The issue of inequality has been widely discussed in many different contexts during various periods of human history. The fate of Australian aborigines requires special attention, due to its importance in the modern Australian society. As the article “Challenge to Improve Aborigines’ Lot” suggests, Australian aborigines claim that they are discriminated against and that they do not have equal rights with other members of Australian society. They state that most of the problems which they are currently facing come from their inequality in the society.
They are destined to suffer from high rates of unemployment, racism, shorter life expectancy, high mortality rates among children and many other problems. Aborigines claim that they do not have equal opportunities with other members of society, and therefore they are not able to enjoy benefits of Australian society as much as other Australians. Theory of sagacious theorist Karl Marx supports the thesis of Jim Everett, one of the aborigines’ leaders, concerning the importance of fighting for their rights and even establishing an autonomous state of aborigines for their benefit. Karl Marx argued in his theory that dominant class oppresses working class in the society, which leads to alienation and estrangement of the working class from the results of its work.
An important thesis which supports the main idea of the article is that, according to Marx, laws have been designed to serve the interests of capitalism and the ruling class of capitalists. Therefore, the laws in Australian society have been created to serve the interests of the dominant class and oppress aborigines. As Marx claimed, capitalists are able to oppress the working class with the help of the laws which exist in the society. Every single law which regulates the relations in the society is created in order to further increase the gap between the ruling class and the working class.
Working people get poorer and poorer the more they produce because capitalists take the surplus value which they create. Laws let capitalists obtain the profits which are originated by companies. Even though working people would probably like to change the law and be capable to benefit from the results of their own work, they are not able to do that because they do not have enough power. Aborigines would like to change the law in such a way so that they are able to get all of the benefits from the society in the same manner as the ruling class is getting them. Unfortunately, they are not able to do that because the laws in Australian society have been created to serve the interests of the ruling elite.
It is possible to regard Marx’s views on law in 2 ways: from the positivist perspective, according to which law is created in order to reflect subjective interests of the capitalist class, and from the objective perspective. As the positivist approach argues, capitalists have their own subjective perceptions of the society and thus the laws are being used in order to put their subjective views on the paper. Capitalists have their views on the ways in which they would like to see the world they live in.
They do their best to ensure that the laws are adopted to regulate the society according to the most favorable pattern for them. It is also possible to interpret Marx’s views on law from the objective perspective. According to it, law also serves the interests of capitalists but it appears as the result of the objective process. Capitalists dominate in the society and therefore the trends in legislation which serve their interests are fully objective. It is understandable that legislation needs to reflect the interests of the ruling class, and therefore this process is fully objective.
In the case of Australian aborigines’ inequality analysis, it is necessary to take positivist perspective on Marx’s understanding of law. Current legislation which exists in Australia was not formed as the result of objective process. Instead, it was imposed on Australian people in order to oppress them. European colonizers arrived in Australia a few centuries ago, and it was very important for them to ensure that indigenous people in Australia followed the laws which were beneficial for the conquerors. The first steps which were taken by the colonizers included expropriation of lands originally owned by them.
The following steps were both positive and negative. On one hand, colonizers offered new health and educational benefits to the aborigines, which improved their lifestyle. On the other hand, aborigines saw the oppression of their culture. For example, they were not allowed to speak their native language in many situations, and children of aborigines were taken from their families. For Australian indigenous people, their traditions were one of the most important parts of their lives, and thus they witnessed deep humiliation as the result of colonizers’ policy. Aborigines did not need Europeans to dictate them their policy in everything; they would much rather prefer to carry out decisions on their own, as they did in previous years.
They wanted to participate in the legislative process in the country when it comes to their rights and duties. Unfortunately, they never got a chance for that. Australian government still considers itself much more proficient in the aborigines’ affairs than aborigines themselves, and therefore seeks to regulate their lives according to its principles and ideas.
Some changes have been recently made in order to improve the situation, but they are not sufficient in this situation, as Marx would mark. ASTIC, a commission dealing with aborigines’ rights, was replaced by a more efficient advisory board, the members of which included aborigines themselves. Even though this board is obviously going to be more efficient in addressing aborigines’’ rights, it is not capable to make a radical enough change in the society. The number of problems from which Australian natives are currently suffering is literally overwhelming, and small change in legislation will not be able to minimize their effect significantly.
