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John Passant

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May 2012
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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)



Saturday’s socialist speak out

Oh, there’s class war going on alright. Labor’s war on workers for the bosses continues unabated.

Just this week Labor set up a system on the docks which will allow them to sack unionists and militants under the guise of ‘suspected’ criminal activity. They have extended the logic of the anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission to the ports.

And Labor has now done a deal with Gina Rinehart, the richest woman in the world, to allow 1700 workers from overseas to build her mine at Roy Hill.  

We need to be careful not to slip in to racism and xenophobia over this. That is the approach ALP left winger and Senator Doug Cameron is taking, counterposing Chinese workers to Australian workers.  He said:

The very week when workers are being given their marching orders out of a job at Kurri Kurri [aluminium smelter in New South Wales] and Tullamarine, 1700 Chinese workers are given the go-ahead to march into Western Australia.

Actually the overseas workers can come from any country, not just China. And they can only be employed if Australians cannot be found for the jobs. I know the bosses will abuse that but to conjure up racist images of Chinese workers marching into Australia is the desperate cry of a political and industrially bankrupt politician and unionist on a path to nowhere.

Doug Cameron’s world of class collaboration is collapsing around him as the bosses’ demons he and his ilk unleashed consume him. So instead of class struggle to defend jobs he raises race as the defining issue. Shame, Doug Cameron, shame.

The unions are painting it in terms of saving Aussie jobs threatened by foreign workers. This is divisive nonsense. We are workers, no matter which country we come from. The enemy are the mining maggots like Gina Rinehart, BHP, Twiggy Forrest, XSTRATA, Clive Palmer and Rio Tinto. 

To attack foreign workers is to lose that point and imagine these bastards care about jobs. They don’t. They only care about profits. During the GFC they sacked 15% of their workforce.

But there is a reason for opposing this deal. It is clearly aimed at de-unionising the workforce.  It means that the workforce loses unionised industrial strength at important projects.  This weakens the unions overall and their ability to extract better wages and conditions and enforce safety standards across the mining industry.

Standing with the overseas workers, not against them, and fighting for them and their rights (including union membership and permanent residency) would offer a better chance to improve conditions for all workers in Australia.

At the same time Labor is attacking unions, trade union bureaucrats are warning of the dangers of an Abbott government.  It will be a bastard Government, because unions have done nothing to fight the current one.

The way to fight Abbott is to strike against Gillard. It is the barbarians at the gate who are paving the way for the barbarians coming over the hill. 

 so you will be voting for the lesser evil please tell me m - Condescending Wonka

But lesser evilism will see these unionists argue for a vote for Gillard Labor at the same time that government does the work of a future Abbott government. Is there an alternative? Yes. Strike.

Right now Labor plans to get rid of 4200 public servants, with another 4000 the year after and 4000 the year after.

Fight those sackings now to stop Abbott and Hockey sacking 12,000 in year one.  

The Vice-Chancellor at the Australian National University is sacking all the workers in the School of Music. The University’s Council, whom some staff had very high hopes in, has, unsurprisingly, come out fully in support of the VC, Chainsaw Young. Only industrial action can save the School of Music and its staff.

Workers at Kurri Kurri are losing their jobs. Take over the smelter.

Last year Baiada workers set up a pocket for 13 days and won significant wage increases and much better conditions.

Victorian workers took on the Baillieu Government and its attacks on their wages and conditions. They defied orders to return to work. They won.

This week, over 3000 workers at BHP-Mitsubishi Alliance coal mines in the Bowen Basin have gone on strike for seven days against the bosses stalling over wage and other negotiations. That’s the way forward.

Stop pussyfooting around. Fight.

To have your say on these or any other topics of interest, hit the comments button. Like all posts on this site comments close after 7 days.



Comment from Ewen
Time May 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Hi John,
I have set up an online petition to defend the right to strike. Please have a look and help promote it. Keep up the good work, I read your posts daily.


Comment from John
Time May 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Posted on my site, and FB. Glad you like my site.

Comment from Kay
Time May 29, 2012 at 6:56 am

In John’s earlier article titled ‘Parliament as Judge and Jury’ I tried through my postings to gain an understanding of what modern Australian socialists believe in. I was brought up in a household that fervently believed in communism. But my view is that such left wing ideologies as socialism or communism would never flourish in today’s Australia because even the ordinary workers have ties to big business via shares, superannuation and employment. And we are all pretty prosperous, especially compared with many other parts of the world.

I was chastised for my ill-informed view of our society and economy, and the socialist alternative. My main concern was: where is the money going to come from to fund our society after the ‘revolution’ – a rising up of the working classes against the bosses that John was indicating that he wanted/expected to eventually happen.

I was gobsmacked by John’s response: “There will be no money once production to satisfy human need is established. And because we no longer have to work all those extra hours for the employer’s profit we can cut the working week in half and begin to become truly human.”

So, I finally came to understand the socialist alternative! A completely idealistic, unworkable society that I believe has never existed in human society anywhere at any time, let alone in our modern times.

Even isolated native villages have a hierarchy of tribal chiefs/elders and workers. In human society, some people are always smarter, more ambitious, more innovative and better at organising than others. There are always those not satisfied with the status quo who are prepared to take risks and make more effort than others to improve their situation. That includes involving other people. A hierarchy inevitably develops. And so does some form of trading, as not everyone can produce everything they need/want in their society. Even small villages trade with each other. Trading requires some form of exchange mechanism to simplify the system – hence ‘money’. So my view is that a capitalist and/or dictator regime will inevitably develop over time – no matter where you start from.

