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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)



Israel, Palestine and a rainbow nation

Israel is a state founded on terror, driving 750,000 Palestinians off their land.

The state has developed since its establishment into the watchdog for Western (in particular US) interests in the region. That’s why the US supports it with military and economic aid; so much so that without that economic support (let alone military support) Israel would collapse.

Estimates vary but it is possible every Israeli citizen receives over $2000 in aid each year from the US.   If there were no Israel the US would need to station millions of troops in the region to protect and control the flow of oil.  As Iraq shows, the cost would be horrific.  Israel does the job on the cheap for US imperialism.

Its very presence destabilises the region, with the aim of ensuring the Arab masses do not win control of oil with the catastrophic consequences that would have for the Western bourgeoisie. Its existence enables reactionary Arab leaders to continue to rule through the focus on “the enemy”.  Finally Israel undertakes state terror activities in its own defence that further destabilise the area and guarantee the continued flow of cheap (or cheapish) oil and US control of that flow.

Now it seems that major Israeli politicians want to rid Gaza of Hamas.  Hamas is the democratically elected Government of the Palestinians, although its remit only extends to Gaza since Fatah annexed the West Bank in a coup.

Israel has blockaded Gaza and the 1.5 million inhabitants are surviving through aid.

Since the end of the truce between Hamas and Israel a few weeks ago, Gaza militants (including Hamas members) have been firing rockets into Israel.

The Israelis will respond, unleashing even more terror on the Gazans. I have an alternative suggestion.  Drop the blockade.

However Hamas must adopt a new strategy.  A poor, impoverished people cannot defeat one of the strongest military states in the world.   And apart from being impractical the idea of driving the Israelis into the sea is frankly immoral. Why adopt Israeli terror tactics? It’s time to take a more regional perspective.  That perspective must involve the Arab working class.

The Israeli working class is thoroughly wedded to its own bourgeoisie and State.  There will be no cross border labour alliances there.  This could change if there were mass strikes throughout the region, but that is hard to tell.

Egypt has a large working class, a class which displayed its militancy earlier this year with mass strikes.  It is here that the potential lies for an alternative to the futility of the present conflict.

A mass uprising in Egypt, overthrowing the Mubarak dictatorship and establishing some sort of democratic regime, (up to and including a workers’ state), has the ability to transform the Middle East. First, it would empower ordinary Egyptians and bring to the fore the necessity for some sort of Palestinian settlement. (More on this later).  Second it would light the flame of freedom in the region (unlike George W’s invasion of Iraq) and possibly see the downfall of the barbarians who control much of the Arab world.

This would not only intensify the pressure for a settlement; it would force one.

However, a two state solution is not the answer.  This two state approach doesn’t address the fundamental injustice done to Palestinians by both the establishment of Israel on their land and then their dispossession.

It also legitimises the present apartheid nature of the relationship between Israel and Palestine and would represent the formal establishment of Palestinian bantustans.

Unlike South Africa, Palestinians do not hold the major position in wealth production in Israel.  They don’t outnumber Jewish Israelis.  So the push for a rainbow state of Palestine must come from within the Arab region, as I mentioned before, through the Arab masses overthrowing their dictatorships.

This gives the Arab masses, not the (ousted) reactionary leaders, control of oil, and the wealth that goes with it, wealth that has so far been denied the majority in the Middle East. This changed environment reduces the importance of Israel to the US.

Of course, Zionism cannot accept a rainbow nation since Zionism is an exclusivist ideology.

And I know full well Hamas will not adopt any of the prescriptions I have suggested.   It will repeat the groundhog day missile launches into Israel, to little effect other than more Israeli punishment.  Indeed it is possible Israel could soon re-occupy Gaza or at least begin a reign of terror against Gaza and the Hamas leadership.

The working class in many of the Arab countries is weak and even in those countries with a strong or strategic  working class (like Egypt, Saudi Arabia,  Iran and in the past Iraq) its political expression is either destroyed – the US occupiers in Iraq arrested the trade union and left wing leadership –  or unknown.

Almost everyone who reads this will think I am not all there.  Perhaps. But mass strikes in Egypt did rock the regime this year.  And nothing remains the same, especially given the subjugation the Arab masses toil under. They have rebelled in the past.  They will do so again. There is hope.