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John Passant

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October 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)



The criminalisation of dissent

Capitalism is built on inequality.  Workers are not paid the value of what they create. This enables the bosses to cream off the surplus – profit and the like – to use to make more profit.

It’s why talk of reforming capitalism to abolish inequality won’t work. If we add to this mix the tendency of the rate of profit to fall and the simple fact is that the driving force in the politics and economics of capitalism is to make inequality worse, to shift more and more of the wealth we create to the bosses to compensate for their stagnant or declining profit rates.

But that means that demands for reform can have a potentially revolutionary edge. For example the demand to tax the rich more in current circumstances is a demand capitalism cannot meet because it cuts at  the very core of the accumulation process.

That is why the Occupy movement poses such a challenge to the rule of the one percent. It’s demands to end inequality and corporate greed challenge the very essence of the system.

The bourgeoisie have been preparing themselves for the day when resistance to their agenda of wealth shifting to the rich arises.

Under the guise of the war on terror – in reality a war of terror by US imperialism against large parts of the world – the state has been strengthening its powers of arrest, surveillance and control.

Australia is no exception.

Mamdouh Habib spent years being tortured by the outsourced American torturers, the Mubarak regime, and ultimately was imprisoned without trial for years at Guantanamo Bay. He was eventually released, uncharged. It looks as if Australian officials and perhaps politicians knew of this or even arranged it and possibly were present at or participated in the torture.

David Hicks was held in Guantanamo and eventually pleaded guilty to trumped up charges to escape the hell hole.

Dr Mohamed Haneef was held for many days without charge under Australia’s draconian anti-terror laws only to have the investigation collapse because the whole case was a crock.

But it goes further than that. Australian capitalism was built on the bones of the indigenous people and their resistance was brutally and murderously attacked.

In 1992 Paul Keating made it respectable to jail innocent people who have committed no crime and demonise them. The concentration camps that Labor set up for refugees make acceptable the idea of criminalising action which is not at all criminal action.

It is a small step from imprisoning refugees to undertaking and celebrating the police attacks on Occupy Sydney and Melbourne.

The Occupy movement challenges the rule of the one percent in a way that hasn’t been seen in the US for decades.

In Australia police attacked the Sydney and Melbourne occupations, laying brutally into protestors.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is on this week in Perth. The Queen, chief parasite of empire,  will open it. 

Western Australian cops have been questioning and holding protest planners over trumped up issues. Today it appears they have warned some people to stay away from the CHOGM Occupied Zone under pain of a year’s jail.

Funny, isn’t Perth for all its people. Apparently not. Apparently it is just for the CHOGM war criminals and parasites.

The brutality of the cops in Sydney and Melbourne and the questioning of CHOGM protestors shows a reality about capitalism that a thousand Socialist Alternative meetings could not portray.

Here is the vicious and brutal system on display for all to see.

The attacks on Occupy Sydney and Melbourne are attempts by the ruling class through their armed thugs to stop dissent, and most importantly to prevent the movement from growing.

Actually the movement in Australia was probably waning before the attacks. The thuggery of the cops may give it some boost for some time but without drawing in fresh layers of protesters from the working class the movement may not survive.

Given the relative prosperity in Australia the movement here was probably going to attract less people to it than in the United States or Europe where stagnating economies, vicious austerity programs and fat cats getting richer dominate the agenda.

In Australia at the moment we don’t have a stagnating economy or an austerity program. We only have the fat cat bourgeoisie and large inequality. How large? My article Some facts to support Occupy Australia gives an idea.

In New York Mayor Bloomberg tried to evict the Occupy Wall street demonstrators. He failed because thousands turned up to defend the camp.

In Australia the reactionary Lord Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle and his ‘progressive’ counterpart in Sydney, Clover Moore, were able to close down the Occupy Melbourne and Occupy Sydney sites precisely because there weren’t the thousands there to defend the sites from the attacks of the police.

Moore claims she supports in principle the Occupy Sydney protestors, but apparently not enough in practice to join them and resist the police thugs.  They were removed under Sydney Council by-laws. Moore heads Sydney Council.

Moore in action shows the futility of relying on ‘progressive’ parliamentarians.  And where were the Greens’ politicians by the way?

The Occupy movement is a movement from below. It challenges the rule of the one percent and their mouthpieces in Parliament, the press and elsewhere.

So to the one percent this is a dangerous movement with its ideas about democracy and equality and the possibility of sidelining the reformist and even so-called progressive capitalist politicians.

The Occupy Melbourne and Sydney protesters raised the flag for democracy and an end to corporate greed, for an end to the massive transfer of wealth to the rich.

Bloodied but unbowed Occupy Sydney and Melbourne are regrouping to call more demonstrations. 

But if we truly want to end the source of inequality, the source of armed thugs beating up peaceful protesters, then the most important thing we can do is involve the working class and support it in its struggles and give life to the idea that struggle is an important and natural part of class society.

The working class as a class may not yet be listening but some important sections like Qantas workers, public servants, dockers and community workers are fighting for better pay and conditions.

The task now is to coalesce and cohere a group of people who know what they are against – the anti-capitalists if you like – and to build a base to fight the class battles of the future.

What happened in Sydney and Melbourne as a dress rehearsal for the future.

But next time, to beat the cops back, we need thousands upon thousands of protesters. Partly that will happen when the economic crisis arrives in Australia. But partly it is the task of socialists to point out the need to build an organisation of the working class to take on the one percent and free the rest of us from our economic slavery.

It is and will be a hard road. But we are in this for the long haul.  Join us in the fight for a world where all are equal and we share democratically in the wealth we as workers create.



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Time October 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm

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