Rudd’s Razor – Disabling the Disabled

by Brian Laver, Institute for Social Ecology
pictured at left providing advice to Fidel Castro)
Laver and Fidel

Well now we know.

The apology is over and the feel good times have come to an end.

All pretty quickly too.

Rudd has let us all know the meaning of “fiscal conservative”.

He is going to reduce the ability of some in the community to spend in the hope that will bring down demand and that will lower inflation.

So where did Rudd – the good Christian and fiscal conservative make his first cut?

He could have had a go at the wealthy – the new millionaires.

After all there are more of them around these glorious days.

But no our Kevin, who is here to help, decided he would take the really tough decision and he would first of all not have a go at the rich but at those who care for the disabled, and then just when you thought it safe to come out of hiding he announced that he would have a go at that other group of high rollers and big spenders – the pensioners.

There was of course a reaction and Rudd’s nerve seemed to crack.

He told us that there was no way in God’s earth he would leave the pensioners in the lurch.

How sweet of Kevin to bring god into it all.

Is he the first Australian politician to mention God?

But didn’t anyone tell him the truth that the pensioners were already in the damned lurch?

Has he spent so much time with his multi millionaire wife that he has forgotten that pensioners in Australia are already poor??

Of course Rudd does not know about the poor.

He is a mandarin and has no idea how normal people live. He is simply doing what he has always done.

Administer the system so the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

That’s what being a fiscal conservative means. It is what he did when he ran the Godd (Goss) government from 1990 – 1996.

If you want to understand what a Rudd government will be like just look at the Goss govt. It was full of arrogant ruthless heartless alpha males.

Rudd has already sent for his old mate and fellow mandarin from the Goss days, Glyn Davies, to help him muck things up in Canberra.

Now all Rudd has to do is to send for Peter Coaldrake the Vice Chancellor of the Queensland Institute of Technology and put him in charge of the public sector in Canberra and we will have the full catastrophe.

In technicolour this time.

16 thoughts on “Rudd’s Razor – Disabling the Disabled

  1. John Tracey says:

    Another example of shallow sensationalism masquerading as radical politics.

    This whole thing is a Liberal Party beat up. The government have never said they would cut payments and since the media circus, they have committed to bonus payments and increased regular payments.

    Why is Brian dancing to a Liberal drum?

    Attempts to discredit Rudd on the basis of his wife’s wealth (a humorous ploy from someone with the class background and family wealth of Brian) is just another example of mudslinging replacing rational analysis, as is the somewhat bizarre and irrelevant connection of Coaldrake to this issue.

    Speaking of QUT. Is this the same Brian Laver who worked so hard to attack the carers and support workers of Darren and James during the Noonan controversy? Forgive my scepticism but the attitudes towards disability and in particular family carers that were displayed by Brian and others indicate little concern or understanding of the issues carers have to deal with. The cheap hyperbole of this latest offering is no better.

    If Brian and others were really concerned about the plight of carers they would articulate the demands of carer groups that focus on things such as a living wage and superanuation for carers as well as the provision of more disability services – (such as the Spectrum project with Michael Noonan). But instead he appropriates the suffering of carers to parrot his own petty mantas in harmony with the Liberal party’s cheap shots and misinformation.

    The reason “the left” has become so small and isolated is because it articulates shallow rhetoric that does not connect to the real historical circumstances and struggles of real people.

    JT (on a carers pension)

  2. John,

    It is good to see someone critique Brian Laver’s press release.

    I note that you do not appear to have got any bites in your critique from either the authors or other readers of the press release.

    The intended audience of the press release appears to have been the liberal media and through them the general public.

    I say this because the press release was emailed by Brian Laver to media outlets such as The Independent, NEWS LTD, ABC, Timeoff, Ravemagazine, THE AUSTRALIAN, Planet radio, The WESTENDER, 4ZZZ, 4MBS as well as BushTelegraph. It was also sent to some academics. After I posted the article I tried sending the hyperlink to the same list of email recipients. One email address (at least) was incorrect and two people immediately replied asking not to be sent such emails.

    It makes me wonder (yet again) about the worth of emailed press releases or blogs or any electronic communication media as a tool for constructive debate of what should be done. This is a malaise of our times. Whatever your criticisms, at least Brian Laver issued a press release about the carers and pensioners payments and you critiqued it. What about the rest of society? What about the recipients of the press release? Do they read or care about the issues raised by Laver or yourself.

