Australia is a country that we don't hear much about in our neck of the woods, unless of course you're into cricket and/or rugby. For most people here in the UK, there is this perception of Australia as a sunny land with the good life. However, Australia is a capitalist country and so comes with all the usual capitalist baggage, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, inequality and discrimination.
Australia has a population of approximately 24.5 million, and they don't all live the good life. The people of that country are going through the same "austerity" treatment that we are going through, with much the same results, increase in poverty and homelessness. Australia's "middle class" is shrinking and over the last decade, the bottom 5% of income earners have become poorer. Sound familiar? The Australian headline poverty rate in 2014 was 13.3 percent, or 2.99 million people up from 11.8 percent in 2003-04, while children in poverty in one-parent families, rose from 36.8 percent in 2012 to 40.6 percent in 2014. Same old capitalist story.
According to the The Australian Council of Social Service report 2016, In international perspective, Australia’s poverty rate remains above the OECD average, despite the country's relative prosperity. Ah well, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
It is not just in poverty and homelessness that Australia follows the capitalist mode of society, it is also in discrimination. Australian Indigenous people are at the receiving end of a brutal discrimination. In 2000, life expectancy of Indigenous Australians was some 20 years below that of other Australians. All the socio-economic indicators such as income, employment, housing, education and health show considerable disparities between Australia's Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. In fact, Australian Indigenous poverty ranks alongside countries as poor as Bangladesh where absolute poverty is real.
From FTP No. 8.
However, Australians, like people across the globe, don't all sit and take this savage exploitation with complete subservience, they fight back. If you are interested in finding out about some of that fighting back then the zine FTP is worth a read and No. 8 is now available. FTP is a “bi-annual report on indigenous, ecological & anti-capitalist resistance in the occupied territory known as Australia.” As such, this zine features a wide-range of actions compiled from communiques and news reports. There are a lot of photos interspersed with the text, making this a great way to learn about what is happening in Australia. I'm all in favour of our ideas and actions finding their way onto print and being circulated, the printed word finds its way into places the internet can't.