Let’s imagine for a moment that the 1% of Australia, with their university degrees, access to the best climate science and neoliberal think tank papers and their dominance in politics, were acting in rational self-interest. They know that the water and energy wars are coming and they have a country with unique assets:
No land borders
Renewable energy resources
Space and minerals
Industries that specialise in extracting minerals
Industries that can be turned to R&D and manufacturing
An education system to get citizens to the point of carrying out necessary R&D
And a politically apathetic population that believes whatever the politicians tell them through monopolised and crippled information outlets.
To be honest, if I were a conservative politician in Australia (and the way I was brought up, I may as well be), this is what I would do to ensure my political and social survival:
I would claim the government didn’t believe in climate science so as not to spread the panic or signal corporate intentions
I would ensure that the sea borders were closed immediately and with heavy rhetoric that keeps them closed
I would ensure that the air borders were able to be closed with ease
I would ensure that energy, water, mineral, education, research and information resources were in the hands of the corporate bodies I can trust to act alongside the Government’s rational self-interest
And I would ensure that my population were reliant on my corporate partners and my Government for all of their needs by ensuring scarcity of all the essentials unless labour is exchanged for survival.
Anyone who has read the climate science, follows international affairs and is actually shocked at the Budget from the Government is not paying attention.
Anyone who thinks they can argue for 21st Century Climate Aware action with 20th Century Climate Ignorant ideologies is going to be pulled back into historical patterns of conflict and paralysis, which is exactly where the Government and their corporate partners want their population.
The reason anyone with a working knowledge of Weimar Republic politics and the rise of Fascism is acting like Cassandra is because we know that conservative neoliberals have seized upon the most recent and most effective method of obtaining what they want from the annals of history. It’s pretty much textbook and it really isn’t a surprise given the inclination of conservatives to look backwards and not forwards.
Trust me, they don't want you to know the climate science
The Government already had the rhetoric of the Friend/Enemy relationship between Australia and its ocean borders to work with, and they used this established narrative to start modelling the corporate and political behaviour they needed to implement to establish control in other areas. Six months later the next step was to create a young and jobless population that has no option but to accept the ideological national jobs that will be offered to them in extremis.
So that is Operation Sovereign Borders and the Budget completed, with very little rioting in the street. So what is next?
The Government and their corporate partners do not believe they will be governing Australia in a world still operating in the political utopia of the progressive ideologies of the 20th Century for very long. They are in conservative neoliberal survivalist mode and they will have emergency powers in place for the Government and their corporate partners by the next *cough* election.
They know that to survive the next decades of water and energy conflict they will need a country of people who will stop at nothing to protect their borders and water and energy sources, and will do so under orders and with no alternatives discussed or available. It is important that the population cling to 20th Century ideas so they can be ruled by fear by those who understand the realities of the 21st Century. Those water and energy wars are playing out across the world right now, and they will reach us in the next half decade in the best scenario, but you wouldn’t know it from the information allowed into Australian discourse.
The key to this strategy of ensuring the 99% is under control is not so much textbook but storybook – "please, oh please, don’t throw me into the briar patch!" The Government is years ahead of the population regarding planning for the worst the 21st Century will throw at them. That is their strength as conservatives, they want to maintain what they have acquired. But they are investing in keeping their head-start at the expense of the rest of us.
Leap Frog for Survival
If the population, and the progressives who champion the population, do not abandon the 20th Century fast enough, we will be trapped as the worker bees for the 1%. As long as the population and progressives think we have to defend our 20th Century standards of living using the framework of minutely argued ideologies that will not operate effectively in the 21st Century, we will fail. We will fail progressives and the population, and we will have failed the conservative neoliberal 1% too.
Because bless ‘em, they need our help. They have forgotten one very important lesson from history, and it will be their downfall. And if they fall, we fall too.
