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Challenging the Conservative Paradigm

By Jordan Daly


Facts: Trump won, Brexit won, Turnbull won. Pauline Hanson is back, media reporting is piss-poor and most importantly, Rage Against the Machine hasn’t released a good album in almost 20 years. The fights haven’t changed, people haven’t changed but middle Australia seems to have tuned out.


Things don’t bode well for progressive causes worldwide. The question stands: how do we challenge conservatives and regressives in Australia? The answer is simple, comrades. Accelerationism. That’s right, we just keep getting conservative parties popularly elected and keep eroding workers’ rights until the population rises up against the elites. Simple. Just like me.


Forget about affecting change through elections and lobbying. Petitions, rallies and boycotts are more difficult, expensive and tiring. But look at how successful they’ve been over the past few years! They’ve reversed the Fair Work Commission’s decision on penalty rates, brought back Gonski and defended Safe Schools. Right?! A change of government couldn’t easily accomplish this! Why bother campaigning for a given party or candidate when we can engage in protest after protest in the hope the media and wider public will pick up our cause. Everyone knows partisan party hacks don’t have progressive visions, only real activists do. Besides, whining about the status quo is easier than leafleting, doorknocking or doing calls with GetUp or a trade union you like.


“Anti-establishment” politicians are popular because many voters have lost faith in our judicial and legislative institutions. A man with zero legislative, administrative or foreign policy experience is now President of the United States, while people like Jacqui Lambie attack Muslims based on harmful stereotypes and distortions.


Why rebuild faith in political institutions as things that serve the people when we can knock them down and encourage a revolution? Why bother reforming, streamlining or strengthening them when we can privatise and gut them? Why bother participating in actions like pre-selections when we can just complain about mediocre candidates? Why encourage media scrutiny when we can write off all politicians as being the same?


The major parties are all the same. Let’s look at the contrast between state governments as an example. Daniel Andrews is instituting reforms and building infrastructure and Jay Weatherill sassed Frydenberg, whereas the Berejiklian government literally sold the Land and Property Information, despite it having a solid return on equity. If selling the sole body that regulates land titles, property information, valuation, surveying, and mapping isn’t the embodiment of anarcho-capitalism I don’t know what is. It’s clear the government are the true revolutionaries here.


The major parties are so obviously the same – one introduced the Fair Work Act, the other introduced WorkChoices. One introduced Gonski, the other trashed it. One wants to make housing affordable, the other wants to add fuel to the housing price fire by allowing people to use superannuation to buy a home.


Ok, real talk. For those that say, “The parties are all the same” – there were 151 candidates in the 2016 NSW Senate ballot paper.


“But seriously, none of them represent my particular ideology. I’m very unique.”


Being an activist is hard work, but to paint this house red, you don’t need blue paint.