    Nevertheless, I wish to add some comments of my own that your critique, while well founded, was inaccurate.

    You say: “The government have never said they would cut payments and since the media circus, they have committed to bonus payments and increased regular payments.”

    Firstly, the use of the words ‘cut payments’, as you point out, is misleading. The bonus payments for carers and pensioners were one-off bribes by the former Liberal Party government to get re-elected in 2007.

    If you look at the 2007 budget papers, you will find that Costello, then Treasurer, explicitly referred to the payments as “lump sums and one-off payments” [Source: George Megalogenis writing in the Australian Inquirer, 15-16 March 2008].

    Not one dollar had been promised by the Howard government for current term of government, the period 2008-09 to 2010-11. How could Rudd’s government therefor cut what had never been promised?

    But then, Rudd, knowing this, used the media by allowing it to run with this story all week and then he made a guarantee that carers and pensioners would not be worse off after the first Labor (Swan) Budget in May 2008. I think Rudd and his advisers were merely playing the media. The primary concern of the current and previous Australian governments has been electoral success, not the welfare of carers or pensioners.

    Brian Laver’s press release was not merely superficial but also naive.

    In reply, you urge that those genuinely concerned should “focus on things such as a living wage and superannuation for carers as well as the provision of more disability services – (such as the Spectrum project with Michael Noonan).”

    While these may be desirable aims, I suggest caution about the Spectrum group, what services it provides, and how it is funded. I have already recounted to you the story of how SPECTRUM refuses services to a boy and his mother saying that the boy’s intellectual disability was too great, despite the fact that the boy’s primary disability was only that he could not speak. His mother wanted him to be able to play with kids. SPECTRUM ignored the specific needs of this boy. How many others has SPECTRUM done this to?

    There are plenty of business people, well connected with government, who tap into government funding using aged care, disability and training as a ruse to make profit or to benefit themselves financially. I specifically cite here the companies of Therese Rein (Rudd’s Wife) and Sarina Russo as examples of people well connected with governments who have benefited financially from those connections in providing ‘training’ services to disabled and unemployed workers.

    Who is Australia’s richest ever Prime Minister: Malcolm Fraser? Kevin Rudd?

    There is also a lot of middle class welfare provided by government when the money and services should be directed to poor and working class people in need.

    You only have to look at government funding of elite private schools to see the extent of that middle class welfare.

    Ian Curr
    16 March 2008

  3. John,

    You and anyone who is interested can access ‘the welfare quarantining thread’ by writing to me to obtain a password.

    I agree with you about personalities.

    What are the structural changes that will shape our future?
    It is true that many groups of the so called ‘Left’ have misread capitalism and as a result are not prepared for what is to come.

    My view (for what it is worth) is that we are looking at economic crisis from which Australia will not escape this time round.

    This structural crisis in capitalism has come from the financial sector as it did during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

    The banks got too greedy. They funded housing loans in the USA which workers could not repay.
    High risk loans (sub-prime) were the first to go into default.
    This affected housing in the poorest districts.
    But everyone wanted more, the motto that ‘Greed was Good’ had spread beyond the middle class.
    The failure of financial institutions has reduced the availability of money needed by capitalists for growth.

    Now recession has spread into the real economy. It was not just the war in Iraq that made the US government unable to mitigate the pain. Major climate events like Katrina brought suffering which an already stretched government could not provide resources to contain. People saw themselves as cast on the scrap heap.

    Structural failure has followed in the US.

    Governments are unable to control inflation.

    Chinese growth has encountered bottlenecks in the resource rich countries like Australia.

    The same Chinese demand that has kept the Australian economy in positive growth will produce a desire among Chinese working class for a bigger share of the pie. Wages in China will increase. Australians avarice for cheap Chinese goods may no longer be satisfied, as these goods will become more expensive.

    Budgetry cuts in spending by labor governments will not curb inflation. Prices will continue to rise. Real wealth will decrease. We have our own housing crisis on our hands now.

    Meanwhile Left groups are out there pushing issues like global warming in the hope that people will see the economic problems of unsustainable growth.

    They are wrong.

    As recession hits, workers will forget global warming.

    And this is but one issue that will be flooded by more immediate pain.

    The Left groups who have painstakingly built themselves around single issues will be even less prepared and unfortunately irrelevant.

