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How Labour Built Neoliberalism: Australia's Accord, the Labour Movement and the Neoliberal Project

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Why do we always assume it was the New Right that was at the centre of constructing neoliberalism? How might corporatism have advanced neoliberalism? And, more controversially, were the trade unions only victims of neoliberal change, or did they play a more contradictory role? In How Labour Made Neoliberalism, Elizabeth Humphrys examines the role of the Labor Party and tra ...more
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Published October 15th 2018 by Brill
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Trevor
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A friend of mine at work recommended I read this article by Jeff Sparrow https://www.publicbooks.org/goodbye-t..., and in it he mentions this book. I’ve recommended it to my eldest daughter too.

A lot of the start of this is theory – mostly a Marxist view of the relationship of the state to civil society and economics. Ultimately, this also turns to Gramsci’s views on corporatism – I guess you could sum this up by that often-quoted line: What is good for General Motors is good for America.

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Robyn Lewis
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for any social or union activist or campaigner in Australia - this book explores an important facet of neoliberalism and labour’s role in actively creating it. At the least, this account should provoke questions about to what degree agreements with the state can ever truly assist workers, and the alternatives. I particularly enjoyed the critique of ‘better than nothing’ accounts of union compromise, and suspect this will resonate with others who are frustrated with the state of Austr ...more
John Davie
May 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
This provides a great new angle on the neoliberal movement in Australia specifically (or as a Humphrys bizarrely calls it; a "spatially distinct location"??????). Specifically how the state power which represents the interests of capitalism enrwapped itself in the institutions of the labour movement (alp+unions) to bring in neoliberalism and sell out the workers.

But it has to be said this book is written in that uniquely awful academic style, as if stretched out to hit a word count. It's on the
...more
Matt Blakely
Jun 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
The main thing I appreciate about Humphrys' book is that it challenges the dominant narrative regarding neoliberalism, in which the new right is viewed as some omnipotent evil force that solely brought us to where we are now. Conservative governments are of course demonic, but that narrative lets centrists, center rightists, and even leftists off the hook, in the sense that Reagan and Thatcher stand in for the entire neoliberal movement and thus no further analysis is needed.

What Humphrys stumbl
...more
Justin
The advance of the neoliberalism in the 20th century is largely seen in a terms of Thatcher attacking the unions or Reaganomics being implemented. What is often little talked about is how in the Australian context it was the Labor Party that enacted many of these neoliberal reforms. When they are acknowledged they are often explained away as unfortunate but that the labour movement gained critical concessions that we should be oh so thankful for.

In this book, the Hawke/Keating era (1983-96) and
...more
Ben
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a long overdue critical examination of the ACTU-ALP Accord of the Hawke/Keating Federal government. The Accord and its legacy have been devastating for Australian unions, something not usually acknowledged outside the far left, but well argued here.

The book is not just history, which would be enough, but a theoretical look at the role of unions in constructing the ideological hegemony of the class society they operate in - in this case, actively assisting in constructing the neoliberal
...more
Henri Vickers
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An important contribution to our understanding of neoliberalism in Australia and how insitutions of organised labour have helped construct it. Theoretically rigorous, but being an academic text the language is often obscure and some quotes used impenetrable. Essential reading for those in the labour movement, but some parts could be simplified to make for easier reading and understanding.
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