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Australia is young, and like the world is becoming, modern mobile urban and diverse. I think we have past the period for forming an identity, to express from and be authentic. Rather humanity is busy reflecting its self, and earning to pay to do so and to purchase the technology and the services to.
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Uundoubtedly your view is correct – that Australia, ‘like the the world is becoming modern, mobile, urban and diverse.’ But Australian culture has also gone backwards – to its convict origins. In the late 19th century there was a great strike by the London dockworkers and Australian workers not only supported them but were the most generous in the world. Times have changed.
There is another aspect to Australian culture – a sick, mean, nasty, dangerous convict mentality – one which Australians tell themselves they have moved on from but which has been quietly exploited on behalf of capitalism by successive Labor (note the adoption of the American spelling) and, particularly, Liberal governments (Howard – he of the quivering bottom lip so well depicted in Moir’s cartoons – drew most effectively on this) to result in a society which, while one of the richest, is one of the meanest (materially, spiritually and intellectually) – Australia’s geographical isolation plays into this.
Look at the continuing treatment of the indigenous (who had the military put onto them in ‘the Northern Territory intervention’ in 2007), of refugees (often seeking to escape from death and destruction Australia, in the service of its master the U.S. capitalist class has participated in causing) – of anyone who is perceived as sitting outside the mass of beautifully conditioned ‘happy’ consumers – get your ticket from uni, earn your 100 thousand +, hook up, have your 2 and 1/2 kids, build your super and private insurance (you’re on your own, pal) and end your days sipping on a not too expensive white as you survey your lifetime’s accumulation of material and human possessions.
I used to read on the walls of inner-city squats ‘Consume, be silent, die’. I haven’t seen these words for many years – they have been overcome by what they condemn.
Look at what is being done to funding for health care, education and science (there is no minister for science), at Abbott’s and this country’s myopic, racist response to the rapidly developing Ebola crisis. Look at what was done to Utzon (and many others) – all, for little spirits, easily ‘justifiable’.
Bigness of spirit and a commitment to vision profoundly offends and provokes this conformist, consumerist culture – they remind it of its littleness.
Abbott’s truly primitive waving of his mouth at Putin (he didn’t have the guts to repeat it) and the extent to which this contrasts with his lickspittle behaviour towards the Americans, towards US capitalism (the former directly related to the latter) perfectly symbolises a littleness of spirit which I believe to be throughout this white dominated culture (Australia is one of the ‘G5′ – an intelligence grouping which aims to maintain white domination of the world, led by US capitalism, but with its social origins in ‘Great’ Britain).
My hope is that millions of people will come to Australia from Asia to live (Horne correctly wrote that if they are not absorbed, they will take it. One can see the beginnings of this expansion with the rise of China and the rapid growth of its middle class) – people who have no experience of this sick, lickspittle convict mentality that cripples, particularly, the intellectual growth of this country that has everything materially going for it and that they, with their numbers and an eager view to the future, will wash it into the sea where it will sink without trace forever.
In that process, Australian culture will rise off its knees, divest itself of its shame, its disgusting religion of the ordinary and commitment to littleness and Australians will truly begin to develop for all on their material good fortune.