    Ian Curr
    16 March 2007

  4. Tracey…
    “I think it is dangerous to focus on personalities such as Rudd and his wife, pointing to their wealth…………
    But anyway………..
    As examples, Ciaron and Brian Law’s elite interventionism and the Socialist Alternative’s self appointed role as vanguard of the movements ….etc etc”

    Tracey has no trouble defending the personalities of the rich and powerful and attacking the personalities of opposition. My problem with him is when he does this when resisters are before the courts servicing the prosecution. For this I take time to call him to account. Otherwise he speaks as usual out of his ass and it’s waters off a ducks back.

    Ian, the reason people aren’t using this website for debate is because of Tracey’s trolling. He can’t attract anyone to his blog, so he has taken over your website. John has always acted as a parasite on the praxis of minimum/ input maximum take. His attempts to locate himself in the context of aboriginal welfarism is both predictable and hillarious. But my god he’s pulled off! Not bad for a white boy from the British Raj.

    He has a pathology to settle every slight and score from the ’70’s. He is basically a resentful little man that seems to have a lot of time on his hands to spew his vitrol on your website.

    You have chosen not to edit him and people have gradiually abandoned your website.

  5. Ian,

    I think it is dangerous to focus on personalities such as Rudd and his wife, pointing to their wealth. The problem is not Rudd and his family background. He is just a product of the problem – capitalism. As long as we focus on personalities we not only avoid the necessary structural analysis, we create the illusion that the Rudd personality (or the Joh personality) is the problem and all we have to do is replace the personality with a better one.

    But anyway,

    Brian is not alone in this style of shallow rhetoric. This is the main issue behind many of my comments on other threads, that radicals cling to slogans and ideological notions and ignore the historical conditions.

    I too have spent much of my life engaging in such a mode, which is why I take these issues personally. In my own life I have now rejected such politics as irrelevant. I cannot point to an alternative ideological or strategic package, which is where my frustration and sadness comes from. As much as I have tried to construct another paradigm, I cannot do this by myself. A new paradigm can only grow through collective engagement with the forces of history and this, it seems to me, is simply not occuring amongst Australian radicals.

    As examples, Ciaron and Brian Law’s elite interventionism and the Socialist Alternative’s self appointed role as vanguard of the movements attempt to impose an ideological package or template onto the movements and issues that they engage in, they defend the inherent correctness of their own positions, trying to recruit to these positions. They manage to characature the movements and issues in terms of their own paradigm rather than exploring and creating direction with and through open minds and hearts.

    On the one hand we have press releases by radicals such as Brian’s above. On the other hand we have seen the development of the Carer’s alliance over the last 12 months who have engaged in intensive lobbying, forming a party for the federal election and they have been negotiating with the new government.

    There is nothing radical about the Carers alliance, it is the real people struggling with the real issues of their lives. Radicals such as Brian do not engage with these people but issue detatched ideological statements from on high. This is the essential problem. The ideology and the struggle are two different things.

    Ciaron and Brian Law’s religious commitment to non-violence makes it impossible for them to connect to the Iraqi resistance while they engage in their high profile stunts on behalf of the Iraqi people.

    Same with Murri stuff. Radicals are more connected to slogans and ideology than they are to the real living experience of Aboriginal people. For all the good support work the Socialist Alliance did around the police killing in the Palm Island watch house, only one person on Palm Island voted for the socialist alliance in the senate election. There has been no historical connection made between the radicals and those on whose behalf we sprout our radical ideas and march in the street.

    The “left” is in a pathetic state at the moment because of its own small mindedness and detatchment from the real struggles in society, not because the objective historical conditions do not favour social change or political organisation.

    The left is stuck in the rutt of talking about oppressed groups such as carers or Murries and seems incapable of working with such groups.

    What happened to the welfare quarantining thread? I wrote this on the issue on P.Oz

  6. Ciaron,

    You know my history.

    I am an independent. I will not align myself with sectarian groups. I have maintained that stance for over 30 years of political life in Queensland. This has not been easy.

    On the other hand, John Tracey and you were members of a group which organised around democratic rights in Queensland.

    I cannot edit John Tracey because BushTelegraph is open to all groups and individuals who respect its aims.

    They are described in detail on the Home tab on the BT banner above.

    I will not compromise BT independence by editing one and not the other. However I am not some naive liberal giving carte blanche for people to defame and hurt individuals or groups.

    Some discussions on BT are therefore protected by password. If readers wish to view those articles and discussions they can write to me for a password.

    People can have their articles and comments posted freely on BT and they can ask for them to be deleted, as you have done recently.

