Flat White

Don’t forget Labor’s still loathsome

4 November 2021

12:54 PM

4 November 2021

12:54 PM

Prussian soldier strategist Carl von Clausewitz is best remembered for his statement, “War is the continuation of political intercourse with the addition of other means.”

The corollary might be, “Political warfare is the natural means by which total victory can be achieved.”

Political class warfare has been resurrected by Labor’s treasurer apparent Dr Jim Chalmers, the former acolyte and anointed successor of Labor’s most vicious political warrior, fellow Queenslander and former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan.

First as a Queensland Labor apparatchik then federal member for Lilley, Swan was to political warfare what Mao Zedong was to guerrilla warfare.

Mao wrote, “politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed”.

Swan has never been afraid to shed a little blood to achieve his political aims.

Chalmer’s speech to the Global Progress Conference in Rome last week had Swan’s grubby ideological DNA all over it.

The call to reinvigorate class warfare in a climate of post-COVID economic recovery was aimed squarely at those who were perhaps most vulnerable to economic uncertainty, what Chalmers described as the “global middle class”.

This classic politically regressive tactic by so-called progressives aims at exploiting the often-frustrated dreams of those who aspire to more affluent outcomes from their time, effort and dare it be said, willingness to take risk.

Soon after becoming Treasurer Wayne Swan said in an address to the National Press Club, “Politicians have a choice: between exploiting divisions by promoting fear and appealing to the sense of fairness and decency that is the foundation of our middle-class society; between standing up for workers and kneeling down at the feet of the Gina Rineharts and the Clive Palmers.


It’s Labor’s classic equivalent of ‘reds under the bed’, in political intercourse terms a form of penis envy.

It also begs the question of whether Australians aspiring to better themselves will take a knee to Swan’s fear-mongering.

Swan made an art form of exploiting divisions by promoting fear, honed firstly during the reign of Sir Joh, then at the federal level.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

In 2016 Swan’s then 24-year-old daughter Erinn devised the since discredited digital Mediscare campaign which so rattled coalition strategists.

Expect more of the same from Chalmers and his strategists, who see Australia defined in three classes, best dispassionately described as lower, middle and upper.

While in Marx and Engel’s view classes are defined by their place in the production process, that theoretical division is alien to the Australian concept of a fair go for all.

Chalmers view of the world assumes the “lower” class with a greater dependence on government welfare falls naturally into Labor’s constituency, perhaps Mark and Engels ‘lumpenproletariat’.

While Marx essentially dismissed their productive worth, Mao successfully exploited their revolutionary potential, just like in present day Danghanistan.

The upper-class bourgeoisie are a mostly a lost cause in Chalmers vision, except for tenured academics, the ABC and doctors’ wives.

It’s the middle class on which Chalmers has his conversionary zeal focussed.

While unashamedly trying to exploit the innate jealously which he suspects motivates their ambition, Chalmers ignores one fundamental truth.

Perhaps he would be better lumping them into the petite bourgeoisie whose reward is often produced by their own risk at their cost without exploiting the labour of less entrepreneurial individuals.

It is the entrepreneurial class that can lead an Australian economic revival, and they are not well disposed to Labor governments who, despite public pronouncements to the opposite, cannot expunge from their DNA the fundamental need to tax the earnings of those who lift themselves above economic dependency.

The aspirational class are not swayed by arguments about climate change, but will unashamedly labour in the real sense to provide themselves with the material fruits of their labour, a better house, bigger fuel-guzzling car, ditto boat with a jet ski thrown in.

Chalmers pleads Labor can’t achieve its economic goal from opposition, that it can’t be the party of middle-class growth if it loses the election.

Chalmer’s speech was a clear signal war has been declared, and combat joined, von Clausewitz’s political intercourse has been rudely interrupted.

Von Clausewitz died in 1813 while trying to impose a cordon sanitaire to stop the second, great Asiatic cholera pandemic sweeping across Europe from the east.

That’s an irony that will probably be lost on the lumpenproletariat, but not on Australia’s aspirational class.

They can spot a prick when they see one.

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