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Shaking off the recession blues

By Peter Boyle

There's an odd mood in the streets as the global recession begins to bite in Australia. Many people seem to have their heads down, worrying about their own problems. Nasty nationalist and racist ideas are getting a bigger run by the politicians and the big business media. Even Pauline Hanson is attempting a political comeback for the umpteenth time.

Many Australians have never experienced a recession as an adult and someone is even trying to make a quick buck out of this by marketing a t-shirt that says:”MY FIRST RECE$SION”.

It can get depressing but I felt a lot better after watching the Daily Show's Jon Stewart making side-splitting mockery out of CNBC financial advisers who, in Stewart's words, “showed us how to make a million dollars... if you had one hundred million to start with”.

CNBC's Jim Cramer is shown enthusiastically urging viewers to buy share in Bear Stearns, the US investment bank, just before it crashed in March 2008. Carmer's craziness was a dramatic illustration of Karl Marx's observation of capitalist mentality: "Business is always thoroughly sound, and the campaign in full swing, until the sudden intervention of the collapse".

You can enjoy the episodes Daily Show here:

In the US, even conservative TV comedians, such as Jay Leno, are making fun of the capitalism:
"In a stunning announcement, Citigroup showed a profit and had its best quarter since 2007. They made $8 billion in profit. That just goes to show you, you give a company $45 billion in government bailout money, and they'll show you how to turn it into $8 billion. See this is capitalism!"
And after capitalism has flushed some $50 trillion dollars and four million US jobs, that's not surprising. Stewart has the angry masses truly behind him as he lambasts CNBC's Cramer and other financial reporters for mocking the millions of ordinary folks who have lost their homes as “losers”.

These folk are even madder this week after finding out that the American Insurance Group (AIG), a giant insurance company that is being kept alive on a taxpayer-funded US$180 billion lifeline, is paying out US$165 million in bonuses for 2008.

But don't for a second think that that sort of CEO greed is only a US phenomenon. The business section of the March 19 Sydney Morning Herald listed the 12 biggest golden handshakes for Australian corporate CEOs:
John Ellice-Flint, Santos, $16.8 million
John Alexander, ConsMedia, $15 million
Tony D'Aloisio, ASX, $7.8 million
Mike Tilley, Challenger, $6 million
Michael Chaney, Westfarmers, $5.3 million
Paul Anthony, AGL, $5.1 million
Malcolm Broomhead, Orica, $4.8 million
Fred Hilmer, Fairfax Media, $4.5 million
Tony Palmer, Newcrest, $4.4 million
Paul Moore, Pacific Brands, $3.5 million
Sol Trujillo, telstra, $3 million
Andrew Scott, Centro, $3 million
Venting your rage (even with laughter) at these greedy corporate bastards can help with the recession blues, but an even better antidote is to do something effective to help end this systematic obscenity. As Marx's closet collaborator, Frederick Engels said: “Freedom is the recognition of necessity.”

Since last week, week some of our readers began receiving the latest instalment of the Australian governments stimulus package for capitalism. We are asking them to divert at least part of this stimulus away from the capitalist system that does not deserve to be rescued and use it instead to stimulate the movement to get rid of capitalism and replace it with a society based on solidarity, cooperation and environmental sustainability. Donate it to the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund!

You can make a donation to the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund at:
Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 901992.
Alternatively, send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW
2007, phone it through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within
Australia), or donate online .

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