This video of Friday morning’s eviction of Occupy Melbourne is neat.
Inspired by Dr_Tad, Mark Bahnisch @ Larvatus Proedo has some blah on Occupy Australia and the Antipodean “bubble” (October 22, 2011), talkin’ ’bout
a revolution Australian exceptionalism. Why is Australia a “bubble”, seemingly insulated from the winds of change blowing throughout the world? queries Mark.
Something to do with history, apparently. That, and the fact that Australia isn’t NotAustralia (where things are different).
• Close to 20% of Australian workers are categorised as low-paid, an increase from 14.5% three decades ago.
• A study of working poverty found that in 2005-2006, 10% of Australians lived in poverty, or approximately 1.16 million households. Of these 1.16 million households 18% had someone in paid employment.
• The wealthiest 20% of households in 2009–10, accounted for 62% of total household net worth; an average net worth of $2.2 million per household. The poorest 20% of households, accounted for 1% of total household net worth; an average net worth of $32,000 per household.
• Low to moderate income households are resorting to increasing their levels of debt to keep up with the cost of living. RBA statistics show that in March 2011 the ratio of household debt to disposable income was 155.1%, compared to 33.7% in March 1977.
It’s not all bad news, however. While Spotless cleaners moan and groan, QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce is enjoying a 71 per cent rise, taking his annual pay package to $5 million.
More blah on why some people are angry and upset @ Occupy movement will go on as long as the people are feeling aggrieved (Mike Steketee, The Australian, October 22, 2011); Joseph Stiglitz expresses concern over
bikies bankers in Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% (Vanity Fair, May 2011). A slightly odd reflection on why (not) Occupy Melbourne here; Raili Simojoki recalls her experience here.
Never in history has there been such a glaring contrast between what could be and what actually exists.
It’s hardly necessary to go into all the problems in the world today — most of them are widely known, and to dwell on them usually does little more than dull us to their reality. But even if we are “stoic enough to endure the misfortunes of others,” the present social deterioration ultimately impinges on us all. Those who don’t face direct physical repression still have to face the mental repressions imposed by an increasingly mean, stressful, ignorant and ugly world. Those who escape economic poverty cannot escape the general impoverishment of life.
And even life at this pitiful level cannot continue for long. The ravaging of the planet by the global development of capitalism has brought us to the point where humanity may become extinct within a few decades.
Yet this same development has made it possible to abolish the system of hierarchy and exploitation that was previously based on material scarcity and to inaugurate a new, genuinely liberated form of society.
Plunging from one disaster to another on its way to mass insanity and ecological apocalypse, this system has developed a momentum that is out of control, even by its supposed masters. As we approach a world in which we won’t be able to leave our fortified ghettoes without armed guards, or even go outdoors without applying sunscreen lest we get skin cancer, it’s hard to take seriously those who advise us to beg for a few reforms.
What is needed, I believe, is a worldwide participatory-democracy revolution that would abolish both capitalism and the state. This is admittedly a big order, but I’m afraid that nothing less can get to the root of our problems. It may seem absurd to talk about revolution; but all the alternatives assume the continuation of the present system, which is even more absurd…