Monday, November 25, 2013

Parliament is a committee that manages the affairs of the wealthy and powerful

Vanguard December 2013 p. 1
Nick G

The momentous trivia comprising the fallout from the September Federal election continues to unravel.
There is the unexpected success in the Senate of Clive Palmer’s private political party.

There is the unexpected emergence of the various right-wing grouplets who have formed an alliance with Palmer’s people.
Nonsense and rorts

There was the will-he-won’t-he win a seat shenanigans focussing on Palmer in the House of Representatives.

There was the long drawn out count in Western Australia and the disappearance of 1375 Senate ballot papers – “never to be recovered” according to special investigator Mick Keelty. 
There was the cynical resignation, just six weeks after his re-election to a six-year term, of Senator Bob Carr.  Three weeks later Kevin Rudd walks from the Parliament to which he was so recently elected.

There were the various travel claim rorts.

Such nonsense as this helps to explain the disenchantment with politicians.


Something like 500,000 or so people aged between 18 and 24 did not register to vote; almost 740,000 Australians voted informal. That’s over 1 million eligible voters who did not feel sufficiently committed to vote for the major parliamentary parties. 
Enough people voted for non-mainstream grouplets which, with their sophisticated interlocking preference deals, gave them a voice outside the two major parties, reflecting one aspect of the disenchantment that many feel with the mainstream choice that was on offer.

Another was the frequently heard complaint: “I just don’t know who to vote for…I don’t like Abbott, but I can’t vote for Labor”.
While the disenchantment with the main parties and their candidates runs strong, so too does belief in parliamentary democracy. 

Independent working class agenda

Focus on individuals and grouplets is a fog through which the profound truth that governments are but “a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie” (Marx) struggles to make itself seen.
Unless the disenchantment is linked to that truth, it exists as a vacuum that can be preyed upon by populist right-wing and neo-Nazi types.

But it also offers us opportunities for our work in developing an independent working class agenda.
That agenda is not merely to seek certain democratic assurances, certain temporary concessions and short-term gains, but must also serve to tear away from the naked class rule of the exploiters the fig leaf of their parliamentary system.

It promotes working class demands that are expressed in the struggles that go on every day in real life well beyond the musty halls of parliament – struggles for decent, secure jobs, affordable housing, quality healthcare and education, fair and compassionate social services, efficient and reliable public transport, fairly-priced utilities, clean and sustainable energy and agriculture, etc.

All these struggles of the people are part of building a movement that will move beyond the musical chair game of parliament and challenge the power of the corporate monopolies and multinationals that really call the shots.

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