Defiance or compliance? How should Queensland workers fight LNP sackings and cuts?

Campbell Newman’s Liberal National Party government was elected in Queensland in March this year. Their cuts to public service jobs have provoked 10,000-strong rallies and public anger is growing at cuts to service that were not mentioned before the election. Newman’s popularity has dropped quickly since March, creating space for people to mobilise against his austerity-lite agenda.

At a symposium yesterday, organised by the Brisbane Labour History Association, it quickly became obvious the first barrier to effective strike action against the Queensland government is the threat of huge fines for strikers and organisers who ignore court orders to return to work. Two different approaches to that threat were presented at the symposium: defiance of court orders, or working to elect an ALP government in the hope they will repeal anti-strike laws.

In 1976 Queensland introduced injunctions with civil penalties that could lose you your house and car. The Federal Trade Practices Act, which bans secondary strikes, was mirrored in Queensland law in 1984. In 1985 strikes were made illegal in the electricity industry, as was any strike without 7 days notice

These powers were quickly used in 1985 to break a strike of South East Queensland Electricity Board (SEQEB) workers (Get the pdf file directly downloaded here). Barbara Webster of the Central Queensland University explained that when plant controllers at the massive Gladstone Power Station cut electricity supply by 50% in support of sacked linesmen, the Government ordered them to return to work. When all but one operator refused, half of the operators were threatened with fines. Young men, with families, cars and mortgages to support, they submitted, and without their backing the wider strike was doomed.

Barbara Webster speaks at Brisbane Labour History Association forum 121027
Barbara Webster

We can be sure that any widespread strike action will be met quickly with similar threats. In fact it already has: the symposium heard from Bob Carnegie, who is associated with the Socialist Alternative group. Carnegie helped with organising a recent successful strike of workers building a new Queensland Children’s Hospital. When the strike was declared illegal and union officials were ordered by courts to not go near the strike site, the workers defied the court orders. Carnegie did too, and now faces up to $400,000 in fines, and a jail sentence.

Bob Carnegie speaks at Brisbane Labour History Association forum 121027

Bob Carnegie

Towards the end of the symposium, ALP member and Queensland Council of Unions Secretary Ron Monaghan spoke. He said that workers in the private sector will not support sacked public servants, and that it’s no good telling workers that they “got it wrong” when they voted for Campbell Newman. Monaghan said the union movement should not split from the ALP as the ALP will then completely ignore it. He said this after describing how the former Queensland ALP government accepted the union movement’s vital support in the 2009 election, and then announced major privatisations of State assets months after being re-elected.

Ron Monaghan speaks at Brisbane Labour History Association forum 121027

Ron Monaghan

ALP member and official of the United Voice union, Michael Clifford, also spoke, saying a strategy of working to elect an ALP government is the best one. He said his union wanted ALP candidates who would stand up for trade union voices, and said legislation that supports the rights of workers to organise is the key. Earlier in the day, Howard Guille, a former Queensland secretary of the National Tertiary Employees Union, said that a right to strike might be enshrined in the Constitution, as it has been in South Africa. However he did not mention the recent deaths of striking miners in South Africa, killed by police despite the words of their Constitution.

Michael Clifford speaks at Brisbane Labour History Association forum 121027

Michael Clifford


Howard Guille speaks at Brisbane Labour History Association forum 121027

Howard Guille


Later Ron Monaghan was asked if the unions should make themselves strong enough to defy any government, ALP or LNP, by calling a general strike. He spoke of the dangers of this, but then said “we” were doing so already, claiming credit for the defiant actions of Bob Carnegie, although Carnegie is not an ALP member.

The first speaker of the day perhaps should have been the last. Sue Yarrow, once involved in the Right to March movement in Queensland and later a ministerial adviser to the Goss and Beattie ALP governments, spoke about how the old Trades Hall Group, authoritarian and socially conservative ALP members who once dominated the ALP and the union movement, lost control when they did not realise how much public support the Right to March movement had. As society shifted beneath their feet, they fell. If working people are pushed by the current government to defy anti-strike laws, and if all the ALP can offer is the chance to vote them back in and hope things will get better, something similar might happen again.

