Murdoch’s Telegraph and The Australian scream it from their headlines.
Alan Jones, Steve Price and Ray Hadley scream it over the airwaves.
“Sydney’s Western Suburbs hate Labor!”
Hate the sight of them. Hate the sound of them. Hate the very thought of them.
It’s almost in the air we breathe.
It’s a real dilemma for us all let alone a Labor leader trying to woo them to vote for the local hack.
Sydney’s Western Suburbs are the home of Keating’s true believers. They have been loyal for generations. They expected and aspired and to an extent prospered.
Their loyalty and belief has been dashed as the reality of the Obeid’s, the Williamson’s, the MacDonald’s heaped injury and insult on the abuses so many Westies had previously turned a blind eye to.
Used and betrayed
In NSW, Labor stands as little more than a training house for those seeking the life of Riley. Inside it they squabble amongst themselves for each opportunity to feast on the plums of office in a betrayal of those they ask to put them there. Some are not so crass but in the sum this is their way.
The cloak of idealistic endeavour, of serving those suffering hardship and deprivation stands exposed as a sham.
The crisis on the roads, unreliability of the trains, hospital waiting lists, price gouging by state electricity and water instrumentalities, open slather for developers in the suburbs, neglect of government schools, the handovers of public land and taxing local bowling and small clubs out of existence, have all burdened the West.
They know they have been used and betrayed, and as a scorned lover turns blindly vengeful, Westies await their opportunity to give Labor its comeuppance in spades.
Impotence in the parliamentary arena
But it’s not so much being spurned, it’s Westies’ impotence in the world of power, where state power and money power meld into a parasitic beast of such potency that the millions in Sydney’s West count for next to naught.
The real issues in Sydney’s West are power and capitalism.
The power of capitalism, and its vile henchmen (and they are mostly men) in the parliamentary arena in all their exposed parasitic greed, disenfranchising the people from their own suburbia.
The complete impotence of the working class in suburbia and society, with Labor hacks using the West as their ticket to the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and their combination with the bankers and mining giants against the mortgage belt, has come to this denouement.
The workers hate their impotence. That is what this is about.
They know in their bones capital rules supreme but they have been told time and again “We’ll look after you” by the now exposed quislings of Labor.
Capitalist power flaunted
The aspirationals and battlers of the West strive to get some improvements in their lives and for their kids. For ever tiny advance they have achieved, they watch the bankers and mining monopolies enrich themselves at an astounding rate. Big money, the monopolies of every sort, mining companies, real estate developers, financiers, chemical monopolies, transport moguls, supermarket retail conglomerates, and gas companies all run rampant over society and over the West.
The monopolies rub our noses in their exercise of power, their day-to-day control of state power in our communities, our states and territories and the nation.
Bribery and corruption of parliamentary elites is merely a sideshow to the main game of capitalism.
See how quickly all the issues of law, regulation and environmental controls have been cleared from the path of coal-seam gas companies.
Contrast that with endless squabbling, erection of barriers or inaction over fixing the health and education systems or congestion on the cities roads.
Power and impotence is the issue.
Our impotence and their power.
Workers have real power beyond parliament
According to the “rules” of the capitalist game, there is only one power in Westies’ hands, their vote. And they intend to use it, even if it hurts.
It may not be the right approach. It is certainly not the best approach, but until they know another one it will do for now.
Many know Abbott will hit them. They are not fooled by his gloating observation that the Western suburbs are the “new heartland of the Liberal Party”. They know he’s from the North Shore. A boy from a top private school. A trusted confidante of big business. That’s not news to them. They are not as silly as the shock jocks would have people believe.
But their current focus is on getting back at those who have ignored them in the pursuit of self-interest and power through corruption.
They yearn to exercise the one “power” granted to them by the system and that’s their vote.
Class consciousness in the Western suburbs is a product of spontaneity and is still to be developed into a scientific ideology. The West is cosmopolitan, ethnically, and in its experience. It is aware of itself as a class but not yet aware enough and organized enough to act for itself as a class.
Over time, that higher class consciousness is bound to develop. Capitalism and the class struggle will make such a development inevitable.
The task of Communists is to work patiently amongst the people, starting always from the spontaneous reaction of the people to their own impotence and to the power of the class that rules over them in society.
Rather than obsess about whether or not the Western suburbs vote for Gillard or Abbott, our task is to take the discussion beyond the bounds of parliamentarism, to gradually raise the class consciousness of the Westies and of working people around the nation to the real power they have in workplace and community organization.
It is to win them to confidence in an agenda for fundamental social change that can be kept independent of, and advanced outside of, the parliamentary channels.
There is fertile ground everywhere for comrades who are prepared to go into the community and amongst all with whom they work, who can overcome the “left bloc” and really implement the mass line style of political work.