Listen to Radio Mike Ballard

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April, 2016

April begins. The ship of fools sails on. The Prime Minister tries to sell us down the river to little america this time aping the tax system where we get more freedom and democracy through decentralisation and states rights. Very appealing to the conservative mind this decentralisation. The conservative mind takes class rule as a given. Decentralising the tax system will end up disenfranchising the majority of the citizenry from access to the overall general wealth of Australia. The Prime Minister knows this. Once taxing power is devolved to the states and territories the argument for cutting public health education and welfare becomes more easily connected to cutting taxes as the standard of living plummets in some states and fools rush to raise or save their standards of living by cutting the poor lazy undeserving out of the shelter of public services. But the best laid plans of mice and PMs go down to defeat as much as last year's minor premiers go down to teams they beat the last year. Honestly I find it disgusting how the corporate logos get patched onto Aussie Rules footy players. In the WAFL it seems every member of every team now has to wear a big yellow Mcdonald's M on their guernsey. Makes them look ridiculous. I suppose that's the point in a way just as the Nazis used yellow stars and pink triangles to decorate their subhumans. Does anyone else notice I wonder how absurd it is that a sport which claims to be very aware of how it is influencing children constantly scolding its players for larrikin behaviour sells advertising space for fast food joints on its players clothing. Turning larrikin stock into bourgeois expression is part of the process of teaching children how to become successful adults. A real adult is bourgeois anything less is immature. A little more cheapness please. To gain market share of course and stay on top of the race to the bottom. The commodity is everywhere and everywhere it is the world becomes more hollowed out. The world and market become ubiquitously connected. We take it for granted that anything or anyone is for sale. Who will buy this fine shiney object. The price is right. Indeed bourgeois ideology surrounds us. Our freedom is understood to be based on others' unfreedom. The unequal political power between all men and women undermines their desires for social justice peace and happiness just as it undermines the relation we have with our ecosphere. Our psychological health is undermined this way. Narcissism is now being noticed on a mass scale. Perhaps commodification itself with its relentless push to cheapen has undermined our ability to think more deeply about how the social relations of power relate to interpersonal relations. After all a big part of divorce has to do with the division of property. In an ancient way this also has to do with who should have custody over children. Take an easy number. Imagine the world a thousand years ago. The law made of course by the ruling class of the time made it so that wives and children were the property of the husband. Actually one can trace this legal principle back to the beginnings of debt 5,000 years ago as David Rolfe Graeber has done. Debt and property ownership entwine producing unnatural social relations. For tens of thousands of years before humans discovered how to use domesticable plants and animals and escaped the near total hegemony of nature humans lived in communities which were not based on private property. Certainly tribal territorial boundaries existed but this was not the private property we see after the advent of producing more food than you have need for. These classless democracies were not free of belief in the supernatural. Still humans in them did possess wisdom. The things which worked for example hunting and gathering skills within the tribal boundaries were passed down from generation to generation. I think a lot of ancestor worship has been rooted in the respect for the wisdom passed down to living. People grew wiser with materially effective knowledge. Obviously our ancestors were not all knowing. One thing they did know which we have forgotten was their ability to relate to each other as political equals. They rejected individual power mongers who wished to dominate by shunning making fun of them and sometimes exiling or even murdering them. Reverse dominance hierarchy as Boehm puts it was the dominant social relation of power in classless tribal societies. It was and is definitely NOT the natural condition of human beings to be depriving abusing making war on each other. Humans only develop these aspects when one class or one person owns most of the wealth being produced. Sometimes that kind person lends a friend some money or grain. Of course he'll need some collateral. That's where the wife and kids come in. The labour time of his family is promised to his kind friend. And so the power game goes and many friendships run aground. With it all comes the psychological stress we call civilisation. Our ruling class would prefer not to celebrate the human nature of classless societies. It prefers to sell us social Darwinism via pop culture which in turn becomes the commonsense answer to most social questions by social conservatives. From little things big things grow. Big ideas like religions spring out of peoples' need to know. Thus and only thus do ideas become a material force. Most all settlements are invasions. The human race has been invading in this sense at least since it emerged out of Africa 50 or so thousand years ago. Violence. Well violence is a possibility for a tribe on the move to happier hunting and gathering grounds. When class rule is added to the mixture settlement means war. I think of Australia in this context with all the argy bargy over the word invasion. The people living in Australia before 1788 were not living in societies divided by class ownership of property. Aboriginals did not neeed no steenking deeds. Therefore the Europeans dubbed Australia terra nullius nobody's land took it over privatised it. After all how could you have power over property without papers demonstrating your ownership. Besides they were not Christians. They were savages. And so it was that the class ruled Europeans strong armed their way to private ownership over Australia. Guns germs and steel same thing the world over. It has all been written about before. Many books but the ideas contradicting the socially learned dogmas of social Darwinism are not that widely spread. It's human nature don't you know. We've watched televised nature shows by the hundreds by now. We know that all animals including that most evil animal of all homo sapien has always been and always will be a violent beast who would live a short nasty brutish existence if it were not for his ruler. Or her ruler nearly always one of hims. Out of this mix we see what we call injustices emerge. My point is that the nature of human social relations changed radically with the introduction of private property the patriarchal family and the class ruled political State. Upside down thinking prevails. Jobs are allowed to be done which will contribute to our eventual demise. A new coal mine is being approved by a Labor government in Queensland because of jobs. The capitalist has his spin doctors say the mine will mean 10,000 jobs. Under oath the capitalists' representatives say 1,400 jobs. Meanwhile the bourgeoisie is caught with its tax dodging pants down with the Panama Papers revelations. The $32 trillion dollars stuffed away in tax free accounts and shell corporations represents the wealth workers create or will produce for wages and the potential wealth lying in the planet's natural resources. This wealth SHOULD be used by its producers to bring our ecosphere back to health. But according to the laws made by the bourgeoisie's politicians destroying the Earth and squirreling $55 trillion offshore I include the Cayman Island revellations here free from taxation to pay for public health education and welfare is all legal. But then many things which don't benefit the producing class are legal. And we're all equal under the law of course. So we'll just have a fair go and be done with it. Accept it. It's progress. What can you do. Nothing to be done. We're still waiting for Godot. We still cannot see the forest for the trees. This is my patch. You have yours and I have mine. If I get mine I don't need to think about you not getting yours. You see how it works. Bourgeois individualism is still enveloped in the totality of class domination. Acceptance of the wage system involves an acceptance of the notion of hooray for me fuck you ism's negative freedom. Class rule is like that. Has been for ages. Sorry Judith. Got to exchange your labour time to Olaf to pay off that seed loan he gave us last spring. We've had a good harvest. Time to repay our debts. