John Passant

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Me quoted in Fairfax papers on tax haven use
Me quoted by Georgia Wilkins in The Age (and other Fairfax publications) today. John Passant, from the school of political science and international relations, at the Australian National University, said the trend noted by Computershare was further evidence multinationals did not take global regulators seriously. ”US companies are doing this on the hard-nosed basis that any [regulatory] changes that will be made won’t have an impact on their ability to avoid tax,” he said. ”They think it is going to take a long time for the G20 to take action, or that they are just all talk.” (1)

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. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (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
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Real debate?
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System change, not climate change
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Evidently right wing hate is OK

I know we are all concerned about placards that might be construed as wanting someone dead.

And I know we all support brave ‘Aussie values’ police in attacking demonstrators in Sydney a few of whom had stupid and reactionary placards reading ‘behead those who insult the Prophet’. One was carried by a child.

This has provoked outrage across Islamophobia, the country formerly known as Australia.

So let’s delve into how the police have treated others who have similar placards or posters or call for the death of someone because of their sexuality, politics or religious beliefs.

Let’s start off slow so even the right wing nut jobs can follow the argument. Here’s Tony Abbott at an anti-carbon tax protest.

Mr Abbott spoke to the rally in front of placards with slogans like

Mr Abbott spoke to the rally in front of placards with slogans like “Ditch the witch”. (AAP)

But wait, there’s more. Here is Abbott again:

Now clearly these were offensive, and Abbott, after the public relations nightmare that was beginning to envelope him grew, apologised.

OK, the placards might have been in bad taste but they didn’t threaten violence did they? No, but they display a lack of respect for leading political figures which could easily move in that direction especially if the right wing fires up its foot soldiers. 

And they set the scene for the degeneration of politics into a right wing blood bath moving from words to deeds. In Norway where open Islamophobia is part of the conservative mainstream, the words became deeds in the form of Anders Breivik and the murder of 77 Norwegians, mainly young Labor Party members.  

The creeping authoritarianism feeds upon itself. In 1992 Paul Keating introduced mandatory detention, effectively imprisoning people who have committed no crime for long periods as punishment for exercising a legitimate right. These detention centres are concentration camps in the tradition of the US-Spanish war in the Philippines, the British in the Boer War and the Nazis when they first came to power and locked up communists, socialists, union leaders and others.

In Australian society the all pervasive Islamophobia, set to get worse after Saturday’s demonstration dn the frenzy of denunciation, has pervaded so many sections of society. The Nazis have used anti-Islamic rhetoric to build support and wheedle their way into the mainstream.

Thus at pro-Max Brenner demonstrations and meetings organised by  Zionists and others, fascists have attended, and in one protest Brisbane, spoke.  Their Islamophobia unites them and mainstreams the fascists. The current hysteria may enable the Nazis to gain more ground.

Back to ‘Ditch the witch’. We can be sure there was no police investigation of the ‘Ditch the witch’ groups to see if they had more sinister motives. None whatsoever. And I bet London to a brick on none of them has an ASIO file.

A few months after this anti-carbon tax rally right wing radio ‘personality’ Alan Jones helped organise a convey of no confidence to Canberra.  Only a few hundred turned up and Jones claimed that Australian Federal Police had turned them back at the ACT border. Wrong.

The cops had stopped them for a few minutes to explain arrangements to get to Parliament House.

One female journalist at the rally asked if Jones had been paid for his attendance. Here’s how Insiders puts it:

ALAN JONES: I’ve just been asked by a journalist from the Sydney Morning Herald am I getting a fee for being here today?

JACQUELINE MALEY, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: He took great exception to that question and he became enraged and proceeded to abuse me.

ALAN JONES: (Speaking to Jacqueline Maley) How can you look at yourself in the mirror?

JACQUELINE MALEY: Very easily thanks.

ALAN JONES: Oh I bet you, you. You (inaudible)

(Addressing crowd) Where is she? Oh she’s gone, disappeared.

JACQUELINE MALEY: I felt very intimidated. I suppose I did feel at risk.

As far as I know there has been no police investigation of this possible threatening behaviour.

Alan Jones is worth persisting with. Five times on radio he made some reference to putting the Prime Minister in a chaff bag and dumping her at sea. The Australian Communications and Media Authority found the comments disparaging and disrespectful but said they did not incite violence or brutality.

Maybe the question of incitement to violence is a matter for the police in a criminal context, not just the ACMA in a regulatory context.  As far as I know there has been no police investigation into whether Jones has committed an offence by his comments.

Let me be disrespectful and disparaging.  After the revolution Alan Jones will be made to clean toilets.  It shouldn’t be too much of a change for him. After all he deals in horseshit every day. The other end of the chaff bag you might say.

What about when Grahame Morris, former Howard adviser, said on Sky News that Australians ‘should be kicking Julia Gillard to death.’ As far as I know there has been no police investigation.  Indeed, the media didn’t even report it for a while.

