John Passant

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Me quoted in Fairfax papers on tax haven use
Me quoted by Georgia Wilkins in The Age (and other Fairfax publications) today. John Passant, from the school of political science and international relations, at the Australian National University, said the trend noted by Computershare was further evidence multinationals did not take global regulators seriously. ”US companies are doing this on the hard-nosed basis that any [regulatory] changes that will be made won’t have an impact on their ability to avoid tax,” he said. ”They think it is going to take a long time for the G20 to take action, or that they are just all talk.” (1)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole
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Real debate?
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System change, not climate change
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Nominate a real lefty for the Walkley journalism awards

 

The Walkley journalism awards are coming up and they have called for the following (among their other categories).

The Walkley Foundation also invites nominations for two of the awards:

Outstanding Contribution to Journalism (chosen by the Walkley Trustees): Recognises the achievements of a person or group for outstanding or enduring commitment to the highest standards of journalism. Each year, the Trustees recognise the achievements of a person or group that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the highest standards of journalism – truth, rigour, integrity, fairness – over a lifetime.

Leadership (chosen by the Walkley Advisory Board): Open to self and peer nominated entrants, this award recognises acts of courage and leadership by individuals or teams in coverage of news, innovation in journalism, and/or campaigning journalism. It could be innovation in the way media operates or the business and funding models that sustains journalism, or could recognise journalism that looks outside the square to research, investigate and/or present a story in a new and innovative way.

To nominate recipients for these two awards, send a 300 word statement to barbara.blackman@walkleys.com or to The Walkley Foundation, 245 Chalmers Street, Redfern, NSW 2016 explaining the reasons behind the nomination. If desired, include examples of work, citations from senior media and/or other personal references.

If you know someone in the left-wing media who has made an outstanding contribution to journalism or to leadership, including campaigning journalism and journalism that looks outside the square – and it shouldn’t be that hard given much of the MSM produces ruling class sycophantic drivel – then nominate them. All you have to do is send 300 words explaining why to Barbara Blackman (barbara.blackman@walkleys.com).

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Securing the MH17 site: They don’t like it up ‘em

Whenever I hear Abbott talking about Australian police/defence forces securing the MH17 site, I am reminded of this. They don’t like it up ‘em.

Palestine and the Arab counter-revolution

Palestinian flags at Israeli embassy protest in Cairo, May 2011. Photo: Maggie Osama.

As all the hideous machinery of industrial scale death rains down on Gaza, ripping apart bodies, burying people under piles of rubble, and even targeting ambulances as they rush to save the injured, it is difficult to do anything but rage at the crimes of the Israeli state, writes Corey Oakley in Red Flag.

But as the endless stream of horrific images from Gaza exposes the moral bankruptcy of Israel and its Western backers, it is important to understand that this crime against humanity is also the work of the vast counter-revolution that is sweeping the Arab world.

The centres of Arab reaction

The twin centres of this counter-revolution are the regimes in Cairo and Riyadh. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Saudi King Abdullah are determined to destroy every remnant of the Arab revolution that erupted in 2011.

In Egypt, Sisi has cynically used the deep and widespread hostility to the Muslim Brotherhood to stamp the authority of the military establishment on the country.

Thousands have been imprisoned in Sisi’s “war on terrorism”, which has expanded beyond the Muslim Brotherhood to include anyone who dares to question government policy, let alone fight to revive the revolutionary movement.

The reassertion of control by the old regime, with only a few figureheads removed, has been aided by billions of dollars in Saudi money.

Now, as Israel’s war on Gaza escalates, the attention of Sisi has turned to Hamas, which he considers nothing but an extension of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

The pre-revolutionary Egyptian regime was, since the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1978, a close ally of Israel – something that was always a source of anger in Egypt. But Sisi’s Palestinian policy today is Mubarak on steroids.

Sisi is aligned with the extreme right wing in Israel, which is calling for an all out war in Gaza – up to and including a full scale Israeli re-occupation of the Strip.

