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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)

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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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Sick kids and paying upfront

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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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Is the Old Mole stirring?

Class struggle is just so old hat, isn’t it? Well, as 2 million striking Greek workers show, maybe not.

The stakes are high. The Socialist Party Pasok won the Greek elections last year on a program of defending working class living standards and social services against attacks from the Conservative government.

Socialist Prime Minister Papandreou has reversed those promises in light of the revelations about huge government budget deficits run up over a decade or more by previous administrations and hiding this ‘reality’ from the European Union and Greek voters.

If I were a cynic I’d say Papandreou is using the same black hole strategy and rhetoric used so successfully by John Howard and Peter Costello after they won the 1996 elections in Australia from Labor.

The EU limits budget deficits to 3 per cent per annum of Gross Domestic Product. Greece’s overspending has this figure at over 12 percent this year. Its total budget deficit (ie debt run up over a number of years) is over 100 percent of GDP.

Some of the loans covering this deficit are due soon. Lenders began to doubt that Greece could repay its debts in the short to medium term unless the Government attacked living standards.

The Socialist Government has responded by announcing plans to reduce its annual debt from about 12 percent per annum of GDP to 3 percent. This will involve freezing public sector wages, cutting allowances, slashing public services and raising the retirement age.

Even then, the measures don’t address the massive accumulated debt and the sovereign risk this poses. That’s why the international bankers – the people who gave us the global financial crisis – want the Pasok Government to go further.

But 2 million striking workers on Wednesday have rocked the bourgeoisie and its Greek ‘socialist’ representatives.

Transport, hospitals, schools, tax offices, airlines, the media – all ground to a halt.

 Nothing moved – except the union demonstrators chanting make the rich pay.

Given the deficit crisis and the threats to Greece from the EU and the bankers, Papandreou can’t back down. The Greek workers appear resolute – they are preparing more strikes.

But it is not just Greece where workers are stirring. Spanish unionists are considering a general strike against the Socialist Government there raising the retirement age.

There have been strikes in Germany, France, Italy and Portugal in the last few days. Airline workers have struck or will strike in a number of European countries.

As the crisis of profitability plays out across Europe, the working class is beginning to stir. The Old Mole lives.

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Comments

Comment from Wombo
Time February 25, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Well done to the European mole, but there is little we can do to directly further his cause than deepen the struggle at home.

Time to awaken the Old Wombat!