[Marxism] Iraq should cost Aussie PM his job

Nicholas Siemensma nsiemensma at yahoo.com.au
Thu Apr 8 07:18:38 MDT 2004

Just some tired, rambling thoughts, sorry for lack of sense, order and
all that. 

Bob Gould:
> Australian society and Australian politics is, as it has always has 
> been, divided into two broad currents... The practical and operative 
> political point I was trying to make, as against people like the DSP,

> and it would appear also Tom, was the fundamental division in 
> Australian society between the left side to  which Latham is clearly 
> responding, and the conservative side of Australian society.

Surely Australian capitalists are only ever united in rare
circumstances, and otherwise engage in struggle over state strategic
orientation in line with the evolving configuration of Oz capital and
its dominant fractions. I think its a mistake to posit some monolithic
capitalist bloc ("the Conservatives"), solidly behind the deputy
sheriff position. The admixture of various capital sectors with
different strategic priorities makes thinkable, as Tom has repeatedly
emphasised, alternative subimperialist programmes such as "independent"
Asia-Pacific engagement and US-aligned satrapy. Sure, Australian
finance capital such as it exists is utterly in thrall to the
Dollar-Wall St regime, and vulnerable to the diktats of "global
markets" (ie. parastatal agencies ever ready to punish insubordinates
through a BOP crisis). This is the basic armlock on Australian
imperialism which prevents strategic realignment. The debt pyramid is
itself organically related to the auto-industrial complex of
construction, real estate and landed property, shopping centre
development and retail, and transport infrastructure. Yet this does not
IMO constitute a basis for universal bourgeois support for US tutelage.
What remains of the Australian manufacturing base has been restructured
around transformed raw materials and intermediate goods, but this has
not as yet formed part of an East Asian accumulation bloc dominated by
Chinese industrial machinery. Rather, exchange is mostly based on (Oz
and SE Asian) minerals, agribiz, and intermediate goods against cheap
consumer goods from low-wage Chinese producers. Thus the credit-fuelled
bubble enjoyed by the spec-flex, commercial-industrial fraction of
Australian capital mentioned above (along with non-monopoly capital and
SMEs), and producing the combination of asset-price appreciation and
low inflation, is based on both dollar hegemony (US) guaranteeing
domestic demand through easy credit and low cost manufactories (China)
allowing wage stagnation. When this profitable parallel falls apart -
which, with the structural disequilibria of the Oz economy, is more
likely to involve bursting the debt bubble and BOP meltdown - it seems
that the straitjacket of the Dollar-Wall St regime will be the main
enemy of domestic capital, suddenly demanding improved infrastructure
after years of fiscal austerity, neglect etc., while searching for
export markets that at this stage are less likely to open up in the US
than Asia. As for the ultimate plausibility of a re-orientation
strategy, I don't know, but it's clear that there are rifts opening up
all over the ruling class about Iraq. IMO, this contradiction over
state orientation and the US stems less from the "vertical" issue of
ensuring the maintenance of a capitalist hegemonic order over the
working class, than from the horizontal task of having to legislate
between competing capitals.


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