The recent Australian federal budget has once again highlighted the need for an effective Left to combat the Right’s ever-increasing push towards domination of Australian society. This push is no surprise given the natural tendencies of austerity capitalism. However, to those of the general public who believe wholeheartedly in the welfare state and want to reconcile social justice with a capitalist economy, this budget strikes a real blow. We need to show that the budget is not only short-sighted but that the existing system is failing to keep its promises.
Cutting higher education and pushing towards an American-style education system reveals the inherent biases of the capitalist state and the current two-party system. This should come as no real surprise considering the cuts already pushed by the previous Labor government. These higher education cuts restrict the access of poorer, potential students, and also cut along a gender axis that is often ignored.
As the current state of the welfare system shows, we cannot even trust the capitalist system to function in a way that it promises. The social security net is being used as a disciplinary tool against workers and the unemployed, and a subsidy for business with programs like Work for the Dole.
But this Right-ward trend not only makes the time ripe for a Left resurgence, but for a further, extreme Right-wing one too, in the form of fascism. Parallels between the rise of fascists in Britain and the rise of similar elements in Australia should worry us all. This is further exacerbated by the role of the state in the control of the border, and the state-sanctioned racism behind it.
Anarchism is at a low ebb in Australia, as it has traditionally been. As anarchists, we are constantly having to reinvent the wheel – in how we act, how we organise, and how we discuss issues. It is the failure of previous generations of activists that we have little history to draw on in that regard. We must have these discussions now in order to be as effective as we can be in the present and for those in the future.