The cynical Egyptian “ceasefire” proposal, which was announced without even back channel communication with Hamas, was a demand for absolute surrender, and went beyond even the most cravenly pro-Israel Egyptian proposals in wars past. Instead of being a ceasefire proposal, the Egyptian “plan” amounted to a well-orchestrated move to give Israel political cover for its ground invasion of Gaza, which proceeded on schedule as soon as Hamas inevitably rejected it.

Sisi is backed to the hilt by the pliant Egyptian media.

Azza Sami, a writer for government daily Al-Ahram, said on Twitter: “Thank you Netanyahu, and God give us more men like you to destroy Hamas!” Tawfik Okasha, presenter on the Al-Faraeen TV channel, said: “Gazans are not men. If they were men they would revolt against Hamas.”

Sisi’s most important ally in restoring military rule and crushing the Muslim Brotherhood is the Saudi monarchy. Two hours after Sisi took power last year he received a congratulatory message from the Saudi King in which Abdullah noted: “It is time to uproot this kind of strange chaos, otherwise any state or nation who is unable to rein in outlaws would eventually lose its dignity and honour.”

In a clear warning to other states, he said, “I call on all brothers and friends to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Egypt in any form as tampering the affairs of this country is as a violation of Islam and Arabism and at the same time considered an infringement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Over the past 12 months the Saudis have gone to extraordinary lengths to isolate the Brotherhood from potential sources of Arab aid. Qatar, the pro-US but also Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Gulf state, has been put underincredible pressure to end its support for the Brotherhood. It has been threatened with punitive action not just from the Saudis, but other neighbours like the United Arab Emirates, which is so hostile to Hamas itallegedly offered to help fund the Israeli assault on Gaza.

It is unclear how the jostling for position between various powers – including the US, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey – to broker a ceasefire, will work out. While Qatar and Turkey are clearly inclined to propose an agreement more favourable to the Palestinians than that advanced by Egypt, there is incredible pressure to accept the fundamentals of the Egyptian position.

Either way, it is a remarkable situation in which Egypt, only three years after a revolution in which sympathy for the Palestinian cause played an important part, can have a more pro-Zionist position than both the US and Qatar (which hosts the US Central Command’s Forward Headquarters in its territory).

The Saudi/Egyptian push to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is about much more than just hostility to these particular organisations. Sisi’s support for an all-out Israeli war on Hamas reflects his hostility to any and all Palestinian resistance.

For the Egyptian military, containing the Palestinians was always a key aspect of its strategy for preventing the transformation of the Egyptian uprising into a genuinely pan-Arab struggle that could tear down the corrupt monarchs and dictatorships and bring democracy and social justice to the region.

While Sisi’s grip on power in Egypt is superficially strong, the widespread Palestinian protests across the West Bank and inside Israel, if they did transform into a new intifada, could have an enormously destabilising impact in Egypt and across the region.

Creating the Islamist enemy

The most effective strategy employed by the Arab counter-revolution so far has been its effort to reframe the struggle between dictatorships and mass popular struggle into a battle between authoritarian regimes (secular or not) and Islamist extremism.

The first and most dramatic practitioner of this method was Bashar al-Assad in Syria. From day one he denounced the Syrian revolutionaries as reactionary Sunni-Islamist terrorists, and has gone to great lengths to turn his accusation into reality. Until last month, Assad’s forces had fired hardly a single shot against the Al-Qaeda offshoot ISIS (Now simply the Islamic State). And why would he? While Assad’s forces butchered revolutionaries from the ground and air on one side, ISIS attacked them from the other.

The Egyptian military adopted the same strategy, though with a slightly rearranged deck of cards. It rode back into power last year on the wave of deep and justified anger at Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government’s betrayal of the revolution. The army claimed that it had returned to save the revolution from Islamo-fascism. In reality, it came to bury it.

