Authoritarian Socialism and the Anarchist Alternative

This is the second of two essays I submitted for university this week. For this one the question prompt I chose was “Does socialism always tend towards authoritarianism?” Short answer was no, but I had to write about 1799 more words so this is the long answer talking about the State, Russia, Spain, and anarchism and a bit of democratic confederalism. Title is iffy and unimaginative because screw putting effort into that. All references are down the bottom. Enjoy

Socialism is a school of thought most simply defined by its opposition to capitalism (Heywood 2021: 75). This is, however, an extremely broad range of ideas and there has been much conflict within and between nations, parties and movements about what, and who, constitutes true socialist ideals. Perhaps the greatest of these is the antagonism between democratic and authoritarian visions of socialism. The Twentieth Century saw the rise of authoritarian socialism, manifested primarily through the Russian Revolution in October 1917 and the horrors of the Stalinist regime, and in China under Mao’s Communist Party.

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The Monopoly of Australia’s Major Parties and Political Disenfranchisement

This essay was written for one of my political science units at UQ. It is a response to the question of whether Australia’s major parties enhance or damage our political system. While (hopefully) sticking to the criteria and constraints of the assessment, I have argued the latter. A full reference list is at the end. Enjoy.

Australia’s political system has been dominated by two major contenders dating back to 1909, between the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and what is now the Coalition parties (the Liberal Party of Australia (LPA), the National Party, and, in Queensland, the Liberal National Party (LNP)). While the latter has gone through several iterations and name changes, these two blocs have maintained power between themselves with only tentative challenge from minor parties and Independents in recent years. (Kefford et al 2018). It is the purpose of this article to explore some of the key issues such a restrained system has and the damage it has had on Australian politics and policy.

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The Melbourne Protests Are Not a Worker’s Movement

22/09/2021

We are in the third day of small but loud protests taking place in Melbourne right now, and it has become crystal clear what the purpose of these demonstrations really are. What started ostensibly as a “tradies” protest against Victoria’s vaccine mandate and the Union’s support of it has quickly turned into a violent, nationalist and conspiracy ridden farce. The misinformation online has accelerated as clashes begin with police, now at the Shrine of Remembrance.

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Objectivity Requires Evidence and Context

15/09/2021

I’ve written a number of pieces over the years about objectivity, whether that be reporting in the media, the recording and study of history, or relying on science for truth. As usual, something I have read and stuff I have heard puts my own ideas in much clearer language than I have so far achieved, this time in the case of journalism. John Pilger’s 1998 book, Hidden Agendas, that came out the year I was born, basically says truly objective journalism needs one key thing – context.

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Article Review on the Internet and States of Nature

01/09/2021

As with the other piece posted today, this is an assessment item from university (again, that I hope makes sense), this one a review of one of the course readings so far in the semester. I chose this one because, well, mostly I was very low on time because I’m an utter idiot. But also because it was about the internet, which I do happen to know a thing or two about. The TL;DR here is discussing whether the Internet is similar to Hobbes’ State of Nature, as depicted in The Leviathan, or a ‘state within a state’ based on Rousseau’s notion that society is corrupt. My conclusion was that it absolutely is a digital state within many other physical states, and that I disagreed with the author’s (Reeven) middle ground approach and intense focus on net neutrality.

Not as confident with this one as I am with the previous piece, but ah well, here it is.

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Conflicts Within Australia’s Liberal Democracy: Press Freedom and the Right to Privacy

01/09/2021

The following piece is an essay I have written for a university assessment. I seriously hope it makes sense, otherwise there is only disappointment ahead. For a TL;DR, the purpose was to discuss conflicts between two integral parts of the Australian system – liberalism and democracy. This essay essentially puts forward the argument that Australia’s liberal democracy suffers due to assaults on a free press by both the government and corporate power and influences, as well as the invasive domestic surveillance carried out by the government (the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) in particular). The result is a clash between the liberal concepts of the state and private enterprise with the more democratic ideals of the right to information and accountability from the government (in this case through the lens of a genuinely free press), and the right to privacy.

The reference list is also at the end, which happily contains books I have read (and written about) previously. Enjoy, I suppose.

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Anarcho-Capitalism and Gig Economy as “Crypto-Anarchism”: A Response

05/08/2021

The short answer to the question, “Are gig economy companies like Uber or Airbnb anarchist in nature?” is a dismissive wave of the hand. But one of my political science textbooks for a kind of ideologies 101 class has a chapter dedicated to anarchism, which I was excited for. To my dismay and concern, the comical and entirely contradictory branch of “anarcho-capitalism” is briefly explored. Sure, it might be a noteworthy aberration to point at and critique, but here it appears to be treated as legitimate – I guess that’s a consequence of the US’ lunacy…

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Laurel Hubbard and the Olympic Uproar

05/08/2021

I have no interest in the Olympics, or sport, or physical activity of any kind. The only news coming out of the Olympics this week that has interested me is seeing the occasional symbolic protest, or that situation with the Belarusian woman seeking asylum in the Polish Embassy. Ok, the video of the Qatari and Italian jumpers sharing the gold was wholesome.

But if there is one “issue” that has swept Olympic commentary, it is Laurel Hubbard, the trans woman from New Zealand that made mildly interesting history and a staggering number of headlines. I wonder why?

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Australia Day: Triple J, MLA, and the Symbolic Smokescreen

07/06/2021

(The following piece is my essay assessment for Media and Society at the University of Queensland).

The Australia Day debate surrounding the “Change the Date” movement has generated growing controversy every year as we get closer and closer to January 26th. The aim of the movement is to move Australia Day away from the darker and more brutal aspects of Australia’s history, much of which sprung from the declaration of a British penal colony in 1788. Rather than a celebration, many dissident voices view the day as one of mourning, the beginning of an invasion and wiping out of the indigenous populations and their land and traditions. Much has been done in recent decades to cement the dominant hegemonic view of a celebratory white (and generally male) experience, including attempts to sanitise this image (Brooker, 2017)1.

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On George Orwell

08/05/2021

George Orwell is a name everyone learns, at least in the West as far as I know, during school. Animal Farm and 1984 are the two books written by him that we are told to read and write some analysis of. They are both antitotalitarian works, with Animal Farm being based on the Russian Revolution and led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, and 1984 being a scary predictor of surveillance. And that’s about it. That’s all I learned about him in school. Of course, there’s much more, and not all of it is good.

The Twitter hellscape was quick to mob me on that.

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