Maybe these are all just examples of robust political debate. Maybe, but if that is the case then so by the same token is ‘behead all those who insult the Prophet’. One justified a police riot; the others provoked nothing but police inaction.

Here’s one poster that seems to be in the same league as those at the Sydney protest. 

 I wonder if the riot police, the dogs, the batons, the capsicum spray are all at the ready to be used against the ‘violent extremists’ putting out this call to kill people. Brace yourselves.

Kill the communists?

Pretty shocking eh? This looks like a call to kill ‘the reds’, posted over  Left Action student election poster at Curtin University.  Presumably Left Action are the reds the poster is referring to.

Now my powers of logic can be a little faulty but better dead than read in this context does seem to imply that the reds are such a threat to society they should be dead. Given most of the Left Action ticket are young and probably have at least another 60 years in front of them, the only conclusion I can draw is that the sign is calling for the reds to be put to death.

The phrase supposedly emerged from the Nazis as Soviet troops advanced. It was used by them to urge resistance. In the McCarthy years it was part of the argument about how bad communism (or Stalinism to be more precise) was so you’d be better off dead than be a communist.  

So maybe these people are really just suggesting they would rather be dead than read. Maybe what they mean is that if Left Action wins the student elections they will kill themselves because they couldn’t bear to live under a communist regime.  I doubt it very much given the context.

Which group put this poster out? The Curtin Capitalist Society. I can find no reference to it on the Curtin University of Technology website. But it does have a facebook page. The page says:
 

The Curtin Capitalist Society, founded August, 2012, is founded on the principle of the revolution of Capitalism of society, and how communism, socialism, Marxism and all forms of centralized government control has corrupted society.

With sexy parties containing canes, monocles, top hats and penguin suits, and a love for scotch, the CSS is the perfect group for all people wanting to enjoy the good things in life.

So it looks like a mixture of politics and piss, the market and make believe, wannabe ruling class twits.

But the question remains. Why aren’t Western Australian police investigating what appears to be a clear case of a death threat against political opponents?  What is Curtin University doing?

Surely we can’t have such threats contaminating young minds at Curtin can we?

Nothing will happen. No cops, no dogs, no pepper spray, no batons.

It is one rule for Muslims and another for the kids of the rich or the mostly white rich wannabes. 

What is good enough for Muslims is good enough for rich white bastards I say. 

Over to you Western Australian police. Over to you Curtin University of Technology. 

Let’s cut the WA police some slack.  Maybe they are too busy locking up Aboriginal people to investigate the possible crime this poster seems to display.

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays has just bought to my attention (25 September) that Left Action is also under attack for running gay candidates. Here’s how some chalking urging a vote for Left Action which has been defaced by homophobes:

Toxic.  Maybe this is happenning because Left Action are winning support for turning the guild into a fighting student union. Faced with reasoned argument all the intellectually challenged barbaric right can respond with is abuse and threats.

Then of course there is the Christian right and its homophobia. This sign, held by a child in America , says it all.

I don’t see any Community Service people, any cops, any riot police, dogs, batons anywhere in sight. Do you?

I wonder why that is? Could it be that the hysteria generated over a few placards about beheading those who insult the Prophet is actually about racism and Islamophobia and using that stupid ‘behead’ placard is a justification for the attacks on the oppressed.

When the signs are held not by the oppressed but by the oppressors or dupes of theirs, they get off scot free from police brutality or even investigation or arrest.

Of course this is an American photo, and they have the first amendment in defence of free speech. Something like this could never happen in Australia, could it?

Here’s an interview between a major in the Salvation Army, Andrew Craibe and journalist Serena Ryan. They were discussing the Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine.

Ryan: … If I go and I read that, and I connect with my sexuality Andrew, then that says according to the Salvation Army that I deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?

Major Andrew Craibe: Well, that is a part of our belief system…

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan (interrupting): So we should die?

Major Andrew Craibe: You know we have an alignment to the scriptures but that’s our belief.

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan: Wow, so we should die. So this is on page twenty-eight of the Salvation story which you can download online. It’s wonderfully available, I love that. If we go a bit further into sin which is on page sixty-one and sixty-three again it’s going into Romans again. And look I accept that you’re out there wanting to help people. I don’t consider myself to be a part of the oppressed or the marginalised. I don’t accept that this sexuality that is a part of my DNA is a choice. I also don’t accept the support of any religion in a financial sense, and this is what the gay community is up in arms about: that you’re proposing in your religious doctrine and the way that you train — this is part of your training of your soldiers — that because we’re gay, that — we must die. If you go to Romans, book 1, 18-32, it’s all there, mate. I mean, how can you stand by that? How is that Christian?

Major Andrew Craibe: Well, well, because that is part of our Christian doctrine –

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan (interrupting): But how is that Christian? Shouldn’t it be about love?