    On the question of readers of BushTelegraph.

    Readership currently averages 2,000 visitors per month over the past four or five months. During its 21 months BT has had about 1,200 visitors per month on average.

    John has written about 80 comments on BT overall and you, Ciaron, about 40.

    You, Ciaron, have also contributed directly or indirectly both articles and debate.

    I thank you for that.

    Perhaps you are right though. Perhaps people have abandoned BushTelegraph as a debating forum. For example a long term unionist, a lorry driver, rang me today and asked me who this John Tracey is that he reads on BT. Perhaps John’s approach is one of the causes of people’s timidity to engage. His attacks on the ‘Left’ are many and not so various.

    Why isolate Tracey, it could equally be you or me.

    But I do not think that the ‘Left’ does actually read BT.

    Most of the people who read it do not count themselves as current members of political groups and, if they are in political organisations, these people would read it anyway.

    As far as I can tell, the people who read BT are various, many are on the fringe, hard to categorise, some are disaffected union members, outcasts, murris, independents like myself.

    We are looking for answers just like you.

  7. Ciaron,

    You said of me….. “Not bad for a white boy from the British Raj.” and “a resentful little man”

    I am white, I do indeed have a grandfather that served in the British Raj and I am indeed short. However I am wondering what the point you are making with these statements other than simple, baseless abuse?

    You seem to believe that you have called me to account, yet in a most gutless and dishonest fasion you have withdrawn all your posts criticising me, on both this blog and Bartletts. If you are going to be silly enough to open your mouth you should at least have the integrity to stand by what you have said, especially if you believe you are calling me to account.

    It is sad that you are unable to respond to criticism of your philosophy and tactics without resorting to name calling, but I guess that is somewhat predictable.

    This egoic defensiveness is a real obstacle to the development of any meaningful strategies and movements for change. Such defensiveness is not unique to you, although your personal abuse is certainly in a league of its own. This ideological self righteousness and villification of contrary opinion has come to dominate radical thought today, at the expense of open minded discussion. This is just the death throws of 70s/80s radicalism that has never, then or now, managed to break out of its own subcultural peer prejudices and illusions to actually achieve anything positive in the real world.

    I challenge you to provide a rational response to the issues I (or Ian), have raised in this post. I bet you can’t.

    By the way, P. Oz has a bigger readership than BT. I am also a contributer to Public Polity, which has a readership about the same as BT, and Leftwrites which has a readership much greater than BT and P.Oz combined.

    I also heckle from the floor on Greensblog as I do here.

    I have no need to “take over” BT. I realise you may not understand what motivates people to discuss ideas, but despite your own limited capacities and comments, I am glad that Ian does not support your call to censorship and continues to allow discussion to exist.


    regarding your pessimistic economic outlook. I agree with what you said. What you didn’t mention was the new factor of peak oil (as well as the peak of many other minerals). Capitalism has always had more and more energy resources to sustain a growth economy but this epoch has now come to an end. Also ecological collapse is reducing food stocks, especially fish. Agricultural land is becoming less and less fertile, a situation that will continue even with (especially because of) the second green revolution of G.M. monoculture crops.

    We are facing an economic crisis much bigger than a recession in terms of the traditional economic cycle.

  8. Ciaron,

    I wonder how long it is since you have visited John Tracey.

    I do not know if you have noticed but he keeps stressing that he is a carer.

    He does this for a reason. His circumstance is dominated by that objective fact.

    It is no wonder that he is not an activist in the sense that you are and speak of.

    As you know John’s activism at the keyboard has its limitations but it is what he can do within the confines of being a carer. Being a carer is one of the most confining of all jobs. You would know from your own family what caring for the sick means. So why persist in your random outbursts.

    Perhaps there may be other ways that John could deal with his objective circumstances, perhaps with less bitterness and acrimony, but who are we to tell him? He can do no harm from where he sits, it is paranoia to think that ASIO or MI5 take any notice and if they do, how does it help them? Re: ‘when resisters are before the courts servicing the prosecution’ could be more serious, but the risk must be low in comparison to the tactics that are currently employed by some who arrive before the courts.


    Peak oil (more about this later), ecological collapse, loss of agricultural land, GM crops are ideological catchcries of the environmentalists. But the Greenies have missed the point. While they are analysing the next bubble, capitalism has produced its own nightmare in the US. The Federal Reserve is currently attempting to prevent a downturn in the US economy on the scale of the great depression. For example, last week the Fed. Reserve bailed out the fifth largest company in the US, Bear Sterns. It did a similar thing 10 years ago when it spent over $100 billion bailing out Long Term Capital finance. This time things are different, US reserves are not saddled with the crippling cost of the Iraq war, something that was foreshadowed in the US governments failure to contain the loss of life and misery of cyclone Katrina in the South.

