Social Movements

“Assume that all workers labouring here belong here, and must be treated on a basis of equality, and respected accordingly- indeed honoured- especially workers of foreign origin”
– Alain Badiou

Point one of Alain Badiou’s chapter ‘Eight points, to Start With’ reinforces the significance and importance of refugees, and how they deserve equality and recognition. On a basis of this view, social movements play a big part in determining the treatment of refugees and the construction of the world in which they live in. Badiou’s chapter ‘Only One World’ states that there is no such thing as one world existing. Badiou reinforces that there are two world’s within the one which humans exist. He defines this as the world of the rich and the powerful, and the world of the excluded, subjected and persecuted. It is obvious to distinguish the types of people who live within each world. It is the governments that occupy the world of power and capitalism, and the refugees as the prosecuted. The social movements in Australia regarding the asylum seekers demonstrate Badiou’s perspective on foreigner’s existence. There are many protests and campaigns from Australian individual’s and the government demanding to stop refugees from entering the country. I was one of those individuals who were ignorant towards refugees, and I also supported the negative views placed on refugees as portrayed through the media. I did not understand fully the types of persecution that refugees are fleeing, and why they are so desperate to come to Australia. I always questioned how genuine the boat people are. However, Badiou’s readings widened my narrow views of the world and the division of human existence imposed by the manipulative governments. Furthermore, the social movements that are against asylum seekers construct a detrimental view on refugees, reinforcing that these people come from a different world. Refugees lack respect, equality and basic human rights from the Australian government. Badiou implies the refugees are somewhat ‘locked out’ of the world. Barriers are being constructed all over the world to ensure the poor remain locked in their place. The Australian government stress the construction of these “walls” through exercising immigration policies. Many don’t acknowledge the potential skills or influences in which refugees could offer. They deserve the right to live freely and to settle safely. It can be argued that Australia’s ‘multiculturalism’ seems to be enforced when it suits the government. Many cultures, religions, and nationalities have settled in Australia over the years. Many have brought skills, diversity, and food culture and most importantly, they have contributed to what Australia is now known as a ‘multicultural’ country. Furthermore, it can be argued as capitalism has strengthened in Australia, discrimination and exclusion has also developed. Is it the individual’s fear that refugees are going to invade and somewhat take over? An optimistic message is required throughout the world in order to strengthen supporting views on refugees, and to show compassion for those who are suffering.

References

Badiou, A. (2008). ‘Eight points, to start with’, in The meaning of Sarkozy (pp. 43-51). London, UK.

Badiou, A. (2008). ‘Only one world’, in The meaning of Sarkozy (pp. 73-90). London, UK.

No human being is illegal [Image] ( n.d.) Retrieved from http://archive.greens.org.au/policies/care-for-people/immigration-and-refugees

Refugees [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved from http://safecom.org.au/refugees1.htm

Equality [Image] (2010, October 28). Retrieved from http://jhrmcgill.wordpress.com/2010/10/

How democratic is Australia?

The term ‘democracy’ can be referred to as a system of government in which power comes from the people. David Held raises the question of who holds the power to rule. Is it the citizens or is it the government? (Held, 1996).

Focusing on two types of democracy mentioned in Held’s reading is that of ‘representative democracy’ and ‘participatory democracy’. Which type of democracy does Australia demonstrate, and it is possible for Australia to exercise both? Australia is considered to be a representative democracy whereby the citizens of the nation are involved in electing a member of parliament to govern the country and act on behalf of the people. Citizens elect a favoured Member of Parliament in hope that their interests, values, needs, and rights are taken into consideration and the best outcomes for the people of the nation are supported.

Held (1996) states that democracy strives for political equality, liberty, moral self-development, the common interest, a fair moral compromise, binding decisions that take everyone’s interest into account, social utility, the satisfaction of wants, efficient decisions. I believe that Australian democracy today does not demonstrate the above to what it is fully capable of. This can be seen within the most recent and controversial 2014 Federal Budget, as well as the fight to stop the construction of a McDonald’s restaurant in the small town of Tecoma, Victoria. Two examples that are on two ends of the scale, however, they both question democracy.

Tony Abbott previously promised the citizens of Australia that there will be no new taxes, no increased taxes, no cuts to education, and no cuts to health (Hartcher, 2014). All of which Abbott has done the complete opposite. This is a prime example of representative democracy, where the people have voted for this man to represent Australia. However, to obtain popularity and to obtain the votes of the people he made promises that were in favour of the people’s interests, opinions and values. He had the power and ability to make individuals believe that their rights and freedom of speech would be taken into account and for all to be listened to. Instead Tony Abbott is now perceived as manipulative liar who abuses the use of power and shows no remorse for struggling, vulnerable families of today. It is exhausting and unfair for citizens to continue to be democrats, to only make the slightest bit of progress.

