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John Passant

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September 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)

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)



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.


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. 

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.



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 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


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.

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?

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