Right-wing radio shock jock Alan Jones had a meltdown on his Radio 2GB program on June 26 when he reported survey results showing that 58% of Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1996) favour socialism, 59% think capitalism has failed and 62% think workers are worse off than they were 40 years ago.
Jones sneered at Millennials for being ignorant of history and out of touch with reality. “Perhaps we need a war to sort these people out,” he said.
Below is a response to Jones by Amber Embry, a Millennial IT worker.
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Alan Jones laughs at the idea that Millennials believe that workers are worse off than they were 40 years ago. And yet, housing is far less affordable, workers are being asked to do more unpaid overtime and our rights are being stripped away as many young workers lose their weekend penalty rates.
The economy may have grown, but our poorest and most vulnerable are worse off than they were even a decade ago. Most workers are not seeing these benefits.
History shows that when capitalism is unchecked, people suffer. Disabled people suffer, many people cannot find jobs, working hours increase and workplace safety is abandoned.
Historically, unions have been the only voice that has consistently been able to improve conditions for the poor and working class. Without unions, we would not have 40-hour working weeks, holiday and sick pay, and workplace safety regulations.
Do we want to live in a world where poor families send their kids to work long hours in factories or clean boilers and chimneys, cutting their lives short, as occurred in the Victorian era?
Alan Jones says young people are ignorant about the events of the past, but what events is he talking about? We have had implementations of socialism and communism that went poorly. We’ve seen that authoritarian “Communism” has had devastating effects on its people. But we also have examples of countries like Cuba, where socialism has greatly improved the lives of its people despite blockades from the US.
Jones suggests that young people are not learning about the failures of socialist revolutions, but we also do not hear about the successes, often in the Third World. Those success stories are not perfect utopias, but stories of countries where workers lives have been vastly improved. Even the Soviet Union, which had enormous flaws, saw a great improvement in the quality of life for its poorest and most downtrodden.
Jones wants us to continue living in a world where the poor stay poor, a world without safety nets, a world where the rich get richer. He ignores the fact that capitalism is creating a world where many are starving and homeless, with no way to improve their plight. In the United States, the divide between the rich and poor is growing.
Socialists oppose the increasing wealth divide, while learning from the past. We understand the mistakes that have been made to attempt to implement communism, and we will subvert those going forward. And we can learn from the success stories of socialism and anarchism around the world to build a better future for all people.
Jones suggested that, “Perhaps we need a war to sort some of these people out”.
In case Jones has not noticed, we have been at war for the past 17 years with various states in the Middle East. Millennials have seen just how horrific these wars are. We have seen how many innocent civilians are killed by our militaries in these countries while we invade them, destabilise their governments, and leave them in a worse position than they were in before we began our self-righteous crusades in their countries.
But of course, Jones is all for war, as well as being a climate change denier. So I’m not sure why we should pay his comments any attention at all.