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Amen and all that. But the power relation remains and the poor will always be with us. Certainly we are better off under the democratised rule of the bourgeoisie complete with civil rights than under the absolutism of monarchs. Certainly we are better off under their rule than that of the fascists of the 30s who went to war to make the working class servants under their nationalist cum racist industrial feudalist order. But some would say no. For some the victory of the Allies over the Axis meant nothing. Workers are still class ruled. This is true. What is also true is that the workers' well being is better served with more not less democracy and civil liberties. The left would have been largely extinguished if the Axis had restored absolutism after winning WWII. To be sure the USSR was also a form of industrial feudalism with a new very controlled and planned at the top wage system and all but it was not based on racist nationalism. Folks who fail to see the difference between fascist Germany Italy and their partners in monarchist nationalist Japan and the USSR are failing their class and their kind. Humankind would have suffered a terrible retrogression under Axis rule. People who don't see that can turn out to be the garden variety sort of New Left culturalist. They can see no difference between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party because they do not see that the roots of power lie in ownership of the labour time and social product of labour and that what makes a person into a leftist is recognition that more of the social product of labour should be directed to the needs of those who produce it the bottom 90% the working class. Still the overwhelming majority will never accept the proposals which they see as being an open invitation for poorer people to settle in their country which of course is not their country but the political State which expresses the sovereignty of their ruling class. The workers have no country. The workers are never told this by their national leaders. The emancipation of the workers from the wage system and national liberation have nothing more in common in terms of class interest than employers and employees do. Joie de vivre and free-time are the keys to happiness. Of course, some people get sick and even sicker as they age. Some don't. Be glad if you're in the group who stay healthy as health provides the material basis on which you can concentrate on joie de vivre. Of course genes have a lot to do with how long we age and how much illness we must endure. Capitalist dictum. Find a need and fill it by making a commodity out of it. Then sell it with a view to profit. When will we learn to turn human need into a social desire to spend labour time to fill it. In this case it's your aging because you will age until you die. And luckiest amongst us will grow old. And as long as the wage system exists the upper 10% will enjoy a more comfortable toboggan ride to destruction than the rest of us. As for education the more it is privatised the less education for the bottom 90%. As education becomes a commodity it must be useful for employers to buy. What's useful for employers are employees who produce saleable wealth. Philosophers artists and anthropologists do not produce saleable wealth. Those disciplines fall by the wayside as education becomes more and more commodified. As the price climbs the debt of future workers to the banks buying the education debt grows. Debt and subservience are married. Dialectical methodology would conceptualise them as forming a unity of opposites. The realm of necessity grows as freedom shrinks. The workers in harness to Capital producing the wealth necessary to pay off their debts as they become debtors again with mortgages and car loans. Fear of job loss becomes a real issue undermining any publicly political or union presence. The kids come and the cycle of wage-slavery is in place while the unionists chant to the powers that be jobs for our kids. Tough for the kids too. Education becomes more expensive and while the price of their parents' main retirement asset inflates they are priced out of the housing market or take on unrealistically large mortgages as the jobs for our kids are jobs requiring more cheaply priced labour power. The transfer of wealth continues. Capital accumulates. Edna had a job in the pretty city where she found another man. Get back. Get back. Get back to where you once belonged. The struggle continues. The mind attempting to control reality with ideas and reality ever revolting reality slapping it in its eye. The roots of Idealism can be found in the convincing argument the mind makes to itself about how its ideas should control reality. Of course God is an Idea. In my opinion Hegel gave the Absolute Idea the best run for its atemporal money. But very few people actually read Hegel. Still the persistence of Idealism is admirable for Idealism is where radical subjectivity lies buried in some sort of zombie state. The state varies with the individual's material being within his or her time. One wouldn't expect a Buddhist to bloom in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. An Islamic theocratic warrior yes. A Hindu worshipping at the foot of a statue no. Religion represents the triumph of the Idea in the mind's eye. The sigh of the oppressed is enveloped within vicissitudes wound within a prediction of eternal life. It is in our interests to believe that life will go on forever. Radical subjectivity is buried alive entombed so to speak. Delayed gratification is guaranteed. The mind agrees to the sacrifice. This life for that one in the afterlife. Still the Idea becomes corrupted by reality because reality becomes. We desire. We want. We need. For some pain is so deeply ingrained that they imagine they need it. For most mutual pleasure without pain feels heavenly. Here lies sin. Women giving men erections. My god would disapprove. Therefore women must appear sexually unattractive in public. The puritan desire for near constant celibacy and the rights of men over their private property are assured. What more could the power mongers of patriarchy want. The thing is that some women think liberation lies in the direction of establishing the mirror image of patriarchy. Matriarchy would be oppressive as all versions of the inequality of political power are. Making Communism into an ideal was precisely what happened when Lenin was alive and later when Stalin became the leader of the State and made Lenin's words into the dominant ideology of the ruling Party. The upper 10% rule because they employ the bottom 90% to produce the wealth they end up owning in exchange for the market price of skills. It's all legal. It's called the wage system. The wage system is inherently an unjust system because the producers do not own or control the collective product of their labour. Now you know why I'm for the abolition of the wage system and the establishment of social ownership and democratic control over the collective product of labour. This idea is the most dangerous political position