Posts tagged ‘history’

Link: “Robert Menzies wouldn’t recognise the Liberal Party's employment policies today”

Original post found at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-03/robert-menzies-wouldnt-recognise-the-liberal-partys-policies/100509358

I’m no fan of Menzies, nor of the Liberal Party. But it’s always worth noting how things we take for granted today as “sad facts of life” like high unemployment, insecure work, low taxes = inadequate funding for the public services we depend upon like healthcare, education and infrastructure, were simply not taken for granted at all prior to 1975. The Overton window has shrunk so much that not even the so-called progressive parties are willing to challenge this orthodoxy now, and yet two generations ago it was the right-wing party presiding over an economic system that’d be denounced as loony left fantasism today! (Also, the right-wing party actually believed in and funded science at that time, too.) Australia in the 1950s was plagued by many other social ills (nationalism, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, etc.) but it’s not like the manifestly better economic policies we had then were predicated on that bigotry. And it’s depressing that, as inadequate as those policies were (many marginalised people slipping through the cracks), they were still so much better than what we have now.

Link: “‘I was on a list to be terminated’ – Sue Dobson, the spy who helped to end apartheid”

Original post found at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/29/south-africa-spy-who-helped-to-end-apartheid

Sue Dobson was a white South African woman who infiltrated the apartheid bureaucracy as a spy for the ANC. When exposed, she and her husband had to flee for the UK where it seems they still live. She’s now written a memoir and film rights have already been sold… and I can understand why; this sounds like a cracking story.

Link: “At the brink of a new world system: imperialism, race and caste”

Original post found at: https://mronline.org/2021/08/15/at-the-brink-of-a-new-world-system-imperialism-race-and-caste/

I don’t agree with 100% of this (particularly not the holding up of Stalinist states as models of democracy 🤔) but the most important point I do. The “liberal” part of the ruling class is using modern, “woke” ideas to divide the working class – blaming the white working class for racism instead of themselves and their own damn institutions that keep systematic racism going. This promotes sectarianism among ordinary people that keeps us weak and divided, less able to unite together in our common cause to truly democratise our societies and improve our social structures, our living conditions, our lives. There’s also a part comparing the caste system in India to ancient European slave-owning societies like Greece or Rome.

Link: “I’m a Luddite. You should be one too”

Original post found at: https://theconversation.com/im-a-luddite-you-should-be-one-too-163172

To be a Luddite is seen as synonymous with being primitive — backwards in your outlook, ignorant of innovation’s wonders, and fearful of modern society. This all-or-nothing approach to debates about technology and society is based on severe misconceptions of the real history and politics of the original Luddites: English textile workers in the early 19th century who, under the cover of night, destroyed weaving machines in protest to changes in their working conditions.

Link: “Pandemic Shoppers Are a Nightmare to Service Workers”

Original post found at: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/08/pandemic-american-shoppers-nightmare/619650/

Because consumer identities are constructed by external forces, Strasser said, they are uniquely vulnerable, and the people who hold them are uniquely insecure. If your self-perception is predicated on how you spend your money, then you have to keep spending it, especially if your overall class status has become precarious, as it has for millions of middle-class people in the past few decades. At some point, one of those transactions will be acutely unsatisfying. Those instances, instead of being minor and routine inconveniences, destabilize something inside people, Strasser told me. Although Americans at pretty much every income level have now been socialized into this behavior by the pervasiveness of consumer life, its breakdown can be a reminder of the psychological trap of middle-classness, the one that service-worker deference to consumers allows people to forget temporarily: You know, deep down, that you’re not as rich or as powerful as you’ve been made to feel by the people who want something from you. Your station in life is much more similar to that of the cashier or the receptionist than to the person who signs their paychecks.

Interesting piece, and also includes a section on the historical origins of the “service worker” (as in, when department stores came about). I would argue, of course, that this “middle-class class consciousness” is illusory, as most of these office workers are as dependent on selling their labour to fund their existence as anyone else. The differences in consciousness can be real, though.

Link: “Juanita Nielsen's suspected murder brought Arthur King back to Kings Cross after his terrifying ordeal”

Original post found at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-31/juanita-nielsen-murder-came-after-arthur-king-kidnapping/100332232

Great story that really sums up 1970s Sydney, encompassing organised crime, the property development industry, the total corruption of NSW Police, organised civil resistance, the BLF’s green bans, and of course, murder and kidnapping. You could hardly ask for more.

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.