What is agitating the masses?

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at SPAMqut.edu.au
Mon Apr 16 18:47:01 MDT 2001

I have to say that I prefer the term 'the people' to the 'masses' but let
us stay with the latter for a while.  What appears to be agitating
everyone?  Well here in Australia we are sinking rapidly into a
recession.  This is the fourth since my arrival here and it is interesting
to note that each one is having a different impact.  This for instance is
the second recession where a conservative govt was in charge (1983 and
2001). It is my belief that Labor Parties handle recessions better.  Not in
the sense of ameliorating them but because of their links to the working
class, they are more effective in heading off protest and getting everyone
to 'keep quiet for Labor.'

But on this occasion the class that is most agitated is the petty
bourgeoisie.  The model of indirect taxation that the Govt adapted put
small business in the ranks of the tax payers, for the first time in many
cases.  The tax (GST)also came at the wrong end of the cycle and so further
dampened domestic demand and greatly aggravated the crisis of over
supply.  Big business with its basic orientation to the external market is
less effected.

So the conservative govt has cannibalised its own voting base. the Labor
Party opposition is doing nothing about this.  It will come into office on
a tide of anti-govt sentiment without being committed to any specific
policies. However the pragmatists and opportunists of Labor are in for a
rough ride if this turns out to be a deep recession.  Small business does
not need much persuading to turn against a Labor govt. The scene is being
set for the revival of the far rights party led by Pauline Hanson.  She has
made some gains lately but that will be nothing compared to what will
happen in a context when both Conservatives and Labor will have failed.

Interesting times like ahead.



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