anyone in the bottom 90% can hold. Ideas are necessary for radical subjectivity. Zombies aren't. The wage system was never abolished by the producers of national wealth in the USSR. Thus, commodity production for sale continued, albeit in a controlled, curtailed way. The workers were never made consciously aware that they should control what they produced and democratically manage it. That job was left to their betters in the Party hierarchies of political power. The reified mind set which Lukacs shined his philosophical lights on, lived on in the USSR and the wage system established within its political borders eventually morphed into what you see today in Putin's Russia. The human race first appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago then spread to Europe and Asia and eventually crossed into the Americas roughly 15,000 to 20,000 years ago using a land bridge that once connected Siberia and Alaska. The first phase of human settlement in South America coincided with the extinction of many large animals including elephant relatives saber-toothed cats big ground sloths giant armadillos and huge flightless birds. During this period the human race underwent boom-and-bust cycles by exhausting local plant and animal resources. Some people in the Andes regions discovered how to domesticate certain animals plants including squash and peppers. But most of the human race residing in the Americas remained nomadic hunter gatherers. By about 5,000 years ago people settled into agricultural societies launching 3,000 years of exponential growth when the continent's population roughly tripled. Development in the means of production led to population increases which could be sustained without hunting the local mega fauna to extinction. Of course it was too late for the megafauna by the time this happened. And then there is a theory afoot which makes Australian Aboriginals the first to settle on the South American continent. But that's another story so we move on to today's very different capitalist mode of production where we have agricultural on an industrial scale owned by large corporate entities and the Panama papers which show us that the wealthy will stuff at least as much as $32 trillion of their mega cash holdings into tax free offshore accounts. The figure stored in these accounts is undoubtedly higher than $32 trillion in total. Nevertheless it's parked. Ever wonder where all those company tax cuts went. You know. The ones which were going to stimulate the economy. The wealthy are supposed to be the investors in new businesses the capitalists. The problem that the capitalists find today is that they can "earn" much more wealth by investing in financial assets e.g. credit default swaps than they can by investing in businesses where they employ workers to produce goods and/or services for sale with a view to profit. And why is that. Because the rate of profit per commodity sold declines with the increasing productivity of the working class. Productivity is measured as output per necessary hour of labour. Those capitalists who who buy the latest, best machinery, can employ their workforce to produce more goods and/or services in less time thus out competing their foe capitalists in the marketplace of commodities. Negative interest rates being used by capitalist governments today will do nothing to stimulate investors to do much other than pull their money out of bank accounts in certain countries and place those assets in offshore banks located in political States with lower to zero taxes on wealth. As for the average Jack and Jill with money in savings' accounts it will make them start stuffing their cash under their mattresses or if they're dumb leave their money to slowly drain into the coffers of the banks. In a way negative interest rates work like reverse mortgages dumping the assets of the working class back into the accounts of the finance capitalists. In the meantime the young will be encouraged to blame the old for their falling standard of living. Because the Boomers supposedly all own homes. Sometimes investment homes they rent out to members of the younger generation is way overpriced, compared to the actual use value of the accommodation. Out of this with encouragement from the capitalist media eager to sell such a story, they blame the older for being priced out of the market. The bourgeoisie's political mentors know that the workers divided will always be defeated. As real wages decline and the social wage is cut politically ignorant workers begin to fight amongst themselves over what they've been led to believe is a shrinking economic pie. So of course their fair share of the pie they produce must be reduced. They believe in the fair wage as they believe in the fair go as they believe or are told to believe that we Australians are all equal under the law although we have unequal means at our disposal to hire lawyers of great ability. To me socialism means social ownership and democratic control over the collective product of labour. Socialism means that wage system has been abolished, along with classes, including the working class. Of course the establishment of such a change would mean that the mode of producing wealth would also be changed to one where the associated producers would be creating wealth in order to distribute it on the basis of need. The buying and selling of commodities would be a thing of the past and civil liberties would be expanded from today's levels with the view toward increasing individual sovereignty. Neither Marx nor Engels ever used the term "socialist State". Socialism yes. But socialism for Marx and Engels meant a classless democracy and the political State was always meant to describe class ruled government. Of course I'm a socialist but not an advocate for the creation of a socialist State. Included in Marx's and Engel's description is a workers' State. But it is understood  by them that a workers' State would not be socialism. It would be class rule by the overwhelming majority a proletarian democracy. Today we live within a bourgeois democracy. Marx and Engels used the word State to indicate the governing structure of class rule. A socialist State would be a contradiction of terms much as military intelligence is an oxymoron. Reform or revolution. Is this an either or question. Some would say it is. I don't. To me reform is related to revolution as the class struggle for control over the social product of labour is related to the ultimate victory common ownership of the social product of labour. Reforms which increase the producers' control over their lives and over the collective product of their labour are to be encouraged and supported. They can also serve as reminders that the strategic goal of common ownership has yet to have been reached. Reforms which lower the standard of living of the useful producers should be critiqued and rejected. For instance the Nixon initiated reform known as the "war on drugs" should be the subject of severe condemnation whereas the legalisation of marijuana use should be applauded. One must remember at least one thing about the "war on drugs".  