    What a group I am part of has been saying for the past five years is that there will be no chinese walls to prevent a recession in Australia this time round. See the chapter “Nodding off to sleep” from After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet by LeftPress.

    What the Australian Left has missed during this period is that this current economic recession in the US is driven by the financial sector, not peak oil, not the collapse of agriculture, not global warming, none of the mantras of doom we have heard and will continue to hear from the Greens and the Left.

    This leaves the greens and the various socialist groups following a green line (see Green Left Weekly) — a paper whose concerns lie in Venezuela, Iraq, Afghanistan, anywhere but where their party organisation exists — this leaves what organisation exists here in Australia ill prepared for what is happening now. This is reflected in the obsession with electoral politics at the expense of all else. While the socialist cadre hunt for the revolution somewhere else – the working class cannot afford the luxury of worrying about what will happen in the next bubble or the next crash because they have to survive this one.

    The Labor government has already devised a plan for a wages freeze, just as Tony Blair did in Britain, Labor will be seeking help from labor union officials to coerce workers into taking cuts in the ‘national interest’.

    Will the unions go along with this? Who have they got to give them an alternative political direction from Labor party bosses?

    Certainly not from the Greens, nor from the Left. The Greens will never get more than 10% of the national vote. This is because there are other issues that impinge on the lives of ordinary people apart from the environment – issues like food, schooling, health, employment conditions, housing …

    On the readership of blogs. What does it matter if the readership is in the thousands if the lights have been turned off, the bailiff has taken the house, the rents are impossible, the old are sick, and the disabled are lost?

    We are the harafish, the riff-raff, the common people (in a positive sense), the casuals, the unemployed, the menial workers, the forgotten people in the equation: ‘it is not enough that some succeed, others must fail.’

  9. Ian

    I do considerably more than type on a keypad and fulfill my carer role. The bulk of what I do is within Murri society and is somewhat private. I do not brag or write press releases about what I do.

    I do not go to protests anymore because they demoralise me, not because I have not the time or energy.

    Unfortunately “activism” has come to mean public bragging about what “activists” do and opine.

    The last time I did any bragging in public was part of the Greens campaign for housing and land reform on Palm Island in conjunction with the then Green mayor of Palm Is, Erykah Kyle.


    I look forward to being involved in this sort of public campaign again, but it is very different to “protest”.


    Peak oil is no greenie concocted illusion. greenies have not yet woken up to it, like many others.

    Peak oil is not future apocalypse either. It is happening now. The capitalists have been taking it into account in their plans for decades. The present moves by energy companies and big capitalists to deal with climate change really have nothing to do with climate change but rather about maintaining dominance of, and profits from, new energy sources as oil gets scarcer.

    Many greenies and capitalists have promoted bio-fuels as an oil replacement. Apart from unsolved issues of carbon emissions in biofuel, what is already occuring is that land previously used for food production is now being used for fuel production, thus entrenching poverty. So peak oil impacts the poor through ever increasing transport prices and therefore the price of survival at the same time as it reduces the capacity of global farmers to farm food.

    Peak oil is an objective economic condition. The responses from the likes of greenies may well be based on illusion but this illusion. like all the others, does not dismiss the economic reality of peak oil.

    I think it is wrong thinking, a legacy of Marxism, to try and divide the economic reality of the ecology from the economics of capital and labour.

  10. John,

    “A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties” — Karl Marx in “Capital: Commodities and Money

    Oil is a commodity. It is a thing outside of us that satisfies human wants.

    The concept of ‘peak oil’ has been around since the 1950s long before current environmental thinking.

    In the 1970s, estimates of when peak oil would be reached were made by petrol companies like Esso and Shell, international agencies like the UN as well as the new environmentalists like Ehrlich et al. I wonder how you define peak oil.

    Back in the 1970s, ‘Peak Oil’ was to be reached prior to 2000.

    The current energy crisis which is a crisis brought on by increased demand both in advanced capitalist and in developing countries like China.

