Tonight Mark Latham took an evening off reading books to his boys, and spoke at Melbourne University on 10 reasons why the idealistic young should forget about organised politics. I’ll leave it to the media tomorrow to discuss what he actually said, but what struck me most was his language – not foul language, but now little heard Marxist jargon. Outside Green Left Weekly (and perhaps not even there) hardly anybody talks about the ‘ruling class’ these days. If you Google the term, the first entry is a film – appropriately enough, a comedy. But it has found its way into Latham’s post-leadership vocabulary, to describe the people out to get him. Similarly, ‘the establishment’, which survives these days mostly in right-wing mockery, such as the ‘left establishment’, has renewed serious use in the Latham lexicon. Because he grew up in Green Valley, and not the much greener pastures of the more typical Labor activist, he can use this class warfare rhetoric without seeming completely ridiculous – but only just. Not that his broader ideas are Marxist, though. Far from advocating a political revolution, the practical consequence of his advice to stay out of national politics and get involved locally is to leave the ‘ruling class’ in power, unchallenged.