If democracy means having a voice, having choice and the ability to stand up for what you believe in, the residents of Tecoma are experiencing the complete opposite. Power by the government comes into play and overrides the views and beliefs of the residents. Majority of the people in Tecoma have fought not to have the McDonald’s built, purely because it would be ruining the image of the small country town and creating rubbish. Through this example, it is evident that capitalism has dominated. More job opportunities have been created, the fact of making more money and adding to the significantly high number of McDonald’s that are swarming Australia. Democracy does not always exercise a fair, moral compromise. Nor does it take everyone’s interests into account, the satisfaction of wants and decisions of the citizens (Held, 1996). While democracy aims to focus on the people, the common good and what is best for the people, we can argue is it truly doing just that? It seems that the notion of democracy will continue to be contested as it reveals characteristics of inequality and precariousness.

References

Democracy? 9 Out of 10 say no to McDonald’s in Tecoma [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.burgeroff.org/home/

Hartcher, P. (2014, May 14). The populist PM is gone, meet Abbott the ideologue. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/the-populist-pm-is-gone-meet-abbott-the-ideologue-20140513-388d8.html

 

Held, D. (1996). ‘Introduction’, in Models of Democracy, 2nd edition, Polity Press, Cambridge.
Resistance is fertile. No McDonald’s in Tecoma [Image] (2013, March 03). Retrieved May 6, 2014, from http://nomcdonaldsintecoma.bandcamp.com/album/resistance-is-fertile

Too late to fire off the starting gun?.. Not if it uses real bullets…[Image] (2013, August 05). Retrieved May 10, 2014, from http://www.afr.com/p/national/rudd_promises_for_out_of_school_Ad6VJoK6KfuGELu6clKhdJ

 

Do we still need feminism in today’s society?

It can be seen through the evolution of feminism that women have achieved quite a lot over the past few decades. Women have gained the right to vote, gained the ability to control their own body in terms of abortion and the use of contraception, and the inclusion of coloured women has strengthened. However, while women have somewhat overcome the adversity of being a ‘woman’, the need for feminism in today’s society remains a significant issue. Many would think that through the progression of modernity and living in the 21st Century, women would have reached the same equal rights as men by now. However, women continue to aim for gender equality within a currently patriarchal society. One leading example is the inclusion of women in the workforce and the continual fight for equal pay. The ‘feminisation of labour’ has seen the shift in women being typical ‘housewives’ to ‘career-minded women’ contributing to capitalism (Power, 2009). While women are contributing to capitalism, unequal pay still remains a highlighted issue and one of many factors that feminism is still needed in today’s society. Bernoth (2010) states that pay inequity is getting worse, not better by revealing women earn 18 per cent less than men. Furthermore, Bernoth (2010) mentions that the government’s justification for this gap in pay is because women are usually the main care givers for children and dependent adult. To me this seems to be a generalization and continuing stereotype that the woman’s role is to be a housewife and raise children. This stems back into the 1960’s of the second wave of feminism, when women fought for civil rights and for their domestic labour to be recognized highly enough to change from unpaid labour to paid labour. Power makes a valid point on how different the history of the world would have been if a woman’s domestic work was regarded as labour to be rewarded (Power, 2009). I believe there would not have been an extensive difference as stereotypes and objectification would have emerged either way. In the early years of feminism, women were labeled as passive, slutty weak sex slaves. This view somewhat remains today as women continue to be objectified through pornography, the media, and magazines and so on. Power (2009) refers this as ‘the money shot’. Objectifying women to make money, yet this can be seen in the inclusion of more women in the workplace. This exact thought further demonstrates how women are being manipulated in what seems to be a male dominating world. Women’s identity and rights in the past were oppressed, and continue to do so today. We still need feminism in the 21st Century in order to steer women away from traditional stereotypes to being more assertive, powerful, and in control of their own sexuality. Although feminism has not reached its full potential, women are continuing to become independent and active participants in the social, economic, and political world. Feminism is still needed, and women need to continue to fight for equality.

‘Women have been protesting on equal pay for decades.’

‘Women have been protesting on equal pay for decades.’

‘Same work, different pay check.’
Same work, different paycheck

Objectification of women through advertisement
Objectification of women through advertisement
"Don't worry darling, you didn't burn the beer!"

“Don’t worry darling, you didn’t burn the beer!”

References

Bernoth, A. (2010, September 19). Are we there yet? The Age. Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/national/are-we-there-yet-20100918-15haq.html

“Don’t worry darling, you didn’t burn the beer!” [Image] ( 2013, September 5). Retrieved from http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/15chungm/2013/09/05/stereotypes-in-the-media-schlitz-dont-worry-darling-you-didnt-burn-the-beer/

Power, N. (2009). One-dimensional woman, [Zero] Books, Winchester, UK.

Same work, different pay check [image] ( 2014, January 29). Retrieved May 20, 2014, from http://publichealthwatch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/fox-news-host-calls-equal-pay-for-women-a-handout-and-says-women-get-paid-exactly-what-theyre-worth-heres-why-she-is-absolutely-outrageously-wrong/

TOM FORD FOR MEN [Image] ( n.d, 2007). Retrieved May 20, 2014, from http://genderandsociety2013.wordpress.com/tag/objectification-of-women/

Women have been protesting on equal pay for decades [Image] (2009, October 28). Retrieved May 20, 2014, from http://careers.theguardian.com/careers-blog/unequal-pay-ruth-spellman