Major Andrew Craibe: — that’s our understanding of that. Well, the love that we would show is about that: consideration for all human beings to come to know salvation –

LGBT journalist Serena Ryan: Or die. . .

Major Andrew Craibe: Well, yes.

The Salvation Army later apologised saying the text means spiritual death. But how could it be that Craibe, the Salvation Army’s Territorial Media Relations Director for the Southern Territory in Victoria, and with his years of Salvation Army training, hadn’t got that message?

As far as I know no police investigated Craibe’s remarks.

People have been up in arms that at the rally a child held one of the ‘behead’ placards. Well, here’s some Israeli children ‘up in arms’ writing messages on Israeli bombs. I haven’t noticed any mainstream media mention let alone condemnation of this.

192642682_2fea4cce66_o

Children and bombs

 

Australia of course has its own kids’ indoctrination units. They are called schools. But more than that generations of kids are indoctrinated with the ANZAC spirit from an early age to make killing others for Australian capitalism acceptable.  The military funerals for those killed in Afghanistan are part of this indoctrination into accepting the good Aussie value of invading other countries and killing the people there – men, women and children. 

Then there is the gross racism against Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. One recent indication of this has been racist Aboriginal sites on facebook and comments which clearly incite violence against indigenous people. As far as I know there has been no police investigation.

Some are attempting to hold another demonstration on Sunday in Melbourne in defence of Islam. A text message in response (available from various media sites) calls for a counter demonstration and uses descriptions not fit to reprint and talks of battles and says: ‘They thought the Cronulla riots were bad’. The police are investigating.

Relying on the police to enforce the law against the one percent and those on their side is a pipe dream. At best maybe the State needs some right wing nutters banged up to show they are even handed.

The alternative is mass mobilisations. Here’s how some activists in Lismore dealt with the gay hate truck of Peter Madden.

www.samesame.com.au 

The right wallows in hate; the currency of the Left is hope.

If you have other examples of the right making threats that deserve further investigation, but which won’t be, feel free to put them here in the comments section (see the link under the heading) or post to me.

Here is a link to a Socialist Alternative video of eyewitness shots of the police violence.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh8AG5tOEEA&feature=player_embedded

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Comments

Comment from hotelsdown
Time September 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm

you’re a legend, man – i’ve gotta say, i really dig your blog.

solidarity, comrade.

Comment from John
Time September 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Thanks hotelsdown.

Comment from Nick Fredman
Time September 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Good one John, and not just because of the apt pic of my Lismore friends. A Green Left TV satire piece posted yesterday at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPaNaqgWaOQ included a horrible example, not denounced in the western media, I didn’t know of before: Israeli kids writing hate messages on bombs destined for Gaza.

Comment from John
Time September 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Thans Nick. I might use that as a counterfoil to the ‘teach your children well’ message rather than the reality of the indoctrination we impose on them.

Comment from The Profit
Time September 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Not Islamaphobes, Jihadaphobes. Simple distinction. Even an 8 year old spruiking violent jihad could comprehend that distinction. Although a 3 year old being encouraged to hold a placard promoting it might be excused for merely being the meat in the sandwich of stupidity so to speak. You guys really need to get “off campus” occasionally to sample the realities of life. Jihadis do not belong in a secular society because by definition they detest it and want to destroy it. Join the dots fellas. You’re being duped by the Jihadiots. Thanks for ignoring my comment yesterday too. Good to see you edit your blog to suit your own agenda. Stalin would be proud.

Comment from John
Time September 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Stalin, here, The Profit. So you have conclusive evidence this was a jihadist demo? Who from? Rupert Murdoch? And so what if they were all jihadists? Do you support the police brutally attacking them? And it’s my blog. I don’t have to publish every piece of shit commentary. But more likely I just missed it in the many many spam emails I go through quickly and delete on bulk. What did you say?

Comment from The Profit
Time September 21, 2012 at 9:24 am

res ipsa. I have no idea if the police response was warranted or not. I am not omniscient, are you? Jihadiots have no place in a secular society. Islamic people are not all Jihadiots – I’m sure only a microscopic proportion of Islamic people subscribe to such nonsense. You are so obsessed with your hatred of anything not drawn according to your dictates of ideology that you can only resort to empty slogans to argue your position. So be it, your blog. Enjoy.

Comment from Mark
Time September 21, 2012 at 9:47 am

You idiot. Better dead than red is not a call to put people to death. It is a statement that being dead is preferable to being a time. Which is true.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 10:26 am

Of course it is an invocation to violence against left Action. Certainly all the others who have seen it believe it is so. But why not the oh so lever police investigate to decide Context is everything. And one question? How do you think the people whose election material this was posted over took it? Are they idiots too for thinking this was an attempt to intimidate and threaten them? If that makes me an idiot so be it.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 10:32 am

The thing speaks for itself? Really? What, mediated through the lens of the mainstream media who always tell the truth? I have 3 comrades who were there who have written and spoken about the police violence, and a video that seems to show the police attack was ‘unwarranted’ in your words. What empty slogans? I am not carrying on about ‘jihadiots’. That looks to me like the classic empty slogan, completely failing to understand the nature of the demonstration and the vicious response of the state, and the opportunity the polcie violence at the demo now presents for the one percent to bolster Islamophobia and the racist passions that go with it.

