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. You know how I said I made a bad call on by agreeing to do an unpaid shift to try out for a builders clean position?

    Yeah, well, the inevitable happened, no call back ane when I called the young woman. I got a text back from here to say I did not get the job and when i replied asking to be paid, no, I am not being paid for my work. ‘Darling, you know it was agreed it was an unpaid shift’ wtte (except fot the darling bit).

    Hi ho hi ho hi ho, it’s off to the Union I go.

    • Surely, Puffy, nize people like that young woman would nevah evah be party to exploiting workers?

  2. Puffy. On our farm there is a hut similar to the one room hut you showed. The chimney has a couple of props that can be removed if it catches fire so protecting the hut. It was apparently the station hands residence for a married couple!

  3. 2gravel

    Re W.A. Being from South of the river I am surrounded by good working class peoples who Vote 1 Labor. Which means I am totally ????? as to why WA returns so many @$@%^#!! Tories, Sadly large chunks of the northern suburbs when they opened up in the 80s were colonized by refugees from Maggies Farm and strangely they are Tory heartland now. As to why could be hinted at by the barrage of callers to talkback radio and newspapers’ letters to the Ed whenever immigration/multiculturism etc was the topic de jour in the 80s + 90s. Shedloads of Pomgolians urging Australia to not make the same “mistake’ England made and “let the immigrants in” . Then there was the Yaarpie demographic who came to Perth in large numbers post Apartheid. Another likely boost to non “trendy lefty” numbers.

    Then you have the locals. FMD the Yellow Peril and the threat from “Asiatic Hordes” was alive and well even in the 1980s. My jaw still has the scars from where it hit the floor as apparently sane locals explained how fleets of Sampans would sweep down from China. “Boat People” scares were all the go in WA years before The Rodent discovered them. We had the likes of Jack van Tongeren’s crew fire bombing Asian restaurants back in the day. The Bush is a write off.

    • Thanks for that rundown on some of the oddities of WA demographics. I’d always felt that Perth had had a disproportionate intake of white South African and Rhodesian refugees.

      It surprised me a little that country WA was so paranoid but perhaps it shouldn’t have. Race relations were always so awkward that Bob Hawke, a Sandgroper in origin, backpedalled from improvements in aboriginal rights. It was obviously a complex issue. The Liberals were Neanderthal in relations, yet in Fraser’s day produced two federal ministers, Fred Chaney and Ian Viner, who did as much as anyone for improvement, probably at consierable cost to their own careers.

  4. Scorpio,

    Unfortunately, they are few in number and ended up physically & mentally drained by their experience!

    We’re getting stronger, actually. Being paid for doing nearly 4 months of sweet FA helps. HI goes to Pilates classes, sees her Mum (whose gentleman friend died only tonight, sadly – vale Mike), reads lots of books, walks the dog (when we can borrow one to walk). We’ve been away twice so far, for four or five days. And we’re going here tomorrow for lunch:

    St Albans pub, about an hour’s drive away. Nice easy trip to Wiseman’s Ferry, then the ferry itself, followed by a pleasant 20 minute drive through a verdant valley to the pub. Pleasant meal, a beer, a snooze under a tree, and then back by the road that winds along the other side of the river. A lovely day out in the country.

    We can’t go away for longer because you never know when they’ll spring a surprise on us and order us to attend a meeting 2 business days hence. I think they’ll get sick of it before we do, though.

    The thing is we’ve achieved just about all we wanted to achieve: HI kept her job for nigh on 2 years longer than their first attempt to sack her, has regained her self-respect, and has been paid well for the privilege (even if she’s not at work, per se). The fact that we’ve kept them guessing has been satisfying enough. A big win, while appreciated, would be just the hundreds-and-thousands on top of the giant chocolate freckle.

    So, it’s not all bad. The poor bastards at work have to keep on doing whatever it is they do. I must say the look on HI’s boss’s face if she is told HI is coming back to the workplace would be a sight to behold.

  5. Geez, the abc is effing pathetic. The news had a little bit on what Shorten said last night, but then had a million nit-pickers trying to rubbish Labor. No actual quotes from Bill himself. Ah well, I guess I was being hopeful that they would be a little bit nice just for once.