For example, aborigines’ women are dying at a very early age, and this tendency needs to be stopped by radical methods. The expectancy of live of male aborigines is still 21 year shorter than other male Australians. According to statistics, even people in such poor countries as Bangladesh, Nepal and others have higher standards of life and much better health than Australian aborigines, despite the fact that Australia is currently considered one of the world’s wealthiest nations with good healthcare level.
This evidence proves that there is a great lag between the levels of health services which are received by Australian aborigines, in comparison with other Australians. Even though some improvements in health services for Australian indigenous people have been made, according to the evidence of the article, they did not have any major positive effect on the health of the nation. Health is a very important characteristic of any nation, and without improving the healthcare system in Australia, it will be impossible to achieve any positive changes in the development of native people.
The concept of “alienation”, which has been suggested by Karl Marx, can also be applied to analyze the issues connected with Australian aborigines. According to Marx, in the capitalist society, people are estranged from the results of their work. They are forced to work but unfortunately they are not the ones to take advantage of the results of their work.
The owners of the factories, in which employees work, are the ones benefiting from the products which are created by the workers. Marx mentioned many times that such a society is characterized by alienation because workers are unable to take advantage of the results of their own work. The society based on the concept of alienation is destined to fail because at some point the relations which have got established in it will stop working.
Aborigines do not represent a working class per se, but they do represent an oppressed class which is not able to take advantage from the results of their work. If in the past Australian aborigines were able to use their results of work for their own benefit, the situation changed rapidly after the European colonization began. Indigenous people were estranged from the results of work which they had been doing for centuries. They feel alienated in the new society. As it was mentioned above, laws in the Australian society have been created to serve the interests of the colonizers, and aborigines are therefore left behind in many aspects of life.
Even though the government claims that they have equal rights with all of the other members of the society, figures show that the level of life of aborigines is much lower. These people are forced to suffer from high rate of un-employment and racism, which increase their alienation to an even greater degree. Aborigines state that they are experiencing institutionalized racism in many aspects of their lives, and no steps have been taken by the government to bring it to an end. The policy of welfare is also not fit to address aborigines’ rights.
Many recommendations could be given to the Australian decision-makers in order to improve the situation with aborigines in the country. Karl Marx would claim that radical change will need to take place in Australian society in order to bring it to equilibrium. In his theory, Marx argued that all of the characteristic features of the capitalist production created a solid basis for the conflicts between social classes of capitalists and workers. According to Marx, the exploitation of workers provided on all levels of production, their estrangement from the results of work all were the reasons of the inevitable changes in the future.
The fact that surplus value was obtained by the capitalist was also one of the arguments for the future change in the structure. The class of workers realized that the results of their work were taken by the capitalist even though they were the ones who actually created the value. The dialectics argues that contradictions are the driving force of progress. Once contradictions appear in some system, the system will need to undergo many changes and develop until the new level in which the synthesis of new qualities will be finally reached. Therefore, as it was correctly noticed by Marx, the phase of capitalism could not be completely over- it would just develop until its new phase socialism and the most positive features of both systems would be present in the final synthesis of the two systems. In case of Australian society, the law of dialectics would ensure that aborigines eventually occupied a decent place in the society.
In order to achieve that, Karl Marx would suggest applying one of his favorite concepts- “re-education”. All of the aborigines would have to be re-educated for them to be able to occupy all of the high-paying jobs along with other Australians. As the result of increased earnings, aborigines would be able to spend more money on healthcare and thus increase life expectancy and health of their race. Unemployment among indigenous people would rapidly decrease because more and more aborigines would be able to occupy positions in various spheres. Domestic violence and crime would wane as the result of improved education and level of life.
In conclusion, it is necessary to mark that Karl Marx’s theory is very applicable for the analysis of the situation with aborigines in Australia. Even though Karl Marx did not ponder over the issues of Australian aborigines, his concepts can be very helpful in the analysis of the phenomenon and creation of recommendations to improve the level of life of aborigines.
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