Comment from Hahaha
Time September 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

You really are retarded. “Better dead than red” is a threat against left action? Are you joking? I’m a Curtin student, and I know the people who made the posters, the people who made the Facebook group and the context behind it all. The Facebook group is what we in the real world cal, “a joke”. Do you think they have parties with monacles and drink scotch? Really? The posters were trolling Left Action, again; a joke. Get over yourselves.

Comment from Curtin Capitalist Society
Time September 21, 2012 at 11:59 am

Hello,

I am a rep of the CCS (Curtin Capitalist Society) and as it has been stated, “better dead than red” is a statement of our own opinions that we would rather be dead than be red. We are not calling for any violence, we are simply protesting their far left regime that borders and even ventures into communism.

So, Mr. Passant, if you could please alter your article as you have clearly mistook this as you have no idea the context of how Left Action operates at Curtin University.

Thank you.

Comment from Citizen Snips
Time September 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm

“Better dead than red” is term meaning the party dictating the phrase would rather be dead, than be under a communist/socialist regime.
Assuming you are a well educated man, you obviously missed out on alot of Cold War history.
Context IS everything.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Thanks CCS. As I explained on the phone, before the caller started yelling at me about ripping posters down, this looks like a threat to me. I am not the only one who thought so. And we are, as the judges might say, just your reasonable people on the Clapham bus. You could always of course plead you mean it in the same way Nazi propaganda master Goebbels is alleged to have used it or Joseph McCarthy used it – fight the communists till death. But in context it doesn’t look like that to me, nor to others.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I don’t laugh at what reasonable people regard as a threat.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm

More’s the pity if they don’t drink Scotch.

Comment from Curtin Capitalist Society
Time September 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm

In context? I don’t believe you understand the context unless you attend Curtin University, in my honest opinion. You are outside the University community and are most likely unfamiliar with how Left Action/Socialist Alternative operates at Curtin.

The context is simple. We personally, the Curtin Capitalist Society, would prefer to be dead than to be as far-left as they are.

If people are going to take it in a violent context, that is their choice, not ours. I can understand as to why you personally would take offence, as you are Socialist Alternative yourself, or so I have been informed. However, this is no excuse for public defamation against us simply because we would rather cease than to be a part of the left regime.

Cheers,
The Curtin Capitalist Society.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm

If you bothered to read the piece you will see that I actually make that point about the Cold War (and before that the possibility it came from Nazi propaganda). I agree that context IS everything. I make the point that plastering this across Left Action posters looks like the threat is to others, not themselves. Certainly a reasonable person could so interpret it. And I wonder if all Curtin students are au fait with Cold War history and see the subtly and nuance you are arguing for. You have to have in mind your audience, not just your intention.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Then maybe you poster should have read – we’d rather be dead than red.

Comment from I.P Freely
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Oh John boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying.

If the posters said “we’d rather be dead than red” that wouldn’t be the proper slogan then would it. Perhaps we should call the “Left Action” party the “Socialism – with a hint of unrealistic, unrelated to university agendas” party. Oh wait, that would be what they mean, but not what looks better… See where this is going?

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm

And if you come, and all the flowers are dying
If I am dead, as dead I well may be
I pray you’ll find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.

Comment from concerned curtin student
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Hi, I’d just like to make some points regarding Curtin Capitalist Society (CCS):

Firstly, as a student at Curtin University I find it offensive that you would make accusations regarding a student group about which you know nothing.

Secondly, with regards to CCS promoting violence on campus. I beg to differ, Left Action have been photographed physically harassing students who disagree with their views. In contrast, CCS is merely putting up posters stating their own views.

Finally, are you really arguing over the exact form in which someone states their opinion?

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm

No, but I do prefer people to use their real names rather than hide behind juvenile monikers.

