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John Passant

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April 2011



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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)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Just who are the real extremists?

Last month Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was calling the Greens extreme. The other day it was something about them not sharing the values of ordinary Australians. Gillard said in her Gough Whitlam oration:

The Greens wrongly reject the moral imperative to a strong economy.

The Greens have some worthy ideas and many of their supporters sincerely want a better politics in our country. They have good intentions but fail to understand the centrepiece of our big picture – the people Labor strives to represent need work.

And the Greens will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.

I guess it means something. However as New South Wales shows all those ‘everyday’ Australians are a little pissed off with Labor at the moment.

Maybe neoliberal social democracy and the warmongering that goes with it doesn’t offer a way forward when it is merely a cover for attacking jobs, working conditions and pay, resisting equal pay for women, making the rich richer and dog whistling to imperialism, racists and homophobes.

It is not only the PM who is joining in the attack fest. The ‘smear the greens’ disease is clearly catching. Senior Labor Minister Anthony Albanese was bashing the Greens today calling some of their policies extreme.

Albanese joined with the fruitcake faction of the bourgeoisie at News Ltd and suggested that Pauline Hanson might be elected in New South Wales because of the Greens.

This is a convenient whipping boy for the failure of Labor’s neoliberal social democracy to benefit, let alone rule for, workers and instead to cover up its reality – ruling for the bosses and shifting our wealth to them. 

Capitalism is an upside down world, a world where extremism is the middle road and the middle road is extremism. As Patrick Weiniger argued in Why you should be a socialist:

It speaks volumes about the rottenness of capitalist society that ideas of equality, of organising the economy to eliminate poverty, and of genuine democratic control over the economy are considered such radical notions.

Let’s judge the moderates and extremists.

Once in power in 2007 who supported in practice the US led invasion of Iraq, an invasion which has killed more than 1 million civilians? Labor.

Who supported the invasion of Afghanistan and has kept Australian killers there? Labor.

Who supported and now directs the racist Northern Territory intervention and has expanded parts of the welfare quarantining program into other areas of Australia? Labor.

What is the life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians under Labor? 17 years.

What is the gender pay gap between men and women under Labor? 18 percent and growing.

Who supports the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which since it began policing building sites has seen death rates rise? Labor.

Who has presided over a massive shift in wealth from labour to capital? Labor, and their doppelgangers before them, the Liberals.

Who has done nothing about addressing climate change, other than introducing schemes designed to cut workers’ living standards and shift more wealth to business and the polluters? Labor.

Who opposes gay marriage? Labor.

Who locks up  refugees, including kids, in concentration camps? Labor.

Who backs to the hilt the US Alliance? Labor.

Who supports unquestioningly Israel’s genocide against Palestinians? Labor.

And, to me the greatest indictment of all – 2 billion people are starving or malnourished because they can’t afford food. Labor’s policies and actions reinforce this ultimate failure of capitalism.

What could be more extreme than a system that condemns one third of humanity to hunger when more than enough food is currently produced to feed everyone on the planet?

So let’s look at Labor’s record. Warmongers in favour of imperialism and Zionist ethnic cleansing. Pro-boss, anti-worker. Anti-equal pay. Anti-equal love. Racists. Homophobes. Sexists.

And they are the moderates? Give me a dose of extremism any day.



Comment from Ross
Time April 3, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Amen John.You are a man of courage and conviction which is sadly lacking in our political sphere.Neither Tony Abbott or Alan Jones , the two greatest detractors in our media of the carbon tax turned up at the protest at Hyde Park on last Saturday.Are they too afraid of alienating their corporate masters?

This is an era of enormous lies and deception.The masses have been seduced by a corporate media that uses image gratification to enslave them.

There is no substance in the image of the Hollywood betrayal.There is no truth or love in their media perversions.People just get used up or wasted and they move on to the next charade.

There is something much deeper than our superficial concept of god and that is our common humanity.Without it,our civilisation is doomed.For hundreds of years the elites have chosen the path of war as their solution.Now the stakes cannot be higher.The same mentality of 50-5000 yrs ago still pervades our political mentality.The difference being,we have the capacity to pull the final curtain.

Comment from MarianK
Time April 4, 2011 at 8:00 am

What delicious irony that she chose the Gough Whitlam oration to spout this anti-Greens crap! Especially when the Greens are getting all the same vitriol that was dished out to the Whitlam government by a miffed 70s establishment hell-bent on destroying it.

So let me get this straight.

As a Greens voter, do I not share the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush?

