I’ve lived in Australia since 1998, which is long enough to be almost an insider yet short enough to retain a foreigner’s perspective. I’m an outsider inside.
I’m also a leftist, green feminist with an interest in Buddhist philosophy and Marxist theories. Whilst Buddhism provides me with guidance for ethical living, Marx and Engels have outlined the economic, political and social structures of capitalist societies to help me recognising what I’m dealing with in my reality.
As useful as Marxism has been to explain the inner workings of capitalism, it has also served to validate the establishment of the Eastern Bloc dictatorships. It doesn’t make a difference whether a dictatorship is socialist, bourgeois or fascist – it’s based on the oppression of the majority of its people. I know what I’m talking about; I grew up in one.
In 1978 I managed to leave my “dictatorship of the proletariat” and set up camp in a true democracy nearby with free elections, free parties and free speech. I think that a communist and at the same time truly democratic system is impossible on a scale bigger than a very small community. For now I have no better idea than to threaten and chip away on existing power structures. Unions will have to keep fighting for the rights of workers (good luck with that in Australia!), feminists will have to keep fighting for the true liberation of women, and environmentalists will have to keep fighting against the pollution of soil, air and water. None of us can fight on all fronts, but we can choose one for ourselves and support the others.
As the Australian print media is leaning heavily towards the conservative and ultra-conservative spectrum of politics, driving its propaganda against everything I feel passionate about, I’m glad to have chanced upon The Conversation. Its authors deliver peer-approved facts, provide fresh ideas and perspectives and generally stimulate intellectual discourse amongst its readers.
I have also come to regard the off-topic comment section as my type of community, and I’m very grateful for having it. I’m glad to know that other people with attitudes similar to mine exist out there, as in Australia I’ve unfortunately always lived in areas where I couldn’t find like-minded people.