Comment from Rhys
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm

The original context of the statement though (where it comes from, what it basically amounts to) is that it is a call to violence against Left wingers. The slogan (in the original German and in modern English) refers to both the personal subject not wishing to be red, but also refers that for others it is better for them to be dead than “red”. “Lieber tot als rot” means not simply “I don’t want to be Red” but also “better for others to be dead than red”.
Simply because the CCS wants to impose their own context and meaning on to that statement (and ignore the violence connotations of those words) does not eliminate how others perceive it and it does not eliminate the historical or political background behind such words.
“Better Dead than Red” is a well-known in most parts of the globe as being an anti-Left slogan which promotes violence against Left wing people. It was first chanted by Nazi lynch mobs in the 1930s and by Friekorps shock troopers in the 1920s as they attacked (and often murdered) KPD and SPD members and militant workers on the streets of Germany. It has remained a rallying call to violence against left wingers in Germany and elsewhere ever since. Just because the CCS does not know that history (or chooses not to acknowledge it) or believes that their use of the slogan is in a different context does not eliminate the connotations of violence that one can make from that slogan, especially if one is aware of the history of that term.
And now we find the CCS and its supporters backtracking on their use of the slogan – proclaiming that “this is a different context”. How is the use of a slogan that promotes violence (as history and linguistic logic shows it basically amounts to) justified by a “different context”? Surely the negative meanings of promoting violence still remain today don’t they? Essentially the CCS used a Nazi slogan which has connotations for violence against Left wingers. Their use of a slogan presupposes their defence of it in some form (why else use it or say it if you didn’t agree with it?).
Regardless of whether the CCS supports such tactics as lynch mobs is irrelevant – if you use a slogan you have to be prepared to acknowledge the history behind it – the fact that it was used to justify violence as much as “Juden aus” was used against Jews. If you are going to use such a slogan, take responsibility for yourself (something the Right loves) and stand by what you have said rather than becoming evasive when some-one calls you out on your bullshit, your insults and your poor political or historical judgement.
People like the CCS like to protest about their “freedom of speech” – and yet they seem so prepared to abuse it by abusing others for holding different political viewpoints. Even if the call to violence in “Better dead than red” was ignored the fact remains that they went out of their way to present this “slogan” as a means of attacking Left Action on the basis of being left wing and for no other reason. Essentially that is bigotry if nothing else and displaces a certain arrogance and elitist veneer that one was bound to expect from a group calling itself “[a] capitalist society” (as if childishness was endearing).
Regardless of whether you oppose Left Action or “their ventures into communism” that gives you no right to vilify them. I would imagine that the CCS does not support the use of the Nazis’ anti-Jewish slogans…so why is the use of the Nazis’ anti-Communist slogans (especially when both promote violence in serious forms) justified? Why are Left-wing or Socialist people open to vilification but not others? How is this protecting freedom of speech if you want to shut down others for expressing political views counter to your own? Surely if you are not going to use such slogans against Jews or other minorities…why then are you going to use it against a bunch of Socialists on a university campus?
As for “it was a joke” – that’s no excuse either. Childish pranks are the domain of children, not adults who can (I hope) distinguish between productive debate and idiotic stunts like this. If the CCS are made up of adults you have a responsibility for your words, not the context.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I am not making accusations. I am drawing reasonable conclusions from a poster.

Comment from Ellick
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm

John why you gotta spread hate? The “reasonable ” conclusions you make could only be made by someone with the history knowledge of a goldfish. Your interpretation is the only hate speech around here. Funny though this is usually how Communist blogs end up.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Read Rhys’s response Ellick.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Doesn’t anyone associated with the Curtin Capitalist Society have a real name?

Comment from Ellick
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm

All I read is a bunch of out of date information that does not take into account any of the transformations that this slogan went through. I know you guys like to live in the past but come on.

Comment from Reasonable Thoughts Man
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm

You are not drawing reasonable conclusions at all, as they are without context. You are making assumptions.

The ‘Better Dead than Red’ was chosen to spearhead our campaign because it was obvious it was satire, we were picking an over reactive response to point out how ludicrious your campaign is. Everyone else aside from the people in Left Action and LA realised it was satire. It was a play on a popular phrase and nothing more, just because you decided to interpret it as a death threat, that is your on prerogative.

Realise this, CCS does have a few true capitalists, but the rest are just normal people, sick of your disruptive and ineffectual campaigns, and want to keep them out of student Guild. Have SA and do what the hell you want, but don’t try and bring your political motivations into a student organisation and force us to have to endure our money going to your causes. I agree with most of your policies, but Guild is not a elevated stage for your club to try and influence national and global politics that have nothing to do with students directly.

People are waking up to you guys,

Comment from Ellick
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Oi you saying my name is not real? Sorry it does not match you commie naming policies but its the one I’m proud of.

Comment from Reasonable Thoughts Man
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm

You are not drawing reasonable conclusions at all, as they are without context. You are making assumptions.

The ‘Better Dead than Red’ was chosen to spearhead our campaign because it was obvious it was satire, we were picking an over reactive response to point out how ludicrious your campaign is. Everyone else aside from the people in Left Action and LA realised it was satire. It was a play on a popular phrase and nothing more, just because you decided to interpret it as a death threat, that is your on prerogative.