In Iraq, prime minister Nouri al-Maliki responded to protests last year with a renewed campaign of bombings and attacks on rebellious Sunni areas like Fallujah, the birthplace of resistance to US occupation. His response to ISIS military victories has not been to try and reconcile Sunni and Shia leaders, but to mobilise sectarian Shia forces, plus those of Iran, the US and others to crush the Sunni population in the name of “fighting terrorism”.

The utilisation of sectarianism, campaigns against Islamist extremism, and the militarisation of conflict across the region have all had a devastating impact. What began as a mass popular struggle for democratic rights and social justice, which brought people together across sectarian, ethnic and religious lines, has been significantly pushed back.

Yet the strategy is fraught with contradictions. The counter-revolutionary push across the region has created intense instability. For example, Saudi Arabia initially facilitated extensive funding (mostly through private channels) to elements of the rebellion in Syria. The monarchy allowed this partly because of its hostile relationship with the Iranian-aligned Assad regime, but also to try and prevent the revolutionary forces from taking on too secular and democratic a character. In Iraq, it has channelled funds to Sunni groups opposed to Maliki, which it sees as a way to stymie Iran.

But while the Saudis were happy to see the conflicts in Syria and Iraq take on an increasingly militarised and sectarian character, this also helped create the conditions for the rise of the viciously anti-Saudi ISIS, which since its takeover of much of Northern Iraq is now consolidating its position in Syria and poses a serious medium term threat to both Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Fahad Nazer, a former analyst at the Saudi Embassy in the US, argues: “More than any of its neighbours, Saudi Arabia has the most to lose from the conflict in Iraq spiralling out of control.”

The anti-imperialists who aren’t

The jihadist groups, and in particular the ultra-reactionary ISIS, claim that they are friends of the Palestinians. They are anything but.

It is not just that they pose no military threat to Israel. Indeed ISIS has announced on various occasions that it is more interested in securing control over the population (including Sunni Arabs), and carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing, than in coming to the aid of the Palestinians. More fundamentally, its ultra-sectarian and puritanical version of Islam serves only to divide the mass of the Arab population, and obscure the real divide between workers, peasants and poor and the parasitical minority at the top.

No better is the so-called “secular” and “anti-imperialist” Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Assad trades off his supposed pro-Palestinian stance. But he, like his father before him, serves as a loyal border guard for Israel. It may be that in this current upheaval Assad (or ISIS) makes some token gesture in support of the Palestinians. If he does it will be pure propaganda.

It is no coincidence that the Israelis greeted with fear, not favour, the revolution’s threat to Assad’s rule. There are, of course, a few naïve people in Israel (as there are on the left) who take Assad’s occasional anti-Zionist statements as good coin. But such people do not get to dictate foreign policy. The Israeli establishment overwhelmingly is of the view that the defeat of Assad would be bad for the Zionist state.

Impact on the Palestinian resistance

The bloody, militarised, multi-faceted conflicts that are raging across the Arab world and suffocating the popular revolutionary movements, have added to the difficulties facing the Palestinians. While impressive numbers demonstrate in Europe and elsewhere, there has been little in the way of mass protests in Arab capitals.

The two most important resistance movements against Israel – Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza – have been severely impacted by the fallout from the Arab uprisings.

Hezbollah has covered itself in shame and abdicated any right to Arab leadership by joining in Bashar al-Assad’s butchering of the Syrian revolution. Hezbollah figures now admit that, even in the event of the Gaza war expanding into Lebanon, their forces have been severely impacted by the amount of effort they have put in to helping prop up the Assad dictatorship.

While any Hezbollah engagement with Israel would be welcomed by ordinary Palestinians, its legitimacy to speak for the Arab masses is unlikely to ever recover.

Hamas, to its great credit, broke with Assad and refused to back his war on the Syrian people. But the Arab revolution exposed the critical weakness of groups like Hamas, which rely so heavily on the support from one or other despotic regime.

After its partial break with Syria and its Iranian backers (its fighters still have access to some Iranian and even Syrian weaponry – more than the Israelis suspected, it now seems), Hamas leaned heavily on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. But after the fall of Morsi, Hamas found itself with few friends among Arab governments – a situation that was exacerbated by intense Saudi pressure on anyone inclined to give it support.

