Peter Boyle

Twenty-first century capitalism has sentenced millions of workers to near slavery in the form of various migrant labour schemes that underpin the mega profits of many giant corporations. From Singapore to Dubai to the US, such schemes spell super-exploitation. So would a “guest
worker” scheme in Australia be much less exploitative?

On June 5, I joined a suburban World Environment Day campaigning stall organised by Resistance, a socialist youth group in Australia.

“They must think we are all idiots”, said an exasperated Friend of Green Left last week in response to the parliamentary debate about rising petrol prices.

A pile of bags and clothing on an old shopfront verandah on Cuff Road in Singapore’s Little India is “home” to a group of about 50 migrant workers who have been spat out by an economy that relies heavily on so-called “guest workers”.

“Macquarie Bank bosses’ pay cut after profit cut warning”, was the headline of an article by Michael Sainsbury and Katherine Jimenez, in the May 21 Australian.

“Two things keep me sane”, wrote in a Green Left Weekly subscriber with her payment for renewal, “Green Left Weekly and Radio National”. She is just one of a large number of loyal readers and supporters of this important project for change.

“How many minutes to midnight, do you reckon it is?”, asked a Green Left Weekly buyer at a street stall last week.

The first new subscription to come in on May 1 was from Graeme, from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, who had read about the Climate Change — Social Change conference on the internet. He took out a one-year subscription to Green Left Weekly and sent us this note of appreciation:

I’m not going to yet another ritualised May Day march this year. But neither is anyone else in Sydney!

For most of us here in wealthy and relatively insulated Australia, the word “crisis” sounds like an exaggeration. We hear about the global warming crisis, the world financial crisis and now the food crisis but these seem like abstractions to most of us. “Crisis, what crisis?” is a familiar rejoinder.

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