    Failure to supply that demand does not relate to a current lack of oil anymore than it does to a lack of coal. For example high US crude oil prices above $100 per barrel do not relate to a lack of oil, it relates to lack of infrastructure where oil is still abundant, in Saudi Arabia, in Africa, in Iraq, and in Venezuela.

    It is incorrect to say that ‘peak oil’ is happening now’. That is not supported by objective fact. [See

    The current US downturn is not caused by oil, it is about housing, or more correctly about the financing of housing.

    The current recession (meaning negative growth) is caused by a failure of financial institutions caused by excessive greed in the financing and supply of housing. Banks lent money that could not be repaid.

    The last time financial failure bringing high negative growth causing widespread misery was the Great Depression.

    The science of ecology was first taught in Universities in the 1970s. Attempts were made to construct models of sustainable growth by organisations like the Club of Rome. These early models were wildly inaccurate because of the inadequate number of parameters used i.e. the simplicity of the models. Some more recent attempts have been made to find economic measures that reflect the real cost of energy that takes into account the environmental impact and the problems of sustainable growth.

    These environmental economic theories are in their infancy and are still largley ignored by capitalist enterprises driven by the profit motive and the exploitation of labour.

    It is not Marx that divided the economic reality of the ecology from the the economics of capital and the exploitation of labour, it is the capitalists who make that division.

    It is a narrow and facile depiction of Marxist economics to say that it divides the economic reality of ecology from the economics of capital and labour.

    The first chapter of “Capital” is devoted to understanding the products of nature, the social relations of man’s labour in the production of objects that satisfy human want i.e. commodities and how they are transformed into objects of value.

    Ian Curr
    17 March 2008

  11. Ciaron O'Reilly (London) says:

    As an activist, John is a nonentitiy. Like the guy who shot Lennon he believes he can be a somebody by attacking people whose “courage” is not limited to the virtual reality of the internet. He attacked me while I awaited trial in Ireland. He attacked Bryan Law while he awaited trial in Alice Springs. He attacked Gary while suspended from QUT. He now attacks Brian’s family background when his own reeks of British colonial project.

    John is a parasite on the murri communty as he was on the anarchist scene and the radical christian scene before that. He’s articualte enough, and smart as a shithouse rat, but he is basically selfish and lazy………whether it comes to activism, parenting or his latest schemes whatever. He is a bully – and yes there is a short man’s Napoleonesque dynamic that is very familiar. Whether he is stealing from “Justice Products” in the name of the aboriginal people, ripping off resources form elderly nuns or attempting yet another scam in “the name of the aborigianl people” he bullies his way through.

    It is all smoke and mirrors with John. I’d advise him to desist from attacking me or anyone else before the courts. Go back to the soft targets who tolerate his shite.

  12. Ciaron,

    See, I told you you were incapable of rational discussion.

    My son just read your post and was wondering what the comment about parenting was about? Perhaps you were refering to my other son buried at Woorabinda or the other 9 Murri kids I have been a father to over the last 15 years.

    If you would like to raise your issues on Paradigm Oz I would be happy to respond to them further. I have indeed been in conflict with Roman Catholic institutions such as Justice Products and the Catholic Education office (as well as other bastions of white arrogance) about their attitudes to Aboriginal projects and would be happy to tell those stories if you have the guts to raise them in a forum where you cant withdraw your comments when you start to look silly.


    I am surprised you are so dismissive of peak oil.

    Your link is a report from the U.S. department of energy to an oil industry conference. I suggest it lacks credibility. Its purpose seems to be to dismiss the science and reduce anxiety. I do not accept that his report establishes any “objective fact” at all.

    However the graph (on your link) “Campbell-Laherrere World Oil Production Estimates 1930 – 2050” does conform to most independent analysis in that it says peak oil occured around 2004.

    See also “energy Watch”

    It seems to me that peak oil is the prime reason for the wars in Iraq (oil wells) and Afghanistan (pipelines) as well as Australia’s military intervention into East Timor (Sunrise oil and gas).

    Australia and the U.S. have already reached peak oil, there is more oil consumed locally than is produced, so imperialist interventions are necessary to support profits and affluence in these countries. Similarly the present Mobil Exxon attempt to steal Venezuala’s oil.

    The expansion of (in particular) the Chinese and Indian economies is putting an ever expanding demand onto ever decreasing potential global oil supplies.

    Multinational corporations have taken peak oil seriously for decades and made their plans accordingly.