Sue Yarrow speaks at Brisbane Labour History Association forum 121027.50

Sue Yarrow

42 Responses to “Defiance or compliance? How should Queensland workers fight LNP sackings and cuts?”

  1. 1 Ian Curr

    Hello David,

    Thanks for your report on the BLHA’s Back to the Future symposium.

    I was unable to attend the whole conference because of preparations for the QCH Workers Benefit concert. Your report gives a good roundup of the day’s activities organised by the BLHA.

    It was good to see you at the QCH workers benefit afterwards.

    in solidarity,

  2. 2 paul

    A government job aint a real job.

    For every $ spent by government 20 cents is wasted.

    The economy will be bigger with smaller government.

    Wages and profits all bigger

    i can not believe you guys are throwing your weight behind
    the labour elites that are slowly but surely stealing the
    economy away from the rest of us

    Still you can not expect much from ex uni students now heavily
    dependent on government funding for your life.

  3. 3 tomb

    not sure who “you guys” are and equally sure you have no idea. Ex uni students would include a large section of the community and given the state of the economy many industries like auto industry are reliant on government funding.

    If the only wastes 20c in the dollar then it is doing much better than I thought. I work in private industry and they waste way more than 20c in the dollar.

    The point being made is that workers should not accept cutbacks be they employed in government or private jobs.

    The reality is that cutbacks will get worse as the crisis gets worse which is due to an inherent flaw in capitalism. Assume you have no answer to keeping these people employed just whingeing about others who want to keep their jobs and are willing to fight to do so.

    If you are unemployed thats unfortunate if you are working then how bitter and twisted can you get?

  4. 4 Paul

    The way the economy should work in advanced western economies unless they want to end up like the euro zone is for governments to run no debt whatsoever so they can in the time of downturns ,is to cut spending and taxes at the same time. Less taxes will stimulate economic growth in the private sector.

    This will mean people will have to change jobs. Most people I know have been more than happy to reinvent themselves as their circumstances change

    The inherent flaw in capitalism is not what is giving us the euro zone.

    It’s running a massive credit card . Living on credit only brings forward the lifestyle you want temporarily until your debt overwhelms you.

    This huge crisis in Europe has been created by liberal and pseudo left parties using the credit card to buy votes and unfortunately other political parties having to do the same thing if they want a piece of the action.

    What is happening in queensland is a precursor to the eurozone.
    The lnp has no choice but to cut government spending but because of massive debt they can’t cut taxes , we all have to ride it out.

    If you guys were in power you would have to do the same thing unless you had no government debt.

    Remember 5 years ago , no Australian government debt and was life that bad.

    Government should never be allowed to become so large that the inevitable cutbacks must come and that is what I mean when I say government jobs are not real jobs. The are mostly jobs bought on credit .

    Freedom , democracy and capitalist prosperity is most liberating.

    Our immense productivity , I know impresses marxists like your selves.

    I still read the Marxist classics and I know all that really matters is productivity in the interests of the working class and it’s actually time governments and pseudo leftists get out of the way.

    Sorry about the imperfect composition of this but I am using an iPad and can not find the cursor keys

    And tomb I always get called bitter and twisted when I attack the public service and it does no offend me

    As for my employment status I am retired And I agree there is much wasted in private industry and what ever the wastage percentage it is greater in government

  5. 5 tomb

    So the problem is government debt!!!!!! Capitalism is in crisis and countries that have virtually no government debt are in the same crisis but without the debt. General Motors and the banks had to be bailed because of government debt. The ponzi schemes that capitalism attracts were because of government debt.

    Private debt is the problem and Europe’s debt came from bank bailouts that is capitalist companies living on borrowed money. Governments are just trying to stall the inevitable crisis that (capitalism) private companies produced.

    Whatever book you are reading you need to turn to page 2 and you can see that the international crisis has been looming for a long time and governments have been trying to avoid it. They are wrong as there is no avoiding it just making it worse but to think that they are the cause is desperate denial.

  6. 6 paul

    In time of crisis i would have thought that any body or any government or any company not living on the edge would do a lot better if they did not carry debt.

    My point is that governments would not have to bail out anyone with loans or buy outs under my scheme , just cut expenditure and taxes.

    I think this has always worked and forgive me for reminding you of the new economic policy lenin and co used in the soviet union to kick start the economy in the early 1920’s.

