In Australia, neoliberalism is understood largely as an economic model, characterised by the sweeping privatisations that Carr championed in NSW. But, actually, it’s more than that. Neoliberalism differs from a classical free market orientation precisely because it extends beyond the economy to embrace the entire social world, which it then recasts on market lines. The neoliberal project doesn’t just assign to the market those roles previously understood as quintessentially responsibilities of government (such as, say, the provision of utilities); rather, it recasts governance itself as an entrepreneurial project, with productivity and profit increasingly normalised as the criteria to judge success and failure.
In other words, neoliberalism effects a thoroughgoing depoliticisation. Most obviously, this manifests itself in a belief, now shared by almost all mainstream politicians, that government should not intervene in the market. This conviction – a consensus about the role of politicians as simply economic caretakers – already renders out of bounds most of the policies that previous generations of social democrats would have taken for granted.
More importantly, neoliberalism also recasts governance and the democratic process in market terms. The resulting political culture casts citizens as autonomous economic agents, relating to each other and to the state as individual entrepreneurs. The politician no longer appeals to party members, unionists, religious believers or specific communities; instead, he or she addresses individual consumers, touting for their business in much the same way as any other corporation.
In the neoliberal polity, it makes no more sense for citizens to rally than in does for, say, users of Apple computers to hold a march. In both cases, their role is simply to consume, with the ballot box understood as an extension of the cash register. If the latest iPhone is a dud, buy an Android; if the Labor Party’s been in power too long, vote Liberal.
Because democracy is understood as a market, rallies, protests, demonstrations and strikes seem, to the neoliberal, not as expressions of the popular will but as outrageous assaults on the democratic system.
To be clear, we’re not seeing the end of the right to protest, so much as its hollowing out. In the neoliberal era, tightly-controlled top-down events are still considered legitimate – witness the staged spectacles at the recent Republican and Democratic conventions in the US.
While the recent earthquake shook the bones of Christchurch in New Zealand, an earthquake of another kind rippled briefly through the Australian landscape. I want to make sure it is not ignored. The results of the 12 year nationwide Challenging Racism survey from the University of Western Sydney shocked me to the bone. Download the national results here, state comparisons here, and click on the map here to find out further information about racism in your region, which is where you are able to compare the different groups who are the main targets of racists with the state and national averages.
The results for Wide Bay-Burnett (my area in Queensland) confirm decades of personal observation, demonstrating the existence of significantly more racism than the state or national averages with US racial target of choice, Muslims at the top of the polls, a trend which is consistent from region to state to nation. Queenslanders are more prejudiced toward Aboriginal folks than Asians, a trend which is reversed in my region by a whisker. There are more equal opportunity haters in my neck of the woods it seems as there’s a scant couple of percent between the antipathy toward Indigenous folks, Asians and Jews.
% of Wide Bay respondents
Total QLD survey %
Total Australia survey %
* Note: Responses for ACT, SA, Perth, NT and TAS only.
However, it doesn’t matter which shade of bigotry folks project, their carbon footprint is more related with their faith and participation or lack thereof in the modern idolatry of consumerism and its theoretical underpinnings in economic irrationalism.
Concerned about the carbon tax and its effect on your much abused budget? Are you not incensed you have voluntarily adopted a simpler less consumerist lifestyle for years and you will now be punished further by price rises because of the irresponsible behaviour of the rest of the wretches with whom you share these colonial shores? Gillard’s vaunted “educative” spanking effect from the carbon tax on consumer habits may be short-lived and very quickly, the population will resume its profligate ways, as with the GST, another notable government tax grab. We need a broader vision, with a widet more-effective brush, and not the the faux “Billy Tea Party” offered by Cory Bernardi, one must quickly add.
Here’s an idea to substitute for the carbon tax which would have a multiplier effect elsewhere, by encouraging holiday makers to less polluting relaxation.
End the cruise ship industry now – it is an anachronism which mainly benefits a tiny fraction of the population, the ruling elite. If Australia closed down all cruise ship industries, a good proportion of our carbon tax would be paid in advance. Noone would be screaming except rich boaties, cruise ship companies,.gluttonous tourists and their class allies, the politicians whom they pamper with campaign donations and dinners at yacht. Who *really needs* to go on a cruise ffs … end the cruise shipping industry now, do the planet and everyone but the rich and/or stupid and their enablers a favour. For those who simply must have a ‘cruise’, the ships can be permanently based ashore where waste can be disposed of properly and fuel impact removed. My favourite whiners against my stellar idea thus far are self-labelled greenies who have taken Alaskan cruises so they can say they’ve seen the result of the Exxxon Valdez oil spill disaster. These folks must do better. There’s plenty of room for productive extension also, by cutting back on defence force ship size and number, and on commercial shipping generally. At the very least, tightening of pollution regulations across the oceans would contribute greatly to the reduction of the human carbon AND pollution footprints.
