Order in a New World

 

CEOIf I ruled the country the first thing I would do is sack every CEO, deny them access to their wealth and property and make them work for the dole while applying for 40 jobs a week outside of the corporate and public service sectors. With no rental history they would be couch surfing (if they find themselves with any remaining friends). And for the first six months, with no welfare at all, they would be relying on charities for handouts.

Then, when they are caught stealing or dumpster diving, I would send them to jail for a mandatory term, where they would be required to work full-time for nothing and following the example of my American counterparts, if they complain their sentence would increase.

If the CEOs happen to be of middle eastern descent and they are caught doing anything suspicious (such as praying in a Mosque) then they would have their Australian citizenship revoked and they would be put in detention for an indefinite period.

Of course my counterparts would be hard at work implementing the same policies and our shores would be inundated with CEO boat arrivals. These CEOs would be immediately dispatched to Nauru and promptly forgotten.

No, I wouldn’t do any of it. I would be a despot if I did.

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In a social democracy welfare is a right.

 

social_democracy_wallpaper__1920x1080_by_detectivep-d4hnmuyAnother critical piece showing that the Abbott government’s reforms to Newstart and Youth Allowance will simply not work can be found here in The Saturday Paper,

Welfare changes ‘more about prejudice than policy’: Hewson

In the article, Mike Seccombe highlights former Liberal party leader John Hewson’s comment that our incumbents are driven not by a sense of humanity but by ideology. I agree with Hewson that these reforms reveal not a measured rational response to current economic conditions, but insanity. The insanity of repeating a process proven to be ineffective and counter-productive in negative ways.

Since the New Deal was instituted by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, since the Beveridge Report helped found the welfare state in the UK in 1942, and since welfare provision initiatives taken in the 1940s in Australia, citizenry in these three nations has benefited enormously through policies designed to assist the most vulnerable.  In the guise of bringing-the-budget-into-surplus austerity, and following trends in America and the United Kingdom, we are witnessing the driving forward of policies tantamount to a violent attack on what had for many decades been taken to be the very essence of good democracy.

I am rather tired of our current government behaving like a steamroller. I feel squashed flat under the weight of its endless cuts, its ruthless policies towards the most vulnerable in our society. A government deaf to our persistent calls for this draconian process to stop. We campaign, petition and take to the streets in our tens of thousands over and again. We are fighting on so many fronts and we are ignored. This is not what social democracy should look like. Citizens should have a whole lot more power and influence than just that of dropping a bit of paper in a ballot box. We want our voices to be heard, our calls answered.  Not this endless crushing, this ruthless oppression, this almost dictatorial governance hostile to all social spending.

Yet it is incumbent upon us to fight for whatever remains. To not be disheartened into inactivity, not acquiesce, not allow ourselves to lose hope and fall into passive despair, for to do so is to not only admit defeat but to allow ourselves to become complicit in the very system we oppose.

Hard Attitudes for Hard Times

 

DickensDespite the grandiose speeches and the spin, across western democracies post-GFC austerity seems to have little to do with reducing government debt and everything to do with controlling populations largely through the expansion and oppression of the underclass – the dalits of western civilisation – the guts sucked from the welfare system leaving a wizened carcass of a once plump beast. Welfare services are corporatised, sold off to the lowest bidder whose sole concern is profit. Corporations or quasi-corporate ngos with minimal or no expertise are given tenders for aged care, counselling, women’s refuges and so on. While Australia’s Abbott government’s Benefit reforms will render destitute millions of Australia’s most vulnerable.

All the while the politico-media complex tells the noble-washed of the middle and still-working classes that the underclass are slobbering wretches with unworthy motives, scammers, scoundrels, cheats and the bone idle, pathetic wretches of Dickensian proportions whose begging hands should be promptly severed. After all, why would a decent voter wish to carry such a burden? Best to lock the worst of them up in the newly revamped and much expanded prison service, run naturally by corporations with a now established if troubled history in the industry. Once incarcerated inmates can then work for a pittance or no renumeration at all, and while the noble tax payer pays the government to pay the corporation, the corporation extracts profits from its prisoners’ labour. A perfect solution and a perfect deterrent should any other member of the underclass wish to question the system.

We are I think witnessing the rapid expansion of an underworld within an overworld, and those either unaffected, affected in beneficial ways, or who respond fatalistically and passively to avoid falling into the underworld, will support the new status quo, happy to buy the spin,  happy to scapegoat the the marginalised, the outcasts, the poor. In case the noble-washed should ever waver, a back-up plan is already in place – the cruel treatment of asylum seekers and the attendant carefully crafted propaganda. Every ideological campaign needs a scapegoat through which to harden attitudes that can then be manipulated and directed towards other groups. That the nationalistic ideology is a complete lie invoked to mask the fundamentally globalist agenda unfolding in every country the world over is of great concern. Nationalism is contagious, and in its worst and most fragmented and divisive forms leads to war. War that inevitably creates an exodus of asylum seekers in its wake. A perfect situation perhaps for the structural changes essential for the globalist project to succeed.

Nationalism has the added benefit of parochialising the vision of the masses so they are incapable of reaching any sort of understanding of matters global.

As for the those with just hearts, our governments have plans for us too. Currently in Australia Attorney General, George Brandis has plans afoot to further strengthen surveillance and terror laws on the pretext of protecting citizens from radically infused returnees from Syria – born-again jihadists with malicious intentions. While it may be true that one or two do pose a threat to Australian society, surely ASIO and the AFP can handle them? Isn’t that what they are trained and paid to do? I believe something much more sinister is at work, exemplified by Josh Allen’s piece in the New Internationalist, ‘Anti-extremism’ government programme targets student activist. Allen highlights yet again how anti-terror legislation is used to monitor and harrass activists of all stripes.

As Arundhati Roy states in many of her essays concerning big dams in India, the primary targets of the neoliberalism are always the poor and activists. Terrorism while real, is thus used as a weapon by the politico-media complex against its own people. Australia treads the same path.

I fear that under austerity the underclass are fast becoming ”asylum seekers” in their own nation, activists that seek to support them and hold corporations and their puppet governments to account are rapidly gagged, while the noble-washed conduct their affairs unaware that an even greater harm has befallen them, their hearts, perhaps once soft and kind, now sinewy and beating a callous pulse.