Friday 30 October 2020

American Muslims in These Elections.

As an Australian, I can’t say that American politics, although often entertaining, is really my cup of tea.

Still, American political fashion sometimes find its way to the Antipodes.

Take, for example, the notion of “peoples of colour” – POC – currently trending among Aussie identitarian Leftists. The idea is that a coalition of the oppressed non-white (i.e. POC) is the agent of change: a potential majority assembled out of minorities. More realistically, for Left-leaning pundits POC are the natural constituency of the Democratic Party in the US (and, monkey see monkey do, the same is the conclusion of Left-leaning pundits elsewhere).

That seems to be good news for the Dems: over there that coalition is increasing in size and that seems to be working just fine in these elections.

Now, as the POC coalition remains numerically a minority, it would, of course, need to be supplemented by other progressive forces – including feminists and the LGB+ movement and, to the extent they can be cajoled or strong-armed, socialists and quasi-socialists and the union movement – and sundry progressive whites as “allies” (another closely associated term).

Evidently, the need and feasibility of this POC-“Others” (another popular umbrella term) alliance may change as the POC coalition increases in size and as the oppression POC suffer is lifted. With this one lands squarely on long-term considerations about the stability, not only of this POC-Others alliance, but of the concept of POC itself.

Without further ado, what I consider a case-study of one identity within POC, of interest for American identitarian Leftists in these elections. I’d love to see similar analyses for other identities, chiefly Latinos, and Americans of Asian background:

Who will Muslim Americans vote for in the US elections?

Mehmet Ozalp, Charles Sturt University

Tuesday 27 October 2020

The Most Important Election in Our Lifetime.

I suppose there’s no need to explain to Democratic Party supporters at home – and sympathisers and well-wishers further afield – why these presidential and Congress elections are the most important in their lifetimes.

But the thing is that Trump supporters also believe these elections are the most important in their lifetimes. Why? Well, suffice it to say that a Biden/Harris victory, God forbid, will usher in socialism. It’s in the Bible, people!

Tuesday 20 October 2020

How About a Green Green New Deal?

The Australian Greens have been asking for a local version of the Green New Deal.


After SmoKo's budget, people may have started listening:


You’ve probably heard of the Green New Deal in the US — is it time for one in Australia?

Kate Crowley, University of Tasmania

Thursday 8 October 2020

The Budget: How About Wildlife?

The Federal Budget has generated a lot of comments. It is certainly based on an unprecedented fiscal expansion; but there are fiscal expansions and then there are fiscal expansions. Annabel Crabb put it this way: "It recognises the people it wants to help, and screw the rest." She's right.

After that, the few who won biggly and the many who were left out in the cold made their voices heard. In the cacophony resulting, even Morrison's gas-fueled technology roadmap, designed to make Australia forever dependent on fossil fuels, was forgotten. You see, whether by accident or by design, it was announced before the budget, almost as if to make it sure people would be too worried about their own livelihoods to care about climate change.

And yet, as terrible as all that is, there is yet another piece of bad news people have overlooked:

Sunday 4 October 2020

The Ecological Marx and Engels.


Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote a lot. To give you an idea: the Marx and Engels Complete Works (MECW) the most complete  – in the sense of collecting their discovered writings between 1835 and 1895) –  compilation of their written opus, numbers 50 volumes, each one between 600 and 800 pages long.

Even excluding introductions, content pages, appendices and endnotes, that’s plenty of writing: published and unpublished books and pamphlets, drafts and research notes for future work, newspaper analyses, public addresses, private and official letters to family, friends and associates, political or otherwise, communiqu├ęs. The variety of subjects they treated in those documents at least matches the variety in the kind of documents they produced: from philosophy, history, economics, sociology, politics, down to the kind of news one sends to one’s relatives and friends.

Much more importantly, however, is that scholars and academics in all those fields – plus many others –  have found inspiration and insight there.

But Marx and Engels not only wrote a lot, they also read a lot. An amusingly ironic anecdote, told by the late Christopher Hitchens, illustrates: “Oh Mr. Marx, yes, to be sure. Gave us a lot of work ’e did, with all ’is calls for books and papers …” – a retired British Museum’s reading room librarian reminisced for the BBC, early 20th century. After that, the librarian added, nobody ever heard of Mr Marx again.

They – on top – not only thought long and hard about what they read, they also observed the world they lived in (modern opinion-makers – or opinionators, depending on your perspective – would be sensible to follow their example: we know you can write, the doubt is whether you can read). 

Marx and Engels, in other words, did their homework: they learnt.

So much so, in fact, that careful readers, approaching their writings from different backgrounds, can identify insights surprisingly relevant to our own times.

And although Marx and Engels were not scientists in the modern sense of the word – nor did they ever claim otherwise – they read about science as well … (something economists and opinion-makers alike, negatives notwithstanding, seldom do nowadays).

Image Credits:
[A] Marx and Engels Collected Works. Author: Ben Sutherland. Source: WikiMedia. File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. My usage of the file in no way suggests any endorsement from the file's author.

Without further ado