  6. Peter Dutton’s theme song, courtesy ofsomeone other than me

    “Lib National Rhapsody”
    Is this the real life?
    Is this just fantasy?
    Caught in a landslide,
    No escape from reality.
    Open your eyes,
    Look up to the skies and see,
    I’m just a politician, I need no sympathy,
    Because I’m easy come, easy go,
    Little high, little low,
    Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me, to me.
    Mama, just killed a man,
    Put fuel and a lighter in his hand,
    Stopped the boats and now he’s dead.
    Mama, Omid’s life had just begun,
    But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.
    Mrs Masoumali, ooh,
    Didn’t mean to make you cry,
    If I’m not back again this time after the election
    Carry on, carry on, refugees do not really matter.
    Too late, 2nd July, my time has come,
    Sent shivers down my spine,
    Body’s aching all the time.
    Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go,
    Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.
    Mama, ooh (anyway the wind blows),
    I don’t wanna lose
    We all sometimes wish he’d never been born at all.
    He sees a little silhouetto of a man,
    Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
    Thunderbolt and lightning,
    Very, very frightening me.
    (Galileo) Galileo.
    (Galileo) Galileo,
    Galileo Figaro
    Magnifico. o. o. o.
    He’s just a refugee, nobody loves him
    He’s just a refugee from afar family,
    Didn’t spare him his life from this monstrosity.
    Easy come, easy go, will you let them go
    From Nauru?
    Bismillah! No, we will not let them go. (Let them go!)
    Bismillah! We will not let them go. (Let them go!)
    Bismillah! We will not let them go. (Let them go!)
    Will not let them go. (Let them go!)
    Never, never let them go
    Never let them go, oh.
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
    Oh, mama mia, mama mia (Mama mia, let them go.)
    Beelzebub has a Dutton put aside for me, for me, for me.
    Nothing really matters,
    to the Liberal Party
    Anyone can see,
    Nothing really matters….
    Nothing really matters to the N.L.P.
    Anyway the wind blows.

  7. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Labor’s $71b of savings. But they say it will still lead to the argument that Labor is a tax and spend party.
    Michelle Grattan on where Shorten harvested the savings from.
    Grattan says that Shorten has laid the election foundation but Turnbull has fumbled.
    Michael Gordon on Shorten’s second free kick in two days courtesy of Turnbull interviews.
    A very good analysis of budget outlooks and doubtful interested parties from Ross Garnaut.
    Shorten’s budget reply speech avoided the traps and played to Labor’s strenghts.
    Quentin Dempster on how Shorten took up Turnbull’s “class warfare” challenge.
    Turnbull’s black hole attack has boomeranged in a big way writes Lenore Taylor.
    Mark Kenny says the Labor backbenchers’ body language was better than that of the governments’.

  8. Section 2 . . .

    Lenore Taylor outlines the protagonists’ probable election themes.
    “View from the Street” says there has never been a more exciting time to be a dependent.
    The lovely Michaelia Cash had her own train wreck of an interview too.
    More from “View from the Street” on Turnbull’s train wrecks and other things. A good read.
    Turnbull’s housing arrogance insults voters’ intelligence says this SMH editorial.
    Why we are not laughing at Turnbull’s housing affordability quip.
    Stephen Koukoulas calls bullshit on “jobs and growth”.
    Here’s the second part of the series on the health care sham that I linked some days ago.,8951
    This Morrison budget was a travesty for the environment.
    Asylum seekers are self harming not because of the media but because of Dutton says this journo.

  9. Section 3 . . .

    Ben Eltham makes the point that forced internships won’t create any jobs. A detailed examination of the policy.
    Mehajer’s sister wins a “rigged” beauty contest? Surely not!
    Michaelia Cash has handed the “hammer the dole bludgers” baton to Christian Porter.,8953
    Kim Williams has a lot of criticism of the Productivity Commission’s report on copyright.
    It still costs too much to die though!

  10. Section 4 . . . Cartoon Corner

    David Pope goes to town on the ideas boom.

    Andrew Dyson at the bookshop.

    Ron Tandberg with a certain parental “shell out”.

    Mark Knight exposes how we tracked down and killed our home grown ISIS terrorist.
    This is typical of the stuff that Bill Leak has been putting in The Australian.
    David Rowe on the budget vaudeville stage.

  11. WA’s Colin Barnett identifies what is going wrong in some Aboriginal communities . Bet you can’t guess what it is ?

    WA Aboriginal communities ‘over-serviced’

    ​Some of WA’s small Aboriginal communities may be overwhelmed by the amount of services provided to them: Colin Barnett.

