So what is politics? For most, politics is that thing that happens in Canberra and on Macquarie Street. That thing to be ridiculed, not trusted, obsessed over and argued about. It is that thing external from us, happening ‘out there’ in other locations, and reported in the media.
Yet politics is also a practice, or potential practice, of everyday life. One that is greater and more diverse than official or representative politics, and yet also not reducible to personal visions, actions and views. It is something that is social, and sits in civil society rather than simply within the state and political society (Thomas 2009).
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.
The NSW Senate race has produced a sideline of media commentary attacking Lee Rhiannon, the lead Greens candidate and until recently a NSW Upper House MP. Most of it has been along the lines of the socialist menace lurking beneath the apparently acceptable green exterior of the party.