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John Passant

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May 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)



Climate change: the critical decade

The Gillard Government’s Climate Commission has made the point. Again. Climate change is real and it is caused by human activity – the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Or as the Commission put it:

Over many decades thousands of scientists have painted an unambiguous picture: the global climate is changing and humanity is almost surely the primary cause. The risks have never been clearer and the case for action has never been more urgent.

The Commission says that this is the critical decade. Our action or lack of it will determine the future for our children and grandchildren.

Meanwhile back in cloud cuckoo land capitalist politicians from both ‘sides’ claimed the report justified their tokenism or inaction. 

‘We accept climate change is real and caused by human activity,’ I almost imagined Gillard thundering. But hen she argues for a carbon tax to cut workers’ living standards and do absolutely notching about addressing climate change.

‘On good days we accept there might be climate change’ I imagine Tony Abbott musing, before adding ‘We have an action plan that even my own side thinks is good for nothing.’ 

The two sides have something fundamental in common. Both accept production for profit as the way to organise society. This means they (and the Greens who also accept the basic tenets of capitalism) cannot develop real alternatives to the current dance of death capitalism has with fossil fuels that will be implemented.

There are powerful capitalist forces built on fossil fuels and a large majority of productive industries dependent on them. The alternatives are not profitable or economic. That is why though the capacity to move to a renewable energy society by 2020 currently exists, it won’t happen.

Unless there is a mass movement from below to force governments to take action now.

And that is the second reason why this ongoing fake war between the Labor Party and Opposition over climate change and how to address it continues. This Punch and Judy show, this low brow farce, goes on ad absurdum because our democracy is a limited one.

It cannot and will not challenge the power of capital.

It denies the mass of people any outlet for their views let alone empowering them and directs change through bourgeois channels in bourgeois directions.

As Gillard and Abbott trade mindless insults over climate change they expose the limitations of the bosses’ democracy and its inability to address climate change, along with the other children of the system, possibler nuclear annihilation, mass starvation, war and global economic crises. 

The crisis is real. Action is urgent. The politicians fiddle while Rome burns. The time for mass mobilisations to force governments to address climate change is now.

The forces of the revolutionary left are too small to do that. The Greens have the support of ten percent of the population at elections. Their parliamentary cretinism prevents them from mobilising a militant majority for action.

Most importantly unions in Australia have around 2 million members.

It is not in the interests of workers to let the bosses continue to shit in our nest.  

A mobilisation of workers as workers threatens profits – the one thing the bosses understand.

Instead of backing a do-nothing carbon tax and continuing this Labor farce, unions could mobilise members to defend their environment and demand a rapid shift to renewable energy, fully paid re-training, wage increases to compensate for the effects of climate change, taxes on the profits of the polluters and price controls over the profiteers.

The union bureaucracy, enmeshed as it is in the capitalist system, won’t do that.

As the revolutions across the Arab world show, ordinary people have to seize their future. We can begin by arguing in our unions for real action on climate change that makes the bosses pay for their pollution and moves us to a renewable energy economy by 2020.



Comment from Terrance
Time May 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Hi John
It’s a good view you’ve outlined here, but I’m going to debate you on one point. You write “The forces of the revolutionary left are too small to do that. The Greens have the support of ten percent of the population at elections. Their parliamentary cretinism prevents them from mobilising a militant majority for action. Most importantly unions in Australia have around 2 million members.”

With just 10% of the national vote and (come July) only 10 members of parliament, the Greens can’t command the type of action we need or want. I don’t think it’s cretinism, I just don’t see how they can lead a country so conservative and self-interested in any mass or critical way. Same with the unions. Many of them, like the CFMEU, are anti climate change measures and will prop up the coal and petroleum industries in the mistaken short-term view that it secures their members’ jobs.

It sure is disappointing not to see the type of climate measures so urgently needed, but the Greens don’t reflect a mass view, their constituency is not as radical as The Australian and the right-wing shock-jocks make out. Really, they are what the old Labor Left used to once be – not a true left party.

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