Do I not day after day do the right thing?

Do I not lead a purposeful and dignified life?

Am I not driven by love of family?

She’s probably right on one thing, I’m not all that driven by love of nation – not while it’s run by such a narcissist, who can’t seem to make up her mind which ‘real Julia’ she is supposed to be, and which ‘real Labor values’ her party is supposed to stand for.

Comment from Cal
Time April 4, 2011 at 11:54 am

“So let’s look at Labor’s record. Warmongers in favour of imperialism and Zionist ethnic cleansing. Pro-boss, anti-worker. Anti-equal pay. Anti-equal love. Racists. Homophobes. Sexists.

And they are the moderates? Give me a dose of extremism any day.”

Question – how many votes do the “extremists” get in a democracy? People make choices John, informed choices. As NSW showed, voters know the difference between federal and state, left and right, middle and extreme, fringe and mainstream.

You talk about the carbon tax hurting working people, but I suspect the reason so few people vote ‘extreme’ is that these types of policies will lead to unemployment, loss of income, reductions in services etc.

If a carbon tax would hurt, what would a socialist restructuring of Australia do?

Would you, for example, advoate that all academics earn the same salary; be it professor, senior lecturer or tutor?

Comment from Jon
Time April 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I might be behind the eight ball but I had to laugh this morning when I heard about Alan Jones anti-climate change lobby. They guy has some ego, and loves pushing his vitriol to the uneducated and lower class.

I might be a cynic and skeptic, but the hidden collusion between all parties is revolting!

Comment from ian
Time April 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Why Western calls for BDS are completely out of touch with Palestinian interests.

Comment from Ross
Time April 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm

ian ,you have to be kidding. Ken O’keefe exposes the Israeli bombing of a medical suppy warehouse in Gaza

Comment from John
Time April 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Cal, I am not talking about my politics. The Labor Government is calling the Greens extreme, and yet its own policies – killing people in foreign countries, supporting the US doing that, attacking Aborigines and refugees here, keeping a lid on wages, not supporting equal pay, not supporting equal love, all look pretty extreme to me and many others.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Vote LNP? Is that extreme enough? Juust kiddin’. See here is Norman Sanders part of the problem too?

Comment from Calligula
Time April 4, 2011 at 8:41 pm

John –
You don’t want to accept it but Arthur is an extremist by your standards and by that of which you call the establishment –
He sees the golden mean while you get distracted by that Dooley bloke.
Is that Dooley or Doolally?
Whoever he is he’s a bit of an agent provocateur judging by his recent efforts.
I’ve met blokes like him in boardrooms. All gas and gaiters.
But one thing missing from the equation you offer is how to get the Dooleys on side.
Maybe they’ve forgotten how to relax into a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with scum like me?
Maybe you have.
When and if the cack ever hits the fan in OZ it’ll be the scum at the barricades.
I mean Herr Dooley WILL be there by way of supplying the ordnance.
You won’t be there because you’ll be arrested the day before.
A moot point about protective arrest, I’m sure, but arrested nonetheless.
If it did get serious, I mean.
So what is it all about?
Who is kidding whom?
Back to Arthur.
He knows how to deal with bad manners.
Except he lives in an age when dealing with that becomes a statutory criminal act.
He likes his liberty and his good reputation and in consequence refuses to defy authority and the law despite the fact that such denies him his customary unwritten rights.
What really burrs him up is that right wing attitudes appear attractive at face value even though he well knows the fact won’t apply to him.
On the other hand he supports essentially commie/socialist principles but he knows that if a revolution ever happened he’d be in the first hundred to be liquidated by his old school pals.
None of this is leading anywhere because nothing practical is ever proposed.
If the ‘workers’ will ever succeed the workers must first be educated then have the time to prosper and progress in a redoubt – a place where they may catch their breath, cast their eyes about and gain an understanding, some confidence with how things can be.
Australia came close to that some years ago.
Since then greed has turned the place to shit.
The manifestation of that is the way Australians speak of their circumstance and even in your socialist pages cannot really get past adversarial postures – or some detail, detail drivel about what’s in it for them.
They gloss over the misfortune of others elsewhere in such a glib, heartless, way it makes me puke.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 5, 2011 at 11:36 am

Calligula old chap, Herr Dooley here. Look, all I try to point out in my comments to this and other blogs is the elephant in the room – you are doing all this blogging in the comfort of a liberal democracy. Here’s where I struggle with your (professed) ideology.
If you do succeed in fomenting revolution against the evil forces of capital what will replace the system of participatory democracy that underpins the liberal democratic model you appear to despise?
If it is substantially the same system of democratic society then how do you ensure the same evil forces of capital do not simply assume control of the Parliament democratically and return society to a capitalist model?
If it is not the same system of democratic society how do you ensure we do not become enslaved by a totalitarian model?
Answer these questions and you might be viewed as more than a middle class navel gazing society.