    And a bit of background to the original topic of this thread…
    “Points win for Brendan Nelson”,21985,23375673-5000117,00.html

  13. John,

    I do not dismiss ‘peak oil’

    It is true that there is a debate about ‘peak oil’ and that the credibility of the US Department of energy is in doubt. The wars you mention have there origin in the pursuit of oil because of the huge profits they bring and the capitalist growth they sustain.

    My point is that the current objective conditions of downturn do not relate to peak oil – they relate to an immediate finance crisis in the US from which Australia will not escape.

    In the past 10 years, progressive political organisations in Australia have been blind to the fact that Australia is not immune to such crisis – I keenly suggest that you and anyone else interested read the chapter to “After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet” that outlines the historical reasons for this. See the chapter “Nodding off to sleep” from After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet by LeftPress.

    There is discussion in the rest of that book about can be done to resist the crisis that working class people face.

  14. Ian,

    I do not dismiss the current finance crisis either. I just think it is compounded by bigger things.

    The depression of the 1930s was ended by the war, in particular the expansion of markets and resources that came through the war. Imperialism and the growth economy provided the solution to the depression as today the illusion of perpetual growth underlies the calls for calm to let the economic cycle continue and everything will be profitable again in due course.

    As I previously stated, the corporations have taken peak oil into account. But the enemies of the U.S. have also taken it into account. Getting a bit conspiratorial here.

    We all saw how the U.S. collapsed the U.S.S.R. The soviet economy was forced into a perpetual war that it could not afford. It had to compete in the arms race, in particular the mega-expensive nuclear weapons program as well as engaging in war in Afghanistan against Bin Ladin and his mates, funded and trained by the U.S. Bin Laden and Islamic nationalists learnt the strategy well and even in small isolated groups have managed to maintain the U.S. in perpetuall war mode.

    Slowly and surely the Soviet Union went broke. This is happening to the U.S. today. Perpetual war and the arms race that the nation simply cannot afford. The irony is that war is still profitable so the arms corporations and their representation in the U.S. government have a strong inducement, even a necessity, to perpetuate the wars and arms race. An inherent contradiction that is being exploited by Iran, Nth Korea and Islamic nationalists around the globe in their sabre rattling and taunting of U.S. power. Iraq did the same and, despite being invaded, has managed to punish the U.S. economically over the past 5 year.

    On top of all this is the new economic connectios between the Arab world, China, India and the European Union. Power flows with the money and the money is flowing out of the U.S. into the new super-markets of China and India and the consolidated old markets of Europe. The U.S., like Australia, produces very little. It’s economic power is as a consumer market. The magnatude in both numbers and affluence of the U.S. market is the driving force of it’s power. This power is declining as China and India increase, becoming the new economic superpowers.

    Then you throw in the new deveopment of peak oil as China and India massively increase demand for oil and can compete for it with the U.S. market, then the U.S. economy is stuffed as is all the other finance markets based on U.S. growth.

    That’s what I think is going on.

    Mandarin speaking Kev will no doubt steer her majesty’s Australia in the direction of China, but its bubble will burst soon enough, in particular because of oil shortages – the biggest bottleneck of all.

    Oil is central to every single aspect of the global economy. A decline in supply and an increase in demand will increase prices one way or the other, either through market forces pushing the barrell price up or expensive wars such as Iraq, Afghanistan and the maintenance of the state of Israel to keep the barrell price down.

    Nodding off to sleep……..

    I fully agree with the essay, from that analysis one must conclude that the trade unions, like the state, are an agency of a corporate elite. I would suggest they are beyond redemption as workplaces themselves have been reconstructed in accordance with the new modes of individualised stakeholder, not just in the work place but such things as stock market based investment accounts in particular superannuation.

    The “worker” is now a fully contained unit of the corporate machine. In this historical moment, It is only common human experiences other than that of being a “worker” that can provide social cohesion, and therefore political power.

    This in no way dismisses class analysis, there is still very much a working class, ranging from the working poor to high paid neo-contractors. There is also a rapidly expanding underclass, many of whom have little or no experience of being a worker.

    What is getting clearer is the corporate elite, the vanguard of the ruling class. But the rest of us are not centring anywhere, not collectively defining ourselves by real experience. Rather we gather around the illusions of being a worker, either as a socialist or as a media reinforced, government approved model of a good citizen.

    Join the Greens! (I’m not a member because i retain my right to criticise them publically, but that might change).