    As the crisis eases you bring back some government spending like a disabilty insurance scheme

    Not all the world is in crisis , i would bet China , india , brazil , russia who have money in the bank are not doing too bad . And countries with no or little debt like Australia are also in the scheme of things doing ok. Probally only one billion people out of 7 billion are going backwards.

    Prior to the GFC the wholeworld except zimbabwe were in growth

    Companies like BHP and aussie banks with massive cash reserves are also doing ok. Even i would be tempted to lift the company tax rates to 40% for the banks if it meant i could cut individuals tax rates further.

    When capitalism is firing you do not have to lift a finger

    To think you can control things like an advanced western economy from government , you are crazy. Its too big and complicated and no one wants to be told their house is too big and their car is too big and they should not smoke or drink or go to macdonalds or must ride a bike.

    the lessons of europe are clear , dont waste other peoples money, which is stored labour power after all, by blowing it on crazy government schemes like Retire at 50 or bail out banks.

    It was a pusedo lefist workers paradise without the work

    western governments have as you say been trying to avoid it , we should have had a recession in 2001 after 911 but in away you can understand why the usa did not want one and in any case they had too much debt . they could have lifted interest rates but cut them instead which gave them more debt

  7. 7 tomb

    it is not possible for capitalism to operate without debt!!!!!

    We are talking about an inherent flaw in capitalism it has crisis. Cutting expenditure and taxes would not solve it and in fact in the first instance they tried that and it failed so they reverted to credit and then with GFC to printing money. The crisis dates back to somewhere betwee1965 and 1970 for me definitely well and truly stalled by governments for decades by 2000.

    The NEP failed.

    Think off the top of the head “capitalism is great” because all I can think about is the booms and not the busts leaves us with your “scheme”

    Seems any movement forward is good enough for you. We want more we want to achieve our potential.

    BTW if you want to back China am willing to take all the money you can muster. Hint, you might want to have a look at china’s debt problems.

    I think a lot of what you are saying is intuitive and my suggestion is don’t follow hunches

  8. 8 steve owens

    tomb, debt within Capitalism is a rational way to move money from one sector, where money has been made, to another sector where money is about to be made. Debt within Capitalism is not generally a weakness but generally a strength.
    Crisis no matter how moralistic we on the “left” get about it is also a strength of Capitalism. The boom is that period of over investment and the bust or crisis if you like is the period where that over investment becomes profitable investment.
    Take an example. Trains were often the subject of massive over investment followed by crisis and then a period of cheap sales where the previous investments could be made to pay.
    Within our own lives ie the last 20 years we have witnessed the massive boom in fiber optic cable followed by a crisis followed by people buying up this cable and using it profitably. Every time someone from India phones you to fix your computer or sell you some scheme its done because of that failed boom in fiber optic cable.
    Now I know that you cant accept this because its not Marxist Kant and I know you cant accept this because Steve only ever looks at the superficial not the deep and hidden that can only be seen by rigorous Marxist analysis but just try one thing for me, instead of repeating endlessly crisis bad, crisis bad, just try crisis good, crisis good for a while. For in reality crisis is neither good nor bad but to get there you will need to re balance your brain.
    tootle pip

  9. 9 tomb

    would have to more than rebalance I would have to take up whatever religion you have discovered. Tell the unemployed crisis es are good, tell those that lost their homes etc. The crisis hasn’t even bitten yet as they print money to stall it. Will be sure to tell those thrown out in the streets that it is for the best. Perhaps you should be in spain or greece telling them they didn’t get into enough debt and should now enjoy the bust instead of whinging all the time.

    Yes we can all hold hands and say crisis good and it will all be better

  10. 10 steve owens

    tomb You are correct that for every casualty the crisis is a disaster and I do argue for the current system to be replaced by a more rational system.
    The point that I’m trying to make is that from the systems point of view (if there is such a thing) crisis is no bad thing it’s the way that the system progresses. If there were not “irrational” booms then a whole lot of productive capacity wouldn’t be created. And if there were not busts then that new capacity wouldn’t be put to profitable use.
    Way back when we started arguing I likened booms and busts to breathing ie the system doing the opposite to what it just did but still totally necessary.
    My main target has been Marxists dating way back to Marx and Engels who misunderstood the crisis they were witnessing and interpreted it as being much more harmful to the system than it turned out to be.

