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John Passant

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July 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)



Asylum seekers: the descent further into hell begins

The first asylum seekers arriving after the Malaysian ‘solution’ have been picked up off Scott Reef.  They will be transferred to Christmas Island and then sent to Malaysia.

As part of their anti-asylum seeker campaigns Labor and the Liberals, the two parties of the Australian ruling class, have appealed to and reinforced  the racism the colonial settler state and outpost of Western imperialism developed and amplified to justify the genocide of indigenous people here and the invasions of foreign lands. 

A few thousand boat arrivals threaten the fake sense of superiority the crimson thread of racism gives some workers. 

This false nationalistic ‘crisis’ if handled well by bourgeois politicians can give them a mechanism to divert working class attention from the alienated reality of life under capitalism. “If handled well’ in the Australian context  means the most vile of policies – ‘stopping the boats’ as both Labor and the Opposition parrot.

The way to do that under the Coalition was to transfer asylum seekers to Nauru. After some time they were processed and most ended up in Australia.

The difference under Labor is that those sent to Malaysia will be treated even more badly than they would have been in an Australian or Nauruan concentration camp and will have no chance of coming to Australia. They will rot indefinitely in Malaysia like the other 94000 refugees there .

The asylum seekers are being sent from one circle of hell to another.

Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN refugee convention. It treats refugees even more barbarically than Australia.

This horrific treatment is the key, the Labor Government hopes, to ‘stopping the boats’.  It is unlikely to work. People fleeing war, rape and genocide don’t really look at the fine detail.

Eventually the message will become clearer to them, in which case the new destination might well become New Zealand.

In any event it only applies to the first 800 asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat. At this stage any coming after the first 800 will have their refugee claims processed in Australia.

The image of Vichy France comes to my mind. That collaborationist government transported tens of thousands of French and foreign Jews to their deaths in concentration camps in Germany and Eastern Europe. 

Some French citizens helped Jews escape or hid them. The Resistance, overwhelmingly Communist, took up arms against the Nazis and their French collaborators.

Of course the Gillard Government is not a fascist one and the camps in Malaysia are not specific death camps. But Labor’s actions in transporting asylum seekers, whom the Australian Government should be protecting, to Malaysia is reprehensible.

There is a sense of powerlessness about this. We are forced to sit back and watch while the Labor Government does this.

The Greens’ concentration solely on Parliament and their specific parliamentary strategy on refugees have both clearly failed.

Their ‘elections only’ strategy has demobilised tens of thousands, people who could be marching in the streets in defence of refugees.

None of the games the Greens played on the Hill had any effect on the Government and its Malaysian ‘solution’, in part in my view because they didn’t play hardball. That I suspect was a conscious decision by the Greens because Labor would and now has bought forward a carbon tax package.

While there are the various magnificent refugee groups working brilliantly for asylum seekers there is no significant revolutionary left in Australia that could defend refugees as part of its more general defence of workers and the oppressed. Now more than ever we need one, to give hope to refugees and those who support them.


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