Immigrants protest against Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn
Just before 2012 closes out, I’m reposting my last Overland blog of the year, which originally appeared here. In some ways it is a summing up of themes we have developed at Left Flank since we started in mid-2010; chiefly in our attempts to present not just a general ideological or theoretical approach to the topics we covered, but to concretely analyse actually existing politics — something that we thought had not been focused on enough by the Australian Marxist Left in recent years. We hope readers have found the blog and our writings elsewhere stimulating because of that focus, and we look forward to developing these ideas more next year. Thanks to all of you for your readership, comments, criticisms and support.
The political prediction business is not one you should engage in unless you’re either willing to repeatedly admit erroneous forecasts (one of Ben Eltham’s most endearing qualities) or to march on obliviously ignoring them (most of the rest of the commentariat). It’s even worse for us Marxists, as we’re notorious for having accurately foretold five out of the last two recessions. The problem is that history unfolds dialectically in the real world, and not simply through a logical derivation from some initial starting point.
Tad and Elizabeth are both presenting conference papers at this year’s Historical Materialism conference, held in Central London later this week. UK readers can register for the conference here.
This week ABC’s The Drum published an article by Tad on the Occupy Movement and the demand from many that it list its ‘demands’. Below is the article in full. Tad was also interviewed on ABC Brisbane about this question.
It’s been remarkable to see the sheer number of public lectures and admonishments – delivered by assorted politicians, pundits, bloggers and Tweeters – that Australia’s #occupy activists have had to endure since they started their protests on October 15.
Indeed, there is a glaring contradiction in the fact that so much attention has been paid to a movement by detractors who also claim it is irrelevant to local conditions and therefore has no chance of attracting wider recognition.
A most curious thing happened that continues to shape mainstream political debate in this country. In the lead-up to the 2007 election Kevin Rudd campaigned strongly on winning a mandate for taking real action on climate change, skewering the inaction of the Howard Government as proof that it had failed on the “greatest moral challenge” of our age. Yet the incoming government also settled on an emissions trading scheme (ETS) as its central and primary initiative to achieve this action.
I’m sorry, what was that again? Yes, in order to deal with the catastrophic failure of global markets to account for and adequately address the questions of environmental pollution and climate change the ALP would introduce another market.
As I blog this, liz_beths is writing the conclusion to her Masters thesis, which analyses the rise and fall of the Global Justice Movement in Australia. She wrote a bit about the arc from S11 2000 to 9/11 and the present day on the Overland blog last weekend. Rather than simply re-use hackneyed categories that have confused the Left when faced with apparently non-class-based movements, she’s gone back to Marx and Gramsci to develop some fresh ideas about social movements in general and the nature of activists’ intellectual and practical activity in particular.