John Passant

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Some Basic Thoughts on the Asian Development Model for a Conference
This paper suggests that even a free market is only free in a particular country because that state allows it to be so. Of course it goes without saying that the pressures of the market, together with the institutions of neoliberalism like the austerity wavering IMF and the World Bank, plus the interests of dominant powers, can persuasively influence or even straightjacket a state in its choices. This means that the overarching goal of capitalist development is imposed, perhaps freely, on welcoming nation states eager to join the club of developed or mid ranking nations who have pulled their peoples out of absolute poverty, while the specific methods and means to achieve that are or can be debated. To download the short paper go to the SSRN link here. (0)

My article 'The Minerals Resource Rent Tax: The Australian Labor Party and the continuity of change' has been published
My article ‘The Minerals Resource Rent Tax: The Australian Labor Party and the continuity of change’ has been published in (2014) 27 (1) Accounting Research Journal 19. If you have University Library access you can have a read if your library has subscribed. It is not a bad read if I do say so myself, borrowing from the ideas of Tom Bramble and Rick Kuhn about a capitalist workers party and the changes over time of the party. The two referees loved it…. (0)

Lex Wotton
(0)

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
(0)

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine salutes the Black struggle in the US: The empire will fall from within

I am Mike Brown

In light of the police murder of the martyr Michael Brown and the ongoing struggle in Ferguson, Missouri, in the United States, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine salutes and stands firmly with the ongoing struggle of Black people and all oppressed communities in the United States.

Comrade Khaled Barakat said in an interview with the PFLP media outlets that “Police brutality, oppression and murder against Black people in the U.S., and against Latinos, Arabs and Muslims, people of color and poor people, has never been merely ‘mistakes’ or ‘violations of individual rights’ but rather are part and parcel of an integral and systematic racism that reflects the nature of the political system in the U.S.”

“Every time a crime is committed against Black people, it is explained away as an ‘isolated incident’ but when you see the massive number of ‘isolated incidents’ the reality cannot be hidden – this is an ongoing policy that remains virulently racist and oppressive. The U.S. empire was built on the backs of Black slavery and the genocide of Black people – and upon settler colonialism and the genocide of indigenous people,” said Barakat. “The people of Ferguson are resisting, in a long tradition of Black resistance, and we support their legitimate resistance to racist oppression.”

“As people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Arab World see the brutality of the United States outside its borders, these communities confront its racist and colonial oppression within the borders of the U.S. The two are inextricably linked,” said Barakat. “We also see U.S. exploitation and plunder of people’s resources around the world. And inside the United States, Africans, Latinos, Filipinos, Afghans, Arabs who have suffered war and imperialism at the hands of the United States outside its borders are the same communities who face criminalization, brutality, exploitation, isolation and killings and murder at the hands of the state. We see the targeting of migrants and refugees inside the U.S. after their countries have been ravaged by imperialism, war and exploitation by the same ruling forces.”

Barakat noted that “Mass imprisonment and incarceration has been a central tool of racist control in the United States. One out of every three Black men in the U.S. will be imprisoned; every 28 hours a Black person is killed by the state or someone protected by the state. Palestinians know well the use of mass imprisonment to maintain racist domination and oppression and breaking the racist structures of imprisonment is critical to our liberation movement. We salute Mumia Abu-Jamal and all of the political prisoners of the Black liberation movement in U.S. jails and call for their immediate freedom.”

Furthermore, he said, “since the earliest days of the Black movement in the U.S., from slaves revolting for freedom to the civil rights movement and beyond, Black people, organizations and movements have faced severe state repression, targeting, incarceration and killings at the hands of the state. U.S. domestic intelligence agencies such as the FBI, who target Palestinian and Arab communities for state repression, have for years focused on attacking Black movements, leaders and communities as a central project.”

“Racism, poverty and oppression are the predominant scene faced by oppressed nations and communities in the United States. Black people in the United States are in fact under siege. And just as we demand the end of the siege on our Palestinian people, in Gaza and everywhere, we demand an end to the siege of institutionalized racism and oppression in education, jobs, social services and all areas of life, and support the Black movements struggling to end that siege.”

“When we see the images today in Ferguson, we see another emerging Intifada in the long line of Intifada and struggle that has been carried out by Black people in the U.S. and internationally. The Palestinian national liberation movement salutes the Black liberation movement, and has learned so much from the experiences of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass, the Black Panthers, Sojourner Truth, and generations of Black revolutionaries who have led the way in struggling for liberation and self-determination,” said Barakat.

