Reply to Jason 1

Max Dupain, ‘Sunbaker’, 1937, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Max Dupain, ‘Sunbaker’, 1937, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Hi Jason,

thank you very much for your reply. There are two points regarding your first comment that I want to respond to.

The first, concerning the manner of the guards’ speech to the tethered boy in the first video is that the reason why they spoke as they did was because they knew they were being recorded.

In the Four Corners show on the ABC the guards several times referred to the cameras, asking if they were recording or telling the others that they were recording.

The second is with regard to what I might have brought from my own life to my perception of the abuse documented on those videos.

Because I believe that everything should be questioned and have lived to do so in areas that most interest me, I have, and immediately, come up and lived my life against basically the same authoritarianism meted out to those boys.

I have obviously made no secret on my blog of the bitterness I have felt as a result of some of those experiences, which have affected me very seriously in ways that you are not aware of and which have underlined to me the depth of petty, vicious, vindictive authoritarianism in this culture.

The same authoritarianism documented on the latest Four Corners.

It is why I call this culture a convict culture.

And I have given a great deal of thought to expressing, to releasing that bitterness.

Not only do I see it as a necessary step towards moving beyond it, that bitterness is aligned with an entirely justifiable call for accountability, not only with regard to myself but far more importantly where the impact of mysticism on Western culture is concerned (as I have often posted about), with regard to the most gross and deliberate failure in social responsibility by generations of ideologues, careerists, supremacists and assorted hacks.

They should be held to account so that the lessons of their failure can be addressed.

Even in how some of these people address mysticism now (a subject they would never go near prior to the decline of po-mo, itself suffused with mysticism) I see the words of Marx and Engels being borne out.

While they bathe daintily, weave cobwebs and crack fleas on the spiritual shoreline, they dare not acknowledge its revolutionary content, once Marx and Engels had stood the dialectics of Neoplatonism on a material basis – the content that now foretells the fall of the exploitative class they serve.

I do not and would not use the experience of the boys in the videos (or that of anyone else) as proxies or as a proxy for my own issues. That would be dishonest.

Having to think about my issues in relation to ‘authority’ and class domination has, however, given me a far greater sensitivity to and awareness of how ‘authority’ and domination are manifested, and how much damage they result in.

I have also come to recognise the depth of authoritarianism in sunny Australian culture – it functions through ‘decent,’ ‘laid-back,’ ‘nice’ and particularly through ‘egalitarian.’

The dictum is ‘Salute without question these concepts as they are interpreted in the dominant culture and you may be one of us.’

If this is ugly, the ugliness is not mine.

Best wishes as always,

Phil red-star


2 thoughts on “Reply to Jason 1

  1. Thanks much for your insights. I’m US and, as you know, we are getting deeper into the trackless swamp. I personally am a Plotinian mystic and Murray Bookchin social anarchist, which as you point out isn’t a contradiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Don,

      thank you for your comment. Trotsky wrote that the world has two options – barbarism or socialism.

      While barbarism is obviously the tool of international capital, I think the human spirit will ensure that the path of socialism is pursued and that it succeeds.

      Regarding contradiction – whenever I see it, I run to welcome it. It is the basis of my learning.

      Best wishes,



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