Lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy, pride… and greed.

Yes, Shaun, There Is A Ruling Class

“A lack of morality is at the heart of executive salaries, which no legislation can fix” says Shaun (Greed without end, The Age, March 4, 2009). “DESPITE global economic calamity and enormous cost-cutting to his famously profligate sport, formula one supremo Bernie Ecclestone will take home a record fee from Victoria for the Australian Grand Prix in a fortnight. The Age can reveal that this year Victorian taxpayers will part with $47 million, simply for the privilege of hosting his car race. Formula one is the platform on which Mr Ecclestone has built his personal fortune, recently estimated at $5.2 billion…” notes Ben Doherty (The Age, $47m fee a formula for easy profits, March 14, 2009).

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi oi oi!

According to Forbes, which has just published its list of ‘The World’s Billionaires 2009’, James Packer is ranked No.261 among the world’s wealthiest men and women, with a fortune estimated at US$2,500,000,000. Other Australian citizens in the Top 1,000 are:

    234 Frank Lowy & family (2.7 billion);
    376 Gina Rinehart (1.9);
    376 Andrew Forrest (1.9);
    468 Harry Triguboff (1.5);
    468 Richard Pratt (1.5);
    647 Kerr Neilson (1.1);
    647 John Gandel (1.1);
    701 Kerry Stokes (1.0); and
    701 Lindsay Fox (1.0).

So what? According to Shaun, the wealth gap between rich and poor “Above all, this is a moral issue. Executives and boards worked out some years ago just how much they can get away with. Legislation cannot, and will not, work. Unless and until these people know for certain that their greed appals society, they’ll keep their racket going.”

“If life were a thing that money could buy, the rich would live and the poor would die”

And how.

In reality, inequality is an economic, social and political issue, not a moral one. The accumulation of wealth is the core principle of capitalist society, and the division between capital and labour its principal contradiction. Or as ‘Big’ Bill Haywood put it: “For every dollar the boss has and didn’t work for, one of us worked for a dollar and didn’t get it”.

Of course, The World’s Richest and their numerous lackeys are worried: there is a financial ‘crisis’; a crisis of neo-liberalism, and possibly even capitalism. David Harvey (Is This Really the End of Neoliberalism? The Crisis and the Consolidation of Class Power, Counterpunch, March 13/15, 2009) asks:

Does this crisis signal the end of neo-liberalism? My answer is that it depends what you mean by neo-liberalism. My interpretation is that it’s a class project, masked by a lot of neo-liberal rhetoric about individual freedom, liberty, personal responsibility, privatisation and the free market. These were means, however, towards the restoration and consolidation of class power, and that neo-liberal project has been fairly successful.

Harvey, a Marxist, makes brief reference to anarchists in his article, with one of their principal and distinguishing features — opposition to state power — forming an obstacle to the kinds of social reforms required in order to safeguard working class interests:

There is also a big problem on the left that many think the capturing of state power has no role to play in political transformations and I think they’re crazy. Incredible power is located there and you can’t walk away from it as though it doesn’t matter. I am profoundly skeptical of the belief that NGOs and civil society organisations are going to change the world, not because NGOs can’t do anything at all, but it takes a different kind of political movement and conception if we are going to do anything about the main crisis which is going on. In the United States the political instinct is very anarchist, and while I am very sympathetic to a lot of anarchist views their perpetual complaints about and refusal to command the state also gets in the way.

“Time to go Greek on this shit”

Otherwise, anarchists in Europe, especially in Greece, have been busy little bees of late.

