ga('send', 'pageview');
John Passant

Site menu:

April 2011
« Mar   May »



RSS Oz House



Subscribe to us

Get new blog posts delivered to your inbox.


Site search


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
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. (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)



Bahrain and Syria: a tale of two countries

Most people by now realise the brutality of the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad and his Baath Party. Since the protests for democracy and against his dictatorship began on March 15 Amnesty International estimates the regime has killed over 400 protesters so far.

Millions have been demonstrating and no longer fear death, such is their thirst for freedom from the hated tyrant and for democracy.

The United States has condemned the violence and increased the sanctions against the Syrian murderers. But it doesn’t want the regime to fall. It fears any alternative. Al-Assad represents the status quo for the US – an all talk regime which helps keep in place peace with Israel and the stability of instability in the region. That is just what the US wants.

In Bahrain the situation is similar. A hated dictatorship with support from some Sunnis is wiping out its opponents. At Marxism 2011 in Melbourne Bahraini activists showed a short clip. Giving names to the dead is a powerful way of highlighting the reality of the dictatorship’s bloodthirsty and repressive response to democracy demonstrators. The head blown off of a young child was a graphic reminder of the barbarity of the Bahraini regime.

The 5th fleet is based in Bahrain. They have done nothing to protect the democracy demonstrators from the butchers of the regime.

Instead the US cut a deal with the Arab League for them to support Western intervention in Libya. The quid pro quo? Saudi troops would enter Bahrain to restore order and allow the pro-American regime to massacre its people.

So the US won’t say anything against the criminals in charge of the country, criminals who have killed at lest 28 people in the last 5 weeks and injured hundreds. Over 400 people are missing, arrested by the dictatorship and not seen since.

This brutality seems to have stopped the demonstrations, for now.

Bahrain is strategically important for the United States, helping it police the Persian Gulf and keep the Iranians on the other side under some sort of control.

No mainstream media have highlighted the repression in Bahrain. This is after all a close friend of the West.

Al-Assad is not such a close friend.

There is a continuity in the Americans’ different treatment of both regimes. They want to influence the outcome to have regimes in place which support the US. This means condemning Al-Assad and cuddling up to the Al Khalifa royal family.

The thing that drives US policy in the region is to stay in control though its allies in places like Bahrain and bed follows like Al-Assad in Syria and abandon them for new quislings if the revolution deepens.

They fear the revolutions deepening. We welcome that.

Condemn all the Arab dictators and support those who are rising up against their tyrants and for freedom and food, justice and jobs.



Comment from Calligula
Time April 28, 2011 at 12:03 am

Come on John –
This, all this, has surpassed ideology.
Anyone there on the ground wielding a scimitar or toting an AK74 would be beyond acquiring a target.

It must be madness.

Out of that madness a new order will rise.
We are here and they are there facing another world of nausea every new morning.
Anything to offer the poor bastards?

Couldn’t we organise a stunt with the unions and, say, deny Gillard the means to alight and arrive back in Oz?


Remember they deposed Joh Bjelke when he was busy in Japan all those years ago.
Not sporting, you reckon?


Worked then to get rid of Joh.
Don’t want to reconsider?


Perhaps we can talk her into taking a ‘Women’s Weekly World Tour’, then?
That might work.

Perhaps we could employ wassisname – ‘Dame Edna’/Barry Humphries as a commie overpriced consultant – making use of all that moolah you socialists made in Melbourne last weekend?


No. Precisely the same answer I get from anyone in this dump these days.

What a bloody sscheemozzle !!

Comment from Ross
Time April 28, 2011 at 9:09 am

The USA have traditionally supported these tyrants to suppress these people for their own economic purposes.The invasion of these countries under the banner of democracy is a lie.Just watch Libya,the USA will corrupt officials with money and put in another despot with their new de-mockracy.

Comment from Walter
Time April 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

Good points John. But in terms of media coverage and Bahrain, the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent produced an excellent expose of the regime and what it is doing. You can catch it on iView.

Also, I think the US is in two minds about Syria. The Syrian backing of Hezbollah is a major factor in regional instability and on that count, the US probably want the regime to fall … but as I have argued here before, we need to be careful about replacing one dictatorship with something much worse and more oppresive – like Sha’ria Law.

Comment from ian
Time April 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

How do you know what the US wants for Syria, John? Please provide some facts. The US is proposing sanctions against Assad at the UN, but Syria’s traditional ally, Russia, is blocking any UN Security Council action.
All your sentences on what the USA “wants” and “fears” lacked evidence or references.

Comment from John
Time April 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm

True Ian. Maybe I should have prefaced it with comments about what I think the US wants. Ah, yes, sanctions. Like they had against Sadam for 13 years? Giving the impression of doing something but not really threatening the regime – just killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. Ian, what do you think the US wants? A successful working class revolution in Syria. Don’t think so. Maybe, based on the eh evidence of all the other revolutions in the region they want an outcome which doesn’t threaten their interests – in other words the continuation of the regimes with or without their current leaders. It seems a feasible enough argument if you look at Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, etc. Syria seems to fit that. So too does Libya where it appears that NATO wants a complaint regime led by ex-Gaddafi acolytes.

