Class or Nationality: Which Divides Us More?

Today’s guest author is The Pub’s very own realio trulio dragon – the magnificent Puffy – who sent me this post in an email titled “Hot off the press, barely edited” six weeks ago.

I responded immediately (as one does to a Dragon) letting her know that it was eminently publishable, but not just at that moment. Her generous reply was as follows:

You could keep it as a back up. … When the election is called we could do a make or break of Australia one along with a call to (political) arms.

Not Without Fight

Well, we seem to have entered (probably for nanoseconds) the equivalent of the Brits’ phoney war – yeah, sure, it sort of was for them, but definitely not for much of mainland Europe – so the time seems right.

Thank you very much, Puffy, for your contribution and your patience.

(I wish I were a Photoshop genius)

This is not a new question and the discussions about it could fill a few library shelves. There is, of course, no definitive answer.

Is our class or our race the stronger divide, particularly in the economic sense? Do the poor of the world have more in common with each other than with the upper classes of their own country?

Are the rich of the world more united as a class, looking after each other’s financial interests (while waiting for each other to fall over so they can vulture the carcase) at the expense of their race or nation?

Rupert Murdoch famously gave up his Australian citizenship to further his business interests in the USA. I believe this to be a clear case of class affiliation trumping nationality. Dick Smith is the opposite: not selling out the national interest for his pecuniary interest He also has a solid reputation for promoting the national good. Murdoch cannot claim the same, yet both men are successful in accumulating wealth.

Maybe it is not what you have, but how you got it and what you do with it?

Marxist theory of class promotes the idea that race is used by the owners of the means of production to divide the working class: a divided working class is unlikely unite to agitate for better wages and conditions.

Please note that in this sense ‘working class’ in my interpretation includes professionals, academics, tradies or anyone who trades on their labour, unskilled skilled, intellectual, artistic or running a small business.

My view is that the One Percent are more wedded to themselves than any race, nation or religion.

While the royal houses of Europe recognised as compatriots as well as rivals the members of other royal houses, for example, in Asia, the peasants were always the peasants. If peasants were busy hating and killing other peasants in wars, the ‘Royalty’ remained safe. Well, at least until they went overboard with it all with WW1.

I contend that, in the broad scheme of things, there is not much that divides the factory worker from the barrister or the small business person. They all are affected by the decisions of the highest class. The biggest division within the labour-selling class is access to resources, and the transmission of that access through generations. We have an upper class who are frustrating that access to those resources through right wing political parties that relentlessly attack social programs, education, aged/disability care and universal health. They also try to asset-strip families as the parents age, and load the young with debt to prevent accumulation. To them, universal superannuation is an anathema.

There’s been a relentless push since at least since the turn of the 21st century to pit one race, religion, or nation against another. That this has happened alongside the rise of social media cannot be a coincidence. At a time when we have the chance to unite and exchange information about ourselves and our condition instantly – with anyone almost anywhere – we are urged to find difference instead of similarity.

We are urged to fear instead of being curious; to withdraw rather than to learn.

So maybe the question has changed. Are we divided more by class, by race, or by digital access?

No Gods No Masters

576 thoughts on “Class or Nationality: Which Divides Us More?

  1. The government has quietly signed a contract to build new navy supply ships in Spain, in a deal with $130 million worth of Australian content but not one job for an Australian shipyard worker.

    The decision comes as further workers at the ASC shipyard in Adelaide face being laid off as work on air warfare destroyers winds up.

    Amid accusations the government had failed to stand up for Australian jobs, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday defended the decision, saying there would still be substantial Australian industry involvement.

    “These vessels will be manned, they’ll be maintained in Australia, there will be a very large Australian input to them,” he told reporters in Sydney.

  2. ‘Sure why not’: Young Australians test out Malcolm Turnbull’s claim that parents should ‘help their kids buy a house’ – and dads’ reactions are priceless

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been labelled ‘out-of-touch’
    Mr Turnbull suggested parents ‘shell out’ to help children buy first home
    Many decided to take the PM’s advice and asked their parents for handout
    They uploaded the hilarious results of their conversations to Twitter
    A woman asked dad for ’20-30k’ and he said ‘Malcolm can go f*** himself’
    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten fired back at Mr Turnbull about comments
    He said: ‘Is that really the prime minister’s advice… to have rich parents?

