Every evening the TV news bulletins tell us how the share prices have reacted to the latest speculative trading deals or new mergers and takeovers by international and local monopolies. It is a necessary function of the monopoly media to monitor their masters’ profit-making and pick out current opportunities and pitfalls.
No such concerted effort is made to inform the working class of matters which might impact on their livelihoods, or perhaps reveal the extent of workers’ exploitation, poverty, debt and unemployment, let alone the cause of it. You have to dig it out of Bureau of Statistics data and business reports and academic papers.
For instance, by the end of last year there was a 12% increase in people receiving long term unemployment benefits - more than 527,000 people. In Victoria, hit hard by the export of manufacturing jobs, 9.5% of the workforce is now classed as ‘under-employed’, more than 290,000 workers with only part-time jobs.
For instance, a recent report by Barclays Bank stated that household debt in Australia (mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans) was greater than all other developed countries, running at a record high of 130% GDP.
For instance, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia report titled Addressing Entrenched Disadvantage in Australia reveals that 1-1.5 million people are in poverty, which is defined as “… whether households have access to goods and services that are deemed necessary, such as a substantial meal at least once a day, access to medical treatment if needed and a separate bed for each child. Another method looks at people’s social exclusion across seven areas, including employment, material resources and health.”
These raw figures don’t reveal the anguish and misery that many working families suffer as imperialist globalisation restructures Australia’s economy into a ‘service hub’ with a small core of professional and skilled jobs and a large periphery of part-time, casual and transient jobs.
This is all made worse with vicious government austerity cut-backs to social services, healthcare and education.
This is capitalism – a small boom, a bigger bust! Wealth created by workers is increasingly transferred to a small minority of filthy rich while poor and middle income workers work harder and harder and get poorer and poorer.
Workers know this in their bones. They know the system is stacked against them. They want to change things, but whatever small gains they make soon get gobbled up by the bosses in the next round of ‘bargaining’ or the next federal budget. The parliamentary musical chair game makes little difference as the procession of betrayals and back-downs destroys their hopes for a decent life, and spreads cynicism and despair.
A serious task for communists is to break through the cynicism and fatalism, to promote empowerment of workers, and to build confidence in their capacity to organise together to win a new socialist future. Organisation is the key - trade unions, community groups and single issue groups bring people together in struggle, but it not enough without the direction of revolutionary political consciousness and revolutionary organisation.
The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) is building revolutionary organisation in the service of the working class. Our comrades are honest, courageous and dedicated. Our Party is not without its faults, but if you want to make a difference, get in touch - email: email@example.com