplicable. If something is true it is not outrageous calumny, it is truth. It is true that the ALP policies are demonstrably inhumane. It is true that certain ALP polcies (like certain LNP policies resemble what one would term inhumane, authoritarian and even (at least) proto-fascist policies. Well respected jurists, advocates and human rights experts, among them Julian Burnside and Micheal Kirby, have stated repeatedly that such policies are inhumane and immoral (as well a illegal under international law).

    I don’t understand and don’t ever expect to understand how you can blindly support a party which is very clearly reactionary and almost certainly beyond all reform. It’s pretty clear you don’t really understand political economy, ideology or history.

  99. @Ikonoclast

    – fascists,
    – die-hard ALP zombies,
    – stooge outfits,
    – fascist clown outfit

    is not acceptable pretend “criticising organisations”. Why are you spreading this camouflage.

    Expecting civility is not dictate. Why are spreading this camouflage?

    Do you support:

    – fascists,
    – die-hard ALP zombies,
    – stooge outfits,
    – fascist clown outfit

    Is this your “truth” ????????????

    Why would you even have the gall to even suggest that I blindly support anything ?????

    It is not up to you to judge whether people understand X, Y, or Z.

  100. @Ivor

    I support anyone’s right to call any organisation reactionary or fascist if they consider it shows those tendencies. They might be wrong or right. If they are demonstrably wrong they can be shown to be so by reasoned argument.

    I support Megan’s right to call the ALP fascists, die-hard ALP zombies, stooge outfits and a fascist clown outfit if she so chooses. If someone wants to rebut Megan’s arguments they may advance logical, cogent rebuttals if they can.

    While there may be some rhetorical exaggeration in Megan’s language, there is incontrovertible evidence that the ALP’s support of off-shore detention centres (surrounded as they are by secrecy, stripping of human rights and unexplained/unjustified deaths) equates to support for what are essentially concentration camps. That type of policy, in the modern context, is at the very least, proto-fascistic. While the ALP is not overall a fascistic organisation (yet) and while many or all or its members are not intentionally or in spirit fascistic, it remains the case that while the ALP endorses what is essentially proto-fascistic policy, the ALP remains morally tainted to a serious degree. It’s a slippery moral slope the ALP have got themselves on to.

  101. @Ikonoclast

    No one worries about organisations being identified as reactionary.

    Why throw this diversion up?

    I do not support calling the any organisation in Australia Fascist except for white power groups and rightwing elements in the Liberal party and some church associated political groups.

    I do not support calling other organisations fascists, zombies, stooges or clowns. Although I apply all these labels to those who manufacture them – plus more.

    It is not up to other people to even address diatribes such as that – just expose them for what they are.

  102. @Ikonoclast

    A better definition of ‘fascism’ would be: ‘the political movement founded by Benito Mussolini around 1914, and other similar political movements’.

  103. @Ikonoclast

    You wrote earlier that ‘you don’t defeat capitalism with accommodationist policies’.

    Please note that those are your exact words, with no paraphrasing by me.

    Now, possibly on reflection you may decide that the meaning you intended when you wrote that could be better expressed in other words. I could understand that.

    But looking at the words you used, if they do adequately capture your intended meaning, then I wonder whether you meant that ‘you don’t defeat capitalism with accommodationist policies because you defeat it with different policies’. That seems the most natural interpretation to me, which is why I’m wondering which different policies you might have had in mind. If you didn’t mean that, perhaps you meant ‘you don’t defeat capitalism with accommodationist policies because you don’t defeat capitalism with policies at all’, but in that case I would wonder why you singled out accommodationist policies for specific mention. Maybe you had some other meaning, different from both of those, that I’m failing to grasp. Your more recent comments don’t clarify the point.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s