  11. 11 informally yours

    Hi David thanks for the run down of what is happening in Queensland.

    I think the answer to your question compliance or defiance is Neither! This is because in general if there is no prospect for unity for your program then any idea will sink as it will not be possible to bring people with it. So for instance the idea of shaming or pressuring the Newman government to back or step down through general strike (Presumably leading to a general election and the prospect of an ALP victory is pure fantasy.

    The discussion re anti-strike laws arises and it’s pointed out that South Africa has right to strike laws enshrined in the constitution and that did not stop the state firing on miners there. The state will always respond to these kind of conflicts with escalating threats and then real violence, and so when confronted as they were, push will come to shove and innocents are seriously affected. To me this is most likely a problem of wrong leadership. Get this, it is wrong leadership to encourage people to put themselves on the front line to make them martyrs or something in an internal war. That never was or will be for me

    I have been struck with the idea that given the state of the superannuation provisions here in Australia where trade unions oversee their administration that all Australian workers now have a financial interest in things not going to hell in a hand basket.

    Re: cuts to public service jobs, personally I couldn’t give two hoots and I am not the only one. This kind of Trade unionism only holds things back. It has in the recent past deliberately fettered the introduction of new technology if there was the chance of job losses. (First secretaries,typing pools tellers, etc.)

    The modern trade union movement is so stuck in 19th century thinking about what a so-called workers movement program ought to be and ultimately just tailing behind the ALP electorally.

    Rather than pursuing outdated strategies such as calling for a general strike of ‘workers’ regardless of the facts on the ground must be avoided. I think I understand things better when I concentrate on what are proletarian interests and does it serve the people. As opposed to the intimidation and otherwise that is associated with worker rights strategies that are narrowly directed and divisive. I think Bill Hartley showed the way forward is to develop electoral strategies and interventions of a non-ALP kind.

  12. 12 steve owens

    Informally yours, Do you mean the Bill Hartley who was involved in trying to borrow money from Saddam? or is there another Bill Hartley?
    I know that Bill Hartley was involved in a number of failed projects. Which one in particular do you think we can learn from. His forming a left faction within the ALP, or his formation of a political party so obscure I cant even remember its name.

  13. 13 steve owens

    Now I have had some admiration for what Bill Hartley stood for but this episode was completely bizzar

  14. 14 tomb

    Steve booms and busts are not good for capitalism. It is an inherent flaw in the system. It is one of the reasons we oppose capitalism and perhaps one of the reasons it is overthrown.

    After a bust you get a boom and yes booms are good it is the bust we don’t want!!! Years of negative growth are not good!! Saying booms and busts are part of capitalism says nothing and it is not the way the system progresses it is a flaw in the system!! This particular bust may take decades to overcome and this is not a feature of any system.

    In other posts you implied they were avoidable and we should just run deficit budgets etc so assume you retract that nonsense now and agree they are unavoidable or else your statement “it is the way the system progresses” makes no sense.

    informally; agree unions are corrupt and redundant and we need a more general response.

  15. 15 informally yours

    Steve, I guess I ought to have done more history as i had no idea that Hartley had been within the ALP. Anyway, by the time he left he certainly was aware of where the ALPs Achilles Heel is and was spot on with his electoral strategy.

    I was 15 when Hartley did his Saddam trick so it is no mystery I wouldn’t know much about it – don’t think Saddam had committed too many crimes against humanity in 1975 so whatever Hartley tried will obviously sound/seem bizarre in light of more recent historical events. To me all this says more about the failings of the Socialist International than it does about my position or even Bill Hartley’s for that matter.

  16. 16 steve owens

    tomb, I don’t see the problem. Capitalism develops unprofitable productive capacity during booms. Then there is a bust, the owners go broke and they are replaced by owners buying in at fire sale prices. This productive capacity is brought back on line because what was not profitable has become profitable. IE like my train and fiber optic cable examples.
    I don’t see this as controversial its just an example of how Capitalism works.
    Do I think that this is the best we can do?
    Well no I think we can do better.
    No worries informally yours. When ever I saw Bill Hartley(on the TV) I would usually be in agreement with him. I used to subscribe to his factions paper. Oh his political party was the Progressive Labor Party. Mainly a Victorian thing I think.