“The struggle inside the United States is an integral part of the struggle against imperialism – in fact it is central, as it is taking place ‘in the belly of the beast.’ This is also the case for the struggle of Indigenous peoples and nations throughout North America, where settler colonial powers have been built through land theft and genocide, yet where indigenous people have always resisted and continue to resist today,” he said.

“Every victory inside the United States and political achievement by popular movements and liberation struggles is a victory for Palestine and a victory for a world of human liberation. Those who think that the fate of people in the United States lies with the ruling class parties, the Republicans and Democrats, until the end of time, are living in an illusion. So too are those who believe Palestine can find freedom by seeking alliances or guarantees by those who oppress Black people,” said Barakat.

Global Intifada

“The Black struggle is leading the world in the struggle for an alternative political system that will bring U.S. empire to defeat. We know that this will happen only through struggle, through organization of people, emerging from uprisings and communities rising in anger against injustice,” said Barakat.

“The anti-racist movement and anti-Zionist movement are not and cannot be separated. Fighting against racism means fighting capitalism; fighting against capitalism means fighting for socialism,” Barakat said.

The Front encourages all Palestinians, and especially our Palestinian community in the United States, to continue and intensify their efforts in support of the Black liberation movement, from joining actions in support of Ferguson and in honor of Michael Brown, to long-term and sustained joint struggle and mutual solidarity with the Black movement. There are long histories of this work, and it is critical for all of our communities to expand and deepen our links of struggle and solidarity.

The PFLP sends its revolutionary greetings, its solidarity message and its salutes to the struggling people of Ferguson on the front lines confronting U.S. empire, and to the generations upon generations of Black struggle. Our Palestinian liberation movement is part of one struggle with the Black liberation movement. This has been a position of principle for the Front since its founding; we reaffirm this stand today and will always do so until both of our peoples – and our world – are liberated.

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The real duds in the Australian Tax Office

Unlike Tax Office Second Commissioner Geoff Leeper, as a former Assistant Commissioner in the Office, I am quite prepared to use the ‘dud’ word to describe some ATO staff. (ATO negotiations Canberra Times Letters, 20 August 2014′. Scroll down the page to just before half way down.)

I’d start with the Commissioner and Second Commissioners, not because I think they are work shy, but because their staffing policies are duds. Clearly what the Commissioner and the other representatives of the 1% now in charge of the ATO are doing is cutting back massively on staff numbers with the effect that their mates in big business will pay even less tax than some of them now do. Of course more than 40 percent of them pay no income tax anyway.

The Tax Office will deny that job cuts advantage big business and will claim that they can collect just as much after cutting ten or twenty percent of their workforce as before,. I’d like to see the ATO, in the interests of transparency, release all their analysis of the impacts of staff cuts on revenue collections. If they don’t you’d have to question why not.

The confusion about the impact of the cuts among senior Tax officials evident at a previous Senate Estimates hearing will continue. Some of that evidence indicated that the loss of revenue could be as high as six to one, that is six times the amount ‘saved’ in expenditure on staff could be lost in revenue collected.

It is my understanding that the loss of long term experienced tax officers is already having an impact on revenue collections and with more job cuts to come the decline in collections, especially from the tax risk takers in big business, will only get worse.

But not to worry. Treasurer Joe Hockey can just use that as further ‘evidence’ to back up his false claims about a Budget emergency and cut more public services and public service jobs.

The 1% will be pleased.

Their barbarism and ours

Maybe, just maybe, the barbarism of the Islamic State is a consequence of and reflection of the West’s own widespread and systemic barbarism.

Let’s play spot the difference.

Evidently this is barbaric.

(Photo: Reuters/Social Media Website v / ) A masked Islamic State militant holding a knife speaks next to man purported to be U.S. journalist James Foley at an unknown location in this still image from an undated video posted on a social media website.

 

But this isn’t.

A dead Palestinian baby, killed by our allies, the Israelis

 

And these kids, killed by Obama’s drones, evidently aren’t examples of the West’s barbarism either.

 

Yossi Gurvitz summed it up nicely (a friend’s translation): ‘What a bunch of primitives are these ISIL people, beheading people. They should have killed toddlers and women by bombing them from a state-of-the-art plane, then they’d get called “The only democracy in the Middle East™.

