Bruno, a supporter of Green Left Weekly, said to me last week that the political situation today reminded him of a famous quote from a story about a Sicilian prince at the time Italy's feudal principalities were being challenged by Giuseppe Garibaldi's "Redshirts":
"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change", Falconeri Tancredi cynically advises Don Fabrizio, the ageing prince of Salina, in The Leopard, a novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
Tancredi marries into the rising capitalist ruling class and manoeuvres to retain his privilege and power, but his dying uncle has no respect for him. "Those who'll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas", he sighs.
Today as the capitalist system writhes in an unprecedented triple crisis — economic, environmental and political — there are Tancredi's popping up everywhere. In the cynical backrooms of Labor governments in Canberra, Sydney and Perth, for instance.
And of course in the US, in the billion-dollar Democrat and Republican presidential campaign machines. Spin merchants dreaming up a million ways to sell "change without change".
"I'm sick of it", another regular reader said when he rang to renew his subscription last week. He renewed it for two years, bought a two-year subscription for his daughter and made a $200 donation to our fighting fund.
"Green Left Weekly is the only newspaper I read these days. I am disappointed in Rudd Labor, I had desperately hoped that he was lying about being a conservative so he could get elected but I guess he wasn't", he said.
His disappointment was all the more bitter in the light of Professor Ross Garnaut's recent admission that powerful vested interests dictated a federal government response to climate change that would most likely fail to avoid catastrophic environmental damage.
Whether it was last year's "Kevin07" campaign in Australia or the current Obama campaign in the US, clearly there is a cynical manipulation of the popular desire for change taking place. Many people have invested a lot of hope in these campaigns but the hard lesson is that we won't get real change from the established parties.
We will have to create our own political vehicles for change, political vehicles independent from the corrupt control of the rich and powerful corporate interests that truly exercise a dictatorship today even in established parliamentary democracies, like that in Australia and the US.
Building a new political vehicle for real change is a challenging and complicated process, but you can help by building the projects of popular resistance that are already part of the solution, projects like GLW.
Please make a donation to GLW's $250,000 fighting fund for 2008. So far this year we have raised $148,385 through donations and numerous fundraisers (see calendar on page 23 for details of the next fundraising event near you) but we need your help to raise the remaining $101,615.
You can directly deposit a donation at: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 901992. Alternatively, ring in your donation by credit card on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia only), send us a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007, or donate online at http://www.greenleft.org.au/donate.php.