Vote for Rudd you Bastards

Who are you going to vote for? Personally there’s no question; I desperately want Labor to win and don’t want the Liberals buggering up everything in the Senate so, with The Greens’ Kerrie Tucker a chance to oust the ACT’s Liberal Senator, Gary Humphries, it’s Labor first, Greens second (or vice versa).

And it’s tough because, from a partisan point of view, I’d prefer to see the Liberals run into the period of world hyper-inflation that looms on the horizon and destroy their absurd claims to economic supremacy once and for all. But that’s the stuff of bitterness and I am not bitter, nor partisan. Rather I am hopeful, not just that we are seeing the end of John Howard as PM, but that we stand on the verge of a new paradigm in Australian, and world, politics and we need to start work now. Or on Monday.

John Howard presents as a ‘conservative’. It must surely be one of the most tortured words in the language these days because, besides his 1950’s social values, he is no such thing. Howard is a minor Antipodean player in a world-wide program of economic reform that is a radical, yes radical, departure from much of what we have previously taken for granted as the boundaries of western social democracy.

Australia has, under Howard, been a willing participant in an economic experiment that has, in most other cases, had to be jammed down the throats of many countries around the world, as is being done now in Iraq. The ideology behind it, neo-liberalism, emerged in the US under Milton Friedmann in the 1960’s and has been vigorously promoted in the US and beyond, most notably by a clique within and surrounding the Republican Party.

Agencies such as The World Bank and the IMF, the CIA, the School of the Americas and, if things get out of hand (or when the neo-cons began to believe their own hubris), the US Army, have been used to pursue every avenue of coercion to impose an economic shock doctrine on the poorer people of the world. The results have largely been disastrous for the poor yet brought much wealth to the US and the odd despot. The famous ‘trickle down’ theory is a bit more like a golden shower for some it seems.

Australia’s path of neo-liberal reform, undertaken by stealth by the wily Howard, is not yet complete. It takes more than a decade to unwind the strong social, cultural and governmental edifices that have been built in Australia. But it is clear where we are heading, and if you’re not sure, let me spell it out for you.

Survival of the fittest. Which might mean the smartest, or strongest, or prettiest, but which will largely mean the richest. In the neo-liberal dream, people will sink or swim according to their natural ability, their willingness to work more and harder than the rest and/or their ability to pay their way out of any scrapes they may get into.

Have an accident at work? In the neo-liberal dream, there is no worker’s compensation, no free health care, no affordable disability services or retraining, no interim government benefits. Buy yourself health and income insurance or have the money to pay in full or you’re rooted. The Bernie Bantons of the world can just fuck off and die. Meanwhile safety standards in workplaces become an unnecessary expense of business, no longer monitored by unions that no longer exist.

In almost every area of government service delivery, under Howard there has been a concerted effort to both reduce funding, bringing services to sub-optimal standards, and to subsidise private options. In almost every area, yes, because there are some agencies of government that neo-libs endorse, even if they’d rather them delivered by private firms. These are the security forces, the cops and the prisons.

And they need them too, and can convince us we need them as well, because as social services decline, and safety nets fray, the desperate get busy on your stuff. Being fit in neo-liberal land also means being able to stomach owning a gun and knowing how to shoot straight. Similarly, as the blowback associated with US hegemony around the globe comes to our own doorstep, we’ll need military superiority and ‘stronger than usual responses’, ie. torture, arbitrary imprisonment, spying on our own, to cope.

To a certain extent, the world has moved on. The neo-cons dreams of empire are in tatters. We can be thankful that the excesses of the Bush administration have aborted in full-flight what might otherwise have been a privatisation of the world’s resources into the hands of a few dangerous men.

Thankful too (in a perverse way) that global issues, largely related to climate change, have begun to change the consciousness of us all, raising awareness, finally, that we, all the people of the world, are in this together and our best hope is to unite, rather than to divide.

The Australian people have endured many years of brain washing: that the economy is all important, that a bit more money is a reasonable compensation for being an absent parent, that people should pay their own way, that governments can’t deliver services, that unions are evil, that we must fear and revile interlopers… the list goes on. It’s an insidious litany of perverted materialistic Darwinism, a doctrine of selfish consumerism that is as empty as it is now, hopefully, defunct.