  17. 17 steve owens

    “Re: cuts to public service jobs, personally I couldn’t give two hoots and I am not the only one.”
    I left this one alone hoping that someone else would give it a go.
    Really this is a home page for the revolutionary left and we get
    “Re: cuts to public service jobs, personally I couldn’t give two hoots and I am not the only one.”

  18. 18 tomb

    Steve you stated busts were unnecessary keynes had the answer now you are saying they are the way the system progresses. Don’t know how a 3 year old cant see the contradiction here. So what is it Steve, no busts or necessary busts?

  19. 19 steve owens

    tomb I think that Capitalism is marked by booms and busts, I also think that these unplanned spurts of growth followed by a painful reorganization are part of an unplanned pattern of grow, consolidate, grow. I agree with Keynes that government intervention IE demand management can affect the size and frequency of these oscillations
    So there you are no contradiction.
    I have argued here consistently that unregulated Capitalism would be a system so unstable that it would collapse due to it’s own contradictions. That was the sort of Capitalism that Marx was looking at. That’s the type of Capitalism that the Austrians want.
    tomb Capitalism changes over time, what holds for 1860 is not necessarily relevant in 2012. Marxists who think that they can understand 2012 by a deeper reading of a 19th Century book have been and will remain hopelessly at sea on these matters and will be reduced to name calling and coming up with these “contradictions” in my argument.
    good day sir

  20. 20 informally yours

    Hey Steve, frankly I am not at all interested in discussing anything with you but I was hoping to shock you into going off about this before. Don’t make any assumptions as you often do that my view is dominant here. It isn’t.

    For me, the thing is that if the govt. who pays the workers is or has been living beyond its means drastic measures such as this will be required and it is in the best national and proletarian interests to fix it.

    Any colour administration is duty bound to do what is necessary to re-balance the books in these circumstances – otherwise it is being run in a ‘unsustainable’ way. I loved my Howard bonus, but this govt. has borrowed money to push their agenda through and it is absolutely indefensible under the circumstances. When I get the bonus now I get nervous for the future.

    I hope the ALP is crushed at the next election. Particularly I’d love to knock some off their perch in South Aust..Kate Ellis, Amanda Rishworth in particular.

  21. 21 steve owens

    Yeah there’s are real scare campaign about debt so it’s good to look at the figures as a % of GDP
    1975 debt 0%
    83-84 debt 7.5%
    84-85 debt 9.3%
    85-86 debt 10.3%
    95-96 debt 18.1%
    07 debt 0%
    12 debt 9.6%
    13 projected debt 7.3%

  22. 22 informally yours

    Scare campaign?? Steve – You are funny you ought to have been a comedian.

  23. 23 informally yours

    Steve wrote “tomb Capitalism changes over time, what holds for 1860 is not necessarily relevant in 2012. Marxists who think that they can understand 2012 by a deeper reading of a 19th Century book have been and will remain hopelessly at sea on these matters and will be reduced to name calling and coming up with these “contradictions” in my argument.”

    Get over your personal differences and prejudices (that someone is calling you names rather than taking on the points of difference straight up) and shine that light of insight back upon yourself. Why would anybody think or say that just cos you read Marx or other classics that you would want to dogmatically try and apply it to today.

    The point is that the reading of these passages spark useful comparison and thought about this or that aspect of life today and how a program might arise from it. Your position is nothing more than a caricature of the diverse range of positions argued by contributors to this site and is therefore largely mistaken. BTW on the name-calling thing I’ve checked and tomb didn’t call you names and neither did anyone else as far as I could see.

  24. 24 tomb

    nice try Steve but you can’t squirm out of it. Keynes said the “government could affect the size” Of course this is vague enough to mean anything. You said it could avoid a bust by these measures not change the size as this would have meant you would have had to say how much.From what you are saying now not much. you seem to just say whatever is on the top of your head and then try to cover up with stupid statements like the one above.

