Replying to Jeff Sparrow’s Arguement On the Social Significance of the Arizon Massacre


Jeff Sparrow wrote on the Overland Blog that the Tuscon murders cannot be considered isolated events but are evidence of  “profound social crisis” that seems to go by the name of “the normalisation of violence” and is principally caused by the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am not so sure that this is accurate. Doubt comes from indications of a greater age and origin of the crisis, but also, I am generally of the opinion that violent images don’t promote violence, the apparent cause of the crisis in Jeff’s analysis.  Jeff’s prognosis here seems to rely upon questionable assumptions conducive to authoritarian conclusions.

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The Love of Violence Behind Dole Bludger Bashing: A Obvious if Often Overloooked Fact

Dole bludgers are on the nose again but it is unclear for what reason. There have been reports that there are 40,000 young people in neither employment or some form of education there were also reports that Centrelink has slackened its discipline regime somewhat but in the context of growing prosperity the decrease in productivity these figures announce hardly seems disastrous. Nevertheless, Tony Abbott has proposed time limits on unemployment benefits and options for relocation to mining jobs for the under 30s in order to tackle the problem.

Perhaps his motivation lies in the political productivity of bashing the dole bludger or perhaps it is the fear that if these recalcitrants don’t start doing the work in the Pilbara and other remote centres of mineral wealth the admittance of browns, blacks and yellows might be required. And there is always the motivation voiced so well by the Australian newspaper in its editorial on the issue: greater productivity on the part of the population being a good in itself.

The second motivator, racism, seems to fit well with the election campaign being built by Tony Abbott. It fits nicely with policies to contain our migration intake, encourage Aussie mums to push out more little whiteys – Tony’s government funded paternity leave being nothing more than baby bonuses ranging up to $75,000 proportional to income – and policies to tighten border control. The efficiency aspect is a nice little accompanier; it looks good in the context of the government waste campaign he is running with the Australian. But the first motivator, a joy for violence, a joy at bashing the dole bludger, must not be discounted.

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