This is what pushed Hamas to accept a “unity government” with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Hamas could no longer afford to pay its public servants, and so was prepared to agree to a “unity” that conceded almost everything of substance to Abbas.

This dire situation, added to by Israel’s undermining of the unity government, is the context in which Israel gained the confidence to launch its latest offensive.

A missed opportunity

It didn’t have to be so. The 2011 revolution – which began in Tunisia and then spread through Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Jordan and beyond – represented the single greatest chance to break out of the paralysing impasse into which the Palestinian struggle had sunk.

The long held slogan of the left – that the road to the liberation of Jerusalem runs through the Arab capitals – seemed to be brought to life. As millions rose against dictatorship, they flew not just their own flags but that of the Palestinians as well.

I was in Cairo in May 2011, shortly after the overthrow of Mubarak. The first demonstration I saw in Tahrir Square was 50,000 strong. It was a sea of Palestinian flags in solidarity with the thousands of young people battling Israeli forces in the West Bank and the Golan Heights on the anniversary of the Nakba. “To Jerusalem we will come; millions of martyrs for Palestine!” they shouted.

The next night I travelled across the Nile from Tahrir to join thousands of young people who had besieged the Israeli embassy in Giza. At a later demonstration the embassy was overrun entirely. This time the army defended it, firing tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition at fearless demonstrators until the early hours of the morning.

A number were killed and hundreds wounded or arrested. It was a confirmation of what the left then knew, and is now being proved in spades by Sisi: the alliance between the Egyptian military leadership and Israel runs deep.

But it was not just the military and its liberal backers who denounced the protests. So too did the Muslim Brotherhood, which argued that the Egyptian revolution had to settle its own problems before dealing with “foreign policy”. Worse, the Brotherhood, in close cooperation with Hamas, collaborated with the military to prevent hundreds of Egyptians travelling to the Rafah Crossing to deliver aid to Gaza and demand the border be opened.

Hamas in Gaza, like Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, was determined to stop the Palestinians joining the Arab uprising. Even Hamas, which was elected in 2006 because it refused to embrace the quisling politics of Fatah, feared mass upheaval from below, and saw it as a challenge to both its own increasingly authoritarian rule over Gaza, and the network of alliances it had built up with neighbouring states. Hamas may have partially broken with Syria in protest at Assad’s repression, but it did not break with the logic that has plagued the Palestinian resistance for generations: support for, or at least “non-interference” in, the existing Arab regimes.

None of this is to take anything away from the heroism of the Palestinian resistance that is fighting and dying under the flag of Hamas in Gaza today. Whatever criticism there is to be made of Hamas, its militants resisting the savage Israeli assault on Gaza should have the solidarity of every supporter of a liberated Palestine.

A new, deeper Arab revolution

The slaughter in Gaza brings in to sharp relief the painful contradictions of these last few years. One the one hand, the Arab revolution transformed the Arab world, and raised the hopes of millions that a new Middle East was possible. On the other, the old regimes for the most part are still in place, bloody new conflicts divide those who once joined hands and Israel, once again, is acting with murderous impunity against the Palestinians while the Arab world watches on.

There are two possible conclusions to be drawn.

One is that a Middle East free of class division, oppression, imperialism, Zionism and sectarianism is impossible. That is the conclusion that the Saudi and Egyptian and Syrian rulers, and ISIS as well, want us to draw. There is no hope, so pick one of us – it’s the best you are going to get.

The second possible conclusion is that the Arab revolution has not succeeded because it has not gone far enough.

It was not enough to bring down individual dictators – the whole system of class rule that they expressed had to be brought down. It was not enough to take to the streets or take to arms – the social power of the masses without whose weight the wheels that grind out the profits of the Arab billionaires would not turn needed to be decisively brought to bear.