    Capitalism changes, what sort of crap is that? Grass grows!!!! Steve if you ever read Marx and understood it then you would know about dialectics and not need to tell marxists about change but clearly you don’t understand theory or change. The dynamics and underlying principles of capitalism are the same and the added complexities have obviously confused you and given your inability to get any depth in your research or discussions this is not surprising.

    If you want to oppose Marx then come out and do it don’t hide behind glib throwaway lines like capitalism has changed.

    I am finished with this discussion don’t bother trying to come up with anymore excuses on my account

  25. 25 steve owens

    tomb in talking about my position on busts you on Nov 6 2012 @ 7.06am said “In other posts you implied that they were avoidable….”
    On November 7 2012 @ 2.40 you wrote “Steve you stated busts were unnecessary……”
    You again repeated on Nov 8 2012 @ 3.29am “You said it could avoid a bust…..”
    Well done in 2 day you have taken my position from an implication to a bold assertion.

  26. 26 informally yours

    Steve the art of politics is to make the ‘necessary’ reality. Each differing paradigm will bring up what is necessary and there isn’t a necessary unity as to what that prognosis will be. (i.e class interests – What is to be done?) But you can bet your bottom dollar there is implication in the way in which each and every ‘necessity’ can be made reality through policy implementation.

    So you can’t divorce the implications from the policy position – they are just simply there like left and right. If Tomb has it wrong (which I don’t think he has here) for imputing you with bold assertions as opposed to your more measured claims it could well be purely because of your oppositional, petulant and mischievous approach generally to discussions here.

    PS you haven’t backed away from saying you were called names during this discussion. (Well apart from my saying you are a comedian which though dismissive wasn’t particularly offensive)

  27. 27 steve owens

    Marxists who think that they can understand 2012 by a deeper reading of a 19th Century book have been and will remain hopelessly at sea on these matters and will be reduced to name calling and coming up with these “contradictions” in my argument.
    good day sir
    Informally yours, If you read the above quote carefully you will realise that I have not claimed anything like the tangent that you are trying to take us on.

  28. 28 tomb

    Steve stop squirming do you think busts are necessary or avoidable?

  29. 29 informally yours

    Thankyou Steve your last comments confirm my view of your lack of interest in genuine discussion.

  30. 30 steve owens

    “Steve stop squirming do you think busts are necessary or avoidable?”
    tomb due to every economy being exposed to the world market busts are unavoidable because the masters of one economy can’t avoid a bust if their major trading partner stops trading with them. The world market is beyond their control.
    As long as we have booms busts will follow.

  31. 31 steve owens

    “I’m a long supporter of the LNP and I support their policies 100 per cent but when I see members elected on their banner that don’t support their policies and are pillaging this state, lying to the community, pretending we’re in debt and setting us up for a very nasty future, I’m concerned about it.”
    Well known ultra leftist Clive Palmer pointing out to the “real” left that there’s a log in their eye

  32. 32 steve owens

    young marxist I think that the question you raise is important.
    I live along way from Queensland and would not like to give specific advice because the questions are tactical and those on the ground will have a much better feel for the tactical situation.
    However I would like to make some general observations having been in campaigns where newly elected governments have suddenly come to the conclusion that instead of the promised spending increases they introduced spending cuts. In my case it was the Dean Brown government that reversed its increased services promise.
    Queensland with its SEQEB dispute and its freedom to march campaign has a load of experience in confronting arsehole governments and despite the SEQEB loss this collective memory will be very valuable in the campaign.
    In the anti Brown campaign it was very valuable to have the ALP, the unions and sections of the media on side. It might not be very “revolutionary” but for the campaign to have legs it is essential.
    With the ALP it’s good for them to make statements of how they would restore services only because you can use those statements against them at a later date.
    Splits in the government are gold and Clive Palmer’s tantrum is excellent. Does he stand alone or are there other NLPers that will follow him out of the party. Whatever, his statements will be excellent propaganda material.
    Does the campaign still have life? My union journal is still running stuff about the closure of 200 beds in residential aged care. Are the mass rallies still happening or are you down to highlighting specific outrages? On the topic of outrages that $400K fine for Bob Carnegie is campaign gold “Government persecutes man for trying to help sick kids” sort of line. Socialist Alternative are excellent at this sort of campaign. A lot of their leadership came out of the street march campaigns and they ran the Austudy 5 campaign for several years getting lots of publicity and a favourable court outcome as well.
    Are you acting alone or are you part of a specific campaign group?
    Is the government standing united or are there nervous politicians wavering in the face popular opposition?