Comment from Ross
Time April 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm

John you will find this interesting. The Crown Prince of Bahrain has declined an invite to the Royal Wedding.The Pom elites are worried that the subversion of his people will put them in a bad light.

Note also that Obama was deleted from the list to even attend the Church ceremony.Why is this important? It demonstates a schism in the New World Order elites.They could well be fighting amongst themselves.

Comment from John
Time April 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I think the divisions over Libya highlight a deeper division, and the power struggle between China and the US is the biggie.

Comment from John
Time April 28, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Re the US being in two minds, I think that is right.

Comment from Ian
Time April 29, 2011 at 6:13 am

John, I honestly don’t think the US knows what it wants. I don’t think they have a clue what is in the interests of the world, or in the interests of the USA. When there are conflicts or uprisings, the USA gets burned if they ignore it and if they get involved. They supported the Islamic rebels in Afghanistan to defeat the Soviets, but their Afghan allies turned into the Taliban. Carter supported the revolution in Iran in 1979 and the Islamic Revolution wiped out the democratic movement. The USA abandoned Mubarak and no-one knows if Egypt will become a democracy. They are supporting the rebels in Libya and no-one knows who these rebels are either.

I think the USA would be happy to ignore the middle east and worry about their own economy, but they can’t. Everyone wants a democratic middle east, but when asked if it is worth paying $3, $4 or $5 per litre of petrol, then suddenly many voters accept having relations with dictators. You yourself avoid the issue of a boycott of Saudi oil, though anyone who really sympathises with democracy in Saudi Arabia, or freedom in Bahrain, would demand sanctions with Saudi Arabia immediately.

Everybody wants freedom. The US would love to support freedom if it cost nothing. But it doesn’t, it costs trillions of dollars. And the USA has no idea what to do.

Comment from John
Time April 29, 2011 at 8:04 am

Ian, I think the US does know what it wants in a general sense – the continuation of its role of dominance in the region. Syria, despite its anti-US rhetoric and support for Hezbollah, is part of the circle of control. No doubt the US would want a more pro-US regime, but if things get out of hand there it may get one more likely to represent the interests of its people and that is likely to be objectively anti-US and anti-Israel.

I think the point about petrol and democracy is not correct. Oil drives capital and its profits int eh West. The consumer focus you give is I think wrong. And sanctions are not a blanket tactic. It depends on what the freedom fighters want. It is for them t decide the way forward. I will consider sanctions against Saudi Arabia when Saudi Arabians ask for them, just as I have done in relation to South Africa and BDS.

Comment from Ross
Time April 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Ian makes many false the USA and the rest of the West are not free.Our corporations control our Govts.The wars are being spurred on by Global Corporate Imperialism.Our increases in productivity are expressed as debt to private banks,the harder we try,the more debt we incur.

Comment from Ian
Time April 29, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Ross, I think there are many causes for “the wars”. Some wars are driven by corporate interests, others are caused by competition for resources, tribalism, and ideology. You, living in the west have no fear expressing your opinions on this blog, or in daily life. The same cannot be said in all countries. You might not be as free as you could be, but if you see no difference between the Gillard government and Bashar al Assad, you are insensitive to genuine oppression.

Comment from Ross
Time April 29, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Ian not so

Ian.We in the West are not as free as you think.I have had two visits from our Aust Federal Police because of my political views.Since 911 with the instigation of the Patriot Act and Sedition laws here,we have lost a lot of freedoms.

Comment from Ian
Time April 30, 2011 at 3:43 am

Yes Ross, but the Federal Police did not kill you and drag your body through the streets. They questioned you, they let you go. I’m sure its intimidating, and yes, you are not as free as you should be, but it’s not the same as what is happening in Syria today. 500 dead because they want to change their leader. Do you consider two visits by the police worse than physical torture or death, or just the same?

I agree that oil wealth is what causes us to tolerate brutal dictatorships in the Middle East. I have a question for John. Do you believe that the Israel lobby in Washington has more or less influence than the oil producers, who are paid 4750 billion dollars per year for their resource by Americans alone, and 22 trillion dollars per year overall?

For those that think corporations have more power than governments, which corporations would you put in the top ten?

Comment from John
Time April 30, 2011 at 6:05 am

The US ruling class support Zionism because it is in their interests to do so. The Zionist lobby would be nothing without that essential self interest of US imperialism. In that sense Obama is the most powerful Zionist.

The relationship between the state and capital, essentially imperialism, is complex. I like the way David Harvey puts it in his book The New Imperialism:

“I here define that special brand of it called ‘capitalist imperialism’ as a contradictory fusion of ‘the politics of state and empire’….and the molecular processes of capital accumulation in space and time.” (p26)

So that:

“With the former I want to stress the political, diplomatic and military strategies invoked and used by a state….with the latter, I focus on the ways in which economic power flows across and through continuous space, towards or away from territorial entities.” (p26)