It was not enough to rally against imperialist intrigue – the revolution needed to drive the imperialists and their myriad agents from every corner of Arab society. It was not enough to disorganise the old order – it was necessary to create the organisations which could be the vehicle for the new. It was not enough to declare “down with the old ideologies” – the revolution had to articulate its own vision of a new world, a new ideology that put meat on the bones of its great slogans: “democracy, freedom, social justice”.

There is of course, not easy answer as to how these simple notions can be given meaning in flesh and blood. But against despair, they are a start.

And whatever is to come, there are two things that are certain. One, the crisis of poverty and inequality and injustice that brought forth the Arab revolution has not been resolved and will not go away.

Two, however terrible the defeats suffered by revolutionaries across the Middle East these past years, the flame of resistance has not been extinguished. There is no greater example of that in this hour than the Palestinians, whose resistance from the streets of Gaza to the West Bank and the Arab towns of Israel is reviving belief in the intifada.

The historic bearers of Arab suffering, but also the historic spark of Arab resistance, were passed over during the Arab spring. Perhaps now, as reaction storms across the Arab world, the Palestinians can rise from the rubble and the devastation of Shujaia to give the Arab revolution new life.

Sick of mainstream media lies about Palestine?

Subscribe to Red Flag newspaper today. Help maintain a strong voice for the Palestinian resistance and counter to corporate media lies. For more details click here.

Of packages and politicians

The comment on commercial radio by Jacqui Lambie, the Palmer United Party Senator for Tasmania, that any prospective partner ‘ must have heaps of cash and they’ve got to have a package between their legs,’ has seen a few middle class male political gossip mongers go into meltdown and Destroy the Joint condemn her for her ‘sexism’.

Calling her comments ‘sexist’, in response to a sexist question, misunderstands the nature of women’s oppression.

‘I’m not a prude but…’ is how the men often begin their puerile protestestations of prurience. Like its cousin ‘I’m not a racist but…’ the opening line reveals the deepest insecurities and the reality.

Sometimes the repressed outrage is disguised as tut tutting about these type of comments not being appropriate behaviour for a Senator. My god, a Senator saying what millions of Australians can understand and relate to. Shocking.

Obviously what we should have in Parliament, according to our esteemed commentators, are robots able to parrot the party line defending the latest bout of genocide against Palestinians, or invasion of some poor country, or increasing poverty, or brutalising asylum seekers.

Evidently what we need in Parliament is people what speak proper defending the barbarism of the capitalist system, its wars and its austerity.

Jacqui Lambie isn’t one of those professional, fake tan, smooth as baby shit politicians.  She hasn’t had years of coaching and training in Labor Inc or Liberal Inc in how to de-personalise herself to sell a set of lies to the voting public.

None of this means I am a fan of PUP policies. Populism can only get you so far and it isn’t surprising that Clive Palmer, the billionaire leader of the party, used Al Gore as cover for waving through the abolition of the carbon tax.

As readers would know I am no fan of the carbon tax and the costs it imposes on workers, nor of its long term inability to address climate change in any meaningful way. However the abolition of the tax was a signal that the climate change deniers were in charge, and PUP was part of that march back to the 1950s.

So too when PUP supported changes to the financial advice laws which effectively put working men and women at risk of being robbed by rotten greedy advisers, it is clear that their populism goes only so far in defending ordinary people.

There is something else in the outrage about Lambie’s ‘package between their legs’ comments. Apparently women shouldn’t express sexual feelings. It is as if women are mere objects of male desire, asexual receptacles of male lust, not people with their own desires, not subjects of their own.

In this the commentariat reflects the oppression of women in our society, an oppression born of capitalism’s need for the next generation of workers to be raised on the cheap, ie in the family.  To allow or acknowledge that women have individual personhood outside narrow stereotypes might challenge that important role of women in capitalist society.

The response to Lambie’s comments shows that deep down the ruling elite have not left the 1950s.  I’m with those millions of working women and men who say good on her.

Like all posts on this blog comments – see the link under the heading – close after 7 days.

