Friday 25 December 2020

Operation Christmas (Updated).


In June 2016 FARC (Spanish acronym for Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the long-running Marxist-Leninist guerrilla insurgency, signed a ceasefire with the Government of Juan Manuel Santos. A year later FARC handed over its weapons to the United Nations, in accordance with the ceasefire agreement.

After fighting on the losing side of a 50 odd year revolutionary war, the writing had been on the wall for FARC for a while. FARC’s surrender was an admission a strategy that had once looked so promising to then young, New Left-inspired, would-be revolutionaries all over Latin America, had failed.

Saturday 12 December 2020

The UBI in Australia?



Before talking about something, it’s always a good idea to understand what is it one is talking about. That applies to everything, the much-talked about UBI included.

It’s not clear, however, that people talking about the UBI really understand what it is.

So, let’s try that.

UBI stands for Universal Basic Income. “Basic income” refers to “a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement”.

“Universal” highlights something present in that definition: all members of a community are entitled to the UBI. In Australia that would mean that the Government regularly pays every citizen/resident an amount of money – presumably equal – no strings attached.

Last but not least, implicit is the idea that the UBI is permanent.

By itself this definition raises some evident questions (for example: How much money those individuals would be paid? Where is that money coming from?). They are important but the answers to them depend on many things, including what money is. So, we’ll bypass them.

Thursday 10 December 2020

Industrial Relations Surprises?



To be honest, I can’t say I’m surprised to find now that all the talk about all of us being in this together – which we heard repeated as a mantra during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis – was just bullshit, but that doesn’t mean much. As a feeling, it speaks well of those uttering those words honestly. As a statement of fact, it was hopelessly naive for me to believe Morrison.

So, I was kind of expecting something like this.

You see, scepticism about Scott Morrison’s good faith doesn’t show that one is particularly farsighted: anyone with a moderately functional brain and a minimum of memory could see the truth behind his act.

What does me some credit is that I wasn’t impressed either by all the comparisons between the Prices and Income Accord of Bob Hawke (starting in 1983) and Christian Porter’s roundtables including bosses and their representatives and the union movement. On this I have to say Michele O’Neil and Sally McManus, by far the best union leaders in decades, were sadly wrong (as is wrong Jim Stanford)


Sold at the time as political wisdom, the Labor’s Accord – inspired by liberal/leftish ideas – was ultimately damaging to the union movement and to workers. If back then that medicine was poisonous, is there any reason to believe it would now be benign?


These last two weeks Porter, federal Minister for Industrial Relations and Attorney General, announced a raft of measures agreed behind the union representative’s backs to further impoverish workers, under the pretext of reducing unemployment.

And, in the same spirit of honesty, this is where I have to confess I was surprised: the variety of measures included in the COALition’s Industrial Relations Omnibus Bill.

Without further ado:

So much for consensus: Morrison government's industrial relations bill is a business wish list

Jim Stanford, University of Sydney