For more positive climate change impact, consider this simple two pronged approach: (1) Lower the population by removing incentives for breeding by ensuring adequate pensions and care for aged folks, and (2) Educate women since educated women choose to breed less overall, “except for women who pursue the most advanced degrees. . Women with professional degrees and Ph.D.’s are slightly more likely to have had children than their counterparts with just master’s or bachelor’s degrees”.
Now, for some other climate saving ideas which anyone except the completely decrepit, lazy or unimaginative middle class twit can implement:
Climate savers #1 : Instead of *driving* to gym or sports club in your big shiny 4WD, walk or take a train; form a neighbourhood walking group
Climate savers #2 : Eat less, you corpulent middle class wankers
Climate savers #3: Don’t overbreed, it only viralises your existent pollution and ignorant consumerist mindset
Climate savers #4: If you really must breed, instead of buying little Georgina a puppy or the latest Nintendo, buy her a pet rock.
Climate savers #5: Instead of burning fossil fuels, burn politicians in a non-polluting furnace. Or use as mulch for your garden.
Climate savers #6: If there are no politicians left to feed the non-polluting furnace, throw in the farting cows. Consider drilling down the pollutant gas-producing food chain.
Climate savers #7: Surprise the husband and kids! experience the unexpected and stay HOME for the holidays. Talking with each other makes a novel, relaxing change so for added benefit, send your iPads, iPods and iPhones television, computers, wiis and xboxes on a holiday to a friend’s shed and/or for a jaunt through Australia Post snail mail so you are not tempted.
Climate savers #8: Instead of planning your next boastful debt to be for a below ground pool, plant a rainforest in your backyard.
Climate savers #9: Learn from 40,000 years of indigenous habitation of Australia – your white colonial consumerism and capitalism are unsustainable, planet and people unfriendly. Contrary to questionable popular beliefs, humans are more likely to survive as a species if they cooperate and live within the garden in balance rather than attempting to dominate and subdue it for the benefit of an insatiable ruling elite. Don’t vote against your own interests. The elite are relying on the fact that you have done this in the past.
Climate savers #10: Economic rationalism is irrational. Never trust a smiling politician or any other member of the ruling elite and if they are telling you to do something it is quite often something which they will not do themselves. Insist any politician or pundit who asks you to change your habits by going without something, practise what they preach and demonstrate how to do it themselves first. You might also remind them that carrots taste much better than sticks and are healthier for you and the planet too.
A US scientific study is pointing the finger at the global shipping industry as a major contributor to climate change.
The study has found that the one hundred thousand commercial ships which travel the world’s oceans emit almost half as much particle pollution as the world’s 600 million cars.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
And the lead author is calling for an improvement in the quality of shipping fuels.
In the past, ships running under flags of convenience have been exposed in reports like the Ships of Shame inquiry as being unsafe for crews and polluting the ocean.
Now scientists have put a figure on exactly how much air pollution is emitted by the world’s shipping fleet.
US-based scientist Daniel Lack, who works for a US government agency called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has found every year commercial ships emit 1 million kilograms of particle pollution into the air.
The cruise ship industry is largely a North American phenomenon, and more than 80 percent of the approximately seven million passengers traveling are North Americans. The cruise ship market has expanded slightly in the Mediterranean and very slightly in the Far East. In Europe there are a large number of smaller passenger vessel services operating in the domestic or car ferry markets, but these vessels tend to provide transportation rather than entertainment and tourism.
Given their lucrative ties to the United States market, it is hardly surprising that the major cruise lines all maintain their principal offices in the United States. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. has its corporate headquarters in Miami and employs approximately 1200 personnel throughout the United States. Carnival Corporation, the largest cruise line company in the world, has several offices in the US, as well as personnel and properties scattered throughout the country. Carnival owns twelve cruise brands, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and Windstar Cruises, all of which operate in North America. Royal Caribbean has its principal executive office in Miami.
The cruise line industry will exhibit strong growth throughout the next two decades. The average annual growth of the industry has been almost eight percent since 1980, and with the world fleet of 230 cruise ships operating at 90 percent capacity, there are no signs of this growth slowing. North America is the largest market, and surveys indicate that 56 percent of Americans want to take cruises, while only 11 percent have done so. The number of cruise line passengers worldwide is projected to triple to 15 million by 2020, according to one industry expert.
Experiencing the stupidity of high density high consumption human living on the high seas – New York on the waves!
When she launches in 2010, Allure of the Seas will share the title of the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship with sister-ship Oasis of the Seas. An architectural marvel at sea, Allure of the Seas will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 gross registered tons (GRT), carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms. Allure of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas, will be homeported at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Allure of the Seas will tout the cruise line’s new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which will offer guests of every age the widest array of onboard vacation experiences that cater to their personal styles, preferences or moods. Guests will enjoy lush and tropical grounds open to the sky in Central Park, located in the center of the ship and spanning more than the length of a football field. Central Park will be lined with boutiques and specialty restaurants, ranging from casual to fine dining, and introduce balcony staterooms rising five decks above the storefronts and overlooking the park – one of a few new categories of onboard accommodations made possible by the ship’s revolutionary design.
