Class in Australia: further comments to my article

I have an article in The Conversation examining conservative responses to class in Australia. My inspiration was the rather clunky Anglo-Marxism of John Strachey and Harold Laski in the 1930s. They argued that as capitalism was in a phase of decline it could no longer afford the reforms that social democracy had offered – hence fascism, which they interpreted in a fairly mechanical sense as a creation of monopoly capitalism. A more subtle expression of this approach was Otto Bauer’s argument:

The turn to fascism is provoked less by capitalist fear of revolution than by a determination to depress wages, to destroy the social reforms achieved by the working class, and to smash the position of political power held by its representatives; not to suppress a revolutionary situation but to wipe out the gains of reformist socialism

This desire does not come out of nowhere. It is true dreams of ‘hire and fire’ and ‘simple control’ as a management technique have influenced many Australian capitalists (and even more their intellectual admirers) but the intention to pursue this an objective depends on circumstances.

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