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Issue #1629      March 5, 2014

Culture & Life

Fascists running amok and bogus jobs

Has anyone else noticed the similarities between the EU putsch in Ukraine and the near-successful US-backed putsch in Hungary in 1956? Like the events in Kiev, those in Budapest in ’56 also depended on a largely foreign-based media blitz, lauding the participants as “freedom fighters” and labelling the events as a “revolution”. There too, the aim was supposedly to achieve democracy, but in Budapest as in Kiev, prominent among the “freedom fighters” were avowed fascists. In Hungary, they actually appeared wearing their pre-war green uniforms of the Nazi-style Arrow Cross outfit, Hungary’s equivalent of the Brown Shirts.

McJobs – jobs deliberately employing under-paid youth.

Prominent in both events was the meddling hand of German imperialism. In ’56, the West German air-force flew planeloads of Arrow Cross members into Hungary. They had fled to West Germany with the retreating Hitlerite armies in 1945. Now they hoped to regain what they had been forced to give up in the wake of the Nazis’ defeat by the Red Army. If that sounds familiar it could be because the same thinking was displayed by the Cuban émigrés who landed in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. And, as the Ukrainian Communists have pointed out, fascists pushing an extreme anti-Russian line were also prominent among the supposed “pro-democracy fighters” in Kiev’s main square.

And Germany, of course, has been very prominent in the devious diplomatic and economic pressuring that has been going on over the question of EU membership in some form for Ukraine. Twice in the 20th Century Ukraine was earmarked to become a German colony but each time the attempt failed. Today, German imperialism hopes to achieve the same result without having to actually go to war. Either way, falling under the sway of German imperialism won’t do the people of Ukraine any good at all.

Changing the subject, did you see where Wyong Council, on the NSW Central Coast, has given the go-ahead to a 24-hour drive-thru McDonald’s fast food outlet amidst claims that it will “provide a much-needed jobs boost for the shire”. Actual job numbers are a bit rubbery however, estimates ranging from 80 to 120 “full and part-time positions”. As well as the large McDonald’s the development will include a service station with a 7-Eleven store and four light industrial units. None of those are labour-intensive businesses, so the majority of any jobs created will be at Macca’s – and as we all know they are not real jobs but the notorious McJobs (jobs deliberately employing under-paid youth).

The land on which this shiny new Macca’s is to be built is currently occupied by a Mitre 10 hardware store, which just happens to be owned by the family of Wyong’s Mayor, Doug Eaton. Not by the Mayor, you understand, but by his family, so that’s all right then. When the vote was taken in Council to approve the project, Mayor Doug absented himself from the proceedings so that no one could suggest that anything untoward was going on. As if they would!

Mayor Doug’s family (not him, you understand) also is part owner of the land on which the new project is to be built. So Mayor Doug will do all right out of the deal even if it doesn’t create many real jobs. Lack of jobs is a sore point in Wyong Shire. Recently two major employers – the Kellogs factory at Charmhaven and the Bluetongue Brewery at Warnervale – have closed. No McDonald’s – no matter how big – can substitute for that loss of real jobs.

In Britain, since March last year, it has been mandatory for all unemployed people trying to claim the miserable “jobseeker’s allowance” to register and use a government website, Jobmatch. The name implies that its function is to match up an unemployed person with a suitable and appropriate job. But capitalism in Britain, like capitalism everywhere else today, just does not have sufficient jobs for everyone who needs one. There as here, the unemployed are made to apply, in writing supplying their CV, etc, for lots of jobs advertised in the press. In most cases, they never hear a word in response, not even an acknowledgement.

In Britain, however, they face an extra hurdle. An investigation by Channel 4 News found that thousands of jobs being advertised were in fact bogus. The investigation found that nine apparently unconnected recruitment websites across the country are all controlled by one man in Coventry – Mark Coward, “a businessman and Baptist deacon”. Coward has posted thousands of jobs on his websites. Jobseekers who answered any of his many ads were encouraged to visit a legitimate recruitment business, CV-Library, using links showing that Coward had recommended them.

The enterprising Mr Coward then received £1 for every CV successfully submitted to CV-Library. But usually the jobs themselves simply did not exist. Typically, his ads were for jobs in different parts of the country, but the job descriptions were always identical.

Coward seems to be cut from the same cloth as the “job providers” that plague our own unemployed. They have no jobs to provide, but they can – and do – order the unemployed to attend endless and repetitive “training” courses, for which the job providers get paid a fee by the government for every unemployed person on the course.

No matter how much the government massages the unemployment figures, the number out of work will continue to grow until there is actual investment in job creating industries. However, the federal government has no job creation plan, other than Prime Minister Abbott’s pious hope that small businesses will somehow lead us out of the slump.

Small businesses are by definition small. They do not employ many people. And the majority of them go bust in their first year. Pinning one’s hopes for economic recovery and a jobs boom on small businesses shows an alarming ignorance of economics on the part of Abbott and his government.

Clearly, before jobs can grow, Abbott’s got to go.

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