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John Passant

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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (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. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (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

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



Instead of screwing the less well off, why not tax the rich instead?

Save the nation! Tax corporations! Tax the rich!

In Independent Australia I examine Labor’s social welfare policies and find they are edging closer to those of the Coalition rather than a progressive workers’ party.

I start off by saying:

I HAD BEEN wondering if Labor (ALP) were going to be Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in our election.

As the ALP has begun announcing policies to cut social welfare, the answer is becoming clearer. They are just another party of neoliberalism and budget deficit fetishism. They are Hillary, not Bernie.

To read the whole article click here to Independent Australia. Why not tax the rich instead of screwing the less well off?



The Assad regime’s horrible history

Lachlan Marshall in socialist magazine Solidarity explains the Syrian regime’s history of deals with imperialism and attacks on its own working class in order to boost its own wealth and power. Among other things he says:

‘Like all other Arab ruling classes, the Syrian ruling class has accommodated to imperialism. Its foreign policy twists and turns have been focussed exclusively on trying to maintain the most favourable position possible within a cut-throat system of competing capitalist states. Its commitment above all else is to running capitalism and increasing the wealth of Syria’s rulers at the expense of workers and the poor. A look at the history of the Assad regime shows this clearly.’

To read the whole article click here. The horrible history of the Assad regime

Tax cuts for billionaires, wages cuts for workers

Drive past Trades Hall up until the election and you might be shocked to see a giant Malcolm Turnbull head jump out at you. This billboard sums up the choice facing working Australians at this election – do we support a government promising $50 billion in corporate tax cuts while trying to undermine penalty rates, or do we #puttheliberalslast?

A link to my draft article on tax and the forgotten classes – a brief history written in letters of blood and fire.

This is the SSRN link to my 25000 word draft article on tax and the forgotten classes – a brief history written in letters of blood and fire.

It covers the period from the Magna Carta to the 1850s when income tax effectively became permanent in the UK. It touches on the Magna Carta, the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, the English revolution, the American and French revolutions and the period from 1799 onwards in the UK when it was on again off again with income tax. It looks at the intertwining of tax, war, democracy and rebellion.

Once you get into the abstract you can download the whole 58 page article, you sturdy types.

Westconnex – the people reclaim their council and their democracy

From the group No WestConnex: Public transport not motorways

‘200 local community members attended the first meeting of the ‘Inner West Council’ imposed by Mike Baird.

‘The community sent a clear message to the administrator Richard Pearson when he was forced to leave the meeting after he claimed it had become ‘untenable’.

‘The recently sacked mayors of Ashfield, Leichhardt & Marrickville are now speaking to the crowd.

‘This is local democracy, and Baird cannot take it from us.’

Here is the link to a video by the WestConnex Action Group of democracy in action. The people reclaim their council

As they also say:

‘Tonight our community succeeded in showing Premier Baird that he cannot impose his will on us without a fight.

‘In an incredible show of people power, there will be no Inner West Council meeting chaired by Premier Baird’s administrator tonight.

‘This was our final message to the Premier.

‘Thanks to all involved and all who supported!’

Here is that final message to the Premier.

The 2016 election: Asylum seekers, AFP raids and dead cats

Dutton offends every Australian migrant, AFP raids highlight the disaster that is Turnbull’s NBN and Labor’s fairness mantra endures — John Passant analyses week two of the election campaign in Independent Australia.

John Passant is unwell

I am unwell again. I won’t be posting much, other than perhaps links to other articles and short comments.

Peter Dutton swings the dead cat

It’s called the dead cat strategy.  Here, according to Sam Delaney in the Guardian, is how Boris Johnson describes it:

“There is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted. That is true, but irrelevant. The key point, says my Australian friend, is that everyone will shout, ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!’ In other words, they will be talking about the dead cat – the thing you want them to talk about – and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.”

Dutton’s comment about refugees being illiterate and innumerate, stealing jobs and living on benefits is a classic example. He has put one of the government’s seeming strengths, the brutal treatment of asylum seekers and refugees and protecting Australia’s borders (so the rhetoric goes) front and centre of the campaign.

The Turnbull government is in trouble. The Labor Party’s focus on fairness, and Shorten’s win in the well hidden leaders’ forum, on Murdoch’s pay TV Sky News, and Labor’s drip, drip, drip release of programs like getting rid of the Turnbull government’s freeze on Medicare rebates have swung support behind Labor, and the Greens.

For example, after the first week of electioneering the Roy Morgan election poll had Labor at 52.5% on a two party preferred basis compared to the government on 47.5%.

So Dutton swings the dead cat. Suddenly all the talk is about his refugee comments and this may reinforce the Turnbull government in what it sees as one of its strengths. I say may because it doesn’t always work. David Cameron for example tried to swing the dead cat on terrorism at Muslim and Labor candidate Sadiq Khan in the election for mayor of London and it backfired. Khan won easily.

Dutton’s dead cat could do the same. There are many many refugees in Australia, and their children and grandchildren. There are maym many more immigrants and the children and grandchildren of immigrants who may also feel it is an attack on them and their forebears. Karl Stefanovic captured the disgust with Dutton’s comments when he explained his family’s hard working contribution to Australia as immigrants and called Dutton un-Australian.

The real question is will Dutton’s comments resonate with workers and see them vote for the open party of capital? It is possible, mainly because this fear of asylum seekers is built on other deeper insecurities and is fanned not just by the first eleven of capital but by the second eleven, the Labor Party.

The fear of the other is driven from the top and as Dutton’s comments make clear the idea is to intersect with the concerns of workers about jobs and inadequate social welfare spending.

The response of the left should be clear. It is not refugees or asylum seekers who sacked 4400 tax office workers. It is this government.

It is not refugees or asylum seekers who sacked or are sacking Queensland Nickel workers, or Arrium workers, or car plant workers. It is bosses.

It is not refugees or asylum seekers substituting part time for full time work. It is bosses.

It is not refugees or asylum seekers who are freezing the Medicare rebate, cutting billions from aged care, cutting family tax benefits, cutting health and education spending by a total of $80 billion and giving tax cuts to big business and those earning more than $180,000. It is this government.

The real enemy is Peter Dutton and all he represents, not asylum seekers and refugees.


Untouched billions in tax rorts for the rich



This is the link to my article in socialist magazine Solidarity on the untouched billions in tax rorts for the rich.

Week one of the election campaign

This is the link to my analysis in Independent Australia of the first week of the election campaign. I start off by saying:

‘IT HAS NOT BEEN a good first week in the election campaign for Malcolm Turnbull and his Government.

‘The Prime Minister looks and sounds out of touch, aloof, and to use the words of Peta Credlin, comes across as “Mister Sydney Harbourside Mansion”.

‘There is a good reason for this. He is.’

To read the whole article click here. Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull’s shaky start