by Don and Lyn Longo
There are many things about our liberal, consumerist and bourgeois society that drive us to anger, and even rage. And on a daily basis. Here are some of these things. It’s an open-ended list, so we urge you to add to it with your own grievances. I’ve tried to categorise them under headings, though there is a lot of overlap between the categories. They are in no particular order.
- Mr Harbourside Mansion – all front and no substance.
- The malcontent of the privileged.
- Nonsense about the death of ideology, used as an effective way of hiding ideology.
- The Left is ‘ideological’ or ‘extreme’; the Right is ‘sensible’ or ‘pragmatic’.
- The way gossip replacing politics, and personal stories are replacing ideology.
- Wealthy ex-politicians who tell you that the age of entitlements is over.
- Salaries of judges and politicians are increased periodically, but if there’s talk of the basic wage or pensions increasing, we’re told the economy can’t afford it.
- Motor-mouth politicians like Treasurer Morrison, who talk to conceal.
- Random drug-testing for the unemployed – more blaming of the victim.
- Middle class journalists and commentators who decry any reference to redistribution of income as ‘class war’.
- Assertions that Australia must ‘grow the economy’ as an alternative to class war – presumably because they think the working class can be bought off with crumbs while the major part of the growth income goes to the rich.
- Conservatives who say to radicals that if they don’t like the way Australia is, then they should live elsewhere; conservatives who refuse to leave Australia when they object to prevailing progressives policies.
- Using ‘America’ as synonymous for the USA; Mexico, Argentina and Brazil are also part of America, (the other one).
- ‘Australian values’ frequently promoted as beer, shorts, thongs and meat pies – ‘values?
- References to Australian being an egalitarian society, when all data points to increasing inequality.
- People who want to ‘Reclaim Australia’ as if they’d lost it; the same people who also condemn Aborigines for wanting to ‘reclaim Australia’.
- Conservatives telling us that changing the Australian flag is ‘trivial’ since ‘there are more important things to worry about’; if it’s trivial, then do it and let’s move on.
- Conservatives telling us the republic is ‘trivial’ since ‘there are more important things to worry about’; if it’s trivial, then do it and let’s move on.
- Conservatives’ telling us that changing the words ‘young and free’ in the national anthem is ‘trivial’ since ‘there are more important things to worry about’; if it’s trivial, then do it and let’s move on.
Capitalism / The Economy
- Supermarkets telling us to buy, buy, buy: lollies at checkout, more expensive items placed at eye-level, buying two for one, or three for two, or four for three.
- Universal use of credit cards at checkouts – what happened to cash?
- Card scanning at sales points – easy to spend, spend, spend.
- Supermarket items that are getting smaller and lighter, but being sold for the same price; then they bring out a ‘supersize’ (the original size) with a higher price.
- Rising inequalities.
- Justifications for rising inequalities.
- Expropriating surplus value and then returning it to ‘the disadvantaged’ – from whom it is has been expropriated.
- Being told that taxing the rich and corporations will harm incentive’; but taxing the workers, students and single parents is seen as ‘making a contribution’.
- Being told by Keating a 40% marginal tax rate for the high salaries is ‘too high’, when it should be 90%.
- The growth of self-serve checkouts in supermarkets.
- ATMs that charge fees for using a labour-saving device that’s already put people out of work and maximise profits.
- Ignoring the experts who don’t agree with you.
- Hearing that Global Warming isn’t happening when the experts say otherwise.
- Senators who bleat about wanting ‘empirical data’ (and who refuse to look at it when a scientist like Brian Cox throws it at them on national TV).
- The freak weather storm in SA being used by conservatives to avoid commitments to renewable energy.
- Hearing that we can’t allow refugees to drown at sea – but their torture, rape and isolation seems quite in line with ‘Australian values’.
- The pretence that abandoning refugees on isolated Pacific islands is for their own good.
- Fighting against oppressive regimes, but not allowing the victims of these confected wars to get refuge in Australia.
- The demonization of refugees and Muslims by Liberals and Labour – sadly similar to the demonization of Jews in previous regimes.
- Setting up refugee camps offshore, out of sight, out of mind – no hope, no jobs, no education no future.
- Being told Australian values mean democracy, accountability, freedom of speech – while prohibiting impartial inspections of refugee camps and gagging health professionals at the centres.
- Wanting to be seen as good global citizens by being signatories to the Refugee Convention, but rejecting its prime principle to give asylum for any genuine refugee who arrives, by any means.
- The irrationality of punishing one set of refugees as a deterrent for others.
- Refugees who take a stand being sent to solitary confinement or being treated like criminals.
- The forgetfulness around the scandals of the Tampa and the ‘children overboard’ fiasco.
