I feel I’m living in a moment where people all around me are waiting. Looking for a choice – attempting to come to a decision. In or out. Left or right. The choices are flowing past and through us, temporarily there to grab. Yet still we grow ever bluer; fearful that whatever choice we make will be “The Wrong One”. But as we wait the crisis grows closer.
The ground crumbles beneath… Continue reading
We need to face the fact that its statistically likely we’ll have a Coalition government by the end of the year. My strategic interest lies not in a the simple choice between the Coalition, and an alternative that’s ‘not the Coalition’. Rather, it’s in the strategy and form in which the progressive fight back can occur, one which when it inevitably recedes leaves a bedrock of a more empowered and engaged populace. Continue reading
Is Beppe Grillo the messiah, or just a very naughty boy? His 5 Star Movement (5SM) swept the Italian elections earlier in the week taking 25% of the vote. This result is a stunning rebuke to the once mighty Italian left – 5SM is not really born of the Left – rather it is the intellectual property of one man – Grillo. These articles from writers far more knowledgeable on the political situation in Italy are useful contextual reading (Dr Tad here and Giovanni Tiso here). Rather, what I want to delve into is 5SM’s support base, how it is organised and what the implications are for the industrial-political situation in Australia. Continue reading
Growing up, I never felt like I belonged anywhere. I lived my childhood shifting between worlds, in a permanent state of visiting.
I lived with my single mother who looked after me on a mixture of the single parent’s pension, whatever casual job was at hand and maintenance payments from my father. She sustained herself with cigarettes and cheap wine. We moved a lot around Melbourne’s north-east. A suburb and a street was never a community, just a place where I’d be staying and an audience for potential embarrassment. When the show was over, it was time to move on. Continue reading
I read this post from @Dr_Tad this morning, and thought the closing quote from Gramsci particularly insightful:
The active politician is a creator, an initiator; but he neither creates from nothing nor does he move in the turbid void of his own desires and dreams. He bases himself on effective reality, but what is this effective reality? Is it something static and immobile, or is it not rather a relation of forces in continuous motion and shift of equilibrium? If one applies one’s will to the creation of a new equilibrium among the forces which really exist and are operative basing oneself on the particular force which one believes to be progressive and strengthening it to help it to victory—he still moves on the terrain of effective reality, but does so in order to dominate and transcend it (or to contribute to this). What ‘ought to be’ is therefore concrete; indeed it is the only realistic and historicist interpretation of reality, it alone is history in the making and philosophy in the making, it alone is politics. (Gramsci, Selections From The Prison Notebooks, p. 172) Continue reading
The #Walmartstrike on Black Friday was an historic moment for the global labour movement. It represents the public coming out of the synthesis of occupy direct action tactics and sustainable union structures to produce a direct unionism that has the capacity to overturn corporate hegemony.
Corporate USA, especially in the retail sector, had an extremely effective strategy for ensuring their underpaid staff don’t come together in a representative union structure. This anti-union induction video for Walmart competitor, Target, is a striking example of the strategy:
The latest edition of Interface, a journal for and about social movements, is out. This edition concentrates on global labour movements, and the rise of the struggle against precarity. You can check out my article on direct unionism and a whole host of other goodness, including but not limited to Elise Thorburn and Peter Waterman.
Check it all out here.
I, like an ever decreasing number of my fellow Australians, am a frustrated member of a mainstream political party.
In the usual run of affairs being a member of a political party involves three modes: being ignored, being used or just plain being pissed on. The common thread running through all three modes is that you are the pawn of some ‘great’ man (let’s face it they usually are men) using you to maintain their own control of the chessboard and ‘win’ the game. Continue reading
Without a strategy, you become part of someone else’s strategy. I think this is a pretty apt description of what has happened to the broader Left for the past 30 years. The neo-liberal Right has had a very clear strategy – restructuring the State so that it serves entrenched corporate interests. Whereas some sections of the broader Left have maintained their ideological purity but been pushed to the margins, and other sections have been reduced to campaigning furiously for the guys that at least claim to be implementing neo-liberal policy either at a slower pace or with a human face. Continue reading
As we build up the membership continuum, this post will move to the first type of membership for those who are in paid work – minority membership. Continue reading