איזה פרימטיבים הדאע”ש האלה, עורפים אנשים. היו צריכים להרוג פעוטות ונשים בפצצה מתוחכמת ממטוס משוכלל, היו קוראים להם דמוקרטיה יחידה במזה”ת

Of course China is no threat

With all this kerfuffle over Palmer United Party parliamentarians Clive Palmer and Jacqui Lambie making such anti-Chinese comments, I thought it appropriate to add my two bob’s worth.

Of course Chinese imperialism is no threat at all to the declining economic power of US imperialism. That must be why the Australian ruling class has given such a big base at Darwin to the US.

The Chinese might make a song and dance about the remarks of Palmer and Lambie but they know the real threat to their own imperialist expansion is US imperialism and that much of US foreign policy and strategy is about containing China.

The action of governments of both persuasions in Australia in joining the US-led China containment program is more of a worry to the Chinese ruling class than the caterwauling of a few PUPs. So too is Obama and Tony Abbott cosying up to a rearming Japan.

Who should the Chinese ruling class really be worried about? The Chinese working class they have created.

And who should we Australian workers be worried about? The Australian ruling class and its two political parties.

Here is Mark Textor, Tony Abbott adviser, in the Australian Financial Review in 2012 on the threat the right-wing really believes China poses.

Here is how The Canberra Times’ brilliant cartoonist David Pope captured it.

 

Ferguson fights back

Angry protests and police violence have continued night after night in Ferguson, Mo., since the murder of an unarmed Black teenager, Mike Brown, on August 9. Despite claims by local and state authorities that they want to respect the rights of protesters, police provocations have grown more intense over the past two nights–with reports on Monday that the cops began their nightly barrage of tear gas hours before a midnight curfew.

SocialistWorker.org writers Eric Ruder, Elizabeth Schulte, Trish Kahle and Donny Schraffenberger traveled to Ferguson to provide this account in Socialist Worker US of a community rising up against police violence, despite a crackdown that turns their city into a war zone each night.

Residents gather in Ferguson, Mo., for an evening protest against police violence (Eric Ruder | SW)

“DADDY, DID they bang-bang Mike?” That was the question Jay heard his daughter ask as she watched the police lift Mike Brown’s lifeless body from the ground where it had lain for five hours.

Jay, a 20-year-old African American resident of the Canfield Green Apartments where Mike lived and died, knew he couldn’t avoid his daughter’s question. She’s three years old, Jay said, and very curious. “She saw him lying on the ground, and it shocked her,” Jay said. “And it shocked me that she knew what she was looking at. So I said, ‘Yes.’ And she said, ‘I don’t like the police.’ I said, ‘I don’t either.’”

That was August 9–the day Brown, an unarmed African American 18 year old, was shot at least six times by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

One week later, Jay was standing a few yards from a shrine in the middle of Canfield Drive marking the spot where Mike Brown drew his last breath. He was still struggling to wrap his head around the fact that his friend is gone. “You wouldn’t expect nothing like this to happen to someone like Mike,” Jay said. “I’m just soaking in all the memories we had. That’s about all I can keep right now.”

One week after Mike Brown’s shooting, nearly everyone in Ferguson–or at least nearly everyone who is part of the African American majority in Ferguson–isn’t just chanting the slogan, “No justice, no peace.” They’re living it.

Each day, throughout the daylight hours, the crowds build–in front of the QuikTrip gas station, damaged during angry protests after word spread that police were responding to a 911 call about shoplifting there when they stopped Brown; in front of the police station a mile away; outside the St. Louis County prosecutors’ office in Clayton.

In every direction are masses of people with their arms thrust in the air: “Hands up, don’t shoot!” Eyewitnesses to the murder have described how Mike had his hands above his head and pled for his life as the officer gunned him down. On West Florissant, the main street that curves through the heart of Ferguson, a parade of cars drives through, honking continually, hour after hour, with passengers thrusting their hands out of the car: “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

MIKE HAD just turned 18. At 6-foot-5-inches, he was known as a gentle giant and someone who wanted to better himself. He was days away from his first classes at St. Louis’ Vatterott College.

“Mike just graduated, and they ended his life before he started it,” said Jay. “This officer better go to jail, and if he doesn’t, you gonna see what’s gonna happen. When that man goes to jail, all of this will stop. That’s what the ‘no justice, no peace’ thing is. This is history right here. This is something I can tell my daughter when she gets older–that I was a part of this.”

That Mike’s life was cut short by police violence has left the community in a state of grief. But it’s the police who are responsible for turning that grief into anger–and then escalating that anger into rage by provoking intense confrontations, night after night. And it’s the epidemic of police violence around the country that has caused the eruption of demonstrations in the St. Louis suburb to resonate across the U.S.

