In announcing his long-avoided royal commission into banking, Malcolm Turnbull said that “it will not put capitalism on trial”. What a shame!
Not that anyone would seriously expect the Turnbull government to do anything useful, but a new trial of capitalism is long overdue.
I say “new trial” because there have been numerous trials in the past. Capitalism was not long out of its swaddling clothes before radical thinkers like Saint-Simon, Fourier, Cabet, Proudhon, Robert Owen were producing devastating indictments. Even earlier, Adam Smith, who thought that capitalists would create the common good despite themselves, had some pretty sharp things to say about capitalist morals.
And that was before Marx and Engels produced not only a thorough indictment but also mountains of evidence and an unanswerable analysis showing why capitalism can’t help behaving as the criminal it is. In the 20th century, Lenin and other Marxists convicted capitalism of the new crimes it committed as it evolved – or rather, degenerated further.
Two world wars, preparations for a third – and possibly a fourth, if anyone survives the third. Countless other wars large and small. Billions of people forced to live their entire lives in poverty while a handful wallow in the luxury created from their misery. Discrimination, persecution, oppression, torture – these are such worldwide norms of modern society that the top criminals automatically threaten intervention against any country or group that tries to alleviate them.
Who or what is responsible for this obscene situation?
In an ordinary criminal trial, certain logical connections are taken for granted. For example, if there has been a bank robbery, and there is a trial of defendants who were found in possession of most of the loot, guns that were fired in the course of the robbery, diagrams of where stocks of cash and CCTV cameras are located and so on, juries don’t have much trouble arriving at a conclusion.
This is why lawyers for the defence, like Turnbull and Shorten, are opposed to putting capitalism on trial: they know the evidence is overwhelming.
For the rest of us, let’s keep reminding the rest of the “jury” of what the evidence shows, until we have convinced enough of them to be able to deliver our verdict – and sentence. And while in general I’m opposed to capital punishment, the case of capitalism is definitely an exception.
Pampas Pastry workers in West Footscray have reached day 14 of an indefinite strike for better pay and job security. The majority migrant workforce, who produce a range of baked goods for Helga’s and Bakers Delight, are out in force against Pampas management and parent company Goodman Fielder, which has an annual revenue of $1.1 billion.
Six years after exposing the appalling treatment of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory’s Dondale prison, ABC’s Four Corners has revealed similarly terrible conditions in Western Australia’s Banksia Hill Juvenile Detention Centre.
A surge in both COVID-19 cases and protests inside China presents a dilemma for the ruling Communist Party.
I’ve loved being a candidate in the Victorian election.
“Win, lose or draw, I could not be prouder of the campaign we’ve all been part of.” Jerome Small, Victorian Socialists candidate for the Northern Metropolitan region, summed it up well to an elated, exhausted crowd of hundreds at the Victorian Socialists’ post-election party. Throughout months of campaigning, it felt like we were having an impact, connecting with people who feel abandoned by the major parties, angry at the system and open to socialist solutions. As the results came trickling in on election night, we knew this feeling was right.
Despite a frenzied media barrage by the Murdoch press against “Dictator Dan”, Labor had a decisive victory in the Victorian election. Murdoch’s Herald Sun flirted with the politics of the far-right, anti-vax, conspiracy theory nutjobs to attack Premier Daniel Andrews, and the Liberal Party was happy to follow along.