Comment from Calligula
Time April 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm

G’day Graham,
That elephant in the room told me the other day that he’s become typecast and jaded.
He wants location work and some fresh air.
He’s been talkin’ with that Rush fella about a role in a remake of “Passage To India”.
He does enjoy a good, sweaty, memsahib or three.

But what professed ideology of mine are you talking about?
The only ideology I have is that the peasants always get the chop.
My life EXPERIENCE has ably demonstrated why that is, a fact supported by lots of boring reading.
At our humble workplace we simply hate exploiters.

Some exploit for ideological reasons – some just to make an extra dollar – some because they enjooooy doing it.

Very few set out to exploit others for the good of the exploited.
Such is, shall we say, counterintuitive – a bit of a no-brainer.
The way I see it aligns with what the ABC told me recently – that near half our population is functionally illiterate.

I read the cause and effect of that to mean the fact of that was planned and the result intended.
The really interesting bit was the talking heads telling me that despite the appallingly bad literacy/numeracy standards – these millions were mostly quite intelligent people.

What happens to intelligent people in a literacy/numeracy based society if they are denied outlets for their intelligence?
Well Bucko – they become adept at operating in ways alien to the mainstream.

They become somewhat FERAL.
Since Homo-Sapiens is the most dangerous predator this planet has evolved and since an intelligent, feral human might be exponentially more dangerous than the average couch-potato – then several millions of ‘em are likely gearing up for their chance.

I don’t know where you rest your tired little head every night and what security you have in place or how rapidly your local walloper reacts when something is clawing at your door – but not too far away from us is a tiny part of a strip all along the East Coast Hinterland.
It is something like a dispersed mega-city yet it lacks almost every sort of urban amenity or facility.

There are all sorts living there – salt of the earth most of ‘em, I’m sure.
But some of them are right mean bastards and where they live are no-go-zones for any sort of authority.
Funny thing about it is how difficult it is for the wallopers to keep track of them and their transactions.
For some reason they buy with cash and rarely write anything down
When justice need be applied they usually resort to what Breaker Morant called ‘Rule 303’
So Gra , old pin, if I’m gazing at any navel – or pit of any sort it is one that definitely does exist.
I’m not sure if you consider yourself a capitalist at all. Perhaps you simply enjoy a good stir.
But I tend not to blame any political ideology – just the amoral suckholes who set themselves up for winners of the compulsorily enforced raffles they pretend are elections.
Australia has always had punitive governance systems roughly based on the Rum Corps.
The modern ‘beneficiaries’ of that corrupt system are no less cross grained and compromised as their forefathers – so it is no wonder that their efforts to dumb down anything that risks touching their cosy tontine is written by them out of existence.

Hence they write out education.
Hence they write out a reasoned ballot.
Hence they write IN populism and the fifteen second sound grab
Hence they debase their own standards (what they ever were) to the same level as the illiterate masses they pretend to manipulate.
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
By God it’ll be a bloody bunfight when the cack does hit the fan.

Recent historical precedent – South Africa, 1898 – 1903

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 6, 2011 at 8:28 am

Gosh Cal, you do go on a bit. Maybe someone with a less eclectic mind could answer my simple question/s?

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm

You see, I read this type of rhetoric everywhere but I suspect the reality of government and governance would be all too much. I note eg. the infiltration of the Greens by the SWP (or whatever they call themselves nowadays) and wonder what they will do post 1 July to make the electorate want to support them. If they’ve learnt anything since NDP (Garrett’s first failed foray into naive politics – he learnt the hard way not to trust the SWP) they’ll know they cannot afford to spook the electorate with whacky leftist diatribes – though maybe they haven’t learnt a thing. Anyway, I’m sure we’ll see how the public feels about them at the next election. Should be instructive. Back to your navel now Cal. Forget reality mate. You don’t sound ready for it.

Comment from Calligula
Time April 6, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Hey John,
These Dooley types.
Back in the old days all they had to do was meet ‘em in the pub and invite them along to something they couldn’t resist.
Pop told me that a raid on a black’s camp was usually enough to con ‘em out on a dark night.
Wasn’t a matter of collateral damage. No harm was intended to the camp.