  33. 33 informally yours

    Oh yeah let’s run a Socialist Alternative type campaign. Comedian, I was right at first.

  34. 34 tomb

    “tomb due to every economy being exposed to the world market busts are unavoidable”

    Well Steve this is truly a gem. Busts are due to globalisation!!!!!

    And finally you say “As long as we have booms busts will follow”. So booms cause busts!!!!

    We can take it then that your crap about stimulus and printing money could avoid the bust was just that crap!!! You were misleading people and wasting everyone’s time.
    Again busts are an inherent flaw in capitalism and much and all as you hate “deep” research maybe it’s time to do some.

  35. 35 steve owens

    tomb, I don’t see your problem.
    One thing that is beyond national control is the international situation. That is fairly obvious. If China decides to stop buying Australian coal and iron ore then the Australian economy will crash, no fiscal or monetary adjustments will return the Australian economy to stability. Globalisation does make economic management more tricky but that is offset by the enormous rewards that globalisation brings.
    Some booms do cause busts. That is correct but yet again fairly obvious. There are different types of booms and different types of busts. The last boom was an assest price bubble. Bubbles are identifiable and treatable but this one was alowed to grow to enormous proportions because remedial strategies were politically unpalatable.
    When presented with a bust economic planners argue about two options these being stimulus and austerity. As far as my shallow reading of the matter goes the stimulus guys have won the day. Countries that have tried austerity have found it self defeating and have experienced deeper recessions. Countries that have tried stimulus have better growth records and have avoided deflation.
    You have argued that we are just at the begining of this bust and that the worst is about to come. I dont think that your position is supported by the evidence.

  36. 36 Steve Owens

    “Capitalism changes, what sort of crap is that? Grass grows!!!! Steve if you ever read Marx and understood it then you would know about dialectics and not need to tell marxists about change but clearly you don’t understand theory or change.”
    tomb Ill try to explain why I think that Capitalism has changed since the 19th century.
    First lets look at the most important part of capitalism, the working class.
    In the 19C the working class lived in great depravation. The average age in cities like Liverpool dropped to 15. During the US civil war slave owners could correctly point out that slaves lived better lives than the industrial proletariate.
    During the 19C worker rebellion was so rife that Britain stationed more troops in British industrial regions than it sent to Europe to fight Napoleon.
    Marx thought that these conditions would drive workers into unions and that unions would become educators for people moving on to mass revolutionary parties that would exhibit internationalism.
    However unions became the centre piece of a totally new phenomenon that of reformism which became the dominant ideology of the working class. Internationalism was surplanted by nationalism.
    What Im saying is that capitalism changed because the working class changed. Whenever capitalism is threatened reformism will step in and save it. One German trade union leader likened unions to “doctors of Capitalism”
    Capitalism has made some other changes yes most obviously in size. The British economy in Marx’s time was about the size of the Indian economy in the 1960’s Would we really think that a study of 1960’s India would give us much of a clue about the world economy in 2060?
    The other big change is the coordinating role taken on by government but I know that you see this as a weakeness in capitalism rather than a strength so I won’t labour the point.

  37. 37 steve owens

    I can’t believe that people don’t blog here any more its just weak fuckin weak

  38. 38 patrickm

    Steve; It was useful when it was functioning well but it’s not now, and that’s all there is to be said about it at the moment.

    On another issue now that the censoring fools have control of TNS I am currently not commenting anywhere as well as not being published.

    Posted the following comment at Louis Proyect’s site but I can’t be bothered with that particular site in general.

    ‘You might like to know that the new owners and destroyers of TNS are cleansing older entries and not just censoring people now! Have a look at what they are removing from the site.

    Anyway my ‘students’ are having fun watching the slow motion collapse and are doing ‘the numbers’ on a spread sheet.

    Obviously done by kids so could be small errors but the big trends of what was building TNS is as clear as it gets. Controversial articles got the debates going and lifted the whole site. Censorship has killed it stone dead!’

    Incredible how stupid people can be as the numbers for the site show.