Attack destroys Athens subway train carriages
The Associated Press
March 3, 2009

ATHENS, Greece: Masked arsonists forced passengers off an Athens subway train and then set it alight, police said Tuesday. Several carriages of two trains were destroyed, but nobody was injured. The attack occurred at a subway station that is above ground in the northern suburb of Kifissia shortly after 1 a.m. (6 p.m. EST). Police said a group of people wearing carnival masks forced the handful of passengers on one train to leave, and then doused the carriages with gasoline before using Molotov cocktails to set them alight. They also attacked a second, empty train…

Greece: Youths with sledgehammers smash stores
The Associated Press
March 13, 2009

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Dozens of youths carrying sledgehammers and iron bars have smashed cars, banks and storefronts in an upscale district of central Athens in the latest outbreak of violence in Greece. Several dozen stores and cars were damaged in the daytime attack, which sent shoppers and bystanders in the city’s Kolonaki area fleeing in panic. Leaflets scattered at the scene Friday identified the attackers as members of local anarchist groups. A similar attack also occurred Friday in the northern city of Thessaloniki, leaving three banks damaged. Violence involving anarchist youths has escalated following riots last December that were sparked by the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy.

As a result, a call has been made to The Yard:

Greece to quell political violence with help from Scotland Yard
March 15, 2009

Athens – Experts from the British police organization Scotland Yard are to aid Greece in battling an ongoing wave of violence and crack down on radical leftwing underground organizations, the Kathimerini newspaper reported Sunday. The help from Scotland Yard, the first of which is to arrive in Greece on Monday, comes after contacts at the highest level between the governments in Athens and London, the report said. Greece has been plagued by political violence since December 2008, including automatic weapons attacks on police, and almost daily bombings and arson attacks on banks and multinational businesses. On Friday, around 40 masked rioters ran through central Athens with axes and iron rods, destroying shop windows of more than 50 businesses and damaging dozens of cars. According to the Greek press, the police were taken completely unawares and had no plan on how to react with such actions. In mid-December, the worst riots Greece had seen in decades were triggered by the fatal shooting of a teenager by police in central Athens. The Greek capital and dozens of other cities around the country were crippled for days by arson and looting.

Scotland Yard is also concerned about protests at the upcoming G20 summit, scheduled to take place in London in early April. Police generally are concerned, and to help allay their fears, Gordon Brown has declared ‘No Photos, British Or Otherwise, of British Police’ (On Financial Fools Day, Michael Dickinson, Counterpunch, March 6-8, 2009):

The new amendment [to Section 76 of the United Kingdom’s Counter Terrorism Act], which came into law on February 16th makes it an offence to ‘collect or make a record of information about members of the armed forces, intelligence services and the police force, of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.’ ‘Record’ includes a ‘photographic or electronic record.’ Prime Minister Gordon Brown supports the police in their right to restrict photography if the need arises. “The law applies to photographers as it does to anybody else in a public place,” he said. “There may be situations in which the taking of photographs may cause or lead to public order situations or raise security considerations.”

…Intimidation by police in Britain of photojournalists has been on the increase with surveillance cameras turned on them at political demonstrations; the demanding of name and address from photographers despite their showing of presscards, and innumerable occasions when police officers have demanded photographs to be deleted. Under the new law officers may allow photographers to keep taking pictures in some cases, or ask them to stop and threaten them with arrest in others. Those who refuse to stop after a warning face arrest and the possibility of detention for several days without charge, followed by unspecified fines or up to 10 years in prison.


La lucha continúa…


    Can we oust the bankers from power?
    Can we get rid of the corrupt politicians in their pay?
    Can we guarantee everyone a job, a home, a future?
    Can we establish government by the people, for the people, of the people?
    Can we abolish all borders and be patriots for our planet?
    Can we all live sustainably and stop climate chaos?
    Can we make capitalism history?


Closer to home:

Greens protesters promoting rising tide of crime

According to Joe Hildebrand writing in The Daily Telegraph (March 14, 2009) anyway. EXCLUSIVELY. Joe refers to the fact that, since December 29, 2006, the Rising Tide Australia website has contained a list, described as “a dynamic and growing list of the actions you can take to stop climate chaos. It was inspired by Rising Tide UK’s 50 things you can do list. If you have any suggested additions, leave a comment at the bottom of this page. If it’s genuine, we’ll probably add it. Let it never be said that “there’s nothing I can do to fight climate change!”

The list has been removed from the site since Joe drew the world’s attention to it. However, the invitation to participate in an action on Caturday, March 21, still stands:

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Anarchism, State / Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.