Excerpt: “Arising in the moment of federation, where the separate colonies were bought together in a federated Commonwealth, the new party of labour emerged as a formation not of the working class but a labourist party dedicated to the dominant class’s agenda and focussed on the ‘national interest’. The ALP was a key component of the ‘Australian Settlement’ (Kelly 1992), ‘integrally identified with the social and economic programme of the new Australian Commonwealth – White Australia, Arbitration, protection and the primitive beginnings of a welfare state’ (Armstrong 1998, 27). The party incorporated the institutional labour movement into political society and the running of the new federal state, in a manner that necessitated managing the tension of being connected to the trade unions and a social democratic party deeply rooted in a nationalist project. In this way, ‘the ALP must be seen as a national party of crisis management, a party that seeks to integrate the representatives of the major organised power blocs into a corporatist political structure while it expands the ranks of the marginal and claims to represent all people’ (Beilharz and Watts 1983, 29).”
Dublin saw its largest yet Gaza solidarity demonstration this afternoon - despite the fact there have also been demonstrations on all 5 of the preceding Saturdays as well as more mid-week.
In the UK the coalition government continues to pull apart the National Health Service. Unsurprisingly, the earliest ‘reforms’ were introduced under the former Labour government. TAKE NOTE AUSTRALIA! #MedicareSelect
For big problems, I’m a big fan of big solutions. After all, the sheer scale of systemic issues all but demands concerted efforts when it comes to fixing them. Even so, we can build in small developments that distribute the burden of change over a…
SALMA YAQOOB confronts Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith on poverty, austerity & and the government’s labelling of those on benefits as “scroungers” | BBC Question Time, 12 June 2014
"My full-time job is actually mental health. I have seen myself, how people have become suicidal. I have had to counsel people who have lost their loved ones who said they did not want to be a burden on their own families because the support has been taken away. These are very, very real issues. And it’s [cuts to benefits] being done in the name of austerity. We’ve had this drive of people being called scroungers when actually half of the people on benefits are pensioners, our pensioners in this country are not scroungers. 60% of people on benefits are in work, but the wages are not paying enough to feed their families.
Yet I’m sitting next to Iain Duncan Smith, who quite happily labels poor people as scroungers, when you claim £39 for a breakfast, like you can’t afford your own breakfast, when you live on your wife’s estate, and have taken £1.5 million of taxpayers money. That’s what I call scroungers, that’s what I call shirkers.”
So glad that Yaqoob said this. Like so many, I’ve been disgusted by the vilification of poor people under the current British government, and the political impunity the Lib/Cons have enjoyed as they wage their war on the British welfare system and the people it used to assist. Lord knows, back in 2012 that was basically all my tumblr was about.
I’m elated that Yaqoob says what she came to say despite being interrupted by three different white men in under two minutes. See how they flail about trying to shut her down? Trying, and failing to close ranks. Their language intends to belittle her intelligence, accuracy and question her political maturity. “What a lot of nonsense” says Iain Duncan Smith again and again, as she backs him into a corner. The dimwit David Dimbleby, whose sole public function is to maintain the status quo, (in a very gentlemanly fashion) orders Yaqoob to answer the question. Surely a person with his journalistic experience knows that politicians reframe the question they’re asked and give the answer they came to give? It’s alright when white men with party backing/influence/money do this very thing, but apparently not when Yaqoob does. I’m sure the question was boring anyway.
But she doesn’t let them to dismiss her! I cannot count the number of times I’ve been talked over and talked down to by white British men. My statements informed by education, research or experience are interrogated, picked apart, evengoogled when similar statements by a white man would be accepted as truths. Apparently, women of colour’s speech is always awaiting verification. I love that Yaqoob refused to succumb to all those familiar silencing tactics, and so quickly articulated a powerful case against austerity.
What if your kid went to jail for trying pot, something that is very probable if your kid is black and living in a state like Texas. Does that mean they deserve to be raped? Does that mean that they should live in conditions that go against all human rights?
Most prison rapes are committed by prison staff. Even if you are heartless and do not care about the prisoners, remember that these prison staff rapists go home to their nice houses in the outside world. Remember that they are your neighbors, maybe they even have babysat your children. Remember that as long as some victims are dehumanized and ignored, many perpetrators will never be caught. And yes, these perpetrators do pose a threat to you and your family. Prison rape, rape in general, is everybody’s problem. And definitely not a fucking joke.
The idea that prisoners “deserve” to be raped is part of rape culture.
Rape is not a punishment. It can not be earned. It is a crime every single time, no matter what, no matter who the victim is.