It was used deliberately to disrupt the anti-war movement and the struggles against racism which erupted in the 50s and 60s. The post '68 election prison stats tell it all. Massive increases in the amount of imprisonment with prisoners having darker skins way overly represented. My own experiences with mescaline and lsd during the 60s and 70s led me to a greater appreciation for the interconnections between myself as an individual and the philosophical Universal. The material need for the human race to rediscover its necessary dependency connection with the ecosphere is something which substances like mescaline can act as a catalyst for. Many a shaman of the hunter/gatherer period of the human race taught this. Class dominated civilisation has resulted in the creation of cultures which have distanced humanity from nature. Indeed more and more treating nature as commodity to be possessed and sold to the highest bidder has become the norm. The ancient Greeks had a great fear of falling back into the chaos of the past. Zeus and his imagined tribe of gods were an expression of the desire to transcend the bad old days before the establishment of the political State with its civilised hierarchies of political power of one or one's family or classes of humans over other humans. The domination of Nature was seen both as a curse of the past and proof of the realities of human triumph over the necessities imposed before agriculture and animal husbandry became fountains of privately owned wealth. Some of the contingencies of life passed into the past and with them tens of thousands of years of cultures based on the intimate necessity of living in harmony with Nature. Either that or suffer extinction. Religious practices were memorised then as now. Then they usually had something to do with respecting Nature in order to live sustainably. When those practices failed priests were undoubtedly taken to task although we have by definition no writings from prehistory. All that rigamarole took up a lot of people's time. I remember kids who spent hours learning their catechism. Priests in cultures had their ways of contacting the gods who as everyone believed were the ultimate controllers of reality. The gods told the priests that sacrifice of wealth was necessary to gain their favour. In those days people were considered wealth as well as sheep goats and cattle. Time was also sacrificed to religious and other rituals including the rituals involved with maintaining hierarchies of power reflected in dress. Roman slaves were required to go barefoot while patricians wore nice boots. God said to Abraham kill me a son..... and all that time which went into sacrificing wealth added up to what Bataille would call the accursed share. It's pretty well established that humans living in hunter/gatherer societies had more free-time than the majority did after class dominated society emerged. Sustainable populations were also considerably smaller. Necessity and freedom are like reform and revolution a dialectical unity not an either or proposition. Political apathy is connected with rationalisations which usually spring from generally accepted cultural ideologies. In his own way Voltaire made fun of naive engagement. The best of all possible worlds was a perception put into Candide's mind by Pangloss. Hamlet knew better. The Prince dismissed the aphoristic wisdom of his father-in-law to be and accidentally dispatched the poor man behind his mother's curtain. Polonius advised us that we should never become borrowers or lenders. The increasing power of Capital over social relations since the 16th century ensured an ever growing role for credit and debt to play in political-economy. Fear develops. What if I lose my job. How would I pay my debts. Thus we rationalise that it would be better to keep a low profile. Concentrate on the immediate family. Love them. Forget the needs of others because you now embrace the wisdom of let's just pick one example the Catholic Church: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." The things you cannot change are eternally internal to individual human beings. We are born into sin. We were ejected from Paradise on Earth for disobeying our Creator. Wickedness and saintliness reside within another mystification known as our soul. And so we rationalise our political disengagement and live our lives in this best of all possible worlds tending our own personal gardens much as Beckett's Moran tended his. No matter. Soon t'will be Bloomsday. Molly's Soliloquy awaits another listen. "What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class." Hegemony exists and the power of an idea which has become a generally accepted dogma is found in what people do with their lives or how they live their lives if you prefer up to the point of where some would die to prove their devotion to their preferred dogma. Some still think that Atta is now being delighted by 72 former virgins. One accepts a certain lust must have occurred in his supposed afterlife. You see. I'm a socialist. Bernie Sanders is a liberal. Hillary Clinton is a conservative. All the Republican Presidential candidates are reactionaries. Theocrats want to push history back to feudal times. Such a political position is reactionary. A socialist wants labour to control and democratically manage the product of....well....labour. A liberal wants capitalists to control and own the product of labour but also desires a kinder gentler form of exploitation via the wage system. Liberals of various hue want what Australian unionists in the know call a social wage of varying size depending on the liberal's generosity vis a vis the social product of labour. A conservative wants the social wage the liberals have legislated cut back because they truly believe the product of labour belongs deservedly to the capitalist to use as the capitalist sees fit. Who needs a social wage when philanthropy exists amongst generous capitalists. So it's tax cuts for the capitalists taken from cuts to the social wage. A reactionary wants to go back to a time when when leaders did not have to share political power at all with the general population. Various forms of absolutist rule are their preference and their strategic political goal. Meanwhile on the hustings so to speak actually door knocking for Labor on one of those April Saturdays in Vic Park with a Comrade named Bryan I discover a couple of citizens who won't vote for either major party because of their stance on refugees. I don't discuss my stance with them as it would take too long to explain that I'm for an increase in the the refugee intake but that I oppose a larger Australia and am totally opposed to starting up another people smuggling operation in the geo-political region closest to Australia. How is that done other than by decreasing the official rate of migration. Another political problem is that we don't have the public infrastructure i.e. funding for public health education and welfare set up to support a larger Australia.  When I say that I include the public infrastructure which will allow us to live in harmony with the Earth. The bourgeoisie won't support such a use of "their wealth" without powerful political pushes. Taxes on the upper 10% and the companies that they own will be resisted by those able to influence the public and what informed debate is allowed air time. Wouldn't want to lose advertising now would we. It might cause job loss. He he. Another fellow I door knocked today is a firm Labor supporter. He tells me that he wants to put a lawn sign out for Tammy aka Comrade Solonec but tells me at the same time that nobody will listen and the the sign will be ripped down. On announcing this he takes me to his car unlocks it and pulls out a sign telling the postal deliverer that this was so and so number of this street not so and so the same number with an "A" after it which was across the street of a major intersecting cross street. The sign has been largely ineffective as it has been torn down or vandalised on numerous occasions. Also of interest a Party member confesses to wanting to keep the Queen of England as head of State while others disagree. This happens after the door knock is finished nearing one in the afternoon at the pub. The Comrade is not drinking anything but lemon lime and bitters. Bryan and I are the only ones drinking pints of White Rabbit a dark ale brewed in Geelong. I say nothing critical on the refugee issue or the Republic to the concerned amongst the door knocked or at the pub in the wake of the door knock although my mind is made up. It won't matter if Australia becomes a Republic like the U.S.A. did back in 1776 or 1781 depending on how you're counting.  