In the week since Mike was murdered on August 9, there was only one night when police didn’t turn out in force–Thursday, August 14. That night passed without any serious incident, according to Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal. “We had 7,000 people out here on that first day of freedom from tear gas,” she explained–but no incidents of “looting” or “chaos” that the mainstream media love to play up.

But after that one Thursday, the police returned–and their numbers build as the sunlight fades. In the late afternoon hours of Saturday, August 16, they strolled with their nightsticks drawn, some of them wearing helmets, some carrying riot shields. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had just announced that police would enforce a curfew in Ferguson from midnight to 5 a.m., but it was difficult to figure out what this was supposed to accomplish, other than to set a time for when the confrontations would begin.

One young man in his early 20s, who declined to give his name, repeats something we heard many times from Ferguson residents: “It’s always peaceful until the cops show up. You saw it back there–we’re grilling, people having a good time, talking, building community. It’s the police. They’re the ones causing the violence.”

With a blue kerchief tied around his face–soaked in vinegar to protect from the tear gas–and a hood drawn up over his head despite the hot weather, he said he would be out in the streets for a fourth night, curfew or not. “I heard about the curfew, but I’m not leaving,” he said. “They can’t tell me to go inside and then shoot tear gas at us while we’re on our front lawns. So I’m staying out. If they want war, they can have it.”

More police began to show up and unload from buses around 6:45 p.m. Some of the younger children ran away in terror, before their parents could calm them down. One woman, on the verge of tears, started to yell, “Is my son next?” All of the other women around her take up the chant, their voices filled with rage and grief.

Later that night, the streets again became a war zone, with clouds of tear gas drifting through the air. One young man, reportedly a demonstrator, was shot by an unidentified assailant, leaving him in critical condition. The police claim they weren’t responsible this time.

On Friday, the Ferguson police announced the name of the officer who killed Mike Brown. Having concealed this “for fear of the officer’s safety” for nearly a week, the move was clearly designed to placate angry Ferguson residents.

But the cops had another trick up their sleeve. They also released a video that allegedly shows Brown in the act of stealing a package of inexpensive cigars from a convenience store. By Saturday, Ferguson residents were fuming at the transparent attempt to smear Mike’s character and deflect attention from the police who shot him in cold blood in the middle of the street. Minutes after releasing the video, Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson had to admit that Officer Darren Wilson did not know about the convenience store incident and that Michael Brown was merely stopped because he was“blocking traffic.”

As their lawyer Anthony Gray told CNN, the Brown family is “very much distraught by [the release of the video] and it has driven the mother deeper into a state of depression. It has had such a catastrophic effect on her because they think that they’re trying to kill a child who’s already dead. They think it’s completely unfair.”

As for Maria Chappelle-Nadal, she may be a state senator, but she’s angry, and she doesn’t hold back:

This officer gets to exercise his right to due process–unlike the due process that Michael Brown should have had. Even if Michael did commit a theft, it doesn’t justify his killing. He has every right to due process. And these protesters have every right to the First Amendment. And that’s what those fucking police officers are trying to take away from my people…This is a moment in history. This is Watts. This is Rodney King. This is going to keep on going, honey–until there’s justice.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

THEY CALL him Lil Brandon because he used to be really short, but Brandon is 17 now, and he’s not short anymore. He listened quietly while Jay recounted the haunting question his 3-year-old daughter asked–and then he started asking his own questions.

“How did he reach for the gun if the officer fired the first shot from out of the car?” said Brandon. “That’s my only point. I’m not gonna lie–I don’t believe that he attempted to take the gun. I don’t believe that. I don’t know what person in the world would reach for a police officer’s gun.”

Now the FBI, ordered to investigate the shooting on a federal level, is knocking on doors in the apartment complex and asking people to contact them if they saw anything–which prompted another question from Brandon: “But why would we call them?”

Jay takes up the point:

They ain’t gonna do nothing but put it all over the news. It ain’t gonna have no effect, just like the Trayvon Martin situation. Zimmerman shouldn’t have gone home, I don’t care what nobody says. He killed an innocent person who had a pack of Skittles with him…Mike just graduated, and they ended his life before he started it. Zimmerman should have gone down, and this policeman better go down.

For the people of Ferguson, police harassment is nothing new, but the show of solidarity from across St. Louis and beyond is. And so is the vicious police response.

