“If opposition movements are to do more than burn bright and then burn out, they will need a comprehensive vision for what should emerge in the place of our failing system, as well as serious political strategies for how to achieve those goals.” Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything, page 10.
Read this book. Read it now. Our economic system requires constant growth for its survival and its stability. And just like cancer, capitalism if left untreated, will end up killing its host. In this case it is the thin atmospheric layer that separates us from the vacuum of space. The time for surgical intervention is now.
The beautiful thing about This Changes Everything is that it not only honestly confronts the truth we all feel yet suppress but it goes further. It provides a glimpse of the civilisation that can emerge from our failing system, and the strategies that can get us there. No longer is climate change the ugly truth we are too fearful to confront. It is the challenger which poses a question to us all, a question that can no longer be postponed, do we stay on this road to barbarism or do we make the leap to deep democracy?
History has come to knock on our generation’s door. Will we answer?
Like many younger siblings, I never really had a choice about which footy club to support. My older brother told me that we were the Bombers and from the age of three that’s what I was; a Bomber. Choice and footy clubs aren’t concepts that usually meet – you have a tribe, you are told you are part of the tribe and it remains that way until you die through career changes and relationship break-ups. My tribe is Essendon FC. I’ve never been one to hate. I don’t hate other clubs or tribes. For me hatred is a foreign country I’ve never felt comfortable in – whenever I’ve accidentially wandered there I’ve always wanted to get out quickly. When I encounter the emotion in others, pending their relationship to me and what their hate is directed towards, it’s either likely to make me feel confused and hurt, diminish my respect for someone or sense a weakness in an opponent.
Every day we act, albeit mostly unconsciously, to recreate the day before. With the same habits, commute, and routine always adding up to something new. No matter how hard we try though, our days are different. In a world striving for repetition, all we can achieve is change. Our realities are messy, complex and above all fragile.
Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are killing people. Fellow humans and citizens are dying because of the decisions they are making and the deliberate policies they are pursuing. I cannot see into the future. I don’t know what the final death toll we will let them get away with is. I don’t know exactly whose children, whose brother, whose sister or whose parents will die because of their decisions. I only know that there will be a death toll and that each of us knows someone who will die.
Where does hope spring from? A progressive form of hope comes from a belief that things can be different, in contrast to the conservative form of hope, which is a vague trust that the existing institutions of our society will fix our problems. As I wrote in my last post – Australia is experiencing the death of this conservative hope but we are still awaiting the birth of a new hope. What I would like to put forward after a few weeks of discussion with many people is a proposal to nurture the growth of a belief in change in the Australian people.
In Australia today, we lack hope. It is the missing ingredient for social change. There is no great love for our institutions of power or the ideas they espouse. The status quo reigns but only for want of a challenger. It reigns in weakness; battered, bruised and beaten. Most people no longer trust the concrete forms the status quo takes nor many of the ideas which inform it. Continue reading
This week the National Union of Workers (disclaimer: where I work) launched a new form of Union membership – a community membership. From a personal perspective, in this post I would like to outline what I think this means for the union movement in Australia and the prospect of building for progressive change.
Each day we wake up to the reality of the past feeding off the future. As each day is ushered into the present, corporate vultures repeatedly feast on the organs of the future. We rip off shreds of our national wealth and feed them to the vultures. Their hunger remains. We push more and more student and housing debt onto the next generation struggling to make its stand in the world. Still the vultures want more. We push the costs of ecological clean up to a future we imagine will never arrive. Still the vultures hunger. They will never be satisfied. The seemingly perpetual present of the Prometheus cannot continue. It is a cycle that dooms us to oblivion. Continue reading
Shit is about to get real…ugly for the political class.
While ICAC has temporarily suspended its inquiry into the soliciting and concealment of political payments, we have a chance to reflect on the systemic implications of what we we’ve found out. The roll call of resignations, suspensions and those broadly implicated in the last few weeks runs deep – former NSW resources Minister Chris Hartcher, former Federal Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos, Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, former NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher, Central Coast MPs Darren Webber and Chris Spence, and former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell. It feels like a George RR Martin novel where the body count is extensive, the web of intrigue intricate and there are thousands of pages of plot still to come where the axe will continue to swing. O’Farrell’s unexpected beheading certainly signals the unfolding of chaos for the political class in the capital and the rest of the seven kingdoms. Continue reading
The Blog of Claims is back people. I’ll resume posting on topics designed to get us to a world which is based on fulfilling the needs of the many as opposed to meeting the greed of the few. I’ve been on extended hiatus between getting married, going on honeymoon and getting in the swing of a new role at work. However, I’m now in a position to begin regular posting again so here’s the rules:
- The usual posting cycle will be once per fortnight – every second Sunday.
- Topics will generally be a mix of unionism with a hack effort at politics and economics thrown in.
- Individual posts will be between 700-1000 words (give or take 10 per cent).
- I’ll attempt to throw in a dash of humour where possible.
- All of the above may be broken where I judge necessary (for instance it would be pretty boring if I turned this post into 1000 words).
For for some extended reading here’s a dialogue I engaged in with ACTU economists Matt Cowgill on housing policy. Enjoy.
I’m also open to taking suggestions re updating my blog roll, so please let me know what you think I should add or delete.