    “With the best intention in the world, there are so many government and non-government services being provided,” Mr Barnett said Wednesday.

    “I think we’re probably overwhelming those communities with services and maybe we’re not doing as well as we can.

  12. The changes to superannuation while expected for a long time seemed to have been thought out some time ago and pulled out of a bottom drawer without revision.

    If a single person can have a tax-free super balance of $1,600,000 providing a pension of $80,000 at age 65
    Why are people restricted to a non-concessional cap on super contributions of $500,000. If you have $500,000 in your super fund you draw down a pension of $25,000 at age 65

    The Aged Pension is $20,500 base or $22,164 with allowances

    If I was concerned about saving for my old age I would like a pension from my superfund to pay me around $40,000 so I think that the $500,000 limit should be raised to $750,000 to provide a pension at age 65 of $37,500

    As it stands the superannuation proposals overwhelmingly favour well paid individuals in steady employment, it doesn’t allow people to top up their superannuation balances at the end of their working life

    The legislation behind these proposals isn’t on the budget website yet. Software developers for the DIY investment platforms are very concerned the legislation when it appears after the election will be much nastier

    • Labor ‘s reassurance not to tamper with the existing super arrangements is not believable.
      The bell was tolled 76 year old Ralph Norris, former NAB ceo fighting the Tax Office to not have to withdraw 6% of his superannuation balance per annum to retain his tax free status. He had stashed $20 million into his super account

      Clearly there are going to be limits placed on how much can remain in a tax free environment

      Morrison’s proposals combined with the RBA drop in interest rates are going to superheat the housing bubble as the wealthy move money out of superannuation

    • computer ate my well formed post
      Nasty and short sighted
      entrenching advantage for the scions of the rich
      Education is 5th largest export earner
      education employs many more people that mining
      education is much less capital intensive employer than mining or building infrastructure like roads or rail or tunnels

    • Another Labor policy this government wants to undo.

      Three years, and all they have done is take things away. Not one new idea, not one thing done that benefits the average Aussie.

    • The Lying Nasty Party have outdone themselves in the petty and vindictive stakes!
      Education generates many more export dollars than other more sexy and heavily subsidised industries
      There are mines operating in the Northern Territory that pay less in royalties than they collect in government subsidies.
      We canned the car industry rather than support it so all the manufacturing robotics will be sold or destroyed by the end of this year
      When you cut the numbers of students you cut demand for teachers
      What does the LNP think retrenched teachers live on?

      Like the Pink Batts scheme, education requires very little infrastructure to gainfully employ people
      Building a tunnel in Sydney requires a massively expensive borer to be ordered from Germany, or where ever, assembled and operated by 20? very skilled people (who are probably working on 457 visas)

    • I am not only concerned about teachers, but its hard to imagine what sort of career the kids could have had if the had completed the tertiary education. I was angry to hear in May that Austudy had automatically rejected 30% of claimants. Those students who have been wrongly stuffed around by Austudy have probably dropped out of study if their parents couldn’t help them.

      If we have $100,000 degrees then I would investigate studying nursing in the Phillipines where costs are lower

  13. I read a tweet this morning that Shorten was going to be on Alan Jones after 7am. I was so peed of with abc I decided to listen to it instead. Now, I am the last person who would voluntarily listen to Jones, but the abc was making me so angry I thought what the heck, he couldn’t be any worse.

    That interview was very respectful, had good questions, wasn’t aggressive, and put Leigh Sales from last night to shame.

    Here is the link if anyone is interested, it goes for about 20minutes.

    • Thank you for that link. A very respectful discussion, a lot of ground covered, no snark and more to come soon.

      Bill is certainly across all the detail, as Julia Gillard was. Unlike Waffles.

    • Macquarie Network has more powerful radio transmitters than the ABC along the east coast in retirement land.
      Alan Jones allowed Bill Shorten to explain his policies. WOW

    • Most importantly for me and my friends Shorten is not applying changes retrospectively

      A staunch faithful Liberal Party foot soldier moved from Sydney to Melbourne in the 1980s, so she left widowed mum in her Sydney flat and bought a flat in Melbourne. She went into business for herself and earned so little money that she thought Newstart payments were high – we watched her spending. She was advised to sell one of the flats and put proceeds into super which she did.