    A great opportunity for kids to see what happened and to have a play at spread sheet. Have a look.

    And, this other British site below is effectively dead, but note that Pham Binh was posting to it after he resigned from TNS. (and Brian S. as well)

    If ANYONE has a good idea of what is currently to be done I would like to hear it.

  39. 39 steve owens

    Why is it not functioning well now?
    Why isn’t all this spam just removed like it was before?
    Why cant other bloggers be invited to blog here? Surely on your sojourns to other sites you have met other people who would like to contribute to a site that had a very loose attitude to censorship.
    Is the reason this site defunct a political matter or an organizational matter?

  40. 40 steve owens

    Who ever cleans up the spam thank you

  41. 41 pault

    Thanks Steve. We are doing some site upgrading; so all encouragement much appreciated.

  42. 42 patrickm

    Steve; Sorry for the delay.

    The answer is of course that everything is connected to everything, but this site stopped functioning because it was no longer seen to be a good use of people’s time. That’s hardly novel, a lot of blogs stop for the same reason, but in our case we had never wanted to get comfortable and talk in some sort of echo chamber anyway.

    To publish, people must have something new to say as there are only so many times one can for example explain why the tiny U.S. executive around G.W. Bush took the policy direction that they did after 9/11. (You would think that by now someone would have turned this Lastsuperpower line into a coherent book but no one has. I should have given it a go but haven’t, so there is a good example of the paralysis that can set in.)

    Generally ‘we’ have always sought to ‘get out and about’ and develop our positions through contentious exchanges with people who think quite differently, but at the same time have sought to develop a ‘base’ that could be referred to, and built upon; but this has had many trials and pitfalls and without a critical mass has not been easy. Time and energy are the principal enemies.

    For example, from my experience at Larvatus Prodeo, a pro-ALP ‘green’ Australian site; and The North Star (out of New York and now turned into a cesspool of censorship) both were once good places to visit and through those debates develop political understandings, but both of these sites for different reasons have also effectively collapsed! That has been the case with all manner of blogs, pseudoleft and otherwise.

    But someone has to keep a site running and that hasn’t been the case for a while but now Anita and Paul have stepped up so we shall see how we go.

    I hope that as people who value Strangetimes find sites of interest they will always bring them to people’s attention here, so that is another good reason to maintain a functioning ‘base’.

    It’s all well and good commenting on a site that is open and willing to publish one’s articles. But as TNS shows things change and people have to be ready to NOT be published. Communists are apparently, if my experience is anything to go by, often completely shut out and even disappeared. (We even have the material that had been published previously published there removed) I guess the new Editors at TNS feel it cleanses them or something – I don’t really get it. So anyway developing a ‘base’ like Strangetimes is insurance of a sort against these disruptive surprise attacks where the pseudoleft enemy emerges in control of the host site. But those hosts sites are where the absolutely required exchanges are current.

    Pseudoleft censorship carry on, like what also happened with Mike/Nando at Kasama, and recently with the suicidal censorship at TNS proves to me it would have been a useful thing to have had a base still running from where larger articles and anything else thought worthwhile recording would have been up and able to be linked to. IMV personal ‘blogs’ so as to have a place for that material is not as good as a collective effort where people can drop in and update others on whatever it is that’s on their mind and that is what ST offers.

    PS just on the international front;

    It’s now almost 5 years into the Obama debacle and clearly individuals matter at that level as well. Rumsfeld knew he was reversing his long held policy position where now – after Gates and then Panetta – Hagel appears almost clueless. Clinton following Rice was credible but now Kerry!!

    Republican to Democrat is NOT just a Tweedledee Tweedledum swap, and a failure of ‘corporate memory’ is clearly at work here. They have not ‘handed over’ in the manner of a country involved in a desperate war, but rather in the manner of a smug ‘superpower’ that is slowly slipping out the back door, and like the frog in the warming water not noticing the changes.

    I think even the Bush administration did not fully grasp how much they had changed direction and that they easily bought their own propaganda about the U.S. always being for ‘democracy’, with realist policies only reluctantly adopted as required in the fight against communism etc..

    Getting into the ruling elites head spaces is not as easy as the likes of ‘nothing ever changes’ Chomsky makes out; meanwhile the world really is changing though…

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