Just that the traps never went near the camp at night, no-one else would complain about a bit of noise from that direction and the town dump was nearby.
Tar and feathers?

Mr. Dooley doesn’t really want to return to that world ‘cos that sort of thing might happen to him in his happy little neo imperialist/capitalist world.

There’s that old saw – “be careful for what you wish – Bucko”.

Oh, he threatens us with the next election and he’s damned right.
Jug ears as pm is a frightening thought.

The fact Dooley mentioned it gives fair indication where his head is at.
The thing I like about these blogs is that while it seems like congenial discourse between individuals – the fact is that thousands are reading the stuff.

Even Jug Ears, the pm-in-waiting would have some of his goons scanning it regularly.
Meanwhile, an anticipatory, sweaty palmed, Dooley waits hoping he’ll be noticed for his verve.

Of course he might only be one of those 8 million who can’t read well?
They reckon that sort of chronic disadvantage, especially when combined with a narrow upbringing results in counterproductive aggressiveness.

Comment from Calligula
Time April 6, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I try, I try, I really do try to be politically correct.
I am hopeless at staying on thread.
I’m perfectly aware that I march to the beat of a different drummer.
I hate it when I blurt out hypocrisy.
I usually regret what I say and precipitately send off after reading it next day.
But I do try to be polite until that becomes impossible.
I try to find common accord within what other people write.
Sometimes I even manage a courteous reply without, in retrospect, sounding costive or querulous.

I do appreciate that the e-mail is a defective medium of communication, usually bereft of sentiment and unable to convey the nuances of direct intercourse (yes laugh at that correct usage).

But when a real Yaa-boo-sucks sort like Mr. Dooley turns up it irks me that code duello has been banned for far too long.
I’m too old for that sort of thing and am a hopeless pistol shot anyway.
But Mr. Dooley is welcome to a Ken-do (those blunt bamboo thingies) round any time he likes.

I’m not challenging him from behind the protection of distance.
But I’m kind of tired of smirking idiots who have been trained up by some half-baked manager-training agency to wound with words and threaten with innuendo.

What I hate about Dooleys I address on my own page.
Mr Dooley is welcome to go there if he wants a bit of a stoush.
I believe I’ve already invited him to go there.
I doubt whether he’d be game, though – ‘cos he couldn’t handle Arthur – or for that matter, even our gentle Lady Friday.

I guess what I’m trying to say, John, is that I interpret your pages as attracting allies to a cause.
I’m no economist or theoretician but can tell the difference between discourse and attempted discouragement.

Believe you called Mr. Dooley a bit of a troll (amongst other things) while I have another definition entirely.
God knows what you think of the drivel I write but I’d like to believe it lends some merit (and an occasional laugh) without grinding your soul to dust.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 7, 2011 at 9:15 am

Still no attempt to answer my questions. Great blogging technique Cal. All bluff and bluster, no substance.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

Cal, I looked at your site, man oh man, you seem a troubled soul if that is a reflection of your mind-set. Like a I said a few posts ago my questions obviously don’t appeal to your eclectic sensibilities so am happy to have someone else address them.

Comment from Calligula
Time April 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Gra –
As an historical trend, dominant functions and processes in the Information Age are increasingly organized around networks.
Networks constitute the new social morphology of our societies, and the diffusion of networking logic substantially modifies the operation and outcomes in processes of production, experience, power and culture.

While the networking form of social organization has existed in other times and spaces, the new information technology paradigm provides the material basis for its pervasive expansion throughout the entire social structure.

Furthermore, I would argue that this networking logic induces a social determination of a higher level than that of the specific social interests expressed through the networks: the power of flows takes precedence over the flows of power.

Presence or absence in the network and the dynamics of each network vis-a-vis others are critical sources of domination and change in our society: a society that, therefore, we may properly call the network society, characterized by the preeminence of social morphology over social action.

In other words your sort of attempted domination is doomed ‘cos, fortunately, despite presenting as a nasty piece of work you don’t appear to know your arse much from your elbow while dabbling in these sorts of networks.

Put it this way old chokecollar. By now some could easily read you as a nasty repetitive piece of work who not only wants his dummy but wants to spit it out too.
PS – you may borrow the chokecollar if you like.

Comment from graham dooley
Time April 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Still not even a hint of an attempt at my serious question. Cal, mate, give up. You’re seriously not in the game.

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