the australian constitutional thingy

Catherine Driscoll catherine.driscoll at
Mon Nov 8 14:47:16 PST 1999

angela wrote:

>but as an aside to the thread on working class identity:
>just look at the referendum result in australia. most people voted 'no' to
>the republic question. only 9% of people in australia are monarchists.
>rob noted that the people at the end of the scale voted 'no', but even he
>couldn't bring himself to say that overwhelmingly it was the working class
>who voted 'no'.

not straightforwardly though i will allow us to leave my family out of it for just one minute where i used to live in melbourne's western suburbs seems to have voted yes and while these are inner western suburbs they're definitely working class except for very small pockets newcastle voted yes... the northern territory...

>and we didn't vote 'no', those of us who did, because we
>wanted a monarchy, but (as well as many other reasons), the kinds of
>representational structures and organisations of working class aspirations
>are not in place in australia that would have asserted itself as an
>_identity_ within the framework of the referendum. to put it another way,
>the working class existed only as a resounding 'fuck you'. there is no
>identity, there's only a barely audible negation and a strongly-felt (as
>the pundits keep calling it) chasm between 'leaders' and 'led'.

which would be to say there wasn't an expressed working-class position on the referendum, is that what you mean well in part why would there be, given the gulf between say Lyne and Newcastle -- but the only tv ad for the referendum i ever saw was definitely pitched at the working class. the one with the country singer doing the politicians are evil don't vote for what they want spiel. what other 'assertion' would there have been sure i can see that the family picnics by the foreshore to hear referendum speeches are so so middleclass but what exactly would you have anticipate? rallying in the street? to what end? i heard that evil little gnome graeme richardson claiming working class city areas which were 'ethnic' voted yes... what does that mean to you angela? apart from the fact that richo isn't scared to say working class

>there's no 'identity' because the prior forms of working class identity
>have proved themselves to be little more than mechanisms of integration and
>subordination. which explains why traditional Labor Party electorates
>voted overwhelmingly 'no' -- as did National Party (rural) electorates
>(which in Victoria are strangely heamorraging to Labor Party-aligned
>independants) -- and Liberal Party electorates voted 'yes'. you can't
>explain that without pondering the history of the collapse of traditional
>forms of representation, organisation and identity, and indeed without
>thinking a little of the ways in which working class identity is being

well i don't think i get what you mean really what organisation, representation, would have enabled working class australians to vote yes? why should we get to say they just have the wrong organisation because they appear to have voted in a particular way? oh god i'm confused now... i think i hate politics. i think i'm saying i think there were quite strong claims to identity in voting no... which is why such a huge percentage of the working class did vote no because they did identify precisely interests in common even though those were defined entirely negatively (our interests are whatever their's are not)


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