    In the 20th century, history gave birth to the Australian socialist movement (leave the rest of of the world out of it for now). In the 21st century this movement has been totally co-opted and dis-empowered. However history has now thrown up the Greens party. I specify the party rather than the movement because, unlike the green movement, the party has a social agenda too, although somewhat naive and haphazard at present.

    This new historical phenomenon may entrench its naivity for a hundred years or more if it is kept at a distance from the historical experience of the socialist movement of the 20th century, in particular class struggle.

    If the wisdom and experience of workers struggle cannot be applied to the contemporary historical realities then it dies, memorialised in books and films about the good old days.

    I’m not just talking about old farts who can remember the new left, I’m talking about the evolved intellectual tradition and in particular history of political organisation and struggle that got us, including the Greens, to this point.

    In terms of the economic collapse and perpetual war. Only a rejection of oil based economy can reduce the demand for war as well as provide ecologically viable systems of production and distribution beyond the next few decades at most. As I see it, this is the inherent economism of green politics but it has not yet transcended conservation consciousness.

  15. John,

    You say: “Join the Greens! adding “(I’m not a member because i retain my right to criticise them publically, but that might change)”

    The Greens will never average more than 10% of the national vote in Australia because there are issues other than global warming more important in peoples’ lives. I know that the Greens campaign on more than environmental issues but the social justice issues that the Greens do put forward do not connect directly with lives of the broader electorate — they are mostly liberal issues.

    The Greens have done well in inner city electorates: for example Pamela Curr gained 24.34 % of the vote in Brunswick in the 2002 Victorian State election outpolling the Liberals. This was the highest % vote for a Green at the time. More recently Drew Hutton gained 26% of the vote in Wooloongabba in 2008 Brisbane City Council election thus ensuring victory for his nemesis, the ALP’s Helen Abrahams (whose position on the environment differs little from that of Drew Hutton).

    On the eve of an economic recession in Australia in 2008, the Greens are unlikely to do better — people will soon forget the environment when the economy lowers their wages and takes their jobs and their homes.

    On a political level, the Greens in Australia are more than an environmental party, unlike the Greens in Germany, the Australian Greens have a social democratic character. But, while the Greens continue to favour mainly middle class doctors, lawyers and environmental scientists as candidates, they are unlikely to gain much traction with working class voters.

    Their future lies in winning seats in the Senate but never winning power in the house of Representatives or local government elections.

    On the topic of local government elections, it is interesting to note that little more than a 100 days from a landslide victory in the 2007 Federal election, the ALP was unable to win support in local government elections in Queensland having been trounced in Brisbane and regional shires.

    This shows how little real grass roots support the ALP has, giving further proof that the result in the Federal Election was an anti-Howard vote.

    Put another way, it was an election that Labor would not have won if it had not been for WorkChoices.

  16. Ian,

    I was trying to stir you up saying “Join the Greens”, but I mean what i say.

    I publically criticise the Greens to confront them with various dillemas that the Greens must but have not yet faced within their own agenda, in particular developing a deeper understanding of what the environment actually is – in harmony with Aboriginal understandings of it. I have also been critical of their adoption of “Close the Gap” policies and avoidance of structural change as a solution to Aboriginal disadvantage. But I am a fellow traveller of the greens.

    The evolution of a holistic social/environmental movement can only grow of the dialectical engagment of these two elements (s/e), within the matrix of the new movement and organisation, not outside of it.

    The Greens have become a significant historical force. I disagree that they cannot get higher votes. The reason their vote has plateaued is, as you suggest, their single focus of climate change. I believe an expanded platform, beyond just environmentalism, let alone climate change, and they can inspire a greater vote and representation and organisational framework..

    The broad church of “the left” and its many social issues could become accomodated in the Greens if the people went into the party ( to look for something new rather than a regurgitation of a Bolshevik formula as the DSP has attempted).

    if we all sit outside the greens critiquing and dismissing them then what else provides a vehicle for change? What other agency can be the vessel of radical vision and the interests of the working and underclass? PG4? the post-Trots? Unions? enlightened bureacrats in the public service? the churches? Student activists?

    The sort of critique of what you offer of the Greens here, including the middle class tendencies, should be addressed by the Greens. But who is going to confront them with this? Outside commentary?

    If non middle class workers, socialists and radicals do not engage with the Greens (not necessarily join) then the the middle class mediocrity wins the new movement. It is too new for this to have occured yet but it is beginning.

    The important social and economic debates, including strategy and the question of how change might occur, could be fuel for the historical evolution of the Greens rather than just the reasons to not engage with them.

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