And yes, we have seen the results of the excesses of capitalism recently – the GFC. We often see ‘booms and busts’ in global economies. And we see dictatorships everywhere in the world.

So my view is that what we have in Australia is pretty good – not perfect, but good. We all get to benefit from the capitalist system we live in. We can work to improve our financial situation if we really want to. We have a ‘safety net’ system for those who ‘fall through the cracks’. Once again, not perfect but not bad. So I see no need for any ‘revolution’. Especially if the society we get after the ‘revolution’ is completely idealistic and unworkable!

So I see the urgings of the socialists to rise up and fight a bit of a worry. For unions to fight to protect reasonable working conditions and wages is admirable. To fight to overthrow an imperfect but pretty good economy and society seems to me to be ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’.

Comment from John
Time May 29, 2012 at 11:14 am

One can’t understand the present without understanding the past, and one lesson from that is that capitalism is clearly a short term arrangement for humanity. Not sure either that all this life is so much better udner capitalism is true for the 2 billion people starving or malnourished when right now we can feed everyone comfortably but they are condemned to hunger because they are poor.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time May 30, 2012 at 9:32 am


We all get to benefit from the capitalist system we live in.

This is a Panglossian lie.

Workers producing most of the clothes and consumer items that make up our lifestyle live in relative poverty and work long hours for low pay in less developed economies.

The Slavation Army and Brotherhood of St Laurence report that more and more Australians are being thrown onto welfare and they are forced to turn needy people away.

Do yopu know what is happening in:

United Kingdom

This is the exact opposite to your funny mistake.

Capitalism only provides decent conditions to the global elite, and then only for a few temporary decades. In the end, due to then steady buildup of specific contradictions of capitalism, it all ends up in a GFC.

Do you know about the GFC?

Comment from Kay
Time May 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm


I can manage to discuss issues without ridiculing anyone. So can John. It is a pity, but you don’t appear to have the same ability.

You merely parrot the usual socialist clap-trap. Your comments make no attempt to tie your socialist jargon to today’s Australian economy. Yes, there are those struggling to make ends meet – always have been. But by far the larger proportion of the population is reasonably well off. Definitely not fertile ground for a ‘revolution’.

I do believe however that, due to the unregulated excesses of the financial institutions around the world, the world’s capitalist system is under severe pressure and will take some time to recover. But no political/financial/social system is ever static.

The point I was trying to make is that the socialist picture of society after the ‘revolution’ is ridiculously idealistic and unlikely to happen. It certainly hasn’t existed anywhere in the world so far!

Comment from John
Time May 31, 2012 at 10:05 pm

It is true that for the vast majority would think (if they knew about it) what I talk and write about is socialist clap trap and that they aren’t revolutionaries. But they are pissed off about something. And I think that sense of unease is because there has been a huge shift in what from labour to capital; people are working about 5 hours above the standard working week; the household CPI is rising faster than their wages; etc.

Of course you could have said the same thing about Greece. There will never be a revolution here. Now according to a recent poll, 30% want a revolution. Or Egypt. Or the Arab Spring more generally. Or the 500,000 on an illegal demo in Montréal the other day, inspired by the 150,000 students on strike there against increased student fees. Or the year long student struggles in Chile. Or the 100 million on strike in India in September last year and March this year. Or the strikes and social unrest in China. Or the Occupy movement… Something is going on and we don’t know what it is. Yet. But it looks like real resistance to neoliberalism , if not capitalism, has broken out across the globe.

Comment from Kay
Time June 1, 2012 at 7:31 am


I take your point about the unease across the world. It is certainly true that we are seeing a great deal of unrest – in many countries. To what extent they develop, only the future will tell.

I see much of the unrest as a protest against the obscene, unregulated excesses of the financial sector in particular. And much of the ‘wealth’ in the world is just figures on a computer screen – figures which change from day to day. It only becomes ‘money’ when you decide to ‘cash in’ your shares or superannuation. For most, their ‘money’ is what they get paid every week for their work. So, yes, capitalism is a bit of a ‘paper tiger’ which could crumble at any time.

But my view is that the more likely outcome would be a redesigning of capitalism, better regulation, hopefully reduced excesses, etc. But who knows? Perhaps a complete ‘revolution’? My concern is that the scenario described by you, after the revolution, is hopelessly idealistic and unachievable, and equally short-lived as you say capitalism is/will be. The problem with your idealistic scenario is that it is dependent upon the good will of human beings, creatures that are hard-wired to be ambitious, selfish, xenophobic, aggressive and lazy.

Also, much of the unrest around the world, particularly in the Middle East, are protests against dictatorships/totalitarian regimes. What worries me about those revolutions is that the dictatorships may just be replaced with fundamentalist religious regimes, just a horrific as the dictatorships they replaced. Like the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

If I have a ‘religion’ at all, it is a strong belief in democracy – for all its inefficiencies and potential for exploitation. I believe it is the best of a bad bunch of ideologies.

Comment from John
Time June 1, 2012 at 10:01 am

I believe in democracy too. There can be no socialism without democracy and no real, thoroughgoing democracy without socialism, in my view. I want democracy extended into all areas of life. The workplace would be a good start.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time June 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm


Once you drag yourself down to labelling such as:

parrot socialist claptrap

Your task was to reassess your “parroted capitalist claptrap” that:

We all get to benefit from the capitalist system we live in.

You have failed. You were given a whole list of countries precisely where your Panglossian lie is thoroughly disproved for all to see.

So we need an alternative to capitalism. This can only be socialism.