Realise this, CCS does have a few true capitalists, but the rest are just normal people, sick of your disruptive and ineffectual campaigns, and want to keep them out of student Guild. Have SA and do what the hell you want, but don’t try and bring your political motivations into a student organisation and force us to have to endure our money going to your causes. I agree with most of your policies, but Guild is not a elevated stage for your club to try and influence national and global politics that have nothing to do with students directly.

People are waking up to you guys.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:08 pm

No, I am referring to IP Freely, concerned student etc. I have no idea if yours is real.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

‘It is obvious it is satire’. Not to me….

Comment from Reasonable Thoughts Man
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm

That is because you wanted to interpret it badly, then you would have a reason to complain.

Comment from I.P Freely
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm

John,

Haven’t socialist regimes killed millions? So, if I vote “Left Action”, a socialist party by their very own admission, would I not be supporting murder? Is that not a fair conclusion to draw by a reasonable person… Or are you going to tell me they weren’t true socialist regimes?

See how stupid you all sound.

Comment from I.P Freely
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm

And I.P Freely is my real name. What is so funny about it?

Ishmael Peter Freely. Funny that?

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Transformation? Oh you mean from the Nazis to the McCarthyites? If you resurrect a Nazi/McCarthyite slogan then maybe you should be prepared to defend all the meanings they gave to it. I get accused of not understanding history (something about having a knowledge of history of t that of a goldfish I seem to remember) and then when the history is pointed out you accuse me of using ‘out of date’ information. OK let’s use up-to-date information. Better dead than red can be interpreted on its own without any background as a threat to the reds. Add in the historical context of its use by the Nazis as Rhys’ outlined and that becomes even clearer.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Sorry, Ishmael. Truly sorry, and of course I do believe you. I thought your name might be Nick O something or other.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Anyway, I am away for a few hours. Most posts won’t get through until I come back and approve them.

Comment from Ellick
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm

No I was saying that you guys are picking an choosing your info too, so don’t get upset when we use the more colloquial meaning for it.

Comment from Dean
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm

You have my name. Would you like any other details? Anywho, the meaning was taken from the Westernised Cold War definition, essentially stating that the Americans would have preferred to die than to have become part of a communist nation, hence the campaign.

I mean, if you want to compare the CCS to Nazi Germany for the sake of your left-sympathetic argument, by all means do so. However I wouldn’t say it’s an overly effective argument.

As it was said though, you are not involved in the context of Curtin University, only the context your fellow leftists, and the Capitalists have certainly gained more support than your fellows on the far-left, with all essentially grasping the Cold War reference (yes, they do cater to an audience, one that isn’t as blind as you portrayed), with no violence implied.

Comment from Rhys
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

How has the slogan ‘better dead than red’ “transformed” exactly? How is it less offensive today than it was in 1933? How has this occurred? In Germany and most of Europe the slogan’s political connotations remain the same and the practical violence of it is a reality. The Greek Golden Dawn frequently chant it as they beat up socialists, trade unionists, migrant workers and others on the street of Athens. This is not some historical point – it is a reality of today. If you are going to use such a slogan, satire or not, then you have to engage with that – that is what political responisibility is all about.

Besides, “transformation of a slogan” does not make you immune to the history of that slogan. If you are going to say a slogan then you have to engage with the history – not some fantasy that the slogan is somehow “different today” and not connected to the violence and hate that it was used to spark. Essentially your defence is again context – but context is not a defence for your own responsibility to understand the historical and political consequences of your slogan.

Comment from Peter
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I am another student at Curtin. As I understand it the main reason for this campaign by the Curtin Capitalist Society as well as involvement in actions ‘against’ Left Action by non-CCS affiliated student is the students being fed up with Left Action and the Socialist Alternative club. Students are constantly being approached on their way to from classes by LA members handing out flyers and campaigning at them. This combined with the ludicrous numbers of posters they are putting EVERY WHERE which litters the entire campus and makes it look extremely trashy was the initial cause for these CCS posters. In many places there will be between 5-15 LA posters either visible or located within a 10-20 metre radius. I did in fact see the CCS posters and only one in five or so of the LA posters were covered. I interpreted the posters as satirical and personally found them quite humorous as did most students that I have spoken to that are not affiliated with LA. Most of these non-LA affiliated students also interpreted them as a statement saying “We are sick of all these posters and of all of this election bullshit”.

Comment from Rhys
Time September 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm

So if I understand this, the CCS opposes Left Action from being involved in the Curtin Student Guild. On what grounds? The Guild, whether you like it or not, is a political organisation and Left Action’s Curtin student members have a right to stand for election and be represented in that Guild.

You all seem to want to suggest that your stand against Left Action is about having “a non-political student union” (whatever that means) but the reality is that you want a Guild that reflects YOUR politics and the expense of those who you deem “left wing extremists”. It seems you are fine with capitalist or right wing politics in the Guild, but not left wing ones. Why is this and why the distinction? Surely if you want a “non-political guild” you would go after the Libs and Labour candidates as much as you go after Left Action and surely you would not use such political rhetoric as “better dead than red” to justify it? Or perhaps those parties and slogans are “non-political” because they represent politics you happen to agree with but aren’t they bringing “politics” into “your” student union?