    My favourite –

  3. Google this and have a laugh!


    • The only thing I haven’t copied is a photo of the member for Menzies.

      “A MAJOR branch stacking row centred on the office of former Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has broken out in the Victorian Liberal Party on the eve of the Federal Election.

      The party’s administrative committee last night spent an hour discussing allegations several dozen people had been signed to the party improperly in Mr Andrews’s seat of Menzies.

      The allegations involve forged signatures and claims people have signed up without their knowledge.

      The Herald Sun is not suggesting Mr Andrews has acted inappropriately.

      One Liberal with links to Mr Andrews is said to be “in the gun” over the allegations.

      In some cases elderly people are alleged to have been signed up to the Liberal Party without their knowledge.

      Mr Andrews’s office has been contacted for comment.

      More to come…”

  4. Can you just imagine a “seasonal employer” NOT using the internship to get as much free labour as they could with “legitimate ” training in agricultural work?

  5. Nice work by Little Grunter.

    The Explosive Report They Wont Let Voters See

    Climate Change Authority report recommending ‘a mandatory carbon price’ held back until after election

    A report that recommends putting a price on emissions from the electricity sector has been held back by the Climate Change Authority until after the election, prompting calls from Labor and the Greens that it be made public to inform debate.

    The independent authority, whose board is now dominated by appointments made last October by Environment Minister Greg Hunt, was to have released its policy options paper for the power industry by the end of April.
    Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

  6. If Labor does manage to win the election with a margin that looks viable for 2 terms, (and I’m trying not to get my hopes up to far!) I predict a few post-election by-elections in LNP seats – some of these dinosaurs are not going to enjoy the prospect of a term or two in opposition!

    • …and this time ALP MUST remove a number of senior APS. Kruddy’s first mistake (that came back to bite him a few times) was not having a “night of long knives” and being so bloody bi-partisan to leave LNP sympathisers in top APS ranks. That disgusting Pezzulo from Imm & Borders should be the first to get the boot.

    • Yes, Even Jane Halton got her first boost by controlling info on Tampa and Children Overboard but has since become career bureaucrat.

    • not all of these will be controversial, its usual practice to do short term extensions (re-appointments) if terms were due to expire during caretaker – given this is going to be such a long campaign I’m not surprised there are more than usual. There have probably been a flurry of grant announcements today also – not always political, just APS staff not wanting their usual business cycles to be disrupted by those pesky politicians calling DD elections!

  7. I have a habit of putting posts up just before a new thread starts, so let’s see if it happens again…

    Let’s be very clear about this Turnbull-mandate thing: the idea that Turnbull will run a more moderate government if given a mandate at the election is the Liberals’ very last chance to make something out of Turnbull’s reputation, and save the election. It’s a massive hoodwink. And there are two very strong pieces of evidence for that, kind of interrelated but separate:

    1. That’s what the spill that gave him the PM-ship was supposed to be about. A fresh start. The stated reason was that people were sick of Abbott and his policies. They dumped Abbott but kept Abbott’s policies. Given quite a bit of time to effect a shift in approach, Turnbull has done nothing.

    2. Not only has he done nothing, he hasn’t even indicated that he’s going to do anything. No policy position taken since last September has given the merest hint of a change. So the party can say – with great justification – that if they’re voted back in the public has given its seal of approval for everything proposed under Abbott and Turnbull in this term. Which is exactly what they will do.

    They tried this crap on us prior to the 2013 election. There was talk – if you can believe it – of Abbott exerting a ‘moderating’ influence on his party’s hardliners once he became PM. That was actually reported. It’s the old ‘everything will be ok, trust us’ tactic. And it’s all horseplop.

    Turnbull’s such a screw-up that he’ll undermine the message through his own actions and statements, many times before the election. Abbott was a lot of terrible things, but one thing you could say about him was that he was disciplined, he stayed on-message, even if the message was barely creditable. Turnbull has no discipline, he too easily lets his ego drive his public statements and it takes him to areas of shockingly bad judgement.

