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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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October 28, 2004

From an editorial in the New Left Review by Alexander Cockburn. Cockburn is commenting on the US Presidential elections:

"As now constituted, presidential contests, focused almost exclusively on the candidates of the two major parties, are worse than useless in furnishing any opportunity for national debate. Consider the number of issues on which there is tacit agreement between the Democratic and Republican parties, either as a matter of principle or with an expedient nod-and-wink that, beyond pro forma sloganeering, these are not matters suitable to be discussed in any public forum: the role of the Federal Reserve; trade policy; economic redistribution; the role and budget of the cia and other intelligence agencies (almost all military); nuclear disarmament; reduction of the military budget and the allocation of military procurement; roles and policies of the World Bank, IMF, WTO; crime, punishment and the prison explosion; the war on drugs; corporate welfare; energy policy; forest policy; the destruction of small farmers and ranchers; Israel; the corruption of the political system; the occupation of Iraq. The most significant outcome of the electoral process is usually imposed on prospective voters weeks or months ahead of polling day—namely, the consensus between the supposed adversaries as to what is off the agenda."

Does not a similar (Lib-Lab) consensus apply in Australia? So similar that we can talk about a neo-liberal governmentality?

Is not the theatrical conflict between the two main parties who vituperate against each other in great style in Australia mostly done for show, for the purposes of assuaging their respective blocs of voters? It is a spectacle.

The ALP crowd may weep their tears of despair, but a Latham ALP would have adopted many of the LNP positions. They would sell poor single mothers, working people, regions, Telstra and protections against the negatives of free trade down the river whilst doing little to save the ecology of the rivers.

It is not the leader. The ALP have done this convergence number over the past two or three years. In the senate they huff and puff for the cameras, then quietly pass the government's legislation when the cameras are turned off. It is standard operating procedure.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:08 PM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (1)

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» governmentality#2 from
I previously mentioned this paper by Thomas Lemke entitled 'Foucault Governmentality and Critique' in my earlier post on Foucault & governmentality. What does Lemke say? He starts by asking two good questions: "(1) why does the problem of government as... [Read More]