- The ‘children overboard’ fiasco becoming an amusing cliché among journalists, thereby trivialising it.
- Special needs children needing to be unteachable before they get any money.
- Politicians and public servants fomenting discontent with teachers instead of defending them.
- The relentless testing of children to discover what their teacher already knows – but when governments are asked for money there’s none available.
- Less and less practical teaching experience for trainee teachers.
- It’s easy to access money for hip projects that make CEOs look good, but there never any money for arts, crafts and learning materials.
- IT systems that increase efficiency but don’t improve teaching and take an inequitable percentage of the budget.
- Prayers in parliament – why?
- Humbug about Australia being ‘a Christian country’, when about 30% are declared atheists, and Muslims, Buddhists and Confucians having been in Australia since the mid-19th century.
- The same people are also convinced we’re a ‘secular state’, but approve of prayers in parliament or tax breaks for churches and public funding for church-based schools.
- Atheists who think all priests are parasites or paedophiles; religious who insist on wanting to convert you.
- Religious who are smug about being among the saved, and who insist on wanting to save us.
- Terrorist attacks in France, the USA or Australia get minute by minute coverage with personal stories about the victims. Terrorist attacks in Russia, Pakistan or Iraq barely get a mention.
- The value of life is different depending on where and who you are – more air time and personal stories are given to deaths in Europe, very little is said about the greater number of deaths elsewhere.
- Workplace accidents and deaths might get 10 seconds of airtime, and employer negligence is rarely mentioned.
- Celebrities being asked their opinions about everything, as if being good actors qualify them to speak about political economy or ethics.
- Stories that are not checked; lazy stories taken from UK or USA sources.
- Journalism: no longer ‘speaking truth to power, but its handmaiden.
- Ambulance chasing journalists exploiting grieving families through their camera lenses.
- The absence of follow up on controversial stories, so issues great and small are forgotten after a day.
- Advertisements, and more advertisements – buy more, buy best, and buy now; shopping therapy as consumerist madness.
- References to the ‘disadvantaged’, the ‘aspirational’ or to pseudo-scientific terms like ‘low socio-economic status’ – any euphemism to avoid speaking about class and exploitation.
- ‘The battler’ – against what and whom is he/she battling exactly?
- Why do we have no reporting on BRICS, though it is becoming a powerful challenge to the European and US economies?
- The focus on Anglophone news, the UK and the USA, as if other countries don’t exist, or matter.
- The relentless focus on US news – we don’t need the complete speeches of US presidents.
- No news about crucial political events – Brazil’s impeachment of left-wing president Dilma Rousseff; the events in post Chavez Venezuela.
- The revelling in terrorism – any public violence is always assumed to be a result of terrorism, and when its proven not to be any such thing, there is no correction.
- Assertions that the media doesn’t tell you what to think; that’s sort of true, but it does determine what people think about.
- Interviews with non-British Australians are always those of first generation immigrants with strong accents and bad English.
- Mr Harbourside Mansion telling us the Australia is the most successful multicultural country in the world.
- Using ‘multiculturalism’ as a feel-good term bereft of substance.
- Talking about ‘assimilation’ and ‘accepting Australian values’ in the same breath as multiculturalism’s success.
- Equating ‘multiculturalism’ and cultural tolerance with folklore and ethnic foods.
- Ex Immigration Minister Morrison making samosas to show how broadminded, accepting and multicultural he was.
- Being told that Australia is proud of being a cultural melting pot – except in the case of Muslims.
- PM Turnbullshit tightening up citizenship rules to exclude Muslims.
- The older you get the more invisible you are.
- The older you get, the more patronised you are by everyone: advertisers, doctors, baristas, check out people.
- The false bonhomie of people in banks and shops calling me by my first name.
- Being told to ‘have a nice day’ – as genuine as plastic and as Australian as apple pie.
- People younger than me who call me ‘darling’ or ‘love’; people older than me who call me ‘darling’ or ‘love’.
- The word ‘extreme’ makes me angry, extremely.
- Aggressive people who think they’re masters; supine people who accept balderdash from those who claim to be their masters.
- Anything to do with the royals; royals of any description, shape, colour or form; films that bang on about royalty and aristocracy as if they are the only ones who matter; futuristic films about royals and aristocrats that imply that imperialistic feudalism is eternal and only royals and aristocrats will ever matter; Star Wars.
- Tee shirts with advertising; cyclists with advertising – why are they advertising corporations gratis?
- Corporate brands that provide identity.
- Tee shirts with Che Guevara – even revolutionaries are commodified and making riches for the people they hated.
- Non-standard spellings of familiar names; the Americanisation of names, the Americanisation of TV.
- The Americanisation of everything.