Doctor Who, Peter Dutton and defeating real life enemies

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Jodie Whittaker as Dr Who (screen shot via YouTube).

Dutton’s new "super ministry" signals the need to ramp up the fight and defeat the Turnbull Government in true Doctor Who style, says John Passant.

IN A TIME of constant change and crisis, it is good to know some things never change. 

The man who killed 14-year-old Elijah Doughty has been found not guilty of manslaughter.

Or to rephrase that, a white jury has found a white man not guilty of the manslaughter of an Aboriginal kid. Instead, he was found guilty of the lesser charge of "dangerous driving occasioning death" and got three years. He could be out in February.

This is a man who deliberately rammed Elijah on what he thought was his stolen motorbike. Not to worry. Australia’s racist justice system continues.

Compare the lack of white society anger to this travesty with the justifiable outrage over the killing of Australian woman Justine Damond by a U.S. cop. Ah, but she was white. 

Over five per cent of Indigenous Australians in Western Australia, where Elijah was killed, are in gaol. The imprisonment rate for Indigenous Australians in WA is 20 times higher than for non-Indigenous people. It is a similar story across the country. Although Aboriginal Peoples make up only three per cent of Australia’s population, they make up 28 per cent of the country’s prison population.

Of course, symbolic shit shifting like constitutional "recognition" will change all that for the better.

But at least we can have confidence that our protective services will be safe under Peter Dutton. On 1 July next year, he takes on his new role as leader of our secret police – and other reprobates – in the Orwellian Home Affairs Department (or HAD for short.) We certainly have been had.

Peter "the Duke" Dutton is the big brother you do not want. He is a failed health minister. He is, of course, also the "best" Immigration and Border Force Minister the world has ever seen.

Basically, he is a ministerial failure at caring for people and a political "success" at terrorising people — especially refugees. Now he gets to spread his reign of terror from "illegal" immigrants to Australians like you and me. As Julian Burnside cited in IA last week, Martin Niemöller's poem seems prescient:

'First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist ...Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.'

The land of the "fair go" got up and went. Again. And again. 

I wonder if Peter Dutton is a Doctor Who fan. His colleague George Christensen is. Yes, I was surprised too.

Change. Uncertainty. Crisis. Nothing captures that better than the fact that George is a Whovian. Apart of course from increasing inequality, falling real wages, poverty for 2.9 million Australians, brutalising refugees, and the genocide of Aboriginal Peoples for the last 229 years.

The "man babies", as Clementine Ford calls them, reacted angrily to the news that Jodie Whittaker (shock horror, a woman!) would play Doctor Who. This got me thinking about the men who support Peter Dutton and his ongoing demonisation of refugees and asylum seekers. Are they the sort of people who have vowed never to watch Doctor Who again because this fictional time traveller with two hearts now has a vagina — in real life, not in the show, of course. 

A "time lord" regenerates into the form of a human so that we the viewers can relate to the Time Lord. Imagine the difficulty viewers might have relating to a blob.

In reality, time lords have no specific sex. Because the Doctor is not human, human gender constructs also should not apply. However, because the writers, producers, BBC management and the audience are human beings living under capitalism, gender and race constructs do apply. That, however, does not explain why for all of the past 12 regenerations over 54 years, the result has been a white man every time until now. 

White men are, of course, a minority in all the first world countries that screen the Doctor. But, that is true if we are talking about population statistics. It is not true if we are talking about power statistics. Economically, politically and socially white men dominate these countries. In the so-called developed countries, the ruling class is overwhelmingly made up of white men.

Electing a "minority" member of the ruling class does not change that. A woman or an African-American in power does not challenge the structures of power. 

Incidentally, don’t you just love how women, the majority in most developed countries, are still a "minority"? It makes sense if you view it through the dark glasses of those in power. In their eyes, women are a minority in all the institutions that are important to them — parliament, boards, media, the upper echelons of the public service, their own senior management. Their world is the world of white men who agree on all the fundamentals, a world that is changing to include women and non-whites, but they too share the same weltanschauung. Capitalism is good, even if some of them think it needs a bit of fine tuning.

Neither Margaret Thatcher, Julia Gillard nor Barack Obama challenged that ruling class power structure — they were part of and reinforced it. 

In the fantasy that is Doctor Who, challenging and overcoming the forces of darkness is what the Doctor does. But it is classic reformism. We Earthlings rely on a single powerful figure to defeat the evil threatening humanity. Vote for the Doctor [fill in the appropriate political leader’s name here] to give him or her power and all will be well in a world of systemic power imbalance and horror. It is change from above rather than change from below.

In any event, the Doctor’s defeat of the evil enemy is always only temporary. Every week, a new threat arises — sometimes from eternal enemies like the Daleks, the Cybermen, or the Weeping Angels and sometimes from new enemies.   

This reformism reflects the everyday lived experience of ordinary working people who, because of that experience, want an end to the drudgery, violence and inequality that wage slavery imposes on them, rather than ending the system of wage slavery itself that creates those conditions.

However, these struggles against the day to day political and economic reality are still important.

I doubt, for example, that Peter Dutton is a fan of Doctor Who,since he hates aliens — especially ones arriving by unconventional means. And, of course, the Doctor has two hearts, while Peter Dutton’s cruelty suggests he has no heart.

Yet I suspect some of the people who support Dutton might, just like George Christensen, be impervious to the reformist message of Doctor Who. Those on Manus Island and Nauru, and here in Australia fighting against the imprisonment and torture of refugees and asylum seekers in these concentration camps are the true Whovians. 

They are fighting for a better world against an evil that threatens to destroy us. But with Dutton’s new super ministry, HAD, he is winning even more power. To defend our humanity, here and now, it is time to ramp up the fight and defeat the Turnbull Government, and its collection of Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels in true Doctor Who style — in real battle on the streets and in our workplaces.

Read more by John Passant on his website En Passant or follow him on Twitter @JohnPasant.

Signed copies of John Passant’s first book of poetry, Songs for the Band Unformed (Ginninderra Press 2016) are available for purchase from the IA store HERE.

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