Conservatives cannot survive without the innovative thinking and social inclusion that progressives bring to the world; we are the movers and shakers of history and progress, not the conservatives. No technological marvel, no social innovation, no inspiring ideology came from conservative thought in the past, and they cannot come from conservative thought in the future either.
Conservatives are the workers of society, the maintenance department, the tax payers, those that argue for stability and the status quo. Change, progress and innovation comes from the other inclinations of human endeavour, from those who look forward, who take risks, who imagine other methods of living. And humanity needs both inclinations to survive, and both inclinations should be leading.
So let's play hardball with our strengths, and let's be the leaders the conservative neoliberals need so they can stop reshaping the world into the old forms of conflict that make them comfortable, the only political strategy they know. The conservatives and their supporters need our help, or we are all going to fall back into the abyss together.
The question is, how do those of us who hold views of progressive rational self-interest begin to change the conversation so we acknowledge the real goals of the Government and their corporate partners, and work towards taking their impetus and supporters and channelling them towards a more progressive target for the next decades?
ARM YOURSELF WITH INFORMATION
Austere times, and the perverse reproduction of neoliberal reason
A public lecture by Jamie Peck, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia
The lecture explored the political and theoretical status of neoliberalism in these ostensibly twilight times. Particular attention was focused on the peculiar course of austerity politics in the United States, where a banking crisis has once again been transformed into a state crisis, the costs of which have been trickling down in ways that the benefits of growth never did.
Progressive Politics and the Environment in Australia: what now?
A public talk by David Ritter, Executive Officer, Greenpeace Australia Pacific
READ THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA
REMOVE News Corp Media from your life
ADD Independent Media to your life
THINK for yourself, and start to communicate with others who think for themselves. ASK the basic question: "What is in it for them?"
Australia has three major political parties, each backed by their own training and voting block: the Australian Greens have the Environmental and Activist movements, Labor has the Unions and the Liberal Party has the business sector.
The largest population in Australia without a voice is women; our very urgent needs for parity, safety and leaders are being ignored and wound back, our leadership is locked out of power and as voters we are unable to direct our vote to a party that champions us.
Australian women do, however, have an established and proven mentorship and training ground for female candidates to gain political experience and female voters to gain access to candidates to influence policy; the Country Women's Association.
Not our circus, not our monkeys
So, women of Australia, take thee to the CWA, become involved with all manner of practical local politics, all manner of women as mentors and all manner of consulting to Government, and participate in politics on your terms.
Find your own policies, build your own campaign teams, field your own candidates and vote for the candidates who have the best vision for new politics you can find. You are the only people who can build the future, because the existing systems are dying, and trying to take us all down with them.
And for all of our sakes, be militantly inclusive; as 51% of the Australian population, the women of Australia include Indigenous Australians, refugees/immigrants, the LGBTIQ community and anyone who has additional access and medical requirements. Our new politics must include everyone excluded from the current systems so our votes and candidates count the first time, and into the future.
Fighting Winter with Summer
I credit the 1% with being fully aware of the impending water and energy conflicts, and it is clear from their actions that they are taking the requisite steps to survive while preventing the population from taking the same steps. Unfortunately their pride and entitlement will never allow them to consider the fact that their place in the 1% means nothing to the environment. Water and energy do not obey, and never have obeyed, the forces of nations, economies and capitalism.
A definition of madness
Systems are just tools, they should react and change with the user, but our systems are not changing with the population that use them, as evident by under-representation of varied proportions of our population in almost every area of public and private life. The systems are wrong, not the diversity of the population trying to use them.
Ask for me tomorrow
The current Australian Government makes announcements that destabilise the news cycle, and these announcements come in two forms:
1. An outrageous suggestion designed to let opponents react with scorn and satire, but neither suggestion nor satire achieves anything but noise, and a false sense of protest for those who did not vote for this current Australian Government.
2. A very real threat that opponents cannot ignore, but is sure to be withdrawn or watered down once it has short circuited the news cycle and wasted the time and resources of those who did not vote for this current Australian Government.