What does matter is the possibility of Australian citizens gaining a Bill of Rights similar to but more advanced than those enjoyed by the citizens of the U.S.A.. Imagine a right to less time at work for every increase in the the nationally measured output per hour of labour aka productivity in your Bill of Rights. There are around 60 million displaced persons on planet Earth now. Should they all come to Australia. Should they all come to Australia native born Australians would become a minority. Onshore processing for refugee claimants combined with the possibility of maritime arrivals being settled in Australia would certain be a boost for the bourgeois shysters in the people smuggling game. Certainly the population would potentially grow if the refugee intake were raised to 27,000 per year or to 75,000. Still this would make a very small dent in the problems of displacement being suffered by most of those aforementioned 60 million. Open borders is a policy that even most refugees don't want especially after settlement. The question of number comes up say 75,000 per annum. And then there are the political problems associated with taxing the bourgeoisie and the companies they own at a rate sufficient to provide the necessary public infrastructure and environmental protections especially considering the considerable publicity resources which their wealth allow them to employ in their class interests. The only way a politician would be brave enough to put forward a policy conforming to the moral tone of those now condemning current refugee policy would be for the general public to clamour for it. The general public is being assaulted with cuts to public health education and welfare all in the name of fiscal responsibility at a time when the real Gross Domestic Product of labour is rising. These observations are rarely combined. The voting majority are not protected from these cuts and so have little time for charity. Most of them have been and are told on a daily basis that there is no alternative to this best of all possible worlds. The bourgeois of course have time for charity. They sponsor contests which the more well off in the working class can participate and feel somewhat better about themselves. They are not fearful of losing their means of making a living educating their kids and/or seeing their parents condemned to living on an inadequate age pension. Members of Parliament enjoy relatively generous pensions. You see how it works. You see why most people are not as concerned as some about refugees and how this plays out in getting elected to government the only legal way to change things. Most people don't want to pick up the gun. Even most people who say that elections are undemocratic, immoral and the general populace racist are unwilling to actually learn how to shoot a rifle by going to a rifle range for target practice. Just try to get a Young Hegelian gun club going. You do get a few Idealists. Unfortunately for the left most of those people are on the right. So what is left but the voice of reason connected to class interest. Of course we do have strikes street demonstrations parties and unions to work within as well we should. We should learn from the history of the human race that it does not move as quickly as some of us want toward more freedom democracy universal love or the best of all possible futures to name but a few. If the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction didn't motivate us to make a communist revolution no threat will.  This includes our current catastrophic dance toward an extreme degradation of the ecosphere. I know WE are class divided. Because we're nationalistically united with our ruling classes most of us are sleep walking toward a very different life by the end of the 21st century. Of course most of us reading this now will be dead by the end of the 21st century. From the root of indifference to class power comes the acceptance of socially produced wealth becoming privately owned by the ruling class. Confucius couldn't have expressed it better. He has been revered by Chinese rulers forever. Political apathy is based on the rationalisation of matters as they stand. Inertia keeps us going. As long as we're safe the world can go to hell. After all individuals are not responsible for what's happening to others outside of their families. Each individual knows this which is why they know that politics is a waste of time. And so it goes. Besides we're all too busy. Our time has been purchased although we don't think of it that way. We prefer to think of ourselves as acting responsibly. We take our work home with us. Homework has been schooled into our daily lives especially if we've been good students. Oft times even our dreams are invaded as we sort out the mess of our social relations within surreal mindscapes of rem sleep. I am resolved. I am not in a hurry.  I will not be hurried. I will slow down. I will savour my free-time. Then I forget my will. I get carried away with the current. I drive to keep up with the traffic. The little children cry indoors. They rarely get outside anymore. Do you still hear them playing in the streets or around homes. Of course you don't. They remain inside behind their screens. Probably best. The world is more dangerous than it was before when bushrangers used guns to hold up horse drawn wagons traveling down the Albany Highway to the Narrogin Inn. I will not speed up. I will watch the evening news on TV and hear of the latest crimes being committed between my fellow humans most of them not very rich. I will be afraid. I will be very afraid. I will only travel distances greater than from my front door to my mailbox in my locked automobile. I will walk. Yes I will walk through well policed shopping centres. I will take my screen device with me and keep my eyes glancing to it at all times. Sometimes I will get a call. So I will talk. Sometimes I leave a message.  Mostly I text my feelings. When I was a kid and then a teenager I seldom spent my time writing anything about my feelings except for the occasional love letter or letter home to say hi this is what I'm doing love Mike. Phone calls were relatively rare compared with today's volume. A long distance call would cause a minor panic rushing to the phone to avoid paying for unused long distance time. The expense don't you know. Other than that I just spoke with people in person. I think there's a whole lot less of that now. Maybe not though. I don't hang out with kids anymore. Maybe texting increases the quantity of conversation without necessarily increasing the quality of conversation. And if that quantity is low what effect does that have on cheapening social relations. The old anomie never really leaves us. The quality of conversation was not much better in the 50s. No Down Payment comes to mind. The in wake of WWII many a woman married a man because that was what you were supposed to do to be able to live happily thereafter in Holy wedlock 'till death did you part. By the 60s that dream got old. Then came the pill rock 'n roll and no fault divorce a relief to some an eternal sorrow for others. Material reality was beginning to challenge idealised monogamy. Still people want that image of a perfect home life. Father mother children a four bedroom house with a backyard and bbq all based on a secure job for life as long as you didn't become an alcoholic and skip work too many days. The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Remember that tune well for the spirit of which it sung in U.S. culture was of freedom from slavery whether the people who declared the war or not wanted it so. In the end owning another person was outlawed. Of course the old slavocracy got around the law political power-wise by making laws which tended to put their former slaves into prison and forced labour. So the hell with Dixie. It's Solidarity Forever.  