Students build an alternative world

“As long as you say there is no hope, then there will be no hope, but if you go down and take a stance, then there will be hope.” These are the words of Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26 year old Egyptian woman. Asmaa wrote these words encouraging her fellow citizens to occupy Tahrir Square until they had built a new Egypt. Before you dismiss these words and deeds as irrelevant to our first world problems consider the students of Glasgow University.

Continue reading “Students build an alternative world”

Are the rich pulling their weight?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand the way our system is supposed to work, “the capitalist” has three responsibilities. He (let’s be honest the few individuals who control large corporations are usually old white men) must, invest, invest and of course…invest.

The rich men use their accumulated savings to invest in productive enterprises to produce a profit – it’s this investment process that creates jobs for the rest of us and increases the welfare of our whole society. It’s the ethical justification for an undemocratic and inequitable relationship to capital we experience everyday – I don’t get a meaningful say at work about how to distribute the wealth I create because if it’s controlled by one person or a handful of people there will be more jobs and we’ll all be better off. Continue reading “Are the rich pulling their weight?”

Since when did the 8 hour day become irrelevant?

Did anyone notice that Jeff Lawrence, ACTU Secretary, pronounced the eight-hour day practically dead last year? He claimed, “…I don’t see us returning to – the eight-hour day, overtime, all those things.”1 Despite the fact I’m not totally sure what Jeff means by “all those things”, I’m pretty sure he’s consigning the eight-hour day movement into the annals of history. I would argue though, it’s not the eight-hour working day which is past its used by date but rather Jeff’s attitude. The idea that workers must fit themselves into longer working hours to suit the economic machine is so 90s (and a little bit disgusting as well). Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t that whole little experiment end in tears recently, although last I heard everything was back to normal apparently… Continue reading “Since when did the 8 hour day become irrelevant?”

Taking back local government (and our democracy as well)

Image courtesy of http://www.rfahey.org/2009/08/23/increasing-engagement-through-e-participatory-budgeting/

I’ve started to become more involved with my local community over the last couple of years as part of a campaign to ensure the sustainable and appropriate development of a complex of buildings near Point Gellibrand in Williamstown. What has struck about this entire process is the level of power that organised money has in this most immediate level of democracy. It seems there’s one planning law for us poor suckers and another if you have a couple of hundred of million to throw around. Continue reading “Taking back local government (and our democracy as well)”