“I couldn’t believe that was West Florrissant,” said Kristian Blackmon, a young woman who was born and raised in Ferguson, referring to the police presence on the main street. “It looked like Iraq. It didn’t look like a street I drive on all the time, a street that I go and shop at.”

She continued:

For my male friends, getting pulled over for no reason, getting questioned–”Where are you going, where have you been?”–has been a consistent thing that happens. A lot of my white friends I grew up with didn’t understand–and I have to explain to them that this is a problem that we experience, and they should be as outraged as we are about it.

I don’t agree with the looting. However, I understand where the rage comes from because that issue hasn’t been addressed, and it’s boiled over into this. Ultimately, there have been lots of peaceful protesters, and there’s been a lot of solidarity among Blacks, whites, young, old, different nationalities. I want people to know that.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

THE SOLIDARITY on the streets of Ferguson is impressive. Anyone who spends any time in front of the QuikTrip undoubtedly had someone offer them snacks and water. That was welcome as humidity replaced the morning’s rain on Saturday. By late afternoon, five workers from a Ferguson Chipotle location had arrived with more than $1,000 worth of burritos and chips for protesters.

After passing out the food to hungry demonstrators, they joined the march as a contingent and stayed for the evening, still wearing their work uniforms. “This is important, and I don’t want there to be any questions about it,” explained one worker who wished to remain anonymous to protect her from retaliation. “We support the protests.” Her coworker explained that they weren’t the only fast-food workers to bring food down to the QuikTrip. Others, including Pizza Hut workers, had coordinated out-of-town donations, as well as making contributions of their own.

Low-wage workers have been busy over the last year and a half in the Fight for 15 movement. It makes sense that they would respond to the outrage in Ferguson–since the same Black and Brown communities disproportionately pushed into the low-wage workforce are also more likely to be victims of police violence.

In addition to support from local workers, a contingent of Fight for 15 activists from across the mid-south marched on Saturday, representing Little Rock, Ark., as well as Memphis and Nashville. “It’s important for fast food workers to be out here because we need to spread the word,” said Dominique Williams, a McDonald’s worker from Little Rock. “We can’t forget about Mike. This doesn’t just happen in Ferguson. This could have happened anywhere.”

A handful of Veterans for Peace members from St. Louis made up a contingent at the rally that began at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the spot where Brown had been killed. Civil rights movement veteran Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. gave a speech in his trademark call-and-response style, and then led several hundred people up Canfield Drive, past the QuikTrip, and then up West Florissant, to a nearby church for more speeches and direct action training. Along the march route, black rubber bullets used by police during the previous nights’ conflicts littered the street.

As the march proceeded, hundreds of people joined in until it grew to about 1,000–but hundreds more people remained at the QuikTrip, as if to sustain a presence at what had become the central point of Ferguson’s interlocking network of protests.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

FERGUSON’S VERY existence is a product of racism and segregation. Located a 15-minute drive from downtown St. Louis, Ferguson is one of 91 municipalities, ranging in size from a few hundred people to more than 50,000, that break up the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Until the end of the 1970s, racist laws and regulations, such as restrictive housing covenants limiting the areas where Black residents could live, and collusion between politicians and the real estate industry compelled African Americans to stay within the city limits of St. Louis.

When the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and ’70s began to weaken racial barriers to living outside the city, Blacks from St. Louis began moving to places like Ferguson in search of better schools and housing, just as whites had before them. White residents, in turn, moved further away from the city, many even crossing the state line into Illinois.

The existence of a legally separate but interconnected network of townships has had consequences that disproportionately affect African American residents. For one thing,Ferguson’s power structure remains overwhelmingly white, even though the population hasn’t.

In 1980, the population of Ferguson was 85 percent white and 14 percent Black. Thirty years later, the demographics were nearly inverted–white residents made up 29 percent of the population, and Blacks accounted for 69 percent.

Even so, Ferguson’s police chief and mayor are white, only one city council member is Black, no one on the school board is Black, and only three of Ferguson’s 53 police officers are African American. No suprise, then, that in 2013, Blacks accounted for 86 percent of cars stopped by police, 92 percent of cars searched and 93 percent of arrests based on those searches.

The continued reality of racism has left the overwhelmingly Black municipalities of north St. Louis County with high poverty rates. Ferguson, for example, has a poverty rate of 22 percent–fully 10 percentage points higher than the county average. According to the Brookings Institution:

Ferguson has also been home to dramatic economic changes in recent years. The city’s unemployment rate rose from less than 5 percent in 2000 to over 13 percent in 2010-12. For those residents who were employed, inflation-adjusted average earnings fell by one-third. The number of households using federal Housing Choice Vouchers climbed from roughly 300 in 2000 to more than 800 by the end of the decade.

