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  Issue No 78 Official Organ of LaborNet 17 November 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

Tool Shed

The Mad Monk Goes Marxist

This week, we welcome back a Tool Shed regular, a man who mixes religion and socialist theory to support his push to get the State out of the welfare sector.

Tony Abbott was in the SMH this week quoting that champion of outsourcing Karl Marx's famous dictum "from each according to their ability, to each according to his need".

We doubt Marx had the idea of contracting out welfare in mind when writing his Manifesto and Capital. We are even less convinced that the great man would have had any regard for a spivvy political gold-digger like the Mad Monk.

Perhaps Abbot has been reading his Engels and has acted to get government out of welfare after being alarmed by the following:

It was found that the state institutions, in which the rule of the bourgeoisie is organised, offer the working class still further opportunities to fight these very state institutions.

A fuller reading of just a small sample of Marx's work would come up with the following words of wisdom which might serve as a warning to The Monk and his ilk.

  • The organisation of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by competition between the workers themselves. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition or particular interests of workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself.
  • Modern bourgeois society... is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells...But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons - the modern working class - the proletarians (all failings of gender are Marx's (nobody's perfect))

Finally to the Monk's resort to the words of the Pope to fix welfare recipients "in their place" in the social order. Marx may have replied:

  • All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned"

Of course, Abbott's problem is that he's not only an ideologue, he's also a smartarse.

But enough of our vitriol for some genuine analysis we hand over Workers Online reader M.Webb who nominated Abbott:

"Tony Abbott speaks of mutual obligation for the unemployed however, in the absence of many full time jobs, he is now roping in St Vincent de Paul & charities in general, in his latest effort to shift responsibility from government to individuals and community organisations.

Tony Abbott very selectively quotes from the Catholic Church and the current Pope in order to gratuitously advise St Vincent de Paul to follow the Liberal Party philosophy to contract out Federal government responsibility to look after the unemployed financially.

Tony Abbott, once associated with Bob Santamaria's National Civic Council. However, even Santamaria believes in support for the unemployed by government and would never burden charities with the responsibility of social security. Tony forgets that the NCC supports the Industrial Relations Commissions and its former role before Peter Reith changed it with anti worker laws. Tony also holds to many North Shore Sydney Liberal views about God and the role of government quite at odds with the old labor views held by the old Industrial groupers he once had an association with before he entered Parliament. Tony is also at odds with the Irish Aussie labor views of many people south of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and beyond the NorthSydney Chatswood to Berowra/Hornsby Lib set he hangs out with.

If Tony followed St Paul and the church view of real work shirkers, he would honestly have to give himself a real pay cut for his policies on contracting out of the old CES to private enterprise and thoroughly stuffing it up. Generally, as he holds the Federal Liberal cabinet line on selling off public assets, privatisation etc, he should then recognise that as he is 'devolving' himself of government responsibilities to the private sector, that as he is a publicly funded Tory, that he should take a big pay cut and live by his Liberal beliefs. "

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*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 78 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Doubly Blessed
With that unforgettable name, Grace Grace is making her mark as the first female secretary of the Queensland trade union movement.
*  Unions: On The Line
Trade unions this week entered a landmark partnership with the call centre industry to improve the quality jobs in this growing sector.
*  History: Conspiracy or Class? The Whitlam Sacking
Never trust a man who wears a top hat and tails in Australia, in Summer. Neale Towart considers this and other evidence of conspiracy in the great shonky dismissal.
*  Legal: Return Of The Lock-out
Marian Baird reports on the increasing tendency of aggressive employers to use lock-outs to reduce wages and conditions and promote individual agreements.
*  Activists: Waterfront Hero Bows Out
John Coombs, the man the government compared to Ned Kelly - villain to the bosses, the big land owners and conservatives, folk hero to working Australians - bows out of the union movement next month.
*  International: Morocco Stonewalls In Western Sahara
Morocco has new king but its old game plan of defying world opinion over its occupation of the Western Sahara continues.
*  Review: The Identity-Shifting Pragmatist
If New Zealand should have an Australian as its first Labour Prime Minister, then it is only fitting that Australia should have as its first a man who spent much of his formative years across the ditch.
*  Satire: Hackers Infect Microsoft Computers With Mysterious Windows Virus
SEATTLE, Thursday: Shame-faced workers at Microsoft admitted today that hackers had succeeded in penetrating their network's defences and had installed a sophisticated virus on the Apple Macintosh machines used across the software giant's operations.

»  STOP PRESS: Global First - ILO Sanctions Against Burma
»  Big Bosses Bloat While Working Poor Grows
»  Union Puts Heat on Bastard Bank
»  Reith Fiddles As Workers Diddled In Shelf Company Scam
»  Call Centre Group Sets New Standard
»  Bag The Building Union Back In Vogue
»  Reith Uses the Back Door
»  Big Australian Blamed As Ships of Shame Toll Rises
»  Public Education Bus Donated to East Timor
»  Vic Opposition Blocks Fair IR Laws
»  More Reasons to Abolish the Employment Advocate
»  Coca-Cola Hit by Racism Claims
»  Souths or Bust!
»  Fundraisers for Burma, Timor, EMILY's List

»  The Soapbox
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  Heaps of US Presidential Feedback
»  George W's Words of Wisdom
»  Cancer of the Soul
»  Explaining to to the Gott - Slowly
»  Desperately Seeking George Scurry

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