You say that CCS is made up of “normal people sick of your [Left Action’s] bullshit”. I could retort that Left Action is full of “normal people” sick of yours and the rightward shift of student politics over the last couple of decades. Appeals to “normality” and “centralism” in politics is to make a fetish out of centralism, it does not, however, make you either neutral or objective. Your opposition to politics or a “political guild” is itself a political statement regardless of how much you seek to justify it in non-political terms. I’ve heard all this rhetoric about “non-politics” before and every time it is has been about promoting a right wing student movement, not about making the movement “less political”.

The insinuation that a vote for “a socialist candidate is a vote for murder” is also repugnant and slanderous stuff. I will also note that you are the ones using such awful rhetoric – not Left Action.

Comment from Rhys
Time September 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Also, the idea that student unions should not be involved in politics is just – both from the practical reality that everything has a political content to it (especially Student Unions) and from the fact that students live in a political world and need to engage with it.

Universities (and their Student Unions) are meant to encourage freedom of speech and political discussion. They are there to promote issues that impact students and to fight for their interests (not just “represent” them as a useless lobbying group made up of careerist hacks). Political Issues like job cuts, environmental destruction, homophobia, women’s rights, and Australian involvement in foreign wars affect students. They effect students because students and universities live and exist in the real world (which is as about as political as you can get) and they need to fight for their interests within that reality. Students have to engage with those political issues. They also have a right to engage with them and on a collective basis through a union.

People who talk about “non-political” student unions are ultimately talking about removing one of the few institutions that gives students a real voice and say in the wider community. They want to insulate students and universities from the real world and make believe that wider political issues do not effect students on a real and sustained basis (both as students and future working men and women). To restrict the right of students to engage with politics through a democratic student union is essentially an anti-democratic position and a desire to a return to universities as being simply “clubs for well-educated idiots” with no engagement with the real world. No wonder the Right Wing (and their useful idiots like CCS) go on about it as an ideal – a return to Oxbridge looniness.

Student Unions are not “non-political” institutions that can be encased or disconnected from the real world – any belief otherwise (or to believe that such a proposition is an ideal) is to live in the land of the fairies and the little people of ancient myth.

Comment from skip
Time September 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm

“Better Dead Than Red” is also the name of a white supremacist/Nazi Oi! band.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I am not comparing it to Nazi Germany. Rhys’s comments show it is a Nazi slogan that was used in both a defensive and attack sense. Now if you want to use a Nazi slogan go ahead. But perhaps you should justify it. Of course when you say ‘Westernised cold war definition’ you attempt to hide the Nazi history and soften the blow. But even then what you mean is that it is a McCarthyite slogan. You know, House Committees for UnAmerican Activities, black lists, sackings, vilification of anyone on the left, all without evidence.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm

What ‘more colloquial’ meaning? The one I started off with – reds are better off dead? That interpretation of mine is clearly justified by its historical use.

Comment from Ellick
Time September 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

The more colloquial meaning is “we would rather be dead than red”. How many times do we have to repeat that? I think it has been said multiple times. Will reply to the other stuff after work if I can find something worth replying too.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

For Curtin students reading this who might want some sort of rebuttal of the conservative do nothing we can’t win attitude of the Curtin Capitalist Society and others, here’s a different way of doing things.

In Québec last semester 150,000 students went on strike against uni fee increases. They picketed and demonstrated and closed down most campuses. The Liberal government made their actions illegal. 300000 turned out to an illegal demo against the law making it illegal to protest and for the students. The recent election saw the Government defeated and the new Government cancelled the fee increases yesterday on its first day in power.

The Québec student strike was successful. Organising and fighting back can win.

http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2012/09/20/its-official-quebec-tuition-hikes-are-history/

Comment from Che?
Time September 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I don’t know whether it is indoctrination or you have been smoking something but calling schools indoctrination institutions makes me weep for the future. Also dragging an organisation of 20 people through the mud and comparing it with a large Australian media organization and the 2nd largest political party in Australia is just bizarre. For the love of all things sacred please stop drawing links like outdated association laws. I have no problem with the politics of the matter it’s just that you need to rationalize your argument to a realistic aspect. The bias of your argument well exceeds anything I’ve seen apart from propaganda. I agree with free speech but the bias of your argument could be improved.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm

It doesn’t say that. It says Better dead than red. And the obvious interpretation is death to the reds. But what would I know? I’ve only had 30 years experience interpreting tax laws so I’d no nothing about what interpretation one could put on a simple set of words. Certainly, according to Rhys, the Nazis, whose slogan it is, used it as a call to attack the Left.

