Pru Goward Claims Her Poor People Takedown Makes Sense Because She Used “Marxist Analysis”

Goward says she's "deeply disappointed" by the backlash to the piece, in which she likened the working class to weasels.

Pru Goward

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Former Liberal MP Pru Goward has doubled down on her controversial opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review about poor people, claiming it was all a-okay because she “applied a Marxist analysis” when writing it.

Her viral piece on Tuesday explored Goward’s “lifelong fascination with the underclass”. In it, she compared poor people to weasels whose prospects in the world are slim — a really comforting take from someone who previously served as NSW’s Minister for Social Housing.

“And yet, I like them. I like them because they call us out. They are honestly self-interested, and you always know what they think. I know many of them,” said Goward of the working class, before describing them as “often damaged and almost entirely lacking discipline” in the same paragraph.

Goward said she has been “deeply disappointed” that her piece was “so badly misunderstood”, telling The Guardian that her column was “meant to provoke, and I hope it’s helped the readers of the AFR think differently about those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder”.

In a truly wild justification, she went on to say that she “applied a Marxist analysis, which some might say is old fashioned but which explains to me why people judge others as unworthy”, much like a first-year uni student playing devil’s advocate in a uni tute.

And reminiscent of an essay written by said student, in the AFR piece Goward references proletariats and “proles”, George Orwell’s dystopian book 1984, and continually mentions the “underclass”, otherwise known in Marxist literature as the ‘lumpenproletariat’. We get it, you’ve read Marx!

The response since the piece was published has been predictable — as it’s a slap-in-the-face reminder that it’s an opinion probably held by a chunk of people in power who make the actual decisions around social welfare.

“Perhaps Goward is concerned of what the underclass could do, if given opportunities her birthright has granted without question,” Australian National University’s Dr Liz Allen wrote in response. “We’re not dumb, we’re poor, and deprived of opportunities.”

A gentle reminder to Goward that if you have you have nothing nice to say, perhaps don’t say anything at all.