Saturday 27 June 2020

What’s in a Name?

Dedicated to Tahlea Aualiitia.


I seldom write about myself. I suppose you can say I’m a fairly private person (either that, or I’m a boring old bloke; take your pick).

Let me give you an idea what I mean. Blogger tells me that, since my first post (November 11, 2009), I have published 908 posts in this blog, over a variety of topics. Out of that number, only 11 contain personal references (this is the eleventh).

So, here goes. I am among the 49% of all Australians who, according to the 2016 Census, are either born overseas or have at least one parent born there. Coming from continental Europe, my surname, as you might suspect, is not common in Australia. Suffice it to say it is one of those family names full of unusual combinations of consonants, oddly arranged :-)

Tuesday 23 June 2020

The IPA and Per Capita: Two Peas in a Pod.

Yesterday Alan Kohler published a piece calling to end the debt and deficit fallacy. He is -- as I am -- worried about all the talk of paying the debt. Not just that, in that column he makes a positive reference to MMT and to Stephanie Kelton’s new book “The Deficit Myth”. And, get this, that appeared in the pages of The Australian, flagship of the Murdoch presstitute.

The panic scorn from COALition bigwigs was as predictable as it was quick to come. First in order of seniority in the federal Government was Mathias Cormann (the Arnie Schwarzenegger soundalike, who is -- or might have been -- a lawyer in his native Belgium):

Saturday 20 June 2020

Birth of the Frankfurt School.

April 1964: Horkheimer (front left), Adorno (front right),
Habermas (background, right), Landshut (background left). [A]

In the last few years -- much to my surprise -- the Frankfurt School has become a hot topic of discussion.

Those discussions, however, often lack in understanding of the subject being discussed. I find the extended excerpt the Internet Marxists Archive offers of Prof. Martin Jay’s 1973 book “The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950” invaluable to fill that void.

Friday 12 June 2020

Know Your Cleaners.

Once upon a time I kept close contact with commercial cleaning firms’ staff. If you are an office worker in Australia -- whether in the public or private sector -- and you often burn the midnight oil, you might have seen those cleaners. They come after 5:00-6:00 pm, Monday to Friday, once most of your co-workers have left.

After all that time, of course, my memory may need an urgent update. To give you an idea: the union covering cleaners at the time was the LHMU (Liquour, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union).

With that in mind, the piece by Associate Professor Shelley Marshall (Director of the RMIT Business and Human Rights Centre,  RMIT University) for The Conversation matches well what I remember, although Marshall doesn’t go into the endless -- and ultimately justified -- complains by building administrators, with the consequent endless harassment of cleaners by their foremen.

What really doesn’t fit at all is the opening picture in Marshall’s article. The one below seems much closer to my recollection of how such cleaners look like (which could be an important point, I would have thought):

Compare to the picture below:

You better hope your work cleaner is one of the few who has time to do a thorough job

Shelley Marshall, RMIT University

Sunday 7 June 2020

Welcome to Summer.

Source: SBS and

The media have been reporting a large fuel spill in Norilsk, Russia. The fuel was intended for power generation by a subsidiary of mining giant Norilsk Nickel operating in the industrial Siberian town. Norilsk is located above the Arctic Circle.

Source: Google Maps.

Friday 5 June 2020

On Today’s BLM Sydney March (Updated).

Whoever sheds his blood with me today shall be my brother.

Last night the NSW Supreme Court banned the Sydney-wide march “Stop All Black Deaths in Custody: Rally and Vigil for George Floyd and David Dungay”, scheduled for today (1500 AEST, Town Hall). The courts’ decision upheld concerns from both state and federal CMOs, Kerry Chant and Brendan Murphy respectively, and political authorities over COVID-19 transmission.