Comment from John
Time September 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Why? Schools are institutions of capitalism. Their main role is to educate students so they can be workers for the bosses. Not sure what the rest of the stuff you mention means. What institution of 20 people? Dragging who through the mud? Oh, do you mean the Curtin Capitalist Society? Well it did have 65 facebook members. And it bought attention on itself by postering what was apparently a Nazi slogan in the 20s and 30s but certainly one on any reasonable interpretation that appears to incite violence.

Comment from Che?
Time September 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Wow I do need to have some of that shit you are smoking it sounds really good. Do you understand SARCASM. The campaign is sarcastic about a view of Leftist politics but obviously you can’t see that as you are a lawyer. A reasonable person (in a legal standpoint) would see a poster like this and not respond to it. The few that do respond look at it as light hearted humor. This is not the first instance of this sort of event. Last year there was posters proclaiming “Left Action! Because Your Right Hand Is Tired” So in the context of a Curtin setting it is seen as witty and humorous.

Comment from Ellick
Time September 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I agree you really can’t interpret plain English. Indeed it does say “better dead than red”, the colloquial reading of which would be “We would rather be dead than a potato eating commie”. Not sure why you brought up tax law, it has no relevance. Since you did bring it up though I’ll point out that people in law spend their time twisting language for themselves so it really does not help your credibility as a speaker of truths.

Comment from Dave
Time September 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Not to worry John, you can rest easy in the knowledge as the economic crisis worsens, not many of them at all will end up being anywhere near the wealth they crave…

Comment from Che?
Time September 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm

I need what ever you are smoking it must be some good shit. Look the issue here is something called SARCASM. The poster should be taken in a satirical matter. A reasonable person (a factor of legal issues) would consider many of these posters harmless. In a Curtin context a lot of people get the satirical nature as this is part of many electoral jokes such as last years “Left Action! Because Your Right Hand Is Tired”. So in this context the campaign is taken in a satirical and witty manner

Comment from John
Time September 22, 2012 at 7:15 am

My point for the hundredth time is that a plain reading of ‘Better dead than red’ is that it threatens violence against left wingers. History backs that up. Actually I interpreted tax law for the Australian Tax Office or taught it at Unis so your point about twisting law for myself is nonsense. You are out of your depth. Go back to reading whatever political comics inform your thinking.

Comment from John
Time September 22, 2012 at 7:19 am

So it is sarcastic to call for someone’s death? I missed that…..Sorry. Much like the sarcasm of the beheading poster you mean? Is that it? And why the different treatment? Just trying to be even handed here. Why no police or Curtin University investigation where CCS can makes its case. Ah, your group isn’t Muslim. Is that it? Does that explain the difference? Imagine if an Islamic group had put that poster up. Imagine what the response would have been.

Pingback from En Passant » Saturday’s socialist speak out
Time September 22, 2012 at 10:51 am

[...] an article a few days ago called Evidently right wing hate is OK I reproduced a poster put up by the Curtin Capitalist Society which they used to post over Left [...]

Comment from Che?
Time September 25, 2012 at 6:18 pm

A few of your members are Muslim you racist bastard. It is known that a senior member of the society is a Muslim so please don’t draw a long bow on an issue like this

Comment from John
Time September 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Thanks for the non sequitur abusive response Che?. But just to make it clear to you, because I can tell you aren’t that clever. Imagine the response if an Islamic student society put out posters saying better dead than red and plastered them over left action posters. Same response from the cops, the Uni, the media and politicians do you think? I suspect not…Why the possible difference?

Comment from Che?
Time September 26, 2012 at 3:17 am

I can imagine that thank you very much with a decent amount of intelligence. If it was like this I wouldn’t care at all. If we bring the Muslim issue into discussion it is that as a small minority is spoiling it for the rest as usual. At least university groups aren’t rioting worldwide because of one event or trying to take the law into there own hands.

If it were to happen though it probably won’t get as much attention as this as the actions of Left Action have pretty much cost them there office. They have been chalking walls all over campus and continually forcing an issue until someone gets annoyed by the actions and opposes it. They then let it blow up on social media to be picked up like people such as yourself to rant and rave about. Is this the true nature of such politics that a person like yourself should attach yourself to such a small issue and make it out of proportion to gain yourself credibility of some sort. It is easy to see you are unswayed by reason as you like to consider political jokes one step away from goose stepping and our education system to be run by men of similar stature.

Comment from John
Time September 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Actually it was Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays who bought the homophobic chalk over to my attention, hardly a group of people whom one could describe as radical. But again you avoid the point. Why is right wing hate OK? By the way there is academic analysis which concludes or argues that schools perform an important role of indoctrinating people into capitalism. And the link between the aNzis and slogans like Better Dead than Red is pretty clear. It is a Nazi slogan. If all of this makes me immune to reason then so be it but my 33 successful years in tihe workforce seem to belie that.