For a quick digression, here’s what happened when bigots took flight against Muslims in Orange County, California, recently.
Why not call out Beyonce, Usher, Mariah Carey, and so many other artists, all of whom have performed in Israel, a state which practices a form of apartheid worse than anything the South African apartheid government had ever done? In 1973, the United Nations General Assembly defined the crime of Apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.” As Israel’s official policy privileges Jewish nationals over non-Jewish citizens, creating de facto and de jure discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian people, it is hard to dispute that this supposed “democracy” is in reality an apartheid state.
Jewish stabber not charged with murder. Other teens involved in murder of Arab man to stand trial for aggravated assault, obstruction of justice. Father of victim: ‘My son brutally murdered for speaking Arabic’
When urged at the start of January by Assange’s publisher to help him write his memoirs I said I was ready to assist, but only if I had strong editorial input and that no subject was off-limits. This, I was told, was not acceptable. Roughly at the same time our organisation started asking questions about Israel Shamir, a man accused of Holocaust denial and of being a close associate of Belarus’s autocratic leader Alexander Lukashenko. Index is one of the founders of the Belarus Committee. Despite repeated but polite requests to WikiLeaks, our team was stonewalled, so we went public with our concerns.
Assange’s reported conspiracy remarks to Private Eye magazine about me and senior figures in the Guardian do not help his cause. With so many genuine adversaries, why seek more? His approach has reinforced a view that whistleblowing is the preserve of irresponsible eccentrics – playing into the hands of malign forces in the US seeking to prosecute him for “terrorism” or under the espionage act.
Thanks in large part to WikiLeaks, no matter how hard the authorities try, it will be impossible in future to prevent conscientious whistleblowers from passing on material that seeks to cast a light on the actions of the powerful – information that might otherwise remain secret. Due to the published documents, people around the world – notably in the Middle East and north Africa – have a better sense of what others thought of their autocratic leaders. All this is the positive legacy. The rest is soap opera or, dare I say it, Tinseltown.
116. The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
Yet a wave of disapprobation from our servants in Parliament on both sides of the bench is rising against Hilaly, who besides being an Australian citizen since 1990, is still ordained as Mufti of Australia at least for the next three months. The lines between religion and politics are blurring.
Since the creation of Islam and until the feminist victories of the 20th century in western society, Islamic women enjoyed more expansive personal privileges than their Christian sisters. Not only were they able to seek divorce, they could inherit property, albeit a lesser proportion than their brothers, and pursue professions. Restrictive Shariah law and culture-specific traditions, invented and administered by males for the primary benefit of males, were a later addition to the teachings of the Koran. In parallel with cultural mores and interference with women’s rights and bodies entrenched in some Christian sects, well illustrated for example by those engendered by the male-dominated Catholic Church, these arbitrary additions have hindered the ability of many Muslim women to achieve their full and desired potentials within the framework of their faith.
“Islam is not a patriarchal religion, and we cannot accept that patriarchy continues to govern social relations in the framework of Islam.”
“We denounce the discriminatory family laws that are enforced in many countries with a Muslim majority.
We voice our commitment to continue the gender jihad for the recovery of the equalitarian message of Islam, the freedom of interpretation and conscience.
Islamic Feminism is an integral part of the Global Feminist Movement. We denounce all forms of violence against women that are justified in the name of Islam, such as honor crimes, domestic violence, mutilation of female genitalia, stoning and other forms of corporal punishment.
We call for the participation of women in all areas of society. Therefore, we are against all those cultural practices which are not truly Islamic and which inhibit this participation.
We announce the creation of the “Observatory of Islam and Gender” in Spain to be headquartered in Barcelona. This Observatory attempts to consolidate the work of the two International Conferences of Islamic Feminism, to serve as a common ground between intellectuals and Feminist organizations in the Islamic world, and to promote Islamic Feminism in Spain. The Observatory will serve the task of giving continuity to the International Conference of Islamic Feminism.”
Whilst we do not adher to any religious faith, we support all women in their peaceful quest for enlightenment and equality of opportunity and express our solidarity with feminists of all nations and creeds against that most oppressive and pervasive phenomenon affecting women – rightwing fundamentalism.
Fundamentalist movements are political movements with religious, ethnic, and/or nationalist imperatives. They construct a single version of a collective identity as the only true, authentic and valid one, and use it to impose their power and authority. They usually claim to be the representatives of authentic tradition, and they speak against the corrupting influence of modernity and â€˜the Westâ€™. However, fundamentalists are far from pre-modern. To promote their project, they use all modern technological means available, from the media to weaponry. Furthermore, the vision they conjure up is a constructed and selective vision, rather than a revival of something in the past. Since 2000 the popular appeal of fundamentalisms has been growing across the world and different communities.
Feminists have particular concerns when it comes to fundamentalist movements. Although many women take part in fundamentalist movements, overall fundamentalist politics tend to constitute a threat to women’s freedom and autonomy and often their lives. Gender relations in general, and women in particular, are often used to symbolize the collectivity, its ‘culture and tradition’, its boundaries and its future reproduction.