23 December 2019

Godfrey Moase compares UK Labour and the ALP: “How should we explain this similarity? The suggestion that both parties campaigned too far to the left is the most facile. This is wrong twice over. First, the ALP’s platform was not radical. They made some vague noises about workers’ rights, declared a climate emergency while refusing to take action, and proposed opaque and moderate social democratic measures on taxes. Overall, Australian Labor’s manifesto aimed to show the markets how responsibly it would govern. Second, insofar as Labor tacked left, it was because its hard-nosed Labor right leadership noticed a shift in sentiment. … Shorten’s rhetoric sought to capitalize on this, without a tenth of Corbyn’s substance. …  In a system that privileges capital and neglects its casualties, those communities in which capital has been withdrawn have suffered the most. This has resulted in a tendency to support the authoritarian right. … Wherever the labor movement played an active role building neoliberalism, as is the case in Australia, or in reinforcing it, as in the UK, this pattern was exacerbated. In short, the decomposition of left electoral support reflects the localized decomposition of the working classes themselves, a process often managed by their labor leaders, unions, and parliament.” Rebuilding trust and reorganising these communities will be hard but there is no alternative.