You know. The tune to the Battle Hymn of the Republic. It's the same tune meant to be sung in a similar spirit. This time the appeal was for class solidarity against wage-slavery. Thank you Ralph Chaplin thank-you from now to 1914. People who need the expertise of others choose them. I've needed doctors mechanics teachers and so on all my life. Some I've elected. Others not so much. People who need political leaders should become more class conscious. When you know that you produce the wealth of the world you know that you should own it and use it for your own purposes. Wealth is produced socially which is why it needs to be owned and administered democratically. Once this is understood you can move toward the goal on your own in dialogue with your fellow workers. I found it very much easier to come to a clear understanding of what was happening to my class and my kind after reading the critical observations of Karl Marx. In fact one of the reasons I took the time to speak "Value, Price and Profit" into youtube had to do with the way the scales fell from my eyes after I grasped what Marx was getting at. That happened as well by engaging in conversations with my comrades about it. There's dialectic in dialogue. Reform and revolution are dialectically intertwined in the class struggle over the social product of labour. For workers to deny themselves access to parts of the collective product of their labour because they refuse to be "bought off" is pure Idealism. When we as a class organise to demand everything we will emancipate ourselves from the wage system and establish common ownership and democratic control over what we produce. Until then the struggle over what we produce how we produce it and how much of it we politically get ahold of continues. Whether Sanders and/or Corbyn wins or loses this conflict will continue. Class domination stimulates it. But people are continually being buried under a load of ideas which bubble around them within whatever culture they can find. And what they find is mostly commodified for sale. Market share is an important aspect to consider here. The greater the market share the more cultural commodities can be sold. But the seller must be careful here. After all individual humans are involved. In very large numbers the lowest common denominator within reason is where hungry talent gravitates. For television I've heard the average police show or family program is a spam sandwich aimed at a maturity level equivalent to a 12 year old. Maybe I heard all this in a wrong way. Maybe the medium has a more mature cultural message in other capitalist States. Oh yes, TV also exists in the monarchies of the world. The wage system is under more direct control. Absolutist rule what ya gonna do. Still the market gods must be noticed worshipped and thanked with sacrifices of wealth become burnt offerings. Within the culture though the choice of spam is much more restricted. By the way most Saudis do not even own their own home. The aristocracy is another matter entirely. In any event the public availability of the cultural commodity is more limited in some States than others. We should be happy or at least happier than we are. Perhaps it would do us well to compare our lives with those who came before us. Herodotus tells the story of the Xerxes attempt to invade and defeat the Greek Confederacy. The army and navy of the Persian Empire was enormous much larger than the Greeks. Whole towns are slaughtered. Athens is burnt to the ground. The King of the Spartans dies a hero's death at the battle of Thermopylae. A minor king gouges the eyes of his sons out for disobeying his orders to hide in the mountains rather than being drafted into fighting for the Persians. Life was often nasty brutish and short during the 6th century BCE. Compare that with my life today on an old age pension drinking ale in the backyard on a cooler autumn day in Perth Australia. Ah 71. What a beautiful age to have been lucky enough to get to. Still we endure indeed accept the kissing up-bully down people. Well some of us do anyway. There is pent up anger out there. Mostly it's unarticulated. Once in awhile a Sanders or a Corbyn find themselves in the right place at the right time. We listen because they pluck similar chords if we've been listening at all since we were born. August Cesar Sandino once remarked that the workers and peasants would get there in the end. Where is there. It is certainly not in the here and now. We have not come to the end of history. History is a human product. It will not die. As long as humans exist conscious use of time will continue. Of course most of the time we're acting unconsciously going through our daily routines some of which involve harnessing our consciousness to tasks we are obliged to perform. It's what our employers pay us to do. We do it because we need to sell our time and skills to them. How else would 90% of us make a living. But we won't sell at a price below our value. We demand a fair day's price for a fair amount of time. The operant word here is fair. What is fair to buyers and sellers in the marketplace of commodities. The content of that answer could involve you spending more time at work for less a share in the product of your labour. This is the other material question. Is the social product being separated from its producer ever fair. Methinks not. This view is not given much oxygen. I am currently a member of the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. Neither give oxygen to the notion that labour and natural resources are the sources of all wealth. It's whatever they determine a fair day's wage for a fair day's work actually amounts to. Jobs of course. Liberals promise jobs too. Where do jobs come from. The employing capitalist class. So kowtow to them in the right way and they'll hire you to do a job for them. With regard to a fair price of course the employing class who are as good at haggling as any class in the market. Suffocating comes to mind when I think of the ALP and the AMWU. It's our product and I want more of it which is why I'm in the ALP and the AMWU. I just don't see why we can't have it all. Oh wait. I do see it. The block seems to be in the minds of folk who don't realise that they produce the power because they produce the wealth and that they are being used. One might even use the word exploited. Even if we are in the Sanders or Corbyn orbit we can't seriously be thinking about ridding ourselves of wage labour in exchange for democratically controlling what we produce within the very industrial division of labour we have created. Don't we know that Bill Gates or even better Steve Jobs would not have been possible within communist social relations. Well yes and no. Both would have been born but neither would have become capitalists. Perhaps inventors. Inventors are useful producers. Real estate agents aren't. Homes should never have become the speculative commodities that they function like today. It makes me sad that we cannot see ourselves destroying that possibility today especially as we have every material capability to make homelessness history. It makes me angry to see the well off making charity gestures in order to apply salve to the wounds its system inflicts. The Paris Agreement has no politically enforceable mandates for reducing carbon emissions. The bourgeoisie don't want their free market to be saddled with regulation. In order to combat climate change the market must decide. The idea that the bourgeoisie's own political State would engage in restraint of trade is ludicrous. It doesn't as the wiggle room around the European ETS have shown. Restrain of trade is done only when it benefits the bourgeoisie. The post-WWII General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade comes to mind. Today's Trans Pacific Partnership also comes to mind. Those legal agreements are all about restraining trade to benefit the capitalist class. The Paris Agreement is a toothless tiger legally speaking which is why the bourgeois of the world don't mind having their political States sign on to it. Anzac Day nationalism is upon us. Capitalist rule erupted out of political revolutions against ancient monarchist expressions of absolutism. The revolutions of modernity (from Cromwell’s Puritans in the mid 17th century to Colonial America’s yeoman farmers and private property owners, to the overthrow of monarchism in