In recent conversation with my mother, the subject of communism came up. In the 1950’s, in Australia, a person could be jailed if found to be a member of the communist party. Times were tough for ordinary working folk in that early post-war period, for not only had they suffered through the Second World War, but had experienced the Great Depression before that. The solidarity of communism offered an alternative experience, but being a member could be a risky business. In this ‘free’ and ‘lucky’ country.
My mother was a member of a women’s co-operative which operated in her area. This co-operative was set up by well educated women, as a way to enable those less fortunate to improve their daily lives. As an example, a vacuum cleaner was purchased by a group of seven women, who had their one day a week to use it. Gradually, some women went on to have their own machine, until it was just two women sharing the use. This same vacuum cleaner and the arrangement lasted for nearly thirty years!
Now had these women been asked “Are you a member of the Communist Party?” the majority would have been horrified, and denied it. As they saw it, they were simply a group of women trying to help each other through tough times. My mother smiles as she recounts that one member of the group was a staunch Catholic, and was vocal in her opposition to Communism.
I bring this up today, having just read an article:
What is the connection? I feel it is that people who would not ordinarily associate themselves with anything titled “Socialist”, would nonetheless relate to the subject matter. Hunger. No-one wants to see their family go hungry. But in the world today millions are experiencing that every day, and the cause is not global warming, it is political decision making.
As the author of the article Anuradha Mittal says:
“Depending on the World Bank and IMF for solutions is like giving a key to the bank robber and asking him to guard the bank. We have to fight back, because there is no other option. We need to deal with that.”
“Being the U.S., we have a job to do, and that is to fight the battle in the belly of the beast. We have to put pressure, especially in this year of the presidential elections. What do the presidential candidates stand for? Are they willing to take back the free trade agreements–there is nothing free about them.”
Now whether one lives in the US or elsewhere, the same principle applies:
“So it is really time to put pressure within this country–on the elected officials and the people planning to be in political office–that we need to have a different kind of policy.”
I come back again to this little group of women in the 1950’s. Just one of many many groups around the country. They did not sit about moaning, they got off their butts and did something. How about you? Do you think the times are THAT different? Remember, every action we take has a political consequence.