Monday, 30 January 2017

Bits and Pieces: Great Southern Land.

General Motors Holden announced recently that the last Holden Commodore will roll out of its Elizabeth assembly line (South Australia) on Friday, Oct. 20, after 69 years. One thousand factory workers will lose their jobs.

Last year Ford closed its Broadmeadows assembly plant. Toyota will shut down its own line around the same time, spelling the end of car manufacturing in Australia.


I've been a fan of Bruce Springsteen for a long time and he and the E Street Band are currently touring Australia. His 1982 song "Johnny 99" (the same year Icehouse released "Great Southern Land") seems somehow appropriate here:

Don't get me wrong, as traumatic as the end of car manufacturing will be for Australian workers, things in the US were a whole lot worse. We are experiencing now the consequences of that.

Not being an educated, intellectually sophisticated economist or philosopher, Springsteen managed to keep empathy, while opposing Donald Trump:
"Springsteen accepted some of his traditional fans -- and the types of people who have featured in his songs during his career -- would have supported Mr Trump.
" 'Plenty of good people voted for Donald Trump on the basis that I've written about for 30 years, which was the de-industrialisation of the United States and globalisation, and the technological revolution hit many people very, very, very, very hard,' he said.
"He said the economic recovery had not benefited everyone.
" 'It makes you easy pickings for a demagogue, which I believe Donald Trump is, with some very powerful statements,' Springsteen said."
Thanks for that, Boss. Hopefully, I will go to his concert.


American readers may not believe this, but Australians didn't pay much attention to the elections. No, not the American elections; those were closely followed by many. Last year's Australian federal elections, mate!

Aussie prankster, writer, documentary- and trouble-maker extraordinaire John Safran, however, took a closer look at small parties in the lead up to last year's elections and reported his experiences at a Reclaim Australia rally against Islam (July 2015), co-sponsored by Rise Up Australia (the political branch of evangelical church Catch the Fire Ministries) and United Patriots Front.

From his report ("John Safran Reports From the Reclaim Australia Rally, Where Things Were Even Scarier than he Expected", July 22, 2015):

John Safran: "Don't mean to awkward everybody [sic]
out but heaps of non-white people rallying in
support of Reclaim Australia."

Come on, don't be lazy, go there and read the whole thing: there's more photos.


I've been seeing John (not his real name) every morning, from Monday to Friday, for the best part of one year. You see, we both work ungodly hours. We are low paid grunts and one doesn't need to be too perceptive to get that: it shows. He is a white, gray-haired, short guy, a bit older than me, and his surname is Irish. I doubt he has more than high school.

Readers know that people filling that profile have been tried and found guilty on the charge of being white supremacists.

I saw John Friday November 10, 2016 (Australian time). The results of the US elections were by then conclusive.

He was disturbed: "Those rednecks' fault" -- or something like that -- he mumbled.

Now, dear respectably liberal, Leftish/Clintonite, upper-middle class, educated, intellectually sophisticated economist or philosopher, I have no heart to tell John he is a dumb racist, even if he doesn't know it. I just can't tell him he is one of those privileged "rednecks" and should die to make the world better, as you, his betters, have determined. He isn't respectable, educated, sophisticated, wealthy enough and, therefore, he is not welcome among the good guys.

I don't know why I should find it so difficult. Perhaps because, when I learned of it, the class war was between the haves and the have-nots, the capitalists versus the workers. My head cannot wrap around the idea that workers like John are now the exploiters, as you say. Or maybe it's just because John is a rather shy guy, always humble, polite and friendly (to the best of my knowledge, with people of all sexual preferences and genders, regardless of race or religion): he may be many things, good and bad; a bigot he isn't.

You'll have to tell him all that in his face, because I won't. I won't play your divide and conquer games. I side with John, whether he/she is black or white or blue with purple dots; male or female; Christian, Muslim, Jew, or Satanist. Whatever else he/she may be, he/she is my brother/sister.

It's time for me and John and all the Johns and Joans to know who our class enemies are.


  1. I've seen that Sri Lankan preacher. He may have Huntington's Disease.

    1. Hi Bob,

      I've never paid preachers much attention. However, I do know this particular guy is also homophobic.

      I can't say whether that has anything to do with physical or mental health problems.