      Now the Liberals propose that the lifetime non-concessional contribution be is capped at $500,000. Currently if timed properly you can put in $180,000 X 4 or $720,000 over 30 June and July 1 which provides a super pension of $37,500

      And you can bet many people are trying to figure out how they can demonstrate their non-concessional contributions to the tax office, however not me! After all those additional 1000 ATO officers will get more revenue out of non-compliant SMSFs than Google or BHP.

      Has Alan Jones stashed much, much, more than $1.6 million in his super? by the way he was begging Shorten to announce a reduction in the draw down rates I think he has.

  14. Waffles is too full of himself to be across all issues. It seems to me he inherited and married the means to his lofty lifestyle. Left to his own devices I doubt very much he’d have gone far.

    • I agree. I really think Lucy is the brains and the money-making business person in that family.

    • Another Joe Hockey?

      Mind you he went very close to ‘poor people don’t drive cars’ with his ‘shell out’ moment.

    • Made even worse by that information having to be dragged out of the bastards, instead of being an up-front part of the budget as it should have been.

  15. I hope the Libs keep talking about class warfare. The idiots dont realise that the more they talk about it the less ALP has to and it plays into ALP theme

    • The more the Libs keep talking about class warfare the more the bottom 90% will become aware that the Libs aren’t governing for them.

  16. Kicking and screaming

    Mr Fraser said the Treasurer Scott Morrison had authorised the release of the projection, but only after continued pressure from the Opposition.

    He made the comments during questioning from Labor Senator Penny Wong, detailed in the following exchange;

    Wong: Can you tell me when the decision was made to put the ten-year costs of the company tax cuts into your opening statement?
    Fraser: Late yesterday afternoon.
    Wong: Who made the decision?
    Fraser: The Treasurer.
    Wong: Was it at your suggestion that the ten-year cost be included?
    Fraser: No.
    Wong: So the Treasurer determined to put it in?
    Fraser: Correct.
    Wong: Was this discussion before or after question time?
    Fraser: It was about six o’clock … roughly.

  17. The Jones interview was a discussion not a one-sided tirade.

    Shorten made his points without sloganeering. Jones asked some nutty questions, but had the rare decency to shut up while the answer was given. They didn’t agree on everything, but there was at least the appearance of mutual respect.

    I was reminded of the famous interview between Walter Cronkite and JFK, out on the White House lawn. They spoke about Cuba, Vietnam and many other subjects. You actually found out something about what Kennedy thought. That was a discussion, too.

    You get the feeling the tide is turning if Shorten can get even Jones to be measured and polite.

    I can’t see Labor losing this election.

    • I agree with you…But I have this dreadful feeling in my gut that there is some very, very dirty trick still in the LNP. / IPA. / Murdoch playbook that has yet to be snapped!….There have been so many of those bastards sheeting so close to the legal wind that they really cannot afford to lose this election and have commission after commission coming after them.

      There are those “favoured” policing / military appointments, those favoured, stalled or abandoned AFP. inquiries..the murders and suicides in the refugee camps…Barndis has q’s to answer as has at least a dozen others from the PM (past AND present) down.. Tax evasion, swindling, jobs for the boys over and over…

      I am reminded by Caesars advice to some desperate senators who were fearful of criminal repercussions..:

      “What you need, sirs…is a civil war!”…He advised…

      And they got it!…….the rest…

  18. I can’t either, BB. However, the elephant in the room is the voting public and therefore it is written in the wind whether they will be turkeys or not.

  19. Cowboys

    Treasury officials have also confirmed only two of the 11 measures outlined in the budget’s ten year enterprise tax plan had been costed.

    Mr Fraser said he had “not been authorised to release those”, which Senator Wong pounced on.

    “So the total cost of the Government’s plan is obviously going to be significantly more than $48.2 billion.”

    Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who was also in Senate Estimates, was quick to remind Senator Wong of her time in Government.

    “When you were the Finance Minister … this is what you said, quote unquote,’ we don’t release 10-year costings’,” Senator Cormann said.

    “The truth is that the Government’s package … we are improving the budget bottom line by $1.7 billion.”

  20. A thought has just occurred to me.

    On an average day in parliament, at the races, etc., what would be the combined cost of mesma’s attire? Clothing, shoes, scarves, jewellery etc.?

    • Lots.

      Lots and lots.

      We know she likes $1500 shoes. Those pearl earrings – at least the same amount, maybe more. All up, for an average day at the office, probably around the same as a pensioner gets per year.