France by its citizens and in country after country well into the 19th and 20th centuries) all resulted in the establishment of national political States. All nationalisms were political expressions of the rapidly changing social relations between the producers of wealth and the appropriators of wealth in the ruling class. From peasant subjects to wage-labourers the producing classes were united after nationalist revolt as citizens alongside their ruling capitalist and landlord classes in one big political State. These conditions were accompanied by new political notions primary amongst them the rule of law and the classless identity politics which proclaimed that sovereignty was no longer the king’s but for the ‘people’ of the nation. From these material circumstances sprang a need by the ruling class for the legitimation of their system of political dominance thus the impetus for public intellectuals to invent and spread the gospel of the various and sundry nationalist brands. One of the first tasks these amplified intellectual voices had to confront was to define who ‘the people’ were. The promotion of Anzac Day by public intellectuals ends up delivering the working class once again into the political hands of the national capitalist class. Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi. "Stop the industrial economy" is NOT what needs doing. We need to take, hold and operate the means of producing wealth which we humans have developed and use them to reduce our necessary working day to the minimum needed to live in harmony with the Earth. Creating more freedom through increased leisure time is the key to happiness, progress and, indeed, survival. The assumption being made by anarcho-primitivists is that "the industrial economy" is the problem. The reality is that the wage system is the problem because it separates us from democratic control over the collective product of our labour. What I'm saying is that if we enjoyed common ownership over what we produce, we would not choose to commit species-wide suicide. It is the wage system which has us in thrall. And when I say "us" I include the capitalist class who rule us. Destroying "the industrial economy" sounds like something Heidegger would have come up with during his more nostalgic moments walking through the Black Forest with images of happy, healthy early 19th century peasants tending their fields and their cattle popping into his head. Destroying "the industrial economy" would result in human megadeath. Using what is useful about the industries we've produced to emancipate ourselves from waste generating, ecocidal activity is the way I recommend going. This will mean that we have to decide for ourselves to emancipate ourselves from wage labour and the rule of Capital. There should be no conflict between changing the method we use to produce wealth and distribute it and the faith that believers have in an eternal life. If there is those believers are politically supporting the wage system. Stalin went from banning religion as the great atheist to using it in many ways especially during the Great Patriotic War. Stalin himself made Lenin into a religious icon and turned Trotsky into a devil. Nationalist ideology is oft times mixed with religious ideology some would say souped-up on the supernatural. We honour those who died for the nationalist cause. Dawn services are held. Flags fly at half-staff or half-mast depending on the nation you're in. We remember them as human beings bravely doing their duty. Of course it's more complicated than that. More than a billion words have been written about war in fiction alone. That's just a guess. Life and death in extremis which is what war seems to be generates the desire to act quickly and decisively. Adventure proper has a similar effect. The speed of life increases. The dramas real and fictionalised are rich with the texture of individuals' personal history makings. For that's what they do. Humans make history by being alive and acting in the world. By making choices to do this or that or meet him or her and so on even up to and including making existential choices about life and death. Imagine it's 1944 and you're a Red Army soldier making your way across the snow covered forest floor in Finland. You see a soldier. A Finnish teen in uniform carrying a very efficient looking sub-machine gun. The boy is ten metres in front of you. If he sees you he will kill you. Think of your choices. You've been issued a PPSH-41 capable of shooting a thousand rounds a minute. His Suomi KP/-31 burps an equally deadly spray. Lest we forget. We say that nations make war. But nations do nothing. It is the ruling class who come to a consensus to declare war on another ruling class. It is the workers and peasants who do the killing. Some would call it murder. Just as some would call legal execution by the State murder. The distinctions one makes about life death and survival can have profoundly political implications. And you all caught up in the system not seeing the forest for the trees signing up for military service an especially urgent task during war. The social tempo increases. Emotional tales of the other side's murders shrilly told by money making media sellers. We are the market. Will we buy what's on offer. Of course we will. Homo economicus makes rational choices in the marketplace of commodities. The mysterious saleable ware sold by a reliable brand. Of course we will. We are the coalition of the willing. What's that old Christian song. Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war with the cross of Jesus marching on before. Uncle Sam needs you. Take your pick. You'll get a proper religious burial when you come home in a box. The living will give a thought to your sorry ass for a moment every year. On the next day they'll return to their work duties. Time has been sold. This and that must be done and sold forever and ever amen and thank-you. We will remember. We will not be allowed to forget. Still we have pubs even RSL Clubs where we can see the cheery faces of the lads and lassies as they smile for the camera before blood spurts missing limbs and screams begin. An older person a survivor listens to the songs popular during a long ago youth. Ah the comfort of an old blanket. I remember once upon a time being in a meeting of the Reference Department at Green Library. The book selector for the discipline of economics was in attendance. He said that he could never understand what political-economy was supposed to mean. I think he was directing his observation to me as he turned to look in my direction in that blink of an eye moment. I was well known for being the resident socialist in the Department. Referring to Marx's critique of political-economy has never been something I've shied away from. I just let his remark stand as he was both my direct supervisor and the remark itself I thought made him look the careerist cretin most knew him to be. The economic choices governments make are political hence political-economy. Workers have been producing machines which have led to shortening the time it takes to produce wealth for more than a couple of hundred years now. Unfortunately if workers don't have the political will to ensure that shorter work time is legislated the employers of their labour power will ensure that they work longer hours to increase the rate of profit. A reserve army of the proletariat will result from some of the working class labouring more way more hours than they need to produce enough wealth to cover the price of their skills and their social wage.The homeless and poor come to be seen more and more as a surplus population. Collateral damage is everywhere to be seen. “The growing competition among the bourgeois, and the resulting commercial crises, make the wages of the workers ever more fluctuating. The unceasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly developing, makes their livelihood more and more precarious." “...the more alien wealth they produce, and…the more the productivity of