rc-am rcollins at netlink.com.au
Sat Nov 13 08:57:08 PST 1999

a prefacing remark seems in order: populism, strictly speaking, is any discourse which emphasises 'the people'. at an abstract level, it's clear that 'the people' is a way of unifying a disunity that at the same time relies on a series of exclusions; but that kind of representational antic has been used to present a range of figures, including at times a racist 'we', a socialist 'we', or just a plain democratic 'we'. and, to some extent, max is right, anti-populism tends to present itself as above that kind of antic, a surreptitious 'we' that slides along as academically-licensed derision. but i don't think that has been apparent at all in the discussion here (except perhaps tangentially in the thread on bush jr's marks). however:

max wrote:

> Amoral Global Capitalism...

i don't know where you see 'amoralism'. even from this distance, the last two decades in the US and Britain, as well as here, have been accompanied by a distinct moralism. across the board, the repubs, tories, liberals, labourites, and democrats have -- in the absence of any redistributive possibilities -- resorted to an increasingly frantic moralism. or is it that you're pairing 'amoral' and 'global'? tell me it isn't so; but with your depiction of the nation-state as the repository of virtuous protectionism, i'm not sure.

> The right terminology
> is opposition to the use of market forces to reduce labor
> standards. The objective of organized labor is to forestall
> this to the extent possible, both through collective
> action and government policy, among other means.

you said you didn't disagree that deregulation of laws relating to employers was accompanied by an authoritarianismviz workers... i note the double negative. yet, i think you're missing the whole raison d'etre of migration laws, and indeed of most laws: they don't stop things from happening, they create and sustain certain condition. in the case of migration law, they create distinctions between groups of workers, eg. illegality doesn't make migrant workers disappear, it only makes them available for undocumented and hyper-exploited working conditions -- and that can, does, happen just over the border and inside a country. short of re-asserting a formal system of apartheid (which in any event only ever really applied to certain occupations), the only real option for mitigating against the competitiveness of the labour market is to make sure that organised labour includes those at the bottom end of the scale, those who are used as scabs. market forces only reduce labour standards if the state creates and sustains the conditions for it to do so, which is why when it comes to labour standards (and associated policies such as welfare and migration law), the state has in the last two decades been decidedly authoritarian, not deregulatory.

> We need foreigners as export consumers.

interesting. during the rise of One Nation, the constant refrain from govt and opposition alike was that this would hurt export markets. heh. saun micallef (comedian), doing a govt announcement, declared, "...at the bottom of your screen, you'll see a list of those countries we do not trade with. please direct your hatred toward them."

Angela _________

link of the day: Australian union boffins at http://www.econ.usyd.edu.au/acirrt/

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