  21. Another Sco-Mo disaster –

    Immigration department compensates Save The Children over sacked Nauru workers
    Department reaches settlement with workers accused of fabricating stories of abuse of asylum seekers and encouraging self-harm

    Dutton is now saying exactly the same things about ‘advocates’, but is not naming names.

    • Fairfax has this annoying new habit of hiding the good (and critical of the government) comment by female writers in the ‘Daily Life’ section, instead of in the political section where it belongs. Dunno why they keep doing this …….

  22. On the election –

    This comment, from Bernard Keane today –

    The sense in Canberra is that Turnbull will sneak home and emerge as a better prime minister once he has a mandate. But he has consistently disappointed expectations as leader, and may yet do so again. And remember, a Shorten government isn’t the only alternative. Think about a Turnbull minority government, or one with a tiny majority, subject to threat of defection by disgruntled MPs — and the disproportionate influence such MPs might end up having

    Been hearing that for a while. All Turnbull needs is an election win/mandate and then we will really see what he can do – blah – blah – blah

    How will he become a ‘better’ PM? He has been a disaster for seven months now. And he can’t change his own party’s policy, the IPA won’t allow that. Not that he would have the energy to even try.

    Turnbull is just not worth the risk, and people are starting to work that out. A few more stuff-ups, just to push home the point and he’s toast.

  23. The boat that arrived at the Cocos Islands the other day – all on board have, apparently, been flown back to Sri Lanka, cost no obstacle, a plane was chartered.

    Asylum seekers who reached Cocos Islands could be back in Sri Lanka
    Immigration department declines to comment but flight records show a charter aircraft with government contacts left the islands for Colombo

  24. On That idiot Bernard Keane presumption..: I knew a bloke who, if you asked him to do you a favour, like pick you up from some place not too far away; “If you’re not busy.otherwise I’ll try to get hold of…”..and invariable he would reply in the there in ten minutes etc.. ….And he’d never turn up!..never!..But there were those who’d keep asking him because he SOUNDED like it was no trouble at all!!

    And That’s Turnbull to a tee…:

    “Look …I’m on your side ..I really am…it’s just that I got this little commitment problem that I have to pursue and then we’ll be right…I’ll not regret it…promise..”

    • That’s how Turnbull has run 4 companies into the ground, grabbed the money, escaped censure and left mum and dad investors seriously out of pocket

  25. Will Waffles still want to visit the GG this weekend?

    The budget did not boost his polling at all – it boosted Shorten’s instead.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull 57% (down a large 19% since a telephone Morgan Poll in October, 2015) is still preferred to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten 24% (up 10%) as ‘Better PM’ but much less than he was at the time he became Prime Minister in September 2015 according to a special telephone Morgan Poll conducted over the last two nights of May 4-5, 2015 following the Federal Budget

  26. The West Australian newspaper yet again very good for Labor re Budget. An amazing turn around. Front page pretty much taken up with a good picture of a smiling Bill Shorten at his desk. Headline “Battlelines Drawn. Shorten pits health, schools funding against big business.”.

    Two pages devoted to the Budget. Headline stretching across both pages “Turnbull fails to chart a polished game plan”. sub headline “Opposition leader Bill Shorten got the early jump on Turnbull with his Budget reply speech’. The rest of the headlines were “Iron ore rebound no saviour” . “Ratings agency downbeat on forecasts”. “Turnbull ‘hiding’ costs”. “Warning over wine changes”.

    So that is six pages of budget coverage in two days and diddly squat as far as cheering for the Scrott & Mal the Magnificent’s budget and no BOO HISS Labor either.

  27. Yeah, right …

    There would be no set limits on which jobs government-paid interns could perform, the number of interns at an enterprise or hours they work, officials have revealed.

    But employers who “churn” through interns without offering them jobs at the end of placements will be blocked from the youth unemployment scheme.

  28. Yep

  29. Today’s stuff-up – interns.

    Waffles has been ‘forced to defend’ this brainfart, according to several headlines today, including these –

    An employment law expert says the scheme is wide open to abuse.

    Cassandra Goldie of ACOSS, who was all for the plan on budget night has had a change of heart.
    $68 short: ACOSS changes tune on interns after union backlash

    And best of all, Michaelia Cash comes up with more rubbish. Yesterday Ms Cash said the scheme would be compulsory, the government said it was voluntary. Now she is insisting all interns will have work cover. Eventually. This seems to be a very recent decision, perhaps a response to a strong union campaign. This cover was not included in the budget, and will probably add to the cost of the scheme.

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