Meanwhile Howard mouths the platitudes that are all that remains of Australia’s cultural relics: mateship, a fair go, egalitarianism (actually, how long since you heard that word?). Such words don’t encompass leaving poor people with holes in their teeth. Or turning your back on people less able than you. Or relegating the poor to substandard health and education outcomes.

In Latin America, thanks largely to the oil money flowing out of Venezuela and the US taking their eye off the ball, a continent-wide revolution is taking place. Freed from World Bank domination by having their debts paid by Chavez, numerous countries are throwing out economic rationalism and re-embracing many elements of socialism, which remains a dirty word here in Australia. Democratic socialism eh. Who would have thought?

As the Bush administration fades into infamy, we have the chance to begin un-hitching ourselves from the neo-liberal juggernaut and carve out a saner, safer, more humane future for ourselves. We have the chance to join the world in beginning to face the immense challeges before us. We have the chance to constructively contribute to the resolution of many external conflicts in the world and the hope of resolving the long festering wounds in our own society, particularly with our indigenous people.

You may seldom have seen it during this twelve month election campaign, but I believe Kevin Rudd and I are on pretty much the same page on the above. We’ve at least read some of the same books anyway. And he can’t go laying it all out there on a platter for the media and the Liberals to feast on then regurgitate to their gullible audience. And it is by no means assured that, even if he does want what I want for Australia, he will be able to achieve even the half of it. That is the nature of both democracy and of the powerful interests arrayed against him, not least the unbelievable ignorance of many in the electorate. But he’s the best shot I’ve got and I’m backing him.

Vote for Rudd you Bastards!!

Written and authorised by Loadedog.

18 Responses to “Vote for Rudd you Bastards”

  1. it’s really going to be sad when kevin crushes all of your hopes for him.

    He’s just a hack from the political class dude.

  2. That’s what I love about you JB, always there with a crushing cynical sentiment

  3. Well there’s always a chance Julia will roll him.

    But not much of one.

  4. So Julia’s the real deal for you? Anyhow, aren’t you in favour of the neo-liberal project?

  5. “Put not your trust in Princes” has echoed through the ages.

    Psalm 146:3:

    “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”

    Last words of Cardinal Wolsey in 1530:

    “Put not your trust in princes!”

    And of course Machiavelli:

    “Put not your trust in princes, bureaucrats or generals, they will plead expedience while spilling your blood from a safe distance.”

  6. So Princesses then?

  7. I thought we didn’t do gender-specific language anymore??

    I’m certainly not neo-liberal in the baby eating terms described above, and insofar as I am Kevin wouldn’t worry me in the slightest.

    He appears to be far to the right of me by all he says and does.

    I do think that, people being people, concentrations of power are a bad thing and that as power will tend to concentrate anyway we need to be constantly struggling to diffuse it and push it back out to the people.

    If we wanted strongman politics we could have kept an executive monarchy and spared an awful lot of bloodshed.

  8. This discussion is giving me a boner. Youse fellas is so klevar!

    I’m only voting Labour because it isn’t Liberal or Green (And the local candidate is tolerable). If Labour get in this time I’ll probably switch back if Liberal alliances drift back away from the extreme.

    And then it all starts again, but hopefully gets cut short sooner than 11 years.

  9. i’m not saying don’t vote Rudd, just trying to manage your expectations.

  10. I’m presently trying to manage my expectations of how big a landslide it’s going to be.

    Didn’t realise you were such a swinger RG.

  11. First we get rid of Howard, then we start carping at Rudd.

  12. All that carping really paid off with Howard…

  13. hehe. It’s just what we do.

  14. boys..boys…such excitement. I detect an atmosphere of idealism breaking through the murky depths of cynicism and greed that little johnny has bequeathed to us all. I agree wholehearted with ld, Kev mightn’t be a typical working class hero but at he’s a far better bet than the alternative. There are dark days coming, only someone with their entire body bury under the sandhills of sunpatch would not agree, and I for one would rather have a vaguely left leaning government in charge than a bunch of jack booted fascists masquerading as so-called liberals. Getting kicked out of government is probably being too kind to the bastards, frankly they have squandered probably our best opportunities to avoid some problems about to confront us and for that they should be eternally damned.

  15. Hear Hear!

  16. Come on LD, make with the scathing and joyous roundup post.

  17. Scathing and joyous enough for you?

  18. Tinned goodness.