their labour increases, the more does their very function as a means for the valorization of capital become precarious.” And nowadays we have the new concept of the precariat being sold into the marketplace of commodities. Its intellectually influential buyers the radical liberal post-modernist cultural left who refuse to read Marx and Engels because they're out of date delight in their cool cutting edginess. Much has changed since the 19th century. But what Hegel was getting at with the concept of sublation aka aufheben is that while history moves forward toward God or the Absolute Ideal it both negates the past as it keeps the past. Sublation is the unity of opposites resolving into a new beginning. History is not some absurd tabla rasa synthesis but a continuation of much and a leaving behind of some. The capitalist mode of production is still with us. We have not abolished the wage system. We do not officially endorse legal concepts like separate but equal anymore although we are still for the most part separate and equal before the law even as the police kick the shit out of some of us on the streets. Levels of wealth under our control separate us. The more wealth you have the more paywalls you can climb and even construct around yourself. You can more easily forget those who do not pay you. What can the dead do for you. They can no longer loan you cash and once the will if any is read it's over. Forget them and their dying wishes. Listen to AM radio's right-wing call in shows between shots of the latest country hits. Smoke your tobacco. Drink your wine. Cynically sneer at humanity but love all the animals. Feel useless out of harness to a boss paycheck comin' in. Don't you hear the bugles in the distance. The horses' gallop gets louder. Hillary and Donald are firmly in the saddle. The opposition is is being left behind. The bandwagon is filling. FDR and Ike are more or less safely down the memory hole. In Britain it's Nye Bevan returned as Jeremy Corbyn this time at the head of the Labour Party. Must be attacked in the capitalist/State media. Commodity market dealings in order to solve social problems and all that those solutions imply are still au courant on the left. At least we've got a time commitment to ensure that 50 per cent of the nation’s electricity is sourced from renewable energy by 2030 from my ALP. Why not moratorium on the company tax for renewable energy producers and distributors is beyond me. Does the ALP refuse to provide leadership for fear of coming up with an unpopular policy every once in awhile.  We Party members can do better with more support from the grassroots may you keep on pushin'. Here in Oz it's Whitlam whose policies and political programmes are now more or less an embarrassment wrapped in naivete ignored eviscerated in the process of privatisation. The left is still tied to the free marketplace of commodities as the commodification of humans relations continues apace. We try the best we can to keep monsters at bay. Somewhere around Chernobyl now there's a wolf eating a radioactive mouse. Remember THEM! Giant ants coming out of the desert to terrorise the good American citizens of LA. Sewer dwellers these ants monster sized by exposure to nuclear fallout from A-bomb and H-bomb testing sites. Alamogordo New Mexico. More of us knew that it existed then. That's part of what sublation means too. The forgetting accumulates. It becomes enormous. Bring in the flamethrowers. Kill THEM! People worry about being forgotten hence gravestones. Giant ants don't get gravestones. THEY just get movies which eventually fall down the memory hole. Crazy yellow ants now that's a different matter. Senator Dodson replaced Senator Bullock today. I went to the ceremony at Parliament. Speeches lauding the new Senator's qualities as a fighter for justice especially for Aboriginals were ubiquitous. But one of the Liberal Party members got up and used the opportunity to deliver a speech condemning gay marriage relevant in a way as Labor Senator Bullock had resigned his position because he could not support his Party's policy supporting gay marriage. Stealing the show is politically opportunist. Peter Abetz knew that. Members from the gallery where I was expressed their disapproval. I await our new Labor Senator's response as I found out today that he once wore the frock of a Catholic Priest. Senator Dodson quit the priesthood over disagreements about integrating Aboriginal spirituality into his practice of Catholic doctrine. He also quit the Labor Party in the 80s for reasons I have yet to find out about. I think Comrade Dodson fights and quits a lot. I've done that as well. Sometimes you just can't stand the backbiting anymore. You shun. You ignore. You stop paying dues. You withdraw. Democracy isn't just about going along with what the majority votes for. Democracy has liberty as a core strategic goal or it is a sham. If the democracy you're involved with does not lead in the direction of individual sovereignty it is not worthy of support. Individual sovereignty can't be brought into existence merely through assertion although the insistence on its assertion is part and parcel of its content. As Eric Fromm critically observed: “If other people do not understand our behavior—so what? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being 'asocial' or 'irrational' in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to 'explain', which usually implies that the explanation be 'understood', i.e. approved. Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself—to his reason and his conscience—and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.” A good conscience is an important aspect in the development of one's sovereignty. Authenticity ought to hook up with this notion of sovereignty as should autonomy. All too often we give these away to others. Indeed we are wrapped up in a totality which demands that we become as alienated from each other as we are from the social product of our labour. Exchange of this for that money changes hands for a commodity. Obedience at work for a paycheck. Silence in the face of disagreement can promote peace. With stand and deliver we are presumed to understand that the exchange involves a choice. Our money or our lives with our lives almost always being the democratic choice. As for the flag of our bourgeois democratic republic why not just remove the union jack and leave it as it is. The bourgeois democratic republic sans aristocratic pretensions. It would be interesting to see a King Charles come along advocating vegetarianism and the use of used cooking oil to power automobiles. I would find that situation very amusing. Conservatives would begin to see the folly of carrying water for a such a monarch and get together with the liberals to declare an Australian Republic. Like I said just remove the union jack and carry on. Add a modern Australian Bill of Rights to the Constitution while you're at it. Uh-oh. Maybe just keep the Australian King. The air chills as we move toward May. An equivalent weather would be experienced as Halloween approached in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course there is a vast difference between an October in Yuma and one in Burlington as there is between Derby and and Hobart. May Day on the morrow will see this weather again. Workers must stand together or risk getting hanged separately. "All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone. We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone. It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own. While the union makes us strong." It's April 30 1986 and I'm in the part of Berlin which is Hauptstadt der DDR. The Kneipe is close to an old burned out Synagogue which has been kept in its sad condition as a reminder of Kristallnacht. The bar is full of workers knowing they will have the next day free. They also know that a radioactive cloud from the U.S.S.R. is fast approaching. Cynical abandon is complete. 

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