    Nevertheless, the whispering campaign about how wonderfully moderate Turnbull will be, if we just give him another chance, will continue I’m sure. It’s just PR work.

    • That, and the MSM insistence that both sides are just the same so we might as well stick with what we have.

      Caught a few seconds of The Drum just minutes ago. I can’t imagine why the TV was on that channel, must have been gremlins at work.

      Anyways – some female was going on about neither side of politics mentioning women in their ‘election statements’ because that was what the budget and shorten’s reply were, she said, election statements. Turned her off.

      Shorten had 30 minutes to reply to what was in the budget, he was not meant to give Labor’s manifesto for the election. If he didn’t mention women it’s because Sco-Mo had forgotten to include anything that might benefit them.

      Honestly, are these clown-fests supposed to be serious political comment or just an extension of the ABC’s Wednesday night feeble attempts at humour?


    I have been very busy today, and will be disappearing soon for dinner at my favourite Thai restaurant.

    Does anyone mind if we keep this thread going for the moment?

    I will put up a Saturday Swaree thread late tomorrow afternoon instead.

    • Aguirre,

      We must be reading each others’ minds – but you are now un-gazumped 😉

      How are the level crossing replacements going out your way?

    • Well, they started the Ormond one a while ago, then nothing happened for a while, but there’s some activity there now. I know the Murrumbeena Road one is slated to be done soon as well, which will please everyone.

      I spoke to a friend who knows some people who live along the Skyway project zone (is that what it’s called, the overhead rail project?), and apparently they all hate it. But as my friend said, they can’t give any coherent reasons why it’s so bad. They just “don’t like it”. I told her they read too many newspapers.

  9. What I find very distasteful about the whole internship thing is the assumption any young person on Newstart is an unemployable oaf who will never get a job unless someone teaches him/her the importance of getting up and going to work every day.

    I find that unbelievably insulting.

    Young workers need Newstart for many reasons, and those reasons are not usually because they are ‘unemployable’.

    The best thing a government could do for the unemployed is
    1 – stop these stupid games,
    2 – ditch all the charity-run so-called ’employment’ services that are just rorting the system and doing nothing to get people into work, and
    3 – bring back the old CES. It worked, and it did not cost us squillions in dodgy payments.

    • I marked that I liked this post but I must go further and use the Reply button to spell out that Leone’s post is so spot-on.

      Young people are the future of the nation. They are not punching bags for mediocre older people, especially those that old the reins of power.

  10. I just want to take a moment to note that in the latest Morgan polling, support for Joyce as Coalition leader has jumped from 3% to 6%. Who are these people?

    • People who have heard of Joyce, for whatever reason, but never had the faintest idea who or what Warren Truss was?

      Was he –
      A Warren Truss bridge?

      A hernia truss?

      A roof truss?

      Or a Warren Truss?

  11. I clearly remember Bill Shorten saying that he wanted to close the gap in regards to the salaries of women and men in the budget reply. I also do remember some mention about funding means to stop domestic violence (but I’m not sure if that was in the actual speech). If that’s not “mentioning women” then what is it?

    Clearly that individual on The Drum wasn’t paying attention. She’s probably one of those “Oh god, politics is just so boring isn’t it? Why do we even bother trying to do our jobs well in holding them to account when it’s just so much more fun messing around on Twitter all day?”.

    If she’s a journalist then she should probably not be in that position.

    • Dunno who she was, because I never watch The Drum – long brown hair, thin eyebrows, lots of makeup, didn’t take much notice, really.

    • It was Rabia Siddique(She has quite a colourful history. ) she is a muslim lawyer and quite sympathetic to Labor causes. I was very surprised by her statement.

    • At best, that ‘individual on The Drum’ is a rabid tory voter who couldn’t, wouldn’t bring herself to listen to anything coming from Bill Shorten simply because he’s Labor. And yes, her ignorance shows she doesn’t deserve to hold any position with a remuneration attached so therefore she would be a prime candidate for malcayman’s brainfart of an internship whereby she might be taught to listen and learn.

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