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Issue #1826      June 13, 2018

Taking issue – Eileen Whitehead

The Muck of Ages

Soon, I expect, another fiasco in our so-called “democratic system” will take place to choose which of our two political parties we will elect to lead us by the nose. There is hardly any difference between Labor and the Liberals: both are controlled by the corporations and the banks. And we can see the moral abyss into which that has led us. The ACTU secretary, Sally McManus is telling us that it’s time to change the system, which Marx was also saying over 100 years ago.

He realised then that it’s fine for philosophers to “interpret the world in various ways, the point is to change it.” We’re not doing a very good job, are we?

Marx also realised that the working class was being manipulated and this manipulation continues to the present day. He referred to it as “the muck of ages” and it is plain to see this being used by the dominant “elite” today in the way they preach division (the fear of the “other”). How else would they be able to get away with the vile practice of imprisoning asylum seekers offshore in such dreadful conditions?

This breeds hatred and intolerance of people who are the same as us – downtrodden workers. This isn’t difficult, of course, as the majority of the working class has already been placed in the position – on the treadmill – of placing food on the table and a roof over their head, leaving little time for actually analysing their situation, whilst steeped in despair and self-loathing. Is that too strong? How many “happy” workers do you speak to every day?

We’re experiencing a society replete with increasing alienation, cynicism and feeling of inadequacy as individuals. We’re seeing increasing unfairness and injustice in our society with instances daily of corporate greed on the one hand and homelessness on the other. What do our elected representatives do? We’ve forced them into a Royal Commission about the banks, when it’s been obvious for years of their malpractice, and union insurrection has finally forced an increase in wages.

What do we see actually happening to address the growing inequalities in our society – an increase in armed police? Marx understood this situation as early as 1852 when he saw a ruling class state with the power of suppression. He realised that if the state machine remained whole there could never be a better society for all people.

Nowhere is this better epitomised than in the actions of the US, who have ruthlessly tried to crush any sign of communism anywhere in the world. At last there seems to be a sense of gathering outrage, which appears to be more of a whimper here in Australia.

There will be no change for the better if we keep supporting the corporations by voting in this two party system.

Next article – Working poor

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