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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

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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Sick kids and paying upfront

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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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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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 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 A comrade
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 a comrade’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 A Comrade 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.