Equal Love: Labor remains an enemy

According to Matt Akersten in SameSame:

‘The Australian Labor Party is cozying up to the Australian Christian Lobby again, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten now confirmed as the keynote speaker at the increasingly fringe lobby group’s upcoming 2014 National Conference.’

You can read the full report, including dirt on the ACL, here.

Tell me again how voting Labor is progressive. Tell me again how joining the ALP will win progressive change? Labor is, like the Liberals and the bosses, the enemy.  It is a rotting, neoliberal, conservative carcass.

 

Australia, the US and Israel: a tale of shared genocide

Australia, like the US and Israel, is a colonial settler state built on the genocide of the indigenous peoples.  Like Israel, the dominant ideology was of terra nullius (land belonging to no one), paradoxically populated by ‘barbarians’, the ‘uncivilised’, ‘heathens’ or people ‘less than human’.

The continent pre-1788. None of these areas exist today – with some remnants scattered across Australia and tiny bits recognised as Native Title.

Capitalist development in Australia required the conquest of the land on which the various Aboriginal tribes and clans lived. Driving people off their land is genocide.

Henry Reynolds estimates that in the Frontier Wars between 1788 and 1920 ‘upwards to 30,000 and beyond, perhaps well beyond’ Aboriginal peoples died defending their land. Other estimates are higher, much higher,  especially if one includes the impact of diseases brought in by the settlers.

Similarly the establishment of a modern capitalist state in Palestine required driving many of the original inhabitants off their land. Estimates are that in the original ethnic cleansing Zionism unleashed against Palestinians in 1947/48, around 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and into the concentration camp that is Gaza, and the West Bank, or into the miserable refugee camps in neighbouring Arab countries.

Those Palestinians remaining in the new state became second class citizens.

The logic of capitalism twinned with Zionism is expansion, not only of the productive forces but the population in which that productive process is organised.

It is not just the consequences of the genocide against Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders that continues to this day. The genocide continues. As The Bringing Them Home Report made clear about the Stolen Generation:

The Australian practice of Indigenous child removal involved both systematic racial discrimination and genocide as defined by international law. Yet it continued to be practised as official policy long after being clearly prohibited by treaties to which Australia had voluntarily subscribed.

The racist Northern Territory Intervention is a current example of genocide. Its effect is in part to drive Aboriginal people off their lands and force them to seek refuge in the cities.

This opens up their lands to mining companies. It is and is about re-creating terra nullius.

In Australia the genocide has been ongoing since 1788.  In the US the genocide against American Indians has been ongoing since white settlement there well over 400 years ago.

The disappearing Indian lands.

Israeli genocide against Palestinians has only been happening since before the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. They have a lot of catching up to do to succeed on the same scale as their white American and white Australian ruling class brothers and sisters.

They also believe they have a lot of time. The slow genocide in Palestine, like that in Australia and the US, aims to push back the original inhabitants and steal their land over a long period of time.

The genocidal success to date of Zionism is remarkable, and the invasion of the concentration camp that is Gaza these last few days is but the latest step in the 66 year program of genocide against the Palestinians.

The disappearing Palestine. Does this look familiar?

What can we do? Now more than ever we all need to stand with Palestine. One way to do that is to begin building more and more BDS campaigns right here in Australia. Another of course is to attend the rallies for Palestine.

Me in New Matilda today on the Murdochisation of the Fairfax media

John Passant offers a way forward for a once mighty newspaper empire in steady decline.

Me in New Matilda today.

MH17 and Palestine: A tale of two tragedies

Of the 298 murdered on Malaysian Airways Flight MH17, 36 were from Australia. The outpouring of grief and support from ordinary people here in Australia has been overwhelming. It restores hope for the future, a future in which we working people, compassionate and caring, run society.

On the other hand, the hypocrisy from our political ‘leaders’ and the capitalist media has been gut wrenching. The hypocrisy is threefold.

First, under the guise of faux outrage about the deaths of 298 innocent people they have used the attack on MH17 – almost certainly done by Russian backed Ukranian separatists – to further the West’s goal of total encirclement of Russian imperialism. Abbott is using MH17 to further crass geopolitical interests.