Amid these changes, poverty skyrocketed. Between 2000 and 2010-2012, Ferguson’s poor population doubled. By the end of that period, roughly one in four residents lived below the federal poverty line ($23,492 for a family of four in 2012), and 44 percent fell below twice that level.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

THROUGHOUT SATURDAY afternoon, state Sen. Chappelle-Nadal paced West Florissant, carrying a massive cutout head of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon with the words “MIA again” emblazoned on his forehead. “I got here on Day One,” she called out to a passerby. “They got here on Day Eight, like George Bush and Katrina.”

Eavesdropping on questions asked of residents by the mainstream media was instructive. Again and again, reporters wanted to know about “looting” and “violence,” entirely missing the main point of what was unfolding before them: every resident, if asked, could have told them about the routine police violence they’ve experienced.

While the media repeated police talking points about “chaos” and “violence,” the truth is that people in Ferguson have shown tremendous restraint, given all the years of mistreatment they’ve suffered. As C.L.R. James put it in his book The Black Jacobinschronicling the rebellion of Haiti’s slaves more than 200 years ago: “When history is written as it ought to be written, it is the moderation and long patience of the masses at which men will wonder, not their ferocity.”

Dawn Weaver works at a day care center just two blocks from the QuikTrip. She expressed the same sentiment that many Ferguson residents voiced:

I wasn’t surprised at all that this happened. There’s a long history of racism by the police here. What shocked me was the national attention that this has gotten. Because racism and violence from the police, that’s normal, that’s what we expect. Now that there’s national attention, we need to bring awareness to this issue. The police have to be held accountable for what they do.

Or as another protester wrote in bold lettering on the sign that she carried: “Human rights is worth the fight.”

Palestinians express solidarity with the people of Ferguson

Here is the last sentence of an article in the Electronic Intifada containing a Palestinian statement in support of the people of Ferguson.

It says:

With a Black Power fist in the air, we salute the people of Ferguson and join in your demands for justice.

Here is a link to the article.

A united and free Kurdistan can defeat the Islamic State

Here is a snippet from an article by John Rees in Counterfire called The way to stop the Islamic State is a united, free Kurdistan – just what the US does not want

The post First World War settlement is breaking down, but it is breaking down in favour of reactionary forces. A unified and free Kurdistan would offer the beacon of a national liberation struggle that had a popular and progressive outcome. It would, in the current situation in the Middle East, have the effect that the ANC’s victory over apartheid had in southern Africa. It would set up a pole of political attraction and a liberated territory which would be impenetrable to IS and much more difficult for the imperial powers to co-opt and exploit – which is exactly why they don’t want it.

The demand for a fully independent and unified Kurdistan, combined with the demand that Saudis, Qataris and Turks stop funding and otherwise aiding IS, can re-write the direction of events.

Well worth a read.

So too is the response by Kevin Ovenden in a note on Facebook called Kurdish self-determination and the unravelling of Sykes-Picot. He starts off by saying:

This is a good piece by John Rees outlining the history of the Kurdish Question since the Sykes-Picot division of the region, copper-fastened at Lausanne.

I want to add a couple of further points and an argument questioning the necessary centrality and imperviousness to co-optation of the call for an independent, unified state of Kurdistan, which John advances in his piece.

As I’ll return to, none of this questions the legitimacy of the demand for an independent Kurdistan, nor is it arguing in some bad “ultra-imperialist” way that all national questions are now of necessity subsumed by one or other imperialist interest.

Raising the demand for a Kurdish independent state (particularly from within the imperialist powers) does not ally with imperialism. But is it wise? And is it a permanent sure-footing against sliding into that morass? A couple of points:

John Passant is unwell

My apologies but I am unwell and probably won’t post much over the next few days while I recover from the flu/chest infection/asthma.

All those ‘rich people’ stuck in traffic on their way to work

A great meme which captures what is so wrong with this Abbott/Hockey Government, a more vicious but less successful version of neoliberalism than Labor when in government.

University of Wollongong Forum against cuts to higher education

A four minute video from the University of Wollongong paper The Tertangala of a recent UOW Uncut Forum there against cuts.

“It’s education for rich people, not education for people who deserve it. I think that’s the fundamental issue here and that’s the one we should be speaking up against.” – Dr Colin Salter, UOW Staff Member.