[Marxism] On Australian Politics again

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 23 17:39:42 MST 2017

I keep thinking of the comment on Marx & Engels that they never mentioned
Methodism - one of the most significant makers of working class
consciousness in the Britain of their time.  So amidst all the writing I do
on Bhaskar and Hegel, and Traverso and Berardi etc, I feel I should say
something at least occasionally about what is happening politically in my
back yard - Australia.

There is a state election tomorrow that is noted for two things.  A slowly,
slowly right wing Labor government is in charge. (BTW There is a good
argument for saying that "Right Wing Labor" is the natural form of
government in Australia).  Secondly they will survive because the right
wing populist push, being led by Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party, is
largely confined to the rural regions. I am inclined to think that
Methodist discipline and respectability is a very strong force in
Australian Labor in particular and in society generally - despite all the
public persona of the drunken Aussie larrikin. That respectability and
discipline works against One Nation.

But what this post is meant to be about is the Federal Political scene.
Specifically I want to ask "What is the significance of the imminent
political demise of the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull?"  To answer that I
have to ask what did the PM stand for?  The answer I think is that he
combined two strands of politics - social progressiveness and a commitment
to neoliberalism (of a lite nature).  Thus he believed in global warming.
He wanted Australia to become a Republic. He wanted refugees to be treated
more humanely and he favored gay marriage. But he compromised on all the
progressiveness to become Prime Minister. He leads a right wing party that
despises him. Now that he has slipped in the polls, they intend to get rid
of him.

That dominance of the Right within the governing party effectively left
Turnbull without a cover for his neoliberalism. Neoliberal conservatives
concentrate on stoking up fears of the Despised Other while neoliberal
progressivists rely on the warm inner glow we get for instance as in the
marriage equality debate when we see "love winning". The crucial point to
understand is that they all need a cover for neoliberal policies.

My conclusion here is that the political moment of neoliberal
progressivists is over. We will either have a turn to some variation of
Keynesianism or to a  barbaric authoritarianism designed to prop up the
prevailing economic stage of capitalism.

For what it is worth I would put my money on Keynesianism, especially here
in Australia.



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