An image haunts my mind. Has the Archduke been assassinated? Is this 1914 all over again?

The realists in the US ruling class know, because of the decline of US power, that a test with Russia may not end well. The irrationalists don’t know, or care.

Secondly Abbott is using the tragedy to unite people behind his government and the attacks on the poor and working class. Already his Budget cuts have claimed one well know life – that of Gavin Jones, the founder of the Deadly Awards who died after cuts to Aboriginal funding, including his own work. There will be many many more.

To save lives at home we need to unite not with the Abbott government in grief but against it in anger.

This government’s compassion is selective. It ends completely when dealing with asylum seekers. It brutalises refugees. This is the government that has kidnapped 153 asylum seekers on the high seas and locked them up in the hull of an Australian customs ship without windows.  It is the government which sends asylum seekers back to their oppressors.

Thirdly, the atrocities the West has committed and continues to commit against innocent civilians far outweighs shooting down one passenger airliner. The ruling classes of the countries which invaded Iraq and Afghanistan have the blood of over a million people on their hands. That includes Australia’s ruling class and its State – people like John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott.

The MH17 atrocity hides all of that. It creates or reinforces the concept of ‘the other’ as evil and ‘us’ as good.  It hides the evil that are our ruling classes.

The Australian media are pushing the tragedy for all it is worth, with page after incessant page virtually airbrushing everything else – Palestine, austerity, asylum seekers – from history.

The war crimes of others do that and hide the recent evil history of ‘our’ supposedly civilised ruling classes. Apart from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Americans, along with allies like Australia, killed more than 2 million in Vietnam and the rest of IndoChina. Henry Kissinger will never be brought to account for his war crimes there.

Neither will George W Bush nor drone murderer Barack Obama face a court for their war crimes. War criminal Tony Blair is now a Middle East ‘peace negotiator’, basically for Israel, let it be added.

Indeed, as we speak, US client state Israel, with its bombing and invasion of Gaza, is unleashing the next stage in its 66 year long genocide of Palestinians. There are no tears from Western leaders for the innocents murdered by Israel in the last week or so.

Our leaders are consistent. They cry and rail against an outrage when it serves the interests of imperialism or their own national agenda (often to hide austerity).

In the case of Israel they are silent in the face of genocide because it is carried out by one of their partners in imperialism. They only break their silence on the Israeli genocide of Palestinians to support it and to support Israel.

 

Among many ordinary people the story is different. Across the globe there have been rallies for Palestine, including 100,000 in London and 10,000 in Sydney this weekend.

This outpouring in defence of Palestine is heartening. It shows that the same emotions of support, care and compassion that many Australians feel for the Australian victims on board MH17 can break the shackles of national boundaries and nationalism.

There is hope that Australians will see through the charade that Tony Abbott is putting on about MH17 and understand that he is a nasty brutish warrior for the ruling class. The bastard who wants to tax you for going to the doctor, who wants to make you work longer and longer, who wants to cut your pension, who wants to impose $100000 fees to attend University, who is forcing the unemployed off the dole for six months, who is attacking services for Aboriginal people and wanting to drive them off their land, who is cutting $80 billion from health and education, who is spending $24 billion on fighter jets, is the same bastard who is silent on the massacres of Palestinians.

Once a ruling class bastard always a ruling class bastard.

Let’s respect the dead. Don’t let the lying Abbott play us for suckers on MH17 too like he is playing us for over Palestine.

To comment or see what others are saying hit the comments link under the heading. like all posts on this blog comments close after 7 days. 

Stafford by-election: Queensland government in shock

Shocked Liberal National Party Stafford candidate Bob Anderson looks on with young LNP friends at the Stafford by-election loss …

With nearly 80% of the vote counted the swing against the Newman government in Queensland in the Stafford by-election is 18.6%. If replicated at the election in March next year the Liberal National Party government would be wiped out, much as the Labor government at the last election in Queensland was.

My thanks to Daniel Griffiths for this.