Greetings and salutations Comrades, I hope all is going well for you . In my last column i talked of the ability punk (and any other form of dissident political culture) has as a tool to raise class-consciousness and spread revolutionary ideas and Punk/Harc-Core on the whole as part of a broader anti-capitalist movement.
Cool.Well my hope is in the next series of columns is to explore the political dimensions of punk in terms of stated ideology , and within the context of the system and class struggle and finally the prospects for change.(hmm that sentence doesn't sound right). My first argument is that now more than ever serious revolutionary leftist politics and an independent worker's movement is needed .We face not only the bloody prospect of the inevitably violence associated with the conflict between western hegemony and the rising capitalist classes of third world nations(the Gulf war is a perfected example of this : Western capitalists fighting the Iraqi ruling class and in the process killing 100,000 Iraqi conscripts and sentencing a nation to complete impoverishment , while the Iraqi capitalists retain their power because America is more scared of the Shiite rebels in the south and the anti-Turkish Kurds in the north than they are the bloody Baathist tyrants.....ha fucking ha) and environmental destruction to further 'economic development' which translates into real speak as 'increasing profit margins" but also a continual impoverishment of workers in the West.All the conditions that western workers struggled for so hard and in some ways made capitalism tolerable are being sacrificed to continue this bastard economic system. Thus unions are being attacked, work conditions slashed and government spending on everything from healthcare to universities and welfare has been decimated in a economic (ir)rationalist orgy to make the country attractive to multinational investment and competitive with conditions in less developed nation states (where incidentally workers are fighting, and i mean fighting you should see the footage that comes out from Korea, for better conditions).On top of this is the ideological offensive that the state maintains.Now capitalism has always tried to justified it's positions and behaviour, the media is full of lie about the glory of the system and how well it works. Terms like "labour flexibility " don't only have an Orwelian quality but are used constantly in the mass media.The reality of that labour flexibility is of course increasing the capitalists control over worker's labour and squeezing out more surplus value(this is a Marxist term indicating how capitalism makes profits out of worker' labour by not paying them for the full value of the labour that they sell).But what is worse is that the western working class is on the whole so demoralised due to the failures of social democracy and the piss farting of reformist parties and right-wing union bosses that the new capitalist ideological offensive has in someway succeeded in indoctrinating the masses with New Right ideology. This seems to be a blend between old social conservatism (sexism, racism and "family values") ; economic rationalism that is justified by a "hard work ethic".This is seen in the depictions of students and welfare recipients as "bludges" who are wasting peoples taxes and while we are on the topic lets give the doers in society a tax break so here you go Mr CEO of Bastard Whale killing and toxic waste production Inc. have a cut in company tax.....hahahahaha.On top of this is a paranoia developed of minority interests. Workers are told that it is Political Correctness , affirmative action and "Greenies" that are taking jobs....of course the reality is far different.Downsizing has been the order of the day throughout the 1990s. In fact Marx as early as last century realised the trend to replace workers with technology as a way to create more profits as a fundamental of capitalist economics....smart man old Marx was..(ohhh i can already hear the anarchist calling for my blood....i forgot i was only allowed to read Chomsky and Kropotkin) .Yet immigrants are blamed for job losses at the same time that steel giant BHP(the Big Australian as it is nicknamed) sacks thousands of people......you could cry.
What makes it all so more tragic is the lack of the left -wing alternative, Labor and social democratic parties have become ideologically bankrupt centrist middle-class formations.A result that comes directly from there attempts to manage capitalist in the workers interest, which in fact turned into just managing capitalism and the rich benefited....but yes there were some reforms. How ever the reality is that you can not just lay your hands on capitalist machinery and hope for the best...you must smash it and replace it with worker's institutions.
But anyway as I said there is a lack of a left-wing alternate, and people are seeing the damage capitalism is doing...this leaves the door open for the far right to enter.A task made easier by the fact that their ideologies are often not that different from the lies feed to us by the media about immigration and "special int erest groups".Even when these right-wing groups remain in a minority they if unchecked create a general shift to the Right in society.Thus here in Australia the Liberal-National coalition can find space for it's racism thanks to the Activities of the pseudo-fascists One Nation, and visa versa.
But it is not all doom and gloom as some sectors are fighting back such as the Maritime workers who just defeated the attempts to train "industrial mercenaries" who would have been used to brake the union and students who are fighting against funding cuts.
But the fundamental problems is the lack of the Leftwing alternative and class-consciousness and confidence amongst the proletariat....some thing we must address.
Now punk has always seen itself in broadly left-wing terms , ranging from "progressive" to "anarchist" and politics has always played a part.It is something that gives it it's versitility.However it is my belief that many of the particularly anarchist orthodoxies that dominate the punk/hard-core scene are incorrect and in the long run damaging.
Yes punk is primarily a cultural thing and involves such excellent traits as having fun and enjoying yourself but if we are serious about acting out our ideas for change our analysis and perspective has to be crystal clear. Unfortunately many ideas held by the Punk culture about , the state and government, Corporatism vs small scale capitalism, the nature of revolutionary organisations, pacifism and the history of the left is painfully inadequate and will not help us in the struggles ahead. that i think sets the tone and yeh it is full of huge generalisations. So that is how I'm going to proceed for the next columns.
Yehe, but on a lighter note if any of you yanks live in Colorado go out of your way to find and hang with Carrie Bartlett and Lis Anderson...these two girls are AWESOME. So for that matter are Marcy and Sarah Cocchiola( i hope i spelt that write) both are from Cheshire (?) CT, but Marcy goes to UMASS.Find these people out and hang with them..it is so worth it.Oh yeh yours truly will be in the States from the 19th of January...seek me out and be nice to me.
On the Music front i realise that many non-Aussies might not have anything by Fallout or Heads Kicked Off two of Australia's most awesome bands.In fact Fallout's 7 inch Resist Control is the most fucking amazing slab of noise(power violence is GO!!!) you could every find..it even has samples from "Bad Boy Bubby" on it.
And if you are sitting there going "Baddy Boy WHO?" then you have rush out to the video store and get it.....it is a full on film full of sex, murder, incest, madness, religious intolerance, challenging of social norms , love and the search for happiness.Basically it is about a man who for the first 35 years of his life is raised in one room and his world consists of his brutal , incestuous mother and his feral cat...wow.
On the topic of movies...."Idiot Box"(Aussie) "La Haine"(French) and The Delicatessen(French) are also must sees.Idiot box , a tale of two unemployed blokes and their struggles with boredom and alienation in modern Sydney contains the great line" Bev, i got a poem for ya. "you are an idiot, you are a bitch, you shit me to tears , I'm going down to the pub." see ya round.